Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Fall has Fell

So where did the summer go? One day I'm wearing shorts and bitching about the rivers levels being too low and the water too warm and then the next minute I'm back to long pants and bitching about the river levels are too high and the water being too cold. Why couldn't I have found out that my waders leaked in July?
Actually autumn is one of my favorite times of year. It's a season of movement,change and big salmon plowing up through shallow riffles.
Alas the salmon are getting scarce these days but the miracle of the spawning runs is still a wonder to behold.
Fall is the season of my favorite fish, the Coastal Cutthroat trout. Over the years I have developed a special affinity for these wonderful trout and I try to protect them and even fight for them when I have to.
On the Oregon coast these trout are little more than an after thought and nuisance. In the immortal words of the great Rodney Dangerfield these trout "Don't get no respect"
Anglers on north Oregon coast streams are after the bigger salmon and steelhead so the lowly cutthroat trout are of little importance to them.
I've often said that I will take a 17 inch cutthroat trout over a 30 pound salmon any day is absolutely the truth and so naturally the fall season is a special time for me.
The thing about fall though is sometime the transition to winter is too short. In years past it seems like we go straight from balmy indian summer days right into the big chill. I need time to get ready and at least a chance to dig through all my junk to find my "mood" light that gets me through the cold months of winter with some semblance of sanity.
Last year I made one last trip over to the Deschutes in early November and almost played it too close. It started snowing hard about 25 miles east the summit at Government Camp. I was low on gas because of a malfunctioning fuel gage so it was pretty much touch and go until we found a gas station open.
Well that won't happen this year because this year I will not scoff at the weather reports when they call for snow at Mt. Hood.
I also like fall because I still have about 6 weeks of either Deschutes steelhead and cutthroat trout to look forward to. Some of the best fishing for the year is in September/October.
Even though the summer slipped by me this year I will still enjoy the fall season of salmon, cutthroat trout and color.
I hope you all have a pleasant fall season.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Heroes of Conservation?

We use the title of hero very liberally in this country and when that happens the true heroes get short changed.
My belief is the real heroes in this country are our military forces, police officers and fire fighters. They are the people who make a difference in the lives of the rest of by going into harms way to save lives and assure our freedom. Scoring touchdowns or hitting home runs in the world series are not heroic deeds to be sure and neither is dumping hatchery salmon into streams where wild salmon live.
The outdoor magazine Field and Stream gives out annual awards to people they feel have helped "conserve" our outdoor resources. Two such recipients from Garibaldi, Oregon are recognized for their work with hatch boxes on a north coast stream. These folks seem, from the video on the Field and Stream "Heroes of Conservation" website, to be a very nice retired couple doing what they think is great work to provide more salmon for northwest anglers....very heroic!
I would think the title of "Villains of Conservation" might be a more appropriate title because we all know the affect of a hatchery product introduced into a wild population.
If there are true Heroes of Conservation I would think they would be people who fight hard to protect our wild resources that include wild salmonids and their habitat. I would think the true heroes would be people like Bill Bakke of Native Fish Society, or Tom Wolf of Trout Unlimited. My good friend John Bracke would certainly qualify. John lives along Oregon's Nestucca river and has fought tirelessly for the wild trout, salmon and steelhead in that river. John is an aggressive conservationist who will not spare the feeling of those who intend to exploit our wild resources.
So if you intend to bestow the mantle of Hero of Conservation on anyone it would be wise to be sure that they truly are heroes.
There are a lot of impostors, posers and down right frauds out there.