Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Holidays, Triple Play

Now for the third and final edition of Holidays, The Wish List. I've covered movies and books for the long dreary winter months. I know right this instant you are perusing the web looking at photos from Belize, Ascension Bay, Argentina, New Zealand, and the Bahamas, than consequently looking outside and a fever has got a hold of you. No, not the Swine Flu, or the one that needs more cowbell. This fever is the need to be someplace sunny and warm and despite the claim throwing fly line to cruising fish while the significant other lays on the beach sipping Mai Tai's, and no, this place is not Philly. (Yeah I know the show says it's always sunny, but it lies.)

Here is some gear that can help you pack your garage to your destination of choice. Whether that would be the Olympic Penninsula (not sunny either) or the wilds of Patagonia, this gear will get your fishing stuff there in one piece and might even hold some other amenities.


1. Outcast Neff Bag (LG and MD) - A good heavy duty bag for carrying around waders, boots, jackets, and other apparel. This bag will hold up under the worst conditions and won't cost an arm and a leg. They are also large enough to fit a small animal in or a fishing partner that is too poor to afford the plane ticket, but is crying about not being able to join you.

2. Sage Kit Bag - A large center compartment has plenty of space for stuffing it full of your bajillion fly-boxes and plenty of outer pockets for leaders, tippets, reels, chewing gum, beer, soda, and whatever else you can think of. It comes with a comfortable shoulder strap for easy carrying and works perfectly in boats and as a carry-on (if you can convince the TSA you aren't going to hijack the plane with that 1/0 tarpon fly.)

3. Simms Gear Bag - A nice bag that can hold your technical outerwear and a lower vented compartment for your waders/boots. A couple outer pockets will hold your gloves, hats and whatever else you decide to throw in there. Works perfectly for getting your frozen body parts out of your waders, stuffing them into the bag and than tossing said bag into the trunk as you high step to the front seat and crank the heat.

4. Fishpond Arroyo Chest Pack - Perfect for those long hot days in Ellensburg, Missoula, Yellowstone or Island Park that you are wishing were coming a lot sooner. Also perfect for when you are hiking through the wilds of Patagonia, Kashmir, New Zealand or wherever else you are dreaming of going. This pack is light and has enough space to carry 2 boxes plus any other terminal gear you can think of (you know tippets, leaders, beer). Just a fair warning, this pack will not fend off bears, cougars, misquitoes, etc.

Well. Thanks for coming out. I know most of you are now stringing together massive wish lists to hand to your significant other or friends or dog. Just take some deep breaths the Holiday season is almost over and than it's more college football mayhem (yes, I too think the BCS is crap), New Years, and than Steelhead season begins, Yay!

Have a good holiday season, eat lots of food and be merry with your friends and family.

Feed Fish Flies, not Plastic

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Holidays, Part Duex

So I listed a previous blog post "Holidays, Part One" so that obviously means there would be a second post sometime in the near future. Well the future is now, err I guess that would make it the present...or whatever. You catch my drift. The weather has warmed up a bit from the "OMG! I can't text you because my fingers are frozen!" level to the typical Seattle winter trist of "Rain, drizzle, overcast, wind, rain, mist, rain." Take lots of vitamin D, keep the fridge stocked with beer/soda/wine/fruit juice, coffee pot pumping out gallons of black sludge all day and your fly-tying desk stocked, and you'll be fine. Promise. Winter Steelheading is coming, you have to prepare for the torture.

Until that day comes and this Holiday Season ends. (Yes, holiday. I went over this already.) I have some books you may want to indulge yourself, or others with, until the steelhead begin laughing at your poor excuse of a fly in 20 below weather.


1. Trout Flies For Rivers - A book by the venerable Skip Morris and his wife Carol Ann, which includes flies from the west that work everywhere. It has step by step instructions, material lists, a DvD and it may even have the kitchen sink (not sure still looking). This book is perfect for your ventures into the basement when the Seahawks are losing 400 to 0 on Sunday morning and rain is coming down so hard you feel like you're in "Rambo: First Blood", only replace the jungle with conifers and the hostiles with your significant other. (Oh by the way, Skip Morris will be in our shop giving a clinic on Tuesday, January 12th. It's $35 and the best way to spend your sick day. Promise.)

2. Inventing Montana, Dispatches from the Madison Valley - This enigmatic book by Ted Leeson is, as I've been told, one of the better reads. Incoming insertion of a blurb about it from Amazon.com....Oh come on you think I would do that to you?! Sheesh. This book follows Leeson and his friends that return to the Madison every year to stay at a ranch house and intertwines fishing, geography and why the Montana of our youths (oh yeah, I went there) has become our Mecca in the world of fly-fishing. This is a perfect read when the Sonics are losing 100 to...err...wait we don't have basketball anymore....nevermind. Just read it ok?

3. Olive and the Little Woolly Bugger - Looking for a good kids book? This is it. Kirk Werner, esteemed writer and fellow Wazzu alumnus (yeah I went to that school too.) Has created a fun, entertaining and well illustrated book that follows a Olive and her friends around. The illustrations alone are worth picking the book up. Yes I read it. You did see where I went to college right? (Ha! Beat you to that joke didn't I?) But really, for those of you trying to create smaller fly-fishing fanatic version of yourselves, this book is the perfect gift.

4. A River Runs Through It, A Good Life Wasted - If you've read these books than you know how good both of them are and should probably read them again. Or you could share the joy with your less, shall we say, bookish friends and buy them the book for these long winter months when all they do is cry at you on the phone about how they can't fish and they are going crazy and therefore are beginning to infect you with their crazy talk of fishing when the Skykomish has made the yellow line on Highway 2 it's main channel. Books save lives. True story. Write that down.

You don't want that, niether do we. Turn the cell phone off, brew some coffee and sit down in the basement with the music up so you can't here your significant other banging on the door to get your butt upstairs and do the dishes. I mean sheesh, don't they realize it's the winter and you must prepare mentally for the upcoming fishing season? The thoughtlessness...I tell you.

As always, Feed Fish Flies not Plastic.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Holidays, Part 1

Ok. So it's that time of year. When Mother Nature turns from a nurturing, warming, motherly woman to the slap you in the face, Catholic nun schoolteacher, cold, hard, witch of a woman who likes to rain down frozen hell on your fishing time. While this cold snap may darken your spirits and turn you into Frosty the Abominable Fisherman or the I-Organize-My-Fly-Tying-Desk-Five-Times-A-Day Dude it also means it's the holiday season. Yes holiday, not Christmas, not Hanukkah, Festivus or whatever it is you celebrate. (I personally like the Rainier season, take that as you will.)

And for you gear or movie or book or pack rat junkies, we have some things that may ease your "I don't care if it is -50 outside and the wind is blowing 40 mphs with snow pellets the size of small missiles, I am fishing that bloody river now!" guys or gals.


1. Rise- From the same dudes that brought you Drift. Their newest film will captivate you with some interviews and footage from premier fishing places around the world. From the worm hatch in Florida for Tarpon to the fly-line painter in Idaho to the wilds of Venezuela. The movie produces weather/travel envy in even the best of us.

2. Best Videos of Catch Magazine- A new DvD produced by Todd Moen highlighting the best videos from our favorite online rag (can we actually call it a rag since it wastes no paper? Well I just did so deal with it!) Catch Magazine has some of the best fishing photos I've seen and the videos are pretty top notch too. Excellent footage of fishing locales that will make you drool. From New Zealand to Oregon Steelhead, this video has excellent cinematography and some absolutely stunning footage. Perfect for those cold, winter days when your eyes are fried from tying 50 dozen flies in your dark basement.

3. Skagit Master with Ed Ward- A hot new ticket for anyone wanting to learn the intricacies of spey casting and spey flies. Following Ed Ward a world renowned spey caster and tyer, he will teach you different casts, how to swing a fly and anything you may need to learn about catching steelhead on a two-handed rod. INterviews with other guides and beautiful cinematography highlight this film and even better $1 of the DvD sale goes directly to Western Rivers Conservancy.

