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.