Sunday, December 21, 2014

More Equals Less?

 
 
If you are a friend of wild steelhead please take the time to click on the above link in red.
 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Home Waters by Erik Helm

 
 
Click on this link   Home Waters
 
 
Erik Helm is a gifted writer and while I dabble in writing a bit myself I cannot write the wonderful prose that Erik does. To put into words the emotion and wonder that is fly fishing is truly a gift.
Be sure to visit Erik's Blog  The Classical Angler

Saturday, December 06, 2014

These Groups and People Are Not Wild Fish Friendly

This has been a long time coming and I am calling out these NW businesses and people who have not done enough for wild fish in the region. I am not advocating boycotts but I am suggesting that anglers who believe in wild salmon, steelhead and trout should contact these people and let them know how you feel. Everything I say here is verifiable


1.Ifish.net - This huge NW fishing website has never been at the forefront of anything that would help wild fish if it means limiting hatcheries. The owners and administrators allow slanderous and untrue comments about conservation groups to be posted in the forums.

2.Three Rivers Sportsmen's Alliance - Lead by extreme right-wing and pro-commercial gill net businessmen this group tried to organize boycotts of businesses who support wild salmonids.

3.Lamb's Thriftway - They sell gill netted wild steelhead and do not try to hide the fact

4. Association of Northwest Steelheaders - Longstanding support of broodstock programs and wild fish harming hatcheries have turned this once wild fish advocate group in to little more than hatcheries at all cost shills.

5. Coastal Conservation Association - More of the same hatcheries for all and to hell with wild fish. The CCA cares more about allocation than sustainable wild salmon.

6. North Oregon Coast Guides - Many of these guides actually encourage the co-mingling of wild and hatchery steelhead. The broodstock program  A.K.A "gear guide welfare" was created for this group

7.Amato Books - Founder Frank Amato was at the very forefront of conservation back in the 70's but now this publishing group is a far cry from those days.

8. Salmon and Steelhead Journal - Maps and features on how to exploit endangered fish put this publication on the not wild fish friendly list.

9.Shilo Inn - The owner of this hotel chain is not only an exploiter of illegal workers but is also a poacher.

10. The Rest - These businesses are not, accordingly to what they have publically written, wild fish friendly. They advocate increased planting of hatchery smolt in areas where wild fish are present. They want you to spend your outdoor dollars in support of their pro-hatchery beliefs.
Ammerman Eggs
Kone Zone and Short Bus Flashers
John Lewis Printing
Gary Loomis
Lamiglas Rods
David Johnson Guide Service
Tillamook Anglers


I'm quite sure that I will draw the ire of some of these people but remember this. Number one I am NOT suggesting boycotting any of them unlike what many of these people and groups did concerning supporters of Native Fish Society. Number two  ALL of these folks and businesses have gone on record supporting the exploitation of wild salmonids and increased hatchery supplementation and broodstock programs. One person even made up false information about Native Fish Society to try to convince the na├»ve of all the "evil" doings NFS has done.

Remember this.... "It ain't a rumor if it's true"

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Dangers of Steelhead Broodstock Programs



Wilson River angler delivering wild winter steelhead to holding pond for use in Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife's hatchery broodstock program.



I've been mulling this entry over for a few days now, wanting to express how I really feel about the exploitation of wild steelhead through the broodstock programs.I had fully intended to do one of my emotional rants because it goes without saying I despise this program.I cringe every time I read where someone supports the broodstock program based on false information or because greedy professional guides on ifish.net says it's a good way to restore depleted wild populations. I've even alienated a few friends and phony so called conservation organizations like the Association  of  Northwest Steelheaders because of my opposition to broodstock programs.
I don't care! The wild steelhead are too important to worry about sparing feeling and making enemies. So that is all old news and why be redundant ranting about something I've ranted about many times on this blog. I've decided that I will let the experts tell you all about the harm this program does and the misinformation that is being put out there by ODFW, Northwest Steelheaders and those professional guides.

Here is what Kathryn Kostow, formerly of ODFW, says about broodstock programs
Juvenile phenotypes and fitness as indicated by survival were compared for naturally produced steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss), a new local hatchery stock, and an old non local hatchery stock on the Hood River, Oregon, U.S.A. Although the new hatchery stock and the naturally produced fish came from the
same parent gene pool, they differed significantly at every phenotype measured except saltwater age. The characteristics of the new hatchery stock were similar to those of the old hatchery stock. Most of the phenotypic differences were probably environmentally caused. Although such character changes would not be inherited, they may influence the relative fitness of the hatchery and natural fish when they are in the same environment, as selection responds to phenotypic distributions. A difference in fitness between the new hatchery stock and naturally produced fish was indicated by significant survival differences.
Acclimation of the new hatchery stock in a “seminatural” pond before release was associated with a further decrease in relative smolt-to-adult survival with little increase in phenotypic similarity between the natural and hatchery fish. These results suggest that modified selection begins immediately in the first generation of a new hatchery stock and may provide a mechanism for genetic change.
Kostow notes in her study that ‘new hatchery fish’ derived from the wild population and called ‘native brood stock’ had poor survival.” She said, “Average smolt to adult survival for the naturally produced
winter and summer steelhead were five to six times higher than for the new hatchery stock."Large phenotypic responses by fish from the same parent gene pool to the differences between the captive and natural environments are consistent with the process of domestication.”
“This study demonstrates large average phenotype and survival differences between hatchery-produced and naturally produced fish from the same parent gene pool. These results indicate that a different
selection regime was affecting each of the groups. The processes indicated by these results can be expected to lead to eventual genetic divergence between the new hatchery stock and its wild source population, thus limiting the usefulness of the stock for conservation purposes to only the first few
generations.”

