Thursday, April 25, 2019

Craigslist Pro Tip...

Shhhh, can you keep a secret?

Just kidding.

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

When Arguing With Dam Proponents...

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

Ass Backwards Decisions On The Columbia...

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

Complete Bullshit...

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

The Hope of a New Bird Dog...

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

Steelhead Time Capsules

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

Crustaceans On Ice...


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

Hold The Line...

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 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.