Sunday, December 30, 2012

Pulaski Style Swinging by Hooke

Fly Fishing Vibes Pulaski + Hooké! from HOOKÉ on Vimeo.

Good Reads by Homies Sporting a Lucky Green Cap

Good buddy Brian Chou who has made a name for himself here in the Northwest for fly tying and casting instruction was highlighted in Thomas & Thomas's Tangles Lines. Here are his Thoughts on Twelve Months of Steelhead.

Chad Brown, the owner and CEO of Soul River was recently highlighted in Gink and Gasoline.  Chad, a veteran has brought his energy and passion of the outdoors and fishing back to the men and women that have served our country.

Rick Matney, owner and operator of Chrome Chasers is one of the best all around fishermen I know. Rick when not guiding for bonefish in Hawaii, steelhead in SE Alaska or trout around Bozeman, Montana swings the two hander and is highlighted in 2HandedTrout. I was able to cover some water in Montana last year with Rick Swinging the spey and its was harder then I thought. Guess dropping a loop isn't a good idea.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Bandaid on an Arterial Bleed

Washington has followed Oregon in banning barbed hooks on the Columbia River from the mouth up seventeen miles upstream of McNary Dam where the rivers turns upstream away from Oregon. You can still use treble and double hooks, but no barbs are allowed. Talk about a weak change to regulations. Do not get me wrong, barbless hooks are a great idea, especially with trebles, but they could have at least added specific tributaries or all of them in the Lower Columbia River not to mention above the Oregon boarder. At least they are tightening regulations finally and hopefully this will lead to further trends in assisting our native fish. Barbless hooks are easier to remove and decrease the chances of hurting fish before release and this rule change may lead to increased regulations needed in the future. Thanks WDFW for following suit.

Read more courtesy of the Columbia River Bulletin.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Skagit Master 4 Out Take

This here is why I will own Skagit Master 4.

Friday, December 14, 2012

My First Fish

A short film about the experience of catching that first fish, told through the eyes of a five year old boy.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Falling Over

Ronde Hillside Photo: Michael Davidchik 

"In the entire circle of the year there are no days as so delightful as those of a fine October, when the trees are bare to the mild heavens, and the red leaves bestow the road, and you can feel the breath of Winter, morning and evening -- no days so calm, so tenderly solemn, and with such a reverent meekness in the air." 

-Alexander Smith

Lillian's first steelhead! Photo: Eric Speer

Fall is gone and Winter is upon us now. It is amazing how fast time seems to go the older we get and the more responsibilities we have. Fall of 2012 was a truly special and this year I was finally able to share it more with my family, the way that I appreciate it. Still with a few leaves left on the trees in my front yard, I am thinking about some of the days spent on the water with family and friends that I will always remember. 

Nothing but smiles! Photo: Josh Cavan

This year my daughter got to experience why I love Fall the most of all the seasons of the year. Though cold, wet and dreary compared to fishing in the summer with her father, my daughter Lillian got to see the Fall through my eyes. Fishing, friends, good food and beautiful landscapes and of course the steelhead I travel to find are many of the highlights. 

Though Lillian did not hook it, she got to fight her first steelhead on the spey rod. Photo: Rick Matney  

Though I know there will be more adventures in her future, fishing and otherwise, I hope she is gaining the insight to why her old man and his friends do this every year, meeting in this special place and sharing the same stories talked about for years. Fishing in the Fall is special and this year spending it with the most important person in my life made it more so. I hope to spend many more with her and the friends that made this a memorable one for Lillian. I am a proud father because Lillian knows me a little more now and well, she caught her first steelhead. That experience in itself made my year. 

Another glorious drift.  Photo: Brian Chou

I look forward to another Fall season and many more fishing trips with Lillian.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Upper Columbia Trout Fishery Vs. Non-Native Walleye

Upper Columbia Rainbow Trout Photo: Jack Mitchell

I admit, I have never fished the Upper Columbia for trout, but when a buddy points out some interesting points about impacts from non-native species on what I have been told is one of the best trout fisheries in the state, I had to read more. On December 15th, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will no longer be taking recommendations for rule changes for the daily bag limit for walleye in the Lake Roosevelt and the Spokane Arm of Lake Roosevelt. As a rule change that can effect the population of native species in this area, I think it is wise to chime in for the benefit of our native fish.