Bill McMillan of Wild Fish Conservancy had this to say about this broodstock program
It doesn't much matter where they (broodstock programs) have occurred geographically, the basics are the same. It is virtually the same hatchery technology that we began with 130 years ago on the West Coast -- take wild fish from their stream of origin (where they are typically needed on the spawning grounds, not removed from them), strip wild females of their eggs, squirt sperm on them from males, rear the eggs in hatchery trays, and rear the juveniles in hatchery confinement prior to release. British Columbia has used native brood steelhead programs for over 30 years beginning with the Big Qualicum Hatchery. Most of the steelhead rivers on the east side of Vancouver Island have virtually collapsed in the past 10-12 years with closures of many of those rivers necessitated to preserve the remaining wild steelhead. I am a personal friend of the now retired hatchery manager who began the Vedder River Hatchery on the lower Fraser system. It had early success, and has seen significant failures in its objectives since. He is now an outspoken pessimist regarding native brood programs for steelhead who recently spoke out against such a program now being suggested by some for the Thompson River.

Bill Bakke of Native Fish Society has been an advocate for our cold water fisheries for over 40 years. He has written many times about broodstock programs and their impact of wild salmon and steelhead.
The fish management agencies and the NMFS have sold the native broodstock hatchery as a recovery tool for wild salmon and steelhead before they have been fully tested to determine whether they work. The few on-going research projects are not promising, showing that the native broodstock hatchery fish are not equal to wild fish in survival and reproductive success. These hatchery fish diverge from the wild fish gene pool they were derived from in phenotypic traits in the first generation. The native broodstock hatchery changes the fish so that they have greater survival fitness in the hatchery than in streams. This change is due to both selective pressures in the hatchery and to relaxing selective pressures the fish would encounter in streams (Reisenbichler 1977; Goodman 2005). This domestication selection in the hatchery can be reduced but it cannot be eliminated, so the hatchery fish will always be different from wild fish in traits important for survival ( Reisenbichler et al. 2004 ). The only result that can come from integrating wild and hatchery fish in hatchery programs is a homogenized population that does not do well in the hatchery or in streams (Goodman 2005). The fish managers have coined a term for these homogenized creatures, they call them “natural” salmon and steelhead, and they have the institutional commitment to transform the region’s wild salmonids into mongrels.

There are others that have written about these broodstock programs and I would encourage you to investigate further by going to Bill Bakke's blog .
Remember one thing though as you do. You will not get a truthful analysis of broodstock programs from people still working for ODFW. They are not allowed to tell you the true facts because it may jeopardize their jobs with the agency. Remember also that professional guides, the people that the broodstock program benefits the most, are going to paint a rosy picture of wild steelhead populations and that they are just borrowing the wild eggs and milt. Again do not believe it! These guides make money on this exploitation of wild steelhead and that too is a fact.
So you can take the word of experts in their fields of study or some loud mouth wannabe on an internet fishing forum.
Make no mistakes friends. Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is fully invested in this program and native fish be damned. When some HRC (Hatchery Research Center) talking head says he just hates hatchery programs he isn't telling you the whole truth. He may hate the old out of basin plants of the past but you can bet your ass he in in love with wild broodstock programs.
Also you could ask some locals from the Tillamook area what they think of the broodstock boondoggle and almost to a person they dislike it intensely.
That speaks volumes to me.
Please join us on Facebook  in the For The Love Of Wild Fish group if you believe in the importance of wild and native salmon, steelhead and trout along with other native species in our region.

Friday, November 14, 2014

I Wonder

I love the smell of the forest after a fall rain don't you?
There is a cleanness and purity in the way the woods smell after a rainfall.
Autumn is my favorite time of year and I look forward to it every year. It is a season of change and movement. The great Pacific Flyway is full of eager waterfowl making their way to their winter feeding grounds. The mighty Chinook salmon and the sleek Coho salmon are making their ultimate and only trip back to the waters of their birth. The fall leaves are an explosion of color.
I especially like the turning leaves. On some of the maples it looks like the tree is on fire with the brightness of the red leaves that will soon drop.
 