4. Rivers of a Lost Coast - A chilling documentary narrated by one of my personal favorite actors, Tom Skerritt (you know the dad from A River Runs Through It...for you younger bucks Viper from Top Gun), that exposes the ugly truth about the downfall of the Northern California Coastal Rivers. It follows Bill Schaadt and includes interviews with Lani Waller, Russell Chatham and host of other steelheaders. Plenty of archaic footage and some vintage photos, this movie is done with the kind of feel and narration that will captivate your attention.

Well there's some stocking stuffers and/or anti-pyschotics for you in these days ahead when the addiction kicks in but the weather/wife/dog/frostbite/old football cheerleading injury just won't let you get out on the river.

Enjoy the cold.
Feed Fish Flies, not Plastic.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Klickitat River Closing

Just a reminder that the season on the Klickitat River ends November 30th. The fishing has been great up to this point on the river and as of Wednesday the water was low with 5-6 feet of visability. Plenty of steelhead and coho still cruising around and the steelies are even taking swung flies.

For swung flies a moal leech (black, black/blue, purple, or one with a hot pink cone over a black body) is your best bet. Use a deep 6, 8 or t-14 setup to bounce the fly off the bottom and induce a strike. If nymphing is your game a size 6 black or purple Egg sucking leech with a glow bug or pegged egg dropper is going to catch you fish. The most effective color of the egg is a mottled orange, although a cotton candy/light pink color will also draw the ire of the chromies and even some coho.

Get out before it closes and have fun.

Feed Fish Flies, not plastic.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

It's Gonna Cost Ya

As if WDFW's budget wasn't already slim enough. Hopefully these new dollars will actually go straight to fisheries management and not into the general fund. -BW

November 17, 2009
Contact: John Long, (360) 902-2733

Columbia River salmon, steelhead
endorsement will take effect April 2010

OLYMPIA – Starting April 1, anglers who fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries will be required to purchase a new endorsement that will help maintain and improve fishing opportunities throughout the basin.

The Columbia River Recreational Salmon and Steelhead Pilot Program endorsement was authorized by Senate Bill 5421 during the 2009 Legislative session. The annual endorsement was one of several license fee changes approved by the Legislature earlier this year to help offset a $30 million cutback in state funding for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The total charge of the endorsement, after transaction and dealer fees, will be $8.75. The endorsement and recreational fishing licenses for the licensing year that begins April 1, 2010 can be purchased beginning Dec. 1, 2009.

Funds generated from the endorsement fee will support the evaluation of selective fisheries in the Columbia River Basin, said John Long, WDFW’s statewide salmon and steelhead fisheries manager. Funds also will be used for other management activities, including fisheries enforcement, data collection and monitoring.

Selective fisheries allow anglers to catch and keep abundant hatchery fish, which are marked with a missing adipose fin, but require that they release wild fish.

“This program is designed to support current selective sport fisheries for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries, and – to the maximum extent possible – expand those opportunities in the future,” said Long.

The endorsement will be required, along with a fishing license, for anglers 15 years of age and older to fish for salmon and steelhead on the Columbia River and its tributaries when open to fishing for those species.

WDFW, working with the Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Recreational Advisory Board, has proposed a list of rivers, lakes and other waters in the Columbia River basin where the endorsement will be required. That list, available on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/crss_endorsement/, is one of more than 100 proposed sportfishing rules for 2010-12.

The entire sportfishing rule-proposal package can be found on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/rule_proposals/index.htm.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More Friends Fighting the Pebble Mine!

Local restaurants are teaming up to inform their patrons about the most hated idea in the flyfishing world. No, not snagging chums, the Pebble Mine. Support the local eateries listed in this article (especially Tilth mmmm, soooo tasty) because they are supporting us too in our battle against the evil Pebble Mine. Word! -BW

Chefs serve salmon with warning on fishes' future

Seattle diners who order the salmon will get their meal with a message next week.

Associated Press Writer


Seattle diners who order the salmon will get their meal with a message next week.

Chefs at more than a dozen restaurants are cooking up fish dishes that come with a special side: a warning that the creature's future could be threatened by a giant gold and copper mine proposed for Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska, home to the world's largest sockeye salmon runs.

Kevin Davis, co-owner of the Steelhead Diner, is an avid catch-and-release fly fisherman who recently returned from Washington, D.C., where he lobbied for permanent protection of Bristol Bay.

"Wild seafood is a rare and special commodity," Davis said Thursday. "When I heard the news about the Pebble Mine and how it could potentially affect what is probably the world's remaining strongholds of salmon, I became very concerned."

To encourage his customers to help in the cause, the Steelhead Diner will feature three dishes using Alaska salmon: Tomato-Crusted Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon, Meyer Lemon-Crusted Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon and Hot-Smoked Bristol Bay Sockeye Salmon Cheesecake.

Trout Unlimited is strongly opposed to the mine because of its proposed location near the headwaters of two rivers that produce large runs of sockeye and king salmon.

Conservationists fear that toxic mine wastes could drain into the waters of the region's world-class trout and salmon streams and ultimately into Bristol Bay, which Trout Unlimited says provides nearly half of the world's wild sockeye salmon to consumers.

"We are trying to get salmon consumers, chefs and restaurants and anybody who buys and appreciates wild salmon on their plates to think about where the salmon comes from, in this case Bristol Bay," said Elizabeth Dubovsky, Trout Unlimited's WhyWild program director. "This is one of the last pristine ecosystems we have left."

She said participating restaurants have been sent a range of materials, including salmon recipe cards for diners and table displays with information about Bristol Bay and the Pebble mine.

John Shively, CEO of the Pebble Partnership that is promoting the mine, said the chefs don't understand the Pebble project and don't appreciate what it could do for the people of the region.

"I don't think that chefs in Seattle from high-priced restaurants have any idea of how hard it is for people in rural Alaska to live there," he said. "Therefore, I find it a little bit disingenuous that they would eliminate this potential economic opportunity without even understanding what the project is like."

Chef Seth Caswell, owner of Emmer & Rye, said one of his reasons for joining the Savor Bristol Bay campaign - which starts Sunday - is concern for Alaska Natives who rely on Bristol Bay salmon for food.

"A whole culture could be wiped away," he said.

Caswell said his menu likely will feature Bristol Bay salmon with a garnish of locally grown wild grains and mushrooms. He's also considering raw fish dishes, perhaps salmon thinly sliced and cured in lemon, salt and pepper.

"It is more a flavor, almost like getting a whiff of the sea," he said.

Caswell said he hopes the dishes will inspire his patrons to buy and prepare Bristol Bay salmon for themselves.

"The power of purchasing sends a message," he said.

Savor Bristol Bay salmon week coincides with Pacific Marine Expo 2009, the largest commercial marine trade show on the West Coast, and Trout Unlimited has an exhibit at the show.

The participating restaurants are: Art of the Table, Chiso, Emmer & Rye, Flying Fish, Persimmon, Ponti Seafood Grill, Rover's Restaurant, Steelhead Diner, Tilth Restaurant, Tilikum Place Cafe, The Pike Brewing Co., Palace Kitchen and Etta's Seafood.

Your Tax Dollars at Work (in a good way)

These federal stimulus dollars are being spent properly. Now if we can only get "the man" to ban all netting in the Sound we'd be on our way. - BW

Old gill nets: silent killers of the Puget Sound

Old gill nets littering the sea floor are the silent killers of the Puget Sound.

The Associated Press


Old gill nets littering the sea floor are the silent killers of the Puget Sound.

But thanks to federal stimulus money, an ongoing effort to remove old fishing gear has picked up the pace.

The Northwest Straits Derelict Fishing Gear Removal Program received $4.6 million in stimulus dollars this summer. Now four boats and about a dozen paid divers are working on the problem full-time. The organization's goal is to remove 90 percent of the estimated 4,000 nets sitting in the Puget Sound by December 2010.

The group estimates that over the last 30 years, nets have been responsible for the casualty of 30,000 birds, 110,000 fish and almost 2 million invertebrates.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Sockeye in the Yakima System

Thanks to the Yakima Tribal Nation and other biological entities in the state. The Yakima River system, which I was told had one of the largest sockeye runs in the Lower 48, is beginning to see a return of sockeye to the Upper Cle Elum River basin. It only took them...100 years...so not that long....

