Friday, August 9, 2019
The fox is in the henhouse
That's the only way to describe the appointment of William Pendley by the Trump administration to lead the Bureau of Land Management.
An extreme W. T. F. ?
You see, Pendley is a vocal proponent of the government selling all the public lands in the west. His interpretation of the constitution gives him the belief that only states should be able to own land and the federal government shouldnt.
This guy is no ally to public land users. This is no supporter of hunters, backpackers, mt. bikers, river runners and fisherman. He's not in the corner of the ability of parking your truck on the road and hiking for miles because that's the right of every public land user in the country.
This guy is special interest through and through
Seeing this appointment is another indication that we are living in the bizzaro world of The Trump administration. Why in the world would you appoint someone to this post who's stated goal or aspiration is dismantlement?
I'll let you decide that one.
It's time to contact your elected officials and tell them to reject this appointment. It's still the good ol' USA and we have the power of the collective voice to express opposition.
Be heard ladies and gents...be heard.
Backcountry Hunters and Anglers has a simple form set up to help you voice your opinion.
MAKE IT HAPPEN...
Monday, July 29, 2019
There was a time when I had zero confidence in such a fly.
It hadnt happened yet.
When you're fishing for steelhead, someone's bound to tell you..."try a muddler"
For all the times I personally heard the suggestion, those muddlers I had stared back at me with zero confidence.
Then it happened. The rod was damn near ripped out of my hand and at that point I got it. Muddler takes are savage. Nibbles are not involved....
Now, muddlers moved into heavy rotation. Amazing what a few fish can do to your confidence in one fly or another.
Another reminder, it's all in our minds....
Thursday, July 18, 2019
There's a ramshackle old trailer on a bench just above the Grande Ronde river in SE Washington that I've passed by countless times as our raft goes by the property. The structure is almost flattened, a den now for snakes and countless mice. It's on the opposite side of the river that the road runs and I've always pondered how in the world they got that gigantic old 1950s era trailer to that side of the river.
Barge? Unknown road? Who knows?
For the first time, we stopped our boat on the beach below the trailer and I did a bit of exploring.
I imagined what it was like to tend the property. To live through some blazing hot summers and conversely, brutally cold winters where the river freezes up bank to bank. Living independently and with purpose.
But what really brought a chuckle and a smile to my face was the old "2 Holer"
This guy and or gal was living one hell of a life. I challenge you to find a shitter with a better view to and from doing your business.
Wednesday, July 10, 2019
The Swing of Things from Creekside Media on Vimeo.
What a great video by my buddy Travis Bradford of Creekside media. He's a soulful fella who puts his heart into his projects and it shows.
Tell me a story and I'm in. This does it. Have fun and sink into a great six and a half minutes.
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Trout Season - The Misfit Saviors from Sage Fly Fish on Vimeo.
Have a watch at this amazing little video on what fly fishing can do for your life.
Bryan Gregson is a friend. He's a leader in the community of artistic expression in the sport and one hell of dude.
Head down, always working, always on adventure creating content that collectively make people's mouth drop in wonder.
I sit back and watch how our little sport can be so transformative to so many people. We're out there devoting our lives to catching these small brained creatures when it's really process of how we go about it that defines the life we live.
I love it. I love this film short. Without being weird, I'd like to also say I love this dude who provides so much soul to fly fishing.
Cheers BG, cheers....
Thursday, June 13, 2019
Monday, June 3, 2019
There's an insidious problem effecting deer and deer hunting across North America right now
Chronic Wasting Disease, the deer cousin of Mad Cow Disease has a bit of the feeling of the "Nothing" in the old 80's flick The Never Ending Story. As much as fish and game departments try to stop it's advancement to new states, especially in the West, we as a collective cant seem to find a way to stop it.
Well, enter a small T shirt company committed to funding conservation measures and a concerned outdoorsman. This pairing is providing a small way forward in this fight to stop the advancement of this disease.
