Friday, April 26, 2013

Barbless on Columbia River Tributaries in WA

Ban on barbed hooks expands
on Columbia River, tributaries May 1

OLYMPIA – Starting May 1, anglers fishing for salmon or steelhead on the Columbia River and most of its tributaries downstream from Chief Joseph Dam will be required to use barbless hooks.
The new regulations, adopted today by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), expand on a similar rule currently in effect on the stretch of the Columbia River that constitutes the border between Washington and Oregon.

The new rules extend the ban on barbed hooks another 250 miles upriver on the Columbia River and to dozens of its tributaries, including the Cowlitz, White Salmon, Klickitat, Snake, Yakima and Okanogan rivers. Anglers fishing those waters will still be allowed to use single, double-point or treble hooks, so long as the barbs have been filed off or pinched down.

Jim Scott, assistant director of the WDFW Fish Program, said the new rule will contribute to ongoing efforts to minimize impacts on wild stocks while maintaining opportunities for anglers to harvest abundant hatchery fish. “Anyone who’s ever fished with barbless hooks knows they are easier to remove from a fish’s mouth than a barbed hook,” Scott said. “That’s important in fisheries where anglers are required to release wild fish unharmed.” Fishing regulations requiring the release of wild salmon and steelhead are common in the Columbia River Basin and other Washington waters, especially in areas wild salmon and steelhead are protected by state and federal laws. In those cases, only hatchery fish marked with a clipped adipose fin and a healed scar may be retained. “Anglers fishing for salmon and steelhead in Puget Sound and ocean waters have been required to use barbless hooks for years,” Scott said. “The new rule on the Columbia River is consistent with our state’s longstanding commitment to sustainable fisheries.”

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, a nine-member citizen panel that sets policy for WDFW, endorsed the barbless-hook requirement as part of a broad-based policy designed to support the recovery of wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River Basin. That policy, adopted in collaboration with the Oregon commission in January, also set the stage for gradually shifting non-tribal commercial gillnets to off-channel areas of the river and developing new, more selective types of commercial fishing gear.

Before taking action, Washington’s commission held a series of public hearings on barbless hooks and other provisions of the policy in the winter of 2012. WDFW also conducted public meetings on barbless hooks during the 2013 North of Falcon process, where statewide salmon-fishing seasons were set earlier this month. With only a few exceptions, the rule requiring the use of barbless hooks will be in effect on rivers and streams where a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement is required in addition to a current fishing license. Those waters are clearly marked in WDFW’s 2013-14 Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, now available online at The paper version of the pamphlet will be distributed to recreational license dealers around the state by early May.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

River of Hope

One thing that I have always had a problem when reading, watching or listening to someone talk about steelheading, especially a guide, writer or rep was how genuine they are. The personal view, family and what this run, river, season and how it evolved for him and his family really brings his message to home. Check it out.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Spring Cleaning and Running Lines

Well it is that time of year again to go through the gear and see what's still in working order, what needs maintenance and what needs replacement. Lines, reels, flies, bags, boat equipment, etc. Its just time for Spring cleaning. One thing I have wanted to do this Spring was change out the majority of the running lines that I have. The issue I have is price, it can get stupid, and if you have way to many reels like I do, well the math tends to lean toward outrageous. Though I love using the Airflo Ridge Running Line in the staple orange 30 lb, over the years I have converted many of my reels, especially my Hardy 3 7/8 St John and Salmon Marquis 1 to mono running lines. With the diameter of mono, line capacity just is not as big of an issue compared to polyurethane or PVC running lines at about .020 vs .040 diameter.

Years ago Brian Chou turned me onto mono running lines and since then I have had a love hate relationship with this stuff. The cost however is a fraction of that of most running lines out there. The issue I had to overcome however is how smooth the line was and how difficult it was for me to shoot line without losing my grip on it, especially so if I did not bother to straighten it well before fishing. Mono shoots well, in fact too well and with that I had difficulty holding onto the line while I set up my cast and release. This is especially so in the winter when my hands are cold and why I go back to the Airflo Ridge Runner. Over the years however I have worked to gain better control and feel of mono and with that experimented with 20-25-30 lb mono running lines in order to figure out which best suited me.

Today I find myself using Sunset Amnesia 30 lb running line the majority of the time. This stuff has been used since the 1960's and many casting champions over the years have used it to gain distance in their casting. You can find a 328 foot or approximately 100 yard spool anywhere from 4-8 dollars and that is just dirt cheap. The fact that mono just shoots lasers just adds to the easy answer of why I use it.

So recently, after doing very little research I was able to find five 100 yard spools of clear Amnesia for a total of $20.00.  Perfect for splicing behind that Long belly that I picked up at the Welches Shop last month and wined behind those Skagit and Scandi heads I use seasonally. Don't get me wrong there are other brands out there that are almost as cheap, there is even flat mono, and of course some may be better for those who want to spend the money, but for now this is a steal. I love this stuff and saving anywhere from $5.00-50.00 on running lines makes my choice easy.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rare Sightings on the Dungeness River

This was posted on the Wild Steelhead Coalition page and had share. Great encounter on a closed river that has had some time and effort put into restoration.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Toutle River Footage

on Vimeo.

Amazing Toutle River footage from David Rice from 1965-1970. The Toutle River basin was forever changed after the Mt St Helens eruption on May 8th, 1980. I wish I could have saw it before the eruption, but still blessed by being able to see Mother Nature heal from this natural disaster.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Time to Take it Back on the Skagit

OCCUPY SKAGIT April 6th 2013

• Howard Miller Steelhead Park – Rockport, WA
• Meet & Greet - 9am
• 'Wade In' Between 10:00 – 2:00
After reviewing the evidence, it is our belief that a well managed, catch-and-release season on the Skagit/Sauk Rivers would not be inconsistent with the recovery of its wild winter steelhead.
Occupy Skagit is a celebration to show your support for the restoration of the spring C&R season on the Skagit. During the 'Wade In' period some of us will cast hook-less lures to mimic fishing in remembrance of foregone opportunities.
We would also like to compile a list of supporters to take with us the following week to the WDFW Commissioner's Meeting. Please join us and show your support and desire to revive our catch-and-release season on the Skagit.

For those of you that are unable to make it to this weekend's gathering, please email regarding your support of Occupy Skagit. This way your voice will be heard at  the Commission meeting next week.

Catch and Release Is Not A Crime and Long Live Native Steelhead