I often can be found along my favorite cutthroat trout stream at this time of year before the Halloween closing. The urgency of a cutthroat taking a fly is magnified this time of year as is my own urgency to squeeze in one last trip before putting my rods away.
I have no interest in taking one of these wonderful little ambush/predators home for dinner. Killing wild fish holds no interest for me whatsoever these days.
I am in the fall of my life and it shows as I amble and sometimes stumble my way along the riverbank looking for a likely spot to cast my fly. I wonder how many more falls I have left. Did I spend this fall foolishly or was this fall well spent?
I think a lot about my cutthroat trout mentor Pete, who passed away last year. I wonder what he thought as he fished for his beloved trout in the fall. I wonder......
Fishing in the winter does not hold the attraction for me it once did and it's mostly because the desire to catch a steelhead no longer makes me forget about the cold and rain and lack of sleep. Every once in awhile it's fun to rise in the wee hours of morning when the only people on the road are like minded anglers such as myself. Those times are becoming less and less attractive though and I would just as soon sleep.
In my angling life I have taken many things for granted and now that my time on the river is at a premium do I regret it all? Not hardly! I have had a wonderful life on the river. I've seen many wonderful things and even a very few not so wonderful things. It all been good and the fish I encountered have been worth it. Lot of memories to keep me warm when the winter of my life is upon me. Fish hooked and fish lost, friends long since gone and the memories....oh the memories
I wonder if I will be a part of someone's pleasant memories of their time on the river....I wonder.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It's Only Words

Paul Schullery wrote, in his book Royal Coachman, The Lore and Legends of Fly Fishing the following....

Fly fishing is this great little adventure we have in a thousand little episodes. Fly fishing is our chance to embrace the unmanufactured, to earn something honestly, and to give ourselves over entirely and passionately to a pursuit that is in some mystifying way both irrelevant and important. Fly fishing drives us nuts and keeps us sane. And, like any other addiction...any other so-called pastime that can take you soul away - given the chance, fly fishing becomes something very much like a way of life.

Do those words stir you? They did me the first time I read them and in fact I felt compelled to share that quote with my wife. Famous fly fishing authors like Norman Maclean, Roderick Haig Brown, David James Duncan and others saw or felt something in this endeavor called fly fishing that inspired them, made them write about what they feel out on the river. I seriously doubt that much inspiration can be had when baiting up a 5/0 hook with a tennis ball size glob of salmon eggs don't you?
Fly fishing is sometimes likened to golf but I like what Paul O'Neill once wrote

I am not against golf, since I cannot but suspect it keeps armies of the unworthy from discovering trout

Pretty well sums it up for me. So is it really any small wonder why Arnold Gingrich titled his classic fly fishing book "The Joys of Trout"
I really wish that I were a better writer and could perhaps paint with a more scenic prosaic style as to what it is that I'm talking about here. Alas I'm limited to what you see here, punctuation and syntax errors thrown in with the deal. I admire those that can express themselves so well and am inspired by it while, at the same time I'm intimidated by it as well.
So I thought I would share a light and thoughtful repose before going into another one of my conservation scolding.....cheers

