Saturday, May 30, 2009

Is ODFW Using A Magic 8 Ball To Manage Our Wild Fisheries?

What a fun bunch the people at ODFW (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) are. These crazy guys seem to just make up native fish management as they go along. Did you hear the latest? ODFW regional biologists claimed that there is an abundance of coastal cutthroat trout. The rivers were full of these wild trout and having a harvest on them wouldn't make a dent it their populations they claimed. Doesn't the thought of eating a few of these coastal beauties make your mouth water?
On opening day the ODFW conducted a coast wide creel survey and guess what!?!?!? Fishing was abysmal! So where were all these fish? I was skunked for the first time ever on every one of my favorite early season runs....hmmmm! Those of us that intimately know the status of the cutthroat trout population were screaming about the dangers of a harvest years ago. WE told them in 2000, we told them in 2004 and we told them in 2008!
Oh it gets better folks.
ODFW is predicting a huge return of wild coho salmon on the coast and is going to allow a harvest of these salmon for the first time since the mid-nineties. Meanwhile the wild coastal fall chinook returns are in the proverbial toilet and so ODFW is going to tighten regulations in order to protect these fish to the point of closing some major fall chinook rivers this fall.
Okay let me see if I have this right. We're closing rivers to protect dwindling chinook populations but allowing a slay-fest on wild coho salmon in these same rivers and at the same time! Sheer brilliance!I could fill pages with the foibles of this state agency charged with protecting and enhancing our cold water resource.
How about this one. ODFW has planted hatchery rainbow trout in the Yamhill river for the first time in many years. This river has a very fragile wild coho, steelhead and cutthroat trout population and in fact you could probably count the returning adults on one hand the numbers are so minuscule.So hell yes let's dump a bunch of hungry pellet head trout in the midst of these wild fish.The biologist claimed that the wild smolt would have left the system by the time of these plants! Where did he get his degree? From ebay? I am beginning to think that the powers that be at ODFW are using one of those magic 8 balls to plot their strategy for fishery management.

All kidding aside friends. This agency is run by a bunch of people who are trying to justify their existence and conjure up ways to invigorate lagging license sales and by allowing the exploitation of wild salmonids to accomplish that goal. So I believe it's time to ratchet up the heat on ODFW. I want to see those creel surveys from Memorial Day weekend and I want to know where the countless thousands of these phantom cutthroat trout are. I want to know how ODFW intends to manage both a restrictive Chinook fishery and a kill fishery for wild coho at the same time in the same rivers?
Come on ODFW shake that magic 8 ball and let's see what kind of answer you come up with.
More on these topics as time goes on but I am seeing people motivated to hold ODFW accountable like never before. Will it do any good? Hell yes it will!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Some Thoughts on Angler Etiquette

Courtesy of The Red Shed Fly Shop













Saturday, May 23, 2009

That's the Ticket

Today is opening day of the 2009 coastal and high lakes trout season here in Oregon.
Despite the obvious defeat we suffered last fall at the hands of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife commission concerning coastal cutthroat trout I intend to double my efforts to save wild fish.
What do I have in mind? I will legally "harvest" legal size and adipose clipped "trout". So those over sized hatchery broodstock steel...I mean "trout" smolt that I encounter while pursuing cutthroat trout for catch and release? They will die!!! If legal size (eight inch minimum)I will harvest up to two a day. Those same "trout" that are smaller and adipose clipped I will gently release...ah yeah that's the ticket.
I would encourage all of my Oregon fly fishing brethren to do likewise.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

