Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bull Trout Critical Habitat Revision

On January 13, 2010, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed to revise its 2005 designation of critical habitat for the bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus), a threatened species protected under the Endangered Species Act.

In total, the Service proposes to designate approximately 22,679 miles of streams and 533,426 acres of lakes and reservoirs in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana and Nevada as critical habitat for the wide-ranging fish. The proposal includes 985 miles of marine shoreline in Washington.
The proposed revision is the result of extensive review of our earlier bull trout critical habitat proposals and 2005 designation, public comments and new information. The Service voluntarily embarked on this re-examination to ensure that the best science was used to identify the features and areas essential to the conservation of the species.
Bull trout depend on cold, clear water and are excellent indicators of water quality. Protecting and restoring their habitat contributes to the water quality of rivers and lakes throughout the Northwest.

The full report of this revision appears here Bull Trout critical habitat revision

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What Is Wrong With These Pictures?

I'm not going to give some wordy dissertation on all the things wrong with these picture because it's all too obvious.

Yes it's a nice wild winter steelhead that the angler is rightfully proud of. I doubt the claim that is is 20 lbs though.
What concerns me is the obvious.
Not only does the first guy have his picture taken with this BLEEDING wild fish but his partner needs to get into the act.
Will this bleeding fish die? I don't know...hopefully not. I do know this much though. Instead of giving this angler a bunch of "adda boys" and "you da man" he should be instructed on why that fish should not have been held out of the water.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jimi Hendrix Live At WOODSTOCK

I don't care what anyone says Hendrix was a goddamn genius! We'll never see the likes of him again unfortunately.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fly vs Gear

There seems to be some kind of undeclared war here in the Pacific northwest between the two types of fishing styles and I am trying to figure it all out.
Hell, perhaps I have helped to perpetuate it! If I did I want to categorically state right now that I bear no animosity towards most of the conventional gear/bait crowd. There are many ethical and conservation minded anglers up here that do not fly fish.
There are also many that do fly fish who are the furthest thing from being ethical. The continuing exploitation of Kilchis and Miami river chum salmon is an example of what I mean by that statement
Too many times  have I witnessed fly anglers swinging their chartreuse yarn fly through a bunch of spawning or near spawning chum salmon. More times than not these fish are foul hooked. That, my friends is not ethical! Neither is careless wading through salmon spawning redds and it happens way too much.
I've seen both type of anglers abusing these fish.
So if we fly anglers try to act like we are a cut above the common fishing crowds then we are not!
When I see something posted on that puts fly fishing in a bad light I react! I do not like the way it reflects on the rest of us.

Like I've also said before I have no ulterior motives in maintaining this blog. I do not make one red cent from doing this blog as it is kind of my own personal journal. With that in mind and since it is my blog I will say things that may not be popular and the backlash is something I can live with.
I generally try to stay out of the popular areas where guys are fishing with conventional gear because I need room to swing flies on my spey rod. The water frequented by gear anglers is not usually suited to fly fishing.
Inevitably, however, I will cross paths with non-fly fishers, usually in drift boats.
A lot of times I will get cut off by these guys and sometimes it is well known guides who are the worst offenders, especially in Tillamook county. Being by myself I rarely say anything not wishing to embarrass these guys in front of their paying clients. I could name names that would be familiar to many who read this blog.
This year will be different. I have taken it too long and I guess if I am going to bitch here I should say something right then and there. I will also be very vocal during the steelhead broodstock "capture" period that is coming up.
So if you are reading this and know me then you know I have always been respectful on the river bank. If you float by me and don't cut me off then we will great along great but if you cut me off then I will politely bring it to your attention.
Heck we may not even encounter each other because of posted property that I can no longer fish or physical limitations on my part that keep from areas that I used to fish.
I wish I could say that there are plenty of fish to go around for everyone but, thanks to stupefying fisheries management by the state, that is not the case anymore, it's just a fact of life.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

There Ought To Be A Law

If I were elected or anointed Grand Imperial Exalted Ruler of all things fly fishing I think there would be some laws I would enact for the betterment of the sport.
Here is a glimpse of some of them.

1.No indicators on bamboo rods

****photo removed because person might be embarassed from using an indicator on a bamboo rod****

This just might be a capitol offense.

