Sunday, August 30, 2009

Fly Fishing Double Speak

Whenever you hear a fly fisherman speak you can bet that they are either lying or not telling the whole truth about their fishing trip.
So as a public service I will list here the things you'll hear a fly fisherman say and what it really means.

When a fly fisherman says "We hooked a couple of fish" it really means he didn't actually hook anything but others in his party did just not him. If he had success you can bet he would have boasted in the singular to all who would listen.
When he says "I had a couple of bumps" he really means that he felt something while his line was in the water. It could have been a stick or underwater vegetation but it is unlikely what he really felt was a fish.
They will also say things like "I just wanted to get out and work on my casting" which means they got skunked!
Or you'll hear them say "I don't have the right line for my rod" and that means, of course, they can't cast worth a damn!
Of course every fish actually landed can be reduced in size by at least 4 inches or in the case of a steelhead or salmon you can automatically reduce the weight by at least one third.
I've used every one of these "half-truths" at one time or another. Usually when my wife asks me how I did and I feel the need to justify the exorbitant expenditures I make on my gear.
I might say things like I had a really great time on the river today but while I may have had a great time the reality of it is I didn't catch or even hook diddly squat.
Of course tippet size shrinks in proportion to the size of the trout actually landed. If you hear the angler say he was using a 6X tippet he was actually using a 2 or 3X.
How about the term strike indicator? "I was nymphing under a strike indicator" but what it really means is they were using a bobber on their fly line.
I can swear right now that as crappy a fly fisherman as I may be or a big liar that I may be I do not use bobbers.
You all know how I feel about these baby toys and so enough on that.
There are all kinds of half-truths and down right lies we poor anglers get accused of but in reality we probably deserve it.
So a typical story you might get from me is
"Yeah we hooked 2 or 3 and I got a couple of bumps. I need to get a new line for my rod since I was just out practicing anyway. I had a really good time though!"
Does this sound like one of your stories? Remember one thing though. A fisherman can detect BS coming from another fisherman. We are so well practiced you know.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

ODFW Wants to Kill Wild North Umpqua Winter Steelhead...Again.

For those of you that might think my rantings on this blog at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is unreasonable then read the article below and you will understand the frustration of dealing with these people.
This agency does not care about wild salmonids and it hasn't for many years! The lame excuse of "angler opportunities" is weak at best and just wrong. There are a lot of people smarter than me out there and I defer to them and the person who wrote the following article is one of those I defer to. The writer of the article below is Bill Bakke of Native Fish Society and he is someone who has been at the forefront of saving wild salmon and trout for decades.
Bill was advocating for wild salmonids way back before it was the en vogue thing to do and I know of no better friend of wild salmon and trout than Bill Bakke.

