Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Yesterday afternoon I had the water to myself. During the dog days, the Farmington is one of the few local places to reliably find trout. Weekends it can be crowded but mid-week you can still find places to be alone. I fished and caught in solitude until rush hour. The road across the way, unnoticed through the afternoon, suddenly had a spurt of life. It was the only indication of the rhythm of elsewhere.

A little while later I heard commotion in the small lot behind me. Late of some workplace, three guys entered the pool above me. While they were a hundred yards off the quiet of the valley and the reflective quality of lazy water made their banter easily heard. These three took up what seemed like the usual spots and the cliche, stream-side taunts bounced back and forth. Portly guy was into fish quickly and rated a few hoots while his buddies struggled. Before long the abundance of the Farmington yielded bent rods for the lot of them.

You can read the rest of this essay at Hatch Magazine.

I'm doing some writing over on Hatch Magazine each week (or so). Stop over there to read my complete articles and more from other great writers.

Friday, July 18, 2014

What Congress has done this week to piss me off!

If you want to know where this bullshit comes from, just follow the money. I love this idea.

Are you friggin' kidding me?

So the EPA is poised to propose limits on mining in Bristol Bay which comes after years of research and science that indicates that, contrary to the opinion of mining companies and politicians bought and paid for by mining companies, the mine would destroy habitat, kill jobs, and threaten the best salmon runs on the planet. Sounds like a good thing.

Sadly, it's too good to be true.

A bunch of representatives on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee have prepared a few choice pieces of legislation that would gut the EPA's regulatory powers:

H.R. 5078: Waters of the United States (WOTUS) Regulatory Overreach Protection Act of 2014: The EPA and the Army Corps of Engineers recently used something that politicians don't understand nor like, we call it science, to determine that headwaters are important to clean water and therefore need to be regulated. The EPA even proposed some rules about that. This bill seeks to set those rules and the EPA's authority aside because.....well, for no friggin' reason other than they don't like the EPA. I suppose they think clean water comes in plastic bottles. Dopes.

H.R. 5077: Coal Jobs Protection Act of 2014: Jobs protection?! More bullshit. This is the Coal Mining Company Profits and Political Donation Protection Act of 2014. When a mining company wants to take a mountain top and put it in a valley in which a stream runs, chock full of wildlife and cold, clean water, this turd of an act limits the time in which regulators can study the problem to determine its impact. I know it's inconvenient for businesses to actually have to deal with the regulations but c'mon. It's not like the coal industry is renowned for their environmental stewardship....

Rep. Bill Shuster
Ensuring all Americans get the
water they deserve.
H.R.4854: Regulatory Certainty Act of 2014: This is the most relevant to the types of situations faced by Bristol Bay. This little beauty of a bill basically kills the process, called 404c in regulatory lingo, that allowed the EPA to develop good science then exercise its power to protect clean water in Bristol Bay for all Americans.

I am hopeful that the battle to save Bristol Bay is in its final phase but that doesn't mean we can no longer be vigilant. While Bristol Bay was a highly visible and important battle, there are many more battles that have to be fought each day to protect less storied watersheds including headwaters streams that may run through our backyards.

Stay vigilant. Stay involved. Write your Congressman. Make smart choices at the polls.

Tight lines.

1) When I am king, elected representatives get one term, that's it.
2) And Corporations wouldn't be people
3) And you'd have to wear those sponsor patches on your $1,200 suit. And none of those patches could include the American flag. Politician's wearing the American flag demeans the flag.
4) Can you tell it's a Friday in the summer. I probably need to go fishing.

Thursday, July 17, 2014


The Usual fly for low light fishing
As summer air temperatures in New England veer sharply from their northern roots most water courses warm beyond the tolerance of trout. With trout hunkered in thermal refuges the sulking trout angler has some options. There's opportunity on stillwater for largemouth, crappie and bluegills but that requires tactics and tackle that is foreign to many. In several renowned trout rivers smallmouth share the same neighborhood with their sleeker kin. With yin to trout's yang, smallmouth come alive when water temps suppress trout. While both are a fine distraction, truly tormented trout anglers seek the succor of a tailwater in the days after the mid-year solstice.

