Friday, March 25, 2011

Carkeek Morning

Cool, cloudy and a bit windy, then the sun broke through to push the clouds away. Unfortunately, the fish were pretty much elsewhere. Shoulda been here yesterday as some fish were caught on a small green Clouser. Eric Olson has one fish on, I had one swirl on a popper and Steve got some casting practice.

Hey Kids

THE 2010 ACADEMY – Applications are now being accepted for the 2011 Northwest Youth Conservation and Fly Fishing Academy. To qualify for The Academy, the applicant, boy or girl, 12-16 years old, must edit an essay explaining why they want to attend the Academy and a letter of recommendation is required from their school counselor or science teacher. The dates for the WSCFFF and WCTU sponsored event are June 19-25, 2011. The Academy will be held at The Grinwood Conference Center on Hicks Lake in Lacey, WA. To learn more about the Academy, go to The application is available on our website or contact Mike Clancy @ Sponsorships are available. This is a life rewarding experience for our youth to learn conservation and the basics of fly fishing from dedicated volunteers. Mike Clancy, Co-Director, NWYCFFAcademy

My take: this is an outstanding program and a ton of fun for the kids and the volunteer instructors.

Senate Republicans Do It Again

Senate Republicans have again killed a bi-partisan bill to add modest acreage to the Alpine Lakes Wilderness.

New Use For Old Net

Now that a certain gift-giving and receiving day is near and there is a funny shaped package under the tree, you all must be wondering what to do with your old knotted landing net.

Trim the net away from the aluminum handle (recycle the metal). Buy a large carabiner and some anchor rope. Take all on your next boating outing. Fill the net with rocks, loop the net through the carabiner, attach the rope to the carabiner and you’ve got a portable anchor.

Big Trout

For those trout anglers willing to brave the cooling weather and water, three not-so-secret lakes are getting a dose of “jumbo” trout. WDFW is stocking Thurston County’s Black and Offutt lakes and Kitsap Lake in (ready for this) Kitsap County with 10,000 fish. If you want to narrow down the time frame, here’s a link to the stocking schedule.

War Dogs

Cry Havoc and let slip the dogs of war so sayeth the Bard. Little did he know he was describing my favorite Pacific salmon. However it’s clear that my favorite salmon is attracting much (some would say way too much) attention from the gillnetters and purse seiners.

Here’s an excerpt from an article I wrote for Fly Fusion

Commercial Pressure
Chum have historically been Washington’s most abundant naturally reproducing salmon with fish classed as summer (spawning September/October), fall (spawning November/December) and winter (spawning January/February) run fish. In Puget Sound, roughly 90% of the returning fish are fall run, though the summer and winter fish provide a nice biological mix. In years past the chum was the least desirable commercial salmon, but that has changed, at least in Washington’s Puget Sound with as yet known consequences to the fish stocks. According to an article in Pacific Fishing, “In Puget Sound, chum has become THE salmon fishing for many fisherman.”
The switch to chum is driven by market price. Five years ago Puget Sound commercial fishers were hard pressed to find buyers for any fish they caught. Now they get upwards of a $1.00 per pound from high-end retail buyers. Chum roe, the only valuable part of the fish a few years ago, fetched $10 to $12 a pound, double the price from 2007.

How much pressure are the commercials placing on the resource? In November 2008, there were almost 75 seiners and 200 gillnetters chasing chum throughout Puget Sound. Mother Nature can stress a fish population as well. December 2008 found the Puget Sound blanketed in record snowfall that flooded many river systems when melted by the Pineapple Express rains. The flood scour damage to redds will only be known when the 2009 age class return three to five years hence.

I’m generally a catch and release salmon fisher so bag limits typically mean nothing to me. However, I’m extremely concerned about the future of the fishery. Take a look at the 2010-11 regulations for the Skagit, Snohomish and Skykomish rivers. These historically are chum rivers. Take a look at the Chehalis system. Note that no chum may be retained by sports anglers.

Here’s a two-part suggestion. First, don’t bash WDFW–it doesn’t do any good and it wastes your energy. Second, express your concerns to WDFW in a positive, constructive manner, get involved in the citizens advisory groups, get educated about the North of Falcon process and hammer on your legislators about the disparity of value between a commercial caught fish and sports caught fish. Suggest to your legislator that the allocation of fish between the commercial and sports anglers must be reversed if only because it makes better economic sense