The ODFW staff and commission are dedicated to finding a way to kill wild winter steelhead on the North Fork Umpqua River. In 2007 the public poured into the ODFW commission room to support the release fishery for wild Umpqua winter steelhead.
Guides said that killing these fish jeopardized the future of their fishery. Anglers valued these large beautiful fish too important to be caught just once and that the long-term health of this fishery could be achieved only by releasing the fish. The proposal for a catch and release fishery by the public was in response to the slaughter of wild steelhead after ODFW adopted a kill fishery on the mainstem Umpqua in 2004-2005. The river became a magnet to those people, many of them from out of state that wanted to kill the first steelhead they catch. The anglers not only swarmed the river,they high-graded their catch to take home the largest steelhead. The ODFW rationalized the kill of wild winter steelhead on abundance, saying wild steelhead could withstand a kill fishery. They point to the Native Fish Conservation Policy advocating the policy promotes a kill fishery on wild salmonids when they are abundant enough to support it.
The problem is that the staff does not know what the impact on wild winter steelhead is from this fishery, but the public was outraged.
During the 2008 angling regulations process a year later, the staff introduced the kill fishery to replace the catch and release fishery that was adopted by the Commission the year before. But at the commission meeting in Forest Grove, Oregon, the majority of the public testified in favor of the no kill regulation and convinced the Commission to let the catch and release regulation run its
full 4-year course. They agency mounted a rationale to support a kill fishery, but the public did not buy it and a massive organization effort was conducted to oppose it. The catch and release fishery was once again approved by the Commission for the entire Umpqua system, but the chair of the Commission, Marla Rae, said in an off-hand remark that it was not over yet. Her prediction was correct.
In 2009 the district biologist for the Umpqua gave a presentation to a group of southern Oregon fish biologists promoting a kill fishery on wild winter steelhead in the North Umpqua River. I heard from staff that her advocacy for doing away with the catch and release fishery had been reeled in. The leadership in the ODFW staff directed the Conservation and Recovery Program staff to build a model that would provide the basis for a kill fishery. I learned that this abundance 2 based model does not address diversity attributes of the wild population.
So factors contributing to the health and diversity of the population would not be included in the proposal to kill steelhead. This exercise did point out that North Umpqua wild winter steelhead are on average the oldest maturing population of steelhead in Oregon and Washington coastal rivers. The smolts tend to spend three years rearing in the river and tributaries and the adults tend to stay in the ocean three years before maturing and returning to the river. On average these fish are 5-year olds and unique on the coast. It is also a factor in producing really large adult steelhead. An abundance-based model could justify killing these fish, but not how to maintain their productivity and abundance.
The Fish Cons, a group of fish conservation organizations, had arranged to have ODFW staff present this model to them at their July 2, 2009 meeting, but when it came time to do so, ODFW refused to participate. I have heard that there is strong disagreement within the staff about this kill fishery promoted by the district fishery biologist and the chair of the ODFW Commission. If the leadership staff had resolved their dispute, they would have presented the proposal to open a kill fishery on North Umpqua River wild steelhead at the July 2 Fish Cons meeting, but that did not happen. I heard that a staffer said, “We may have to give up on it.”
Public advocacy for the protection of wild winter steelhead on the Umpqua has been successful in removing the kill fishery and defending the catch and release fishery in 2007 and 2008, and are fighting to retain it against as staff generated assault on wild steelhead in 2009.
If one is optimistic about ODFW staff and Commission motives this issue would not be on the table. We could be confident that the agency is concerned about wild steelhead and salmon and their framework for management is precautionary, science based, and careful. However, their track record inspires no such confidence about their motives and the long list of extinct wild salmonid populations and those protected under the ESA are indicators that the agency has gotten it all wrong for a long time.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Proud of Yourself Asshole?

This picture is of a soon to be dead cutthroat trout. See the bleeding from the gills?
The picture was on, that bastion of the harvest mentality, and the guy that killed this fish says this.

"it was just hard not to keep that one!"

He was fishing a coastal river that I spend a lot of time on and I wish I would have been down there that day to tell him what a stupid asshole he is. I sincerely hope he or someone that knows him tells him about this post and wants to contact me.
I do not pull any punches when it comes to this kind of stuff. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife "cooked the books" when they pushed for the harvest of these wild trout and I will remain that agencies harshest critic as long as they have the people in place that they do making decisions about wild salmonids.
It really brings it home when you see a picture from your own home river of a dying trout that you care breaks my heart and I do take it personally.
Maybe I shouldn't but I do!
That dying trout is irreplaceable and no doubt this person didn't think about that as he ripped his worm out of that trout mouth.
What this has accomplished is a renewal of my efforts to protect all wild and endangered salmonids and that is what I intend to do. I'm tired of being told that it can't be done. It can be done but we have to get off of our lazy over fed asses to do it!
Who is with me?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

So Long Teddy

Senator Edward M. Kennedy passed away tonight at the age of 77. He was the last of the Kennedy brothers and the only one to not die a violent death.
While Teddy certainly had his flaws he was a great crusader for progressive thinking and maybe one of the last.
I saw Ted Kennedy in person way back in 1960 when he passed through our little California town campaigning for his brother John. It was one of those lasting memories of childhood that I never forgot.