ODFW sez...Kill 'em and Grill 'em

The day that I have long dreaded will become a reality this Saturday. Anglers will be allowed to harvest two wild coastal cutthroat trout beginning that day.
A lot of us worked our asses off tying to get the commission to see the folly in this harvest but it was to no avail. "Angling opportunity" won the day and it will be a sad and shitty day this Saturday.
Will I ever see a day that I can just enjoy fly fishing? A day when one won't have to worry about a state agency, that was charged with protecting our wild fish, doing everything they can to destroy wild salmon trout and steelhead? I know there won't! There will always be those that cannot see beyond saving their own miserable ass among the bureaucrats and fish biologists wannabe at ODFW. There will always be those who only see a wild fish as something to kill and it will always be up to those who are willing to do more than lip service to protect these wild fish.
So to those of you that care, and I know there are many that read this blog who truly do care and I consider you my friends and comrades in fight for this wild resource.
To those of you that are salivating like Pavlov's dog at the thought of a few tasty trout all I can say and putting it as bluntly as I can you are the enemy. You are just as complicit as ODFW is in the destruction of this last wild coastal trout.
To those of you that just don't care and could not be bothered you are the worst of the lot because you stand for nothing and the thought of you actually have to make sacrifice for wild trout is too much for you to fahtom.
Yes folks those wild coastal cutthroat trout are so abundant that the ODFW commssion decided to ring the dinner bell! Man oh man the thought of a couple of tasty eight inch cutthroat trout makes my mouth water doesn't it make yours water too?
Hey while we're at it let's kill a few wild winter steelhead on the North Umpqua too! I need to pound my chest a little and make sure the world knows that the hunter/gatherer instinct is still there.
I know this all sounds silly and sarcastic but in truth that is what is being said amongst the various bureaucrats and suits at Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. These harvest regulations are now reality. With chinook salmon populations crashing and the Columbia and Willamette closed for angling for spring chinook and a general malaise statewide about the current condition of our fisheries ODFW has the audacity to forward a harvest on declining wild fish populations? The pro-kill crowd will tell you that the wild winter steelhead in the Umpqua system are in such great numbers that the system can indeed sustain a kill fishery! Wasn't it just last fall that they said otherwise and shut down the harvest of wild steelhead? Which is it?
So it boils down to who you have faith in? ODFW, who is in desperate financial straits and needs to sell licenses to make up for budget shortfalls, or do you believe the scientists and unbiased fish biologists who have nothing to gain by saying a wild population should not have any harvest?
I believe I'll make the right choice and choose to believe those who really care about the resource and I hope you will also.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Save The Metolius Postcard Campaign

I've written many times on this blog about the Metolius river and the area around it. I've written about what a truly magical place it is and how lucky we are in the state of Oregon to be blessed with such a place.
I've also written about those that look at the Metolius as a means to make money. Those folks certainly have no soul in my opinion.
Please print out these post cards and send them in if the Metolius means anything to you.


Click on the link above and then click on "sheet of support statements". You print out the postcards, fill them out, put them in an envelope and mail to the address listed. It's very easy, and if each of us can get a few signed, it will be a HUGE statement to our legislators!! The postcards (or sheet of support statements) will be hand delivered to Salem and shown to the appropriate legislators in the House of Rep's and the Senate. It is also still VERY important to continue to write to these legislators too. The Friends of the Metolius have created a wonderful website to link you to all the appropriate email addresses etc.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A Few Stolen Moment

A few years ago I decided that for my birthday I would treat myself and a friend to a few days in Maupin, Oregon for some fly fishing on the Deschutes during the legendary salmon fly hatch.
We stay at the Imperial River Company which has the most comfortable beds of any hotel/motel I've ever stayed in.

The weather has not been very cooperative the last two years but it's just a nice time to get away to the river that I love so much.
This year my oldest son will join me. He and I have not been able to do something like this for many, many years and I am excited to be sharing this time with him.
I've found that trips like the upcoming one and others to various fishing or vacationing locales is like a stolen moment of paradise. Your main focus is fishing or relaxing and the time spent is so much different from the daily routine. I have always dreamt of being able to step out my door and walk down to a river for a morning or evening of fly fishing and those who are fortunate enough to be able to do that are truly blessed.
Oh to live at Camp Sherman or Maupin or along some coastal stream where the trout and steelhead are my neighbors.

I doubt that I would ever really want to live in Maupin or even Camp Sherman but to have those moments of time, whether they are for a few days or a few weeks, where you are a river "resident" are precious. To spend it with my son makes it even more special.
I turned 55 on Tuesday and while I am not ancient I do feel my age at times. I don't know if I will ever have the opportunity to spend time like this with my son again...I sure hope that I do. I would like to spend time like this with him and my grand kids in the future if my timeon earth allows it.
As I approached the age of 50 I did so with some trepidation because my own father died just a few months past his 51st birthday. I thought about it a lot actually and now I have out lived him. I obviously wish that I could have spent some times with my dad as I grew up but it was not to be. So I hope my son is looking forward to this time together also.
I don't know how many of you are able to still spend "a few stolen moments" with your aging parents but I encourage you to do so.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Dam on the Siletz River? You've Got to Be Joking!