According to those who know this fishery, the population of introduced walleye have moved from foraging, peamouth chubs, whitefish, pikeminnow to rainbow trout. Though I enjoy fishing for warmwater species, the impacts on our native salmonids have always brought an interest in regards to their impact on the ecosystem. Without predation on this new invader, the ecosystem itself changes and with that impacts all species in that food chain. Though I do not believe there are enough studies to defend this debate either way, I wrote a letter to WDFW in support of liberalizing the bag limit of walleye to unlimited harvest. These are non native fish and time wasted not helping our native fish may lead to an obvious negative impact for this fishery in the future.

Please take a few minutes and voice your opinion to WDFW, and read move courtesy of the Upper Columbia Flyfisher.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Casting for Recovery Auction

This week marks the start of Casting for Recovery's annual holiday auction, with proceeds earmarked for its quality of life retreat program for breast cancer survivors across the United States. Auction items range from vacation destinations and guided trips to rods, reels... and special to this year's mix: the "final conflaguration" of the Drake Classic Atlantic Salmon Fly Swap.
Here's the story, via the Magnificent Seven: 
A little over a year ago, a couple members of The Drake Forum who tied classic Atlantic Salmon flies decided to swap a few patterns. The group grew to 8 and it was determined that each tier would designate a special pattern to be professionally mounted and framed in a display to be auctioned to benefit a worthy cause. All flies are tied with authentic materials. As the wife of one of the participants had just lost a battle with cancer, Casting for Recovery was chosen as the beneficiary of the donated display. 
Two other forum members, Bob White and Richard Harrington, both nationally known artists, became aware of the project and most generously offered to create original paintings to be a part of the display. A very generous Drake Forum member covered the cost to custom-mount and frame the flies and artwork. The finished product is approximately 24" x 20". 
Robert Meiser, who builds beautiful custom salmon and steelhead rods, will custom-build a Highlander Classic S2H13068C-4 to be included with the framed piece. This rod is 13' 6" and designed to throw a line weight in the 6-7-8 window. The winner bidder can arrange design specifics with Bob prior to the rod being built. This is truly a unique opportunity to own a singular display of classic salmon flies, two original works of art, and a spey rod built by a true master. 
To commission the artwork, purchase the individual flies, frame and mount the piece, and purchase the custom rod, were it even possible to recreate the project, would cost in excess of $6,000.

The auction ends on Dec. 5. Let the bidding begin!

As a son to a mother, who fought courageously, battling breast cancer, I am proud to post this. Casting for Recovery is a great cause, using nature and fly fishing as a way of healing for those who battle both the physical and mental struggle of breast cancer.


Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Deliberate Life

"A Deliberate Life" (Trailer) - Official Selection, IF4 2013 from IF4 on Vimeo.

A Deliberate Life
There comes a time in all of our lives when we let ourselves dream about living life on our own terms. When we wrestle with the decision to take a step into traffic, follow our passions and live deliberately - or simply let another day, and daydream, pass.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if we make the decision of our own accord, or life makes it for us. It’s where our heart and soul are that matter. For some, the result is a closer alignment between vocation and avocation, for some it’s a reprioritization of what’s important in life, for some it’s the very real difference between life and death.
Set primarily against the diverse, rugged and breathtaking landscape of Idaho and Oregon, A Deliberate Life explores the stories of five unlikely friends who share the same love of fly fishing and the outdoors and their choice to lead a life according to their passions.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Code

Fall Swing Photo: Brian Chou

Yes, there is a Code of Steelheading. An ethos, if you will that those who fish everyday or way too often carry among friends. It's different to each person but those within a group understand it and stick to it, otherwise they may find themselves in radio silence or just plain left out. Its not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but in a fishing circle getting left out leads to missed opportunities that do not come along often, especially when you have a busy family and work schedule.  

With this new era of fishing and the internet, it is easy to get reports, help or hear rumors about what is going on throughout the Pacific Northwest. And like any real steelheader worth their chrome, we are all willing to make sacrifices to chase that hope of a fish on some fabled or less fabled water somewhere within driving distance of our homes on any given day. The fact of the matter is there are few secrets left out there and the ones that are, you can find if you are able to read between the lines. So those that are spot burners, you have to understand you are ruining it in the long run and you best learn to keep it zipped or your gonna get ripped  the next time it comes around. Also in all reality when you chase those rumors, you chasing last weeks sweat and hustle and just because shit happens once doesn't mean its gonna happen again. 