More than just the loss of Senator Kennedy we are at the end of an era. The family that drew us to them with their charm, good looks and their tragedy has lost their patriarch and quite possibly, for those of us who were around at the time, we lost one of the last connections to John and Bobby.
I doubt the younger children of the Kennedy clan will have the impact on this nation that the three Kennedy brothers did.
While Teddy's death was not unexpected it still is sad and I am grateful for his service to this country.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Why Other Anglers Hate Fly Fishermen

We are snobs! It's just that simple. Oh not all of us of course but the ones who make a lasting impression are what we all are judged by.
We look down our noses at those who do not fly fish and think we, with our brier pipes, single malt scotch and expensive cigars, are better. In some cases we certainly are because we generally are more conservation minded than our gear throwing brethren, but that is the exception not the rule.. We scoff, and rightly so, at the use of salmon eggs for bait and the presence of hatchery fish but that still does not give us the right to be the elitists we are accused of being.
Even amongst ourselves there is definitely a social scale. Those of us that are not physicians or lawyers are the ones that get to cast their fly in exotic locales while us middle class fly fishermen ( I include myself in this group) are barely tolerated.
You see this a lot with the higher class Spey casters who fly fish for steelhead in the Pacific northwest.
We seem to forget from where we came. As for myself my story is quite familiar. I returned to the Pacific northwest, where I was born, after 17 years of California dreaming. I had heard tales of the salmon that were caught up here and wanted to try it for myself. I also heard of steelhead, a fish that until 1973 I was totally ignorant of.
I got lucky and hooked up with a couple of experienced steelheaders who showed me the ropes and after catching my very first steelhead in the winter of 1975 I knew this was for me.
As I became more successful catching steelhead with gear and yes bait, I wanted to try fly fishing. Well the rest is history! I have fly fished for over 30 years but it was not until 2004 that I gave up gear and switched exclusively to the fly rod. I had accomplished all that could be accomplished with gear in the waters of Oregon and Washington so it was on to a different challenge. I found myself, during the winter, missing my fly fishing more and more and so I mostly gave up catching a lot of steelhead and salmon on gear to just catching a few steelhead and trout on a fly. It's a conversion that I am most delighted with. I gave up salmon fishing altogether because the fall salmon crowd made me very uncomfortable with their carnivorous and slovenly ways.
Now I am a mostly full time fly fisherman and will die being a fly fisherman. Yes I do fit into the snobs description sometimes I guess but with me it's not thinking I am superior it more like I found a better way, for me at least, to fish. I the depths of winter when casting a fly is not very practical I will drag out my drift rod and corkies to drift fish. After a couple of winters strictly adhering to my fly only regimen I found myself staying home a lot because of unfriendly conditions for casting a fly. I do have reasonable skills drift fishing and can take home an occasional hatchery fish. I would rather be fly fishing though.
I will continue to look down on those who show no respect for our wild salmon and steelhead by doing things like snagging or egg stripping. I will look down upon those who do not know the meaning of ethics and etiquette. I will look down on those who kill wild fish.
Someone has trouble with that then too damn bad!
I think we middle class fly guys get the bad rep because of those who have more money than common sense and think their money and lavish fly fishing lifestyle makes them aloof and better than the rest of us mortals.
I've attended a few fly clubs and visited one or two upscale fly shops that have that air of superiority about them when they see me roll up in my Ford Ranger pick up and not a Land Rover. I agree with the gear guy being put off by this. Hey I cannot be helicoptered in some remote British Columbia river for some trophy steelhead or visit the bone fish flats of Christmas Island or Belize although I have fished for Atlantic salmon in Ireland.
The guys I know that can do trips like this are pretty down to earth anglers who guide for local fly shops and are able to get to go to these places because of their employer.
No, I am talking about the Henning Hale Orviston types from the book "The River Why"
These are the ones who get the ire of the gear crowd, some of whom are very skilled with their spinners or spoons or drift gear.
I am talking about the one who will not give you the time of day when they are encountered on the river.
It's those that give the fly fisherman the bad name and it's these guys who will do little if anything for conservation causes while they jet off to Iceland to pursue Atlantic Salmon.
For me I will continue to do what I do and enjoy myself. I am not wealthy nor particularly skilled but I will always exchange a pleasant greeting to all whom I meet along the river. Even you gear chucking peasants.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