Remember my blog post earlier about internet terms? This is one of those moments where you scream diaf at the Bureau of Reclamation. 100 years... Ridiculous! You say? Ludicrous! You say again? Preposterous! I say...You know for being the most advanced country on Earth, we sure don't learn from mistakes very fast. I mean, come on. Sample conversation of the BoR's early thoughts on dams...

BoR circa 1910: "We put the dams up and the fish disappeared, we can't figure out why."

YN: "Your dams killed the run."

BoR: "Yeah right. You obviously know nothing of dams."

BoR 100 years later: "Wow. Our dams did kill the fish. Our bad."

Anyway. Here's the article.

Columbia Basin Fish and Wildlife News Bulletin

Feed Fish Flies not Plastic

Thursday, October 29, 2009

An Ocean of Trash

You know that great song by The Arcade Fire Ocean of Noise? Well replace noise with plastic or trash and you get the great soupy mess we have in our Pacific Ocean right now. We keep wondering why our fish are dying or not returning. We blame the gillnetters (yes they are a major issue), Global warming (maybe just part of the planet's carbon cycle, maybe greenhouse gases, maybe a mixture of both?), and excessive habitat degradation (no side comment here). This is a major issue that needs to be discussed. It is killing fish, zooplankton, birds and apparently working it's way up the food chain.

Rolling Stone's 1090 (Oct. 29, 2009) issue has a great article on it by Kitt Doucette unfortunately they have not linked it on their site yet. So you may have to go buy the magazine to actually read it. There is also a wikipedia site dedicated to it (yes, I know...wikipedia is sometimes full of crap, this one is legit), an actual website dedicated to cleaning it up, Good Morning America, A great youtube video featuring Capt. Charles Moore, and even Oprah (bleh but hey...use people with power to get things done...amirite?)

Wikipedia Article

Stop Trashing Our Ocean

Good Morning America Clip

Capt. Charles Moore Interview

Enjoy and get involved. I mean only if you like fish and stuff.

Feed Fish Flies not Plastic.


Friday, October 16, 2009

New section of the Methow to Open

So they opened another section of the Methow starting October 21. You can keep 4 hatchery fish over 20 inches and must fish selective gear and no boats with a motor. Enjoy. This rain should be pushing the river levels up and getting some fresh fish to push into the systems.


October 15, 2009

Additional section of the Methow River to open for steelhead fishing Oct. 21

Action: Open the Methow River from the second powerline crossing upstream of Pateros to the first Hwy 153 Bridge.

The daily limit will be four adipose fin-clipped, hatchery-origin steelhead, 20-inch minimum size
Mandatory retention of adipose fin-clipped hatchery origin steelhead

Selective gear rules apply, no bait allowed

A night closure is in effect for the duration of the fishery

Release any steelhead with one or more round holes punched in the caudal (tail) fin

Boats with motors are not allowed

Location: The Methow River from the second powerline crossing upstream of Pateros to the first Hwy 153 Bridge.

Effective date: Oct. 21, 2009

Species affected: Steelhead.

Other information: Anglers are required to release all adipose-present steelhead. Any steelhead caught with an intact adipose fin may not be removed from the water and must be released immediately.

Reason for action: Sufficient numbers of wild steelhead have moved up-river from this section, allowing anglers additional opportunity to harvest adipose fin-clipped steelhead with minimal impact to wild fish. The fishery will reduce the number of excess hatchery-origin steelhead and consequently increase the proportion of natural-origin steelhead on the spawning grounds. Higher proportions of naturally produced spawners are expected to improve genetic integrity and stock recruitment of upper Columbia River steelhead through perpetuation of steelhead stocks with the greatest natural-origin lineage.

Information contacts: Jeff Korth, Region 2 Fish Program Manager, (509) 754-4624, Bob Jateff, District 6 Fish Biologist, (509) 997-0316

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

They Said it, Not Me

So the WDFW says the pink salmon are doing so well because, and I quote, "We don't manage it." Hmmmm...interesting thought. I think maybe it has something to do with Pinks being viewed by commercial operations as "junk fish", but hey what do I know? All the environmental factors/dam improvements haven't helped the coho, chinook or steelhead returns any. Soooo...yeah. Here's the story.

Angler's delight: Record run of pink salmon
Returning pink salmon have swarmed the trap-and-haul facility on the White River near Buckley. More than 470,000 have been moved to spawning grounds.

By Mike Archbold
The News Tribune

Biologist Steve Fransen calls the record pink-salmon run that has area anglers whooping for joy "nature at its finest."

He's not exactly sure what's happening, but he's impressed nonetheless.

"Fish are always trying to tell a story and we don't speak their language," Fransen said.

The pink run is doing so well "because we don't manage it," joked Mike Scharpf, area fish biologist for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. Like Fransen, he can't fully explain this year's massive run.

There are no management plans for pink salmon. There are no hatcheries.

These are wild salmon whose numbers have exploded in Puget Sound and on many rivers.

The record pink run is on display in the trap-and-haul facility on the White River near Buckley below the Mud Mountain Dam.

Since August, crews have collected more than 470,000 pinks and transported them to their natural spawning grounds above the dam, using specially designed tanker trucks. Their fingerlings will head downstream through the dam's tunnels to Puget Sound and the ocean.

Those pinks will return in 2011 and with any luck, set another record.

"I do believe this is a record number of salmon hauled at any facility in the country in a single season," said Fransen, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Pinks, which have a two-year life cycle, return in odd years on the White River.

The previous record for pinks at the dam was 127,541 in 2007. In 2003, only 13,190 came home.

Their numbers may be growing but the market for them is still small. Pink salmon, which average about 4 pounds, are considered oily and aren't served in restaurants. Instead, they are often canned, smoked or salted.

Chinook and coho are the prize salmon, but their numbers aren't growing.

Last week, pink salmon were still swarming into the trap-and-haul facility.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operates the Mud Mountain Dam for recreation and flood control on the White and Puyallup rivers in South King County and North Pierce County. It was completed in 1948.
The trap-and-haul facility was built at the same time at the White River Diversion Dam near Buckley that for nearly a century has diverted water into a flume to Lake Tapps for hydroelectric power and recreation.

Every hour, 750 pinks are lifted up in the water-filled hopper at the diversion dam and emptied into three tanker trucks. They're hauled 13 miles upriver around the dam.

Record numbers of fish have meant increased costs. Andrea Takash, a spokeswoman for the Corps in its Seattle District Office, said the Corps received an extra $460,000 in federal stimulus money to handle the pink-salmon run.

Takash said the Corps is designing a new diversion dam and a larger trap and haul facility with three hoppers. The Corps also traps and hauls native chinook, coho and steelhead.

"Efforts like these serve to substantiate the feasibility of trap-and-haul fish passage alternatives when fish ladders (at dams) are not feasible," Fransen said.

He admitted the size of the pink-salmon return this year to the Puyallup and White rivers took him by surprise, even with the forecast of a record 5.1 million pink salmon returning to Puget Sound this year. While pinks have always been present in the White River, there were few of them.

Jeff Dillon, a biologist with the Corps at the dam, said conditions in the river have improved in the past 10 to 15 years, particularly increases in instream flows needed to support fish.

For decades, the White River served mainly to provide water for Lake Tapps and the hydroelectric project there. Flows were almost nonexistent in the late summer and early fall when the pinks returned.

The low flows also hurt other salmon species that called the river home, though in much smaller numbers.

Dillon said the removal of Tacoma Public Utilities' pipeline crossing, which acted as a partial barrier, also has contributed to the pinks' success.

Improvements at the dam have made it easier for fingerlings to pass back through the dam.

Fransen also suggested that small climatic changes that have expanded the pink salmon's range in the Pacific Ocean have helped the overall Puget Sound run.

The lesson of the pinks is simple.

"They are a good example of the resiliency of salmon if environmental factors can bounce back," Fransen said.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Snake and Grande Ronde

The state has again increased hatchery steelhead retention this time on the Snake and Grande Ronde Rivers. Remember the possession limit is twice the daily limit. Possession meaning in transport, cooler, etc. Check the regs for a more accurate description of what that means.

The Wenatchee and Methow Rivers have both mellowed out after the initial surge of fisherman but so has the fishing. A good rain would probably pick the fishing back up and push some fish into the river but we've been hearing it's been slow.


