Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Waddington Shank Alternatives

I gave up tying on Waddington Shanks years ago. I went from spending the money on them to making them using spinner materials then cotter pins. I just didn't like the way they looked like in the end and stopped tying super long flies. I then moved on to Mustad 34007 then 3407DT. The 3407DT's were cheaper but found an alternative when a friend showed me these old Mustad - Bridgeport Snapper Hooks. I was then shocked when I got 800 of then for only eight bucks.

These hooks are three and a half inches long and you can find them in silver and blue. These are perfect for those winter intruders or strung out flies that have become more popular over the years. I cut the hook off of them and stick them on the vice with a tube fly attachment and add the stinger hook with nylon coated wire. This is quick, easy and very effective for larger flies. Not that I am looking forward to fishing those off colored waters of winter and spring, but the added size with profile just might help you get that one tug that keeps you out there.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Foods Gonna Run Out for Our Fish

As if there wasn't enough to worry about for our native fish, researchers watching the warming trend in our ocean are now estimating a change in the 20- to 30-year weather cycle known as the Pacific decadal oscillation, leading to more cooler water. This cooler water will lead to less abundant food for native salmon and steelhead and with competition from hatcheries throughout the Pacific, this will lead to even more dwindling numbers of fish. Read more courtesy of the Seattle Times.

Black Friday

Don't get trampled at Walmart fellas!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Anchor River Steelhead

One of the many locations I have looked into fishing over the years is the Fall run of steelhead on the Anchor River in Southcentral Alaska. This river located on the Sterling River Highway has the largest run of steelhead in the region, once estimated at around 4000 fish. With increased pressure over the years and overlapping runs of silver salmon, many of these fish are not able to make it through Spring and onto their spawning grounds. Many are mistaken for silvers and harvested before they spend much time in freshwater. Not long ago I actually had a conversation with a friend who witnessed this while fishing the river mouth. Many of the people fishing this river as well as its neighboring Deep Creek and Ninilchik are not educated enough regarding the differences of these two species.

Despite catch and release regulations since 1989, these runs of fish are getting smaller and smaller. Read more about the plight of this run of fish and what is being done to prevent their loss courtesy of the Fairbanks Daily News.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Thompson River Hatchery Petition

I received this message From Brian Niska regarding the possibility of a steelhead hatchery on the Thompson River. With the current river closure in place on the Thompson there is pressure on the BC government regarding hatchery augmentation of the Thompson system. Please consider signing this petition in support of wild steelhead.

Low & Clear

LOW & CLEAR Official Trailer from Finback Films on Vimeo.

More eye candy for you guys who like that kind of thing. Interesting looking video.
"Personalities comes out in fishing and there is no way to hide it."

Monday, November 8, 2010

1,000 Steelhead Dead at Dworshak

1000 steelhead died at Dworshak Dam this last Wednesday and Thursday while the Dam operators were running a routine generator maintenance project. Although most were hatchery fish, there was a lot of native fish in the bunch. Read more courtesy of The Spokesman-Review.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Oregon Fly Tiers Convention

John Newbury tying a Drunella Drake Emerger.

I had a few hours before work yesterday afternoon to spend with my daughter at the Oregon Fly Tiers Show in Troutdale, Oregon. Unfortunately we got there a little later then expected and was not able to really see as much as I wanted. There really is a lot to learn at these venues, not to mention be instructed by the best of the best. Most of all I wanted to make sure my daughter was able to see that there were men and women out there that sit in front of a table and play with feather and fur, just like daddy. Although the cabellero eggs, dean lanterns and leeches that we tie together are simple and easy compared to the flies we saw tied at this venue, someday we will to tackle more complex flies together. That's going to be awesome!

Fraser River Sockeye Vs. Fish Farms

Pathogen culturing facilities!

Friday, November 5, 2010

November Sucks!

Not really, but on the West side of the state you never know what you are going to get. Cold, rain, showers, blown out rivers, spawners, darkies, mold, ragweed, short days, dry lines disappear and leaf takes are annoying. Driving over to the East side means multi-day trips because with the short cold days you really have to make the most of it. I generally fish the locals a bit when they are in shape, but with the few salmon around that are on the spawn and higher flows, you never know what you are going to get out of your day. I want to stay away from those precious redds and there are fewer bright steelhead around to make it worth it.

Still fishing time is fishing time and in the Pacific Northwest there really is an endless season. What I mean is there is always something to fish for every month of the year. This year I finally got off my ass to check out Puget Sound in hopes of finding one of those looked down upon salmonids, the chum salmon (Oncorhynchus keta). Yeah there are a few places you can find them in Oregon Coastal streams closer to home, but really those should be closed. Yeah I said it, those very depressed runs should be left alone. Sorry guys, but ODFW shut them down.

Keith putting his work in.

There are quite a few places to find chum salmon in the sound and Keith and I decided to check out a terminal fishery not to terribly far from home and use the sled to find them. I had only been to this location once before and it was more a recon mission years ago. This was a totally different experience for me. I have done quite a bit of estuary fly fishing for salmon in Alaska, but never in Washington. From my personal experience, salmon in the lower forty-eight hate me and I am no dentist.

Not knowing what to expect and not putting a lot of thought into it we got there the day after this section of the sound was netted. Starting our day at low tide, we ended up parked next to a lot of gear guys fishing bobbers with eggs, sandshrimp and sardines. Not really what we were looking for, but there was fish there and stuck around watching bobbers go down in the boat next to us for a few hours. We through the kitchen sink a them with nothing but a sculpin to hand. It was a bit frustrating, but like I said, we really didn't know what we were getting into.

Guys lining up at the hatchery at high tide. It didn't look like much fun.