They Just Don't Get It

I do not fish for fall chinook anymore and haven't since 2004. You see I have this silly notion that fishing of any kind should be enjoyable. I've noticed that more and more people are turning angling into some sort of blood sport. It's no longer that peaceful endeavour where one can relax and maybe get a fish or two, it is
combat fishing in the truest since of the word.
This is especially true during the fall when the salmon begin their primordial journey to pro create and then die
The large fall chinook will typically run at least 30 pounds with some even larger. That is a lot of meat for the freezer and people kind of lose their minds when these fish are in their home rivers to spawn
I fished for chinook for many years and took many home during that time but the last few years before I ceased fishing for them the mood and attitude of salmon anglers changed into a surliness that I was uncomfortable with. It changed from the good natured camaraderie of fellow anglers to a win at all costs pursuit. I found myself stressing out about not getting my favorite salmon spot and it got to the point where I seldom did.
In other locations people actually would resort to violence and the brandishing of firearms when they felt someone encroached on their waters.
It's sad to see that so many have lost sight of why we fish in the first place.
They are passing on that "I gotta get mine" attitude to their kids.
I have witnessed some very ugly scenes during that time of year in my salmon days.
Fall chinook season will bring out the absolute worst in human behavior. You want to get a glimpse into the true nature of a man? Take him to the Trask or Wilson river in late October and point out there is a pool full of 30 pound plus swimming meat
in that hole, just see how he reacts.
I am still pursuing coastal cutthroat trout until the end of October and encounter these "sports" every year.
One year I was working a productive run, swinging wet flies for trout and hooking then releasing several nice trout. The water I was in was too shallow to hold chinook so I was able to stay well above the bobber and egg guys in the lower deep pool.
They were having no luck at all with their tennis sized baits of cured salmon roe so
one of these gentlemen brought his glob of gooey eggs up to just below where I was and ran it right through my trout run. Well of course the trout are going to ignore my fly from then on and feast on the loose eggs left over from the salmon invader.
What did I do? I left! You cannot teach these slugs proper angling etiquette and no doubt I would have been assaulted, at the very least, with crude remarks and insults
It certainly was not the first or last time I experienced this stuff and so I try to avoid all association with these people.
I am not able to fish some choice spots for cutthroat trout during the waning days of the season but it's okay. My over all enjoyment of the river and fish is more important to me than making sure I get a few casts in among the salmon knuckle draggers.
The folks and sadly many anglers, whether fly or gear, have turned their time on the river into something stressful.
Angling should always be a celebration of every thing that is good about being outdoors. In our busy lives we need these breaks to unwind and collect our thoughts and wits and just get away from the stressful lives we lead.
Unfortunately many just do not get it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Thus Sayeth...Me

I am an opinionated old goat and I admit it. At this stage of my life I have gotten beyond caring what people think of me and so I figure that gives me the ability to say and offer opinions on anything I want.
Don't like it? Sorry but it is what it is.
My close friends know my heart and they know that my beliefs, especially about fly fishing and fishing in general, are born out of experience.
Call me irascible or call me an asshole because it really does not matter much.
So with that disclaimer in mind I shall proceed with the "Fly fishing gospel according to Shane"
Many of these you have read before on other blog entries but some are new and remember it usually takes me a day or two to go back through and correct typos.

Strike Indicators - Not fly fishing and never will be! It's a gadget to shorten the learning curve and catch fish.

Internet fishing forums - I think these have been the bane of civilized fishing. Greedy and opportunistic Pacific northwest fishing website owners making a buck on our fishing resource and giving nothing back except for crowded rivers and rude people.

Wild fish - The life blood of our sport and we should do anything and everything to protect them. If it means not fishing at all for the good of a population of wild salmonids then so be it. I can live without playing catch and release on certain depressed wild fish populations! Can you?

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife - A top heavy agencies full of arrogant save asses who do not care about protecting our wild salmonids...just that simple!

Bait - The gear fishing equivalent to fly fishers using indicators. Show me a spinner or spoon angler or a good drift fisherman and I will show you a skilled angler. Any idiot can use bait and catch fish. To put a bait scent on your fly is as beyond contempt as using your bamboo fly rod to dunk worms.

Side drifting - Same as a bait skills necessary

Armchair or bar stool fishery biologists - Anyone can cut and paste to try to look smart and well read. You sit on your ass all day in front of a computer offering your unsolicited opinion then you are not a well person.

Hatchery steelhead - A necessary evil to satisfy the harvest mentality. Properly managed hatchery steelhead can have minimal impact on wild populations but they are not properly managed.

