Monday, November 24, 2014

Aweful Handling of Fish

This is disgusting and even more so that it was posted on You Tube!!! Sorry, could not post the embeded video.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Trout Unlimited Be Steelheaded

It's hard to imagine an organization that fills in all the gaps in the ideal world for protecting our native steelhead and salmon in the Pacific Northwest and allowed for harvest and retention or hatchery fish in some settings. Over the years I have belonged to many of them and for some reason or the other always felt at odds with one or more things within in each organization. Recently Trout Unlimited is taking a stance on this subject and is ambitious in wanted to save both native fish as well as allow harvest of hatchery fish in specific areas.

This process will be an interesting one, dealing with a region that is not fly oriented and wanting to draw from non fly anglers in order to keep a well maintained balance and perspective on our local fisheries. Trout Unlimited has always been looked down upon in this arena in regards to gear anglers who have been given a bad rap, so this will be interesting to say the least.  I am skeptical myself in many ways much like in the past, but applaud the effort and willingness to bring forth a moderate view to our fisheries close to heart. I am also excited to hear that John McMillian, NOAA Biologist and son of Bill McMillian is leading the campaign here in Washington.

Wednesday November 20th, TU will be launching this campaign with meetings in Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California.  Please check them out and see what TU has to offer.

You can see each location here.

Regardless of my skepticism, I think everyone should get involved in organizations that help to protect our fish and the fisheries we hold dear. Organizations like TU, Native Fish Society, Wild Steelhead Coalition and Coastal Conservation Association all hold their place in helping to maintain and restore our fisheries.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

This Week on Oregon Field Guide

This weeks edition of Oregon Field Guide introduces Chad Brown and Soul River to mainstream media. Please check out their feature Thursday night at 8:30 PM.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Wild Reverence Portland

Shane Anderson's Wild Reverence is playing at the Hollywood Theater September 28th. Please join the Wild Steelhead Coalition and pay homage to the Steelhead Gods and the rivers they swim in. Oh and enjoy a cold beverage while your at it.

12th Man and a Seahawks Victory!

#Century Link Field, Section 230. Go 12th Man!          Photo: Michael Davidchik

This has nothing to do with Steelhead or fishing, but everything about the Pacific Northwest. The Seattle Seahawks proved yesterday that their Super Bowl win last year against the Denver Broncos was deserved. What a great game and damn that stadium gets loud!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Oregon Bass

It's September and prime steelhead time, but I can't help but reflect on the Summer and time spent with the family and friends on the water. This year I was able to spend many quality hours on the water chasing other species of fish that everyone can enjoy. Steelhead are a blast, but trying to get kids into fishing is not about chasing that grab, more about constant interaction with nature, and fun activities that will keep their attention. 

Jennifer with her first ever smallmouth bass. 

Though smallmouth bass are not native to the Pacific Northwest, they are a perfect species in areas like the John Day River that kids and newcomers can interact with. At times the numbers alone on the John Day helped to maintain the attention my kids to the point where after enough positive reinforcement, you could see the confidence in the kids building.

First Daddy, daughter double.

Learning how to cast both spinning gear and flies can be hard for the newcomer. Coordination and attention can be difficult, but with patience, both from parent and child, fun and success can be found. As we all know, beginners have difficulty casting fly rods and with kids, its more about encouraging them working on their technique. There are times and places to help, but when frustration is written all over everyone's faces, there is nothing wrong with taking a break or introducing them to a spinning rod. One thing that I have learned over the years is the best anglers are able to adapt and fishing all methods can lead to becoming a better angler. 

A priceless moment finding your child casting on her own. 

When it comes down to it, I want everyone I am fishing with, kids or adults alike to enjoy their time on the water. As much as many of us label ourselves are fly anglers, what we really want it to enjoy that time on the water and make sure everyone around us does the same. Making sure your kids are having fun and bonding with them helps to carry the torch and appreciation for our resources. Though my daughter may not be fish crazy like her old man, I want her to learn how important this resource is and one day help to protect it when I am gone. 

Surafce oriented fish lead to smiles. 

We all hold lasting memories of our childhood fishing with family and that is the most important thing that we want our family to bring home. Spending time together brings us all together and the adventures we share are bonus.
Goose eggs

There are lots of things that both you and the family can learn about nature by just taking a walk along the river.

Kade with a Surprise Catch!

Every know and then you might even be surprised what you catch when bass fishing.

Matt Klara with a Oregon smallmouth. A nice one!

One thing that returned to my memory this year was the love of throwing and stripping streamers. You just do not do that with steelhead fishing, and since we do not have trout like Montana, we have an alternative. Smallmouth are everywhere, in most ponds, lakes and rivers etc and with a little exploring can find them. A lot of the same places you find bass you will find carp and sunfish as well to play with. 

