Thursday, September 25, 2008

Thanks Guys!

This happened while I was out of town, hence no posts in the last week. Thank your local poacher (including plenty of flyfishermen) for this one. Don't fish an 8 weight in water where steelhead fishing is closed.

You can also thank WDFW for not doing their job. It's much easier to just close it down than enforce the regulations, write some tickets and confiscate some gear. Poaching would all but stop if WDFW enforced their own regulations once in a while. Oh wait, they can't do that without a budget, I forgot... Hopefully they'll open it back up in October.-BW


September 17, 2008

Contact: Contact: Bob Leland, (360) 902-2817

Methow River to close Sept. 18 to all fishing

OLYMPIA – The Methow River will close to fishing Thursday (Sept. 18), the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
The early closure of the catch-and-release fishery, which was originally scheduled to run through Sept. 30, is necessary to avoid additional incidental catch of protected wild steelhead, said Bob Leland, WDFW steelhead program manager.
The fishery, which is directed at resident trout, is allowed under a federal permit that prescribes strict limits on the incidental catch of wild steelhead, listed as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
“Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve seen a rise in the number of steelhead in the river, as well as a significant increase in anglers participating in the fishery,” Leland said. “With that combination, we quickly reached the catch-and-release fishery’s ESA limit for incidentally caught wild steelhead, necessitating the closure.”
Leland said fishery managers are assessing the steelhead return to the region and, based upon wild and hatchery returns, could open a fishery in the next few weeks for hatchery steelhead on portions of the upper Columbia River and some tributaries, including the Methow River. That hatchery steelhead fishery would be allowed under a separate federal permit. Anglers should check for updates on fishing seasons on WDFW's website.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Victory in Belize

The Belizian government recently approved nationwide catch and release regulations for all bonefish, permit and tarpon. No one is allowed to possess any of these species except in the act of catch and release. I wish our own government would be this forward thinking, we might have a steelhead or two left in 5 years.

I'm booking my ticket tomorrow. Oh, no, wait I'm going to Mexico. Maybe Belize next year.-BW

PS-I'm going fishing for the next 6 days so no posts until next Thursday. New fishing report too. I'll let you know...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

One Ticket to Salt lake City Please

From the Denver Post. This is an epic decision in favor of anglers. Though it is already being attacked in Utah it sets a precedent and provides more ammunition to anglers in other states. Fish it all.-BW

Utah Supreme Court Delivers Some Clarity on River Access

by Jason Blevins on July 23, 2008

Last week, Colorado’s river access law was as murky as Utah’s. According to both Colorado and Utah laws, if a river through private property was navigable, you could float through. But you could not touch the river bottom or the banks, which was part of the landowner’s property. The water is public, the dirt and rocks beneath it is private.
Those unclear access laws created lots of arguing. What if a boater needed to get out and scout a rapid? What if their boat scraped a rock in the river? Is that trespassing?
While Colorado lawmakers have shied away from sculpting regulations or rules that could end the uncertainty, Utah’s Supreme Court this week weighed in, delivering some much-needed clarity to Utah’s river-access law. And it’s not going to make landowners happy.
The Court on Tuesday ruled that the public could walk on stream beds flanked by private property.

From the ruling:
“We hold that the scope of the easement provides the public the right to float, hunt, fish, and participate in all lawful activities that utilize the water. We further hold that the public has the right to touch privately owned beds of state waters in ways incidental to all recreational rights provided for in the easement, so long as they do so reasonably and cause no unnecessary injury to the landowner.”

That means anyone can wade through a river bordered by private property, so long as they do not leave the bed of the river and gained access to the river through a public right-of-way, like a bridge or defined access point. Yeah, landowners with pristine fishing habitat are gonna love that.
What the Utah Court did not define was where a stream bed begins and ends. In Montana, the definition as the stream’s “high water mark” has essentially opened all streams to strolling fishermen and hikers, irking private property owners to no end.
But at least they are doing something in Utah.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Palin & Pebbles

Before you check that box make sure you know what you're supporting. This is an interesting article but the most important part to us flyfishers is the all to brief paragraph on the Pebble Mine. We cannot let this happen and if Palin makes it to the white house it will most certainly go through and you can kiss Bristol Bay goodbye.-BW

Seattle Post Intelligencer
Sunday, September 7, 2008Last updated September 9, 2008 3:54 p.m. PT
Sarah Palin's record on environment is abysmal


While I disagree with many of Sen. John McCain's policies, I was willing to concede that he may at least make a wise, rational president and represent a step in the right direction for the nation. No longer. With his pick of Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin as his running mate, he has shown a spectacular, even dangerous lack of judgment.

