Sunday, August 31, 2008

Back to School

For those of you that come here to be inspired by my fly fishing anecdotes I apologize.
Gas prices, weather and abysmal returns have made it a real struggle this summer. I had some early season success with trout until someone pulled the plug on the flows in my favorite trout streams. That coupled with warm weather which heats up the water and thus makes catch and release a dangerous (for the fish) proposition.
I've been fighting a lot of "web wars" with those silly republicans and it's like they even make it too easy! Sarah Palin for Christ Sake? Well she does kind of have that naughty librarian look to her doesn't she?
Anyway it's Labor Day Weekend! The traditional end of summer. The last chance to BBQ those salmon that didn't show up or take that last summer trip with the kids to the beach before school starts back up.
As a kid I absolutely hated this weekend. You vainly tried to fit in a summers worth of fun into three short days of Labor Day weekend. I would find myself looking at the clock and sadly watching my summer freedom tick away.
Damn, I would think to myself, no more staying up and watching TV until all the stations signed off for the night. No more staying out late with the neighborhood kids playing "ditch", a kind of hide and seek variation. No more sleeping in and doing nothing or sleeping over at my pal Ted Rhea's house.
Yes that last weekend was horrible. New clothes and school supplies always seemed to be put off until that last weekend so off we would go to the local JC Penney's, Woolsworths or WT Grants to take care of it.
Oh how I hated those new packages of JC Penney's underwear that my parents bought me or those new blue jeans that were not washed before wearing and therefore they could almost stand up by themselves they were so stiff. Being a "Husky" kid I always had to roll the cuffs up because the length was too long for a fat kid like myself. They looked like I had both of my feet in buckets.
I also hated those Big Chief writing tablets and Pee-Chee folders or the new No. 2 pencils that my dad insisted on scribing my name into. I would think why in the hell do I need a protractor for anyway.
Remembering back on the first day of junior high I was shocked to see those formerly homely tomboy girls suddenly turned into babes over the three months of summer vacation. Of course I and my friends had absolutely no luck in charming those girls we had teased in 5th and 6th grade. We were still those clumsy oafs who had not magically turned into hunks over the summer.....Geez that seemed so unfair at the time and stills does.
So as I browsed the "Back To School" aisle of the local department store yesterday and saw all those sad looking kids with their moms buying school supplies. I felt like telling them that I felt for them and they should enjoy being young when the only thing you had to worry about are those new jockey shorts and biting the erasers off of your new pencils that your dad put your name on.
Hope you all had a great summer!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Before I go any further with this entry I just want to make a few things clear. I believe that gill nets are an antiquated, non-selective fish killing tool. They kill indiscriminately any fish, wild or hathcery, salmon, steelhead or sturgeon, that encounters them. Their time as an efficient means of harvest has come and gone.
To put commercial gillnetting on the Columbia River in a historic perspective let me say that it is just a shadow of it's former self.
In years past they were indeed the scourge of the salmon and steelhead runs in the Columbia.
The Barbee Seafood Company, parent company of Bumble Bee Tuna, of Astoria was the main employer of the region processing millions of pounds of gill netted and troll caught salmon and steelhead.
The gill netters have also had their fair share of salmon poachers and thieves among their group so this is not exactly a pristine, squeaky clean group.
In 1974 the people of the state of Oregon voted that the steelhead trout should be a game fish and could no longer be commercially caught.
This spelled the beginning of the end of gill netting as a commercially viable means of harvest and supplying fresh salmon for the dinner table. With the over all down turn of the over fished salmon runs in the Columbia the Barbee processing plants closed it's doors in Astoria for good.
The commercial gillnetting continues today but with a fraction of it's former fleet. Compared to their checkered past the commercial gill netters these days are but a small piece of the salmon down turn.
So with all that being said one would think that the gill nets have a minor effect on the overall well being of wild and hatchery salmon entering the big western river. That is the truth and in the whole scheme of salmon demise in the Columbia gill nets are a very minor player.
Face it! Columbia river salmon face a plethora of obstacles ranging from obsolete hydro dams to spawning habitat degradation. There is predation from birds and pinnipeds and ssshhhh we don't want to mention this but over fishing by sports anglers. Yes that is the dirty little secret that these spoiled rotten children AKA sports fishers conveniently overlook.
Enter 2007 and the Coastal Conservation Association.These saviors from the east claim they are going to kick the gill netters asses off of the river. Gary Loomis of Loomis Rods is their Northwest spokesman and what a charmer he is. He could sell ice trays to an Eskimo and the poor pitiful sports fishers have bought into his spiel hook, line and $25 membership fee.
Pretty clever tactic actually. They target the most visible "culprit" but ignore the most culpable reasons. Why is that? Could it be that CCA counts among it's life members GHW Bush and his monkey son George W? I bet Dick Cheney is a member too.
Could it be possible that the CCA is just a front for a bunch of rich Texas oilmen?
The CCA is full of members, in good standing, of that environmentally sympathetic group called the Republican Party!
So you might wonder why I am skeptical of this group and their agenda?
Bear in mind that the CCA is just another no show at the meetings and hearing that do not involve harvest. Their motto should be "If we can't kill it then we don't care"
So I am left to wonder when, if ever, the real culprits in the demise of Columbia river salmon will be exposed and incur the wrath of the mighty CCA. The real bad guy that has done more than any other group to bring about the fall of our once mighty salmon runs.
Who am I talking about? Well friends go take a look in the mirror.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Missing in Action

