Sunday, August 29, 2010

Get Up Off of Your Ass and Do Something

The following article speaks for itself and there is really nothing more I can add to it. It speaks to me and if you give a shit about the environment, conservation, wild fish and a whole myriad of other things that we fly anglers are supposed to care about then it should speak to you as well. I not implying that what is good for Shane should be good for all of you but this is just common sense.
Know this much though. There has not been a single wild salmon, trout or steelhead that has been saved by posting on Facebook or an internet fishing forum about what a damn shame it all is and how mad we should be.
I can talk this way because the same goes for me and my's not enough!
Thanks go to Tom Davis of Native Fish Society for emailing this to me and others.

Calling All Fanatics
Protecting nature should be more important than enjoying it

by Derrick Jensen Orion magazine
 I’VE ALWAYS kind of hated that quote by Edward Abbey about being a half-hearted fanatic (“Be as I am—a reluctant enthusiast . . . a part-time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic”). Not so much because of the racism and misogyny that characterized some of his work. And not even because of the quote itself. But rather because of how that quote has been too often misused by people who put too much emphasis on the half-hearted, and not nearly enough emphasis on the fanatic.The fundamental truth of our time is that this culture is killing the planet. We can quibble all we want—and quibble too many do—about whether it is killing the planet or merely causing one of the six or seven greatest mass extinctions in the past several billion years, but no reasonable person can argue that industrial civilization is not grievously injuring life on Earth.
Given that fact, you’d think most people would be doing everything they can to protect life on this planet—the only life, to our knowledge, in the universe. Sadly, you’d be wrong.
I think often of a line by the psychiatrist R. D. Laing, “Few books today are forgivable.” He wrote this, I believe, because we have become so very alienated from our own experience, from who we are, and this alienation is so destructive to others and to ourselves that if a book does not take this alienation as its starting point and work toward rectifying it, we’d all be better off looking at blank pieces of paper. Or better, actually experiencing something (or someone). Or even better, entering, as Martin Buber might have written, into a relationship with something or someone.
I agree with Laing that few books today are forgivable (and the same is true for films, paintings, songs, relationships, lives, and so on), and I agree for the reasons I believe he was giving. But there’s another reason I think few books (films, paintings, songs, relationships, lives, and so on) are forgivable. There’s that little nagging fact that this culture is murdering the planet. Any book (film, painting, song, relationship, life, and so on) that doesn’t begin with this basic understanding—that the culture is murdering the planet (in part because of this alienation; and of course this murder then in turn fuels further alienation)—and doesn’t work toward rectifying it is not forgivable, for an infinitude of reasons, one of which is that without a living planet there can be no books. There can be no paintings, songs, relationships, lives, and so on. There can be nothing.
The conservation biologist Reed Noss has called his field a “combat discipline”: we are in a crisis, and our attitudes and actions need to reflect this. And so I sometimes try to apply the Ed Abbey quote to the work of a firefighter. If you were trapped in a burning building, would you want the firefighters to be reluctant enthusiasts, part-time crusaders, half-hearted fanatics? Should the mother of a very sick child be reluctant or half-hearted in defense of that child?
I’m not saying we don’t need recreation. I’m not saying we don’t need amusement. Hell, I have three mystery novels in my backpack right now. I’m not saying a firefighter doesn’t need to rest—having hauled seven unconscious people out of the burning building, we could hardly blame the firefighter for grabbing a quick drink of water or sometimes taking a day off; and I’m not saying the mother doesn’t need to sleep or take some time away from the stress of caring and advocating for her child. We all need the occasional escape, or even indulgence. But we must be able to pursue those escapes and indulgences with the knowledge that others are rushing into the burning building, that others have taken over the job of advocating for whatever is necessary to heal that child.
And that, frankly, is part of the problem: there aren’t nearly enough of us working anywhere near hard enough to stop this culture from killing the planet. Obviously, or the world would be getting healthier, instead of being desecrated with ever increasing speed. If there were more of us trying to stop this culture from killing the planet, then those who are working themselves to death could afford to take a little time off and not feel as if things would fall apart while they climbed the mountains or ran the rivers.
“It is not enough to fight for the land,” Abbey continued; “it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there.” But this part of the quote might actually bother me more, in part because of its fatalism and in part because we—humans—are not the point. Yes, absolutely we should enjoy and commune with and make love with and touch and be with and absorb and be absorbed by the land. Yes, absolutely we should sit in the sun and feel it warm our bones, and we should listen to the whispering voices of trees, and we should open our ears and our hearts to the voices of frogs. But when the forests are being flattened and the frogs are being extirpated, enjoying them isn’t enough. So long as there’s still something we can do to protect them, shouldn’t protecting them be far more important than enjoying them? Because, once again, we are not the point. The trees, the frogs, do not exist for us. It is our culture that is killing them, and it is up to us to stop it.