To break it down simple, each person is different, but those who you trust and know whats up keep that intel wrapped up tight. When one of your boys hands it to you or brings you to the spot, you keep it that way. That is just how to keep it real. Calling bullshit cause you brought one of the boys to one of your spots and finding him there with some of his friends there a day later is not exactly part of the code, but it happens and when the whistle is blown on you... well, don't expect pleasantries. This seems as if it would be common sense, but as it has been said, "common sense is not common to everyone". 

There are of course bylaws to add to the Code from time to time as well. When you figure something out and its known by a few, its not necessarily means you can take your friends there. That is a community decision made among your peers who worked the beatdown. This by no means is some kind of secret society and like mentioned before there are few real secrets left out there, but you always have to keep in mind that you never want to ruin a good thing nor piss of your homies. 

There is also a grey area of well known spots that lead to reports given without hesitation, primarily due to the obvious and aiding in a less experienced friends learning curve. Educating friends, helping them learn about their quarry, casting, presentation, etc are just as important facets of the Code, but not everything is given without reciprocation.  Respect of the resource, educating others and your peers views of secrecy are vital and mandatory in maintaining the code. In the end we all learn from each other. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Why We Hate Hatch Tards.

I was looking through pictures today and could not help but think this shit right here is why we hate hatch dogs. Perfect specimen.  Love them and leavem boys and don't give them to some hatchery to rape them either. Oh and kill every hatchery fish you can.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Magnificent Steelhead

Burke Museum, Wild Steelhead Coalition partner to raise awareness of “The Magnificent Steelhead”
 Museum exhibit, reception and art sale support wild steelhead in the Pacific Northwest.

SEATTLE – Anglers know it as the “fish of a thousand casts." Washingtonians know it as their state fish, symbolizing the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. And through November 15th, the steelhead will be celebrated in an exhibit at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum to raise awareness and support for this iconic, and threatened, fish.

Titled “The Magnificent Steelhead,” the display will culminate with a reception and art sale on November 8, with all proceeds benefiting the Wild Steelhead Coalition, an organization dedicated to increasing the return of wild steelhead to the rivers and streams of the Pacific Northwest.

Works in the Burke exhibit include photographs printed on canvas, as well as mixed media pieces from individuals in the angling community, including Andy Anderson, Jeff Bright, Keith Douglas, Brian Huskey, Brian O’Keefe, Jonathan Marquardt, Dave McCoy, Ken Moorish, Tim Pask, Steve Perih, Mike Savlen, and Bob White.

Visitors can also learn more about steelhead, as well as conservation efforts being taken by the Wild Steelhead Coalition to support the species through hatchery reform, scientific research and policy changes on behalf of wild fish.

The event runs from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. and includes hors d’oeuvres from the Steelhead Diner and beverages from Precept Wine.

Burke Museum Exhibit Reception & Sale: A Benefit for the Wild Steelhead Coalition
November 8, 2012 | 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. | Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
On the UW Campus - 17th Ave NE & NE 45th St

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Searching for Gierach

So I found myself on the River Styx the other afternoon.  Not a river I hate because its ugly, or because there are no fish, but more so because over the last decade this river has baffled me and kept me on my toes to the point I have been pulling my grey hairs out with vigor. Now do not get me wrong, this river is awesome, home to steelhead, salmon and a few trout, not to mention a great place to skate a fly. I have just had a love hate relationship with it for a longtime. 

Now I got to the river at high noon and as we well know, your odds are not the best when the sun is right on you. It didn't really matter to me though since I finally got some me time, much needed these days and found a run all to myself. So after working down this run, I found a seam line in some fast water I had never spent a lot of time working. The seam was on the other side of the river and I figured out how to keep my fly in the zone.

After making several casts into it, all of a sudden two guys stepped through the bushes and started to chat about the salmon fishing. They saw me fishing from the road and wondered what guys fly fished for there. It was pretty funny and on the next cast I turned to say something when I finally got that grab. The loop was taken from me and I set the hook. It took off then did what I hate, ran upstream. Between stripping in line and doing that damn Statue of Liberty thing I hate seeing trout guys do, I finally got the line tight before she screamed downstream again. After walking down the run and making sure she did not break me off on rock grindage, I put her on the bank.

Not bad for a Friday afternoon, but the day got better. That evening I was invited to spend the evening and have dinner at a friend’s establishment. That evening I was able to spend some time with John Gierach, you know the original Trout Bum. John and friend Vince Zounek was spending some time in the Pacific Northwest visiting friends and playing with steelhead. It just so happens that John also caught his first steelhead on the Styx that day.  

Later that evening we shared stories like fishermen do about fish, home waters, species and gear. John is a very down to earth guy and glad I finally got to meet the guy whose stories I have read over the years. The next day we planned to meet on the river.