It has been a tumultuous time for those involved in wild fish conservation here in Oregon.
We have faced the onslaught against wild fish by the very agency whose supposed mission it is to protect these fish! Yes I am, once again, talking about the ODFW.
Turn out at public meeting to try to reason with an increasingly hostile Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife have been generally well attended by those who share a concern for our dwindling native fish population. Have we scored points with the commission? I certainly hope so but it all culminates on September 19th in Forest Grove, Oregon when the seven commissioner will decide the fate of not only my beloved coastal cutthroat trout but the wild winter steelhead on the North Umpqua River and the wild spring chinook on the Mollala River and other conservation issues.
I hope the message has gotten to them that the killing of wild trout is not the key in getting Oregon's youth to embrace angling.
Despite the good turnouts from varied groups conservationists and anglers there were some notable people who were no shows at not only the most recent meeting but by in large all meetings where the fate of wild fish was the main topic.
I feel that you should know who is and who is not fighting the good fight for wild salmonids in the state of Oregon. These people make their living on the wild fish and fisheries of this state and they have an obligation, in my opinion and others, to give something back. I never even read anything submitted in writing by these folks. I mean how damn hard is it to send an email? Evidently pretty damn difficult judging from the lack of messages to ODFW from some of these "stars"

So who are these no shows,couldn't be bothered icons of northwest fishing?
Well let's start with Jennie Logsdon Martin, owner of Ifish, the largest Internet website in the Pacific Northwest.
Ifish boasts of tens of thousands of hits daily on that site. Ms.Logsdon-Martin has been awarded various honors from pseudo-conservation groups like the Association of Northwest Steelheaders and Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association (NSIA) It should also be noted that those two groups were also no shows at important meetings this year with the exception of meeting that dealt with who gets to kill the most fish.
Also missing was Scott Richmond of Westfly. Westfly is a fly fishing oriented website and also is a non-profit corporation registered in Oregon. It is an approved 501(c)(3) corporation under the IRS tax code. Westfly gives only a passing nod to conservation and one would think that since this is a fly fishing forum that there would be some kind of conservation interest. From personal experience that has not been the case. When the owner does not make wild fish issues a priority then neither do the members.
Representatives from some of the more prestigious fly fishing clubs in the area did not feel saving cutthroat trout was worth their time and effort. Maybe the members were too busy planning their next bonefish trip to Belize or something or perhaps their BMW was in the shop.
Then there is the much heralded Coastal Conservation Association or CCA.This group has taken the northwest by storm and supposedly they want to end Columbia River commercial gillnetting in order to save ESA protected salmon. Well guess what! Yes that is correct! When the fight for wild salmon, trout and steelhead needed all the help we could get they were no where to be found.
I could also mention the myriad of professional fishing guides that couldn't bother to submit input in writing even if they could not attend meetings.
It's disappointing how little those who could make a difference seem to care little about the future of our cold water fisheries other than to bitch about how few fish they are allowed to kill.
These folks will gladly take your money for membership, hats, stickers and other merchandise but ask them to help out and save a few wild fish? No way!
So it's the common foot soldiers who, just like in a real shooting war,must bear the brunt of the fighting.
However, if there is a buck to be made then you can bet these Northwest fishing celebrities and do nothing groups will be there ready to take your cash in order, as some of them like to put it, save the fish.
Shame on them!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Trout Unlimited - A Lifetime Commitment