October 6, 2009

Retention limit of hatchery steelhead changed in Grande Ronde, Snake Rivers

Action: Allow the harvest of five (5) hatchery steelhead per day in the Snake River and a portion of the Grande Ronde River.

Effective date: Oct. 7, 2009 through March 31, 2010 in the mainstem Snake River from its mouth to the Oregon state line (including the boundary waters with Idaho).

Oct. 7, 2009 through April 15, 2010 in the Grande Ronde River from the County Road Bridge to the Oregon state line.

Species affected: Hatchery steelhead

Fishery Location and Harvest Rules: In the mainstem Snake River from its mouth upstream to the Oregon border (including the boundary waters with Idaho), the daily hatchery steelhead limit will be five (5) of which not more than three may be equal to or greater than 32 inches total length).

Grande Ronde River within Washington. 1) From the mouth of the Grande Ronde River to County Road Bridge (approximately 2.5 miles upstream) release all steelhead. 2) From the County Road Bridge to Oregon state line the daily limit will be five (5) hatchery steelhead per day, with no upper size restriction.

Reason for action: A large number of hatchery steelhead is returning to the Columbia and Snake River basins. Only a small number of these returning hatchery steelhead are needed for broodstock purposes, therefore all excess hatchery steelhead can be harvested. Removal of excess hatchery steelhead will reduce potential adverse effects on ESA listed wild steelhead.

Gear Restrictions: See 2009-2010 WDFW Fishing Rules pamphlet for applicable gear restrictions within southeast Washington waters open to steelhead fishing.

Other information: Anglers are encouraged to retain all hatchery steelhead they catch when it is legal to do so. This regulation change for steelhead angling ensures consistent daily sport fishing limits in boundary waters of the Snake River with Idaho, and adjacent areas of the Snake and Grande Ronde rivers with Oregon.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Tired of the Hump-ty dance?

Ok so the local rivers are choked with humpies. At one point on the Snoqualmie I couldn't swing a steelhead fly or nymph without hooking/snagging a pink. We did catch one steelhead and here it is. That is our very own John Wise with a nice hatchery hen, excuse his goofy smile, he was hopped up on cold medicine.

If you want to escape the humpty hump dance (thank you Digital Underground) I would recommend escaping over to the other side of the mountains. The Grande Ronde, Klickitat, and Wenatchee are all fishing well. Yes the Wenatchee, it's open, duh. The Methow is fishing well too, but umm, you will have the joy of dealing with idiots if you go there, so if you want to keep your sanity avoid that place.

There you have it. Proof that steelhead do exist. Go out and enjoy the liquid sunshine and steelhead your butt off.

Feed fish flies.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Wenatchee, Okanogan, Methow and Entiat

Ok...are you sitting down to read this? I mean seriously, you may pass out. We've only waited an eternity for this to occur. Are you ready? Here we go.

The Wenatchee, Okanogan, Methow and Entiat Rivers are all open to fishing for steelhead as of right....meow! I mean I know everyone is excited about the Methow reopening oh, like 72 hours after they closed it (Good idea there WDFW), but I've wanted to steelhead on the Wenatchee since I moved to Cle Elum and had to drive by it for basketball, football, and baseball games in Cashmere and Leavenworth. Time to call in sick to work...err...I probably shouldn't have posted that here.

Here is the rule posting straight from the WDFW site.

September 28, 2009
Upper Columbia, several other rivers to open for hatchery steelhead fishing

Actions: Open the Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam, including the Wenatchee, Entiat, Methow, and Okanogan Rivers, September 29, 2009, and Similkameen River, November 1, 2009, to fishing for adipose-fin clipped hatchery-origin steelhead until further notice.

The daily limit will be four (4) adipose fin-clipped, hatchery-origin steelhead, 20-inch minimum size, per day.

Mandatory retention of adipose fin-clipped hatchery origin steelhead.

Selective gear rules apply with various exceptions in some areas (see below)

A night closure is in effect for all waters for the duration of the fishery

Current salmon and all other game fish gear rules do not apply during steelhead season

Release any steelhead with one or more round holes punched in the caudal (tail) fin.

1) The mainstem Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam. September 29, 2009 until further notice. Night closure and Selective Gear Rules apply, except motorized vessels and bait are allowed. Release all coho and after October 15, mandatory release of all salmon.

2) The Wenatchee River mouth to the sign about 800 feet below the most downstream side of Tumwater Dam. September 29, 2009 until further notice. Night closure and selective gear rules apply. Release all salmon.

3) Icicle River, from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam. September 29, 2009 - November 15, 2009. Three coho, minimum size 12 inches, may be retained daily. Release all floy-tagged coho.

4) The Entiat River upstream from the Alternate Highway 97 Bridge near the mouth of the Entiat River to 800 feet downstream of the Entiat National Fish Hatchery outfall. September 29, 2009 until further notice. Night closure and selective gear rules apply, except motorized vessels are allowed. Release all salmon.

5) The Methow River from the Hwy. 97 Bridge in Pateros upstream to the second powerline crossing, and from the first Hwy. 153 Bridge north of Pateros to the confluence with the Chewuch River in Winthrop, WA. CLOSED WATERS FROM SECOND POWERLINE CROSSING UPSTREAM TO THE FIRST HWY 153 BRIDGE. September 29, 2009 until further notice. Night closure and selective gear rules apply, except motorized vessels are allowed. Whitefish gear rules do not apply. Release all salmon.

6) The Okanogan River: CLOSED WATERS from the Lake Osoyoos Control Dam (Zosel Dam) downstream to the first Hwy 97 Bridge below Oroville Washington. September 29, 2009 until further notice. Night closure and selective gear rules apply, except motorized vessels are allowed.

7) The Similkameen River, from its mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam. November 1, 2009 until further notice. Night closure and selective gear rules apply.
Species affected: steelhead

Other information: Anglers are required to release all ad-present steelhead. Any steelhead caught with an intact adipose fin may not be totally removed from the water and must be released immediately. For all waters, mandatory release of all salmon unless otherwise noted above.

Reason for action: The fishery will reduce the number of excess hatchery-origin steelhead and consequently increase the proportion of natural-origin steelhead on the spawning grounds. Higher proportions of naturally produced spawners are expected to improve genetic integrity and stock recruitment of upper Columbia River steelhead through perpetuation of steelhead stocks with the greatest natural-origin lineage.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Hope is Dashed

As if we should've expected anything less... Salmon be damned (no that's not a pun, that would be "dammed").-BW

Obama administration follows flawed Bush salmon plan despite scientific, economic and legal failings
Administration avoids sound science and legal guidance

PORTLAND, Ore. — Today a broad coalition of businesses, clean energy advocates, and fishing and conservation groups voiced grave disappointment the Obama administration’s decision to follow a flawed Bush 2008 biological opinion for the Columbia-Snake Rivers. The plan has been criticized by scientists and the courts, and runs counter to the advice of Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), more than 70 members of Congress, three former Northwest governors, thousands of scientists, and more than 200 businesses from across the nation. The groups are joined in the litigation by the State of Oregon and the Nez Perce Tribe of Idaho.

NOAA Fisheries today filed documents with the U.S. Federal District Court in Portland, Oregon indicating that the federal government would continue to support an old Bush-era federal salmon plan, with only minor, cosmetic changes. The decision includes support for the Bush-era scientific analysis, legal standard, and disregard for the impacts of dam operations and climate change on salmon.

Salmon advocates have long argued that this plan remains illegal under the Endangered Species Act and largely ignores the impact federal dams have on listed salmon and steelhead in the Columbia-Snake River Basin. In fact, this plan allows the roll-back of current in-river salmon protections. District Court Judge James Redden has agreed with salmon advocates in challenges to two prior plans.

“This was a test for Commerce Secretary Gary Locke — on both economics and science — and this plan failed on both accounts,” said Zeke Grader, Executive Director of Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen’s Associations. “This decision will no doubt leave salmon in the perilous decline they have been in for years and communities up and down the coast and inland to Idaho will continue to suffer. For an administration so set on protecting and restoring jobs, this decision is a huge mistake and a clear signal to fishermen that their jobs don’t count.”