The next morning I woke at a reasonable hour and drove downstream. Without seeing them all morning, driving up and down the river and getting side tracked by beautiful runs I had to swing, I noticed the time. I had to make an appointment and on the way down the river the last time found them. John and Vince were working through a run and experimenting with new equipment.  We chatted a bit more and I am still laughing that on the day we both caught fish on the river, mine came on a MOAL and his came on a traditional featherwing called an Akyroyd. He said it was a generational difference and I got to admit, he is right. Then again I would fish one if I could tie one. 

It was neat to talk to John and Vince. Vince is one of the characters John writes about on their fishing adventure. The best part about it was seeing that these two longtime fishing buddies were not unlike my friends and I. It brings so much more to the adventures he shares with us in his writing. These adventures are not unlike our own and his articulate writing style, humor and knowledge brings what the true meaning of why we fly fish back to us when we cannot break free on our own adventures.  Searching for Gierach was a well spent day on the river. 

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Archuleta's Reel Works

I wanted to thank Bill Archuleta from Archuleta's Reel Works for converting my Forrest & Sons Waverly Salmon Reel, reel foot for me. Finally with a modern reel foot, I can hear this old reel scream. Bill was able to use the original foot and machine it so that it can fit modern reel seats.

I do not know much about the Waverly and bought it on a whim. If anyone out there can point me in the right direction, let me know. I would love to know the history of this model reel.

Check out Archulata's Reel Works if you have any maintenance or modification requirements on your reels. He really does some great work. It's time to annoy my buddies with another screaming clicker.

Friday, August 31, 2012

The Perfect Fish

So a couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be like the sixth person to go through Lani's water on the Deschutes. You know where he filmed the video. Where boats park for days and you have to bring your own rock. Well anyway, I was beating myself over the head after taking a swim that morning while wet wading and loosing a dink hatch dog that felt like a wet sock, not to mention having difficulties getting what I wanted out of the Carron I was casting. So when this fish nailed my coachman, the shivering finally didn't matter anymore.

I do not want to sound like the tool who describes a magnificent battle with a wild beast, but in all reality everything about that fish and fight was perfect. When casting long bellies, you have a crap ton of line out already and on the first run it doubled with a lot of that line taken from me on one of those runs that starts out as continuous jumps. I could not believe it.  Finally when I got it to me, I was still waist deep in the water and after a tug of war it was tailed.

This fish was perfect, a hen about seven to eight pounds and full of piss and vinegar. I stood there on that rock, pulled the coachman out of its mouth and sat there looking at a perfect summer specimen. Unlike her friends I have seen this summer on the river, there was no net mark on her and all her fins were intact. She was plump, healthy and aggressive,  all the things we look for to in a summer run steelhead.

I could not help but think about how many fish I have caught over the years that felt like the most worthy of adversaries. This little lady was one of them, and I am blessed with a few battles like this every year that I will never forget, and can talk about in detail to those who understand. It has never been about catching the big fish, nor the numbers, but rather gain the experience and skill to be efficient and thorough when swinging flies. But overall these memorable fish due to location, battle, technique, whatever are really what brings you home to why we are all out there. Protecting these fish and the rivers that hold them is a must and I look forward to seeing and hearing about the Perfect Fish again. Weeks later I still cannot get that feeling out of my head, what a great fish.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Deliberate Life

In this day and age, there are those who wish, and those who choose to live a more deliberate life. Here's a short trailer about a friend, who with his posse, have chosen to do just that.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Fish Mortality

Catch and release fish mortality is inevitable, but please take the time to revive fish and keep them in the water as much as possible. I found this beast of a 36 plus inch buck on a local this last weekend that is not plagued with the warm tepid water of summer. I know how it was caught, but that is another rant, but keep this disaster in mind the next time you land a native. I am sick and tired of seeing this stuff on our rivers. Our runs are crap this year and these are the exact genetics that we f'ing need to maintain healthy runs of native fish. Dammit, what a waste. Sorry for the rant.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


GEOFISH Trailer from MOTIV FISHING on Vimeo.

Envy.......watching friends catching fish around the world. Geofish Mexico! This is awesome!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Life Changes

It is amazing how the days have gone by. This weekend my brother Joe was in town due to my niece playing in a softball tournament in Salem, Oregon. She is almost a teenager now and I remember like it was yesterday him telling me the news. We were driving through West Glacier while on a fishing excursion when he told me. Though a parent myself now, back then I could only imagine what was going through his mind. Thinking about it, I am grateful that he was able to spend time away with me to think and talk about what was going on.