I decided to do something that I've only done once before. I took out a lifetime membership to Trout Unlimited.
There is a lot that can be said about TU and it's their unwavering commitment to our cold water fisheries that made me go from a year to year member to a lifetime member.
Trout Unlimited's mission is simple
To conserve, protect and restore North America's coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.

Their vision is bold
By the next generation, Trout Unlimited will ensure that robust populations of native and wild coldwater fish once again thrive within their North American range, so that our children can enjoy healthy fisheries in their home waters.

Isn't that what we all want after all? The promise of clean rivers and wild fish for our grandchildren. I know that is what I want!
There are many enemies of wild fish and some do not even know they are enemies. Our coldwater fisheries have been assaulted for the past eight years by an agenda that cares only about profit.
I get angry at the carelessness and ignorance by those that have the "What's in it for me" attitude.
Thus my lifetime pledge to wild fish and clean rivers in my own corner of the world.
Check them out along with other conservation organizations that I have linked her on this blog.....make a commitment and you grandchildren will thank you long after you've made your last cast.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

ODFW Wants to Kill Wild Trout

Does the title of this entry shock you? Do you think I'm sensationalizing? Do you think I'm making this up?
Believe me friends I wish I were. It's true and here is proof from none other than Rhine Messmer of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Messmer says:

We want to make sure members of the angling community know that these proposals are being reconsidered and that there’s still an opportunity for public comment,” he said.
Our biologists have said the cutthroat trout populations in coastal streams and rivers are healthy and can sustain limited harvest,” Messmer said. “Narrowing opportunity on these rivers is counter to ODFW goals to increase fishing opportunities, especially for young or novice anglers.”
Messmer said coastal rivers and streams are great “entry-level” fisheries, and that being able to keep a fish is important to many new anglers, especially youth.
The Commission decided to reconsider the proposal, in part, because of vocal support at the August Commission meeting. Several people testifying supported the proposal as a way to minimize the negative impacts of angling on wild fish.

Wonder who the talkative biologist is? I'm pretty sure it's either Rick Klumph, Chris Knudsen or Robert Bradley of the Tillamook office of ODFW.
Funny thing is when I queried about cutthroat trout populations on the northern coast of Oregon these guys could not give me a straight answer. In fact the information that they refer to shows those populations on a downward downward trend.
ODFW is supposedly rallying the Tillamook kill crowd to come to the final meeting on September 19 to show support for the harvest proposal.
I have written a lot about my love for coastal cutthroat trout on this blog and their welfare is very important to me. I knew ODFW would use the "kid" excuse as a means to boost lagging license sales.
It's a sad state of affairs when a state agency will actually promote the killing of a wild trout and actively campaign for this harvest.
I can guarantee you that my big mouth is going to be heard on the 19th. This reckless, ignore actual science approach to wild fish management is wrong and will not stand. To use the excuse that kids need to kill trout in order to feel fulfilled and flock to the rivers in huge numbers is bogus and weak and shows an agency that is out of touch or just does not care.It does show biologists ODFW employees who lack character and only want to save their own sorry asses from the budget cuts that are sure to come.
On a positive note I know of at least three ODFW commissioners who believe these fish are worth protecting. The seven commission members are the final word on fishing regulations and here is hoping they do the correct thing on the 19th.
Here is a list of the seven ODFW commsioners and their email addresses. If you can please write them and tell them you oppose proposal 150P and support 132P
This is just too important.

