Sunday, March 30, 2008

The recap of the day

Bryan procured 3 chukar and 3 cock pheasant for us to work with Grif.

We placed 1, on the first run. Bryan is dizzying it before we plant it for the dog.

11 month old Grif did great, he found 6 out of 6. One Chukar would not fly upon being flushed and Grif dispatched him himself. One pheasant was wounded with the shotand dropped and could not fly and Grif chased him for a quite a while. The last bird he locked on point and waited for us to get close for well over a minute before he flushed. He knows what bird hunting is now.

The meat bucket; a pile of pheasant and chukar in the dutch oven waiting about to get roasted.

Grif got birds

The prey

the prey

its a dog day

starting @ 6:30

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Fly Fishing In Yellowstone National Park

I guess I should have seen this earlier but the Fly Fishing in Yellowstone National Park blog linked us here, a first I think, and said some really nice things about HDW-Mobile, you can read it yourself.

Thanks for the kind words. I started hitting that site regularly planning for my family vacation a year ago - and it was a great resource for that, and is really fun.

Thanks - HDW

Friday, March 28, 2008

Milltown Dam Breached - Clark Fork Flows Free

From the Clark Fork Coalition

The Milltown cofferdam will be breached March 28th at 11:30 and the river will flow free for the first time in 100 years. The exact timing of the breach may change depending on conditions, and may take some time to fully occur. Click here for a map to the Milltown Bluff Overlook.

The camera is located on the north side of the confluence and aimed at the cofferdam. In preparation for the breach, an excavator will dig out a pilot channel that will direct river flow toward the cofferdam. To initiate the breach, they will raise the level of the reservoir and water will start to flow down this pilot channel toward the cofferdam. The remains of the cofferdam will wash away, and the combined flow of both rivers will flow into a temporary channel that's built where the powerhouse used to stand. The remainder of the dam (divider block, radial gate and spillway) will be demolished in late 2008 and early 2009.

Since March 21st, most of the flow of the Clark Fork is being diverted into a bypass channel (upstream of this image). The bypass routes the Clark Fork River around the contaminated sediments and prevents them from washing downstream. The river will remain in this channel until 2010, until all the contaminated sediments are removed and a new natural channel is built through the old reservoir area.

The Clark Fork Coalition is proud to host the Milltown Dam Cam. We’re grateful for partial funding from sponsors Envirocon, Montana Rail Link and Modern Machinery, but we need your help to continue to operate the camera over the life of the project.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Prairie River announcement from the Wisconsin Fly Fishing Forum -> attend the Spring Conservation Congress Hearings on April 14 and vote YES on question 36 so that the natural resources board considers putting this item back on their agenda for their April meeting.

As many of you are probably already aware, back in February the Natural Resources Board voted 5-2 against extending the emergency special regulations on the Prairie. I am sending you this e-mail for informational purposes so that you may educate and encourage friends, family etc to attend the Spring Conservation Congress Hearings on April 14 and vote YES on question 36 so that the natural resources board considers putting this item back on their agenda for their April meeting.

This data has been gathered from numerous sources who stated that it could be shared.

Note that you do not have to live in the state of WI to vote on advisory questions, but you must be present to vote.

If you have any questions on this, feel free to contact me.

A little history

Back in roughly 2000-2001 the Friends of the Prairie River submitted a resolution to the DNR Natural Resources Board to implement a special regulations section approximately 5 miles long on the Prairie River. This is a regulation that would require artificials lures only and require larger size limits and lower bag limits if you wanted to keep a trout.

In 2002 the resolution made it to the Spring Conservation Congress hearings to be voted on. The rule passed statewide and was implemented in the new trout regulations for 2003.

In 2005 local fisherman in the area learned about these special regulations and were unhappy that they couldn't fish with live bait in this 5 mile stretch of water and keep smaller trout. The Prairie is over 30 miles long and I counted 30 access points for fisherman along the river that do not have special regulations on them. There are only 6 access points in the current Cat. 5. water.

By 2006 these upset landowners collected a petition and sub-mitted their own resolution to the DNR Natural Resources to have the regulations removed and put back to category 5 water.

In 2007 their proposal to remove these special regulations was on the ballot at the Spring Hearings and it passed statewide to remove the regulations for 2008 fishing season.

