Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Tie me to the mast

Picture of a large pool where a creek crosses under a bridge.
The Siren singing her song
It’s likely that your earliest fishing memories are of staring into waters near road crossings. Bridges above brooks. Train trestles across rivers. Culverts at tidal marsh outlets.

Bridge pools are the sirens of trouts waters. One is drawn inexplicably towards them knowing that only doom awaits.

You stood at the railing. You saw the fish, they're right there. But, of course, they also saw you. Finning calmly in the deepest slot they dare you to waste your time.

The irrational angler-brain weaves a story about fish that aren't spookable because they're so close to regular traffic. As if on cue a logging truck rumbles across the bridge's wooden deck. Below the pool, the creek makes a turn that provides a perfect casting lane. And there's a rise! Oh, this is so sweet.

You come back later knowing they're there. They’re rested and a sporadic hatch brings them to the surface. At the edges minnows and other fell fish rise but you are not distracted. Near the middle, but just to the left, an occasional suck exposes the trout.

A motorcvcle roars across the bridge. Twin pipes with bored out baffles that make your teeth shake. Asshole. The trout still rise.

A delicate cast of a fly three sizes too big garners the attention of only the minnows and the trout are down as you real in a fish not much large that the Stimulator that caught him.

Patience is not rewarded.

When they come back up the trout are now rising among the minnows. The right fly, a small emerger, lands just where you want it on the third cast. A minnow pecks at it but you are not fooled until another minnow, perhaps smaller that the first, makes an outsized swirl on the fly and again you reel in a fish that cannot bend the fiberglass rod. The trout are down again.

The black flies are not around today. That’s odd given that early June is prime time for the blood suckers. The skeeters are trying to make up for it but after two weeks of black flies a mosquito bite is hardly noticeable.

In all your day dreaming about the potential of water above and below your current perch, you fail to notice that nothing is happening in the shadow of the bridge. The bugs are off and even the minnows have quieted down.

There’s a long drive ahead of you. During the next three hours you cross numerous waters at high speed. Your head swivels to hear the song despite the failure that can only await. Circe was right. You need to get some beeswax.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Hawkish about Conservation

Conservation Hawks is an organization of hunters and anglers who are focused on the single biggest threat to our sport: climate change.

They've just released their latest video, Convergence, which will be the best 12 minutes of your day.

In conjunction with the video, they're running a prize giveway. You don't have to donate anything to get in on this, but you do have to put on your thinking cap and twitch your typing fingers a bit. Watch the film. Identify your favorite quote. Share the film on social media. Choose a prize. All the details are on their site. You have to get all this done by June 17th.

Of course, they're also trying to raise some money for future efforts. Friend of the blog, Bob White, runs a Musky Madness trip every year. It attracts all manner of people including the likes of John Gierach. You can get a chance to win for $25. You can get more chances if you give a more.

Fair warning: I'm entering the giveaway and I've got my eyes on... well, I'm not going to tell you what prize I want, but it's a good one. I also got my tickets for the Musky Madness raffle. May the best luckiest angler win.

Friday, May 26, 2017

The salmon are not safe

Who would have thought we'd be posting about this again.
On November 8th, 2016, it was easy to predict that this moment would come. No matter your political affiliation, Making America Great Again would include pandering to mining interests and Pebble Mine is one big-ass mining interest.

On Friday, May 12th, the Trump administration crossed the Rubicon.  News broke that the EPA, under Scott Pruitt's palsy hand, paved the way for the Pebble Limited Partnership to restart its quest to dig North America’s largest open-pit copper mine - directly in the headwaters of Bristol Bay’s vast wild salmon runs.

Now I've pontificated on this madness before: here, here, and here and here and here. And when the Obama administration all but killed the thing, I did the happy dance and started dreaming of my next trip to there north. Sadly, the victory is slipping from our hands.

The EPA and Pebble's settlement agreement was a backroom deal brokered between EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt and Pebble. The EPA's own peer-reviewed science was not taken into consideration, nor the requests from Bristol Bay’s Native Communities, fishermen, and hunters and anglers to uphold the EPA’s Proposed Determination.

Bristol Bay provides 14,000 American jobs and $1.5 billion to the American economy with the 30 - 60 million wild sockeye salmon that return there each summer. But that doesn't matter to those with a short-term view of things.

It's time for us to get our shit together and act.

Please take action and call EPAS Administrator, Scott Pruitt to tell him compromising an irreplaceable ecosystem, a fully sustainable food supply and some of the greatest sport fishing on earth is unacceptable.

The Office of EPA Administrator, Scott Pruitt: 202.564.4700

A free Bonus just for you!

For a dive into what’s at stake in Bristol Bay, the producers of The Breach, an award-winning documentary, have made their feature film available for the next five days for free through this link here: THE BREACH

To take further action and to stay informed visit: SAVE BRISTOL BAY

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Salmon River Steelhead

The steelhead fishing up in Pulaski can be challenging, especially for the novice. Those who have success often find it's feast of famine, but that is some of what keeps folks coming back, year after year.

Recently, long time steelhead and salmon anglers have been more often heard to pine for the good old days. While anglers are used to hearing stories about how the angling was better yesterday, last week, or forty years ago, sometimes there is more truth in these yarns than may first be apparent.

At the foot of bridge at Altmar, one can find Malinda's Fly and Tackle Shop. Malinda Barna is the owner and she has been a keen observer of the fishery for many years. Malinda recently posted her thoughts on why the fishery has fared poorly (there's some science involved) and what can be done to improve the angling.

Note that she's not going to recommend ways that the chinook and king runs can be made better, she's taking the big picture view about what anglers want (to catch fish) and how to make it better (make more fish available for catching). I've two posted links below to the same article. The Vedavoo piece has some commentary that has not been my experience, but that does illustrate a condition I've heard from others.

Take a read. Share your thoughts. Act.

Thanks to the Amberjack Journal and Vedavoo for posting her article.

Additional Info (Thanks Tony B. and Bob S. for bringing this to my attention)

Invasion of the Great Lakes: Quagga mussels least known, most dangerous invader

NY State DEC Annual Reports for last few years (read the highlight reports ...especially 2012 she refers to)

Saturday, December 10, 2016

No Pear Tree

It's fly tying time of the year, though I am going to get out and scout a small stream in a bit. Despite it being well below freezing I can't help but be outdoors when the possibility of catching a trout exists.

One material I love to use on flies is partridge. I'm always looking for patterns to add it to and tips for using this versatile material. I recently stumbled on the video below. It's the basics of using partridge. While I think I've got these covered, I wish I had these tips when I first started tying. So, if you're new to soft hackles, give it a quick watch. Not only are these tips good for partridge, but the techniques can also be used with other soft hackle materials (e.g. starling).

One place where I disagree with the video is on packaged/strung partridge feather. Don't buy it. For $3 you'll get a package containing two useful feathers plus two ounces of useless fluff. I recommend buying a skin for about $30. It will last you years. If anyone knows of a supplier of strung partridge that is any good, please share.