Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The New Crusaders for Northwest Salmon?

It appears that there is a new kid on the block as far as fish conservation goes.
The CCA which is short for Coastal Conservation Association has burst upon the scene here in the Pacific Northwest and it looks like people are falling all over themselves to join. The CCA is an east coast organization who has lobbied for saltwater fishery issues.
Here is their mission statement which was taken directly from their website and it states the following....
The stated purpose of CCA is to advise and educate the public on
conservation of marine resources. The objective of CCA is to
conserve, promote and enhance the present and future
availability of these coastal resources for the benefit and
enjoyment of the general public.

The CCA movement comes to the northwest at the recommendation of Gary Loomis of Loomis Rods. Loomis is quite influential in the region and has been instrumental in putting thousands of hatchery fish into rivers like the Lewis and Cowlitz in Washington with his "Fish First" group using hatch boxes.
So what have we got here with the CCA? A group that will fight for wild fish and their habitat? A group that will take on polluters and their harmful practices that affect our lakes and streams? A champion for the cause of restoring the remnants of our wild salmonids to a semblance of their former selves?
or just another group that wants a bunch of fish to harvest and promises to go to bat fo their membership in getting them a bigger slice of the salmon pie. Once again the general fishing public is looking to a savior that they think will get the gillnets, both commercial and tribal, out of the Columbia river. Once again the "I don't give a damn about wild fish issues" general fishing public is looking for yet another groups to help them fill their freezers with salmon fillets and cured eggs. Once again, like a spoiled little child, the general sports fishermen and women want what they want when they want it!
They can make all kinds of excuses for their apathetic approach to any issue that does not involve harvesting more fish but they are woefully absent when it comes down to dealing with the tough issues involved. If it means protecting wild salmon or steelhead then they always have other priorities or are indignant to the point of rage because they feel they are not getting their lion's share of the allocation pie of havestable salmon.
I really don't know much about CCA and according to a good friend that has joined CCA the harvest drunk sports anglers of the Pacific Northwest are going to be disappointed in CCA.This is apparently not a group that takes on allocation and quota issues. If the CCA is truly concerned about the over all well being of our coldwater and marine fisheries then I welcome them. We shall see! I am reserving judgment on this organization until I get more information and see them in action.
Face it! The gillnets, especially the native American ones are not going anywhere and all these "conservation" organizations are not going to make much of a difference. The gill netters usually clean the floor with the sports groups during allocation hearings for Columbia river salmon because the sports groups spend so much of their time fighting like hungry dogs for a bone.
The whole process of wild fish enhancement involves sacrifice and making hard choices. So call me cynical but I just don't see many people willing to put the needs of the resource AND WILD FISH ahead of their own greed!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Some Things are Worth Fighting For.....

....and about also!
I am on a crusade so to speak. I happen to believe we are truly blessed to have one of the last populations of wild trout right here on the north coast. Of course I am talking about coastal cutthroat trout.
Think about it for a moment. Where on the Oregon coast can you find another species of wild trout?
What is really sad though is too many consider this trout as little more than an after thought. A nuisance that will steal your salmon roe! Fortunately they cannot be harvested and that gets them the scorn of many bait/gear fishermen who target the salmon and steelhead who inhabit the same coastal rivers.
These trout are marginalized by those who just need to kill something every time they are on the river.
A few years ago when I still fished for fall chinook I happened upon a guy fishing for these trout with bait!!! To make matters worse it was the off season to boot!
I asked him if he knew what those dead fish were on his stringer and he swore they were jack salmon!
Of course he knew what they were but pleaded ignorance when confronted by me. I went up to my vehicle to call the Oregon State Police and when I returned he had left and he also left behind the dead cutthroat trout.
Sad isn't it?
We are facing an upcoming battle with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife over these trout. They seem to think that their populations can sustain a harvest! I am not a fish biologist but I know that these fish are no where near plentiful enough to harvest.
It's time to get in peoples face about their nonchalant attitude concerning the coastal cutthroat trout.
There are those with influence who could do more about the plight of these trout but they don't! There are those who think that killing a couple of eight inch trout is their right. It's the ignorance and selfishness of these people that the fight is against.
I intend to do all that I can for these wild fish and other endangered wild fish. It's time to fight!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Friends of The Quiet Pool