A missing piece of the puzzle was left out of the question when it was presented at the 2007 spring hearings. The DNR had done shocking surveys on this special regulation water and the surveys showed an increase (over 100%) in both the size and numbers of brook trout present. Even with our current drought situation in Wisconsin this showed that the special regulations were working and should remain in place.

Also during this time frame the DNR stopped stocking brown trout in the river in 2003. This section of the river contains a lot of spring upwellings that are used as spawning and rearing habitat for a good part of the rest of the river. In essence, now that the stocking program has been eliminated, this stetch becomes "The Hatchery" or nursery, if you will, for the entire river system. That is why this stretch should be protected.

Now, after the fact early in 2008, one of the Natural Resources Board members proposed that these regulations should be brought back to the table and put into an emergency extension since the shocking/survey data (that wasn't presented a the 2007 hearings) proved they were working. Unfortunately after the NRB had their meeting on Feb. 27th, the board voted 5-2 not to grant the extension. One thing that did come out of the meeting is that there will be another question on the 2008 spring hearings on whether or not the regulation should be re-instated. If there are enough votes, then the NRB may consider re-instating the regulations.

A few key things to note

We are faced with this situation because of a lack of leadership at the DNR that resulted in this issue in the first place.

In 2007 the when the question was posed at the conservation congress hearings, the DNR did not provide results of the survey data. This may have made a difference in the statewide vote if this information was shared with the public. It is my contention that if the biological information had been made available at last year’s Spring hearings – and it was not - the results might very well have been different. But that is not even the point, because it would hardly be different from arguing that there is an analogous rationale for a vote by Wisconsin motorists on whether to remove the state’s highway speed limits. Or that we should increase the bag limit on deer because a majority of hunters want more venison. Democracy is a wonderful concept, but some decisions affecting the public ought not to be left to a public vote – especially when the science – even “preliminary data” science – shows that it is contrary to good public policy

Why is the missing information important? When presented as being only a social question an audience would conclude that the special regulations had not had a positive impact and would see no reason to continue the regulation. The biological information would be critical to letting the audience know that the special regulations did indeed have a very positive impact on the resource.

This is/was portrayed as a "social issue" and not a "biological issue". I don't like the idea of a social issues driving the regulations in our state. If that is the case, this is going to set precedence for other parts of our state as well if we let this go.

Given the fact that the regs increase numbers of large trout, they have biological and social consequences. I think that some people, when they see terms like "non-biological" and "social issue", tend to think that the regs won't change the fishing, but only cater to "those fly fishing catch and release purists types." I really wonder whether we'd be where we are today if the original question hadn't been so poorly worded.

The issues have been described as social rather than biological – in that the fish population in the Prairie is considered self-sustaining. Yet the evidence – whether it is considered a “scientific” study or simply an informational exercise – shows clearly that the regulations produced larger fish and more fish in the area where the rules were in force. Further, the Board was not well served by the some of the DNR staff members who seemed relatively unfamiliar with many of the issues.

The DNR needs to stop listening to those that yell the loudest and take a stand on whats best for the resource and manage accordingly.The Board’s action, pending the results on the same question on the 2008 spring questionnaire, appears to be short-sighted in at least one regard - that the future of the fish in the Prairie River may be decided, not by what’s best for the resource, but what is most publicly popular.

Given the fact that many different user groups are competing for the same resource, as a state we have more than enough water available to provide different varied outdoor opportunities for everyone. The five miles of special regulations on the Prairie river should be a shining example of all the users willing to try a variety of management practices resulting in opportunities ranging from the possibility of a higher density of trophy fish on the five miles of special regulations water, to the opportunity on the remaining 30+ mile's of fishable water on the Prairie to catch a meal for the table and the opportunity for the entire water shed to experience these larger and more plentiful fish as they migrate throughout the system.

We also need to hold the DNR to its job of supporting whats best for the resource. It wouldn't hurt to remind the DNR of its Mission Statement. "To Protect and Enhance our Natural Resources" .... and to provide "a full range of outdoor opportunities".

The Natural Resources Board has, as its first responsibility, to consider the effect of the measures it passes, or declines to pass, on the resource, - in this case, the fish in the river.