Life is a weird thing, it is amazing how many times I can think back about both the good and bad things that have occurred and how fishing or just getting out on the water helped to get me through it. There were even those times when significant life changes occurred on days that I was fishing.  I do not know if it was my brother who taught me to use fishing as a coping mechanism or just coincidence, but what I do know is he was the one who got me interested in fly fishing in general. Sure we both came from The River Runs Through It era of fly fishing, but it was he who took me out on the Yuba River in California while in college and showed me how to swing flies for shad. Hell, I even hooked one and from then on this sickness I now call a way of life has manifested into who I am.

With time and life, things have changed significantly. My brother who was taught how to cast at the Golden Gate fishing club seldom gets the chance to spend anytime on the water and seldom touches his fly rods except when he visits. Now a husband and father of two, he spends most of his time with his family and the different activities involved with his kids like coaching softball. He does this while traveling across the country and world several times a year for work.

This cannot help but make me think about how much I will change in order to be a better parent. Will I become some kind of soccer dad? Or will I become the parent of a Junior US Fly Fishing Team member? Only time will tell, but I like me odds. A few hours ago my daughter talked me into waking up early to go fishing. This brings me to why the hell am I typing this because we plan on getting up in four hours.

Hmm, I am thinking the Echo Gecko and my new Echo 3 are gonna see some skater time in the morning.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Alaska Gold on Frontline

Watch Alaska Gold Preview on PBS. See more from FRONTLINE.

The Bristol Bay region of southwest Alaska is home to the last great wild sockeye salmon fishery in the world. It’s also home to enormous mineral deposits—copper, gold, molybdenum—estimated to be worth over $300 billion. Now, two foreign mining companies are proposing to extract this mineral wealth by digging one of North America’s largest open-pit mines, the “Pebble Mine,” at the headwaters of Bristol Bay. FRONTLINE travels to Alaska to probe the fault lines of a growing battle between those who depend on this extraordinary fishery for a living, the mining companies who are pushing for Pebble, and the political framework that will ultimately decide the outcome.

Watch it July 24th on Frontline. 

Fish Pass Condit Dam

Well for the first time in centuries, anadramous fish are passing where Condit Dam once stood on the White Salmon River in Washington. It is believed that these fish are of hatchery origin, but regardless, it is a milestone. Although it is not believed that Spring Chinook have crossed above this section of river, there is hope for Fall Chinook that should return in good numbers this year. I for one and looking forward to the future of this river. Read more courtesy of The Daily News and The Columbian.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Shark Bait

This one is everywhere, but I had to post it.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Help TU Protect Bristol Bay, Alaska

The future of Bristol Bay, its 40 million sockeye salmon, 14,000 fishing jobs, abundant wildlife and a Native way of life is now in the hands of President Obama and the EPA. Its up to you to convince them to stop the Pebble mine. After a year and a half, the EPA's draft Watershed Assessment is out and the evidence is overwhelming. Pebble mine is a threat to Bristol Bay's fish, jobs and fish and wildlife habitat. Now its up to you. If built, Pebble Mine would produce up to 10 billion tons of toxic waste requiring treatment and storage forever. The mine threatens Bristol Bay's $600 million commercial and sport fishery and 14,000 fishing jobs. Please tell President Obama and the EPA that you support EPA's science review and there is not doubt that Bristol Bay must be protected immediately. (Courtesy of Trout Unlimited)

Write you letter here.

Gillnet Ban on the Columbia

A Summer from a few years past that got tangled in a gillnet. 

Though this has nothing to do with tribal netting in the Columbia, enough signatures have been gathered in Oregon to propose a November ballot. This is great news! This old school indiscriminate form of fishing has been killing the same native fish we are spending millions of dollars each year to protect. It is nice to see people getting together to solve this issue.

It is my belief that gillnets in the Lower Columbia and overharvest decades ago has led to the loss of genetic stability that produced the once 20 pound winter steelhead that swam into Southwest Washington streams. Spring netting coincided the same time as when these legendary steelhead returned to their native streams. Though there are other obvious reasons for the demise of these legendary fish, this is one factor that obviously affected those fish. Though they disregard today's bycatch as marginal, back when the runs were more healthy, I am sure the impact was much more significant.

Read more via Oregon Live.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Daughter and Taking Her Steelheading

No matter who you are, life brings changes and like most when you have children it is not always easy to go fishing. Being able to work in a profession that allows me to have four days off a week has always been a blessing, but recently as well as over the last two years, things have really changed in my life.

