Friday, February 14, 2014

Even Less Of An Excuse....

To bucktail this summer.

Huge Columbia River Coho Run

Almost a million fish forecast to return to just the Columbia River.  These runs are the main driver for the Neah Bay coho fly fishery, and these numbers should offer amazing numbers of fish not only offshore but right at the entrance.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Bucktailing Isn't Flyfishing - Pt. 2

Awhile back I posted this article on trolling with a fly rod (bucktailing).  It has been a couple years and quite a few saltwater fishing trips since I wrote that.  My feelings have not changed and have only grown stronger.

What I am confused about is the total grip this method of fishing has on the Pacific Northwest fly fishing industry.  I am not talking about individual blogs or posts of fly fishing forums but fly shop blogs and videos and well known Northwest saltwater "fly fishing" destinations.

What is interesting is that bucktailing is not the go-to technique inside Puget Sound for the fly fishing industry.  With six million pinks and another large return of coho expected this summer there is no mention of trolling flies along the shorelines.  It is all about casting flies from the beaches and boats.

Why the disconnect out on the coast and in the Strait of Juan de Fuca?  Is it the lack of beach fishing?  Or is it that the vast majority of shop employees who talk about these fisheries have virtually zero experience fishing them?

My guess is that the latter is correct although decades of describing trolling as "fly fishing" has had a major influence in this discussion.  We have chapters in fly fishing books discussing this technique on equal footing with actual fly fishing techniques.  The worst is the "fly fishing" guides in destination fisheries that promote trolling as fly fishing.  They are straight up lying to their customers.  The other difference between the offshore and inshore fisheries is the numbers of anglers.  There is a long history of true fly fishing inside Puget Sound which makes it easier for new anglers to learn how to fish.  Our industry does the exact opposite offshore.  The lack of knowledge pushes them to promote gear fishing with a fly rod, not because you cannot fly fish offshore but they don't have a fucking clue how to find fish in a large expanse of water.

It is a huge disservice to our sport for bucktailing to be included as a "fly fishing" technique.

There is nothing wrong with enjoying bucktailing for what it is.  It can be a fun way to fish when you are on a boat with non-fly fishermen who are trolling.  It can be fun and is totally legal.  The only thing bucktailing cannot be is fly fishing.

Friday, July 12, 2013

The Worst Hatchery Program

WDFW Closes Portion of Sol Duc River

First, I have to rant that there seems to be no middle ground with WDFW.  Fisheries are either wide open or closed.  Couldn't they have just closed this section to chinook retention?  Selective gear?  Just lazy management for a non-native hatchery stock of fish.

Why is the Sol Duc Springer hatchery program one of the worst in the state?  First, winter steelhead get no break in fishing pressure (both sport and commercial) during May.  Nets targeting springers kill downstream winter steelhead, and I personally think that a repeat spawning steelhead is more valuable than a non-native hatchery chinook.

But the worst part is the impact this program has on other watersheds.  You might have heard that Olympic National Park closed all fishing in the Hoh River this summer to protect wild chinook in the Hoh.  The Park closed water even as the state has an open springer fishery with bait and barbs in the lower river.  Why is there a fishery on chinook in the Hoh?  Simple, to harvest the Sol Duc hatchery springers that stray into the Hoh.  Not only does this program close water on the Sol Duc but it screws up the management on other rivers too.

All the springer program seems to be good for is tribal netting, killing wild steelhead, guide welfare, and closing waters on two rivers... but they're good to eat.

Friday, February 22, 2013


Kudos to Josh Mills, who writes the Chucking Line and Chasing Tail Blog, for working his tail off to raise $6500 for the Wild Steelhead Coalition.  Big props for being involved and making a major fucking difference.

Also, kudos to everyone who donated stuff to the auction and to everyone who showed up.  I don't spend much time in Eastern Washington, but we could use that amount of activism West of the Cascade Crest.

Great way to fight apathy in Spokane and making the rest of us want to do better.

Monday, February 18, 2013

The Elwha without Chambers Creeks Steelhead

Seattle Times article on Elwha Hatchery lawsuit

While not a total win for wild fish advocates, the fact that the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe will be stopping the planting of non-native winter steelhead is a win for wild steelhead in the Elwha River after the dams come down.

Thanks to all of the groups involved in fighting for wild fish in the Elwha.  To those who think nothing changes, here is another reason to fight the siren song of apathy when it comes to fisheries issues.  Small groups have made great changes.  Imagine what an active sportfishing community could do.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Cleaning up the Guide Industry in WA

Senate Bill 5786

For years people in the sport fishing community have been talking about the lack of basic requirements to become a fishing guide in Washington State.  The Legislature may finally be tackling this issue.

From the text of Bill 5786
"(2) An application submitted to the department under this chapter shall contain the name and address of the applicant and any other information required by the department or this title. An application for a food fish guide license under RCW 77.65.370 or game fish guide license under RCW 77.65.480 must include:
(a) The applicant's driver's license number or Washington identification card number issued under chapter 46.20 RCW;
(b) The applicant's unified business identifier number under a master license issued under RCW 19.02.070;
(c) Proof of current certification in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation; and
(d) A certificate of insurance demonstrating that the applicant has general liability coverage of at least three hundred thousand dollars."

Seems pretty prudent to require basic First Aid & CPR, insurance, and actually have a business license.  Good step by the State.

There is time to send in comments or even testify on February 19th.

Click Here (Click on the green Comment on this Bill button) to send in comments supporting this step in cleaning up the guide industry in Washington State.  The State makes it easy to comment so I would suggest supporting them when they make good law.