2.Ban all flies tied to look like trout pellets
Offender would be forced to eat a bowl of real trout pellets covered in shrimp scent

3.No fly fishing pictures where the angler has the rod in his mouth
Violators will be forced to fish with Snoopy rods and Powerbait for the rest of their lives

4.No more helicoptering into remote fishing locations
If you cannot reach a place by foot, boat or automobile maybe it's meant to be left alone....ya think?

5.All fly anglers required to read at least one Haig-Brown book a year
We could all benefit from doing this.

6.No using terms like "Rip some lips"
Offenders will have their lips ripped

7.Must call rivers by their full names and not dumb abbreviations like "The 'Tucca(Nestucca) The Big "D" (Deschutes) or The "Willy"(The Wilson or Willamette)
Offenders will be forced to drink water from the Willamette after a rainstorm

8.When purchasing a spey rod the angler has to swear an oath to not attach an indicator of any kind to it
Violators will have a "Thingamabobber" attached to their private parts

9.Fly anglers are prohibited from describing themselves a "Trout Bums" if they are not actual "Trout Bums"
Offender will have to do community service at a soup kitchen

10.Fly fishermen shall never use pencil lead to get their fly on the bottom
If convicted the offender will be forced to wear a Buzz Ramsey cowboy hat for the rest of their lives and be an administrator on

Well there you have it loyal angling subjects. I am going to hire former Blackwater employees to keep tabs along the river.

This post is tongue in cheek so don't get offended and send anonymous hate mail comments to me.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Attitude Problem by Erik Helm

This is from my friend Erik Helm's blog The Classical Angler
I'm going to use some stronger adjectives than what Erik uses to describe these guys. I don't know what website these pictures came from but I'll bet it's one in the Pacific Northwest. I see this kind of crap way too much.

The Attitude Problem by Erik Helm

Some readers of the Classical Angler may wonder from time to time why I seem to get my knickers all bunched up over what I perceive as an attitude problem among many of today's steelhead "Hot Sticks."

Here is a photo that will say it all. I am not going to say who it is, nor where it came from and have blacked out the faces, but even if it is a hatchery fish, it not only shows disrespect, but almost displays a kind of psychosis.

Pouring beer into a steelhead's mouth is beyond silly. It is childish. Childish behavior and unsporting. Especially as this was the 'last rights' before killing the fish.
Grow up

And another from a different site. Yes, they are only hatchery fish, but should they be treated like this, much less photographed and posted on the web as if it were a badge of coolness?

Update 1/21/10 -

If, by the posting of Erik's blog entry, I made one person think about this type of in your face, rip some lips, X-Games fly fishing might not be well received by the non-fishing public then it was worth the criticism I received.
I've said before that this blog is not my way of trying to trumpet my own popularity, I just am not interested in being some sort of fly fishing celebrity. What I do care about is the perception of what fly fishing is and is not.
The pictures posted above did nothing to help that. When we try to get waters set aside for no bait or fly fishing only this kind of stuff is always thrown up in our face.
So maybe next time someone will think about it.
My thanks go to Erik Helm. He is a true sportsman and an example of what fly fishing is or should be.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Evolution of an Angler

To commemorate my very first steelhead on January 17, 1975 I am bringing back this "blast from the past" blog entry from three years ago.
Yes I still remember that Sandy river steelhead. The steelhead was a female and was spitting single eggs but it did not matter to me because I was hooked for life. She had an intact adipose fin because 35 year ago hatchery steelhead were not clipped like they are today. I am pretty sure this was a hatchery fish but do not know for sure.

The rod pictured is the first rod I ever built and this trip was the first time I had taken it out.At the time made me a firm believer in new rod mojo but that belief has been blown to smithereens a number of times in subsequent years.

