Monday, November 14, 2016

Do Fishing Ethics Matter?

Yes! I think they do...
In a day and age of dwindling fish runs a simple thing like ethics can make a difference.
So what kind of ethics am I talking about? Well let me list them for all of you.

1. Killing a dark Chinook hen solely for the eggs. - One of the worst ethical violations

2. Trampling spawning redds - Fly anglers do this a lot unfortunately

3. Fishing on spawning redds when guarding fish are present - Refer to Field and Stream Article Below

4. Using Diver/Bait rigs when wild fish are present - Fish are prone to swallowing the bait deep and that would be fatal

5. Low holing another fisherman - Happens all the time and especially by guides

6. Taking a wild fish out of water for a hero shot - No matter how experienced you think you are in handling fish this can lead to death of the fish

7. Playing a wild fish too long - Because it will kill them! If you have a tendency of doing this go to heavier gear.

8. Fishing in warm water - Summer time is a deadly time for wild fish who get hooked unless you are fishing for warm water species

Nice article from Field and Stream about Fishing on Redds

In fly fishing for trout, there are certain truths that should be self-evident.
You don't fish with bait in a fly-only river. You don't low hole other anglers and cut them off on the river. You don't kill fish you aren't going to eat. You follow all the rules.
And you don't fish for trout when they're on a redd.
A redd, just to be clear is a spawning bed, and you can recognize them by the bright, clean gravel that's been turned over. If there's a big fish on that bright gravel (trout are most vulnerable and easy to harass when they are holding on a redd), please leave it alone. Because that big fish is in the process of making lots of little fish. You don't need to be a fisheries biology Ph.D. to figure out the benefits of that.
You might not technically be breaking any laws by fishing a redd, but you're going to anger a lot of others if you do. And yes, people fish for other species during the spawn all the time. But trout aren't bass. And there are a zillion ways to fish for trout and salmon that may be migrating to spawn. Just try to avoid smacking them in the head with flies and snagging them when they're doing their thing.
I bring all this up because there's been a lot of chatter on the Internet recently about certain people unashamedly fishing redds, and taking hero shots, etc. I've been asked about a hundred times in the past week how I feel about all of this. It's a no brainer. You shouldn't pound fish on redds, period. And when you're wading a river during the spawn, you don't step on the redds when you spot them.
Thing is, it's not just one guy, there are a lot of gurus, guides, and others who have cashed in by doing it the wrong way. No finger pointing from me. Just a point of view that will hopefully help some of you who wonder avoid conflicts on the river.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Please Leave Oregon Chum Salmon Alone

I don't know of a single conservation minded fly angler who actively throws flies at chum salmon on the Miami and Kilchis rivers in Oregon. Sure we all did years back when their numbers were abundant but now it is not ethical to harass these fish in those two Oregon rivers. You want to fly fish for chums? There are plenty of them up in Washington! Go up there to fish for them.

With the first significant falls rains the return of the runs of chum salmon on the Miami and Kilchis rivers will soon be upon us.
These salmon are arguably one of the best freshwater game fish that swims the waters of the Pacific Northwest. They come aggressively to a fly and fight with the strength to snap any 8 weight fly rod out there.
The chum salmon rival the steelhead in every way when hooked.
That being said we should leave them the alone and here is why. Their already depressed numbers have fallen to a dismal return in recent years. In the 80's they were so numerous that you could find them from the Columbia all the way down the coast and in huge numbers. While their flesh was inferior their roe and their fighting ability made them a desirable game fish.
They would seemingly all show up at once and you would actually see them ascending drainage ditches during higher water. It was amazing to watch them in tidewater as they would, by the hundreds, boil on the surface in some kind natural dance. It almost seemed like their movements were was beautiful to watch.
That was all over 25 years ago! Fast forward to the last few years and if you are familiar at all with the Miami and Kilchis you know how poorly the chum salmon have fared lately.
Still there are those who cannot resist tail hooking these chums and treating them with no more respect than that of a squaw fish.

