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.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Lately it seems like we have entered a strange world where ideas to fix problems are not worthy of doing if they don't solve the problem entirely.  We live in an imperfect world and our solutions are going to be imperfect.

While listening to testimony at the WDFW Commission Meeting last Friday I was struck that this argument was being used against doing anything to stop the declining steelhead numbers.  Basically, we have reduced harvest from thirty a year to one a year, have created catch and release areas and numbers have still gone down or have not rebounded so this of course means that any other rule changes should wait because we cannot guarantee a magic bullet.

I refuse to believe that doing nothing is any kind of solution.  Experimenting with catch and release, no fishing from boats, bait bans, protecting resident rainbows, and wild steelhead management zones is the only way to go.  We have to keep trying new things as the science gets better and new problems crop up.  Twenty years ago there was no side-drifting, massive numbers of out of state guides, internet bulletin boards, or Puget Sound river closures.

Of course, we also need to look at ourselves when it comes to effective advocacy for wild fish.  This last rule change cycle in Washington State should be a wake-up call with the embarrassing amount of angler apathy here.  Here are some numbers.

22,000+ members on a popular Washington State fly fishing internet forum
10,200 members on a popular Olympic Peninsula internet fishing forum
102 comments on North Coast steelhead rule proposals
44 comments on making all rivers selective gear (no bait) from 2/1-4/30
9 comments on opening up the Quilcene River to sea-run cutthroat and resident trout harvest

These numbers and this amount of apathy are a wake-up call to me.  What about you?