Sandy River
January 17, 1975

You've no doubt heard the old saying about the different stages of a fisherman. First stage is to catch A FISH. Second stage is to catch A LOT OF FISH. Third stage is TO CATCH A BIG FISH and so on. I feel that progression is pretty accurate if the end result of your angling life is to put a bunch of fish on your stringer, in your creel and in your freezer. If you feel you've arrived at the hallowed halls of the fishing luminaries of days gone and you're at the pinnacle of your sport! Well if that is all you you wanted to accomplish then you might as well read no farther and get back to inventing the next breakthrough in egg cures because the rest of this epic story on this historical piece of literature I call "The Quiet Pool" will not apply to you.
I would hope that my life as an angler has consisted of a lot more than a bunch of snap shots of me holding dead fish with their vacate fixed staring eyes of death. Oh sure I have plenty of those from those bygone days when I had a full head of hair and could actually see what shoes I was wearing that day. Those pictures do bring back a flood of memories of a time when it seemed that there were plenty of fish to kill and let get freezer burned in the process.
So don't think that I not sentimental that way because I am. I think about the days when there was never a need, or so we thought, to fin-clip steelhead because there were plenty to go around. The hatchery fish were plentiful and who the heck cared about wild fish...what were they anyway?
As I progressed through my angling life I began to see things that troubled me. I would see an utter disregard for not only the wild fish that were suffering more than I could begin to imagine, but also the rivers and the habitat that sustained these wild fish. Don't think for a minute though, that this was some sort of moment of clarity like an alcoholic might have. It was a long tough journey! I mistakenly followed a few of those that I would call "false prophets" of fishery management and conservation. I supported and advocated programs that were harmful to wild fish....I was in a word, naive.
In 1975 I met Bill McMillan and heard him speak at The Anglers Club of Portland. He talked about his beloved Washougal river and the troubling way the state of Washington was managing it. He talked about the importance of wild steelhead to the over all well being of the river.
When the Washougal did finally yield a beautiful thirteen pound summer steelhead on a brown stone fly pattern one July day so many years ago I marvelled at the beauty of this fish. The fins stood straight and full an I thought this must be what McMillan is talking about. This must be a wild steelhead! Remember though, I said this journey was a long tough one and so even though something deep inside of me told me to release this fish I did not. I killed it and still have all the glory pictures from that day.
I cherished the memories of that fish and do to this day but with just a bit of regret that I should have released that fish.
Back then the idea of catch and release was completely foreign to my thinking but the first inkling that there was something bigger than just killing a limit of fish was creeping into my subconscious.
I took a sabbatical from fly fishing for a few years as I pursued other things but the fly fishing "bug" never really left. I saw that the salmon and steelhead runs took a nose dive and the big numbers of my early years of northwest fishing were no longer there.
A few trips here and there with friends kept my interest up and I returned to fishing full force. I plunged head long into what I thought were worthwhile organizations that I also thought did the resource some good. Well they didn't! They amounted to what were pretty much just glorified fishing clubs. I learned that when it came right down to actually standing up for wild fish and their habitat they were conspicously absent. Yes they put on a good show but it all came down to supporting hatcheries and wrong headed programs that did more harm than good.
So fast forward to where I am at today. I believe I've made some good progress to finally being what I would call a good steward.
Am I there yet? No! There are a lot of things I need to learn but I think I am still evolving and instead of beating my self up for the opportunities I've missed or squandered I can look forward to making a difference and hopefully some of you will too!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

ODFW Priorities 2009-2011 - What is Missing here?

I copied this from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's website. Under agency priorities the items below are listed exactly as they appear on that website.

Agency Priorities for 2009-2011

•Promote participation in hunting, fishing, wildlife viewing, and development of outdoor skills
•Continue to implement the Conservation and Near shore Strategies
•Increase workforce diversity
•Promote career development and leadership opportunities
•Implement strategies to increase fishing, hunting, and wildlife viewing opportunities

Is there something missing here? Do you see any reference to maybe...PROTECTING WILD SALMONIDS AND THEIR HABITAT???????