Steelhead broodstock programs - Evil and could spell the doom of wild steelhead as we know them. This is little more than a welfare program for bait guides.

Bamboo - If anything is pure and sacred in fly fishing it is this. At the risk of sounding elitist many are not worthy or skilled enough to have one of these rods.

Single Malt Scotch - The nectar of the gods.

Photos of wild trout - If it's not a unique, large or first fish then we don't really care. The time you had that 12 inch redside out of the water for your glory shot might well have spelled it's doom. If it's a hatchery pellet head then who cares! Kill it and grill it!

Bass - To quote Henning Hale-Orviston "The largemouth bass (or smallmouth bass) is an outlander, a devouring pestilence, a freakish invader to the salubrious waters to the north and northwest"
Unfortunately these "outlanders" are thriving here in the Pacific northwest and there is little that can be done.

Carp - While they might be great sport they are still ..ahem..CARP for crying out loud! They eat feces for crying out loud and any fly fisherman using quality tackle while angling for these "rough" fish should be doomed to an eternity of watching videos of Jimmy Houston fish for bass with George Bush.

The Metolius river - If there is a heaven then the rivers in heaven will look like this.

The Deschutes River - It's like that wild girlfriend you dreamt about as a teen. Cannot be controlled so it should be enjoyed and revered.

Fly fishing traditions - They may seem silly to some but if our sport is to be considered anything more than just fishing then at least a nodding respect to fly fishing traditions should be considered don't' you think?
You don't have to use bamboo rods or gut leaders to respect is what sets this type of angling apart and why some of us find it so alluring.

So there you have it friends! If at anytime while reading this latest diatribe from me you were offended or felt I was singling you out then tough shit! I probably was.
Feel free to send comments if you like but don't be surprised if I nuke them and they do not see the light of day.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Watching the River Run

Have you ever taken time out of your day of fishing and just watched the river? You would be amazed at all you see. Most of us are so focused on what our fly is doing to really notice much of what is going by or going on around you.
I've fished in Oregon for almost 35 years and visited most of this states rivers at one time or another but it's only been in the last few years that I actually started to take the time to look at the river and it's nuances. I know there are many anglers who will claim to know a river intimately and maybe they do but to know a river is much more than just knowing which holes will hold fish. I'm not saying that it is not a part of knowing a river but it's just a part of the whole picture.
Ever notice the way the water runs over a submerged rock and the wake it creates? In the millions of years that a river runs it's course I find it amazing that no two wakes will be alike. The water in a riffle will never create the exact pattern twice and maybe I'm looking at it in a childlike way but you have to be in awe at what nature has provided for us don't you?.
Take a look sometime at the life that goes on around a river and when you take the time to really look you'll see a myriad of activity that goes unnoticed. The shore birds that count on the river for their very existence for instance have you noticed how they go about their constant rituals to survive? The more you watch it the stronger the bond with will feel towards it. I think you will view a river as a close friend instead of just a means to catch fish.
I think few people ever have drawn a river into their soul and made it's presence a part of their life. Frank Moore must have done it on the North Umpqua because no mere steelhead run can stir a man like the Umpqua does for Frank. I think Bill McMillan knew the Washougal in the same way. It must have broken his heart to see what happened to his river and he had to move away because it hurt him so much. I would think it had to be much like losing a loved one. Roderick Haig-Brown must have felt the same way because his writings capture the soul of the river and it's fish.
I feel this way about the Deschutes and although I have been traveling over the mountain for many years to fish this river it has been just the past few years that I have begun feeling a deep abiding affection for it to the point the I am always in wonder at what I see and learn every time I go there.
You see folks it really isn't just about catching fish. It's about so much more than that and until you've taken a river into your heart and soul can you ever feel totally fulfilled as an angler? I can only speak for myself but it was only when the actually hooking and landing of fish became secondary. I think it's the real sign of the contented angler that I have alluded to before. I'm not there yet but I am on the right road....why not try it yourself next time you are fishing your favorite stream.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Strange Days on the Deschutes

My trip to the Deschutes last Saturday reminds me of the old Doors song "Strange Days"

Strange days have found us
Strange days have tracked us down
They're going to destroy
Our casual joys
We shall go on playing
Or find a new town