Today life has been more about my daughter and though you all think of course when you have kids, its a little different for her. Recently and due to a long painful process, my daughter Lillian has returned to my home. Being someone who thought I would never get married or have kids and believed would become some kinda fish bum with a day job had his life changed 6 years ago when Lil entered my life. Though I never thought it would happen, it indeed has changed my life for the better.

Through the years I have taken Lil fishing, but never took her steelhead fishing. It just too hard and something you do not do with young children who have short attention spans. But recently with a new raft in the garage, a daughter who is out of school and keeps talking about wanting to catch a big steelhead not to mention perfect  weather conditions, I had to try it.

So this morning a good buddy of mine brought his daughter out with us and the four of us floated a short stretch of river. Needless to say we were not the only people on the river, but got some good water to swing. Instead of fishing, Lillian was content playing on the boat and on the banks. I was not sure how she would do and when I stepped into the first run, I found myself swinging to the sounds of giggling girls on the banks. After literally a few casts and paying more attention to the little ladies in the boat, my line stops and without setting the hook, feel two head shakes and then off. Not a big deal since I was more concerned with Lil then the fishing.

A few hours later the gals were still enjoying themselves and making a couple casts into another run found a player. I got a good grab, good set and a feisty chrome rocket was melting the Hardy. Though I did not land this one either, Lil got to see the fish wreck me, running, thrashing and jumping everywhere. The girls were  excited to see it all happen and a few minutes later I hook and land a large pikeminnow. Nothing special and anticlimactic for you and I, but the gals just loved it and were extremely excited to see it and hold it. It did not matter what species it was and the smiles on their face were priceless.  Lil also made a big deal about letting it go and I was happy to hear her say those words.

By noon we were having lunch in town and found the trip a great success. There are still bugs to work out like trying to teach a young girl how to pee in the ourdoors. Not an easy task for a dude, but I have confidence she will have it down by the end of the year.

Lillian and I on Father's Day, not a steelhead but her first fish on her new pink rod. I am so excited to see her excited to get out the door and cast a rod and enjoy the outdoors. I failed in teaching her mother the importance of fishing and how I sought to do it from the standpoint of why I do it, and not just the process and the fish. I hope Lillian learns this, or at least learns about her father along the way.

Food for Thought: Hatchery Theory and Practice

Theory in Hatchery Management is used by those that know everything about replicating juvenile salmonids but none of it works to help manage our dwindling native runs of fish.  Hatchery practice is used with the thinking that hatchery managers know what they are doing, yet they don't know why both their hatchery and native escapement cannot meet the needs of their individual watershed. Hatchery management occurs when theory and practice are combined: nothing works, nobody knows why and our fish runs go down the shitter, pissing off fish huggers, fishermen and tax payers alike........

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Vision Ace Skagit

The same people at Vision that brought you the easy casting Ace scandi shooting head several years ago, now have an entry into the skagit arena, and a good one at that.  Coming in at this stage of the game aint easy, especially when the skagit roster already has its starters, but this prospect has the goods to play in the big leagues.

The first time I saw the line it caught my eye just on color, being that its the first white production skagit line ive seen. Clearly marked grains/grams, a green weld at the back to signify direction, and small welded loops were among the other features that made a good first impression.

Upon taking it out fishing, the skeptic in me thought "how much different can one skagit line be from another?"...a couple days later, i had my answer. The rear taper is nice and short, giving good feel of the weight of the line throughout the cast. Turnover was as expected for a skagit, and given as thick as the line was, still maintained a tight loop shape. The icing on the cake is that it comes with a no brainer t-14 tip with the length set depending on the head length. loops on both ends of course.

For the technophiles, the usual taper diagram, but just to be easier on the eyes, I folded the sheet so as to create a dieting effect that made it...less fat looking.

B. Chou

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Landowners and Courtesy

Sorry, rant time. Yesterday I got out on some water that I only fish a couple times a year at the most. It is situated next to a river with homes and near the bank. Most of which cleared all the timber that was on the banks of the river and placed grass for their view extending into the high water mark on the riverbank. These homes are located on a great run ideal for swinging flies.

So yesterday while floating to this spot I ran into an acquaintance that hiked into there. After setting up into the run and swinging flies, I noticed that one of the land owners talking to him downstream. The body language did not seem too pleasant and after making my first pass through the run I got to talk to him. Apparently there had been several boats that have been fishing that run over the last few weeks and the fishermen have not been pleasant or courteous to the landowners, walking in the yard and urinating on the banks in open view of their homes.