What happened to ODFW's mission statement ? "To protect and enhance Oregon's fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations"
Well it's still there but one has to ask if this agency is living up to that statement. Instead it seems like ODFW's main thrust is what is covered in their priorities for the next couple of years. Get people out on the river and target angling opportunities.
They made their intentions well known as far back as 2001 when they catered to a handful of north coast bait guides and started the steelhead broodstock programs on several coastal rivers. Then the whole coastal cutthroat trout debacle of 2004 when they were poorly prepared to present convincing arguments in favor of a harvest of these wild trout....a mistake they did not repeat in 2008 when the commission approved a harvest of these wild trout even though ODFW's evidence for such a harvest was sketchy at best
Then of course the desire by ODFW and a few locals on the North Umpqua to once again allow a harvest of wild winter steelhead on that river.
Actually their priorities have never been clearer to me. Wild salmon and steelhead will be stuck sucking hind tit in favor of selling tags and licenses and increasing angling opportunities.
It makes sense that the N.Umpqua steelhead would be the next target since ODFW has marginalized wild salmonid populations over the years and the North Umpqua steelhead were just about all that was left to exploit.
I've said it before and will say it again that I have no confidence in this agency. While you might be saying "So tell us something that we don't know Shane" and it's true that I bitch about ODFW a lot. The thing is that other former ODFW cheerleaders are now doing the same! It took an ill conceived fee increase to wake people up but at least they have woke up. It might be too late but an fed up populace can make a difference in a constructive way.
I would urge any of you that can to attend the upcoming public budget meetings that ODFW will hold throughout the state. Ask questions and demand answers.
It's obvious that ODFW has put conservation issues on the back burner and even though they recently found evidence of the harm that sodium sulfite egg cures cause it should be noted that they did not initiate the study nor did they pay for it!
It's been said many times in many places that indifference to what is important will kill more wild salmon and steelhead than gill nets, sea lions and sports anglers.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

If The Shoe Fits

Yes I know I've bitched about this before but I'm going to do it again dammit!
Have any of you ever made money by promoting the use of wild salmonids? Have you hoisted a wild salmon,steelhead or trout out of the water for a picture? Are you a professional guide? Do you own and operate a mega internet fishing web site?
If you answered yes to any of these then you are a user of a fragile resource. To be fair I know of a few professional guides that give to wild fisheries much more than they receive but those guides are scarce.
So you have to ask yourself in all of this just how much you really care about wild salmon and steelhead. Oh sure we can all give wild fish a lot of lip service and act all concerned on the internet but do you take it further than that? Do you only attend the Fish and Wildlife meetings that will make your business more profitable or are you there when the best interest of wild fish are at stake?
If you don't care or just act like you care then you are just an exploiter, a carpetbagger and a user.
Take the steelhead broodstock programs for instance. I've had more than one pro guide tell me about how much they cares about wild fish but they think nothing of exploiting these wild fish for profit! What is wrong with that picture?
Every one of those guides parrot the same regurgitated crap about how much they care but in reality they only care about the paying customers in their boat and how many wild fish they can hook.
I would have a hell of a lot more respect for these clowns if they told the truth and said they are only in it for the money and when that resource dwindles they will move on to another one to take advantage of.
Then we have the huge internet fishing web site owners whose site is so plastered with paid advertising banners that you can barely sift you way through them to find any useful content.
They also will lament the sorry state of our fisheries while taking money and giving nothing back! These people are vampires! Sucking off the life blood of wild fish for profit and giving back nothing in return. They, in fact have been respondsible for maxing out the rivers with thousands of new anglers.
Last but not least are the young fishing superstars. The self proclaimed "studs" plaster their arrogant images of all the fish they catch. They take wild salmon and steelhead out of the water and into their drift boat for multiple pictures that they can post on the big internet fishing forums. Will you see them do anything to actually benefit the wild fish that they so easily catch and hoist out of the water to satisfy their need to be honored by their fishing peers. I have yet to see the most ardent fishing "stars" at any function that would help wild fish.
I've come to the point, in the almost 4 years of writing this blog,where I really don't care who gets offended and angry at what I post. I am singling out those whose ego or greed is what is wrong with our fishing these days. I don't care if they are bait fishermen or fly fishermen because if the damn shoe fits then wear it or get the hell out of the way of those that truly do care.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

What is in Store for Wild Salmonids in the Next Decade?

Some of you already have Bill's blog bookmarked but for those that do not this is great information and it bears repeating.

By Bill Bakke Home Waters and Wild Fish

Now that year-end comments and reviews have been made it is time for new-year predictions. It is customary to make predictions based on guesses and absolutely no information other than what one knows of the past and based on past experiences one can guess about the future. So what are my guess-predictions of the future for native wild salmonids in the Pacific Northwest?