Last week I had smallmouth on the brain and was prepared to make the hour drive for a few hours fishing. The previous evening a summer storm rolled up the valley and created a muddy torrent while sparing neighboring, smallmouth-free watersheds. I could have scrapped the whole notion but my buddy Steve had planted a few seeds with solid tailwater intel.

You can read the rest of this essay at Hatch Magazine.

I'm doing some writing over on Hatch Magazine each week (or so). Stop over there to read my complete articles and more from other great writers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Hundred Mile Latte

If you have never seen Green Drakes and Coffin Flies hatch, well, I recommend you make the effort to do so. I had always been somewhat dismissive of folks who chased these blue-chip hatches. I'm partial to the hatches of pale yellow mayflies on late spring evenings on my home waters so I never really got into being on rivers outside my normal range just to fish something exotic. It was an error not to pay attention to the Drakes. They're pretty damn fantastic.

In mid-June Jonny and I were heading west with the hope of taking some carp in Indiana. Driving eight hundred miles to fish for carp may not seem like the most sensible thing but we had good reasons. It's not something I'd done before -- neither the epic road trip nor carp fishing -- so I was looking forward to having an adventure. But being a trout angler I couldn't tolerate the thought of driving so far, passing some of the finest trout streams in the east, without stopping to wet a line.

You can read the rest of this essay at Hatch Magazine.

I'm doing some writing over on Hatch Magazine each week (or so). Stop over there to read my complete articles and more from other great writers.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Protecting Browns Canyon

From the Save Browns Canyon Instagram
There are 22,000 acres in Colorado that have recently come into the sights of the extractive industries -- the folks who bring you mining and drilling and the issues and risk from all that -- and a bunch of anglers and hunters in Colorado have joined forces to try and protect this wilderness from be spoiled.

According to the Sportsmen for Browns site:
Browns Canyon, located along the upper Arkansas River in Colorado, is known for premier trout fishing, outstanding big game habitat, world-famous whitewater, rugged and remote wildlands, and a proud cattle ranching tradition. This diversity supports thousands of jobs, from river outfitters and guides to ranchers in the nearby communities of Salida and Buena Vista. Protecting this 22,000 acre gem along the Arkansas River as a National Monument is a community-driven effort to preserve this unique natural and economic resource for generations to come.
 I suggest you head over to their website to take a look at this special place and their efforts. In particular, they're seeking National Monument status for the site which would provide protection for this place in perpetuity. Sign-up for their emails. You can also find some great pictures on their instagram site.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Trout Blitz

Trout Unlimited is sponsoring a wild/native trout citizen science effort to help map out healthy wild and native trout populations in the U.S. This effort relies upon citizen scientists to report data about wild and native trout populations.

What is citizen science? Well, it's where you become the scientist as a "data gatherer" (i.e. angler) and conduct science by catching fish and reporting your catch. This provides data for scientists on the location and species in a particular watershed.

As soon as I started reading this my "secret fishing hole" radar went off. Report where I caught fish? Wild fish? Umm, No. Well, maybe.

The interface on the TU iNaturalist site is pretty straight forward. I entered the information about my trip in a minute or so. The hardest part of recording the location, both technically and psychologically, is the GPS part. But I conquered both challenges pretty quick using Google Maps and a feature on the iNaturalist site.

First, you need the GPS coordinates. Google Maps can provide this. Find the approximate location on Google Maps, right click on the location where you caught the fish, and select "What's here?". The Latitude and Longitude appear on the upper left of the screen.

Second, you need to see the selection box below the iNaturalist map that says "Change Geoprivacy". Change that to "Obscured". That way only the scientists get the data on the "where" and the public gets something that's vague but not really all that helpful.

You can see the public version of my "Obscured" entry below. There are no map coordinates, only the reference to "Fairfield County".

This seems like a great way for us all to get involved in fisheries science. I encourage you to check out the website and start reporting your (obscured) catch of wild and native trout.