Last Year, Hunt To Eat funded a program in Wisconsin to help Doug Duren install dumpsters across his region in the state in the effort to collect infected deer carcasses. Infected deer, if left on the ground post harvest cause a spread of CWD as their body decomposes.
In 2018's season, Wisconsin hunters disposed of over 1400 remains of deer carcasses in the dumpsters, taking off an estimated 240+ animals that tested positive for the prions that cause CWD.
Neighboring state Minnesota noticed the program and their legislature wrote a $50,000 check for a similar program.
Change starts small. In this case, a concerned local hunter saw a problem and took it upon himself to start something that pushed forward toward a solution.
Through a partnership with a upstart clothing and conservation company like Hunt To Eat, it allowed the hunter to pilot a program that proved way bigger than Mr. Duren originally thought.
Pretty amazing. By shopping at a company that is conservation focused, you can be the change you want to see out there.
What's your change you want to see in the outdoor and conservation world?
Thursday, May 23, 2019
My good buddy Gerald met him and said plainly....
"Dude, there are angels amongst us, and that guy is one"
That dude is Eduardo Garcia...
Mr. Garcia has an amazing life story, centering around his life transforming accident of being electrocuted whilst out elk hunting in Montana
His movie Charged is a required watch. Amazing story of the fight we all have within us when faced with a ridiculous and unasked for challenge
Recently Hal Herring, host of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Podcast and Blast had Eduardo on his show to tell his story.
What I am struck by is the gratitude, humility and curiosity that seems to exude from this man who almost had his life taken away by a freak accident, only to rise to the challenge and treat life like the opportunity it is
Have a listen, you're going to be nothing but impacted for the better....
Friday, May 17, 2019
Dammed to Extinction Trailer from Dammed to Extinction on Vimeo.
What a film....
For year's I have focused on the fish aspect of the lower 4 Snake River Dams, without a ton of thought of the impact that they have aside of salmon and steelhead. Last night I had the opportunity to take in what these deadbeat dams are doing to another form of charismatic megafauna, the Southern Resident Killer Whales
The whales are starving because of the lack of Chinook salmon, of which much of them come from the Snake River Basin. Skinny and emaciated Orcas are visible in the Southern Pod and many are not reproducing because of their lack of calories I am not a whale enthusiast, but you'd have to be one cold S.O.B. to not feel this tragedy happening before our very eyes
Not down on the fish reason to take the dams out?
Dont care that billions on billions are being wasted on salmon and steelhead mitigation efforts that aren't working?
Very "meh" about economic development of the Lewiston Clarkston valley? Could give a rip about how 75-90% of the shipping has left the river, and what is left has $21,000 in taxpayer subsidy dollars attached to every barge that leaves Lewiston?
Ambivalent about treaty rights of Native American tribes?
Then take a peak at what these dams are doing to these whales Get involved at the Dammed to Extinction Web Site
Thursday, May 9, 2019
Washington, Minnesota and Texas.
Oregon, Nebraska and Colorado.
Michigan, Indiana, Kansas and Wyoming. Maybe a little bit of Alaska, but she's always moving and we're not sure where to put her.
12 people came together under the tent of community and conservation. This wild gathering of folks had never met in this form and instantly, we all knew we were in the midst of our tribe.
The Hunt To Eat brand had brought us together as ambassadors to the brand at the 2019 Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Rendezvous in Boise, ID and the funny thing was how fast we bonded.
A deep and immediate bond over the shared connection of the deep love of the collective rivers and woods in our country and abroad. The hunt and sharing our bounty with all around us.
We had lifelong hunters and fishermen, we have adult onset hunters and everything in between. Women on the same level ground as men and in fact are probably 10 times the big game hunter as me....
I recently harvested a wild turkey in Washington state and brought the smoked breasts to the gathering and shared them in a late night session of brews and conversation.