I know from experience that policy changes in salmonid management, this means salmon, trout, and steelhead, take at least ten years to hit the ground. So predictions about what will happen to salmonids can be checked in no less than a decade from now. Since most of our major problems have a policy link, that is, people have to decide to do something and once the decision is made the institutional ship must be changed and that is what slows every thing down, for the machinery of fish management is the main problem in solving problems. This process also involves governors and legislators and even congress, and for the most part they come in three flavors ranging from “Don’t care,” “Luke-Warm,” and “Openly Hostile.”

Agencies fear change and resist it with all their power. When I was able to convince the ODFW commission to adopt a wild fish management policy for Oregon salmonids in 1978, the opposition form the agency staff was remarkable and the policy was never really implemented before they revised it to make it more bullet proof to legal actions. It took 16 years to get stocked hatchery trout out of the Metolius River, but it took the retirement of the district biologist to make it happen. When I sought a slot-regulation for the Deschutes rainbow fishery, the staff was the major opponent. If it was not for the Chief of Fisheries, Dr. Harry Wagner, and his sidekick Jim Lichatowich as the deputy chief, the trout fishery on the Deschutes would still be based on hatchery trout, bait, and a kill fishery.

So making predictions about the next decade is really pretty simple: more of the same and massive resistance to change by state, federal, and tribal agencies; inattention or hostility form governors and legislators; with congress maintaining status quo on funding and remaining unaccountable for the public funds they shovel into state and tribal coffers. The federal agencies will continue to be miniaturized by funding cuts, but it is possible that there will be less interference on questions of science by the White House, even though the federal agency leadership will continue to be panting pets of the fish managers.

The critical areas of salmonids problem solving that will be addressed in the next decade are:

 Conservation requirements for each wild, native salmonid population in each watershed. (Managers are being forced to move in this direction, but progress is slow and it will not happen in this decade. This has been applied to wild Atlantic salmon in Canada.)

 Hatchery reform so that hatchery fish do not contribute to the natural spawning of wild fish. (This is being discussed and weirs are proposed like those that NFS and ODFW have placed on three Deschutes tributaries. A science review team has recommended reducing but not eliminating naturally spawning hatchery fish. There will be some movement in this decade, but only a few rivers will be treated in this decade and protection of wild salmonids will be less than complete.)

 Harvest reform so that the by-catch mortality of wild fish is nearly zero. (The state of Oregon is resistant to applying harvest methods to reduce the kill of wild fish, but the state of Washington and Colville Tribe are testing the use of seines to live capture fish without harm. If an initiative petition is adopted by voters in Oregon this issue could be resolved in this decade.)

 Habitat management/protection fully addresses the life history requirements of wild, native salmonids and increases the productive capacity of wild populations. (Setting standards to protect and increase habitat productivity for salmonid watersheds by state agencies will not happen in this decade, however, improvements will be made on federal lands, but many species and wild populations will not directly benefit.)

 Spawner abundance objectives for wild, native salmonids provide full utilization of spawning and rearing habitats. (Interim spawner abundance objectives have been suggested for most ESA-listed species, but there is no indication that these objectives are taken seriously by state fish managers, for it constrains harvest. There will be little progress on this issue in the next decade without legal action.)

 Nutrient enrichment of streams from spawner carcasses and eggs is enough to increase the productivity of streams for naturally produced wild salmonids. Streams will have nutrient enrichment targets from naturally spawned salmonids and management successfully achieves these targets annually. (State and tribal fish managers are not supportive of nutrient enrichment of streams if it comes from natural spawners. There is some pretense at doing this work using hatchery fish carcasses, but nutrient enrichment goals have not been established for each stream. There will be some progress in this during the decade, but not enough to provide much value to natural populations.)

 Cured salmon eggs no longer contain the toxin sulfite and contribute to mortality of juvenile salmonids. (The state fish managers are not interested in moving to remove toxins from cured eggs used as bait even though their own research indicates that 30% or more of the juvenile salmonids that ingest these baits are killed. It will take legal action to move this issue forward this decade.)

 Juvenile salmonids are protected in streams with bait and barbless hook restricted fisheries. (The state fish agencies have decided that selling more angling licenses is more important than protecting wild salmonid juveniles in trout fisheries. The states are using trout kill fisheries to harvest residualized hatchery steelhead in streams as a justification to maintain excessive hatchery releases and using trout fishing as a conservation tool. The issue is regressing and will not be resolved in this decade.)

