Sunday, June 19, 2011

Basic Beliefs - Fundamental Conservation of Our Cold Water Fisheries

I don't know if over the five years of this blog's existence I've actually stated my core beliefs on the conservation of wild salmonids. If I have then you can skip this. If I have not then here is what I believe. I am not a scientist or fish biologist but these fundamentals are sound and common sense.
I came by these fundamentals through research on my part and being taught by people who know a hell of a lot more than me. To me conservation is not a passing fad or a word thrown out there at a whim as is the case with groups like the CCA and Northwest Steelheaders. Conservation is action and these groups fall short on the most basic issues of wild salmonid conservation.They say they are all about wild fish but in reality they are all about more fish to kill and will support wrong headed hatchery programs. 
I believe the key to wild salmonid recovery has to start with competent management of the resource. If the stewards of our wild fish are not totally committed to their preservation and enhancement then the whole thing fails.
I believe that if a population of wild trout or salmon is endangered or not fully recovered then there should absolutely be no harvest or use of bait allowed. If a particular population is at a critical stage and in danger of extinction then no angling whatsoever should be allowed....none! No catch and release at all.
Habitat restoration is another key ingredient to the overall well being of wild salmonids and major efforts should be made to preserve critical spawning and rearing habitat. Removal of woody structure from these spawning areas should not be allowed and in fact placement of new structure should be enhanced.
In no way should hatchery salmon and trout be allowed to commingle with wild populations. The effect of careless hatchery programs such as Oregon's steelhead broodstock program have adversely affect wild fish.
Wild fish and hatchery fish can co-exist in the same watershed if the hatchery plants are keep out of wild salmonids spawning and rearing areas and these hatchery plants are planted at a time of year when they would interfere with wild salmonids.
This is no conjecture or theory on my part but proven fact.

Wild salmon, steelhead and trout should be allowed to have recovered for a period of years before any harvest regulation is even considered.
Angler education should be mandatory for anyone buying a resident fishing license. Too many times the fish and wildlife agencies of any given state fail to properly teach anglers about wild fish. I think even minimal effort and commitment from the state can go a long ways in helping our wild fish resource.
There are so many obstacles in the way of wild salmonid recovery that we cannot begin to scratch the surface of what to do but to do nothing will be fatal.
I think that most people will do the right thing if they are properly informed and armed with the tools to do their part in wild fish recovery.
The ignorant, slob fisherman is the exception rather than the rule. These are the people who are not satisfied unless their freezers are full of dead salmon and salmon eggs.
So there you have it! The wild salmonid gospel according to Shane. I think these steps are doable and with a minimal cost but a maximum commitment from our state fish and wildlife agencies is necessary to bring this about. I do strongly believe, however, recovery begins with each of us that call ourselves anglers.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


HOME WATERS AND WILD FISH: HATCHERY STEELHEAD IMPACT WILD STEELHEAD: "In a recent conversation with an executive of the ODFW fish division about releasing hatchery steelhead in the Sandy River, Oregon, the ass..."

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Quiet Pool Turns Five

I never thought I would stick with this for 5 years but I have! Thanks to all who read and offer encouragement and also to those polite detractors. To those that I've pissed off over the last 5 years I can only say put on your big boy undies and get over it!
I've learned a lot about about myself in these 5 years and some has been good and others have been uncomfortable but through it all I never compromised my convictions or straddled the fence. The recurring theme of The Quiet Pool has been and always will be the conservation of wild salmon, steelhead and trout. There is no pursuit ,as an angler,  more important. I may have burned some bridges along the way but too damn bad. Half-assed conservationism is worthles...Yes ,by God, it is that important and that is why I write what I write.
I've been inspired by many friend to keep this small corner of the flyfishing/conservation internet going. Thanks got to Erik Helm, Bill Bakke, Joel, La Follette and the others who have offered kind words along the way. Special thanks my Spey brother the Wookie (he knows who he is) and My Spey Guru Mike McCune who showed how to cast a Spey rod.
I'm not sure how much longer I will torture you all with bad punctuation and anti-ODFW rants but as long as it remains interesting I will continue.
To those of you who thought this was going to be a "How To" blog I apologize, I'm still a pupil of all things fly fishing and wild fish conservation myself.
Through it all if this blog has saved even one wild salmon,steelhead and trout then the whole thing will be worth.
So my dear readers and even those of you that wish I would hook myself in the mouth a 6/0 heavy wire hook I humbly thank you

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Are We Getting Our Moneys Worth?