As the tasty treat was served, the whole crew and everyone in our Air B&B came to enjoy it and to me served as a microcosm of what hunting and fishing can do with building community. People come together over shared experience and a meal and forge bonds that last in perpetuity.
I may be waxing poetic, but this Wild Gathering fostered by Hunt To Eat brought some amazing people together and I believe that the same can be done anywhere. Engage in what Rinella calls "Venison Diplomacy" and share your love for the outdoors and conservation. Everyone's welcome at the table no matter experience, age, gender or past experience in the sports we love so much.
There's a collective binding power of the outdoors, and guess what....there's always a seat at the table.
Thursday, April 25, 2019
Shhhh, can you keep a secret?
From time to time, some of my best outdoor gear scores have come from Craigslist. A couple of Hardy fly reels for less than $60 bucks, fly tying collections for pennies on the dollar and so on. It's remarkable to see what is offered, and honestly with regard to fly fishing especially many dont know the value of what they're selling.
The same could probably be said for anything, but instead of going city to city on Craigslist in search of what you're looking for I have a new weapon for your quest to find the outdoor gear of your dreams
Searchtempest is a Craigslist aggregator, where you set your zip code, choose your radius from there and enter your search terms and boom...the work is done for you.
I can search 25 cities inventory for fly tying materials in less than 5 minutes. It's amazing
Happy searching, I hope you find what you're looking for.
Monday, April 15, 2019
Be prepared for witty repartee, enlightened thinking and civility
I should know better.
Nobody ever wins these types of battle, but sometimes I cant help myself and some good old fashion trolling is in order.
This particular pro lower 4 snake river dams page is sad. Same time tested and debunked myths about the lower 4 snake dams. Their need for irrigation, for flood control, their role in the power grid and many others trotted out as fact.
As a reminder, these particular dams were put online to serve to make Lewiston and or Clarkston a glowing city on the hill. A mega inland seaport with tremendous economic might. Not for flood control, not to optimize electricity production, not for water retention and irrigation purposes
They were made to enhance the Snake to Columbia as a shipping route. Electricity was an afterthought.
So the reason they were built no longer makes economic sense. What now?
Container and barge traffic down 70-90%. Ratepayers (aka, all of us) on the hook for billions in Salmon and Steelhead mitigation costs (read, hatcheries and dam passage improvements) . Lewiston and Clarkston not growing and economically stagnant. Salmon and Steelhead stocks on the continue trend to extinction.
There's a hundred other reasons why the lower 4 Snake dams no longer make sense.
Dam proponents want to lump all the Columbia and Snake dams into one category. We have to separate the Snake dams away from the power producers like Bonneville, John Day, McNary and the like. Nobody is asking for their removal. They ARE important to the power grid.
Again, I couldnt help myself. Guess it's time to move to Seattle.
Saturday, April 6, 2019
Photo courtesy of the Chinook Observer
In an apparent decision where they must think it's 1919, not 2019, the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission voted to bring back gill nets for the fall Chinook seasons on the lower Columbia river....
AND, if that wasn't enough, reversed a 2013 decision to that banned barbed hooks for Salmon and Steelhead fishing.
The 2013 plan was to have phased out the non selective fishery by now but, whoops, they cant get it right so their apparent plan is to throw their hands up in the air, say screw it and go back to nets and barbs.
The collective head of the conservation community is shaking it's head in disgust.
So when the cupbords are near bare...
When the runs are crashing in the past 5 years..
When we have a harvest method that is indiscriminate in what fish it takes amongst stocks of ESA protected salmon and steelhead stocks..
When we already have issues with predation from things like sea lions..
When the steelhead run up the Columbia was the worst we've seen in 50+ years..
Apparently that was the right time to institute regressive policies like nets and barbs
For the people who think that nets arent a big deal. Go watch as they are pulled up. Are they taking just the target species or are you seeing bycatch?
