Every October I have the same internal conflict...do I drive multiple hours to chase rapidly darkening summer steelhead or do I stay local, fish my home rivers during what is often the quietest time of the year. This time of the year, with just a little planning I can normally fish all day on the locals without seeing another soul. On the dryside it will be another few weeks before the crowds really thin out. Salmon runs aren't exactly gangbusters in the Salish country these days, but most rivers get a few thousand coho, chum and chinook every year and in odd years pink salmon provide entertaining fodder for a few morning beach sessions. More and more, traveling long distances to fish isn't something that sits all that well with me, particularly when I've got respectable fishing, on rivers that I know and love right out my backdoor. Besides with another mid-February closure looming for the Puget Sound rivers I want every day I can get on my home waters. Coho are in now and while the run is looking somewhat below average, fishing can still be worthwhile. Hopefully with all this rain we've had in the last weeks there will be some nice fresh fish in the river.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Spent yesterday morning with a few hundred other wild fish advocates in the pissing rain, rallying with Alex Morton in hopes of sending a message to the Cohen Commission. Fish farms belong on land, period. It is absolutely ludicrous that DFO, the agency charged with sustaining BCs wild salmon resources in perpetuity has sold its soul to Norwegian Multinational Fish Farmers. Fish farms have wrought havoc on wild salmon populations by filling juvenile migration routes with parasitic sealice and disease from their million fish feedlots. In Chile, where disease destroyed the salmon farming industry the industry hit and run, leaving communities which had shifted resources and livelihoods in shambles. The same is happening in BC. The technology is in place to run profitable salmon farming operations on land, and some visionaries are already doing it. However for widespread adoption of land based farming it will take a legal mandate. The Cohen Commission hearings began this week and it is imperative that they demand full disclosure of salmon farm disease records which have until now been veiled in secrecy, hidden by DFO and salmon farming companies from the public eye.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Yesterday, while wasting time perusing fish related interweb materials I encountered a new blog. Written by Spencer Miles who is also, coincidentally the Nestucca/Tillamook Bay river steward for the Native Fish Society White Fish Can't Jump combines fishing reports and anectodes with a healthy dose of well informed conservation. As a bonus there are about a dozen photos worth of NorthCountry soul from this fall. See for yourself
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Just wanted to give a shout out to my labmate and buddy Brendan Connors for a couple of scientific papers he published recently that have been making noise in popular media. Brendan and his collaborators document a new mechanism by which sea lice transfer between pink salmon and their coho predators. Sea lice loading on coho appears to have had an extremely detrimental effect on productivity of coho stocks over the last 20 odd years and hopefully this will add ammunition to the tidal wave of work already coming down on the salmon feedlot industry. Get that shit out of the ocean and on dry land where it belongs. Its always nice to see when a group of scientists has spines stiff enough to do great work and stand up to government and industry pressure.
Brendan is also a serious fish bum although hopefully his work on behalf of wild fish pays off with some good fish juju. Cheers buddy.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
As a poor, dirtbag of a steelhead bum I tend to abuse my gear pretty hard. Of all the gear though, it seems waders bear the brunt of this abuse most intensely. Obviously they are going to have a limited lifespan, but I have a hard time getting a pair to last a single season. For the last three years I've been wearing Bailey's waders and they've held up reasonably well. One pair lasted an entire year, the next came delaminated after a few months, but the company made good on the warranty and sent me a brand new pair. Well that pair is finally near the end of its natural life so last month in preparation for the Northcountry trip I went looking for a new pair.
Time was short and the shop I went into here in Van happened to be a Simms dealer so I thought I would give them a second chance. The first pair of simms I had didn't hold up as long as I would've liked, but I tend to attribute that to the fact of how hard I use them. Anyways, I dropped around $250 for a pair of freestones. Not simms top end wader, but the material felt pretty durable and I figured for 250 clams I would at least get something that kept me dry. Apparently I was mistaken. By my second day of fishing the seams on the right leg were already failing in three places and at the end of the day I was wringing out my socks. With subfreezing mornings the norm this time of year, leaky waders were definitely a bummer and I did my best to patch the leaks with aquaseal each night. By the fourth day of the trip both legs were getting leaky faster than I could keep up with the patching.
What the fuck? Tbone calls Simms Sieves and I can see his point. Has the company gotten so lost in its own marketing and bs that is lost sight of its made in the USA, high quality roots? Or maybe they just design their products for cheese dicks with a 6 figure salary who fish 10 times a year and prefer to cast standing in the front of a guides driftboat rather than walk and earn their fish? Either way, thats the last pair of Sieves I'll be buying. Now I'm stuck without a pair of good waders midfall, waiting on Simms warranty department to give me my money back. Worst of all, I'll only be getting store credit for my troubles and since they're an exclusive simms dealer I don't exactly have the greatest selection to choose from. I'll probably end up spending another 100 dollars to upgrade to an overpriced pair of "guide" waders just so I dont get wet another 5 days after getting the new pair. It all seems like such a waste. A brand new pair of breathable waders, sent back, presumably thrown in the garbage just because of the inferior workmanship and product design of a company which has seems the have more interest in full page adds in fish porn rags than in building a pair of waders that will keep a hardworking fishbum dry.
The only brightspot is that with all those leaks I've gotten pretty handy at patching waders and finding holes. I've been using a trick that Tbone showed me and its definitely the best way I've found yet for locating holes. Get a flashlight or headlamp, turn out the lights and slide the beam of light along the inside of the wader looking for thin spots or punctures. Its foolproof, quick and easy. Once the hole is found circle it with a premanent marker and apply aquaseal liberally.
Friday, October 1, 2010
After 5 days of shaking off the northcountry crust, working in the office and attending to non fishing responsibilities I'm going out of town again. Just a couple days this time, but the weather turned sweet just in time for the weekend. I'm headed south to meet up with the Teenwolf, back from medschool for a four day steelhead binge. I hear he'd already got a few, we'll have to see what we find. Fishing some new water to me so excitement and expectation is high, regardless of the outcome floating, drinking beer and trash talking with TW will be good. Last time I saw the big fella was in February on the Big River. Given the time of year and the robust run of fish we're having this fall the river should be pretty full of those aggressive little wild fish. This time of the year is always bittersweet, but its the best time to find a fish on the dryline. Better get it while its good.