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

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The 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.