It's disgusting how these salmon are treated and if ODFW were ever to do that right thing, and that is unlikely, they would not allow even a catch and release season on the chums.
In the name of angling opportunity there is a short season allowed with bait and treble hooks.
Even fly fishers will stomp through the redds and abuse these salmon in search of their "sport".
I quit fishing for them about 10 years ago and it was after seeing some uncaring gear fishermen cruelly kicking these noble fish back into after snagging them that I quit.
I never pursued them with a lot of interest in the first place. I got very angry when the editor of Salmon and Steelhead Journal magazine Pat Hoglund had a feature article on these fish with maps to the Miami and Kilchis included. He accused me of trying to protect a favored fishery and I informed him the only thing I wanted to protect was these dwindling runs of salmon.
I even chatted with him about it at the Sportsman's Show but he has to sell magazine so I guess anything is fair game.
It would be a pity to see yet another run of salmon disappear off of the northwest landscape so if any of you reading this are thinking about pursuing these chum salmon for sport then please think again and do the right thing okay?


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

"Nass Feesh"

Henning Hale Orviston, the pretentious patriarch of David James Duncan's famous fly fishing yarn "The River Why" describes bass as

 " An outlander, a devouring pestilence, a freakish invader to the salubrious waters of the North and Northwest of  indelicate appetite, sluggish disposition, negligible intelligence, paltry stamina, and possessing a head, mouth and stomach of ludicrous bulk in comparison with its stultified body"

I've heard them describes in more "colorful" terms.
Invaders is exactly right! They now inhabit, in large numbers mind you, the fables waters of the Mother River...The Deschutes.

I , myself, have witnessed small mouth bass chasing rainbow trout in the lower reaches of the Deschutes. The larger, swifter bass no doubt won the pursuit and had trout for dinner.
So why are they here? Where did they come from? Who in the hell knows but they are not going anywhere anytime soon if at all. You will find them them in such major waterways as the Columbia and Willamette. Hundreds of little watering holes in central and eastern Oregon and large Century Drive fly fishing only lakes like Davis Lake.
In other words they are here, in large numbers and are not going anywhere.
I resent their presence and refuse to fish for them even if that is all the fishing there is. Oh yeah I have fished for bass a few times and even caught some nice sized smallmouths, pitching some kind of pickled pork rind attached to something called a "spinner bait" Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, in it's infinite wisdom , has put a five fish a day limit on the bass living in the Deschutes!?!?!?!? If I may be vulgar here for a moment , what the fuck are you idiots thinking?
I mean excuse me but are these spiny rayed little assholes invasive or not? Why is there a limit on them?

So today I was driving back from Seattle after a nice visit with my son. When I figured I was clear of the dreadful Seattle-Tacoma traffic nightmare I decided to stop in to the  new Bass Pro Shop south of Tacoma. I had hear that the store was an outdoors man's wet dream. As I marveled at the cavernous, fit for a dirigible interior with all the mounted and mummified wildlife on display one could not help but notice the inside was wall to wall camouflage. You name it and you could get it in camo. Even women's semi-intimate apparel could be gotten in a garish pink/camo combination.
You could buy pretty much anything in camoflage. Bass boats, duck boats, fish findes, electric motors. I saw one guy, obviously a southern US transplant, that might have tipped the scale at 400 lbs, dressed head to toe in camo. He looked like a big walking,talking ambrosia trifida shrub telling his equally overfed companion about the "Nass feesh" he recently caught.
I thought "hey this is the Pacific Northwest!  We fish for salmon, trout, steelhead and sturgeon up here! A salmonid species is the state fish in both Oregon and Washington isn't it?
Could Bass Pro Shops be prophetic? Are Spiny Rays our future? My God I hope not. I could not fathom EVER using one of my bamboo fly rods to cast a damn popping bug to a "devouring pestilence" like a bass. I would use the rod as kindling before I let that happen.
I know this much. I will most assuredly "terminate with extreme prejudice" any bass invader that I encounter.Wonder if they would make good crab bait?
Yeah, yeah I know you are rolling your eyes at my elitist ramblings about bass but it's like this. Bass, walleye and other carnivorous warm water invasive species are yet another reason why our salmon and trout heritage of this region is dying out.
Add the predation of invasive species to the long list of what has killed our resource and maybe you'll understand.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Hatchery Junkies