Marla Rae (Chairperson) - The Rae Group
333 High Street NE, Suite 202
Salem, OR 97301

Skip Klarquist -
Zalutsky & Klarquist, PC
215 SW Washington Street, 3rd Floor
Portland, OR 97204

Zane Smith Jr. -
1243 Delrose Drive
Springfield, OR 97477-1594

Dan Edge -
Department of Fisheries and Wildlife
OSU, 104 Nash Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331-2910

Carter Kerns NO Email Contact
503 N Main St.
Pendleton, OR 97801-2243

Jon Englund -
Englund Marine Supply Co, Inc.
PO Box 296
Astoria , OR 97103

Bobby Levy - bobby.levy@my180.netPO Box 69
Echo , OR 97826

You can also send comments to Rhine Messmer at ODFW

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

It's Hotter Than Hell in Oregon

Do you think I could take this one hundred degree plus weather and save it for say January? Yes, yes I know I promised not to bitch about the warm weather last winter.
Yep it's the dog days of summer all right and so that puts a screeching halt to my fly fishing during the warmest of these days.
With water temperatures above sixty five in most areas it is prudent to either fish the first hours of daylight and the last hours before night fall or don't fish at all. Warm water is toxic to cold water species like trout and so I err on the side of caution during these times.
I worked, for many years, in an aluminum foundry. If there is a place called hell then it certainly must be like that foundry was. We poured molten metal into iron molds to make parts for the large semis that blow you off the road as they pass by.
Many times the temperature was over 120 degrees on the molding line and we had to wear heavy cotton clothing because of safety. Polyester melts when molten aluminum comes in contact with it and of course that makes for some very nasty burns.
One other thing that was also by products of such a hot work place is PRICKLY HEAT!!!
Guys know what I'm talking a about and I think I kept the company that makes Desitin ointment in business all those years.
I have a few war wounds (burns) besides a bad back to show from my years of labor though and I am not ashamed that I lived the life of a blue collar union working stiff.
I thought I would never be able to enjoy the summer time because of my aversion to extreme heat and it did take awhile to adjust after retirement. I now just love a summer evening as the sun goes down and the heat relaxes it's stranglehold on the day.
The sounds of a summer evening in a even a modest sized city like the one where I reside are for some reason soothing to me. There is a hum in the air as if the earth is sighing in relief from being baked all day long.
Of course the insect hatches along the Deschutes are absolutely mind boggling in their intensity at this time of day. The caddis are like a thick black cloak as I ply my trade to the trout that slurp bugs like a thirsty dog in the river. I usually inhale a few caddis as I watch the sun dip below the impressive canyon wall of the river...wonder if they are fattening?
My friend, Bamboo Mike, calls this the magic hour and I think that is a nice way to describe it. The trout converge on the piscatorial smorgasbord that the emerging and dying insects offer up.
These are the times that trout seem to cast aside all caution and feed on the surface. This is a dry fly fisherman's joy for sure!
So when the chill of winter invades my well being I will think of days like this and hopefully it will warm me and sustain me through those cold days.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The Knee Jerk Zealot

Let me share with you some criticism I've earned during my time here on The Quiet Pool. They say that one can take pride in who their enemies are and although I have never intended to make enemies in my zeal for wild fish I'm a big boy and can take it.
I thought some of these were actually well thought out and very humorous.
So here goes

"One-trick ponies and knee-jerk zealots of all stripes, in all domains, are always crashing bores. The fact that the point they're unimaginatively hammering away on might sometimes be a correct one is immaterial to me"

Get that? Disliking me is more important than the issue at hand! Well here is more from the same critic.

"Simplistic, bombastic, haranguing, uncritical, categorical pronouncements, and holy-than-thou posturing--in the place of analysis and discrimination and thought--does "the cause" no real good at all. The choir already knows all the old words by heart"

A few other comments by others

"Shane, you always mean well, how much I appreciate the intensity you bring to the cause, but your methods for rallying the troops is about as effective at getting our attention as driving a nail through our collective temples"

Listen folks I'm not here to handle people with kid gloves. To quote an old cliche "If you are not part of the solution then you are part of the problem"
So if you don't care enough to get involved in trying to preserve the last viable populations of wild salmonids then get the hell out of the way. There are plenty who are concerned and your lazy ass is in the way!
Also don't try to sound like you care JLM because we know it's all about the "Kodak Moment"
So if you are offended then great! That was my intention.

