the biggest mistake about fly fishing, is that its just about fish

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Major Bittersweetness

The Truckee Today

Well i left home at 4 am and got to a spot reccomended by a reputable source (thanks dude) , and it totally paid off. Got to the spot right at 635 and first cast i got the fish i was gonna spend all day looking for.
Basically i was using my spey rod to high stick/swing a large bunny type fly that i tie, and as soon as it hit the water my rod went bendo and he flew into the air. Now if you look closely at the picture above youll definately notice the two drops of blood on the rock, dont be alarmed, its mine, and taking a size 1 hook to the hand will to that. This fish is alive and kickin. Gave me the goodbye splash ive come to love so much.
The self shot has to be taken, and you can see from how dark it is that the sun is barely up, as this is right around 640am. This time, the early wake up really paid off.

Also did some scouting for a future trip and you have to watch where you are fishing. Alot of the browns are setting up on their redds. Dont redd rape. Just dont even think about it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

The Waters of My Youth

I have really forgotten how much i love Creekin.
I decided to head up to one of my old haunts and see if the fishin was still good.
It was.

The flows are perfect right now and the fish are definately on the bite.
All i used were dry flies, and the fish would rocket out of the water to grab them.

This fish may seem small, but for this creek its a big fish, and my personal best.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

well im here

well im in anchorage.

getting my coastguard stuff finished up and then im off to dillingham.....

two more dayssss

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

the draw

water has many meanings to many people. when it comes down to science, water is the element upon which all other things are built off of.

for me water much more. no matter what is happening in my life, it is an escape.

whether i am fishing knee deep in the element, or even just passing by and hearing riversong, it is as if i am renewed. in my faith we believe in baptism, that all sins are washed away after immersion in water. i relate to this every time i step in to water in that all my worries and cares are washed away for that time. while immersed in water, all other things vanish from my mind and it is filled with the song of water and the creator who blessed me to be there at that moment in time.

step into water and deeply think.
you will be forever changed

Monday, April 5, 2010

idle hands do no good

well lately i havent been fishing.

work, work, work

i was lucky enough to land a job at Mosquito Creek Outfitters, which is a brand new business in placerville.

its starting to look great and we are all getting really excited for the impending opening.

we are going to have a full service fly shop, and we will have a massive amount of conventional gear that is everything one needs to set themselves up for the upcoming trout season. everthing from scents to lures and downriggers, bass, stripers, trout and light duty salt too.

one of out main attractions will be our firearms and archery. currently i wouldnt be surprised if we had the largest stock of ammo of anyone north of fresno, in that we have boxes upon boxes of ammo sitting, and our shelves are already full. we will have a 50 slot rack full of long guns, and also a large assortment of handguns, for everything from personal protection to hunting arms.

last week put multiple 10 hour days in, and its really starting to look like a store. shelves are being filled, and our beautiful mounts that cover the walls will definately catch some stares, from exotic creatures, to larry the 2000lb bull moose and chuck the 1800lb bull elk. not to mention gus the water buffalo of edward the oryx.

come on in on the 18th. ill be there

Sunday, April 4, 2010

The Decline of Salmon Steelhead on the West Coast

The salmon that usually reside in the rivers on the west coast and in the Pacific Ocean have mysteriously vanished. No one knows the exact reason for the sudden downfall, but many factors are contributing to the disappearance. This has caused the department of fish and wildlife of Oregon and Washington to go as far as shutting down the fishery in its entirety. Many of the salmon stocks that are present in our world are either in danger of going extinct, or already in process. This is a large problem, as commercial and sport fishing is an industry that is vital to many cities and is one of the main areas of revenue for coastal cities in northern California and the Pacific Northwest. The main reasons for this decline is most definitely the overfishing of vital stocks, and mismanagement of fish farms and rivers concerning their dams or flow levels.
Referring to the table below, created by Justin Ewers, more than half of what salmon stocks there used to be are now extinct. This chart represents the amounts of salmon that would normally be present during any said run or season, but as result of human proliferation now are no longer present and could even in some cases considered to be extinct all together.