You can find large smallmouth in certain locations at certain times of the year. It's not a mystery, especially in the places where there are a lot of crayfish and anadromous smolts.

For those of you interested in a John Day smallmouth adventure, check out Little Creek Outfitters.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Celebration of Wild Steelhead, Sept 7th in Portland

Portland, OR: Soul River/New Currents, Outdoors and the US Fish and Wildlife are teaming up with other area vendors to organize a fun-filled, family-friendly outdoor music event, Celebration of Wild Steelhead.
The event promotes ethical and respectful fly fishing and the conservation of Wild North American Steelhead with music, fly fishing workshops, conservation booths, and other exciting activities. This legendary species’ habitat along the western coast of North America is being threatened by outside forces and as a result the steelhead populations are being destroyed. This community outreach event encourages the community to come together to learn more about this iconic species and how we can come together and save them from extinction. Local businesses are reaching out to share the sport of fly fishing with inner city youth, veterans groups, and new generations to share responsible practices to fish respectfully and minimize angler’s footprints. There will be free fly fishing instructional workshops that cover fly casting, fly tying, responsible practices, as well as conservation seminars. By teaching new anglers the values of responsible fly fishing we can ensure the future of wild steelhead and the river ecosystems. Soul River will also be giving out free beginner fly rod kits to youth in attendance (quantities are limited.)
The celebration kicks off Sunday, September 7th at 1pm in Peninsula Park. Live reggae/blues performance is by the local band The Rising Buffalo Tribe. This event will continue until 8pm. The event is free and open to the public. Celebration of Wild Steelhead encourages the participation of youth groups and families to promote safe, responsible, and respectful fly fishing to a new generation of environmentally conscious anglers while teaching the community about their impact on the environment.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Dam Removal, Trout and Hope For Wild Steelhead

White Salmon River
A few weeks ago I found myself on a unique piece of water that I have not fished in years, the White Salmon. In that time of absence one thing stands out more than anything, there is no longer a dam present. On October 26, 2011 Condit dam was breached opening up thirty plus miles of spawning habitat for steelhead, chinook salmon and lamprey.

For almost one hundred years Condit dam blocked migration of anadromous fish to their spawning tributaries, and now with it gone, I could not help but to think of what’s next in the process of healing. The few native fish that find their way home are fighting the odds of not only nets, fishing, warm water and Bonneville Dam,  but also repopulating a section of river that their lineage have not seen in a century.

Though doubtful of swinging a fish that day, I continued to have hope for a grab. After a few hours of fishing, that hope lead me to a fish, a rainbow trout. Throughout the morning I encountered several more and then something dawned on me. The hope for wild steelhead in this watershed does not only reside in the few returning adult steelhead, but also these resident trout that had been living behind the dam over the last century. Though I do not know if there were plants of hatchery trout above the dam previously, a native population of trout can and will hold the genetic heritage of the fish that returned to the river over a century ago.

Resident White Salmon Rainbow Trout

Studies have shown that adult resident male trout will spawn at times with steelhead. Read more via the Wild Steelhead Coalition. By the end of the afternoon I could not help but smile with the realization that there is indeed hope for these native fish.  A few days later I randomly met a fisheries biologist from the Yakama Nation. With a big smile on his face he informed me about how many spring chinook that he had recently tagged in the upper watershed.

There is indeed hope for the White Salmon River. 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Geobass: Botswana

Not the same as the smallmouth in the pond down by the house.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Soul River Shop Opening

Portland-based Soul River Runs Deep is launching a unique, one of a kind lifestyle boutique with intention to transition the passion of an angler on the wild river waters into everyday urban life. In essence, “trails to cocktails”, “riverbanks to boardrooms”, and “aquatic life to street life”. Soul River’s space provides not just a haven for anglers but also acts as an incubator embracing our next generation of diverse outdoors people. 

We sit nestled in the North Portland Kenton neighborhood, intertwined into a tight-knit community brimming full of small businesses and quaint residential streets to stroll. We are strategically planting our roots in Kenton because of the accessibility by bus and MAX lines, bikes and cars (we are less than ½ mile off Interstate 5) targeting all people – from youth to the expert angler to a family of five – we welcome all! 

We desire to engage minds with thoughts of conscious conservation, big fish stories and entertain wild river stories all while sipping on locally-crafted kombucha and offering variety of lifestyle products. Products offered extend beyond the artistically designed Soul River apparel and include artisan organic soaps, custom-tied flies from anglers all over the world, hand-crafted shaving kits made of antler and wood, Loop rods and reels, and registration for guided trips along incredible Pacific Northwest rivers with The Evening Hatch owner Jack Mitchell. 

You can find your own Soul River within the retail space anywhere from a beginners interest (with ongoing offerings of workshops about fly tying, casting, and conservation) to the most advanced angler. Soul River provides an authentic and unique experience of lifestyle and fly fishing!