For the people who think barbs dont cause undo stress on fish we're going to release, let me stick a barbed hook in your ear and tell me there's no difference in it's holding power...
Barbs do their job, they stay where they're supposed to. The difference between removing a barbed vs de-barbed involves more effort, more handling and more stress on wild fish.
And if you're relying on a barb to make you a better fisherman, too bad Charlie. The fish wasnt supposed to be yours then.
Photo courtesy of Eric Barker and The Lewiston Morning Tribune.
These decisions are regressive. They serve special interests and not the river or the fish's interest and therefore we're shooting ourselves in the collective foot.
Wake up Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission. Wake the hell up.....
The Fish Trap from North Fork Studios on Vimeo.
Instead of returning to failed policies of yesteryear, how about fully considering something like this?
An apt quote from the best movie ever, The Big Lebowski surely applies here....
"Her fate is in OUR hands dude, her fate is in OUR hands"
Wednesday, March 27, 2019
A good friend recently said to me, "There's nothing better than the hope of a new bird dog"
A more true statement there isnt.
The puppy breath and teeth, grabbing ahold of everything and anything in it's wake
The crazy enthusiasm of first retrieves and smelling a pheasant wing for the first time
All new, all exciting, all holding hope for the future of great times afield
I feel like a new father again, complete with the 2am bathroom breaks and eventual playtime at 5am.
Annie will be my children's first experience with puppyhood. Their first chance to see a puppy grow into a member of the family and accompaniment in the field.
The hope for the future is overflowing. How exciting it all is.
Wednesday, March 20, 2019
Every once and a while, you can really strike gold on the interwebz.
For pennies, I was delivered a treasure trove of angling history, with 6 issues of the massive Wild Steelhead and Atlantic Salmon Journal.
Historic names and dignitaries of the sport. Anadromous fish before social media.
There's so much to relearn from magazines 25 years old. Such a short time ago but lifetimes different in the way things are today with respect to tackle, lines, gear and the like...
The most interesting thing, the conflict of scarcity is the same then as it is now. We're fighting the same battles decades later.
You'd think we'd learn our lesson...
Friday, March 8, 2019
What turns out to be a major food source in the ocean for steelhead is so much fun to tie.
Stemming from the General Practitioner and others, the variations on the prawn are a blast to create on the vice.
Hopefully I'll see flies like this one stuck in the corner of a sea liced hen or colored up buck who forgot it that they weren't in the ocean anymore and shrimp dont live in rivers.
Photo credit--Corbin Brands
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
We live in crazy times.
I come to look at the natural world through the lens of a conservation oriented environmentalist. Long title, but it speaks to the thought given to what's going on around us.
Growing up the "enviro" label had such a negative word associations that I recoiled from it.
That wasn't me. That wasn't what I was about.
That word and label gave me the feeling of people chained to trees, endlessly in lawsuits and doing frivolous things about places and species that I knew nothing about and or thought to care about. Climate change...pfff, climate change isnt real
But then...it changed.
Through the lens of a hunter, fisherman and outdoor recreator, I began to see the onslaught our world is under. The more I looked I began to see the ecological web that was being tossed aside for short term gains that in less than a generation would be flipped to become disasters that responsible parties would be held unaccountable
Remember this...Mt Polly Mine, Canada 2014.
Guess what the company responsible for this paid in damages? Nothing.
Guess who's on the hook for the cleanup and recovery?
The thing that I hold most dear is the want to give my boys an opportunity to know the joy of what the outdoor world can bring them. To know that there are places where we have chosen to let mother nature operate as it was intended. To know the engine of good operates in perpetuity and if they choose to do so, go to places like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Bristol Bay, The Boundary Waters, Smith River, and enjoy the millions of acres of public land that is their birth rite without seeing a screwed up version of what was
I've marveled at stories of yesteryear in both fish and game terms. Upwards of 32 million salmonids returning on the Columbia River system and we're never getting that back. Examples of examples where we've chosen non-renewability over the long term.