We need to impress upon the Department that the fishery has the potential of going down like other streams in this area. Twenty years ago, the Wolf, Peshtigo, Popple, and even Montreal were streams of note. The fishery on these streams has been lost. The Pine and border Brule appear to be on a similar course. The Prairie was hanging on, but it just lost a valuable layer of protection. While angling pressure isn't the only problem facing these streams, the Department failed to address their decline. Even as these waters faced multiple threats, the Department allowed liberal harvest on them. The DNR has jumped fast on addressing VHS. To ensure enough walleye for all users, it is rare to find a water body where a daily limit can be harvested. The inconvenience of reading a trout regulation is nothing compared to having to jump lakes for 5 walleyes. DNR also doesn't follow a one size fits all in managing muskies and actively advocates for them in hearings - even rejecting th!
e "Little Johnny" argument. The same individuals will not advocate for cold water. We should support the measures taken to protect the warm and cool water fisheries, but we need to impress upon DNR that attention needs to be given to cold water fisheries because they too are threatened.

One of DNR's favorite buzz words is "partnerships". Groups such as TU, Friends of the Prairie River, Brule River Sportsman's Club, Kinni Land Trust, etc. provide manpower and funding to the DNR. Partnerships is a one way street. Conservation minded anglers buy licenses and trout stamps, too. The "takers" never give back. It is about time the DNR acknowledges its partners.

As lame as the "what about the kids" argument is, it is emotional and needs to be removed from the discussion.

The Congress needs to understand that fisheries management is not a popularity contest. Leadership of the Congress needs to get the word out among its membership to defer to science.

A small group of individuals had influenced the DNR to put this social question on the ballot, and other similar vocal individuals and groups want to influence rule makings to eliminate all category 5 trout waters in the state. This is a movement we all need to be aware of and take notice. The next group may organize to assault the size and slot limits that have been created on other species (that you fish) and that have resulted in quality fishing in Wisconsin.

Don’t buy into the argument that this water is for elitist fly fishers. There is no fly-fishing only regulations that applying to any trout waters in the state. All it takes to fish a special regs. water is a spinning gear outfit. The artificial lures restriction does not prevent kids from fishing. In fact most of them probably already have a spinning rod.

Category 5 regulations were formulated to provide a greater diversity of angling experiences, especially opportunities to fish populations of wild trout that have a natural size and age distribution unaltered by harvest. Such opportunities are the kind anglers might expect in remote destinations far from home. Now anglers in Wisconsin can experience that kind of fishing near home. Those kind of opportunities should not be canceled out on the few waters that are now designated as Category 5.

Science gives us the opportunity to measure the impacts of regulations and determine whether the goal of a regulation is being accomplished: Do we want larger fish in a stream, or do we want to be able to catch and keep them as soon as they reach eight inches? We survey walleyes, panfish, muskies, bass and sturgeon to determine impacts of angler harvest and other factors. Why shouldn’t we treat trout management in the same way?

So Now What?

I think it is imperative that as many people as possible show up and vote on this question in April so it doesn't fall off the radar screen. According to the NRB board Brief of Action, one of the board members stated that if the Prairie River question is passed during the 2008 hearings then this item would return to the April 22-23 2008 Natural resources board agenda. I think we need this issue to stay on the agenda instead of trying to get it back on the agenda as an item in 2009 or 2010. It may be harder to re-visit this if we let it go.

One thing to remember, this vote is not just about the Prairie River, it concerns all special regulation streams throughout the state. There are a number of other groups that are waiting to see what happens with this vote and you can be assured that if we lose this vote, many other special regulated streams will be at risk.

A “yes” vote on Question #36 would ask the Natural Resources Board to reinstate the regulation. While this question is specific to just one river, a resounding “yes” is a vote for science-based management of fish resources throughout the state.

Informational Links on this Issue (Article Page 3) (Reference Page 31-32)

Any questions? Feel free to contact me.

Written by Joe Krznarich

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A little more information

The Prarie River regulations are not about caatch and release. They are about creating a section of the river where more, and larger trout can be caught and kept. This apparently offends some people. The idea of catching more, and larger trout. There are some statistics that it might be working:

It takes a while to grow large wild trout in northern streams. IT appears that the regulations are having a fairly dramatic effect in this one 5 mile stretch on a 42 mile trout stream.

I could, of course, understand that there is a problem with this, if there was no where else to fish for trout without using artificial lures and flies. The map below is the immediate area around the regulated water. The regulated water is depicted in red. Bait can be used in all of the water marked, blue, green and yellow.