Saturday, August 30, 2014

My Brother's Keeper

This is an intensely personal post but I need to share it and I think you fine folks are the right ones with whom to share it. It has nothing to do with fly fishing or saving wild salmon but this blog is also about life. I am not using my brother's real name
My brother Steven was always everything I wanted to be in life. He was charming, handsome, popular with girls and good in sports...I idolized him.
Steve served his country with distinction in Vietnam and was decorated for his actions for heroism under fire. He came back in 1970 and in my eyes was almost god like. It's typical for a younger brother to feel this way and Steven was my hero.
Our mother was not a good mother. She seemed to resent us and never missed a chance to tell us what burdens we were. Mom hounded Steve all through high school and did not let up after his return from Vietnam so he made himself scarce around our home in Southern California and I longed to be around him.
When our father died in 1973 things really didn't change much with mom and when Steve moved away she concentrated her scorn on me.
From his return from war in 1970 until last year I rarely saw Steve. Sometimes we would go years without seeing each other. When mom passed away in 2003 Steve came up to Oregon for her funeral. It was good to see him and spend time with him. He was still my hero and I figured he always would be. I told him that I was always proud of him and was glad to be his kid brother.
In 2007 Steve's world crashed down on him. He lost the job that he had held for almost 15 years and then in early 2008 contracted severe pneumonia that lead to surgery and developed into a lung infection. Steve called and asked if I would come down to South Lake Tahoe and help him with his recovery. I was on the first plane out.
He was helpless and I did what any brother would do and helped him gain strength. I cried as I left to come home as he still seemed so helpless. Thing looked up for Steve later that year as he got a new job doing what he did best.
Unfortunately, it lasted only 9 months and once again Steve was unemployed with no prospects. I knew that my brother was always fond of alcohol and, in fact, I was pretty sure he was an alcoholic but never knew to what extent his alcoholism gripped him. Occasionally, he would call me in a very intoxicated state but at other times he would be quite sober. We talked about his moving to Oregon to start life over because the Lake Tahoe winters were so severe.
Finally, in 2010, Steve's options ran out and the decision was made that I would fly down to help him move up here and live in my home. He would rent a moving van and I would drive it back since Steve had lost his license due to a DUI conviction. I later learned he had accumulated three DUI convictions.
The day came and off to Reno I flew to "save" my brother. He assured me everything would be packed up and ready to go when I got there.
When I arrived, I discovered he hadn't packed anything. When I got out of the cab at his apartment it was apparent he had been on a drinking binge and was still very drunk. I was livid and entertained the idea of getting right back into the cab and coming home. He was a drunken wreck. It was all I could do to keep my temper while I packed Steve's belongings for the move to Oregon. The thing was, my big brother, my hero, turned out to be a pathetic and disgusting drunk.
I hoped things would change once I got him into a new environment. We had agreed that if he were to move into my house that he could not drink there. My wife made that very clear and I was in complete agreement. If Steve was going to drink he would have to do it elsewhere. As time progressed, he would go on monthly monumental drinking binges and towards the end of his stay in our home he began sneaking booze into the house, holing up in his room for days at a time, not even coming out of his room to shower.
In the nine months Steve lived with us he drifted deeper into depression fueled by alcoholic binges involving cheap vodka and even cheaper wine. It was one thing to deal with Steve about his drinking but to make things even worse, he stole from me.
Unfortunately I had to do the one thing I would have never believed I would have to do with my brother and that was to kick him out of my home. I had had enough with his broken promise about not drinking in our home and the disrespect he showed me. It troubles me deeply that it all came to this but I had to think of my wife and daughter and my own health. I didn’t know what was next for my brother but I knew I could not just stand by and allow him to drink himself to death in my home.
He had to relive all the things he experienced during his tour of Vietnam in order to get veterans benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder and that was tough on him but he used it as further justification for returning to the alcoholism that ruled his life. Steve was no longer my ideal. He was just a sorry drunk that would not and could not control his drinking.
I learned a very hard lesson in all of this: I should never put anyone too high on a pedestal because when they fall, as they often will, the one who gets hurt most is me.
I still love my brother, he is blood and blood means something. I want him to go to rehab but he refuses to do so and I am at an end as far as helping him unless he does. I offered to attend AA meetings with him and support him in any way I could but he still resists. Did I do the right thing? I am struggling with feelings of doubt and betrayal and of course second guessing myself but I did not know what else to do.
Sadly, I feel like I have lost him forever and will never get him back.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Help the Salmonberry River

 
 
The Salmonberry river along with it's canyon and the surrounding area is one of those wonderful places in Oregon. Very remote and very beautiful. It has been said by fish biologists that the strain of wild Salmonberry winter steelhead is among the purest in the Pacific Northwest.
Please take time to read the information provided by Native Fish Society and sign the petition.
 
 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Wild Reverence - The Wild Steelhead's Last Stand

This is a beautiful yet disturbing film about the plight of the wild steelhead. Watch it! Buy it! Get motivated and share the message.
Think about what you can do....please

Click on this link - Wild Reverence

Friday, August 08, 2014

The Seven Deadly Sins Of Fly Fishing



This might piss a few people off but since I am doing this tongue and cheek those of you who get pissed will just have to get a sense of humor.
So with that in mind please allow me to present to you fine folks what I consider the unpardonable sins of fly fishing.....in no particular order.

1. Posing for a picture with the fish you just caught and your fly rod in your mouth

2. Fishing an indicator on a bamboo fly rod or Spey rod

3. Referring to cutthroat trout as "cutties"

4. Calling your $900 custom made Burkheimer a "fly pole"

5. Dropping names of famous fly fishers like you are personal friends with them

6. Wrapping so much lead wire on your contribution to a fly swap that it snaps the tip off of someone's fly rod

7. Making up snooty lists like this one and posting it on your blog





Tuesday, July 22, 2014

If You Love the Deschutes Please Read This

 This is pretty dire folks. It's hard to fathom this unless you have been to the Deschutes and actually witnessed it.
Please Support Deschutes River Alliance