It started out innocently enough as I picked up my friend "Bob" last Saturday morning for a trip to locate some summer steelhead.
We left the metro area around 10 AM and began our journey eastward.
We had crested the highway 26 summit near Government Camp and were merrily chatting away about various topics.
"Bob" is a staunch neo-con, FOX News addict who believes anything that Bill O'Reilley and Sean Hannity says. He believe FOX is really "Fair and Balanced" and he also believes former Alaska Governor Sarah "Quitter" Palin is the most honest politician out there.
I was talking about the proposed Bristol Bay copper mine which would have an adverse effect on wild salmon in that area.
"Bob" took it as a slam at "Quitter" and went into a rage. When he started the finger jabbing at me while I was driving I went into a rage myself. I basically invited "Bob" to either stop the invectives and finger pointing or he would find himself making a long walk back to Portland. I explained that I was not even talking about "Quitter" but about the Bristol Bay copper mine.
He calmed down and apologized.
Okay well that little debate had ended well and we looked forward to the lovely Deschutes.
We arrived in a small town near the river where a well known husband and wife team run a very successful high end fly shop and guide service. I have spent a moderate amount of money in this fly shop over the years and usually buy something every time through.
We were having a pleasant little banter with one of the owners about fishing, conservation etc. and apparently he became bored with this small talk and pretty much asked us to leave. Funny behavior to be sure and my fishing buddy kind of saw it the same way.
I am no fishing star at all and I like to have good tackle and am willing to pay for it in shops like this one. I also like the pleasant chatter that can be found in a fly shop. It's a group of like minded people who always find something to talk about.
In this shop that day there were no other customers so we were not distracting this person from helping out other customers or prospective customers. He was rude and I will probably not do much shopping there from now on.
So after that we decided it was time to head to the river.
The Deschutes on a Saturday in the summer is not the place to be if you are seeking solitude. I knew this but since my argumentative, Sarah Palin loving fishing buddy works and he can only fish on the weekends. His vehicle was not running good so I accommodated him.
To say they were a lot of people using the river that day is an understatement! Yes it was crowded with rafters, both drunk and sober, splashing around in steelhead holding water and the. All the campgrounds were filled to the brim and then some.
Hopefully these people were obeying the "human waste" laws but since enforcement is spotty at best I kind of doubt it.
Well we were here and so we may as well fish I thought. Down the 17 mile long gravel Macks Canyon access road we went.
The gravel is not exactly small little pebbles like you would expect on a gravel road.
They were more like baseball sized jagged rocks and your tires had better be up to the tires were not.
A flat tire before we even got to wet a line! We decided to fish and deal with the flat when were done swinging flies in a nice run for steelhead. Of course the ever present rafters were using that portion of the river as well and the chance of actually hooking a fish was about the same as me fitting into a Spandex jumpsuit.
We changed the tire and decided not to press our luck by journeying further down the tire killing gravel road.
By the time we got back to the main road and headed back upriver the wind had made it's daily appearance which pretty much nullified any further piscatorial pursuits and we headed home.
So what did I learn on this weird day on the river?
Leave the political discussions out of the trip especially if fishing with someone who actually believes FOX News is truly "Fair and Balanced" and Sarah "Quitter" Palin is an honest politician.
Never assume a semi-famous fly shop owner is going to be cordial no matter how much money you have spent in their shop. If you are not Phil Mickelson or Tiger Woods then you probably do not rate much politeness. Finally have confidence in your tires and make sure they are able to take some abuse especially when driving on rocks that are shaped like daggers.
Finally never, ever, ever fish the Deschutes on a Saturday in August.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


As revolting as the above picture is to me I am not angry at the angler who killed this cutthroat trout and then snapped the picture.
I am angry at the utter failure by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. They are ones who failed to live by their mission statement. They failed to listen to any opposing argument when it came to allowing the harvest of this fish.
They failed to present truthful information when assessing the fitness of the population of this endangered fish for harvest.
The commission failed to allow debate on this and they failed to search for a compromise that all parties could have lived with.
The guy who killed this fish was just another member of the harvest mentality that dominates the thinking of most sports fishermen in this region.
As an example of this I read a post on where the poster marvelled at seeing a pod of orcas in the ocean near the mouth of the Columbia. He got a few congratulatory replies about how cool it was to see these wonderful creatures.
One comment, however, shows what most people really think.

