Monday, December 28, 2015

Public Lands...Your Property

Beyond this sign is one of the most spectacular pieces of public ground in the lower 48. Spectacular fishing, hunting, hiking and camping.  Canyon after canyon and carved by one of the biggest rivers in the west, it is OUR ground.

Public Lands.  Our property

But the placement of this sign could seem a bit funny.   Where the department of fish and game parking lot is, then to this sign, you have to walk through a very private, locked off community.    

Thankfully, the home owners of this area are amicable and don't impede the usage of our lands. Friendly waves with smiles meet us as we walk through to our destination up river.  

It could be different.   I am always in fear of one bad experience with a hiker, angler or hunter and those homeowners could make it tough for all user groups.  You already have to hike down a trail to get to the beach, then cross over a fence to access the road you need to be on but a more aggressive fence could steer off the less than intrepid crowd.   Instead of smiles and waves, the proverbial stink eye and mean mugs could dramatically change the mood.

Across this country there are countless examples of public land being shut off to access because they're surrounded by private lands that say no to easement and effectively shut the ground down.

Crazy right?  

Its a serious issue that is a quagmire of a problem, but there are groups out there dedicated to making sure that we as sportsmen and women have a place in the public commons.

I highly suggest joining both The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership and Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, groups who's core mission is to preserve our outdoor heritage on public land. Get involved today with this issue.

Beyond steelhead conservation, land use preservation has become of a pillar of what I believe in an fight for.  Without public land, we loose the user experience.  Not all of us have private land access, but we all have our land, the public's land to use and be a steward of.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

A Spey P.S.A.

Not my finest cast, not by a long shot.

Wind.....wind, wind is thy enemy.  

Lets just say you're out there casting away and the wind changes directions and you're mid way through your cast progression  and you drop your anchor in a somewhat suspect place too close to your body

Reset the damn cast.    Dont be stubborn, just reset.   There's your public service announcement.

Otherwise,   you hit the go button and the sink tip and fly smash into the back of your head.


Thank god it didnt have barbell eyes.  

Friday, December 18, 2015

WSC Year End, With A Carrot...

It's that time of year that every non profit that you interract with is going to putting out their year end appeal for donations, and rightly so.  Tax benifits aside, the impact of year end giving to non profit groups is the lifeblood that keeps the good work going

The Wild Steelhead Coalition is no exception to the rule.  We are a volunteer driven organization that does the best it can to provide the most amount of impact for the small budget we have.

In 2015, we spent zero dollars on office space, staff, or fishing retreats. Instead, we used every dollar you graciously provided to fight for wild steelhead. And boy, did we get some great stuff done. 

With your support, in just 12 short months together we:

Scored a huge victory for struggling steelhead stocks on the Olympic Peninsula by successfully championing a years-long effort to reform antiquated sportfishing regulations, including finally ending the sport fishing harvest of wild steelhead in Washington. 

Spearheaded a campaign for the creation of much-needed Wild Steelhead Gene Banks (also known as wild steelhead management zones) on the entire Skagit, Elwha, and Puyallup watersheds.

Convinced the federal government to more extensively study the impact of hatchery steelhead on threatened Puget Sound wild steelhead.

Served on numerous steelhead advisory groups sent countless letters to state and federal government entities, and hosted a handful of successful events.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

We'd love your support to continue our work this coming year, and we're going to dangle a nice little carrot your way

Starting from November 15th through the end of the year, anyone who donates over $50 is in the running to win an ECHO Glass 7129-4 spey rod, courtesy of the good folks at ECHO Fly Fishing themselves

Thanks in advance for the support, and we look forward to giving are all again in 2016.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

The Internet Makes Many Mighty...

No Bait.  No Barbs.  No Kill

And a little bit of in river refuge for the fish.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, based on the North Coast Steelhead Advisory Council recommendations,  adopted 4 common sense rule changes for the rivers on the Olympic Peninsula 

These changes had to happen.  Years and years of missed escapement on the majority of the rivers on the North Washington Coast and having to deal with co-managers who are netting the runs to death, anglers had to take a leadership position to lessen impact on the ever dwindling resource.

To some, you would thought the sky had fallen.  Fish recovery is such a political quagmire, but the devolution of discourse on the internet....especially on the side of the street that oppose these changes is down right nuts.  NUTS.