While on my annual mid-May trek to the Deschutes I had great fun landing a stunning and assertive 18” redside. I caught many other fish, but none quite so memorable. Also memorable to me, my fishing buddies and our guides, was the scarcity of birds. The usual big ones were evident, such as ospreys, red tail hawks, turkey vultures and Canadian geese. But, noticeably missing were the habitual song and perching birds. Red wing blackbirds, well known harassers of streamside fishermen, were sporadic. Wrens, sparrows and Bullock’s orioles were infrequent. Most apparent was the near-nonexistence of swallows. No cliffs, no barns, no violet-greens. Those familiar with the monolithic rock in front of Dill Island know it always to be plastered with hundreds of swallow nests. Zero nests and not a single swallow in flight. The bird drought continued into the evening with no night hawks and few bats. These birds share a common characteristic. Each feeds upon the prolific insect populations of the Deschutes. Finding no food, obviously, birds will simply go elsewhere. Numerous guides say they’re noticing that the salmon fly hatch is now smaller and earlier in the season. They note some insects have simply disappeared, like PMDs, caddis and some mayflies. Why? Veterans of the Deschutes claim that over the last few years there has been an appreciable temperature shift in the lower river. They also say they are noticing pervasive growth of a golden brown algae blanketing large swaths of river bottom rocks. Some emphasize that this began soon after temperature changes occurred. Many of these insects begin their lives and spend their formative years attached to these rocks. It is conceivable alga is hindering oxygen from reaching the rock surfaces, so the insects cannot attach to them. If correct, the math is simple. No pupa stage leads to no mature stage, which leads to no insects, which leads to no food for birds…..and no food for fish. Sitting quietly in the corner is the one question no one desires confronting: If these bugs disappear what might
happen to the steelhead, salmon and trout in one of our nation’s inarguably premiere fisheries? Huge and varied insect populations are a principle reason the Deschutes enjoys so many fish per mile. People come from all over the world to pay homage to these prolific runs of fish. And, an ample slice of the Central Oregon economy derives its lifeblood from the Deschutes River. Presently, there are simply too many unanswered questions and too little evidence to yet reach conclusions. While personal and anecdotal observation can sound an early alarm, only with patience and empirical study can we produce credible conclusions and science-based solutions. Without caution we’ll never be assured of developing an effective and prudent remedy. Our colleagues at the recently formed Deschutes River Alliance (DRA) are rapidly moving beyond the anecdotal with scientific studies of key river indicators, precisely what is required to reach credible conclusions and recommendations. The Native Fish Society has committed to play an active role. We will support science-based conclusions and remedies. We attend every meeting. One of our River Stewards is on the DRA board of directors and our Bill Bakke is a member of their science advisory committee. In addition we have pledged to provide financial support and volunteers. Personally, I consider the Deschutes River one of Oregon’s three queens, joining sisters Rogue and Umpqua. As Oregonians, regardless of where we live or what we do, we cannot allow further decline in the health of this extraordinary river. How we respond to this potential catastrophe will speak volumes about our commitment to the river and to the state we love. It’s not hyperbole to say that left unchecked this could become an ecological and economic calamity. I’m challenging every fish and conservation group to likewise commit resources to confront this challenge.

 Mike Moody - Executive Director of Native Fish Society




Sunday, June 08, 2014

Bullshit To ODFW


Until ODFW provides a comprehensive plan to not only provide a better hunting and fishing experience for Oregonians but also a plan to protect our wild salmonid resources. Their phony Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan is just a bandage to cover the real issues. Throwing good money after bad without addressing the real issues is going to get us no where but will cost us more money for an inferior product.
Heads need to roll in Salem! From Roy Elicker to Ed Bowles to Todd Alsbury, they need to be shown the door!
Are you satisfied with how ODFW is running things? Do you think Oregon has any "Blue Ribbon" fisheries anymore? Do you think ODFW does enough for wild fish? I don't! ODFW definitely does not need a fee increase to muddy things up any more than they already are. They need a dose of reality and a complete reorganization. Get rid of the dead weight and end some of the money wasting projects that always seem to get funded.
Just say HELL NO to increasing license and tag costs! Close down some inefficient hatcheries! I realize that hatcheries are some sort of sacred cows here in Oregon but face it. Some are not doing the job and are actually hurting wild salmonid populations.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

ODFW Budget Means More Of The Same Lousy Product But At A Higher Price

$32 Million shortfall for the current biennium! Expect a license and tag fee increase and the same old shitty product from ODFW next year. Take note that hatchery programs take 28% of the 2013-2015 budget while Habitat Resources and Conservation takes 4%. This is an agency that is out of control! There are no "Blue ribbon" fishing opportunities in this state anymore. You can bet that not only those of us that live here but out of state anglers and hunters are going to pay dearly to fish and hunt in Oregon from now on.

Here is the breakdown showing the shortfall from the ODFW website.
 
 
 
Hey ODFW,need more revenue? How about closing some inefficient hatcheries? How boating permits, like on the Deschutes, for heavily used rivers? How about a user fee for guides? How about increasing the hatchery steelhead bag limit in order to attract more anglers? HOW ABOUT CLEANING OUT THE DEAD WEIGHT AT ODFW?
 
 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

A Damn Shame!



The above picture is an ODFW truck dumping it's load of broodstock smolt into the Wilson River today. I told the hatchery worker that it was a damn shame those juveniles were not allowed to come out of the gravel like they were meant to do! Broodstock programs are nothing more than bait guide welfare. Too bad a bunch of kids with Powerbait didn't come down and catch a few.
What this truck represents is the progeny of 35 pairs of wild steelhead were made into hatchery garbage! I think it's appropriate that this truck looks like a garbage truck!
The fish that came out of this truck were about 4-6 inches and will now compete and eat the just out of gravel wild salmon and steelhead fry.

