Saturday, December 24, 2011

Holiday Partay 2011!

Keith Darnall and Andrea classing up the place once again.
The Holidays are always a great time to spend with friends and family and this year was no different. Last weekend we had a festive gathering bringing friends from throughout the country. Laughs, drinks, memories, fishing stories and holiday cheer filled my tiny home here in Camas, Washington. It was great to see everyone and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
Brian Chou on the grill. 

Jarrod Black representing a little more then Rajeff Sports. 
Enjoying the festivities!
Embarrassing Mia, Priceless!
Sorry Marty :)!
Jeff Cotrell, Mia Sheppard, Brian Styskal and Marty Sheppard. 
Chelsea Vanderpool, Nick English and my brother Joe laughing while talking about the first time I went fly fishing.  .
Jeff Nelson making a chick drink for himself.
Kerry Burkheimer showing us kids how to really be a Rockstar.
Kasia and Justin Teegarden
Merry Christmas from the Crew!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hatchery Vs. Wild

This is a summary of some of the issues of hatchery impacts on the productivity of wild salmon and steelhead. It is a interesting read as well as everything found on Bill Bakke's, Home Waters and Wild Fish.

By Bill Bakke

Naturally spawning hatchery fish from long term hatchery cultivation produce 6-11% to the adult stage compared to wild fish. ( Leider et al. 1989, Araki et al 2006)

In the first generation native broodstock hatchery fish (using wild steelhead for hatchery broodstock) the reproductive success of the hatchery fish spawning naturally in streams declines by 14% (males) and 2% (females) compared to wild fish spawning naturally in the river. (ISRP 2011)

In later generations (second and third) the reproductive success of native broodstock hatchery steelhead spawning naturally in streams is 50% (males) lower and 77% (females) lower than naturally spawning wild fish. (ISRP 2011)

There is a genetic change in the hatchery steelhead that carries over to naturally produced progeny of hatchery-origin parents causing reduced reproductive fitness of wild-born descendants in the wild and the population fitness of subsequent generations. (Araki et al. 2009, ISRP 2011)

In just 6 generations native broodstock hatchery steelhead reproductive success is 29% to 54% that of wild steelhead. (Berntson 2011)

In order to maintain cost effective hatchery programs, access to healthy abundant wild steelhead populations is required. (Based on research by Araki et al. 2008)

In order to protect and rebuild wild salmon and steelhead populations harvest targeted on hatchery fish must be regulated to protect wild spawner abundance, spawner abundance goals need to be adopted by species and watershed, hatchery transfers among watershed need to be eliminated, and naturally spawning hatchery fish need to be excluded from wild fish spawning areas. (Conclusions base on best available science)

Impacts of hatchery fish on wild fish must be controlled so that competition for food and space for rearing juveniles in streams and the estuary support wild fish survival, predation and predator attraction by hatchery fish is controlled to protect survival of wild fish, and nutrient enrichment targets from natural spawning wild fish support and expand the productive capacity of the habitat. (Conclusion based on best available science)

Competition between wild and hatchery fish spawning naturally in a common habitat can reduce the production of wild juveniles by 50% (Kostow 2004)

The cost to produce a hatchery steelhead that contributes to the catch is $200 to over $400 per fish harvested. Most hatchery programs funded with tax dollars are not cost effective, making the hatchery program vulnerable to loss of funding as hatcheries compete for funding with other social needs for available dollars. . (Hans Radtke 2011, IEAB 2000)

The Day With the Boys

We each have a time in our lives when a date brings you back to memories of the past. Many years ago in December I lost the most important person in my life, my mother. A few years later on the same anniversary date I lost a good friend that took his own life.

When my mother passed, I became more of a recluse and for some reason started to go out in the winter looking for something. I thought it was my first steelhead, but later I found out it was a lot more. Several years later when one of my fishing buddies passed, I started to question life and why I was out there. At that time we had a close nit group of buddies. We jokingly called ourselves The Early Morning Freestone Pimps. This group name came from our good friend who was no longer with us. It took a long time for me and my buddies to get out fishing again, especially getting out together.

Now years have passed and we all got together from time to time, but this day or time of year was different and over the years we decided that it was important to remember that day together in the fashion best suiting this group of buddies. That would be of course fishing. It hasn't been all about fishing, more about getting together as you might expect, remembering our lost friend and for me my mother.

Mike Gamby, who you will recognize as one of the posters on this blog, is a a unique individual. Mike, a family man, works educating our youth promoting sports activities though Vancouver Parks and Recreation. Mike's one of those up beat guys that is as honest and straight forward as it gets. Over the years like mine his life has been blessed with children and time for fishing decreased. He however helped me realize how special it was to come home to happy faces and giggling children after a long day at work or on the river. Coach Mike as my daughter calls him from her days at the local recreational center still plays hockey and very soon might be drafted into the NHL, or at least into some Pee Wee league somewhere.

The only real flaw, though you may call it a blessing, is that Mike is not addicted to steelheading. Just saying!

Jaybird, Jay the Pirate, Boogie, Flip or Jay Johnson's life changed several times before finding a home with the Motiv Crew, Fly Fishing Film Tour and naked Airflo Fly Line advertisements. This dude asked me if I was Asian the first time I met him and after telling him I was half Filipino, I was adopted into his family.