Look at what's happening on the Oregon Coast with antiquated logging practices stripping the hillsides of all the trees, spraying pesticides directly into community water supplies....and drastically crushing the ability streams to bear salmon and steelhead.
Look at the increases on oil and gas leases on public land. Up 86% since 2016... and fracturing connectivity and big game migration routes
There's hundreds of examples to choose from. On the other hand we absolutely need extraction. I drive a big truck for gosh sakes. I consume just like the rest of the world. We need raw materials like wood, gas, oil and the like but I am coming more and more to this conclusion
Maybe there's some places that should be off limits.
The Pebble Mine in Alaska, like the worlds biggest zombie has raised from the dead.
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge is under consideration for drilling
The Boundary Waters Wilderness area is under threat from a sulfide ore copper mine
The Smith River in Montana is in jeopardy
Public lands are in peril across the country.
The list is long, ongoing and growing.
This should never be a question of economics over the land. Recent reports are showing the might of the outdoor and recreation industries that are coming close if not eclipsing the totals of extractive industries.
So to my call to action...
It's time to hold the line.
If you're not involved in keeping places like this wild and untouched, it's time to join the fight.
If you don't have money, volunteer.
If you have money, give it.
If you have skills that can aide in the cause, throw down.
My lines have been drawn. I hope you can see to draw yours too.
Thursday, February 21, 2019
Free The Rattlesnake: Remove Rattlesnake Dam from Wiwoka Media on Vimeo.
Another logical and practical fish barrier is ready to come down near Missoula, Montana
Take a peek at this collaborative project lead by Montana Trout Unlimited, The Westslope Chapter of TU and others and see if you have the ability to donate to make it happen
Saturday, February 16, 2019
My first real outdoor love was pheasant hunting. From the beginning, I found the wild flushes of the pheasant to be intoxicating and the channeled scablands of the Palouse region in the Washington state was where I spent many a fall day with my dad and friends.
There's nothing like a wild rooster climbing up your nose after your dog has done it's job. Nothing.
Nationally, Eastern Washington's pheasant scene really isn't on the map. Most dream of the midwest, the Dakota's or places elsewhere but really that's fine with the hearty band of brothers and sisters that chase them here
Taking upon that spirit, there's a new outdoor apparel company on the scene that's taking that spirit to hats, t shirts, stickers and more.
Palouse Prairie Co is a new start up from here in Eastern Washington that just seems to have right.
The hat's are unique in their quality and fit and speak the the people who really love chasing birds, casting to rising trout or even spending time in the woods in pursuit of deer and elk
They're a family run business that's putting its roots down on the Palouse to really embody the life they love and I can really appreciate the hustle of a small business doing it right and putting out great product.
With multiple hat designs, t shirts, stickers and many more products on the horizon, do yourself a favor and take a peek at what Palouse Prairie Co has to offer.
Wednesday, February 13, 2019
New experiences. New water. New gear....
Water turns to ice and a whole new world appears for the intrepid outdoors man or woman
Ice shacks. Tiny Rods. Staring at the video game screen of the electronics
The tiny taps of jumbo perch. The new ways to set the hook and all those new lures.
A whole new side of beautiful out there. Go check it out.
Thursday, January 31, 2019
Steelheaders can get in their own head in a second...
It was October and when it should be the best, when in fact...was the worst.
Our crew lazily sat on the beach of the big river, b's'ing away the day and waiting for a dinosaur to pick up the stinky baits that rolled around the bottom. We had for that day, given up on the fish that had us driving upwards of 400 miles to fish for.
To pass the time, we resurrected a game from our youth. The name game, baseball players only. First guy calls out a name, lets say...Randy Johnson. The next guy has to start with the first letter of the last name of the previous entry. In this case, the letter J, so lets go with John Olerud
It's an interesting game because you quickly see what era you and your friends came of age. To this day I can name the starting lineup of the 1990 Oakland Athletics. Another friend with midwest ties was heavy on the Cardinals and Cubs. Still others who grew up around deeper baseball culture reached way back in the vault for names like Stan Musial, Dan Quisenberry and others.
