Friday, April 30, 2010

Kudos to ODFW...Sort Of

Bet you never thought I would give any "atta boys" to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on this blog did you? Well to show I am not a complete asshole when it comes to ODFW I thought I would give credit where credit is is why I am patting ODFW on the back.
I attended a public meeting in Tillamook, put on by ODFW, to discuss fall chinook on the north Oregon coast and specifically the Nestucca, Nehalem and Tillamook watersheds.
Chris Knutsen and Robert Bradley did a good job at presenting the facts and the facts do not bode well for the salmon in the Nestucca and Nehalem systems. I feel that the Tillamook ODFW regional office did the best job possible with a somewhat hostile crowds of sports anglers in getting the point across that if there isn't some serious cutbacks in season we may be looking disaster in the face for future runs of chinook salmon.
The public in attendance were about 95% against any curtailment. They feel the salmon are their fish to plunder. To say that there were some real selfish and ignorant people there would be an understatement but Knutsen and Bradley handled it well.
The two of us that were there to represent conservation both agreed that it was a tough situation but the best possible scenarios, short of complete closure, were offered and I really think that the best interest of the fish was the main concern by ODFW in those two watersheds. Unfortunately the majority present did not agree.
So if any of you are planning to visit the northern coast of Oregon for some prime fall chinook season any time soon take your wife to Hawaii instead.
Okay enough of the kumbaya thing with ODFW because I do have some sharp criticism for their plan for the Tillamook watershed. With terrible returns predicted for the Nestucca and Nehalem systems ODFW felt compelled to actually double the annual bag limit for the Tillamook streams.
Last year the seasonal limit was 5 wild fish with a daily limit of 1. This fall they doubled that to 10! They say the runs look better for the Wilson, Trask and Kilchis rivers for 2010. I certainly hope they are right but I suspect that since the Tillamook streams are the ones that get the heaviest angling pressure and generate the most revenue for Tillamook county they were pressured to increase the bag limit and dwindling populations be damned!
Of course ODFW is a state agency and is vulnerable to the whims of politicians who feel the need to make salmon a political pawn but crap guys! How can you double the bag limit with no discernible signs of an large enough upswing in populations to warrant this?
I feel we took two steps forward and one step back on Thursday which I could live with if ODFW would continue in that way but I am skeptical. ODFW's track record has been less than stellar the past decade now hasn't it?
Stay tuned

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Any Day on the Deschutes is a Good Day

Last Friday I took my first trip east to fish the Deschutes for trout and I had a wonderful time. There were no large March Brown hatches coming off the river and the river was a little too high and off color. The presence of smolt could have been annoying and the weather was cooler than I had hoped for but you know what? I was, please excuse the school boy exuberance, fishing the "friggin" Deschutes! Hell I even fell in the river but who cares? This is the Deschutes we are talking about here folks.
That really says it all doesn't it? A less than great day on the Deschutes is still a great day compared to anywhere else. Yeah I got a few trout and had one monstrous take on a dry that I think may have been a down river steelhead.
That first glimpse the river as I rounded the corner just outside of Maupin for the first time in about six months. The smell of the sage, especially in the spring after it had been raining....I truly love it.
Of course I brought along my favorite bamboo rod and Hardy reel as it was only fitting to start this years pursuit of trout with them.
The wind was minimal and my casts were true. The Deschutes never disappoints even when I get skunked or the wind is blowing at a gale force.
So trout lovers here is to another great season pursuing our favorite fish on our favorite rivers wherever they may be.
My hope is that your casts are straight and your lines tight.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Amazing Insight from 1968

This video, courtesy of Oregon State University and Mark Stangeland of North Umpqua Fly Guide, is from 1968. What amazes me is that 42 years ago there were concerned and enlightened conservationist/fly fishermen who were cared about their river.
See if you can spot a much younger Frank Moore in this video

Friday, April 16, 2010

Why Catch and Release?

In a time of diminishing resources it just makes sense to not kill everything we put our hooks into doesn't it?
Why do people have such a difficult time with that notion? It's not like there are not a lot of hatchery fish to take home. It's also not like a sixteen inch trout is going to provide a hearty meal for someone! So why not let some one else enjoy that nice wild trout?
Lee Wulff said it best "Game fish are too important to only catch once" I fully agree! The trout you hook and release might have been someones gift to you so by releasing that trout you are letting someone else enjoy it.
Please release all wild trout and steelhead

Friday, April 09, 2010

There Are Places I Remember

Despite all the turmoil and strife there is still a lot of beauty in this world. In my travels I have been very blessed to witness some beautiful places, many only a two hour journey from my home. I hope all of you are as fortunate...enjoy!

Along the road to Hana

The Deschutes

The Metolius at Camp Sherman

The North Umpqua

Near the source of the Metolius

Sunset on Maui

Trask River

                                                                   Oregon Coast


Crater Lake

Monday, April 05, 2010

Why Is Conservation So Hard To Grasp?

Why do some people reject the idea of healthy wild fish populations, clean water and clean air? I'm not asking a rhetorical question here, I would really like to know.
Why is the concept so foreign to so many? I know that for the wealthy corporations it's all about money and , although I vigorously oppose the greed at the expense of the environment,I understand why they think the way they do.
I'm talking about the every day person that bristles at being required to release a wild trout or salmon. Does it have something to do with not liking to be told no? Do they figure they are owed a fish for the frying pan?
It seems like we Americans are always doing things that are contradictory to our best interest! Just look at the way we vote in some elections.
Do they think it's unconstitutional to be told that they cannot ride their quad runners off road wherever they want?
Is it just ignorance and selfishness? How and why did so many of us become this way?
I've expended a ton of verbiage on this blog about wild salmonid issues and for the life of me I cannot understand why conservation is not important to everyone who stands to lose so much.
For being the most advanced society in the world we seem to have advanced very little from the idea that the earth is ours to plunder as we see fit.
The "Me First" attitude is passed on from parent to child and one has to wonder how this all of this bodes for the future. I think if we are waiting for some kind of enlightenment to happen with future generations we are fooling ourselves. I just don't see it happeneing.Those future generations are never going to know the joy of clean running rivers and the salmon that ascend them...truly sad if things do not change.