Over the years life has changed for both of us and he now gets to live the dream we always talked about. So when Mikey and I got to his house the other day to spend the day on the river you would think this professional fly fishermen would be ready. Instead it was like it was so many years past. He couldn't find his shit. Seriously the dude couldn't find his gear. Like always there is gear all over the place and enough guns and ammo for the Zombie Apocalypse, but his wader bag was no wear in sight.

Of course we found a pair of moldy boots fresh with a layer of moss on them in the backyard, but they did not quite have the traction of the pair he used while traveling across the globe. So after some nicotine, a nap on the couch, playing fetch with Ruthless his dog, curing cancer and inventing a three handed fly rod, Jay finally found his wader bag. It only took two hours, but who needed time when Jay has a time machine.

After hitting the road and stopping by a greasy pot for breakfast, we slipped time back to 1669 and hiked down one of our old secret waters in search of a few early winter steelhead. It didn't take long to find them, but it sure took a long time to get one to take. After hiking up and down the stream we finally found a pod of fish that we could cast to and after we all took a crack at them I finally hooked up. While fighting the fish I turned to the boys just in time to hear Jay tell Mikey, "That sure looks like fun!" Classic comments like this throughout the years is what fishing with Jay is all about.

A few minutes later I was able to feed the Johnson household once again. Fishing wasn't the best part of the day, but catching a fish always helps. Take time to give thanks to your family and friends before you loose your chance and always remember and learn from those you lost. This is a time of the year for friends and family after all.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Mighty "D".

The Deschutes is a fickle little trout mistress.

Trout fishing here, in my opinion, is a LOT harder to do, than other rivers in the west.
Especially in the winter.
Even more so, because I am not a “regular” of the river.

But there is something that draws me there in December…
Is it the lack of crowds?
Is it the chance that you might “nymph up” a Steelhead?
Is it because those scary ass rattlers are not chasing me around, trying to eat my face?

I think it is a combination of all 3. Which is why I love fishing it in the winter.

When I go to a trout stream… I look at “fishy” places… in big riffles, behind boulders, broken water…. You know… all the places that you think trout “should be”.

But the Deschutes aint no “stream”. It is a big, big river. And it is intimidating.

From what I have heard, the Deschutes rule is…”back eddies and foam lines”.
Also, nymph, nymph, nymph. Bobbers and stoneflies, with little red worms.

But as a trout guy… You give me the opportunity to fish a dry, I will take advantage.

Enter my buddy Randall…. In my opinion, he knows this river. And he loves to fish a dry with old school fiberglass rods, and Pfleugers.

We just recently spend a beautiful cold sunny day over there, with no one on the river, clear water, and very little wind. And dry flies. All day.

Watching Randy fish this river, made me completely change the way I think about the Deschutes.

He is a stalker. He looks for fish first. And if you look hard enough, they are there.
He fishes eddies INSIDE of eddies, 3” from bank.

If he sees a foam line, he fishes it. As long as it’s extremely close to the bank.
It is a challenge to cast, to stalk, and to get a good drift. I love it.

And he is good at it.

And it completely changed the way I fish that river.

But I aint touching Fiberglass. I am an Echo guy. An extremely attractive Echo guy.
Just ask me.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Early Winters

December 1st marked my first real day of chasing Winter Steelhead. Had dinner and a few drinks with some friends the night before then headed home early in the morning, setting my alarm before I headed to bed. Waking up from REM sleep was a blurr and the next thing I new it was almost noon. Well shit, typical motivation and not remembering that I turned the alarm off, I started heading out the door, but before I made it down that steps I flipped a uie. I ended up tying some flies and got some shit done around the house. Typical, I can't ever get motivated to fish for early winters, much less those Chambers Creek retarded hatchery fish that show up this time of year.

This early returning strain of midget winters have fed hatchery rivers throughout Washington for years. This is the same strain that the Elwah tribe decided was a good idea to introduce to the Elwah now that the dams are gone. These fish are not known for great fights, being good biters, being large or having many fins when they arrive back at their native streams. Still when Rome, follow the Romans or dig into the American Commercialized version of Christmas. Trampling people at the department store can be fun too.

Day two was a little different. After picking up Dr Bill on the long drive to the river we were greeted with way too many people in the dark. Still we were there and if anything it had been a while since I got out. After a few hours with nothing to show for it, I cut off that damn indicator. I just have a hard time getting into nymphing after swinging flies all summer and fall. With a Echo Ion and an Airflo Six Sense (The best nymphing line for those who use spey casts!!!), I didn't have a tip small enough for this mini Delta to turn over, so I pulled out the cheap tip. You know, a split shot. Seriously a few casts later I was into my first fish on a caballero. One of them micro chromers that fought better then the other fish I tangled with that day.

Dr Bill continued to nymph, picking up his first of the year as well. He brought his lab Rocky with him and that dog doesn't like fish. It was funny as hell to see and chased every fish he saw. It was probably detrimental to our fishing, but hell, who cares, when your number is up, its up.

Wish we had Chums to chase like these down here. It was nice to see a few of them still around though they will not be around for long.

Fishing Redds in Idaho

Here is a fine example of why late season steelheading on the East Side should be closed. You can see the huge redd they are fishing, not to mention the fish chasing the hooked fish everywhere. Why the hell did this get put on the internet and especially with the Silver Creek guide's name on it.