 Come by and check us out! The Shop Opening is July 31st.  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Searsville Dam and San Francisquito Creek

San Francisquito Creek, flowing out of Searsville Dam located on Stanford University has become a recent debate among Environmentalists who support one of San Francisco Bay's last populations of Wild Steelhead. Historically these steelhead spawned in the headwaters above this dam and have been blocked for decades in order to fill the reservoir above for irrigation water for Stanford's gold course and grass on its community.

This remnant steelhead population struggle through drought, depleted flows, degraded habitat and blocked access by Searville Dam. This dam that is currently being assessed for removal and with out help can be removed to help this dwindling population of native fish. With no meaningful benefits, safety concerns and the benefit to our native fish, the removal of this dam need to be taken under consideration.

In the end we are either protecting green lawns or steelhead. Which would you rather see? With Stanford University touting themselves as a leader in global stability, lets hope they make the right decision, removing this dam from campus and leading the way, proving they are leaders providing environmental stability in this community and the San Francisco Bay.

Read move via Ecowatch.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Two Hander Day on the Klick 2014

Jack Mitchell Helping to Create proper Loop Formation. 
Its that time of year again for the second annual Klickitat Two Hander Day. Though last years the river was blown out, this year is looking promising. Regardless this spey gathering was a great success and lots was learned for all. 

Trey Combs

Come join us Saturday August 9th, 2014 for this years event at Leidl Access on the Klickitat. The event starts with a 11:00 am check in and ends with a riverside barbecue. After the afternoon classes you have the option to fish or hang out with the gang at the Steelhead Ranch where Todd Moen from Catch Magazine will be showcasing some film work.

Jeff Cottrell
This years group includes Jack Mitchell from the Evening Hatch, Jeff Klick Skater Cottrell , Brian "Snake Eyes: Chou, Brian Styskal the Hammer Tosser, Judge Ben Dow,  Eric Easy Neufield and myself.

Brian "Snake Eyes" Chou and Chad Brown from Soul River rolling in Clyde.
This years Itinerary.

This years topics include:

-Demystifying the variety of two hand lines
-Beginner two hand casting
-Intermediate/advanced two hand casting
-Getting More Distance
-Fishing the Fly, hooking and fighting fish
-Single hand spey casting
-Up against the trees
-Combining casts to optimizing efficiency
-Long belly vs underhand casting
-Overhead casting with the two hander

Product Representation Include:


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Swing the Fly Magazine

With online magazines and more time to read then fish these days, Swing the Fly Magazine has been a bonus. Check out this summers edition when you get the time. Swing the Fly.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Breaking the Surface

Yeah, its time to tie skaters again.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

GEOBASS Nicaragua

These guys kill me. Rainbow bass in Nicaragua with the Motiv Crew.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Umpqua Kill Fishery?

As disturbing as it sounds, locals who fish the Umpqua River in Oregon are once again trying to petition the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to allow retention of native winter steelhead. Over the years we have had to fight this battle again and again and as annoying as it is, we must continue to fight for these native fish. Please contact ODFW and let them know how vital this resource is to the Pacific Northwest and why it brings back anglers despite it being a no kill fishery.

Send Emails to:


Sign the petition here.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

The Lost Fish

Pacific Lamprey are one of the lesser known, yet oldest anadromous species in the Pacific Northwest. Much like salmon and steelhead, Pacific Lamprey struggle to reach the ocean when young and again in adulthood while on their spawning run, navigating through hydroelectric dams on their journey to their native waters.

The Lost Fish is a collaborative film with the US Fish and Wildlife Service and the Columbia River Intertribal fish Commission to bring light and public awareness to the decline of this disappearing species of fish. Pacific Lamprey hold both an important role in the heritage of our native people as well as a role in an intact ecosystem here in the Pacific Northwest.

In this Trailer you also see Elmer Crow, a Nez Perce elder and fisherman. Elmer grew up on the banks of the Clearwater River in Orfino, Idaho and has fished it since the young age of 3. This was long before the construction of Dworchak Dam on the North Fork of the Clearwater River. Legend has it he is one of the remaining fisherman in this world who can not only say he has caught steelhead in Kelly Creek, but has taken them on a dry fly.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Puget Sound Chambers Creek Hatchery Runs Go Bye Bye

Chambers Creek Hatchery Steelhead Photo: Brian Chou

Well after decades of releases into Puget Sound, the Washington Department has decided to end releases of Chambers Creek Steelhead into its streams this year. With a threatened federal lawsuit from the Wild Fish Conservancy, this practice of releasing smolts will end and releases will not occur this Spring. With one million steelhead smolts released every year into Puget Sound Rivers, only about 7000 are caught on their return, leaving countless numbers spawning and competing with now threatened endangered native steelhead. This is a big win for native fish and a big loss to the sports fishery in that area.