Recently I was looking through some old Oregon fishing regulation booklets and was shocked at what I read. In 1953 a resident angling license was $4 for the year and there was no harvest card required at that time. Fast forward 23 years later to 1976 and the price had doubled to a whopping $9 a year plus $2 for a harvest card. Now we fast forward again to 2011 and we are now paying $33 for a resident license plus $16.50 for a harvest card so with the agent fee us residents are paying $50. From 1976 to 2011 the price for an Oregon resident rose about $40 or almost 5 times what we were paying 30 years ago.Whew! Enough math already before my head explodes.
Picture this scenario before...
You want to purchase a new car. You've read all kinds of praises for this new model and so you go into the dealership to make your purchase.
When you've paid the price you excitedly go outside to take delivery of your new "ride" only to discover you've purchased a used Yugo and you paid a premium price for it. Think you might be a little angry? I would think so.
So basically Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife sold me a Yugo for the price of a Lexus!
Let me be blunt here. Fishing in Oregon just plain sucks! There are no "Blue Ribbon" fisheries anymore, the salmon runs are in shambles,the wild winter steelhead populations are dwindling and I could go on. You might think I am being a pessimist or a "glass half empty" person but for cryin' out loud the damn glass is broken. The uber-expensive hatchery programs seem like they are being run by a group of first graders and the only thing they are accomplishing is harming wild salmonids. I mean come on guys! You can put a gold ring in a pigs snout but that pig is still going to root around in it's own feces right? Well the "feces" ODFW wants us to wallow in is their claim that Oregon is a sportsman's paradise.
Why has this out of control state agency, who have been charged with the wise stewardship of our fish and wildlife, failed so miserably? Could it be that these bureaucrats are too concerned about saving their own jobs at the expense of everything else?
ODFW director Roy Elicker has made increased angler opportunity his mantra. The fish biologists have been ordered to find new "angling opportunities" to exploit and exploit them they have. The harvest of wild coastal cutthroat trout, the steelhead broodstock program and the greedy eye cast towards wild North Umpqua winter steelhead are a few of the most obvious failures but all at a higher price mind you.
Why would anyone buy into this bullshit? Well they aren't! License and tag sales are in the toilet and with the biennium budget process coming up ODFW will no doubt be embarrassed, or at least they should be, at the product they are serving up to the angling public.
Yes I held my nose and bought my license and so I shouldn't complain. However, is it really too much for me and other license buyers in this state to ask for more than a used Yugo? I think so.
So does the quality of our fishing in Oregon merit such a steep price? I don't think so.
This state has little if any blue ribbon" fishing left. One can argue that maybe the McKenzie would qualify or perhaps the Deschutes and Metolius but I do not see it.
Today the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has degraded the quality of angling, especially for cold water species, to the point that Oregon is no longer the fishing mecca that it once was. Over management, over use of hatcheries and over harvest along with habitat degradation, non-selective commercial harvest has turned Oregon into just another state where there used to be good fishing.
We all know about my personal war against steelhead and salmon broodstock programs but it goes beyond that. Today ODFW does not manage for conservation, they manage for angling opportunities and wild fish be damned!

Thursday, June 02, 2011


This post was just begging to be brought back in lieu of a posting on that bastion of fly fishing tradition called "Westfly"
Using an indicator is a legal means of fishing...okay? However it should in no way be considered fly fishing and it's use in fly only water should not be allowed.
The use of an indicator on a spey rod seems to be about as ridiculous enterprise as I can imagine.
It's like using an expensive Porsche to take trash to the dump. So rave on at me if you will but why do these guys who use indicators on spey rods always have to mention that they "swing" flies for steelhead most of the time? If you feel so great about what you are doing then why mention that you "swing" most of the time?

There has been an interesting internet discussion concerning the use of spey rods with an indicator for nymphing. I have certainly let my feelings on this travesty be known on this blog.
Am I being an elitist to think that there are certain traditions in our serene sport that should not be messed with? Does the ends, catching a lot of steelhead, justify the means?, the bastardization of the tradition?

Here are some notable quotes from the anti-speydicator crowd

Nymphing and spey rods would be like a vegetarian and eating some kind of veggy jerky or veggy sausage. It defeats the point!
Swing with a spey rod, and if you want to be a nympher, then bag the two handed rod! Nymph with a 10' or a switch even, but please keep the true two handers for swinging.
It is simply anti-flyfishing and super anti-pure too!

It is hard to believe that someone would spend 750 bucks on a 6126 or even a 7110 z-axis and put on an indicator.
Why wouldn't they just go out and buy a decent bobber rod set up for 4 to 8lb. test and call it for what it is, bobber fishing and nothing more. The use of the indicator or bobber is very effective and the rods used for this style of fishing have a lot to do with the effectiveness. If you feel that this is the only way to achieve that fish then stick with a spinning rod and reel combo. The Canadians use rods in the 10 to 13 ft. in length.

The real kicker in all of this is the fact that they are having a hard time casting an indicator. I could only imagine how well they can cast and wade a true swinging the fly situation. The use of the indicator has made it easy for anyone to say they can cast a 2 handed rod and that's about it. Handing a 2 handed rod to the new angler and getting him to cast it are 2 different things. If your with a guide then it is up to the guide to help in the understanding. If you are using a 2 handed rods in a drift boat and floating downstream with an indicator well you are not spey fishing all you are doing is drift fishing or side-drifting with a 2 handed rod. When you can wade and are able to cast and swing the fly effectively only then will you understand the reason for the lack of respect that is received.

Most of the people I see "trying" to nymph with the two-hander are simply trying to find a crutch for their bad single handed casting. Even on bigger river, you can cover plenty of ground with heavy flies with a good single hand cast!! Don't wear yourself out trying to use the "Spey", just practice with the short rod. Besides you look ridiculous casting that big stick with a bubble on your line!

It may be fishing with the fly but so was fishing with the water bobber on a spinning reel set-up as a little kid. Some have graduated others are still learning.e

You certainly can use a wrench to hammer nails, but is that really what it is used for?? Two handed nymphing is not practical and those that say it is have a long way to go!