Now I do not know the full story and did not get to talk to any of the landowners, even the ones that were standing by my raft while I worked down the run, but it was obvious when one of the landowners in a boat asked us to stay off the grass that they were not happy.

At this time I do not know or understand the property line and what equates the legal boundary of the high water mark on this river. I will soon, but was pissed that a few asshats can make fishing one of my favorite spots I have been fishing for a decade uncomfortable. Sure the property owners are upset there are guys on the water in their backyard, but if they had some manners it would not be a big deal. I continued to fish the run until almost dusk and know one in the homes approached me.

Please take a moment to think about what you are doing when around private property. Many years ago I lost the privilege to camp on some prime water East of the Cascades due to a similar issue. Luckily the landowner does not mind us fishing said spot, just cannot camp on his property anymore. Also it is not a bad idea to find out the legalities of the rivers you fish on a day to day basis so that if you are confronted landowners, you can have a more productive conversation with them. This problem is only going to get worse with everyone breeding and moving to the Pacific Northwest. At the end of the day the memory of a screaming Hardy was well worth the bullshit.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Stuff You Catch in Mexico When Not Catching Roosterfish

I finally got a much needed fishing vacation that did not involve freezing or sweating my balls off in a pair of waders. As my friends know, I am not a saltwater guy. Hell I give a shit about fishing flats chasing Bonefish or chasing Tarpon. This kind of fly fishing just isn't my cup of tea, but Roosterfish, well they always made me wonder. So last month I got my chance to see what this kind of fishing is like and just like steelhead fishing, got to experience the beatdown. Apparently there needs to be bait in the area to catch these guys and Sardina their primary food source was nowhere to be found in the area I was fishing. Still I got to experience seeing them and having a few of them fin while chasing various offerings I threw at them. I also got to see a huge school of Mullet get pounded by at least a dozen Roosters. A National Geographic moment for sure. In the end I wish I would have stuck to the beaches to fish for them, but even the few opportunities I had made it well worth the trip. I guess there is always next year and I did come back from Mexico with my head.

But I did get to tangle with several new species.

The easiest way to describe a Pacific Jack Cravalle is grumpy. These guys just beat you up and bark at you when they are pissed. If I couldn't get a Rooster, this was a close second for sure.

Sorry for the postmortem pictures, but the Dorado went home for dinner. Everything you hear about these guys is correct, they are a blast on light tackle and like to take flight.

Trumpet fish, interesting catch the first time, but not the 42nd. These guys were everywhere and swam backwards when hooked. Really the swimming backwards thing was the only interesting thing about them.

Pacific Ladyfish, the Whitefish of the Sea of Cortez. These would be a blast on a six weight and run, jump, thrash, etc. We found schools of them and even one huge school that was herding baitfish.

Spotted Porcupinefish or Spotted Pufferfish were interesting to see swimming to your fly, but not so much to hook. Still cool aquarium fish to say the least. Great fight on ten weights.

Pacific Needlefish, these guys are everywhere and aggressive as hell. The only problem is you cannot hook them in the beak and shred up your flies. Still having them around fills the boredom with explosive takes.

Barred Pargo, these tanks will wreck you in the rocks if you give them a chance.

Panamic Grasby, one of the many Cabrilla found in Baja. Very cool guys that eat up nice and give you hell when fishing in the rocks and coral beds. Give them an inch and they are gone.

A Pinche Cabrilla, I mean Clown Hawkfish. The locals call everything Cabrilla down there, Always cool to catch something you cannot identify.(Thanks for the ID Mr Note.)

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Steelhead on the Menu Again

On the menu at Cutters Crabhouse in Seattle. I remember years ago while in college eating there and seeing steelhead on the menu. I new nothing about steelhead at the time, but since then Cutters promised to take steelhead off the menu due to the obvious. If you are interested, speak your concerns to the restaurant or review them here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Skagit Master 3

Modern concepts in steelhead patters. Are we over thinking things, or is this the missing link?

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Detonation Studios, Ian Majszak and Bryan Gregson are working together again. This time they won the show at the Simms annual Shoot Out videography contest, held during the Simms Ice Out event earlier this April in Bozeman, Montana. Each group that participated in this years event,  worked with some of the West's top fishing guides, bringing in it all together with just a few days to put it on the screen.