I went to a very informative presentation the other night called "The High Cost of Hatcheries" presented by Native Fish Society and featuring Dylan Tomine. His research discovered how much it actually costs us taxpayers for these fish mills to run. Of course the opposition made all kinds of bold claims on social media about how they were going to fill the room and make their voices heard. In truth only about three people were there to challenge Dylan's research. Pretty typical for the gear and bait crowd and it just shows how, once again, they would rather talk tough on the internet but when push comes to shove they are as lazy and unmotivated a group as you would want to meet. It is small wonder why the Columbia River Gillnetters Association kicks their ass year after year. Bob Rees of Northwest Steelheaders did show and made his case for hatcheries in a passionate and polite way and I applaud him for it. If more sports angler groups were like Bob then maybe the fracture between conservation and sports fishing would be healed.
So I am once again bringing this post to the top for those of you that might be interested in the research I have done. I'm past the point, as I have mentioned many times on this blog, of caring what Northwest Steelhead Flunkies or the Three Rivers Sportsmen's Alliance think of me. This is a small blog....I mean really small! The biggest hits I get I when I piss someone off and it's pretty easy to do that. Funny thing is that as mad as I've apparently made these guys they never want to talk about it when I see them on the river bank.
Anyway friends and enemies the facts are out there. I don't make this stuff up. People a hell of a lot smarter than me have done years and years of research on the effect of hatchery programs have on wild salmon and steelhead.
I was researching the history of salmon hatcheries here in the Pacific northwest and you might be surprised that history goes back a long ways.
They go as far back as the late 1800's as a matter of fact. Here is a brief history of the beginnings of Columbia River salmon hatcheries by author and fisheries scientist Jim Lichatowich.
In 1875, Spencer Baird, the United States Fish Commissioner, advised the commercial fishing industry that artificial propagation of salmon would be so successful it would eliminate the need to regulate harvest. Regulation was a controversial issue at the time, as the salmon runs were being fished heavily for economic gain but without effective regulation, and some scientists already were concerned that overfishing might prove catastrophic to the runs. In response to a request from the Oregon Legislature, Baird outlined the problems he saw for the salmon industry: 1) excessive fishing; 2) dams; and 3) altered habitat. Baird believed each of these problems could be resolved through artificial propagation of fish. That is, sufficient numbers of fish could be produced in hatcheries to satisfy the demand of commercial fishers, hatcheries could be located on tributaries of the Columbia where the fish would not have to pass dams on their way to the ocean as juveniles or back from the ocean as adults, and altered natural habitats would be of minor consequence because so many fish would be spawned artificially at the hatcheries. 
Sounds pretty simplistic doesn't it? Remember that all of this took place before the Columbia river hydro-electric dams were built and needless to say they changed the game completely.
Lichatowich goes on to say...
In reality, there was no critical examination of the impacts of hatcheries on wild fish. The extent of success or failure simply was not known. Few questioned the opinion of the U.S. Fish Commission, even though it was hardly unbiased on the question and even though, at the time, only two hatcheries were operating on the West Coast. It did not matter. Hatcheries were political tools to assuage powerful fishing interests as much as they were fish farms. Hatcheries produced fish; fish produced commercial fishing opportunities; fishing opportunities put people to work. Hatchery fish even were planted in some rivers to win political favor from elected officials.