Dear Readers,
You'll notice that my links section is titled "Friends of The Quiet Pool"
Well there is a good reason for that. These organizations,businesses and friends are in agreement with me in the struggle to protect our cold water fisheries throughout the world. They neither solicited me to link them here and they do not pay me any fee to do so. The fly shops listed here support conservation efforts throughout the Pacific Northwest and I support them with my business. I feel it's unethical and dishonest to make money off of our wild fish without giving something back. You might notice that I do not link various groups or businesses that do not support wild fish and conservation issues.
I also will not link any organization that supports any program that is harmful to wild fish in any way. These programs include hatcheries, steelhead broodstock programs and anything that could cause harm to wild salmonids and their habitat.
I also will not support any candidate or political party on this blog that does not support environmental issues.
I really have no idea how many people read this blog but as you may have noticed I have directed some of my harshest criticism at those who I feel exploit and make money off of what I call the "backs" of our wild salmon, trout and steelhead.
As I've said before you will never read anything here that is, in my opinion,not wildfish friendly except to point out and comment about the wrongness of their position.
With that being said any and all are welcome here. I would sincerely hope that you may read something here that will further you along in your fly fishing journey.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Here They Come

Do you feel that crispness in the evening air? Here it is the first of September and we wonder where the summer has gone! All those fishing trips we wanted to do this summer just didn't come to pass and now we are in the unfortunate side of summer...Yes Fall is in the air.
I really don't mind the coming of fall that much because some of my favorite fly fishing happens this time of year. With the fall rains the coastal cutthroat trout will be following the fall salmon into the north coast rivers and it will make for some very nice fly fishing.
The summer steelheading on the Deschutes will be foremost in many a fly fishers thoughts and dreams including my own.
Perhaps the biggest event in many anglers lives will be the annual fall chinook salmon runs. The Tillamook basin is home to some of the biggest chinook salmon this side of Alaska and although they don't compare to the "pigs" that spawned in that region of years ago you can still run into some very large fish.

I enjoy watching them plow through the shallow riffles of the still summer low streams with their backs out of the water on their fatal journey to their spawning grounds.
It's is an amazing sight for those that are unfamiliar with nature in action.
Unfortunately it's also a time of ugliness and greed. It's a time to see people at their absolute worse. The sight of these huge fish in a small pool of a small river is apparently too much to take for some.
Armed with their lead weighted treble hooks these "sportsmen" literally rip these salmon out of the river. Most of these fish are really not very good table fare but the bounty of salmon eggs is just too much for some people to resist.
They will disdain the hooking the male salmon, whose flesh is much better, in favor of the near useless pale meat of an egg laden female.They will retain the eggs but the carcass will be wasted. It's illegal, of course, but it's very wide spread through the pacific northwest.
With the seemingly ever increasing angling population competing for fewer fish the urgency of these knuckle draggers to fill their freezers with meat and eggs is a sight to behold.
Fist fights, knife fights and even shootings are a not uncommon occurrence on our northwest rivers in the fall.
This year will mark a sharp downturn in returning chinook salmon in the coastal rivers of Oregon. We began to see the signs last fall and with the Columbia river chinook salmon runs being dismal so we can just imagine what chaos awaits this fall.
If you want to see nature at it's best however just find an out of the way area of any coastal river with a good vantage point to watch these magnificent fish in their mating ritual.
To watch them is like watching some kind of natural ballet. Several male salmon move around and vie for position along side the female. They ram each other with their exaggerated "kyped" jaws with several males being able to "service" one female.
When their one purpose in life completed the spent warriors wait for their inevitable fate.
Their rotting carcasses will provide much needed stream nutrients for the emerging off springs to repeat the cycle again.
Friends this is something that cannot be duplicated in the concrete environment of a hatchery. We cannot improve upon the perfection of nature now can we?