Ryan Thompson's Swift Current Productions entry.
Bryan Husky's Fishbite Media   
Brant Oswald's Raw Waters Production

This is a one of a kind event with the competition sponsored by Costa and The Drake Magazine. It is nice to see the industry celebrating fly fishing filmmaking and the fishing guides that help to educate the world about what fly fishing, conservation and being out in nature.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Hipsters and I Are Alike in One Way....

...we are both getting ripped on. Check out, "This Machine Kills Hipsters," on the Echo Fly Fishing Blog. The Echo Solo Spey Rods are the best spey rod for the money hands down.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Keep Talking

For millions of years, mankind lived just like the animals. Then something happened which unleashed the power of our imagination. We learned to talk and we learned to listen. Speech has allowed the communication of ideas, enabling human beings to work together to build the impossible. Mankind's greatest achievements have come about by talking, and its greatest failures by not talking. It doesn't have to be like this. Our greatest hopes could become reality in the future. With the technology at our disposal, the possibilities are unbounded. All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.
-          Stephen Hawking

Every year, my home water sees more fishing pressure, and becomes more and more crowded.  I’m not sure why, exactly, but there are a number of reasons that have probably contributed to the growing numbers of steelheaders on the river.  

It’s easy to complain.  10 years ago we had our pick of the prime runs, even on weekends.  Things have changed.  Now, we often share the water with others casting flies or lures or bait.  But complaining won’t change things, or turn back the clock.

Confronted with the reality, I have spent a lot of time wandering and wondering what an angler can do in the face of growing fishing pressure?  Quit fishing?  Become more and more aggressive and territorial when it comes to fishing?  Keep fishing and find new ways to appreciate the experience?  Start a blog and complain about it?

Personally, I’m not willing to quit fishing my home waters, no matter how crowded they become.  I love them too much, and the memories that I often “fish for” are well worth the time spent.  I also refuse to become more aggressive and territorial like some anglers have become, resorting to tactics that range from camping in sensitive areas or trails to “claim” a spot, to outright displays of aggression and bullying toward other anglers, to belligerent refusal to share the public water.  I’m happy to blog, but I’m not going to become a complainer, an armchair steelheader, or another part of the problem.

So, I ask myself:  Faced with increased numbers of anglers concentrated into a finite amount of water during the prime season, how can I/we maintain a river environment where everyone can have a positive experience?  

This year, more than ever, I have tried to embrace a river ethic and angling presence that is embodied in the essence of Stephen Hawking’s words.  

It doesn't have to be like this.

“All we need to do is make sure we keep talking.”

 It seems simple, yet this is difficult sometimes.  We steelheaders can be a solitary and socially challenged group.  We go to the river to find some solitude and perhaps, some fish.  Working through a piece of water, alone, at your own pace is one of the joys in steelheading.   

But as more and more anglers share the resource, having an entire run to yourself isn’t always possible anymore.  There is a certain anxiety that we have all felt when another angler shows up at a run that you had to yourself for a while.  It’s easy to wonder what’s going to happen, and to think the worst.  Competitive thoughts sometimes pop up.  Is he going to low-hole me?  Or crowd me out?  We stop thinking about fishing.  We stop enjoying the process of fishing and start worrying about the other angler.  Some of the joy is lost.

So, what can we do to preserve the quality experience?

I propose that the best thing that we can do is to all let down our guard a little bit, and start communicating with other anglers that we meet on the water.  I know some anglers who have always done this, perhaps as a reflection of their personality, but to me, being outgoing towards strangers is not my first thought.  

So, what can we do?  First, be the one to take the time and put in the effort.  If you see another angler, walk up and introduce yourself.  Ask how things are going, and ask how that person is approaching the water so that you can consider a way to approach it that does not interfere with that person’s experience.  Be friendly (some of us have to fake this).  Ask if you can share the run with the other angler(s), and explain how you would be fishing (swinging flies, drift fishing, running bobbers and jigs).  If the spot is small, don’t hover or creep without saying hello. Mention to the other angler to take as much time as they like and then patiently wait for your turn in the spot.   I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

Start a conversation!   Work it out.  Expect occasional negative reactions from people, but don’t be discouraged.  The great encounters will outweigh the negative ones.

Keep talking.

You might be surprised.  If nothing else, you will become a better ambassador for the sport of fly fishing.

And maybe you and everyone else will have a better experience on the river.

Take care and fish on.

PS - This one is also running as the Sexyloops Frontpage for Wednesday, April, 25, 2012.  If you dig STEEL, you might also dig Sexyloops.