Here's to You, Mr. Robinson

Today marks the 67th anniversary of the first time an African-American stepped onto the playing field of a major league ballpark. That man was Jackie Robinson and it's fitting that he is honored as a hero.
The following is an article about this milestone and this man of courage who took that important first step.


By John Donovan - Sports Illustrated
This is not about baseball. Or, rather, it's about so much more than baseball. When Jackie Robinson took America by the collar 60 years ago and shook it for all it was worth, he did it on a baseball field, yes. But why he did it, how he did it, the era in which it took place -- and, of course, that he did it at all -- are infinitely more important than where it happened. Then and now, the act itself was much bigger than the stage. None of us should ever forget that.



Major League Baseball this weekend celebrates Robinson and that history-changing day 60 years ago when he desegregated the national pastime. The impact of Robinson's appearance in that game at Ebbets Field on April 15, 1947, can't be overstated. It was a seminal moment in baseball history -- the first black man playing in the major leagues in the 20th century -- and it cleared the way for thousands of men of color that have played the game since Robinson first took the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers that day.

But, again, that was only part of it. And not the biggest part.

It's often said that baseball is a reflection of society, and in early 1947, that was undoubtedly true. The game, like the country, was just finding its peacetime rhythm after World War II. But in many parts of America, especially in the Jim Crow South, the country was still splintered in "separate but equal" parts -- clearly separate yet anything but equal. That was true of professional baseball, too, with the white major leagues and the less-than-equal Negro Leagues.

So Robinson breaking baseball's color line is more than a simple sports story. It's a story of a society -- American society -- during a critical juncture in its history. Robinson's courageous step wasn't simply about opening the doors to the Major Leagues. It was about opening the doors to America.

This wasn't about baseball reflecting society. This was about baseball showing America how it could be. How it should be.

"This is an explosive event. This is the moon landing for black America," says professor Chris Lamb, who wrote the book Blackout: The Untold Story of Jackie Robinson's First Spring Training. "And a lot of white America was saying 'Hey, what's the big story?' He captured the imagination of a lot of white America. They couldn't ignore it."

Robinson's stoic and heroic handling of the racism he faced as the major's first black ballplayer is legendary. Robinson got a quick taste of it in that first spring training with the Dodgers' minor-league affiliate, the Montreal Royals, a team that trained in segregated Daytona Beach, Fla. There, many teams canceled games against Robinson's Royals, figuring a player who couldn't play couldn't make a major-league team. One team, in DeLand, Fla., cited a problem with lights for calling off a game. A day game.

Robinson was forced to practice on a field in the black part of Daytona Beach, away from the main stadium. Threats were an everyday part of his existence. "He took on Jim Crow in Jim Crow's front yard," Lamb says. "This wasn't Ebbets Field. He went into the deep South, where black people who challenged desegregation were lynched."

When he got to the big leagues as the Dodgers' first baseman, the harassment continued. His Brooklyn teammate, Duke Snider, recalled some of the abuse that he saw Robinson endure. "A lot of runners would come down there and instead of stepping on the bag would step on his foot or his leg," Snider told XM Radio in a recent interview. "The obscenities from the stands and from the opposition's bench were radical. It was terrible. I would hear it and it would embarrass me."

Yet to place Robinson's experiences in a baseball-only context, to describe him as simply a baseball pioneer, is to miss the larger picture. Robinson signed his contract with Dodgers GM Branch Rickey in 1946 -- he was just 27 at the time -- and took his spot at first base in Ebbets Field in 1947.

That was nearly seven years before the Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education, ruled segregation in public schools unconstitutional. It was almost a decade before the Little Rock Nine. It was almost 16 years before a preacher from Atlanta stood in front of hundreds of thousands of marchers in Washington, D.C., on one late August day and told them, "I have a dream!"

Robinson was not simply a baseball pioneer. He was a civil rights pioneer in every sense of the term, suffering though many of the same indignities that others would shoulder five, 10, 15, 20 years later. And, yes, even today.

"It's not that he just broke the color barrier in baseball. He broke the barrier for a lot of people in general," says Ray King, a reliever for the Washington Nationals. "He was Rosa Parks. He was Martin Luther King. He was in the forefront."

Ten years ago, in a tribute to what he meant to the game, baseball retired Robinson's uniform number, 42. This weekend, dozens of players in 15 professional ballparks around the nation -- including every player from the Astros, Brewers, Cardinals, Dodgers, Phillies and Pirates -- will don it for the day in a similar tribute.

The faces of baseball today are hugely different because of Robinson. Though the number of African-American players in the game has fallen from its peak in 1975 -- from 27 percent then to about 9 percent now -- the number of players from Latin America, Asia and other places outside of the United States has increased dramatically. A record 246 players on Opening Day rosters and disabled lists -- about 29 percent -- were born outside the U.S. Nearly half of the players in the minors leagues are not from the U.S.