Fast forward to 1938 and many of the dams were being built. The dams acted as a barricade to the upstream migration of spawning adult salmon and blocked the downstream migration of ocean going salmon smolt.
The solution to this? The Mitchell Act.
Simply put the Mitchell Act was put in place by the US Congress to mitigate for the loss of those salmon caused by the dams.
In the years since the Mitchell Act came to be we became addicted to the hatchery product! Not only commercially but recreational as well. We got so used to mega returns of salmon that in truth we became, in druggie vernacular, strung out on hatchery salmon like a junkie is strung out on heroin.
Sports anglers came to Oregon in the millions to experience the legendary runs of Chinook and coho salmon. Sports fishing fleets filled marinas from Coos Bay to Warrenton and up the Columbia in search of a salmonid bonanza. Huge commercial fleets plied their trade in the ocean and into the Columbia itself.
There seemed to be no end to the salmon cornucopia and the economies of communities on the lower Columbia and along the coast were driven by the returning salmon.
Of course the wild spawning Chinook and coho, along with wild steelhead got lost in the boom and little notice was given to this until it was too late.
The old cliché of "What goes up must come down" paid a visit to this party and the runs, both wild and hatchery, crashed and the salmon orgy was over. The wild salmon and steelhead runs were damaged beyond repair and no longer could state fish and wildlife agencies blitz the Columbia with hatchery smolt because of budget constraints and the Endangered Species Act.
Unfortunately the salmon appetite of the commercial and sports fishermen was not sated. The rancor and posturing of both groups became heated to the point of near violence because neither wanted to give ground and do what is right for the resource.
These "Salmon Wars" continue to this very day with a lot of finger pointing and political maneuvering. Wild salmon and their habitat are still kicked to the curb in the name of fair allocation.
I've distanced myself from these "wars". I like to compare it to a couple of selfish brothers  fighting for the last pork chop at the dinner table. A few  groups have come on the scene saying they are going to save the wild salmon...bullshit! Sure they want to save the salmon from the greedy gill nets only so they can have more for themselves.I would invite any of you to attend public meetings where the subject of catch allocations is the topic. You will see greed and base human nature like you have probably never seen before.
True conservation groups, like Native Fish Society, and their efforts have been vilified in the process.
The hatchery system will be with us for as long as there is a salmon left to fight over. Minimal protections for wild salmon and steelhead will continue to be compromised and watered down for the "best interest of the angling sport" and for the sake of "Angling opportunities"
"Angling opportunities" is a clever euphemism used by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for maximum exploitation of a dwindling supply of fish in order to sell licenses to support a bloated bureaucracy like ODFW. Past winters have seen some decent returns of hatchery steelhead into the Columbia and coastal rivers of this state but it also saw a orgy of greed, ignorance and repulsive behavior by so call sports fishermen.
When will it all come crashing down in an Armageddon of user groups? Maybe next year, maybe not in my lifetime but you can bet it will come crashing down eventually if things don't change. It may not be one cataclysmic crash but a death by a thousand tiny cuts.
Sensible hatchery reform is needed! I am not talking an ending of hatchery salmon and steelhead but a common sense approach to filling the need for a recreational harvest and wild salmonid conservation.
Until that happens we are doing little more than treading water.

