Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Poaching on the North Umpqua

Apparently the amount of poaching on the North Umpqua is up this winter and that is just from the numbers of tickets written. Apparently the locals are upset with the semi new catch and release regulations and the healthy return of native fish on their river. Their frustration in the inability to catch hatchery fish is being taken out on the natives. It's good to hear there are some under cover officers working the river and they are catching a number of the violators. Great job guys!

Read more from News-Review.

Bacon Salt

There are many levels of awesome in this world, and this is definitely towards the top. Bringing two of the most fundamental aspects of a steelheaders diet together was brilliant. You need a dry brine for smoking fish, a dash for a riverside sandwich, a topping for that fufu healthy bag of popcorn, seasoning for those campside egg and steelhead omelette, you name it, you got it. This stuff is awesome!

Bacon Seeds, now I'm gonna quit chewing.


Check out Bacon Salt and their products. You can find them at Costco. Proceeds go to a couple of steelheaders and benefits go to the thickening of your blood vessels. Damn, this stuff is even kosher!

The Contemporary Sportsman

There is yet another free online outdoors magazine for us to drool over. The Contemporary Sportsman's premier issues has just come out and much like Catch Magazine, it is free for our enjoyment. A combination of wing shooting and angling, this magazine will keep your eyes and imagination busy for a while. The magazine in broken down into four separate sections, Feature Articles, Road Less Traveled, Down the River and The Contemporary Sportsman's Bar and Grill. My favorite part of this edition is Jeff Bright's contribution, "One Lifetime Hardly Seems Fair". A story about the small stream coastal steelhead fishing in British Columbia. For those of you that are not aware of Jeff's beautifull photography, writings and excursions regarding steelhead fly fishing, you can find it on his website.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sad Day for the Skagit and Sauk

600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
January 15, 2010

Closure of Skagit and Sauk rivers to fishing
Action: Close the Skagit and Sauk Rivers to all fishing.
Species affected: All game fish species
Location and effective closure dates:

Skagit River from the mouth upstream to Highway 536 (Memorial Hwy. Bridge) at Mount Vernon will be closed Feb.16, 2010 through April 30, 2010.
Skagit River from the Highway 536 (Memorial Hwy. Bridge) at Mount Vernon upstream to the Gorge Powerhouse will be closed Feb.16, 2010 through May 31, 2010.
Sauk River from the mouth upstream to the Whitechuck River will be closed Feb. 16, 2010 through June 4, 2010.

Reasons for action: The closure will reduce incidental hooking mortality on wild steelhead. The 2009/2010 forecasted return of wild winter steelhead to the Skagit Basin is expected to be below the escapement floor of 6,000.

Its a sad day for steelheaders here in the Pacific Northwest with the closure of these highly revered rivers. The decline in these runs over the last several decades is a sad trend that we are seeing in all our river systems. I like to think that maybe this closure is a sign to changes to be made to help our native runs. But still as a pessimistic steelheader, I worry that this decline and closure are signs of the future in many of the river systems closer to home.
I only hope fish and game close other rivers that need it in hopes for the future.

I have to give up my week trip over my birthday to this Skagit this year, but it is well worth the hope that I will one day catch one in the future. This is a great time to help organizations like Native Fish Society, Wild Steelhead Coalition and Western Rivers Conservancy. Together there is hope for the future.

Friday, January 8, 2010

The Scandinavian Spey Cast

Several months ago a Chou Dog loaned me Henrik Mortensen’s video The Scandinavian Spey Cast. Although I have seen parts of this video in the past I was surprised the detail and cinematography used to convey the mechanics of this form of spey casting. Fishing rivers in Scandinavia, Scotland and GaspĂ© Peninsula in Eastern Canada, Henrik was also able to teach the viewer the proper way to fish for Atlantic Salmon at different conditions, using different techniques. All of which pertains to steelheading here in the Pacific Northwest.

Included in this video was a chapter on long belly casting done on no other then the River Dee in Scotland. In this scene Mike Donald, a well known Scottish Ghille and APGAI casting instructor covers the mechanics of the long belly. Henrik also applies the Scandinavian techniques to these waters in search of the Dee’s famous Spring Run Atlantics.

This 74 minutes DVD covers, techniques, presentations of both the wet and dry fly as well as casting mechanics applicable to both long and short casts. His review and demonstration of casting mechanics apply to all forms of spey casting in an easy way that provides both epic footage of Atlantic Salmon, the rivers they swim in and the casts needed to find them. Overall a badass video worthy of your viewing.