"I grew up in the '70s, so I don't really know much about Jackie Robinson," said the Braves' Andruw Jones, a native of the Caribbean island of Curacao and the lone Atlanta player who will wear No. 42 on Sunday. "But I know he broke the color barrier, and he gave Latins a chance to get to the major leagues, and a lot of others, too. That's why we're all here."

The front offices in baseball and baseball's central office in New York now have more minorities than ever, too. In Robinson's last comments about the game, before his death in 1972, he urged baseball to hire its first black manager. That finally happened when Frank Robinson was picked to manage the Cleveland Indians three years after Robinson's death. Today, there are two African-Americans managing teams, the Mets' Willie Randolph and the Rangers' Ron Washington.

"I try to tell [my students] about Jackie Robinson, and it's almost like telling them what happened 200 years ago," says Lamb, an assistant professor of communications at the College of Charleston (S.C.). "I think that's why we need to continually remind people about Jackie Robinson.

"Just walking onto the field gave hope to Americans, white and black. He knew what had to be done and did it."

This weekend on baseball fields from Boston to Los Angeles, from Atlanta to Seattle, and on other days in other places all over America, that's something worth remembering.

Saturday, February 01, 2014

Murphy Must Have Been a Fly Fisherman

He had to be! That can only explain the various things that befall us hapless fly fishers in our never ending quest for fly fishing nirvana.
So here are a few examples of what can go wrong out on the river. Now bear in mind, dear readers, I am not necessarily owning up to anything here...wink wink, but after many years of investigation I've been told that these unfortunate maladies might actually happen to a fly fisherman.


- You are trying to thread a size 18 Pale Blue Dun but you discover that you've glued the eye of the hook and cannot fit your tippet through and the light is fading fast and the fish are rising.

- You have one last dry fly that the fish cannot resist so you what do you do? You drop it in the swiftest or deepest part of the river while tying it on your tippet.

- The cutthroat trout of a lifetime chooses to take your fly after you were too lazy to tie a good knot when attaching the fly to the tippet.


- Your last knotless leader turns into a tangled mess as you remove it from it's package and the trout are on the bite.

- You contemplate the wisdom of leaving your raincoat in the car as you wait out a torrential thunder storm under a tree...four miles from your car.

- The odds of the section of river you are about to wade being one eighth of an inch deeper than the tops of your waders are somewhere in the range of betting on the sun to rise the next day.

- If that log looks too slippery for you to walk on then it probably is!

- Rattlesnakes always seems to choose sun themselves on the exact rock you need to step on when wading a tricky part of the river.

- Why does nature always wait to call after you put your waders on and ready to fish?

- How come the trout wait to rise after you've put your fishing gear away for the day?

- The importance of the gear you forgot at home is in direct correlation to how far you've driven when you realize you've forgotten it. If it's too far to turn around then it's important.

- Why is the hole in your waders only discovered on the coldest day of winter?

- The odds of you casting your fly into a tree on the first cast are in direct proportion to the time you took to tie it.

Like I said friends I've only heard rumors that these things happen.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The People You Meet on the River

 
 
Article Courtesy of Michigan Fly
 
 
1. The Head Nod Guy. This is the dude that simply gives you a nod of the head to acknowledge your existence…most often this simple and typically meaningless gesture is a form of posturing and encouragement to continue moving along. The Head Nod Guy does not want you to stop and talk to him, he does not want to share the water with you, and quite frankly he has a deep down rooted belief that he is better than you. Probably won't ever see a Head Nod Guy sporting any less than $5,000 worth of gear on him at any given time. You can spot The Head Nod Guy on Facebook because they love posting pictures of the thousands of dollars of gear they buy.

2. The Exaggerator. This person sees the world through a different set of lenses than any other normal human being. The Exaggerator is a master of embellishing and skewing information in a manner that appeases his ego. Unsolicited stories of enormous or unimaginable numbers of fish being caught roll off his lips and out of his mouth in a fashion that is so believable you question your own abilities as an angler for not being able to match The Exaggerator’s accomplishments. The Exaggerator tends to fish solo and will probably reel it in and call it a day if you were to jump into the water within a distance that he can be viewed. Exaggerators are easy to spot on social media channels – they have pictures of 12″ fish with a caption that reads: “24″ brown, but I lost 3 that were way bigger” Also, The Exaggerator tends to ‘forget’ his camera every time he fishes, and thus is not always able to provide photographic proof of his catch.

3. The Hero. Has larger than life stories that have you in absolute disbelief. The Hero is crafty though, as they tend to have a posse of followers around them that have bought into the campaigning that goes on, the entourage acts to serve as additional credibility. However, you will rarely see The Hero wet a line -as he does not want to risk tarnishing his reputation, when its far easier to talk about how awesome he is. The Hero is typically easy to spot as they tend to refer to everyone as “brah”. Hero’s, when they do fish, almost always fish flies that are so large or so different – or use techniques that are not effective as a means to give themselves a built in excuse, so that way their self built reputation will stay in tact. The Hero will almost without fail comment on all other Hero’s Facebook posts, usually with terms like “sick”, “right on brah”, “boom”, or “I told you that you would get one there”.