Have you ever had anyone you love die or come to grievous harm needlessly, from some unnecessary act of stupidity or violence? I have. And in the aftermath I have never wished I had spent more time enjoying this other, but rather wishing I had acted differently such that I was able to prevent the unnecessary losses.
As my artist and writer friend Stephanie McMillan wrote in her essay “Artists: Raise Your Weapons”: “If we lived in a time of peace and harmony, then creating escapist, serotonin-boosting hits of mild amusement wouldn’t be a crime. If all was well, such art might enhance our happy existence. There’s nothing wrong with pleasure or decorative art. But in times like these, for an artist not to devote her/his talents and energies to creating cultural weapons of resistance is a betrayal of the worst magnitude, a gesture of contempt against life itself. It is unforgivable.”
I would extend her comments beyond art: in times like these, for anyone not to devote her/his talents and energies to defending the planet is a betrayal of the worst magnitude, a gesture of contempt against life itself. It is unforgivable.
The questions I keep coming back to are these: in this time, as countless multitudes of humans and nonhumans suffer for the profits and luxuries of a few, and as species go extinct at rates greater than any in the last scores of millions of years—as large-vertebrate evolution itself is being halted—what does the world need? What does the world need from me?
I want to be very clear: I don’t mean to imply that we shouldn’t love the world or each other (human or nonhuman). Or that we shouldn’t play games or have fun. I’m not saying we shouldn’t rest or go hiking or read good books (and Desert Solitaire is a great book). I’m not even saying I have a problem with Abbey’s quote as such; my main problem with the quote is the many would-be activists who use it as an excuse for inaction.
We are in a crisis, and we need to act as such. We need to rescue people from the burning building. We need everybody’s help.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Hatcheries are an unavoidable fact here in the Pacific Northwest. Good, bad or indifferent they have been here for over 100 years and are likely here to stay for 100 more.
Some and probably most are glad that salmon, trout and steelhead hatcheries will always be with us. They mean a fish to take home for the grill and many ego pictures for the internet.
As for me I am in the minority about salmonid hatcheries. I think they have spelled the demise for many wild salmonids populations over the decades and science backs me up.
I can easily imagine fly fishing the rest of my years without hatchery fish but I know that will not happen.
So okay people want to eat a fresh hatchery trout or salmon from time to time and I do not really begrudge them of that since our license and tags sales pay for hatchery mitigation through the Mitchell Act.
Remember though,science tells us that throwing hatchery fish into a population of wild salmon and steelhead is detrimental to the wild fish. Salmon and steelhead are a resilient fish that can take a lot of abuse and still recover. There are two things, however, that they cannot and historically have not recovered from and that is hatchery influence, over harvest.
The hatchery salmonids compete for food, intermingle and spawn with their wild counterparts and dilute the wild genes of a population of wild salmon or steelhead.
We can even look at poor ocean conditions and know that wild salmonids have faced this in the past and came back.
When wild salmonids are over harvested, whether by commercial or sport interests then those are fish that will not come back to spawn.
When those fish do come back to spawn their wild genes are diluted when hatchery fish are allowed to stray into their spawning waters. If they do produce offsprings those offsprings must compete with larger hatchery smolt that are not only bigger but are more aggressive and even carnivorous. Smaller wild smolt cannot compete with them for what little food might be available in any given stream and are eaten by the larger smolt.
Some of you may look at this and wonder if I am just talking out of selfishness or making this information up...I'm not! Volumes have been written about the adverse effects of hatchery salmonids dumped into an area that has a population of wild salmonids.
If you get the warm fuzzies when you release a hatchery salmon or steelhead to show what a great friend you are to the fish all you have done is harm wild salmon or steelhead.
You paid a bunch of money for that hatchery fish so harvest the damn thing.
You might even say that we fly fishers are doing nothing more than "torturing" wild trout for our own selfish pleasure. I can only speak for my self on this absurd and ignorant claim. I know how to safely release the fish I hook. I have no need for that glory shot of my holding a wild fish out of water in order to show what a mighty angler I am. Those days are long gone! I know that there is a 100% mortality rate when a wild fish is clubbed to death like so many "sportsmen" would like to do.
I do know one thing though and comes from doing redd surveys the past few years. Wild salmon, stee;head and trout are disappearing..the numbers do not lie folks they are just not there in the numbers that they used to be.
Someone naively said that they though the little smolt that jump in the summer pools in coastal river are jumping for joy. Well that gives them intelligence they just don't have and that sounds like something PETA would say.
I would be willing to bet that some of those wild smolt are jumping, not from joy,but to get away from over sized hatchery smolt that want to eat them.
Please harvest ALL hatchery fish you encounter! If it's missing an adipose then kill it! You will be doing the wild salmon, steelhead and trout a huge favor.