 Ecological effects of competition for food and space, from disease transmission, and from predation and predator attraction from hatchery fish is resolved to protect wild, native salmonids. (The first impact wild fish see from a hatchery program is a swarm of hatchery fish released into rivers. There has been little research on this issue, but what has been done points to a severe impact on the abundance of wild salmonids. There will be lots of foot dragging on this issue by the state fish managers because it is a threat to the hatchery programs and the federal funding they get to run them.)

 Passage barriers for adult and juvenile salmonids are removed so that fish have full access to their natural distribution in watersheds. (Passage barriers take many forms and come under the authority of many jurisdictions. Barriers include culverts, diversion dams, hydro dams, storage dams, dewatered streams below diversions. All of our rivers are affected and it will take a focused and well funded effort and commitment by jurisdictions to solve this problem. Progress will be made in this next decade, but it will be slow and under funded.

 Transported smolts in the Columbia River no longer generate adults that stray into non-natal watersheds and disrupt the reproductive success of wild salmonids. (In the 1980s researches for NMFS identified that transported steelhead were lost (failed to return to their home river or hatchery release point), but NMFS administrators were anxious to confirm transportation as the solution to dam mortality. Since then, recent research confirms that transported steelhead are lost and have a high stray rate. In response NFS and ODFW have constructed hatchery fish exclusion weirs on three tributaries of the Deschutes, so that they do not interbreed with wild fish. However, some hatchery fish are not externally marked and wild fish stray as well, so the weirs are only a partial fix of a bad fish management policy affecting all rivers. Given the resistance of NMFS and the state agencies to their own research, it is unlikely that much progress on this problem will be made in the next decade.)

 Ocean acidification from carbon dioxide will be arrested and reduced to near normal conditions. (Increasing use of coal power plants in Asia is contributing to global warming and ocean acidification. The impact on the ocean may cause it to be less productive for salmonids. Acid precipitation in the Northwest will also acidify our streams. The effect of this pollution is well documented in eastern Canada where some salmon runs have gone extinct due to acid precipitation from coal plants in the eastern United States. Monitoring of this problem is poor in the Northwest, and we can look forward to rivers not only having lower summer flows that are warmer, but more acid. Resolving this international pollution problem is not likely to progress much in the next decade.)

 ESA-listed species will have recovery plans in place and recovery measures are increasing the reproductive success of threatened species. (Since salmon were first listed in 1991 there are few recovery plans in place to recover threatened species. There has been more scientific evaluation of population status recently and we have a blue print of what needs to be done in many ESUs, but getting these plans implemented by the state and federal fish agencies will be slow and difficult because they disrupt established management policy. There will be important advances in our understanding of what to do, but doing it will be slow and awkward over the next decade.)

 The cost to produce a hatchery fish that is caught in a fishery is routinely evaluated for each hatchery program in the region. (Hatcheries consume about 40% of the salmonid management budget at the state and regional levels. This large investment of public money has not been evaluated from the perspective of how much it costs to produce a fish that is actually harvested. When the economic team at the Power Council evaluated selected hatcheries in 2002, they found that the cost to catch was higher than the economic benefit of the salmon that were harvested. When the economists proposed to do an economic evaluation of all Columbia River hatcheries, the Power Council refused to fund the study. A recent economic study of Mitchell Act Hatcheries shows that all Mitchell Act Hatchery production for all species is a deficit program. The contractor, NMFS, fired that economic team, and another economic study was solicited to get a more favorable answer. The fish management agencies do not want a cost-benefit analysis of the public funded hatchery program. It is unlikely that this will change in the next decade.)

 Water quality limited streams for temperature and sediment affect all watersheds in the region. (Most river basins in Northwest states are water quality limited and a major reason goes to high water temperatures and sediment that degrade streams for salmonid production. There are many thousands of miles of affected streams but state and federal agencies have been impossibly slow in developing a resolution to this non-point source pollution problem. Too many established commercial uses of our watersheds would be gored. In the next decade this problem will only get worse and global warming are making our streams far less productive. In the next decade this problem will expand rather than reduced.)