It might be worthwhile to go back and read Mr, Aments comments in the column below.The regulation on that five mile stretch is hurting the kids.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Prairie River redux

"Seven members of the public testified, with Rich Ament, of Wausau, saying that local fisherman told the DNR fish manager four years ago that the special rule was hurting kids, land owners, and bait fisherman."

A tip of the hat to JoeKrz of Merrill for this one.

The Heritage Strain

From the New Jersey Star Ledger

An old trout finds new life in Jersey waters

Friday, March 21, 2008
Star-Ledger Staff

Something akin to a modern dinosaur is lurking in a few of New Jersey's backwoods creeks.

The brightly speckled and bluish brook trout living in at least 11 northern tributaries and streams are direct descendants of the "brookies" that splashed around after glaciers receded from the region 12,000 years ago, a seven-year study released yesterday has confirmed.

Called "heritage trout" because they are genetically linked to the first and only trout native to New Jersey waters, legislators honored the brook trout by naming it New Jersey's state fish in 1992. But the ancestral or heritage brookies were thought to have died out at the end of the 19th century, after hundreds of years of stream degradation that followed European settlement of the region.

"It's nice to be able to toot our horn a little that, not only do we have wild trout in New Jersey, but we also have populations that have been here a long time," said Principal Fisheries Biologist Patricia Hamilton of the state Division of Fish and Wildlife, who spearheaded the research.

"They may just have been a heartier fish," she said of how a few pockets of the "heritage trout" survived.

Volunteers, interns and one federal scientist helped in the genetic collection and analysis Hamilton conducted, largely in her spare time since 2000. She uncovered heritage trout populations in 11 tributaries, streams and creeks in two major river basins -- the Passaic-Hackensack and the Raritan.

Located mainly in Morris, Passaic and Bergen counties, and touching on Sussex and Hunterdon counties, the creeks and streams are largely at the headwater areas of the river basins where development has been scattered, and not as intense as in other areas. Some are remote sections of creeks commonly known among trout fishermen, such as Flanders Brook, Hacklebarney Brook and Havemeyer Brook.

Another "doesn't really have a name. I refer to it as south of Hoffman Tributary to the South Branch of the Raritan River. It's so small, it doesn't have an official name," Hamilton said.

The importance of the find ripples beyond New Jersey.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports that heritage brookies, genetically distinct in different areas, are declining in their original range from the Arctic Circle to Georgia and west to the Mississippi River. In 2004, the Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture was formed when 50 state and federal wildlife agencies, including New Jersey, joined private organizations and academic groups to outline efforts to preserve the heritage brookies.

Beyond conservation, the importance of the brook trout as an environmental indicator cannot be underestimated. The fish requires high-quality fresh water to survive. Where they are found is a good indicator of quality water.

When they are not found, trouble may exist -- and New Jersey did not realize it had any heritage trout left until now.

"It's fairly significant in a place like New Jersey," Hamilton said.

Heritage trout had to overcome not only development and pollution, but also a well-meaning, yet lethal re-introduction program. In 1879, New Jersey authorities tried to replenish its streams with farm-raised brook trout that carried a DNA strain from wild New Hampshire trout.

Non-native brown trout and rainbow trout soon followed, as the focus of stocking turned to feed the recreational fishing demands. There also was the "Johnny Appleseed" effect -- people privately stocking trout.

Those stocked species successfully spawned their own wild populations over the decades, and reproducing populations of browns, rainbows and brookies can be found in more than 964 miles -- or about 5 percent -- of New Jersey's 17,835 miles of streams and creeks. Biologists estimate that 120 creeks and streams carry wild brook trout -- and it was in 2000 that Hamilton set out to see if heritage trout were still swimming in any of them.

"It is absolutely astonishing to find that we have brookies placed here eons ago by the hand of God, not just trout stocked by men from stocking trucks," said Agust Gudmundsson of the New Jersey Council of Trout Unlimited, an environmental organization.

"I couldn't have dreamed that something like this was possible after the pounding we gave this state for hundreds of years. I have historic postcards of this area from the 1800s, and there wasn't a tree in sight. This is amazing," he added.

Brian Murray may be reached at

Sunday, March 23, 2008

March 22 trout & PB Shelley

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown

And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.

And on the pedestal these words appear:

`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:

Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!'

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,

The lone and level sands stretch far away.

OZYMANDIAS -Percy Bysshe Shelley 1817

Started the day at 22 degrees, coullee hopped, three valleys and three creeks.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Banner Update

Time for a little house cleaning. Spruce things up now that the fly fishing season has started in Wisconsin.