Winter 88% Summer 45%
Spring/Summer 63% Winter 29%
Fall 19%
COHO 55% PINK 21%
As is evident by this chart, our stocks have been endangered for a long time, but just at such levels that it could not be properly calculated. "Since our society tends to push fish to the brink of extinction before beginning recovery efforts, the Endangered Species Act remains our most potent tool to protect fish," this is a dead on statement, as only now that our stocks are in failure is there a scramble to save them, where as if conservation had begun much earlier, this situation would not be present. The main problem with the system in the powers that be are only interested in a problem when it becomes a subject of massive public attention, and until that happens no matter what the issue is it will be placed on the rear burner until it becomes more visible to the majority.
One of the most devastating things to the wild salmon stocks is surprisingly captive farming of salmon. A study in Ireland found that “When the team set up spawning between the farmed salmon and the wild salmon, it had devastating effects on the hybrid generations that followed. Nearly three-quarters of the third-generation salmon embryos died within the first few weeks, the team reports in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The researchers think this is because gene-shuffling breaks up combination's of genes adapted to life in the wild.” Basically what this mean is that the genes that make the salmons survivability greater, including the trait of one returning to its own natal stream can be interrupted by interbreeding. Normally farmed salmon are not intentionally released from their rearing pens, but in many cases the pens are in terrible disrepair, when any storm comes up the netting is very likely to break and release harmful salmon into the gene pool. "Releases of fish from farms could send wild populations into terminal decline." Terminal decline is just a co-word for the downward spiral that will occur until there are no wild salmon left at all.
Another dire problem associated with fish farming is that of sea lice. As Annalisa Babieri says in her report on farmed fish, “But the cages where salmon are farmed are a heavenly breeding ground for sea-lice, the farmed fish protected by chemicals, shake them off. The problem is that the wild salmon smolts -- small and without the "privilege" of such pesticides, have to swim past these cages to get to open sea (salmon farms are placed in coastal areas often near to where wild salmon run). You can imagine what joy the sea-louse must feel at the sight of such unprotected, juvenile flesh. It must be just like String fellows. They crowd the little fish, often congregating on his head to form a "death crown", eating into him until he weakens and dies. He never gets to see the wonderful feeding grounds off Greenland where he could have grown fat on prawns. He never gets to go back to the very gravel patch in the river where he was born, to sire more salmon. He floats to the bottom of the ocean, the sea-lice tails detach, and float away to find lunch elsewhere. (Barbieri)” Basically this happens in massive quantities and in turn it can eliminate entire runs of smolts as they exit the estuaries that their rivers lead into. The sea lice form clouds that destroy literally any other non-pesticide fed fish just due to the fact that they are in groups of ten thousand or more which can consume hundreds of smolts in a very short time period.
Human incursion has also caused a lot of problems for the salmonid species, in the creation of dams and other obstacles that black the paths of the normal paths of salmon migration. “Scientists have identified more than 400 separate salmon runs -- each a genetically distinct wild stock -- in the area. The American Fisheries Society says 106 of these runs are now extinct and 214 are at moderate or high risk. (Satchell)” The many dams that have been created to power our cities have incidentally destroyed many of our salmon runs. These dams flood spawning areas, use the gravel that is needed for the salmon to create their “redds” (large dug out ovals the salmon create to lay their eggs into) and also completely blocks the path of their migratory patterns. In the study my Michael Satchel involving salmon he gathered this data about the various species that are present and are in decline.
Declining Concern Threatened Endangered Extinct
Chinook 11,290,000 17,570,000 11,331,000 11,547,000 40,919,000
Coho 4,497,000 3,479,000 13,859,000 8,797,000 38,140,000
Chum 3,320,000 1,618,000 1,991,000 2,362,000 5,458,000
Pink 6,639,000 31,000 44,000 448,000 1,903,000
Sockeye 366,000 395,000 60,000 156,000 1,416,000
As is very evident from this compilation of information, there are no actually stable stocks of salmon left in the Pacific Northwest. This is just a small indicator of the big problem that is actually present. There are five separate species of salmon which include the Chinook or king salmon, which is the largest and most sought after of all species, the Coho which is a smaller fish that fights a lot more erratically yet is quite smaller, and its flesh is much sweeter than that of the Chinook, then the Chum or “dog” salmon which is all quite similar to the Pink and the Sockeye salmons. One of the best indicators of duress of all of the salmon are that of the Sockeyes, in that the they are nearly extinct in over half of their normal areas of habitation. What this tells is that the habitat is being extremely degraded or in some cases completely eliminated, not only by dams but also by runoff from cities, and especially fertilizer leeching into the rivers through the ground water and the introduction of bovine and even human waste. “Like overharvesting, habitat degradation has been a problem since the late 1800s. By extracting ore with high-pressure hoses, miners drew water away from streams and returned a flow of sediment, burying the gravel needed for spawning. Sometimes they mined the stream itself, extracting gravel, sand, and The All-H strategy calls for continuing these low rates, while tagging most hatchery fish to enable fishers to tell them apart.