Friday, September 02, 2016

The Solitary Angler

I like to fish alone. I find fishing to be much more enjoyable fishing by myself. After my last fishing partner moved away I decided to devote my river time to myself. My last fishing partner was a great guy to fish with and probably the best I ever had.
In fairness I make no oaths as to what kind of fishing partner I am. Maybe I am a huge pain in the ass! Never heard that from any fishing partner but who knows?
So as I look back on the 43 years I have fished in the states of Oregon and Washington I reminisce about the guys I've partnered up with to chase salmon, steelhead  and trout.
Here are some of the reasons I do fish alone these days.
1.Chronic lateness by fishing partner
2.Selfish "It's all about me" attitude
3.No concept of time and fishing etiquette.
4.Constantly forgetting gear and depending on me to cover for it
5.No regard for my physical disabilities and limitations
6.Constant derisive comments
These are just some of the things that lead me to the conclusion that I am my best fishing partner.
I can come and go as I please. When I come to a spot I don't feel good about I can just move on. If I don't want to stop at some brew pub and wait for hours (literally) for my food to arrive I don't have to.
I derive a lot of pleasure from my fly fishing and I don't like that pleasure lessened by some one else idiosyncrasies. It's sounds selfish I know, but in my senior years it's just the way it has to be.
I once fished with a guy that complained about the previous trips he had been on and the people who, in their generosity, had invited him along...amazing.
I got him into his first really big Chinook. I also got him into a few steelhead. You know what? He bitched about me to someone else and it got back to me so I never wet a line with him again.
Maybe somewhere there is a former fishing partner of mine bitching to someone about me. Well more power to them and maybe they should fish alone as well. There was a time in the distant past where I wouldn't think of fishing by myself! Maybe it was a lack of self confidence or whatever but that changed gradually to the point that it's my preferred way.
Now don't  get me wrong. There are times when a fishing partner comes in mighty handy.
Last summer I found myself stuck in the muck of the Deschutes river up to my waist and could not free myself. I had to yell at passing vehicles going by on the Maupin access road until one finally stopped and dragged my stupid butt out of the mud. I was never in any danger of sinking below the mud but I was indeed stuck fast with night approaching. A fishing partner nearby would have made this an easy fix.
I know my wife would prefer me fishing with someone for my own protection as she often asks where I will be fishing that day. I remark "Why do you want to know? Do you need a place to start looking for my body should I not come home?"
At this stage of my life I can be picky about my fishing time. Long gone are the days of "Damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead" philosophy. I would fish with any warm body that would take me fishing, especially when I was just learning.
Who knows? Maybe someday I will once again find the right partner.
As for now I fish alone.

To quote Norman Maclean -

"Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and now of course I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn’t. Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise."

Monday, June 13, 2016

Riviere des Chutes

I've often written about the Deschutes on this blog and some may think too much. Perhaps they are right but perhaps they are the ones who either have never visited this river or have visited and never embraced it as only a fly fisherman can. To think of the Deschutes as only a means to catch fish is terribly sad and I think one must look deeper into all this river is in order to love it like I and so many others have.
The Deschutes is mysterious in that you can never know it's moods and can always be surprised at things you see along the river and it's canyon.For instance the wind that blows through the canyon can be both exhilarating and frustrating at the same time and the mystery is that it comes up instantly like some one just turned on a giant fan up or down the canyon.
When I was first learning to cast a two-handed fly rod I of course did not know anything about casting off of the opposite shoulder. So when clumsily trying to execute a double or single spey cast off of my right shoulder and with a strong upriver wind no less you can just guess the results.....frustration but fortunately no hooks in the face.
Other times the stiff fall breeze of the canyon can make you realize how lucky we are to have beauty like this and to be alive.
I am not a spiritual person in the biblical sense but to me there is something holy about the Deschutes. Please do not ask me to expand on this notion because I cannot but the river, the fish and the canyon can be likened to some kind of holy trinity to the fly fisherman.
At the end of the Macks Canyon access road is an ancient native American burial ground. The indigenous tribes of central Oregon knew that the river spirit dwelled in that place and used it for their most sacred of places to bury their dead.
There are hieroglyphs on the rocks above the river at various locations and while Lewis and Clark's Corp of Discovery paid little attention to this "riviere des chutes" it was obviously a special place to these people.
The railroad that is as much a part of the Deschutes canyon has a history all it's own and adds to the legend of the river.The men that worked for competing railroad companies have added their names to the story of this river.
The lonely train whistle that has echoed up and down the canyon for so many years tells their story which is a unique part of Oregon's history.
The Deschutes can scare the hell out of you too!It's a most intimidating kind of place like no river I've known. From it's numerous class IV rapids to it's rattlesnakes and just the ruggedness of the canyon is something that one should respect and not take for granted. The wading can be best described as treacherous and this river is not for the unprepared or careless! It can and will take your life the minute you take it for granted like any river can.
The rattlesnakes are not really that dangerous but you must pay attention to ones surroundings and the wildlife that inhabit the Deschutes while visiting this river.
Nothing comes easy on this river. Not the fish, not the access and not the knowledge of it's soul.
Most of all this river is wonderful. There is nothing more exciting than coming around that corner before you get to Maupin and you see the river for the first time. As Meriwether Lewis exclaimed at seeing the Pacific ocean for the first time "Oh The Joy"
It's like that reunion with a loved one that you have not seen in a long time or the happiness that one feels when coming home after a long journey. Approaching the thin blue ribbon hundreds of feet below, your heartbeat quickens as it would at the blush of seeing a lover after he/she has been absent.
The Deschutes is at the very least wonderful and there are many other adjectives that could be used in the description and emotion involved with this magical place.
There is the longing you feel to return after you've spent a too short visit to the Deschutes.
I cannot wait to return.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Are Your Waders Trying To Kill You?

