Monday, August 20, 2012

Common Courtesy on the River

Am I getting old? Wait a minute...don't answer that! What I mean is, have angling courtesy and ethics passed me by? What happened to the days of drift boats not fishing over your water? What happened to fishermen asking if it's okay to fish below you? What happened to fishing a run by casting and working your way down through the run in order to let the guy above you work the water? Finally what happened to leaving your dog at home and not playing "fetch" with him by having him swim right through where I am fishing or letting him take a dump right in the middle of the path along the river.  Are we so competitive that in order to have a successful day on the river one must have double-digit hookups. In recent years  I have seen a noticeable lack of courtesy among my fellow anglers and I find it disturbing. Some may say that I should take it upon myself to teach ethics and courtesy to these anglers and instruct them on what is acceptable on the river. Perhaps I should, but I am more likely than not to have an obscenity filled response hurled my direction. So when I encounter this type of behavior I just move on. I am not ready, especially at this stage of my life, to have a physical confrontation with some testosterone poisoned "man-child" on the river bank.
I feel the intense competition to catch a dwindling supply of fish and along with the myriad of chest thumping fish photos on the internet have added to this trend. I am not necessarily singling out gear guys either. With a lot of inexpensive fly gear available it's pretty easy to get on the river with a rod, reel and fly line it's just too bad good fishing manners lessons don't come along with it. I've  have also seen too many times the trampling of chum salmon redds by anglers with the latest Sage Z-Axis rod.
If you are a courteous and ethical angler then good for you! If you think that it's every man for himself then why are you even reading this blog!  Face it sport, the world does not revolve around you!
I found this comment on a popular fishing website awhile sadly says it all 

"I could care less about the science; I could care less about research; I could care less about studies. I wish the wild fish would hurry up and go extinct so we can get back to fishing"

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Warm Temperatures Increase Stress on Fish

This is good advice from ODFW

From Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

SALEM, Ore. -- With summer temperatures heating up throughout the state, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking anglers to take special care when catching and releasing fish.

“Warm water temperatures, especially above 70 degrees, can be very hard on cool water fish such as trout, steelhead and salmon,” said Charlie Corrarino, ODFW Conservation and Recovery Program manager.

Warm water does not hold as much oxygen as cooler water. This means fish are getting less oxygen while they are being caught, and take longer to recover once they are released.

“A lot of fish simply stop biting when the water gets too warm,” Corrarino said. “And many anglers will voluntary limit their fishing when air and water temperatures are high in order protect fish populations.”
However, Corrarino adds, anglers can still safely enjoy trout, steelhead and salmon fishing it they follow a few precautions.

•Fish early in the mornings when water temperatures are lower.

•Fish in lakes and reservoirs with deep waters that provide a cooler refuge for fish.

•Use barbless hooks, land fish quickly and keep them in the water as much as possible in order to minimize stress.

•Shift your fishing efforts to higher elevation mountain lakes and streams where water temperatures often remain cool.

“Once cool fall weather arrives, water temperatures will drop and trout will begin actively feeding again. ODFW also will resume stocking trout in many lakes and reservoirs,” he said. “In fact, fall can offer some of the best fishing of the year.”

Friday, August 10, 2012

Baseball and Fly Fishing

As a kid I lived in the Los Angeles area during the sixties. The number of "baby boomers" on our street was impressive so there was always enough of us to play some bastardized form of baseball...we all loved baseball.
Whether it was just playing "Three Flies Up" or "500" or street baseball, us neighborhood kids couldn't get enough of it.
Through my father I grew to live and die with the Dodgers. Many a pleasant Sunday was spent in the left field pavilion of Chavez Ravine also know as Dodger Stadium. It was a cheap enough family outing since seats were only a buck and a half. Dad would spring for a Dodger dog and we would enjoy a Sunday double-header of Drysdale, Koufax and the Davis boys or Willie Mays of the hated Giants parked  a homer just a few rows below us during a game.

I think the love of baseball was just a natural progression into fly fishing. Oregon is a baseball wasteland, for the most part, with only a minor league club in the area and the Seattle Mariners and Safeco Field about 175 miles away. So what does all this have to do with fly fishing?
I think you can find parallels between the two.
Baseball is a game of patience, skill and finesse much like fly fishing over finicky steelhead or selective trout. The duel between the pitcher and the batter is kind of like that between an angler and a fish. The pitcher will try everything in his pitching repertoire to outsmart the batter. Have you ever seen a batter so completely fooled by a curve ball or some off speed pitch that his legs just seem to turn to jelly? How many times have you gone through the contents of your fly box in search of that special pattern that will fool a trout.

Baseball is a pastoral and timeless. There are no clocks with baseball and as long as you can keep hitting the game can go on forever.
Fly fishing is idyllic as it is pleasant and innocent so can you see the similarities?
The biggest similarity, of course, is springtime! For the baseball fan and fly fisherman the winter can seem endless and unyielding. One might think that winter will never relinquish it's icy grip on not only the weather but our souls. Just when you think that you cannot possibly endure one more storm the words, those wonderful words that are the elixir to our deeply frozen sanity are spoken.... "Pitchers and catchers report next week" or "Did you hear the March Browns are hatching on the McKenzie?"
It's magic!!!!
The winter is in it's death throes and while it might try to make a valiant comeback once or twice during the early spring you know it's just a matter of time. We put up with those early season rain outs and start thinking about those first treks over Mt. Hood or through the Santiam Pass to the Deschutes or Metolius.
We baseball fans/fly fishermen spend endless hours basking in the warmth that is our joy of the season. We think that the days of the 6-4-3 double play or the evening hatch will not end. We are like a child again and the spectre of the coming fall and winter just will not dampen our frolic.
Alas though, when it seems like we need them the most and the autumn arrives with it's hint of the winter yet to come, baseball and fly fishing leave us. Alone and forlorn we dwell on the victories and the defeats of our passion and utter the age old cry of the ever optimistic fan/angler...Wait 'til next year!