Commercial and sportfishing representatives from up and down the Pacific Coast sent a letter to Secretary Locke last week urging him to meet with them to begin a dialogue on how to address the Pacific coast salmon crisis that has plague coastal communities over the last eight years. More than 25,000 jobs have been lost due to Columbia-Snake River salmon declines alone, and more jobs continue to be lost as major businesses that rely on salmon close their doors. Salmon advocates expect this new Obama plan to continue the practices of the Bush administration, allowing salmon declines to continue and salmon-related jobs and communities to suffer.

“Although the Bush administration is gone, unfortunately it looks like it’s policies will live on for Columbia-Snake salmon,” said Bill Arthur, Deputy National Field Director for the Sierra Club. “It’s a bit like the Night of the Living Dead, we keep fighting these failed and illegal salmon plans, but they continue to spring back to life. We had hoped that this administration wouldn’t buy this badly flawed plan pushed by the regional bureaucrats who are opposed to change and fear science and would instead work with us to craft a plan that was both legal and scientifically sound. It’s a grave disappointment to see another zombie plan instead. It’s now time for the Judge to bury this plan for good, and provide a fresh opportunity to get it right for the people, communities and magnificent salmon and steelhead of the Northwest.”

The administration’s decision allows for a multi-year study — at some point in the future — of what is already a viable salmon recovery option — lower Snake River dam removal — and even then only if already depressed salmon numbers plunge even further.

Todd True, one of the attorneys for the fishing and conservation groups in the litigation, said, “The government has failed completely to use the last four months of review for a serious, substantive, or cooperative effort to build a revised plan that follows the law and the science and leads to salmon recovery. Instead of the actions these fish need, they are offering a plan for more planning and a study for more studying. Nowhere is this more apparent than in their treatment of major changes to the dams and river operations, which are among the most critical issues for salmon survival and recovery. We look forward to explaining to the Court just how little this latest effort accomplishes. We can do much better — but not by trying to avoid the problems facing wild salmon in the Columbia and Snake rivers."

President Obama has made several public statements about protecting sound science. In his inaugural address, the President said that his administration would “restore science to its rightful place…” At the 160th Anniversary of the Department of Interior, he said that he would “help restore the scientific process to its rightful place at the heart of the Endangered Species Act, a process undermined by past administrations[,]” and look “for ways to improve the [ESA] — not weaken it.” The President echoed those statements in a speech before the National Academy of Sciences where he said: “Under my administration, the days of science taking a back seat to ideology are over… To undermine scientific integrity is to undermine our democracy… [We will] ensure that federal policies are based on the best and most unbiased scientific information.”

“This Bush salmon plan appears to be inconsistent with President Obama’s public statements about relying on sound science,” said Bill Shake, former Regional Director for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. “We scientists believed the President when he said he would protect science and strengthen the ESA, but Secretary Locke has seemingly allowed political pressure to circumvent a decision based on sound science. The federal agency action today is a true reversal of fortune for the Pacific Northwest economy, for an important American resource and endangered species, for communities that depend on salmon for their livelihood, and those who believe that policy should be based on science not politics. We had hoped for more because fishing families and communities deserve more.”

Opponents of following the science have called the idea of removing dams dangerous in light of climate change concerns. Salmon advocates, however, point to expert analysis from the NW Energy Coalition and a new analysis from the Northwest Conservation and Planning Council to show that protecting salmon and providing for a clean energy future is both imminently doable and affordable.

“We truly can have both clean, affordable energy and healthy salmon runs in the Pacific Northwest,” said NW Energy Coalition Executive Director Sara Patton. “It’s not an either/or. We have an abundance of untapped clean energy opportunities, so saying dam removal would lead to large increases in climate emissions is nonsense. The Northwest can show the rest of the country how to right our past mistakes while creating jobs and providing for a better future.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fishing Terms...Internet style.

Ok. So I have nothing new to report about much of anything and it is the middle of the week. The fishing is decent around these parts. The Skykomish system is fishing well for pinks/Steelies, the Yakima is in typical fall shape, the salt is winding down, and the Olympic Peninsula is well...the Peninsula. Get out and feed fish flies.

Now...since I have been promising regular updates I will now present you with a dictionary of sorts for fishing terms, internet style. Beware of boredom.

LOL. (Laugh out Loud) What you do when your buddy eighty-sixes himself trying to wade a Class IV rapid to get at a piece of pocket water the size of small inner tube even though you told him he is not Brad Pitt and this is not a "River Runs Through It" and that there is a perfectly fine hole the size of the moon just 15 feet upstream where you are preceding to catch fish at an exponential rate.

ROFL. (Roll on Floor Laughing) This occurs when your fishing partner hooks himself in the ear/butt/face with a 2/0 weighted leech as he tries to cast 200 feet with a 5 wt rod in a 40 knot wind to a spot where he swears a salmon jumped. He is most likely jumping around the boat doing his best impression of the "So You Think You Can Dance" tryouts screaming expletives at you as you roll around on the deck boat laughing. Note: This should only be done while on a boat or on a hard surface as doing this in water may cause you to drown.

:) (This is a smile) The smug look you have on your face when you have finished the day catching your limit and your buddies have caught nothing because earlier they scoffed at you for tying on a Washougal Olive and said, "Hey old timer where's your cane?" And henceforth proceeded to tie on every newfangled fly they saw in last weeks publication of some east coast magazine and beat the water to death. Be careful with this look, especially if your buddies are the ones driving you home. Trying to hitchhike with dead fish is not an enjoyable experience.

QQ (Two eyes crying) What is commonly referred to as whining. Your buddies do this when they recite to you the reason they caught no fish was because you wouldn't give them a Washougal Olive. Even though you were perfectly willing to give it to them. I mean all they had to do was cross the Class V rapid, climb that 40 foot cliff and than scamper out on a rotten log to get to you. Also happens anytime a fisherman loses a fish to a snapped line, has leaky waders and everytime they read the government's plans on saving salmon/steelhead runs.

LMAO. (Laugh My Ass Off) Can be used in replacement of the ROFL if you are standing chest deep in water in a blowing snowstorm in the middle of January and your buddy hooks himself and than proceeds to eighty-six himself into the deepest hole in the river. Coincidentally what also happens when one reads Patrick McManus, David Ames or recites lines from Caddyshack (Cinderella Story, this greenskeeper...Oh it's in the hole!).

DIAF. (Die in a fire) What you tell your fishing partner over the phone as he recites the number, size, and species of fish he is catching from the river you were supposed to be on with him, but your boss pulled a Lumbergh and chained you to your cubicle for the weekend to get those TPS reports done. He coincidentally is also loling at your misfortune. Can also be used under the breath to curse poachers, floaters, and Fish and Game's approach to saving our fisheries.

And....boredom complete. Enjoy or whisper diaf at me because I took up your time in reading this.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

We're back. Sort of.

Ok so for those of you out of the loop, we did move. Just about 100 yards west of our previous location. We closed for two whole days (I know we deprived all of you from your fish porn for two days, but the new shop is totally worth it.) So when you come down to harass us remember that we are now at 1410 NW Gilman Blvd next to the Gemini Fish Market ( I know right, a fly-shop next to a fresh fish market, just classic) and behind the Firestone.

In another note, I just got back from West Glacier, Montana, where I was enslaved into attending a wedding. I did fish the Middle Fork of the Flathead for about, oh, a whole two hours, but the water is prime right now. So my recommendation would be to get yer butts over there and get some fishing in Big Sky country out of your system.

I kind of, sort of, positively, think I will actually be updating this thing more regularly now that we have the shop all settled. So prepare to be onslaught with information and possibly some extremely non-serious posts.

As always feed fish flies.


Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Cedar is Closed

Remember the Cedar River closed yesterday. So no more fishing on it.

In other notes.

-The salt is still fishing well, but check your regs as a lot of the rules changed today as well.

-With the fall, the Yakima will again become wade-able in the canyon stretches. So line out your rod with some floating line and get some big 'ole October Caddis, chuck them out there and get yourself a lunker.

-The salmon/steelhead should start pressing into the rivers, especially the Skykomish, Snoqualmie, Skagit, Grande Ronde, Cowlitz, etc. So get the spey/switch rods ready and toss them out there.

Have fun and more diligent blog updating will be forthcoming, although I can't promise I will be this serious all the time.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Seriously? I mean really?