The examples of internet tough guy syndrome came in hard and fast

"All the catch and release guy's kill a ton of fish. I'm still going to kill every "wild steelhead" I can. Leave our hatchery fish alone"

"Even with a ton of opposition the commission does whatever the fly fags tell them too because they are getting the golden handshake somewhere along the line and the only way the commission is ever going to listen to the common man or average sport fisherman is for all of is to stop buying licenses and fish elsewhere just for one year......if 300,000 of did not buy a license in 2016 because of the arrogant , elitist rules they are adopting I fucking guarantee you we would get a few spots at the table and this shit would be over turned.......lets band together and just say no to buying a license in 2016 until they quit fucking us and give is spot at the table........fuck Miranda Wecker and the rest of her elitist posse.."

"Screw the wild fish and make a lot of hatchery fish for us to kill. Most of the wild fish comes from stray hatchery fish and are interbred. The tribes don't care either so why should we. Everybody is afraid of endangered species. Last time I checked there was lots of species extinct and guess what, the world did not end! Get overy it!"

Then you have this article.  Lots of LOLz in that one.

Reminds me a lot of a South Park episode, except change jobs to fish.

Lets think about it a second.   

You make no changes, stay the status quo.  Runs continue to decrease and  it stays the ONLY place in the state of Washington, and about the only place in the damn world you can keep a wild fish.  

100% of a run are caught at least once.  ZERO inter river refuge for the fish.  

Folks, the Endangered Species act is knocking at the door.  Once that comes in, we as a state and as sportsmen have NO control.  

Yes, the 800 LB gorilla in this situation is the relentless netting by the tribes that have rights on these rivers.  The Bolt Decision means we have to co-manage the fishery.    Big changes are needed in their approach to the fish runs because they wont sustain in the future with bank to bank gill nets.

Also, a few popular myths to dispel.

There is no fly fishing vs gear fishing agenda.  Absolute red herring

These rules are not meant to take opportunity away from gear fisherman.  

The "agenda" is pushed by some secret illuminati of rich, old white fly fishing only men and women.  Nope, the proposals where submitted by the North Coast Steelhead Advisory Council which was made up of guides, sports, fly and gear fisherman.

As a matter of fact....when WDFW held public comments in Olympia back in November, people who spoke in favor of these changes were there in mass, out numbering the nay's 4-1

Control what you can control.  Make the changes necessary to enhance the resource and lets do what we can to bring the co-managing tribes to the bargaining table.

And when you feel like bitching on the internet.  Go ahead, it does nothing to help.  Get involved, now.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Soul River Alaska, The Best 10 Min of Your Day

Alaska Cross Cultural Exploration Short Documentary from Soul River on Vimeo.

Get involved with Soul River today!

Locked In...

Preparation for the day.  Alarm clanging away.  Up and groggy, 430am.

105 miles through the wheat fields.  Headlights and tail lights through darkness.

 Coffee.  More Coffee.

McDonalds.  Always McDonalds.

Anticipation heightens.  Where to start?  What fly?  Park the truck.

In the Spot.  Bombs away.  Locked In.  Fish Connected.  It happened.

OMR catches a fish.  Not weird.  Normal.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Last Chance For #WIldSteelheadMatter Contest

Last chance ladies and gentlemen!

Tomorrow at 5 we pick the winners of the Rep Your Water and Wild Steelhead Coalition's #WildSteelheadMatter contest

Get up on Instagram, post your favorite fish pic with good, solid fish handling practices
(aka keepemwet) and use the hashtag #wildsteelheadmatter and your in the running

Get more info at either Rep Your Water, The Wild Steelhead Coalition or the Millsfly instagram pages.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

#WildSteelheadMatter Instagram Contest

Who wants some sweet schwag?

Head on over to Instagram and get in on this great contest with Rep Your Water, the Wild Steelhead Coalition and yours truly.

Follow both the Wild Steelhead Coalition and Rep Your Water, post your best steelhead/ing picture and use the hashtag #wildsteelheadmatter to get into the running.

Three winners will be chosen by 5pm pacific on Monday the 7th.    Two winners will receive a a couple custom Millsfly Bugs and a Wild Steelhead Coalition Rep Your Water Hat, as seen in the pic above.  The big dog winner will get the same and a RYW belt buckle to boot.

A couple hints.  #keepemwet is highly encouraged, gills in the water.  Any wild fish pics out of the water is an instant loss.   The biggest fish doesnt always win, but capturing a moment is key!

Good luck