Apr 26

Suction Dredging and the rise of “The new 49’ers”

From a friend in Southern Oregon:

I wanted to give you a heads up on the 1872 mining law and The New 49ers. They have been flocking up here in droves placing mining claims up and down the South Umpqua River (Dredge and sluice mining. I’m in horror over it. Check out their website and weep. www.goldgold.com

I have been exerting all the energy I have to deal with this issue.
Currently there are 24 claims (and counting) in very sensitive coho and chinook habitat on the Upper South.

He’s referring to the South Umpqua, and sure enough, goldgold.com, home of “The New 49ers” is promoting a “New suction dredging opportunity on the South Umpqua.”

California placed a moratorium on suction dredge mining a while back, and the miners have been flocking up to Southern Oregon ever since, particularly the Rogue, Chetco, and South Umpqua.

Obviously the miner’s vehemently disagree, and I’m sure I’ll have vengeful comments before long.  

The phrase “suction dredging” sounds pretty nasty, and sure enough, it is.  Check out this video for more of a background on the process.  

Anyways, it’s time to band together and call on Oregon to follow in California’s footsteps, and banning suction dredging.  More on this to come…

Apr 23

Great NFS spot

Was played at the auction, up on Vimeo now.  Check it out.

Homewaters Require Vigilance from Native Fish Society on Vimeo.

Apr 11

Oppose the spring Chinook acclimation facility on the Molalla

The Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) is currently trying to push through a spring Chinook acclimation facility on the Molalla River.  The Molalla, a designated Wild & Scenic river which flows just 30 miles south of Portland, is home to an extremely endangered run of wild spring Chinook, as well as an endangered (albeit rebounding) run of wild winter steelhead.  

The Native Fish Society and Molalla River Alliance were successful in removing the winter steelhead hatchery program back in the 2000s, and wild steelhead have shown signs of recovery in the years since.

Now, an acclimation facility for spring Chinook is being pursued in the basin, in order to improve the number of hatchery Chinook that return to the river.  The plan is being sold under the guise of a restoration program, but in reality, is simply a way to increase harvest and “angler opportunity” for sport fisherman.  There is no evidence that an increased hatchery program will do anything to help restore these already imperiled fish, and on the contrary, there is a volume of evidence that it will do just the opposite.  One need look no further than the Sandy River to see just how badly wild spring Chinook are faring in the face of increased hatchery Chinook strays after the removal of Marmot dam.  Upwards of 90% of the spawning fish in the upper Sandy basin are of hatchery origin, and it’s imperative that we don’t let a similar thing take place in the Molalla.

How You Can Help

Take two minutes to fill out this form, calling on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to oppose the acclimation facility.

The deadline for action is April 17th, just a week from now.  Don’t procrastinate and forget, do it now, and add your voice to the growing chorus of folks who oppose hatchery programs and support wild fish.


Mar 23

Old Pfluegers

I’ve been on a Pflueger and Fenwick kick as of late, fishing nothing but glass and Medalists.  It’s a great setup, incredibly fun to fish, and best of all, dirt cheap.

Just picked up two amazing old Pfluegers, 1496s from before their patent was granted, and from before Pflueger moved to a drag system.  Spring and pawls, these.  Rolled off the Akron factory floor sometime right around when the market was crashing in 1929/1930.  And both of these combined cost less than a new, Korean made Hardy Marquis.  Oh how I love eBay.


Nov 29

Clean Water Act under attack

Good Op-Ed in the NYT this morning:

The American economy has performed well over the past four decades: real per capita income has doubled since 1970 and pollution is down even with 50 percent more people. The choice between a healthy environment and a healthy economy is a false one. They stand, or fall, together. We’ve been blessed in the United States with abundant water resources. But we also face daunting challenges that are putting new demands on those resources — continuing growth; the need for water for food, energy production and manufacturing; the push for biofuel crops; the threat of new contaminants; climate change and just maintaining and restoring our natural systems.

If we narrow our vision of the Clean Water Act, if we buy into the misguided notion that reducing protection of our waters will somehow ignite the economy, we will shortchange our health, environment and economy.

I don’t quite understand why the EPA is coming under so much attack this election cycle.  I get that some people find any and all regulation reprehensible, but if the government shouldn’t be the ones to regulate the environment, then who should?  Perhaps an independent commission of executives from BP, Exxon, et. al.?  Ya, that’s probably the right solution.