4. Super Dave. Super Dave is a term that was coined after meeting an exceptionally nice gentleman by the name of Dave on the water one day. Now, everyone that fits into this particular category is referred to as “Super Dave”. This person is over the top nice and freely offers up accommodation when encountered – even to the extent of ceding their water to you. While Super Dave is the type of person this world needs more of, he will also spend countless hours on the bank behind you talking away about random events in his life that have no correlation to you if allowed to. Super Dave simply enjoys the company on the water, and probably just wants a pal to spend time with. Super Dave is the guy that is on Facebook to put pictures of his friends and kids up – don’t ever message Super Dave on Facebook, you will be engaged in a flurry of messages being sent your way that you feel obligated to respond to because he’s so nice.

5. The Poser. Probably a guy that has just started in the sport and tries so hard to model himself after a combination of Head Nod Guy, The Exaggerator, and Hero. Typically sporting entry level gear ….that is most likely all wrong for the type of species and/or time of the year he is fishing. Upon first encountering The Poser on the water, you might believe that they are the next coming of Lefty Kreh – but further and more in depth conversation reveals that they are inexperienced and rather impressionable. You could probably talk The Poser into fishing dry flies with a sink tip line. The Poser can be spotted on Facebook very easily, although The Poser talks about numbers of giant fish he catches, he posts 8 different pictures of the 1 fish that he actually catches. His somewhat abnormal amount of elation and excitement over 1 relatively average fish expose his inexperience.

6. The Fish Head. Fly box looks like someone firebombed a box of kittens, waders are more aqua seal than they are Gore-tex, hat is faded and has a film on it so thick that the logo is unrecognizable, and he probably is exhibiting at least 1 of several possible addictions (tobacco, Fireball Whisky, cheap beer, etc.). Fish Heads are dudes that spend more time studying the water and trying to figure it out than actually fishing it. They don’t talk, because they know that talk leads to more people figuring out what they spent years figuring out. The Fish Head has a Facebook page, but probably hasn’t updated it in 4 months.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Quiet Pool

 
When I started this blog back in 2006 my intent was to have a place to reflect on my life as a fly fisherman. I started out with good intent but drifted more and more into the politics of freshwater fisheries and commentary on the poor state we find these fisheries to be in. As it got worse the angrier I became and called out a lot of people who I felt and still feel are a big part of the problem.
I want to say that I do not regret anything I've said on this blog over the years and stand by everything I've said here. I would not change a single post on this blog.
The thing is this blog is named "The Quiet Pool" for a reason and I am steering this blog back into the more serene aspects of my life with a fly rod. There are plenty of blogs like Osprey Steelhead News to get pertinent conservation news about what is going on up here in the Pacific Northwest. I will continue to be active in conservation and wild fish issues.
Don't think for a minute that my heart is not still with wild fish because it is and as strong as ever but I think I want this blog to be what it was meant to be.
I hope that in the 7+ years I have written this blog that some of you have benefited from it's content and I hope for your continued support. Remember that the future of our wild, cold water fisheries depend on each of us.
See you on the river friends!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Please Sign This Petition

Native Fish Society Petition

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is out of control and trying to save their ass with this plan.



Friday, January 24, 2014

The Grab!

In Search of the Grab

Click on the link above for a stirring video of steelhead fly fishing with a spey rod.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I Support

I have made it abundantly clear over the life of this blog what I believe and who I support. I thought that it would simplify things if I just listed them all here. No explanations, just who and what I support

Here goes.....



I support Columbia river native American fishing rights! Yes the famous Boldt decision.

I support closing any hatchery program that is detrimental to native salmonids

I support the banning of all sulfite based bait cures

I support catch and release on all wild salmon,steelhead and trout

I support wild salmonid reserves and refuges

I support mandatory barbless hooks

I support increasing daily limits on hatchery steelhead and salmon

I support fly fishing only areas in certain rivers

I support mandatory retention of all hatchery fish

I support boaters passes, like those on the Deschutes, for certain streams

I support ending all harvest of any wild trout on all rivers

I support closing upper portions of certain rivers to insure protection of spawning wild salmonids

I support an overhaul of Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

I support ending all angling on chum salmon on the Miami and Kilchis rivers

I support larger riparian zones along coastal rivers

I support the Endangered Species Act

I support and am a member of Native Fish Society

I support and am a member of Wild Steelhead Coalition

I support and am a lifetime member of Trout Unlimited

I support a lead ban

I support marine reserve zones



Sunday, January 05, 2014

A Great Blog!!!!

The owner of Cutthroats Galore, Leonard Steves, is a man after my own heart.
Please check it out.


                               Photo courtesy of cutthroats galore