So here is front page news in the Seattle Times. I have nothing to say about this, except...This is absolutely foul and completely unnerving. And you wonder why our fisheries are going in the toilet...literally.

Here's the article.


Sport fishermen's waste fouling shellfish harvest

Sport fishermen fouling the banks of the Skokomish River with human waste and garbage have forced the state to close hundreds of acres of shellfish beds, jeopardizing clam and oyster harvests worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Sport fishermen fouling the banks of the Skokomish River with human waste and garbage have prompted the state to close hundreds of acres of shellfish beds, shutting down clam and oyster harvests worth tens of thousands of dollars.

The fishermen's refusal to clean up after themselves also has cost the public about $1,000 for portable toilets and trash disposal, paid for by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife to facilitate its recreational fishery on king salmon, stoked by a state hatchery up the road from the river.

The sport fishery on the Skokomish this year is unusually good. With about 10,000 more fish than last year, some at 15 pounds and larger, the run has attracted fishermen from across the state and as far away as Alaska. The Skokomish offers a chance to catch a big fish on the cheap: Pull over, park, walk to the river and throw in a line. It's been a draw for years — but not like this.

The return of the big fish, combined with a greatly extended season — about twice as long as last year — has drawn 500 to 2,000 fishermen to the river daily, most of them standing shoulder-to-shoulder along a mile and a half of river.

The fishery is open seven days a week, from dawn to dusk, and is scheduled to last until Sept. 30.

But less than three weeks after the fishery opened Aug. 1, the fishermen's conduct led the state Department of Health to enact an emergency shellfish-bed closure Aug. 18 at Annas Bay, near the mouth of the river, to protect the public from fecal coliform contamination in shellfish.

"I look at this as a spill," said Bob Woolrich, shellfish specialist with the state Department of Health.

The department closed the easternmost part of the bay four years ago because of water-quality problems. The state was on the verge of reopening the area, after years of cleanup work, but changed course because of the new influx of pollution. Instead, the state is taking a step backward, retaining its closure of 300 acres, and closing 500 more at the mouth of the river.

Taylor Shellfish Farms, a Shelton-based commercial shellfish grower, lost a potential $25,000 in clams the company was poised to gather, said Bill Dewey, company spokesman. "What a mess," Dewey said. "It's amazing that people can think that is OK."

The Skokomish tribe was counting on harvesting more than 175,000 oysters from shellfish beds, also on Annas Bay. It, too, is now shut out of the harvest by the sporties' mess.

That closure hurts the most low-income tribal fisherman without the money to buy a boat or travel to more distant venues, said David Herrera, fisheries-policy representative for the tribe.

The state has known since a pollution study in 2003 that the fishery was a problem, and it should have been better prepared, Herrera said. "There are so many people, and they are fishing shoulder-to-shoulder and they believe if they leave their spot for very long they will lose their spot. They would rather step in the bushes; that is how that fishery operates."

Joseph Pavel, a Skokomish tribal member and manager of the tribe's natural-resources department, said the fishery used to be fun for the whole community. "It used to be a local fishery, non-Indians, Indians, we all knew each other, we grew up together, we had a good time together," Pavel said. But the fishery has become a headache, with trucks and RVs lining the road, overflowing garbage bins, and worse, Pavel said.

"It's just real unpleasant," he said. "I don't even want to go down there, and I don't want to take my kids down there."

The tribe has asked the department to close down the recreational fishery so the mess doesn't worsen — a step the department is mulling, said Ron Warren, a fish program manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. "It's theirs to lose if they continue to make bad decisions," he said of sport fishermen defiling the area.

Outdoor recreationists are responsible for taking care of their garbage and waste, Warren said. But the department opened the season with six portable toilets and a Dumpster supplied on the river, and has increased the number of portable toilets to 19, and Dumpsters to three. "We have taken extraordinary measures," Warren said.

The department also conducted a so-called emphasis patrol for fishing violations and turned up 56 in one weekend, from keeping more than the one allowed fish, to using improper gear and methods, including snagging. The department promises to continue patrols.

On his visit to the river this week, Warren said he found some areas clean. Elsewhere? "It's gross," Warren said. "I have witnessed ... gross."

Lynda V. Mapes: 206-464-2736 or lmapes@seattletimes.com

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Salt....is crazy

Was out at Lincoln Park this morning (no not the screamo band, the park on West Seattle) and watched the buzz bombers standing shoulder to shoulder, land about 30+ fish in an hour and a half. Apparently they don't adhere to the Finding Nemo or PETA ideals of "Fish are friends not Food" or Sea Kittens or whatever other insane propaganda PETA can throw at our youth. I did manage to hook one, but he threw me faster than the Mariners Bullpen throws a lead in the eighth.

There were some fellow fly-fisherman about too although they were apparently not in reach of the pod these guys were catching fish out of. I did see enough pink fur/metal/goo being flung by ugly sticks to make a Flamingo blush. So I would say pink is the color to use, just have to find a spot and fling your fly out there.

If you need more information on the saltwater, remember that our own Dan Lemaich is holding a free talk this Saturday at 10am on "Beach Basics" at our Issaquah shop. So stop on by and pick up some information.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Happy Sad Day.

The steelhead count at Bonneville broke a record for a single day count. It dates all the way back to 1938 when 14,432 fish were counted. Yesterday 18,671 were counted going through the dam. Great news for eastside steelhead fisheries. From the Seattle Times.

The salt has been completely rediculous as of late. People yanking pinks and coho's in left and right. Especially around Lincoln Park and Brown's Point. Fish the pink clousers and other baitfish patterns on a floating or intermediate line, strip hard and fast and hang on for the fight of your life.

That was the good news. Here's the sad.

Most of my fly-fishing buddies also shred on the guitar so today's news was as sad as the continuing reports on the declining returns of Salmon and Steelhead in our local rivers. The man who invented the hard body electric guiar, Les Paul, passed away this morning from complications with pneumonia. Pay your respects by ripping a blues riff on your guitar.


Thursday, August 6, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are...

You remember this kids book your parents read to you just before bed because they thought it would help you sleep but actually scared the bejeezis out of you? Now they've made a movie so you can amp up the fear even more on your children. Just remember what happens, especially if you take them camping, fishing, or hiking in the following places. The little noise outside the tent may cause them to levitate and hang on to your ears or hair so they don't float out of the tent.

1. Potholes Reservoir. One of the best bass fisheries in the state. It also has carp and walleye too. You can camp in the dunes area or find a more civilized place to stay. You will really need a boat to fish this lake and follow the fish as they move through the shallow, duned out lake. A GPS would be handy too so you don't get lost. The wild things abound here, and I mean deer, elk, geese, ducks, coyotes, etc. So even if you don't catch a boatload of fish you can still enjoy the surreal desert oasis landscape the Potholes offers. If you do decide to camp, the night sky is simply amazing with the clarity of the air.

2. Skykomish River. The Steelhead seems like a mythical creature out of "Where the Wild Things Are" but I swear they absolutely, positively, certainly, kind of, maybe, do exist. The Skykomish's summer runs are starting to show signs of life all the way up to Reiter Ponds and beyond into the wilds of the South Fork. Fish the floating lines with summer wets and skaters and bring home the chromies of the Pacific. There are plenty of access points and camping areas along the rivershed, which gives you ample opportunities to sleep on the rock hard ground and wake up early to hit the river in the misty first morning light.

3. Lake Wenatchee. Just opened for Sockeye on August 5th and is open until harvest numbers are met. Ample places exist to camp around the lake and get a headstart on the days of fishing. The area around the lake is also great, including Icicle Creek and the Leavenworth area. The wild things here are the Bavarian themed restaurants and bars and the occasional bear that may lose his/her way out of the high country down to the lake area.

4. Forks. A great place to hang out and head out to fish the local rivers and beaches for pinks, kings, steelhead, and any other fish you can think of. The Hoh and Bogachel are within striking distance as is Realto Beach. The kids obsessed with that one vampire flick filmed there could have fun hanging out while you slay fish. Just beware of those super foggy days, you could have a sudden aversion to sunlight after you emerge from the rivers.

As always. Feed fish flies.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Bad Juju in Alaska.

Picked this article up off the AP wire on the Seattle Times. Not real great news for anyone, especially the Alaskan King fishery obviously.