(Hattam)” The mining previously stated completely engulfs the spawning areas that would normally be used by the salmon, and therefore limits the territory that was originally used for spawning. This not only diverts the salmon, but it can eliminate the runs because the fish have nowhere in particular to lay their eggs, so they just release their eggs and die, and then eventually the eggs suffocate in the silt that has been previously deposited. A great example of extreme habitat destruction takes place in our very own down town Salem Oregon, it’s none other than Mill Creek. When Salem was a small town even back in the 30’s and 40’s Mill Creek had a very prestigious run of Chinook salmon, even within about 10 years the run was still very strong, then over the course of about 3 years the salmon just stopped coming. The main reason for this can be divided into two categories, pollution and mismanagement. Mill Creek evidently runs through the heart of downtown Salem, and with that it takes the brunt of the cities pollution, which is mainly collected through the accumulation of the groundwater throughout the year. The majority of the pollutants include fertilizers, but more than anything else in the ground water was the overwhelming presence of petroleum products which include but weren’t limited to refined gasoline, diesel fuel, crude oil and also chemical emulsifiers from the Boise paper plant. The main mismanagement that can be noted is the many dams that have been placed upon the creek, such as that of the flood control dam that is located near cordon road, this dam blocked off prime salmon habitat and has been viewed as one of the main contributors, though the pollution has been much more detrimental.
“Salmon runs in the Northwest have been shrinking since the late 19th century, reduced by cannery operations, mining, and logging. But the most severe impact has come from dams, some of which entirely closed rivers, eliminating upstream habitat. (Grand Coulee Dam by itself blocked fish from more than 1500 kilometers of the Columbia.) Beginning in 1877, federal and state agencies tried to counter the fall in salmon and steelhead populations by setting up fish hatcheries. "Hatcheries provided a very popular answer to all these problems," says Joseph Taylor III, an environmental historian at Iowa State University in Ames. "The promise of fish culture tells everyone, 'You can continue what you're doing. But the hatcheries were not a cure-all, and the populations continued to dwindle.” Dams have been absolutely detrimental to many different salmon runs across the Pacific Northwest. The fish hatcheries are what the department of fish of wildlife use as a supplement for the stocks that were eliminated by the multiple dams that are located throughout our many rivers and streams, but this has more disadvantages than advantages. While the dams can regulate the amount and temperature of the water that is released into the rivers, either inhibit or facilitate the migration of fish. The hatcheries produce what can be called second rate salmon. These fish are usually extremely susceptible to disease, and the main problem with this is the fact that they will intermingle with the wild species of salmon and transfer the diseases that they posses. That in turn counteracts the good that might have been done by killing the wild species that the hatchery salmon were bred to supplement. “People began breeding and releasing salmon in the Pacific Northwest in the late 19th Century to boost commercial fishing. Hatcheries took off in the 1960s when dam construction on the Snake and Columbia Rivers in Washington State decimated salmon populations. Some scientists have alleged that hatchery salmon—which account for up to 95% of some species of adult salmon in the Columbia River basin—hurt populations of wild salmon. But previous studies have been small and controversial. (Shouse) Some of the studies that support this fact, that hatchery salmon hurt native salmon are very shocking. The hatchery salmon have been noted to grow at the rate of as much as 4 inches for every one inch that the wild salmon grows. Also, the competition between the two is very high. It has been noted that the hatchery salmon will travel much farther for a meal than the natives i.e. - a hatchery salmon holding behind a rock in swift current will swim out of its place to eat an object that is entirely across the river, while native stock is an opportunistic feeder, and will usually just wait for a meal to come directly to it. This not only makes a food source less abundant for the less aggressive native, but the food source that is available is further competed with by many other species that use the same methods in the river. This in turn contributes to what are called “fish kills,” which are just mass die offs of a certain fish in a river at a period of time.
“The status of Northwest salmonids is bleak. Out of an estimated 1,000 stocks of native salmon and steelhead (sea-ran rainbow trout are now considered salmon) in California, Oregon, Idaho, and Washington, 106 are extinct and 314 more are at risk of extinction. In the mid-1800s, up to 16 million wild salmon and steelhead returned to the Columbia River system annually; today, despite a $1 billion salmon recovery program, fewer than 2.5 million return--2 million hatchery fish, 500,000 wild--and the numbers continue to plummet. Wild Chinook that run in the spring and summer are extinct in 63 percent of their range, and endangered, threatened, or of special concern in 31 percent. Native fall-run Chinook salmon are extinct in 19 percent of their range; in peril in 61 percent. Coho are extinct in 55 percent and endangered or threatened in 33 percent; chums are extinct in 37 percent, pink in 21 percent, and sockeye in 59 percent. In only 6 percent to 24 percent of their original streams are the five Pacific Northwest species holding their own. (Maxwell)” This piece out of Jessica Maxwell’s investigative report tells just how dire the situation our salmon are in truly is. Without proper attention within a few very short years our salmon will be gone all together. The main problem that has allowed this decline is just the ignorance of the authority in the fact that the issue is only addressed once it becomes a very big problem.
All in all our salmon are not a renewable resource. As the sun sets and the sky fades to black, so will the empty rivers that were once filled with silver flash and life. If the dire situation that these species are in is not properly addressed and quickly at that, they will be gone forever. When the salmon are gone, there is no going back. Humans are the main problem; the salmon were here first and should be treated that way. The environment can either get better or worse. It all depends on us.