 The public with a dog in the fight to protect wild salmonids and the habitats that sustain them will grow in size and effectiveness. (In the next decade the public will become more informed and more effective in its commitment to protect wild, native fish. Becoming organized, informed, and taking a stand for nature protection will mean that government will have a harder time retaining status quo policies. The public will act with a growing realization that government does not lead, it follows. Increasing the pressure for conservation is growing with improvements in communications and development of specific missions. As these organizations increase their commitment to protect nature and can show effectiveness, their public support and funding will increase. In the next decade there will be important growth and accomplishments in protection of nature.

Sunday, January 03, 2010


There have been many posts on this blog about ethics and it seems like I single out the bait guys the most.
In the interest of fairness though, I want to share with you this thread that appeared on the popular Pacific northwest fly fishing site
I will not provide a link to the site or the post since they seem to think there was nothing wrong with what this fly fisherman was doing.
The fall Chinook runs were terrible this year.
The fish just did not show up in any numbers to warrant a fishery on them in most rivers and most people accepted that and fished for other species.The few that were present were pretty easy to spot and the temptation to see if one of these spent fish would take a fly is there. The unethical fly fisherman in the thread claimed to have been swinging flies for winter steelhead and "accidentally" snagged this spawned out fish, note the fly in the fish's dorsal fin As you can see in the picture this fish is near death with advanced fungus deterioration over it whole body. Although this fish has already spawned it was most likely guarding the redd where the spawning took place. These salmon are quite easy to spot in these conditions and most anglers avoid them.
Judge for yourself what this fly fisherman did and some of you might be familiar with the whole story.
My belief is this fish was intentionally snagged and the angler thought it would be great fun to take pictures of it.
This is the type of ammunition the detractors of our sport are looking for to use against us but apparently the prospect of a large fish on his fly rod proved to be too much for this fly fisherman. If the gear and bait guys point fingers at us after crap like this then we have it coming!
Had this person accidentally snagged this fish he should have broke it off immediately. Why he would take a picture and post it on the internet is beyond me.
He could have received citation for harassing this fish and would have if a game officer would have witnessed this.
So you can see we fly fishermen are not above stupid behavior just because we fish the way we do.
Please respect the resource and leave spawned out salmon to die in peace.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New Years Resolutions

To put it quite simply I don't have any New Years resolutions. Why bother? In the past when I made them I didn't keep them so this year I resolved not to make any.
In actuality I do have an ongoing resolution that I try to keep all year long and it's to do all I can to protect wild salmon, trout and steelhead. I don't always do as well as I could or should but I think I make a decent effort to put my money where my mouth is.
I've gained a few detractors along the way in my efforts. I have a big mouth and don't mind calling a spade a spade and I know a few of these folks keep tabs on this blog. That is fine and I welcome it as a matter of fact.
These "sportsmen" are more concerned with having hero pictures of them holding fish plastered all over the internet. Yes these, as one sycophantic young angler calls them, stud fishermen love nothing better than to talk about what killas they are but when it come right down to actually participating in anything that will help wild fish they are conspicuously absent.
I've long commented on this type of flash in the pan fishermen before and there is not a lot more I can add except to say put away the harmful bait and keep those wild fish in the water! It's more important, you bunch of ego maniacal assholes, to be safe with wild salmon and steelhead than for you to have your picture all over the web.
2010 is a pivotal year for our rivers and the fish that live there. The misguided hatchery processes of this region and killing off what few wild salmon and steelhead populations are left. Steelhead broodstock programs, toxic egg cures and greedy sports anglers are taking their toll along with the myriad of other hurdles wild salmonids face.
Hopefully the continuing revelations about the harmful effects of poor hatchery practices will finally get someones attention.
Hopefully a selective method of harvest on the Columbia river will force the commercial interests to abandon their archaic and wild fish killing gill nets in favor of something that does not kill every thing in it's path.
Hopefully the sports angling groups will work towards the common good of the resource and not just for a larger piece of the salmon pie they believe they deserve and hopefully the fly fishing community will take conservation seriously.
So 2010 can be a year of hope but all user groups are going to have to sacrifice instead of waiting for the other side to give in.
The future of our cold water fisheries depends on it!

Happy New Year