Story From the Duluth News Tribune
Image from Northland News
Federal wildlife officials consider listing coaster brook trout as endangered

Duluth News Tribune

Published Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service today announced it is considering placing the beleaguered coaster brook trout on the federal endangered species list.

Agency officials said a petition by conservation groups to list the trout has merit, and that the agency now will closely evaluate the status of the fish that’s found only in the Great Lakes and their tributaries.

The Sierra Club’s Michigan Chapter and the Huron Mountain Club sued the government to force the issue. Under a settlement, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now has until Dec. 15 to make a final decision whether to list the fish as endangered.

A federal listing could place new restrictions on harvesting brook trout in and near Lake Superior and may affect some human activities near the trout’s traditional spawning areas. And it could attract additional federal funding to help recover the population.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

First trout 2008 -

and on a dry fly no less ...





first trout of 2008 | #20 griffiths - 6 inches or so

second trout of 2008 | another smallish one but bigger than the first

noon switched to cdc bwo's

4pm ended up the day dragging legged leeches

Saturday, March 15, 2008

! day trip !

heading up for a first visit of the year to some spring creeks NW of here. I'm going to start out where I finished the year last year.

Maybe there'll be some fish pics tomorrow.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

More from the land of the rising sun

It appears the Japanese have been expending their vast creative energies on more than creating a robotic humanoid woman.

They also have invented the robotic capr.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Saturday, March 8, 2008

$9 Million too much ?

Fish spotted using $9 million fish ladder
Published on Sunday, February 03, 2008
By staff reports

An underwater camera snapped a photo last week of what biologists believe is the first steelhead trout of the year to pass through a fish ladder on the Ventura River.

The first of two fish was spotted swimming upstream on Thursday, through the $9.5 million fish ladder built to allow fish to go around the Robles Diversion, which sends water to Lake Casitas.

Though steelhead and rainbow trout are hard to differentiate, biologists think this was an endangered steelhead that came from the ocean because of its large eye size and its 21-inch length.

"This is exciting news," said Casitas Fisheries Biologist Scott Lewis.

A day later, a 25-inch fish also thought to be a steelhead was seen swimming upstream through the ladder.

After last year's dry weather, when no fish were seen swimming upstream, officials are hoping many more steelhead will swim up from the ocean and into the upper reaches of the Ventura River.


I say think of it this way. Calculating costs in dollars, is so 1999. WE should costs things in a new metric, lets use the IrawqMonth as the new monetary standard. At $12 Billion a month in Iraq, this fish ladder built for an extinct run of fish, is less that 1/1000 of an IrawqMonth. Not so bad.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ted Williams on Trout

When Environmentalists Turn Against Nature

From the March 2008 Audubon:

Fish are every bit as beautiful and colorful as birds, but few environmentalists ever see them because few are anglers. For instance, when you log on to the website of the Adirondack Council you hear the vocalization of a common loon -- the symbol of wilderness. The council sees and hears loons, but it doesn’t see or hear the brook trout that sustain loons and that are also symbols of wilderness. Wild brook trout in the Adirondacks have declined by roughly 97 percent. Today only about three percent of the park’s brook-trout habitat still sustains brook trout, and the figure would be only 0.5 percent had not the state used rotenone to reclaim ponds infested with alien fish. But the council, which chooses not to learn about rotenone, has basically blocked its use in park wilderness.

Other vanishing icons of American wilderness include westslope and Rio Grande cutthroat trout and Gila trout. But a group called Wilderness Watch, which doesn’t see them as such or see them at all, is perfectly willing to sacrifice these beautiful creatures by blocking use of rotenone and the equally safe and even shorter-lived organic piscicide, antimycin. “Poison has no place in wilderness stewardship,” proclaims Wilderness Watch. But fish and plant poisons are essential to wilderness management. Without them all hope of restoring native ecosystems takes wing. According to Wilderness Watch, restoration of imperiled salmonids is only about sport: “The purpose [of Gila trout restoration] is to remove stocked trout and replace them with the listed Gila trout, in an effort to boost the population to a level that will allow delisting and resumed sport fishing of the species.” That’s like saying that the recovery program for the California condor is only about birdwatching.

--Ted Williams

“Something’s Fishy: An Angler Looks at Our Distressed Gamefish and Their Waters -- and How We Can Preserve Both”

From Fly rod and reel