 Read more here.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

NFS's Sponsor a Protestor

I received a email from the Native Fish Society yesterday requesting something odd. I am not saying what to do, rather letting you decide. Funny to say the least. Check it out:

Dear Members and Supporters,

With Sandy river hatchery plants cut by half, stray rates below 10%, wild broodstock programs suspended and a precedent setting federal court ruling, the Three Rivers Sportman’s Alliance (a pro-hatchery “political action committee”) is planning to protest our upcoming Annual Benefit Banquet and Auction.   

In response, Native Fish Society supporters and members have asked us to provide an opportunity to raise additional support for wild fish by donating per protester. 
If you'd like to sponsor a protester please email with your name, the amount you would like to donate per protester and your phone number. Thank you for all your support for wild, native fish!

Best Regards, 

NFS Staff

Oh and check out the Adipose Pledge.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ahhh Trout... And New Glass Rods.

Recently, I got a chance to try out the new Echo Glass. I have been waiting for this bad boy for a very long time. I got a hold of the 7’ 10” 3pc 5wt, and took it to the Deschutes. Just me and her…. Like a first date, minus the showering and deodorant.

What. A. Fun. Rod.

This rod changes everything about the game. Because the rod is so fast, your form has to be fluid, which makes you actually “feel” the way the rod is casting. All the way down to the cork.
I have always been a graphite rod guy. It took me a few moments to re-learn how to cast this rod. It makes you slow down. It makes you focus more on your casting, and less on life, and why your pants don’t fit anymore.
Which is what this game is all about, right?
I paired the rod with the Ion reel, and the new Airflo Super Dri 5wt floating line.
That combo is as smooth as a post hot case breakfast bowel movement.  Minus the cramps. 

What I love most about this rod, is the way it feels when you have a fish on. (even whitefish). I swear you can feel it all the way to your bunions. And my bunions haven't felt anything that awesome in a long time.
My opinion?

Yes. Add one to your quiver. And hit the water. Pronto.

It will totally make your extra chin disappear.

And rainbows will appear.

All because of the New Echo Glass. Its true. Promise.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

New Years Resolution 2014

Winter Hatchery Chrome Photo: Michael Davidchik

Last summer I was fishing a local in Oregon.  After a long day on the water, I moved to a spot on the lower river where I have had some success in the past. Stepping high into a run, I started swinging and looked down in the riffle below me, seeing steelhead sitting within my spey rods length. That moment brought me back to a decade ago when I first really learned how to fish for summer run steelhead in low water, and where small stream tactics that trout fishermen use, sight fishing and incorporating tips from Jim Teeny spot them, you got them methodology was put together into a lot of successful days on the water.

After trying to fish for that those fish, hooking and losing a couple, I told myself I would bring back some of that old school flavor that I had lost because I got addicted to the spey rod bug.  During the Summer and Fall seasons I always made a point to fish the dryline on a single hander on the Deschutes and Ronde. Dryline fishing is a blast, and bringing back the single hander to do it is kickass,  but I always stuck to the spey or switch for most fisheries and always tip work. What I realized in that moment last summer was that despite all the things that I learned while swinging the fly with the spey rod, I dismissed a lot of the tactics and techniques learned while fishing a single hand rod that were productive. This included reading water close to the bank and stalking fish. Yes, I said stalking fish.

Then again on my last float of 2013, I was standing on the banks watching my girlfriend and friends swing some water on another local and I was again reminded why I needed a single hander on board the boat. I could see fish sitting in buckets throughout the run, but nobody was touching fish. When my turn came to swing a fly, I got the same response from the fish. Yet working through the run, I could still see fish. They just weren't biting that day. My thoughts brought me back to what I could do if I had that single hander in my hand and how I could manipulate the fly with more accuracy.

One thing I have always taught people is the importance to fish the fly and not to just let the fly fish for you. The cast and swing can be monotonous and you can become lazy, just casting and swinging. What I learned years ago swinging flies up close and within sight is what it does in the current. With every movement, manipulation or mend, you can track the fly in the direction you want.   It is very similar to fishing a skater. You can track the fly in the current and see what it would do for a wet fly if you choose to fish under the surface.

So this year my New Yeas Resolution was to revisit those techniques that made me a successful fisherman years ago. That means fishing a single hander, small tips, sight fishing, reading water better up close and at times fishing with added weight. The idea of swinging flies with added weight always caused inner turmoil and thought it took away from the experience.  Over the years I have experimented with it more with worm weights, especially after Scott Howell’s Skagit Master 2 came out.  There are obvious advantages of adding weight to the line versus just tip fishing in certain situations and having that in your arsenal can make for that one grab that you have been missing all day.