Monday, March 8, 2010

i quit messin, and got a lesson

the wind was gusting upriver to at least 30 at times.

great learning situation i think.

well anyways i had the priveledge of getting some solid instruction from bill lowe again, and its always alot of fun and i learn more and more each time. currently im having slight trouble keeping my speed low and my cast round, as opposed to choppy as i currently am doing.

and another cool thing to see, was the couple spent salmon we saw swimming around, that came within touching distance to rest in the eddies that were caused by our legs in the water, its sad to see such a beautiful creatures life winding down, but its also a beautiful thing to see nature come full circle.

just another great day to be alive

hit up bill, hes a great teacher and a riot to be around

Saturday, March 6, 2010


friday night got my first skunk since starting with the spey rod.

only spent about an hour on the water and as always was nice to get out.

today was a work day so no fishing, but im gonna get out tomorrow

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

rain means steelhead

swung for a few hours this evening.
no skunk and my landing hand smells of fish so thats always good.

fished with my buddy tony up and down sunrise and we each got fish, although multiple grabs were had.

bill lowe was nice enough to come kick it river style with us for a bit, and as always he is awesome to be around.

that guy makes spey casting look as easy, as ummm.......well really easy.

got to play with his 5126 z axis and i have three words to say about it, i want one.
i have a feeling this is gonna get expensive.

hence why the river is my current girlfriend, a new setup to her is as jewelry is to any other woman.

im not sure how people feel about fishing in the rain, but i love it. i kinda forgot how much fun it is. something about fishing in the rain makes you feel hardcore, like you know that theres some poor fool driving by looking down on us from his warm bmw thinking, "i didnt know you could fish in the rain." well newsflash to him, you can, but please dont, thats when i have the river to myself.