Right in tune with the movie End of The Line.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Bonneville Dam Steelhead Counts

Slightly good news for the steelhead fisherman on the east side of the mountains. The fish count at the Bonneville Dam is slightly higher than the 10 year average for steelhead.

So far 111,116 fish have been counted at Bonneville as compared to the 10 year average of 94,759.

The Sockeye return has also been over double the 10 year average. 177,645 fish have been counted this year in comparison to 78,439 for the 10 year average.

Cross your fingers for an above average andro year on the other side of the mountains.

On another note. Here is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. Couple guys cycling and fishing from Prudhoe Bay to Tierra Del Fuego to raise awareness about the Pebble Mine. Check it out and get involved!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lake Wenatchee Rule Change

Here is a Lake Wenatchee Sockeye Rule change.

Lake Wenatchee sockeye fishery to open Aug. 5

Action: Lake Wenatchee opens for sockeye salmon fishing.

Effective date/time: Aug. 5, 2009 (one hour before official sunrise) until harvestable fish numbers have been caught.

Species affected: Sockeye salmon

Daily limit: The daily limit per angler is two sockeye 12 inches in length or greater.

Location: Lake Wenatchee (Chelan Co.).

Reason for action: The 2009 return of sockeye will be sufficient to provide for the Lake Wenatchee spawning escapement goal, and additional fish will be present to provide for sport fishing opportunity. While the sockeye run is relatively late throughout the Columbia River, a very robust Lake Wenatchee run is predicted.

Other Information: Single point barbless hooks required. No more than three hooks may be used. No bait or scent may be attached to the hooks. Knotless nets are required. A night closure will be in effect. Legal angling hours are one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. Bull trout, steelhead, and Chinook salmon must be released unharmed without removing the fish from the water.

Release sockeye with one or more holes (round, approximately ¼" in diameter) punched in the tail of the fish (caudal fin). These fish are part of a study and have been anesthetized; the FDA requires a 21 day ban on consumption of these fish.

Information contact: Art Viola, (509) 665-3337 (Wenatchee District Office) (509) 662-0452, Jeff Korth (509) 754-4624.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The tea is Hot, HOT, HOT!

Well everything is hot right now anyway. Especially our local waters. Here's some tips to keeping cool, hydrated and saving fish from dying as you release them.

Bring water, gatorade, powerade, vitamin water, orange juice, apple juice, tea, lifewater...ok you get the drift, I hope. Lots of fluids if you are floating or wading. Just because you are wading knee deep in water does not mean you are hydrating. You actually have to ingest a liquid to keep hydrating and hydration keeps you cool. Drinking from rivers, especially when it is this warm is not recommended as bacterial and parasitic counts go up, such as Giradia aka Beaver Fever. And no, as much as I wish it were true, beer, alcohol, and soda do not hydrate you, they actually dehydrate you, so think about that before you fill the cooler full of Rainier.

Along the same lines, when it is this hot outside, skin protection is key to keeping the ability to stand upright. Heat stroke, sunburn, and heat exhaustion can happen quite quickly, especially in high heat/high humidity days. So sunscreen is a good idea, but cover yourself with a long sleeved shirt, wide brimmed hat and yes, even polarized sunglasses, will prevent such things from happening. Sunscreen can only do so much and in the long run a long sleeved shirt will actually keep you cooler and save on days of pain, trust me.

Lastly, check water temperatures to the places you are going. If you care about fish like we do, anything with a water temp above 65 degrees it's probably a good idea to leave the water dwellers alone. Higher water temps equate to lower dissolved oxygen content in the water and puts extra stress on them. Simply put, a fight on the end of a fly-rod could just plain kill them.

Best bet this week. The salt water if you want to fish. The rivers are for rubber hatches and staying cool, among other things. Have a blissfully hot week.

Friday, July 24, 2009

GET LOST...this weekend.

Not the TV series no, although teaching Evangeline Lily to fly-fish could be super fun. I mean those adventures you can have with friends, family or children and do some fishing along the way. My dad used to take us on these little trips when we were little and they still get brought up at family gatherings, over the phone, etc.

"You know that one time the short four mile bike ride near Mt. Rainier turned into one of the stages from the Tour de France? And you said we weren't lost the entire time, eventhough we ended up somewhere near Mt. Baker when we were finished." Yeah, my dad....he's one of those guys.

Here is a list of places to get lost this weekend. Unfortunately, Evangeline Lily will not show up when you do get lost, screaming, "OTHERS! RUN!" But hey...at least you can still fish.

Place 1: Olympic National Park. Follow the trials up the Hoh, Queets, Quinault or Sol Duc Rivers. You'll feel like you're lost on the set for Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings, but no worries the Trees aren't Ents and they won't crush you for intruding on their land. This has some of the best nearly, untouched steelhead/salmon/trout streams in the state. Plus stepping into the world beyond the short nature trail hikes, emerses you in a wilderness that is completely devoid of the calamity that has become the everyday life of the Northwest.

Place 2: Winthrop and the surrounding areas. Plenty of rivers, creeks, and lakes to hike/bike/horseback ride into around this quaint little town. Pull out the Greentrails map and set a course into the heart of the mountains. Ever seen the movie "Last of the Dogmen" ? That's what this place is gonna feel like, once you get back into the North Cascades, minus the hidden tribe of Cherokees...I think. The lakes and rivers are absolutely amazing to fish in the back country here and the setting...well the setting will make you want to get lost on purpose.

Place 3: Mt. Adams Wilderness Area. Home of the upper reaches of the Lewis River, West Fork of the Klickatat, and numerous other lakes and creeks. Oh, and also the infamous Rainier beer toting Sasquatch. Getting lost here is definately a good idea, you could explore and fish for years and still not exhaust the possibilities. Did I mention that it's also quite stunningly, beautiful? Maybe more so than Ms. Lily (that's right I said it! Hey! Put down the shoe!)

Place 4: Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. Either get in from the west side, which has some more demanding hikes, or from the Cle Elum side, which has the easier hikes, but also more people. The best fishing lakes are Marmot, Spade, Venus, Spectacle, Micheal, Ann and Jade. Note how I chose the hardest ones to get to. None of these are easily reached and you most likely will get lost at some point as two of them, you need to bushwhack to get at the monster fish in them. (Well Jade you need to bushwhack, Venus...is more of a talus sloped scramble.)

Bring the normal things. Waterproof gear, mosquito repellent, bear repellent (again, not for spraying on yourself), toilet paper, and the normal assortment of flies/gear depending on where you decide to get lost. Sorry, kidnapping Evangeline Lily, while she would make an excellent person to get lost with, is against the law. So pursuede/beg/bribe some people to go with you and as always, enjoy and Feed Fish Flies.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Entomology Chart for Washington

Here is a link to website that lists an entomology hatch chart for Washington. Not specific to any river, but a general hatch chart for the state.



Saturday, July 18, 2009

Lewis St. Boatlaunch Closing

Monroe access to the Skykomish is being shut down for 10 days, so plan accordingly. On another note, below the news release is an article on the healing power of fly-fishing from the Seattle Times.

Lewis Street boat launch in Monroe
to close July 20 for repairs

OLYMPIA – Beginning July 20, the Lewis Street boat launch in Monroe will be closed to public access as crews install a new boat ramp and make other improvements to the site, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

The water access site, which is located near the Skykomish River Bridge on Highway 203 in Monroe, will be closed through July 30, said Kye Iris, WDFW regional lands supervisor.

Funded with a grant from the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, the improvement project includes paving a portion of the access site and adding ADA parking.

Iris said two alternative boat launches are nearby. Those sites are located in Sultan off Highway 2, and off First Street in Snohomish.

Here is the link to the article about helping GI's recover from the war via fly-fishing.




Friday, July 17, 2009

Places to Go Part Deux

Alright here is another post on places you can go this weekend. This one will include both secluded and the more frequented haunts of people (no actual hauntings, that noise outside the tent was not a ghost, it was just a bear, nothing to worry about).

Here are some places that could be haunted by spirits and are definately haunted by fish and the anguished echoed screams of a fisherman who lost a lunker because he/she thought it was a submerged log...