Monday, August 16, 2010

0 to - 6 A Story by Moon

Moon has contributed to The Quiet Pool before and his fly fishing musings are always enjoyable.
This is his latest "adventure" with his long suffering(and expert fly tyer)

Look, I don’t like competition when it comes to fly fishing…. Competition as it pertains to anything to do with our life style (fly-fishing) seems to me to be a violation in nature.
Though it may not be in the rules, competition as to fly-fishing goes against the very spirit of the thang most of us strive to protect. Even you dirty damn good for nothing golfers have mulligan’s….. (just saying is all).

And this is what I tried to explain to my fishing partner the other night on the river…. Oh, she wanted to keep score…. So in the end to protect marital bliss and all that happy home bullshit, I let her…….

Yes, she caught four fish while I was sitting on a log in the shade retying and she thought she was all that, but as Monica soon found out – keeping score isn’t cracked up to be all she thought it was going to be….

First – if you’re going to use a bobber, then just take the penalty stroke and fish with one. Don’t try and skirt the rules by tying a nymph onto a dry fly…. This is an abomination and can get you disqualified. As a matter of fact, I’ve heard that the national headquarters of the FFF may even be looking into taking her membership away…. And I for one want to lend my support to them on this up-most important matter of ethics…. After all – this ain’t golf.

So after I explained the rules to her (again) she wasn’t so damn hot to keep score… yes, you caught three fish on a sub surface fly. But NOT only does that not count as proper fly-fishing. But it counts as a (negative) or penalty fish as to the “spirit” of fly fishing…

So that’s already (Moon – zero, to Monica’s negative three)…

Then you add in that she foul hooked a fourth one and that’s a negative two…. One for foul hooking a trout, plus another penalty fish for foul hooking one sub-surface with the abomination rig…..

So that’s (Moon 0 to Monica’s (neg) “-“5)……

Then I added in one more penalty fish just because she wanted to keep score in the first place. After all – this was a strict violation of the “spirit of the thang” ….

So the score card read (Moon 0 vs, Monica negative 6)….

Oh she threw a fit not to mention my water bottle up in the rough…. And proceeded to protest my score keeping all the while calling me very ugly names…. But in the end I explained that – “yes, your right honey – but” though I will admit might does not make right. It is enough at times….. so if you want to keep score, go play golf sweet-pea – cuz there are no mulligan’s in fly-fishing….

And so even though I never touched a fish, I did fish proper and with that – managed to hold onto my “fishing god” status for yet another year….