zulu out

Monday, March 1, 2010

broke in my new beulah platinum today.

after class i went to kienes where jason hartwick had my new baby waiting for me. we got her rigged up in no time and then i was on the river.

first cast i got the grab but he spat it.

then i got into my favorite spot and started catching em.

got a few, nothing to write home about but it was definately a blessing to be out on the river.

gear used today:

beulah platinum 13' 2" 7 wt
tonic line, custom wieght at 515 grains
rio slickshooter
ross momentum #4

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Spey: crack for the fisherman

today was the beginning of a new obsession.
since i was 13, fly fishing was all i could think about. casting, tying and most of all catching the occasional fish.

today i tried the spey, with of all people the notorious bill lowe.
it was more fun than the law should allow.

first of all, bill is hilarious, an amazing teacher and exceedingly patient. his reputation as one of the best is very well earned.

in no time i had a switch cast, then a double spey, and then a snap t forming around me.

heck, i caught a halfpounder steelface on my first time with a spey, on the swing.
i mean seriously, ive been fishing the A for the last few weeks and the smell of skunk is still lingering around burning my nostrils.

i got off the water today around 6 after playing with my singlehander for a while, and it is now around 10pm, and i currently have a buyer for my gear that will provide the much needed cash to get my new spey rod.

i name rods. weird i know, but as in "the river why," Gus Orviston named his main tool, "rodney," quite fitting really. he explained how he was the rod, and the rod was him and they become one. i have a feeling it will be the same with me and "sierra grande" as i will call her.
yes, its a she

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Lower Sac with Shane Kohlbeck and Neil

Today was a great day. We were graced by not only the weather gods but also the fish gods that smile ever so seldom. Smiles were wide and often and it was a great day to be alive.
Fishing started right round 8:15 and we were greeted with instant action that continued throughout the day. These fish hit and pull hard, and a 7wt 10ft zaxis was a perfect match with a rio atlantic salmon/steelhead line for throwing the monstrous rigs that we were fishing, this is chuck and duck fishing at its finest.

The trout that reside here are very agressive, even in the frigid temperature of the water at this time of year. The river was higher and had less visiblity than is desired, but fishing was still prime!

These two fish came off of an isane double up in the fast water. Neil had the front of the boat and got a hit as soon as we hit this great riffle, and i recast my line into the slick and as soon as it hit the water i was on too. The water here was really fast so we had to navigate rocks and the current until we could pull up along the back to land the fish, and these guys pull harder than you would think, my rod was doubled and got to the last bit of the flyline before we got to the beach. Both fish got netted and we were stoked!

This was the first fish of the day, and was a mirror image of all the fish we caught. The smallest of the day was around 16, and most fish were right around 19, all in all i got about 5 over 20 inches to hand, which is an amazing day for any river!

Looking closely at alot of these fish you can notice large scars on their sides, mainly due to the large population of ospreys that reside along the river. These fish are tough and if you dont put the wood to them fast they let you know whos boss real quick!

All in all it was one of the better days ive had in 2010 so far, hopefully followed by many of the same caliber. Shane Kohlbeck was a great guide and teacher, constantly helping us out, and letting us know whenever we missed a good take.
Bottom line go fishing with shane. His site it and he knows this river like the back of his hand. Hes fished this river for 13 years all season and will get you into some nice fish.
Tight Lines,

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Beginning

this has been a huge week. at the sacramento inernational sports expo i was lucky enough to land a job at Aleknagik Lodge wayyyy up in bristol bay alaska. this lodge is small and gorgeous. its a family run operation on a 5 acre island. the fishing there is pretty much the best trout and salmon area left in the world. needless to say, stoked is a word that can barely describe my feelings. still a long time till season though. have tons of stuff to get done between then (june 3rd) and now including:
1.pass classes
2.cpr/first aid cert.
3.6 pack liscense

and lots of other miscelanious things.
im going to keep this pretty current i hope....

tight lines and blue skies