Friday, January 28, 2011

Washington Coast Cleanup 2011

A head's up for those interested in volunteering to help remove garbage from our coastal beaches.

Washington Coastal Cleanup Signup

April 23rd, 2011 is the day.  The wife and I volunteered last year and it is shocking how much garbage there is on our wilderness beaches.  Last year 24 tons of garbage was removed from the coast.  Hopefully we'll have better weather this year.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Closure Thoughts

Great commentary over at the Osprey Blog regarding the Puget Sound River Closures

Osprey Steelhead News

This line got me thinking.
"All this is a painful reminder that without healthy wild runs there is no possibility of even catch and release angling opportunity."

Clearly we are starting to see the culmination of long term mismanagement of our fish stocks.  Promises of salmon (steelhead) without rivers and technological fixes to our fisheries has brought us to the precipice where we now stand.  Without healthy wild runs we have nothing.  We have empty rivers.  We have ecosystems starving for marine nutrients brought upstream by salmon runs for thousands of years.  We have reduced fishing seasons that likely will only be getting smaller.

Hatchery fish cannot fill the gap that losing our wild fish creates.  Looking at Puget Sound, as goes wild fish so go hatchery fish.  Marine survival affects both types of fish, so we are now facing almost zero returning hatchery fish and closed rivers when the few wild fish return.  Today's Puget Sound reality is a crystal ball showing us the future of our remaining fisheries.

Change comes slowly in fisheries management.  Too slowly for the remaining stocks of fish in Washington State and throughout the Northwest.  We are seeing rivers without dams and great habitat missing escapement goals due to continued overharvest and negative hatchery practices (which go together like peanut butter and jelly).  While Puget Sound wild steelhead fisheries are now closed, we have rivers like the Hoh, Queets, and Quillayute that have no dams, large areas of pristine habitat, and good marine survival missing escapement goals.  How much longer can we keep stretching the rubber band managing these supposedly "healthy" stocks of fish before it snaps like Puget Sound?

My last post was a humorous dig at the crowds likely heading towards the coast with the recent Puget Sound closures.  Humor hides sadness and I am sad to see closures.  Not only due to increased numbers of fishermen on rivers close to home, but also because these closures seem to end a portion of the rich history that is winter steelhead fly fishing on Puget Sound rivers.  The history of winter steelhead fly fishing would be far poorer without the storied history of fly fishing on rivers like the Skagit and Skykomish.  These fisheries form a link between today's fishermen and past generations who pioneered fly fishing for winter steelhead.  While the tackle, clothing, and spots on the river have changed when you stand in a river with the water pushing against your legs, fly under tension swinging across a broad run, and feel the grab of a wild steelhead you are experiencing something that spans generations.  We all need that connection.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Coming to a Coastal River

WDFW Closes Puget Sound Rivers

Looking forward to this on the coastal rivers

Monday, January 24, 2011

Last Week

In Memory of Bruce

Bruce Ferguson Obit

Bruce and his writings taught generations of NW fishermen about flyfishing for salmon in the saltwater.  

I had the pleasure to have Bruce as a guest on my boat out at Neah Bay in the early 2000's.  What I remember most was his excitement being on the water whether it was seeing large areas of salmon feeding on krill or viewing the large number of birds offshore.  I also remember that he wanted to match the hatch fishing exact patterns for the krill, which meant less fish hooked but seeing his joy on his face after hooking up his own way was priceless.  This lesson took awhile to sink in, but I soon realized the joy in not always fishing the most effective way and going your own way.  Thanks for the lesson Bruce.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Fishing Investment

Local article about Peninsula residents opposing the fishing moratorium on Lake Sutherland, which feeds into the Elwha River.

PDN Article

In the comment section is this quote:
"We pay for stocks and management through our liscenses and deserve a return on our investment."

This is the attitude that seems to flow through the veins of a large part of the Northwest fishing community, that paying for a fishing license is an investment in food for the table.  It's a "what's in it for me attitude" that just boils my blood.  You hear it in practically every meeting involving fisheries, the idea that any action must have something in it for me.

If you want to see this attitude in action all you have to do is go to a WDFW meeting.  There's one coming up in Kennewick.

WDFW News Release

If it is anything like the meeting in Aberdeen a while back, this next meeting with the Director should be teeming with the "what's in it for me" attitude.

To be fair, I get a return on my investment in a fishing license.  It just has nothing to do with poundage.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Hydrographs gone wild

Away from the NW for a week, but amazed checking the coastal river flows.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


That's what every bone in my body is telling me to do.

Screw the work that needs to be done tomorrow.  The rivers are dropping and tomorrow is my last shot to fish until the last week in January.  Making the decision would be so much easier if some of that snow had fallen on the west side of the rainshadow.

After writing this, I'm sure that hauling and spreading bark can wait until February.  Procrastination wins by a landslide.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Toy

Playing with the new Xmas present filming a bit of exploring yesterday on the coast.  I love exploring new water.

Frosty Day on the Coast from Chris Bellows on Vimeo.