"No that's not cool, I mean cool you and your crew got to see them, but I hope they keep moving on.I am sure they could put a dent in the run by hanging out at Buoy 10"

So now we get a glimpse of the potential future enemy of the greedy and self absorbed sports fisherman.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

This Just In! Water is Wet

In other news of the obvious it has been determined that hatchery steelhead are inferior to wild steelhead. Their offsprings are inferior and these hatchery steelhead should be kept away from their wild counterparts at all costs.
This is really not new information but what it does do is puts another dent in the armor of the pro-hatchery people.

The article below is courtesy of the Vancouver Columbian

If you’re a fish raised in captivity, scientists know that it’s hard for you to successfully reproduce in the wild.
Now, it turns out, your kids may have the same curse.
That’s the startling conclusion of a new study by Oregon State University researchers who examined the reproductive success of hatchery-raised and wild steelhead in Oregon’s Hood River.
“I was surprised, frankly,” said researcher Michael Blouin, an OSU zoology professor. “I thought the offspring of hatchery fish would be … pretty much like a wild fish. But, in fact, they’re still carrying a handicap they got from their parents.”
The new research undermines ongoing experiments by state and tribal fishery managers to crossbreed wild fish with fish raised in hatcheries. After more than a century of overfishing and habitat degradation,hatcheries now produce the overwhelming majority of the salmon and steelhead that return to the Columbia River basin each year. Fishery managers have suggested boosting the last vestiges of wild-spawning native salmon runs by crossbreeding them with relatively abundant hatchery fish.
Doing so may cause more harm than good, according to the OSU researchers.
From a wider lens, the researchers noted that their results could affect thousands of animal species expected to require captive breeding to prevent extinction over the next 200 years.
“Captive-bred organisms could potentially drag down the fitness of the wild populations they are meant to support, even while temporarily boosting their numbers,” the study concluded.
Raised in steel and concrete raceways, hatchery fish aren’t subjected to the same forces of natural selection that cull their wild-spawning cousins. Wild fish first must survive fast-moving currents that eradicate many eggs in the gravelly river bottoms. If they’re lucky enough to emerge from the gravel intact,wild fish must find their own food while eluding predators before making their way to the ocean.The offspring of both hatchery and wild fish face these same obstacles.
Yet, the OSU study found the offspring of two captive-bred parents reproduce at a rate that’s only 37 percent of the offspring of two wild parents. For the offspring of one wild and one hatchery-raised parent, the reproductive fitness is 87 percent of fish with purely wild parentage.
In other words, the behavioral characteristics necessary for survival appear to be embedded within the creature’s genetic makeup.
“This genetic suggestion is pretty startling,” said Brian Gorman, a spokesman for the National Marine Fisheries Service in Seattle.
Researchers haven’t determined what harmful genetic trait the hatchery-raised fish are picking up and passing on to their offspring — or how to rectify it. Blouin suggested one possibility: Hatchery managers may be selecting and crossbreeding fish with a relatively fast growth rate. This may be good for fishermen, but it may be problematic for any offspring produced by the steelhead.
“A fish with a high metabolic rate is going to have to feed a lot more,” Blouin said.
Over time, maladapted genetic traits picked up in the hatchery could be eased out with each succeeding generation of fish spawned in the wild.
However, hatcheries are likely to have an enduring influence. As long as hatcheries continue to exist — producing meat for commercial, sport and tribal fishermen — hatchery-raised fish are likely to continue to stray into wild spawning grounds.
“If you’re adding hatchery fish every year, you’re constantly resetting the clock,” Blouin said.
That’s why it’s so important for hatchery managers to do everything they can to keep hatchery fish away from wild spawners, another scientist said.
Lars Mobrand, a fisheries scientist who served on a federal review of 178 hatcheries operating in the Columbia basin, said hatchery fish should only be deliberately crossbred with wild fish in the most extreme cases. Unless a particular run is about to blink out completely, he said, hatchery fish should never be used to supplement wild runs.
Mobrand said the OSU research, published in the scientific journal Biology Letters, underscores the point.
“We have to go to greater lengths to (enhance) our ability to remove and harvest hatchery fish,” he said. “Those that aren’t harvested ought to be captured.”