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.