Wednesday, August 16, 2017
And the hits keep on coming.
Idaho Fish and Wildlife commissioners voted yesterday to eliminate the catch and kill element to the 2017 fall and winter steelhead season. Ladies and gentlemen, this run of fish we are in is HISTORICALLY bad, with current counts sitting in the 10% of the 10 year average at best.
The move to eliminate bag limits is the low hanging fruit of changes that were on the table. The forecast is so low that many thought that and continue to think that a system wide closure is warranted.
Fishing the Clearwater as early as mid July through the end of September has always been a staple of the yearly activities when it comes to our steelhead season. As I've watched the continued shittiness of the dam counts, I'm left with this continued feeling of a deflated balloon.
The crippling effects of the 2015 and 2016 low water years for smolt outmigration and the North Pacific Blob have come home to roost. How long it's going to take for the fish to recover from these haymakers is unknown, but thankfully we had much better outmigration conditions this spring and early summer. Additionally the hot water patch that destroyed the food chain in their feeding grounds is gone so with better conditions, hopefully the rebound is quick
Which brings me back to this year, and the questions it continually brings to my mind
Why didnt the IDFW commissioners put tackle restrictions in effect? AKA, get rid of bait which has a much deeper impact on fish mortality.
With fall Chinook opening on the Clearwater soon for retention, dont they think there's going to be a heavy impact on the steelhead stock?
What is Washington Fish and Game managers going to do to be proactive with these fish?
What morally is right for me?
Big questions to a crap situation. Welcome to the 2017 steelhead season on the Columbia and Snake tributaries....it's fantastic.
Friday, August 11, 2017
What a weird summer it's been, and my mood sucks...
Maybe it's the news cycle that's constantly bringing up the office of the president and his perpetual folly. I've never seen so much horse shit in my life.
Maybe for the first time in my life I've actually thought about nuclear war
Could it be that the Department of the Interior Secretary rode into office proclaiming his love of the Roosevelt legacy, only to institute a review of 27 national monuments, threatening our public land.
Oh, the same guy is making it easier for extractive resource companies to do bidness on public lands and along with the orange guy in charge, has reignited the possibility of the Pebble Mine.
Perhaps its 15 days straight of temps over 90 degrees, mixed with a lung and eye burning smoke that seems to have wrapped my home town and most of the west into a cocoon....
What about the fact we have a state representative in Cathy McMorris Rodgers leading the charge to put our heads back in the sand with her bill HR 3144 thats trying to protect the lower 4 Snake River dams. Sure, lets put a Columbia River Bi-Op that's been roundly rejected in court time after time. Sure, lets cut springtime spill on the rivers that give smolt a fighting chance to get to the ocean. Sure, lets sidestep the public process that just registered hundreds of thousands of comments in the fall that was court ordered to engage constituents in looking for a new route forward on the Snake and Columbia....
I bet it has something to do with a historically bad summer steelhead return on the Columbia and it's tributaries. A lot to do with it. We're talking a year where you you might not make 100,000 fish on the entire system where the 10 year average is approaching 300,000. This is the time of year I normally get so amped for my favorite chase and now I feel a bit hollow. Looking at daily run counts is like a punch in the gut.
Call it the summer of discontent. I cannot wait for the first rains of fall to get rid of this smoke, clear the air and give me a better picture forward. It's hard for a normally positive person like myself to stare at all this crap and stand by the notion that it's going to work out for the best.
Because it has to.
My route forward through this shit comes in the fact that I know what I am standing for. I will buoy my spirits in the fight for wild fish and wild, public lands. There's no other way around it.
So if you're like me....I encourage you to do the same
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Run to your vices boys and girls, and gets to cranking
Swing The Fly Magazine is hosting a new fly tying contest centered around bugs you swing for trout.
It can be a small soft hackle, a big arse streamer, tube or intruder. Whatever you love to entice trout with a down and across swing is eligible. Contest goes through August 25th and you can submit up to 2 flies for consideration
There's some great gear up for grabs for the winning bug. First place takes home a Redington Hydrogen Trout Spey, a sweet little stick if I do say so myself.
Check out more about the contest from STF Magazine. Happy wrapping!
Wednesday, August 2, 2017
The challenge has now been thrown. The chips are on the table.
When Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke instituted the review of 27 national monuments to see if they should be reduced, modified or left alone, he kicked the hornets nest.
The man came into office extolling his admiration of Teddy Roosevelt and a lover of public lands, but his actions speak much louder than his party driven policies and words
Hunting and fishing groups were cautiously optimistic about his appointment, as other candidates for the position were many times worse from a public lands perspective. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the initial front runner for the job is all about public land divestiture so when Zinke was appointed we all let out a small sigh of relief
Turns out that sigh of relief wasnt long lasting.
Back in October of 2015 I was fortunate to travel back to Washington DC to lobby with Backcountry Hunters and Anglers in support of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, another institution that was and still is under attack from people who back public land disposal.
At a breakfast with congressmen and senators at the Department of Agriculture, I watched and listened to supporters of the LWCF including Zinke extol their support of our public lands.
I'm standing next to Zinke in the above picture. I felt proud to have met him and others in that room.
Today, I am just disappointed in the track this is all going.
Zinke's national monument review threatens our heritage.
You have to let him and his office know where you stand on the fate of our public lands.
No more double talk, no more BS. We are all public land owners.
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers is leading the charge to let Zinke know how we feel. I am very proud to be a part of this group that shines the light on this issue and pulls no punches in the fight. It's not like there's more land being created or streams being born. We have what we have now and cannot afford to let any of it go.
Join the cause today.
Saturday, July 29, 2017
Monday, July 24, 2017
Photo Credit-Brian Chou
The Evening Hatch's annual 2 Hander Day is coming up quick, August 12th.
Superior instruction begins at 930am at the Klickitat Community Center and Town Pool with a jam packed schedule of speakers like Jack Mitchell, Brian Chou, Brian Syskal, Zack Williams and more
Expert or beginner, it's a day that everyone will learn something and have a chance to look, touch and feel offerings from many different brands in the industry and also see what's going on with non profits like Soul River
After a day of on river instruction and fishing, join the crew at the Steelhead Ranch just 15 minutes away for an evening of bbq and fishing movies under the stars
Register today via their online link HERE.
Friday, July 21, 2017
The skated mouse pattern fluttered across the frog water, and right before it hit the fast seam a violent slash took it down
OMR's 6 wt taco'd over and we thought we had the fish of the trip. Target species that is.
Through a set of bolder gardens he kept up the fight until I was able to find a bank to pull over and allow him to put the screws to the fish.
As it came closer, we knew something was up. It was target un-aquired.
Still it was the biggest northern pikeminnow we had ever seen on this river. Native, it should be there unlike the interlopers we were after
So we put away the initial disappointment, hooted, hollered and celebrated the 24 inch native brought to the net.