Nov 22

Temperature gauge on the Wilson

It’s always been a pet-peeve not having access to any realtime (or otherwise) water temperature data on the Oregon coast.  Sure, one can deduce from air temperature, but that only goes so far.

Well, watching the Wilson hitting floodstage today (it’s risen 7’ in the past 24 hours), I noticed that the gauge has been upgraded and now includes temperature, which is a balmy 47F right now.

Pretty handy, and a good barometer for the rest of the coast.

Oct 26

Watch Condit Dam removal live

Condit Dam, and century old fish passage barrier on Washington’s White Salmon River, is being removed today.  The blast event will be broadcast live on the interwebs, so if you like large explosions and dam removal, you should probably check ‘er out.

The dynamiting commences between 11am and noon, PST.


Oct 12

Sage Customer Service - Wow

Sage bowled me over with their excellent customer service this week.  I broke a 6126 ZAxis in BC last month, and sent it in a few weeks ago for repair.  Last Thursday it dawned on me that I’d be heading back up to BC in a week and still didn’t have my rod.  I called them up, Rebecca from their customer service department was able to find my rod in their receiving department (I had only sent it two weeks prior and they typically take 6-8 weeks), expedited the repair, and it was waiting on my stoop this afternoon - four business days later.

Impressive, doubly so in an era of ever-poorer customer service.

Oct 1

Call on BPA to reject the proposed Klickitat hatchery

Please take 2 minutes to send a letter off to BPA, calling on them to reject the new Klickitat hatchery being proposed in the “Klickitat Hatchery Complex DEIS.”

Sign the Petition!

The plan, as written, would seriously harm already fragile runs of wild summer and winter steelhead and spring Chinook.  

Public comment period ends on October 12th, so it’s imperative that you get your comments in now.  Don’t procrastinate, take two minutes and help protect the native fish in this beautiful river.

Sep 23

Avenue of the Giants

There are a select few places in this world where all the right ingredients come together to grow truly giant lifeforms - The Redwoods of Northern California, Sequoias of the Southern Sierra, and Humans of Houston, TX, to name a few.  The Kispiox River in Northern BC is another such place, and grows a super-race of steelhead unlike any other in the world.

At first glance, the Kispiox doesn’t look particularly out of the ordinary, a medium sized stream with beautiful swinging runs, somewhat similar to that of the lower Trask.  But as you dig a little deeper, you quickly come to realize that the Kispiox is no ordinary river, and its fish are, simply put, extraordinary.

We began our first day on the Kispiox like every other day in BC, in the wee hours of 11:30am.  Within ten minutes, we were floating by Harry Lemire and watching him release a fish that he’d just taken on a single hand rod and a dry line.  The Kispiox is that kind of magical place.

We’d planned on fishing Tungsten tips, as that had been the ticket the previous days on the Bulkley, but Mr. Lemire’s feat told us otherwise.  Fast forward seven hours of dry lines, Type-3s, and no fish…  Ken and I are swinging through upper Potato Patch on opposite sides of the river, Ken with the bright idea to go back to T-11 and myself still stuck on my “Fish will move for the Type-3!!!” mentality.

Within minutes, Ken is into a fish.  I put on a Type-6, and keep swinging.  Ken loses the fish, and a few minutes later is into another.  Same flies, same run, different tips, and I’m getting hosed.  I stubbornly continue to swing my Type-6 until Ken hooks his THIRD fish in less than 20 minutes.  I rig up 10’ of T-14, go back up to the top of the run where I’d already fished, and about 10 casts later you can guess what happens.

So it went on the Kispiox for three days.  Big flies, heavy tips, and the most jawdroppingly large and beautiful sea-run rainbows I’ve ever seen.

Four days later, leaving Smithers on our way back to the US of A, Ken looks at us and says “We’re in the middle of making a huge mistake.”

"What, eating at Dairy Queen?"

"No, leaving this place!!!"

We both get a glimmer of madness in our eyes, bust out the iPhone calendar, and decide to head back up in 4 weeks.  See you soon, BC.  

39.5”. On a 6126. Good Times.

More pics after the jump…

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