Thursday, August 31, 2017

Free The Snake Flotilla Sept 8th-9th

It's flotilla time again on the Snake.

The 3rd annual Free The Snake Flotilla is returning September 8th and 9th

The event is getting bigger and bigger, now kicking off Friday night with speakers, conservation groups, tribes and more all present along with live music.

Festivities will be centered at Chief Timothy State Park starting Friday, then boat event will occur Saturday morning

Please join us as we continue to make a bigger and louder statement that the 4 deadbeat dams on the lower Snake river have outlived their usefulness.

Momentum is continuing to build on this event and the possibility of a free flowing Snake River.

Here's more information about the Flotilla via the FB event page

See you there!

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Fishing in a Dream

Photo Credit-Grant Rilette

We were laughing like 10 year boys on a playground.  The fishing was so good it didn't seem real.

Sneaking away from a family vacation to go on a guided fishing trip can be a precarious proposition, and I doubled down by letting the rest of the 10 people on the vacation on the Oregon Coast that I'd likely be coming back with dinner.

Time to do work.

For the longest time I've wanted to experience the unique dory boat fishery out of Pacific City, Oregon.   It's a wild experience launching from the beach, through the surf and out to the fishing grounds.

The boat and the Captain Grant Rilette were as dialed as I have ever seen and my buddy Kyle and I were giddy with anticipation as we made it through the surf line and out into the open ocean

It took about 5 minutes of driving through the thick marine layer to the appointed place that Grant had dialed in.  The first couple casts with conventional gear were met with a resounding yes, the fish were present.

We brought our fly rods as a complete maybe.  Ocean Rockbass are targeted via fly presentations effectively, but we were not going to be bound by technique to make sure we had a good time

Then we saw it.  Fish after fish finning on the surface.   Boils all around the boat.

Time to bring out the 8wts.

The best way to describe the next hour or so was like being a bird dog on point.  The action was frenetic as each cast was met with a hook up.  Miss the fish?  No worries  just keep stripping because it was going to get blasted again.

With limits filled immediately, we began a epic (hate using that word but it's the only on that applies) catch and release session that set the bar in my mind for when a plan comes together perfectly

I dove into my fly box and found a popper that I had bought for jacks and snook in Belize and the Rock Bass crushed it time after time.  A twitch twitch to a long pause had the fish rocketing up and blasting it off the surface.

Here we were in 60-80 feet of water, in the ocean, having the best top water action I had over seen.

The fog wrapped around us all morning and a more dreamlike state I cannot describe.  Big, strong and healthy Rock Bass smashing your every cast.  It was unreal, and if I could have frozen time, I would have.

And to add a dollop of whipped cream on top of the day, we pulled up to Grant's crab pots that were absolutely stuffed with Dungeness crab.

Photo Credit-Kyle Smith

Hell of a day.  Hell of a day.

Photo Credit-Kyle Smith

We drove away from Pacific City with coolers full of crab and rock bass limits, a wicked case of bass thumb and the resolve that this wont be the last time we have our hand at this fishery.

Grant's dory program is safe, affordable, family and kid friendly.  I highly suggest spending a day with Grant if you can.  It's well worth your time!

Additionally he guides for winter steelhead in the local rivers, fall Chinook and coho to go along with the dory trips in the ocean

Hook up with Grant via his FB PAGE or his WEBSITE.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Patagonia's Public Land Push

So much yes, so so so much yes.

I choose to support companies like Patagonia who draw clear lines in the sand.

Keep Public Lands in PUBLIC HANDS

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

No Kill for Idaho...

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's fantastic.

Friday, August 11, 2017

The Summer of Discontent...

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

Swing The Fly Trout Spey Fly Tying Contest

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

Hey Zinke...

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.