Link   What is living in your waders?

Good advice from the folks at Gink. Here is my own experience with dirty waders from 2014
Not trying to sell any product here but this scenario actually happened to me in 2014 while out fishing with someone new,I fell hard on a rock and scrapped a pretty good size wound on my shin through my waders.The waders were not torn at all. My shin ballooned to the size of a melon in seconds. The knucklehead I was with had taken off upstream and even though there was cell coverage in the area he had left his phone in his vehicle so I just had to wait until he came back downstream.
Got home and cleaned the wound as best I could. Although the swelling went down the wound got worse and after a visit to my doctor I was on antibiotics for a nasty staph infection. An infection that could have cost me my leg had I not acted.
The first round of antibiotics were ineffective. The second round of more powerful meds did the job but made me sick to my stomach. It took a solid two months for my leg to heal.I have a scar from the whole affair.
So what did I learn here? Oh yeah come to find out we were fishing in closed waters.
1.Don't fish with a knucklehead who will leave you high and dry.
2..Make sure you are fishing in open waters
3.Do not use wading shoes with studded, winter time soles in the summer
4.Clean out the inside of your waders...outside too! They are breeding grounds for bacteria.
5.Go to the doctor at the first sign of trouble.

This was the outcome of a slip on the river that could have cost me my left leg. This was day one and the infection had not totally set in yet.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Of Briar Pipes and Bamboo Rods - A Day on the Deschutes

I had all my gear ready to head east for a day on the Deschutes river. I had every intention of getting an early start....really. I envisioned rolling into Maupin before sunrise. You believe that don't you? Yeah I also envisioned jogging ten miles and eating a micro-biotic diet while fitting into my spandex yoga pants! In other words it just ain't gonna happen.
I did head east though, with the Deschutes as my destination. I got a late start of course but kept telling myself I would "catch the evening hatch" which really means I couldn't get my over fed old ass out the door.
But head east I did!  I stopped by the Fly Shop in Welches as a matter of ritual. Leaving with a trout Spey rod.
When I got to the river it was near perfect. Good height and clarity and no wind! My favorite haunt along the access road yielded a nice rainbow and one other "drive by" but the hooked fish put the hole down for a bit and I moved on.
The legendary salmon fly hatch was still at least a week away with a few crawlers in the trees but nothing in flight.
I decided to take my "new" old Wright and McGill Granger bamboo rod with my comfortably patinated Hardy Perfect. A really nice combo actually.
I documented my love for cane rods for many years here ad nauseum.  A bamboo fly rod is wonderful in it's tradition and feel. Not for everyone though. Fishing bamboo takes the right attitude in my opinion and not everyone is bamboo worthy. also in my opinion. There is a hell of a lot of tradition in fishing bamboo and that sentiment is lost on a lot of people.
I once traded a bamboo rod to a young man who seemed bamboo worthy but was not. He attached a strike indicator to it and that is when karma caught up with him! He broke the rod on the first fish! Serves him right and I offered him no sympathy whatsoever.