Life is Good Enough.

Used by Permission

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

El Rio Deschutes es Muy Ventoso

Que? Usted dice? No habla espanol? Oh mi calidad! Actually I don't speak Spanish all that well but was in a silly mood so if by chance there are some readers from Spanish speaking countries looking in then I thought they might like a bit of their native tongue to start out this latest epic entry.
I've fished the Deschutes for many, many years and the ferocity of the wind and it always catches me by surprise although I know I am going to have to deal with it more times than not. It's like it has to remind you just who it is that is in control of your day of fly fishing.
Well I never doubted it for one minute! On Monday the wind had it's way with me and in between hurricane like gusts I did manage a few casts.I tried to get a picture of the full force of the wind as it took my fly line and threw it back in my face but the image does not do it justice.
Some people complain about the wind on the Deschutes and while it is a bit bothersome I think it defines the personality of the wild western river the Deschutes is. Without the wind or the treacherous rapids or the rattle snakes or the imposing canyon ot the dnagerous wading the Deschutes would just be another ordinary river. In my fly angling life I do not want ordinary and hence my affection for this river of danger and beauty.
The Deschutes is not for the meek or timid and I always feel that way when I fish it. If you never venture out of your safe little world and cannot bear the thought of not being able to douse your flies in shrimp scent while you attempt to impersonate a fly fisherman then stay away from this river. I do not mean this as a warning but it's true that if you cannot endure the wind and the ruggedness of the Deschutes you will in all likelihood not enjoy this river.
This was my first steelhead trip of the year and it was a very enjoyable one. I fished all the likely spots but did not find a willing steelhead in any of them. The wind made for tall tales of the strikes I missed from huge steelhead because of the wind.
While swinging flies for winter steelhead offers it's own unique challenges and the lush green beauty of a coastal river in winter is in stark contrast to the subdued hues of central Oregon I look forward to many great trips east of the mountains this year.
So in closing I would just like to say I Amor el río de Deschutes y de su cabeza de acero or something like that.

Friday, August 06, 2010

A Ray of Hope?

I do not like salmon and steelhead hatcheries and I have not been shy about my dislike for them. When it comes to the demise of wild salmonids throughout this region hatchery programs are one of the biggest.
I posted the link below for the information to these possible cuts.

National Marine Fisheries Service to Consider Cutting Columbia River Hatchery Plants

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

I'm All for Wild Fish but......

There are a lot of posers, frauds and down right liars in the Pacific northwest. You hear them I'm sure.
The usually start out by joining a pseudo-conservation group like CCA or Northwest Steelheaders. They swear up and down that they want to fight hard for wild salmon and steelhead. Their main argument is getting the "Goddamn gill netters" off of the Columbia because they are using non-selective gear to harvest salmon and killing wild fish.
Gill nets do pretty much kill everything that runs into them so that argument is valid. The thing that troubles me enough to call people these frauds is when push comes to shove they only support wild salmon and steelhead as long as it doesn't inconvenience them or when conservation efforts cost them money.
We have the sulfite egg cure controversy. It has been proven that sulfite based cures are harmful to juvenile salmonids! Harmful enough to kill them.
All of the phony conservationists are crying foul. These folks are mostly bait guides that cannot get their clients into salmon and steelhead without the help of sodium sulfite cured salmon roe that they sell for $30 a quart. These guys will tell you all day long how much they love and care for wild salmon and steelhead....what a bunch of lying bullshitters they are.
Theses are the assholes who support the various steelhead broodstock programs because it makes them money.
I have never claimed to be a champion for the cause of wild salmonids. I know there is more I could and should do but I will say this much these guys are hypocrites in the worse way in my opinion. You just cannot be "sort of" in favor of saving wild salmon and steelhead. You cannot be "I'm for wild salmon and steelhead as long as it doesn't cost me money"
There is no half way here folks.
It all comes down to sacrifice and you and I have to ask ourselves what we would sacrifice for the betterment of cold water fisheries.
If you are not 100% for wild salmon and steelhead then you might as well be 0%