The game can pass hours quickly, and I found myself saddled with a B....
All of a sudden, my buddy Brian about falls over laughing. Out of a zipper pocket he brings out Mr. ball between his legs and hands it over to me. It was like it was meant to be.
I thought maybe this could be my lucky charm. A karma changer if you will....
Fast forward to three months without a grab and I realized that Buckner was still in my front wader pocket.
Could it be? Could this be the cause of my horrendous slump? Cast the rest of the reasons aside as to why I hadn't been graced with a grab trip after trip and obviously this was the bad juju in cardboard form
I sat down on a log on the beach after landing the biggest steelhead of my life. Hands still shaking, trying to take in the last moments of glory as I reran the entire grab to landing again and again.
Reaching into my front wader zipper pocket for some gum, I grabbed something else instead
Maybe after all, he was good luck....
Or maybe, steelhead fishing is just an unanswerable question where the joy is in trying to solve the unsolvable
Monday, January 21, 2019
The fly stopped mid swing and everything got heavy.
Heavy for the fish. Instantly I new that this was a giant, a class of steelhead many spend their lifetimes looking for. It was having it's way with me and to paraphrase Gierach I felt like I was standing in a river holding a tiny stick.
Heavy for this the state of our region's steelhead populations. The numbers suck and I would be remiss to say that I am extremely worried for the future. Would I have a time to interact with a fish like this again?
Heavy in my breathing. When you havent had a grab in 2 months, you can feel a bit....nervous when you're in the thick of it
Did I mention the fish was....Heavy. For a solid 5 minutes, it chugged along in the the middle of the run and my 14 ft 9 wt was to the cork. Bent. I could barely move it
Heavy like a weighted jacket, the situation hung on me. The tail came out of the 37 degree water and my father's audible gasp told the story. This was the biggest fish I've ever had the chance to connect with.
The runs shortened and the end game was at hand. The buck finally turned over signaling defeat and OMR dipped his hand into the water in ready position for the tail grab.
"Oh my god, would you look at that....."
At that point, I couldnt hear anything else. My Najinsky was at hand.
The weight of everything was right there, staring back at me. I thanked everything I could think of and released that heaviness back into the river.
Tuesday, January 15, 2019
We arrived at our destination and got everything ready to go.
Rods, reels, bait, chairs, food, drinks and a million other things in tow.
I bombed out a cast and set the rod in the holder, and on cue he grabs his chair.
As he plops down with a big smile, he made me a proud father for the millionth time....
"Just waiting for my bite dad"
Be still my beating heart.
Monday, January 7, 2019
Gifts, dont question where they come from...
A couple hundred cars probably passed this squirrel taking it's final dirt nap. When I went by, I knew what I was going to do.
I've come to the portion of my fly tying life that I cannot leave a dead squirrel on the road without making some alterations and adding to my collection.
I've salvaged coyote tails, countless squirrels, hun patridge, pheasant, raccoon, and a bunch of other animals that made it way onto the tying bench. Too funky, smells a bit weird, na.....we can salt the stench away.
At this point, I may be a hoarder. A good squirrel tail will last a season, maybe two of intense hairwing tying. I think i have 7 now.
Why do I keep doing this..... quote a grandmothers or two out there, "Ya never know"
Thursday, January 3, 2019
There's always a story behind the story.
The bird hit the ground, picked up by a happy dog and returned to an even happier hunter.
From the start, you could tell something was off on this bird.
It's size said a veteran of the game. The spurs said years were on this pheasant, not months.
But still, it had very little in the tail feather department.
What's the story?
A quick inspection told the story. A coyote took a swing, and missed
The bird got away with it's life. The coyote got a bunch of fly tying material in it's mouth.