I am not sure bamboo fly rods and the Deschutes river are totally compatible. The Deschutes is a big wild river. The wind can be fierce at times. Finesse is not a word that goes with the  Deschutes when the wind decides to make an appearance.. Sometimes it's just "chuck and duck" and hope for the best if the wind is howling.
Well the Deschutes canyon wind was not a sentimentalist when it came to bamboo so I put away the W&M in favor of something more synthetic.
The limited bite was pretty much over by that time and the trout weren't in the mood for anything on the surface. I called it a day about an hour before sunset as a howling wind insisted I leave.
One last bowlful of Tradewinds pipe tobacco in my well used briar pipe then home I went.
I especially enjoy the ride home through such places as Pine Grove, Zig Zag and Sandy. At times I have to dodge wild turkeys and deer in the sage and Ponderosa pine forest before I get to Goverment Camp on the road home.
It's hard to remember ever having a bad day on the "River of Wind" in all the years I've fished it. Heck, even the time I got stuck in the mud and couldn't get out wasn't that bad of a trip.
I surely feel fortunate to live in a state that has a river like the Deschutes, We here in Oregon are blessed to have many beautiful trout and steelhead rivers withing our borders.
It's kind of funny that when fishing rivers of legendary reputation you speak in a hushed tone when talking to someone. This is especially true along the Metolius. Rivers are cathedrals of nature aren't they?  I think so at least and if you only think of a river, any river, as a means to an end then you don't really get it.
I believe that fly fishing is the purest angling that there is. Think about it for a minute. You have the line, the leader and the fly. Pretty basic and simple right? Your arm is just an extension of this basic connection. No need for bells and whistles in my opinion.
I will never use a strike indicator for my fly fishing. In my humble opinion it just ruins the whole thing. Now I realize that this might make some angry and defensive....that is not my intention. It just does not seems to fit in the whole zen of it all. I am not suggesting that indicators are unethical either. They are just not for me and take me back to my gear days of waiting for a float to dip under the surface. So just stating my preference.
Warmer river temperatures have interfered with the hatches below the Pelton regulating dam to the point that some hatches have all but disappeared.
Wanted more information on this? Click on this link Deschutes River Alliance.
I figure if you love and care about a river then you do all you can to defend it.
Sadly the Deschutes as we once knew is no more. I started fishing this river in 1974 and have seen the changes over the years. The salmon fly hatch is weeks early because of warmer water coming out of the dam. The crane fly hatch is gone as is many of the may fly hatches. Hopefully it's not too late to save the Deschutes. Maybe wiser heads will prevail...maybe.
I will keep coming back though, if for no other reason than to remember all the good times I had here. To remember all the friends I fished with on this river. Some of those friends are now gone. Just like the river I once knew.

The Quiet Pool is almost 10 years old! Can you believe that this blog has gone on that long? In those 10 years I've shared just about everything with the few of you that actually read my drivel. I hope I've made a few of you laugh and think with what I've written. As you can guess I am passionate about fly fishing and wild fish. I make no apologies for anything I've written here. I've made special effort to be accurate and factual.
I deeply appreciate you following along.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Fly Fishing Overrated - Underrated

I'll just dive right in.

Huge internet fishing forums - They have accomplished little more than putting crowds on our favorite rivers. They are populated by people who want instant angling gratification.

Deschutes River steelhead - I love this river more than any other but face it! The legendary Deschutes summer steelhead are little more than a bunch of cookie cutter hatchery clones....sad

Indicators - Just buy a spinning rod....nuff said!

Cheap fly equipment - Not trying to sound elitist here but putting a bunch of unlearned beginners with cheap rod, line and reel set-ups is setting them up for failure..

Steelhead broodstock programs - No matter how gear guides try to spin it this is nothing more than making hatchery fish out of wild fish. It only benefits the few but we all pay for it.

Fly fishing for carp - Just seeing if John Montana is paying attention here.

Self styled internet fly fishing philosophers - Huh?

Fishing vests - They make these with too many pockets in order to frustrate us old guys.

Barbed hooks - Look guys the information is out there so why take a chance at hurting a wild fish?

Winter - Chekov was full of shit!