Gleaned this from CF Burkheimer's website. It amazes me that in light of all the evidence of the damage that dams do to a watershed that this would be considered!
The Siletz River drains the rainiest part of the Oregon Coast Range, traveling a tortuous path through steep forestlands to the Pacific Ocean. The Siletz isn’t a large or famous destination river, but it is a unique gem, and supports more species of anadromous fish than any other river in the entire state of Oregon. Spring and fall chinook, fall coho, summer and winter steelhead, chum salmon, and sea run cutthroat are all native to the Siletz basin. Lamprey too! Siletz summer steelhead are particularly unique, being the only native summer race of steelhead in the entire Oregon Coast Range, with a few hundred wild fish returning annually to spawning grounds in the upper basin. All of these fish species manage to survive despite intense past and present logging in the basin, continued introductions of hatchery fish, and documented cases of poaching each year. What could make matters worse?

A dam.

Political forces in Polk County are currently evaluating the feasibility of damming the Siletz River. The proposed dam on the South Fork Siletz River would be 100’ tall and create a reservoir 5 miles long and 3 miles wide. A total of 20 usable river miles of mainstem and tributary habitats would be blocked. The best and preferred chinook spawning habitat in the South Fork Siletz would be directly inundated by the dam. The remaining stream reaches in headwater tributaries above the reservoir would become isolated from one another, confounding the seasonal migration of juvenile fish among various tributaries essential for their survival. The lake itself would become a gauntlet of invasive stillwater bass, bullfrogs, and other species that always seem to benefit at the expense of native salmonids. In an unprecedented era of dam removal, why on Earth would Polk County propose now to dam the most diverse anadromous river in Oregon?
Follow the money. The headwaters of the Siletz River lie within Polk County, which in recent years has seen increased development as a bedroom community for the Oregon State Capital. Growth requires water, and continued growth will strain existing Polk County water supplies, jeopardizing further development and cash influx. Polk County borders the mighty Willamette River, which provides an abundant and perfectly usable source of drinking water, with communities both immediately upstream (Corvallis) and downstream (Wilsonville) treating Willamette River water to excellent drinking quality. Polk County has an open option to purchase additional Willamette River water rights from the nearby city of Adair, but hasn’t done much to explore this option. With Willamette water so close and readily available, what makes damming a remote coastal river so appealing?
Follow the money, again. Historically, the creation of large reservoirs in remote areas in Oregon and elsewhere has promoted development and recreational tourism. Landowners along the Siletz River could stand to gain handsomely from a new dam and reservoir. Riverside lands formerly owned by Boise Cascade and now deemed unproductive timberlands were purchased in recent years by Forest Capital Partners, a land holding company with a long history of making lucrative land deals in forestlands. Their clients are wealthy investors, not family loggers in Oregon. Perhaps coincidentally, the Polk County commissioner who has been spearheading the dam evaluation effort has a background in real estate, heavy construction, and construction engineering. That’s one dam coincidence after another.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Fly Fishing Poetry and Quotes

Here are a few of my favorites....enjoy

The Song Of Wandering Aengus
By William Butler Yeats

I went out to the hazel wood,
Because a fire was in my head,
And cut and peeled a hazel wand,
And hooked a berry to a thread;
And when white moths were on the wing, And moth-like stars were flickering out, I dropped the berry in a stream and caught a little silver trout.
When I had laid it on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame,
But something rustled on the floor,
And some one called me by my name:
It had become a glimmering girl
With apple blossom in her hair
Who called me by my name and ran
And faded through the brightening air.
Though I am old with wandering
Through hollow lads and hilly lands.
I will find out where she has gone,
And kiss her lips and take her hands;
And walk among long dappled grass, and pluck till time and times are done The silver apples of the moon,
The golden apples of the sun.

John Gay in Rural Sports

Around the steel no tortur'd worm shall twine, No blood of living insect stain my line; Le me, less cruel, cast feathered hook, With pliant rod athwart the pebbled brook, Silent along the mazy margin stray, And with fur-wrought fly delude the pray.

More From WB Yeats

Where the wandering water
From the hills above Glen-Car,
In pools among the rushes
That scarce could bathe a star,
We seek for slumbering trout
And whispering in their ears
Give them unquiet dreams;
Leaning softly out
From ferns that drop their tears
Over the young streams.
Come away O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery hand in hand,
For the worlds more full of
than you can understand.
excerpt from " The Stolen Child"
W.B. Yeats

Only those become weary of angling
that bring nothing to it but the idea of
catching fish.

Rafael Sabatini

Angling is tightly woven in a fabric of
moral, social, and philosophical threads
which are not easily rent by the violent
climate of our times.
A.J. McClane

Angling is somewhat like Poetry, men are to be born so...
Izaak Walton

The true angler is generally a modest
Thaddeus Norris

If, as I suspect trout fishing is somewhat
of a disease, then it is also somewhat of
a therapy in itself.
Tom Sutcliffe M.D.