Friday, August 28, 2009

Great, More Bad News for SW Washington's Chinook Fishery and Native Fish

For years I have driven by mostly and at times fished the lower stretches of the Kalama river for the ever dreaded white meat, stinking, quick to ripe and darken up Tule Chinook. This fish native to Southwest Washington and Lower Columbia River tribs get a bad wrap. Though these fish are not the quality or table fare of Spring Chinook, they are the bulk of the fishery that we have here in the part of the country and strong fighting fish. With this years escapement far exceeding the hatchery goals for the region, the powers that be want to eliminate them as soon as possible to prevent hatchery genes to spread to what little native gene pool is left. Now I understand this, probably more after reading the Araki report on the Genetic Effects of Captive Breeding, but what I also do not understand is why they want to prevent the guys paying for fishing licenses a chance to catch them.

At the same time with hatchery reform and fish hatcheries closing down on other Columbia River Tributaries, they plan on dumping more smolts in the Kalama. These smolts will compete with native salmon and steelhead in the river, thus decreasing their chances for juvenile survival. This will in theory increase the hatchery goals for future years for the Lower Columbia and ocean fishery. WTF! So not only will we loose native fish, but we also loose a vast majority of the fish for the sports anglers on the Kalama. Why don't they increase sports harvest of hatchery chinook or move the weir upstream so that more fish can be caught by sports anglers and native fish sorted out? Better yet, remove the hatchery fishery all together (will never happen on the K). This is a lose lose situation for us that want to prevent the loss of our native stocks as well as maintain this salmon fishery that our licenses help to pay for. Read more at The Daily News Online.

The irony I have is I do not specifically target Tule Chinook and the few that I have caught have been from bycatch while fishing for other species. Still this pisses me off that we are losing another fishery. Dollar signs run this fishery and we as sports fishers have little to say and a lot at stake. I am at least glad to hear that the carcasses are going to stream enhancement projects and to the local food banks.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

You guys want to bonk.........

........Winter Native Umpqua Steelhead? It seems there are some in the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife that do. Read more in the Native Fish Societies Conservation Report.

There are few places anywhere in this world and very few in the lower 48 that have self-sustaining populations of steelhead. One of them is the Umpqua system, and despite the decline nationwide, there are still people who want to harvest them. Their thinking is that meeting native escapement goals is a credible reason why it should be permitted. It is important that we all try and preserve this native run of winter steelhead and make sure they will be around for generations to come. Please help Scott Howell, Matt Klara, Frank Moore and the rest of us steelheaders that want to keep this gem for generations to come.

Currently, the retention of native steelhead is prohibited on the Umpqua, but there are many locals that are fighting to overturn that law. Please sign the petition to support the current regulations that require the release of all native steelhead on the Umpqua system. I am proud to be 1083 on the petition.

I posted this last Fall and want to bring it up again for all of you that have not seen it. Please let your family and friends know and get as many of them to voice their opinion and sign the petition. Thanks you!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our Friend Keith Hansen

Keith Hansen with a Clackamas River Winter Steelhead.

Last week while working at my old stomping grounds at Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland I was shocked to hear from several people about the death of Keith Hansen. Keith was a well loved Hematologist Oncologist and Director of Stem Cell Transplant for Northwest Cancer Specialists as well as board member for the Flyfisher's Club of Oregon. While on a recent fishing trip to the Dean River, Keith drowned while negotiating some of the treacherous waters of this fabled steelhead stream.

Keith's gift of saving lives and now sudden health has affected us all in this community whether you knew him or not. He will be sorely missed by all. Be careful out there and do not take any unnecessary risks on the water. Read more on Oregon Live.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

River Borne Outfitters

So I get this message from my boy Sam Sickles last week that he is looking to make a change from his low down dirty nine to five corporate job. Now thinking to myself, this guy took last summer off to steelhead fish and I know what he is thinking. Catching a fish of several lifetimes last Fall, Sam addiction has led him to become part owner for River Borne Outfitters. Sam with Vail Borne will be running steelhead trips on the Lower Deschutes. These guys are one of only three outfitters that are running fly fishing trips in the Lower Deschutes.

These two fishy dogs have been catching fish all summer on the D and I have had to hear about it. On top of that they will be covering the Siletz, Alsea and Nestucca on the Oregon Coast as well as Hood, Sandy and Clackamas Rivers. You can get the scoup on what's happening on the river on their blog report. Check these guys out, you will not regret it. Now I am wondering if Sam will show me where he got caught Mr Piggy?

Monday, August 17, 2009

It's D Time

For those of you loyal steelhead junkies out there, the pilgrimage to the Deschutes in the late summer is a must. The crowds will be thick, the jet boats will be annoying, the rattlers will be there, the floating lines will be out and with luck you takes will be aggressive. For those of you in the steelhead underground and in the know, you will have no problems. If you have some questions or looking for a report, drop by the Fly Shop of the Dalles and harass Jeff Cotrill or Leif Rinearson. It is good to get reports from guys who live near and on the water. Just don't ask him where I have been fishing. Support your local fly shop!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Random Randomness

It is amazing how many of us steelheaders, hell any fishermen have random insights, thoughts and ideas that we think are novel and maybe even money making. The reality however it's usually rain or sun soaked brain that is been out in the elements for way too long and well as we all know, random shit wanders in and out of your head when you are fishing and not catching.

Many years ago I ran into a guy on the Kalama that was fishing and walking around with a huge carabineer attached to his net. I remember asking him what it was for and he said he saw someone on the Skykomish walking around with one, using it to hold a fish. Since I find myself at Home Depot a lot because I need to repair the holes the minions of satin, aka moles are digging in my backyard, I randomly pick up things that I end up using for fishing and the carabineer is one of them. The last few years I have found this idea of a carabineer as a great one. I have used it for attaching an anchor, jury rigging a broken anchor pulley, attaching a nalgene bottle to my wading belt, holding a bag together after a zipper broke, fighting off sasquatch and off course hauling fish around without tearing up my hands or using a branch off the side of the river. I am sure I will find more uses for them and for three bucks, they are worth it.

So the other day something odd happened that has not happened too often this summer. I actually landed two of the fish I hooked and was out in the sticks. Now with my trusty carabineer I hiked out of the spot I was fishing and threw the fish in the back my truck. Now it was over ninety degrees out and I knew I had to get them on ice soon. After driving around I finally found a convenience store that might have a cooler. Off course all they had was one small non biodegradable foam styrofoam containers that will be here until the end of time. When I saw that it was cracked I had an epiphany and the ghetto cooler was born. With the help of the Asian gentleman behind the counter I was able to create what is going to make me millions. Now a fishing buddy is patent attorney and do not want any of you to copy me idea. So watch out!!!

The beer and fish lasted eight more hours in the cooler and there was still some ice left by the time I got home. Well there was a few less beers.

Holy Steelballs Batman!

I am sure glad I got to work the next six days. Dammmmmmmmmmmmit!