Saturday, December 19, 2009

True Story

A couple of years ago while fishing on our critically acclaimed, rainsoaked coast over the weekend I was feeling pretty crowded. On this February holiday weekend the crowds of people trying to squeeze in and get their last little sliver of the wild steelhead pie in our state can be down right unbearable. Now I'm all for sharing, and I know tourism brings lots of money to the tiny, depressed communities on the coast but shit many Montucky and Cali plates can a guy see before he starts gettin twitchy and looses his shit.

Anyway I was already gettin my panties in a bundle over all these carpet baggin' knobs flailing around in my favorite pools when I encountered a majestic sight. A brand new, 2000 whatever Chevrolet SUV covered in steely, naval cammo, complete with matching raft on top. Emblazoned on the side, was a 6 foot long Simms logo. Must've been the Chevy ToolKit edition or something like that. At that point I was so sick of the marketing, branding, bull$hit with our wild anadromous fisheries I couldnt stand it, packed the rig and drove straight home. no stops. Fellas, the fish are going away and you're so busy trying to sell your brand of bobber stank you're missing the point. Meanwhile there are 150 newbs from california and montana just itching to have their "steelhead dreams" satisfied. Its enough to make a man crazy.

People are entitled to recreational experiences on their terms, and as long as they carefully release their wild fish, slaughter their hatchery fish, and don't lowhole me they're probably decent human beings. but after 3 days of fishing in a crowd it can be pretty difficult to bear. not sure what the point of that story was but its just some stuff I been thinking on lately. With more and more of our rivers closing early to protect wild fish things are getting pretty bleak on what just 20 years ago were considered remote, little fished rivers.

Still, occasionally things turn out just right. That Tuesday after a nice freshet when the fish are pushing in. A few have gotten past the nets and lying comfortable in the green, boulder studded pool. The 25 minute shit fight through deadfall and the damn near verticle crawl down into the canyon water is all worth it when the fish lights you up. Nothing like a chrome wild fish when its just you, the steelhead hound and the river.

The Hound inspects our catch


  1. will,
    You touched on a theme that is incredibly important. While our steelhead are declining rapidly, and the rivers that offer even remotely quality fishing are being crowded to death by those that no longer have any fish in their local rivers, tackle companies and guides continue to step up the promotion. At some point, there will be nine hundred anglers on the last river trying to catch the last wild steelhead. Sad.

  2. I agree. However I must in fact take exception to the "montucky" comment.

  3. I would be interested to hear your views as they relate to the current ongoing "discussion" for non-resident anglers in the Skeena region of BC. Do you think limiting local waters to residents-only has merit?

  4. Mike, I've been planning on posting on that for a while. I dont necessarily think limiting it to locals only is a good idea, how about just trying to limit each anglers impact on the fishery as a start. Eg, anglers quit after hooking 3 fish, or no bait, or no fishing from boats. stay tuned for a BC post

  5. Thanks for the reply. I agree with you and it certainly is a tough call balancing access to the few remaining accessible rivers with significant steelhead runs. What is an interesting angle is the fact that our Canada/USA rivers are mostly publicly accessible for a very small license cost. Personally, I do get discouraged by some visitors to our countries and their expectations of unlimited access to our waters where in fact their own countries rivers access is private access only.

    I really like the blog btw and look forward to you further posts.