Pictures of fish - So how many 8 lb. steelhead do we need to see? Show me something unique or a picture of a kids first fish or something original and for God's sake get that rod out of your mouth!

Fly fishing for bonefish or tarpon in some place warm - It's over rated because I don't have the money to do it!

Marabou - It's fine if you can find good quality feathers but just try to find good quality feathers locally.

Hatchery anything - Just a poor substitute for real fish.

Fly fishing for Chinook salmon - Kind of like reeling in a log

Fly fishing for Chum salmon - Just leave them alone guys

Okay let's talk about


Metolius River - It's probably not underrated but I had to get it on this post anyway.

Warm summers - Like I said I'll never bitch about the heat again. With the coast a mere 50 miles away I can escape the heat. Escaping the cold involves flying away to  somewhere tropical.

Releasing wild fish - If you are not doing it you should be!

Not catching fish - Hey I do it all the time so it must be a good thing huh?

Fly fishing with two-handed rods - This is a God send to steelheaders

Good pipe tobacco and good single malt scotch - Cutty Sark just don't cut it.

Regal fly tying vise - Excellent for those big winter steelhead flies.

Any river with wild fish - This is a no brainer and I'm sure you guys won't disagree.

Bamboo fly rods - Cannot say it enough

Cutthroat trout - My favorite trout on a fly

So that's it! Please feel free to add your own and I will post them.

Tuesday, March 08, 2016

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 Los Angeles 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, who parked  a homer just a few rows below us during a game.
The voice of Dodger Vin Scully was  and still is a major part of my life.

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!

Friday, January 22, 2016

An Angler in Autumn

I have decided to take "The Quiet Pool" in a different direction, or should I say an old direction.
When I started this blog back in 2006 my desire was for it to be a place to write my inner most thoughts about this piscatorial pursuit that I love. I feel some of my best postings have been when I wrote in that vain.
I went from writing fly fishing prose to being fly fishing's angry old man. I ranted and raved at every inequity and slight that offended me, there was plenty to be offended about in my mind. I informed you readers about what was going on with the sorry plight of wild trout, steelhead and salmon and I correctly had reason for such offenses.
I was sometimes brutal in my assessment of the wrong of what state fish and wildlife agencies were doing and I believed this and still do,
The thing is that there are plenty of places throughout the internet and especially social media like o find out what is going on with our wild resources. I run a group on Facebook called For the Love of Wild Fish that is specially for information about our wild fish and the water they inhabit.
The Quiet Pool is going to be about fly fishing and everything that makes fly fishing beautiful. I will write about my experiences on the river and with the wild trout and steelhead I love so much.
I am weary of beating the conservation dead horse. Yes, it's important and should be discussed but "The Quiet Pool" is not going to be the place. 
This is my personal journal of my fly fishing life so that is what it's going to be.
I may recycle a few old posts that I wrote in the past to help the process along. I will be sharing the things that are dearest to me, 
As I've grown older I cannot do the things I once did. The water seems colder, the hills steeper and the rivers wider. I have to measure all I do on the river as I usually fish alone because I just cannot tolerate other anglers quirks and I'm too old to learn any different. This is how I want it. I want to write about the delights of a bamboo rod or a fine old Hardy reel. I want to share my triumphs and failures with a Spey rod and the wonders of my recent trip to Scotland and Ireland.
I don't have a large following on this blog and that is the way I have always wanted it to be. I have no desire to make any money from this blog either....too much work.
I want to go to that "Quiet Pool" of my dreams and relax beside it and marvel at the many things that make a river different from any other.
There is a time and place to fight for our wild resource but that is for another place and you can bet I will be involved. There are many battles yet to come but I want to reserve this place, with it's bad punctuation and all the warts it has to record my thoughts, if not for anyone but for myself.
I appreciate everyone who has come here in the almost 10 years I have been doing this blog. I consider each and every one of you my friends,
I would like to especially thank Erik Helm for his friendship and inspiration. Erik you are a true artist with words,
So here we go folks. no rants or raves or anger just peace, serenity and fly fishing.