Henrik reviewing the dynamics of the Scandinavian spey cast. This scene is great because it reviews body mechanics and explains why with simple examples that makes the student see why, not just hear why you they should cast a certain way.

Here is a nice video with scenes from the movie.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Creekside Fly Fishing

I drove down to Salem, Oregon today to visit my friend Rich Youngers at Creekside Fly Fishing and use those mighty gift certificates that have been staring me down at the tying table for over a month now. But instead of buying those needed wading boots like I should have, I ended up raiding the tying materials for all those things I have been too cheap to purchase in the past. Multiple colors of grizzly hackle, black bear hair, amherst, bright orange golden pheasant crest, frenchie gay tinsel, arctic fox, spey hackle, BADASS Loops Black Nickel Doubles for tubes and a bunch of other necessities.

Rich is one of Oregon's many talented and innovative fly tiers when not guiding in the Willamette Valley and Oregon Coast. Rich is one of the few fly fishing guides on the Oregon Coast that fishes the estuary. I met Rich many years ago and fished with him on the Oregon Coast. Since then I have always tried to stop by and raid his fly tying selection and pick his brain on the local coastal fisheries. Rich offers many fly tying classes and can be seen at the Northwest Fly Tiers Expo. His creative skill at tying classic salmon patterns as well as modern steelhead and cutthorat patterns is amazing. His Summer Run pattern is a killer on the Deschutes in the Summer and a must for the fly box.

Support your local fly shop and visit Rich at Creekside Fly Fishing the next time you are in Salem.

Rich with one of many Winter Steelhead we caught while fishing the North Coast many moons ago. Check out his new shop blog.

Why Universal Healthcare Isn't a Bad Idea

Sorry more work related, but healthcare workers like myself see this shit all too often. Besides, we see these morons tweaking by the side of the river after they fill their scripts.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Things Learned on the Water in 2009

Small flies really do work for hatchery fish, though most of them are smolts.

Don’t be a cellhole and answer the phone while fishing, you loose fish that way. (2 to be exact)

Mad Dog 20/20 and a half case of Natty Light isn’t a good idea when fishing the Sauk and Skagit.

The ladies really do got fishing karma.

Skaters work and it is more about their movement then their color.

Five weights really shouldn’t be used for steelhead.

Light-wire hooks are springs.

More steelhead get tangled in Columbia River Commercial fishing nets then they let you know about.

Leaves aren’t the best option for cleaning the dookie off you arse. Thank god for receipts and polyleader packages.

Catching steelhead with the sun on the water happens even with a dry line and no shade.

Fall chinook will take a fly presented on a dry line.

Going back to the old spots you stopped fishing really pay off.

The Skagit really is one of the most beautiful places to swing a fly on this earth.

Sometimes road kill really does fill drawers on the tying table.

There are way too many trout fishermen out there playing like they are steelheaders.

There really are a few natives left and a lot more cutthroat then you think in the local rivers.

Bring more then three pounds of bacon on a week long fishing trip.

The old timers really are full of shit, though they know what they are talking about.

Shit happens when you least expect it when you are drifting.

Rainier Beer really is better then PBR and Natural Ice is for a lack of better words, the shit. Always keep an extra half rack in the boat.

Alcoholism sucks

Checking out those places you put on you list years ago really can pay off.

You can catch fish on the D with a foot of visibility.

Apparently catching 55 steelhead on your 55th birthdays does happen for some Jedi’s. Damn Steve!

Cardboard boxes make great coolers.

Wakers can out fish tips on cold days and hatchery fish do like them.

Switch rods really are great fishing tools in low water scenarios for both swinging and nymphing.

Be careful about posting pictures on the internet because someone on the river may actually recognize you.

Most of the Kalama hatchery summer runs are actually brood stock. (fucking horseshit)

Don’t be stubborn and beat the same river over and over again. Especially when you know that other river is fishing well.

Hardy Reels sure sound swell with a nice fish on.

Six weight Echo switch rods will catch chrome chinook.

When you get hurt on the river and know you should stop fishing, continuing to fish for the rest of the day isn’t always a good option.

Don’t carry your buddies bottle of Jamison’s while fishing. Good thing glass is biodegradable.

When all else fails, go back to your instincts.

Comedy with the boys out on the river out plays how many fish caught .

Although your soul and drive may be found on the river, your heart is always at home with the family, thus you need to be there more often. I must be getting gold.