Hours later when high tide came in we saw some interesting things. One was what I can only call the crowding of the hatchery. Both by fish and fishermen. This was a bit funny and disgusting at the same time. People in line crowding a creek mouth while salmon pile in. That was not my cup of tea and was glad I was in a boat in the distance. But at the same time more fish started to move in closer to shore and finally Keith and I started to get grabs and hookups. It was not before long that my first dime bright chum was caught. I saw this somewhat loosely, because as we all know even bright chum are not that bright. Still all the fish we caught were ridiculously covered in sea lice and yes bright. The amount of sea lice was almost shocking on some fish. Dozens spread throughout their body, including there heads and fins. Goddam salmon farms!

Bright Chum?

What worked for me was a full intermediate Airflo 40 Plus Saltwater line with a short leader and both chartreuse and green chum candy on an Echo II 9 weight saltwater rod. The 40 Plus rocks! The Echo II was a bit too much for these fish, but good to cast when the wind was up. FYI, Echo is apparently retiring that model rod this year.

Paul Kim fighting one of several fish.

We also ran into Paul Kim of Felt Soul. A local from Bellevue, Washington that recognized me on the water. Always an odd feeling when someone asks if you are who you are. Paul writes an interesting blog from his perspective of Washington fishing, especially when discussing Puget Sound fishing. You should check it out.

I am looking forward to learning more about what the Puget Sound has to offer, and what needs to be done to help restore the ailing steelhead populations in that region of Washington. I doubt I will be able to make it back again this year, but can't wait to find more new water.

Sad Day for the Thompson

Once again Canadian officials have chosen to keep the Thompson River closed to angling this Fall. It is estimated that there is a 30 percent chance that more than 850 fish will return to the tributaries of the Thompson River to spawn next spring. This is a sad day for steelhead, the anglers that follow them, the community that relies on the fishermen and the future for this fabled river. Read more courtesy of Kamloops Daily News and the Thompson Fisheries Blog.

The other sad news is hatchery introduced steelhead are being considered. Fuck!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Obama's Salmon Plan

I received a letter recently from Sam Mace, the Inland Northwest Director for Save Our Wild Salmon recently discussing the impacts, or lack thereof in the Obama administration's changes in the old Bush Salmon Plan. Instead of trying to summarize the plan, you can read the Save Our Wild Salmon Press Release below and check out there site. As the disgust rises and you reach a melting point, make sure to voice your opinion in letters, joining organizations or just speaking your mind on this matter.

PORTLAND, Ore. – A coalition of fishing, business, and conservation organizations asked a federal judge today to declare President Obama’s Columbia and Snake River salmon recovery plan illegal.

“We’d like to pretend this plan is just a ‘trick’ and the ‘treat’ is still to come,” said Michael Garrity of American Rivers. “But we can’t. We’ve been here too many times before. This administration has got to stop trying to put a pretty costume on an ugly plan and start following the law and science. We’re dealing with people’s livelihoods and keystone species on the brink of extinction.

Because federal dams are harming threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake rivers, the law requires federal agencies to create a plan – or biological opinion (BiOp) – to reduce the damage. The papers filed today respond to the Obama administration’s continuing failure to provide legal, science-based plan.

“For two years the coalition has asked the Obama administration to uphold its promises for scientific integrity and transparency,” said former Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife fisheries chief Jim Martin. “It appears those were empty promises. If anything, the administration is going backward in terms of openness and scientific integrity.”

In 2009, the coalition asked Obama to review the 2008 Bush salmon plan. The Obama
administration agreed to do so, but instead of significantly improving the legally flawed Bush salmon plan, the administration adopted the plan as its own. The only addition from the Obama administration was an Adaptive Management Implementation Plan (AMIP) that promises only to study additional measures to help Endangered Species Act-listed salmon should their populations collapse.

The Western Division of the American Fisheries Society judges the AMIP “inadequate for ensuring the protection of threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin.”

The Society review found that rather than using a precautionary approach to protecting threatened and endangered salmon and steelhead, the plan “seems to use a precautionary principle to support the 2008 Biological Opinion and defend the status quo.”

Such skepticism of the Obama approach is widespread. “The federal government simply ignored science that didn’t meet its political goals – it ignored science from the AFS, fisheries biologists with the State of Oregon or the Nez Perce Tribe, and its own so-called ‘independent scientists,’” Martin said. “This plan puts the weight of risk on the fish in violation of the law, and the risk is of extinction.”
The Obama plan, according to the coalition’s filing, augments the flawed approaches of the past with new unscientific defects. For example, the Obama plan details the threat climate change poses to salmon, but proposes no new actions to address climate impacts.

Obama’s plan offers no new actions to protect Snake River sockeye salmon whose woefully low numbers have already tripped predetermined action “triggers.” The Western Division of the American Fisheries Society deems the federal agency approach to Snake River sockeye protection “inappropriate.”

Moreover, the Obama administration’s process for adopting the biological opinion has been shrouded in mystery. Legal proceedings have revealed federal agencies’ refusal to release more than 40 percent of the relevant documents.

"The current plan is nothing more than more of the same failed policies of the Bush
administration, only with a new cover sheet.” said Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations (PCFFA), one of the plaintiff groups. “We’re seeing neither good science nor good policy in this plan – just another prescription for failure. More failure just destroys more salmon-dependent jobs. At-risk salmon-dependent communities have a right to a plan based on science and law, not on politics and denial.”

Briefing on the case will continue through the end of 2010. A hearing before the United States District Court in Oregon isn’t expected until early 2011.

Plaintiffs in this case include a broad range of regional and national conservation groups, fishing associations, and business interests. They are joined by the State of Oregon, the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho, and the Spokane Tribe of Washington.