In addition to her frightening lack of qualification to be vice president (much less president) of the United States, Palin is an evangelical, anti-choice, pro-gun, right-wing conservative who wants creationism taught in schools. She is currently under investigation by the Alaska Legislature for alleged abuse of office. Many of us in Alaska simply cannot imagine Palin having anything to do with U.S. foreign policy, domestic policy, national defense or the countless other affairs of federal governance.

A particularly worrisome aspect of the Palin candidacy is her abysmal record on the environment during her two years as Alaska governor, and how that would translate into national environmental policy if she became vice president. Her environmental record as governor of the nation's "last frontier" deserves close examination.

Climate change. Although Alaska is ground zero in the crisis of global warming, Palin has done virtually nothing to address the problem except hold meetings and appoint a "climate sub-cabinet" that likewise has done little. Lots of talk, no action. Although in the past two years the Arctic summer sea ice shrunk to the lowest levels ever recorded, Palin apparently does not believe it is human-induced or cause for alarm. She was asked to establish an Alaska Office on Climate Change, an Alaska Climate Response Fund (based on a tax on Alaska oil production) and emissions reduction targets for Alaska, but has taken no action on those requests.

Polar bears. This summer, Palin filed suit against the Bush administration over the federal listing of polar bears as threatened, saying that her opposition was based on a "comprehensive scientific review." But when asked to release the scientific review, she refused. The document, later obtained by the public (from the federal government), clearly shows that, contrary to Palin's assertions, the state of Alaska's marine mammal scientists agreed with the federal conclusions that the polar bears are in serious trouble because of global warming and loss of their sea ice habitat, and that they would be gone from Alaska by 2050. Palin clearly decided to oppose the listing in order to protect Arctic oil and gas development, then publicly misrepresented the basis for her decision, and then tried to conceal all of that. Having run for office on a platform of honesty and transparency, this behavior was neither. Her extreme position here puts her to the political right of the Bush /Cheney administration.

Endangered species. Earlier this year, Palin approved a $2 million state appropriation for a conference on the "economic impacts" of the Endangered Species Act, designed to persuade the public that ESA listings were too costly and unwarranted. Recently she agreed to use the money instead to fund the state's lawsuit against the Bush administration over the polar bear listing -- a likely violation of the state constitutional provisions on appropriation. She opposes additional species listings and other protections in Alaska, where many species are at risk because of climate change and other threats.

Predator control. Palin approved and expanded the state's aerial predator control program, where wolves are shot from aircraft and bears hunted from aircraft and killed upon landing. This year, her state biologists even dragged 14 newborn wolf pups from their den and, having already shot their parents, then shot each of the pups in the head at close range. Last year, her administration offered a $150 bounty for each wolf killed until the bounty was ruled illegal by the courts. Hundreds of wolves are killed each year by this antiquated state program that has no scientific justification whatsoever, but rather is designed to appease Palin's urban sport hunter supporters.

Pebble mine. Palin aggressively opposed the "clean water initiative" on the August ballot in Alaska (which then failed), favoring instead foreign mining company desires for fewer government regulations controlling their toxic effluent into salmon streams. She has supported virtually any and all mining proposals that have come her way, even likely the enormous Pebble gold and copper mine proposed in the Bristol Bay watershed. That plan put at risk the largest runs of sockeye salmon in the world, where this summer fishermen caught more than 27 million salmon.

Oil and gas drilling. Palin has supported oil and gas drilling plans anywhere in Alaska, including in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, the central Arctic, the entire Arctic Ocean, and in fish-rich Bristol Bay and Cook Inlet. On her watch, regulation and government oversight of Alaska oil facilities is terribly lacking, and she has declined to establish a citizens' advisory council to provide more effective public oversight of the expanding oil and gas operations in Arctic Alaska.
Exxon Valdez oil spill damages. Palin refuses to push Exxon to pay the government for the unanticipated environmental injuries from the disastrous 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. Almost 20 years later, the private case is still unresolved and the governments likewise have yet to collect full payment from Exxon. Shortly before Palin took office in 2006, the governments presented Exxon with a demand to pay $92 million for this additional environmental damage, but her administration has since not pressed the issue nor taken Exxon to court to collect the money. Meanwhile, Exxon reaps record profits from Alaska.