Place #1: Cooper Lake. Not exactly secluded, but there may be minimal people fishing as most camp there to hike into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area. Mostly effective from a boat or even a float tube, but fish can/have been caught fishing with flies from the shore. Beware the evil water spirits, they have been known to cause fisherman to fall out of the boat, flip a float tube/canoe, raise anchor and paddle furiously towards shore while screaming at the top of their lungs, and in extreme cases levitate, grabbing their flotation device and water walking to shore. And by evil water spirits I mean the jumbo brown trout that reside in the lake along with the normal rainbows, cutty's and brookies. Fish anywhere around the lake, but focus on shelves near the edges of the lake and where the river comes in and out. Fish white/olive BH Buggers, moal leeches and egg sucking leeches on a sink tip/fullsink line. Or fish an elk hair caddis, green drake, bumble bee, ant or hopper pattern on floating line and cast into shore. Please remember that huge splash leaving a small tidal wave where your fly was, it is not an evil water spirit...it's just a fish...I think.

Place #2: Waptus Lake/River. This is secluded and requires the ability to hike and camp. It is an eleven mile hike but the good news is, it is basically flat and follows the river. Remember to bring a can of Deet or steal your partners bug gear and use them as living mosquito/fly attractant. A flamethrower could work as well, but is highly frowned upon by the forest service. The Waptus River is excellent from it's mouth at the lake to about a mile downstream. The Lake itself is absolutely gorgeous and filled with fish, some being large Bull trout. I recommend camping near where the lake turns into the river and fishing sculpins, buggers or even some steelhead type leeches. Make sure they are white, white/yellow, olive, or flesh colored. Typical high alpine dry flies will work in the evenings and ants/bees as well. That crunch outside the tent at night by the way, most likely not a spirit of any type, but could be a bear, so remember to have your food tied up and high up in a tree away from the sleeping quarters and make sure your partner is sleeping between you and the said crunch.

Place #3: Rocky Ford Creek. Won't be secluded whatsoever, but hey, it's terrestrial time so you may not care. Violence is not the answer when that one dood comes crashing through the brush about 25 feet to your left and begins frantically impersonating a spasmic rendition of whisking eggs for an omelet with his fly-pole as he affectionately calls it. The triploids are feasting on hoppers, ants, beetles, and mice (yes mice, don't believe me? Go out after dark and toss a mouse pattern up against the bank. Go on...I'll wait). Whatever terrestrial you are fishing, beetles and hoppers land with a splash, so make sure you do the same with your fly. This is the best place to get your child addicted to the same thing you are and perhaps actually learn what things those crazy kids do these days. No water spirits here (that I know of), but beware of the rattlers. They do exist out there and one must be careful where they stick their foot.

Place #4: Skykomish River. The Reiter Ponds Hatchery has met it's brood stock needs, so the Reiter Ponds open to all game fish tomorrow morning at 8am. This means, no one will be fishing anywhere else on the river, and could be fair game for you to get out and fish for chromies. Just you and those pesky river spirits. Don't worry about them all they do is put a log on the riverbed where your fly is drifting or a tree that jumps 50 feet downstream to interfere with your backcast. Other than that...the only other thing you should have to worry about is anyone on a rubber floating device drinking and screaming obscenities at you. Floating lines with the traditional Summer wets are the name of the game nowadays. For a more detailed description on what I mean, check out our Fishing Report.

Place #5: Naches/American/Bumping River. The spirits here abound so beware. This lonely stretch of mountain water east of the sleeping hulk of Tahoma is excellent place to escape but not be far away from civilization. The woods are a bit creepy but the fishing is amazing, especially if you have a little 3/4 wt rod and some smaller dry flies and the fishing could be epic. Shifting light, twilight dark recesses of river channel and the whistling of a light breeze through the trees are some of the things that will greet you here along with the splash of a trout hitting the ejection seat after your size 16 red humpy. When camping that moaning you hear at night, followed by the drag-step, drag-step, sound you hear could be one of those prospector's ghosts...But as you hit high gear running for the car, tent dragging behind you, remember that you hung your waders up to dry on a tree branch, blowing in the wind....

As always. Please have a safe weekend and be respectful of others, even if they don't reciprocate.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Reiter Ponds to Open Early

The Reiter Ponds Hatchery, has enough brood stock so they are opening the Reiter Ponds section to all game fish, including steelhead.

Reiter Ponds section of Skykomish River opens July 18
Action: Open the Reiter Ponds section of the Skykomish River to recreational fishing.
Effective date: 8:00 a.m. July 18, 2009.
Species affected: All game fish, including steelhead.
Location: Skykomish River from 1,500 feet upstream to 1,000 feet downstream of the Reiter Ponds Hatchery outlet.
Reason for action: The Reiter Ponds Hatchery has collected enough summer steelhead broodstock to meet production needs.
Other information: Public access through the Reiter Ponds Hatchery opens at 6:00 a.m.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Icicle Creek Saga continues...

Here is an interesting read from Crosscut, an online news service. The Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery is being taken to court for degrading natural habitat and dewatering the natural channel of Icicle Creek. Basically in direct violation of the Endangered Species Act, among other various laws.

Here's a link to the article.


Monday, July 13, 2009


Pretty big deal here.

Based on a book. The first major documentary on the effects of overfishing our oceans and if you think this doesn't affect you, you're dead wrong. The management plan that is going to allow up to a 50% harvest on our ESA protected Chinook runs is part of this issue. The movie is also discussing the other issues at hand, including the iminent extinction of the Bluefin Tuna and how, at our current rate, the oceans could be fishless by 2048.

Along with opening the discussion of this iminent threat to our environment, it is also giving you ways to be proactive in helping curb the problem.

The Seattle Screening is July 14th from 6pm to 10pm at:
Studio 7 & 8, 3rd floor
1112 4th Avenue
Seattle, WA 98101

For more information on the documentary go to this website:

The book can be found here or at your local bookseller. Totally worth the read.

Time to get proactive and start to fix our environment so the little ones can fish like we do now and our fathers did before us. (Steps off soapbox)

Friday, July 10, 2009

It's possible...

...to do on the flyrod but you'll have to use a live shrimp for a fly.-BW

Sturgeon fishery extended
in Columbia River estuary

OLYMPIA – Anglers will get at least six more days to catch white sturgeon in the Columbia River estuary, beginning July 10.

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon announced the joint decision July 7 after assessing catch data for the fishery.

By the states’ action, anglers will be allowed to catch and retain legal-size white sturgeon Friday through Sunday from July 10-12 and July 17-19 between the mouth of the Columbia and the Wauna powerlines near Cathlamet.

Those additional fishing days are designed to give anglers an opportunity to catch 4,100 sturgeon still available for harvest by the recreational fishery when the regularly scheduled season ended July 5, said Brad James, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The catch guideline for that season was 15,529 fish.

“The sturgeon catch was a little below average for the season,” James said. “That left room for some extra fishing days.”

As during the regular season, the daily catch limit is one white sturgeon, with a fork-length measurement of 41 inches to 54 inches. All green sturgeon must be released. Fishery managers will review the catch data after July 19 to determine if additional fishing opportunity is available under the catch guidelines.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Largemouth Record?

From Field and Stream online. Lake Biwa, Japan. There is already a ton of trash talking about whether this fish is really 22lbs 5ozs. Truthfully, who cares? That is one monster/lunker/jumbo bass, but apparently it may only tie the current world record as it needs to be 2ozs heavier to break it. Still bigger than any largemouth I have ever seen.

Talk about a little breaking afternoon excitement. This just in from Japan: the world-record largemouth bass may have been bested. Here are the first photos.

According to some Internet chatter from California-based website
calfishing.com, this bass, caught by angler Manabu Kurita, has already been certified as weighing 22 pounds, 5 ounces.The fish was supposedly taken from Lake Biwa in Japan, the same lake where a 25-pound bass was reportedly netted earlier this year.But here's the potential hitch: George Perry's world-record bass weighed in at 22 pounds, 4 ounces. By IGFA rules, any fish under 25 pounds that is a contender for world-record status must top the current world record by two ounces. It seems all this bass may do is tie. Stay tuned to F&S.com for more info as it unfolds.

If the weight of this catch is accurate, it wouldn't be the first bass to top Perry's record.
Click here to see our coverage of a 25-pounder caught in California 3 years ago.For now, tell us what you think.
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