Friday, August 08, 2008

United We Stand

This was the day that we friends of wild fish long been waiting for. This was the day where we could let all seven ODFW commissioners know how we felt about how important wild fish are to Oregon's future.
I am proud of my wild fish friendly brethren. We showed up in large numbers to say no to the killing of wild coastal cutthroat trout and no to the killing killing of wild North Umpqua winter steelhead!

We showed up to say no to bait on portions of the legendary Rogue river. We spoke united with one common message.
Wild salmon, trout and steelhead are too valuable to kill. One gentleman from Roseburg so eloquently stated it like this. "We will never look back and say we should have killed more fish"
How true!
Of course there were those that blow their own horn and talk about how much they care about wild and "spiritual" fish. The owner of the largest sports angling website in the Pacific Northwest was, once again, a no show. She talks the talk but never walks the walk.
There were groups that at one time in Pacific Northwest history played a large part in protecting wild fish. Sadly this group is a shadow of it's former self and cowers from the conservation battles it once revelled in.
I am proud to be a member of Native Fish Society and a new lifetime member of Trout Unlimited.
I call NFS director Bill Bakke a friend and TU director Tom Wolf a friend. These two "warriors" have battled for many years in the arena of conservation and I give them all the plaudits that they so richly deserve.
I also thank the foot soldiers, who through their solitary efforts, have made a difference.
I would invite you to check out these two groups that are linked in the Friends of The Quiet Pool list on the left hand side of this blog.
So friends if you are not involved in the fight for wild fish then why not get involved? You don't have to be a big mouth, pain in the ass to ODFW, like me but your quiet support will go a long way towards the betterment of our precious wild resource.
The fight is far from over but today showed that a united group of wild fish advocates can get their message across.
Tight lines!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Gear, Gear and More Gear

I admit it....I'm am a gear junkie! I just cannot get enough and about the time I actually do come to my senses and realize I have enough then something new comes out.
I was the same way when I drift fished and perhaps worse! On the west coast we used a little round drift bobber called a "Lil' Corkie Drifter". They were really very inexpensive at about ten cents a piece and since drift fishing could eat up a lot of these then it was good to have several dozen of various colors on hand. Get that? Several dozen on hand huh? Fat chance! I would usually pack with me at least a hundred in different colors and would have a cache of at least a thousand at home. Of course I needed a few rods for every possible scenario and reels to go with them.
Graduating into fly fishing it's the same thing. I need fly rods and accompanying fly reels for every application. I have Spey gear for just the Deschutes and of course another set up for winter steelhead. For trout I have both a bamboo and graphite in all the popular trout weights. I'm constantly buying, selling and trading gear to get more gear.
I have tippet spools for just about every type of fish I fly fish for and typically I have to buy one at some expensive tackle shop at my destination because I've forgotten the one I need back at home.
As for flies? We don't even want to go there friends. Let's just say I have enough flies of every size to outfit my sons and grandsons needs for years to come.
When I am preparing for a trip I, of course, take too much stuff and like the tippet spools I forget the important gear and have to buy it on the road. You wouldn't believe how many spools of 6X I have.
I've tried every chest pack, fanny pack and vest out there and I think I have finally settled on a nice William Joseph bag that I can sling over my shoulder. So that leaves me with all the ones that I didn't like or didn't work as well as I thought they would when buying them.
Head lamps, scissors, forceps all number in the dozens and I keep my fishing buddies supplied with my discards,
You can probably hear me coming down the stream bank with all the jingling and rattling of all the gear I don't need packed in my bag or in the pockets of one of those Columbia Sportswear fishing shirts of which I have nearly ten of.
The thing about those shirts is I usually lose things in these multi pocketed shirts and usually have to just bout dress down to locate my pipe lighter.
It's an incurable disease I know but hey it's fun to try out new gadgets and the things you convince yourself that you just gotta have.
So any of you have the same affliction? Got anything you want to trade?