Trans Pacific shipping. Palin repeatedly has been asked by coastal residents and organizations to enhance the safety of merchant shipping through Alaska's Aleutian Islands, a primary shipping route between Asia and North America, but she's done nothing. Citizens want better vessel tracking, powerful rescue tugs along the route and a risk assessment. While her predecessor funded a scoping study, the Palin administration has not appropriated one dime to improve shipping safety through the Aleutians, and says it will take no further action to reduce risk for several years into the future.

The pattern is clear. On the environment, Sarah Palin is essentially George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and perhaps James Watt rolled into one, but with a more pleasant demeanor. At a time when the nation and world urgently need strong environmental leadership from the United States, it is important to look beyond charisma and carefully consider the environmental implications of our vote in November.

Rick Steiner is a professor at the University of Alaska.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hebgen Wardrobe Malfunction

Hebgen Lake dam gate fails; campgrounds evacuated, closed Water flow resembles spring runoff

By The Montana Standard Staff - 09/01/2008
ENNIS-- Madison County residents along the Hebgen Lad dam spillway and Madison River breathed a sigh of relief Monday as daylight brought reassurance that the river, although higher than average for a Labor Day weekend, was still well within its banks. Strange noises coming from the dam at Hebgen Lake Sunday morning concerned fisherman enough to notify local authorities, according to a news release from the Madison County Disaster and Emergency Services.At 2:30 p.m. Sunday, PP&L personnel verified the mechanical failure of two of the lower gates on the dam causing not only a significant increase of the water flow but also an increase in anxiety for the residents of Madison Valley.

PP&L engineer assessements further calmed nervous citizens when inspections revealed the integrity of the dam structure is sound.David Hoffman, Public Information Officer for PP&L, said the normal flow of 800 cubic square feet/second increased to 3400 CFS because of the malfunctioning gates. Although the increased flow was four times the average for this time of year, the normal spring run off water flow is about 3500 CFS.

Teams of emergency workers were dispatched to notify locals living near the river of the possibility of evacuation and to be prepared. The campgrounds from Hebgen Lake to Ennis Lake were evacuated and closed, water recreationists were warned of rising waters.The water level in the Madison River is expected to remain at higher levels for the next several days while repairs to the dam are completed. The water at Ennis Lake has been lowered by PP&L to accommodate the higher water levels.

The Cabin Creek and Beaver Creek campgrounds on the Gallatin National Forest are closed as well. All recreational facilities at Hebgen Lake above the dam are open to business as usual.

Campgrounds closures will be re-evaluated by the Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management Monday For further information, call the Madison County Sheriff Department, 406-843-5301.Roger Thompson of the Madison County Sheriff Department is the incident commander in charge. More than 60 personnel including, Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish Wildlife and Parks, Madison County Sheriff's Department, Madison Valley Rural Fire Department, Ennis Ambulance Service, Gallatin County responders and the Madison Valley Community Emergency Response Team members are currently providing emergency services to the residents of the Madison Valley.


Do you long for a wicked fast action rod like the Sage TCR but just more castable? Well, you're prayers have been answered. Welcome to the new TCX. Very fast action, lighter and more responsive than the TCR and just plain fun to cast. Check it out at your local Creekside location.-BW

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Catch This!

Two of our good friends have just launched a new online rag. Catch Magazine is the brainchild of Brian O'Keefe and Todd Moen. With Brian involved you know it can't be bad and Todd has built some of the most eye popping websites on the planet. Put on a pair of sunglasses and check out the premeier issue here -BW

PS-I would put up a cover picture sample but the photoos are so out of this world I don't want to induce anyone into a seizure. You can do that on your own time.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Your Flight Has Arrived

Sage has redesigned the already stellar Fli rod for 2009. The new rod, the Flight, is lighter smoother and a tad softer than the Fli. They come with the same unconditional lifetime warranty and unlike it's predecessors come with a reel compatible case. Come down and cast one for yourself and feel the love.

We have a few Fli's left and they are 30% off but once they're gone they're gone.-BW

Friday, September 5, 2008

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


The number of steelhead over Bonneville Dam as of September 2nd. Get one of your own today!-BW