Saturday, August 15, 2009

Obama Fly Fishes for Trout

From Today's AP:

Obama makes good on Montana fly-fishing promise

BELGRADE, Mont. — President Barack Obama didn't let thunderstorms and unseasonably cool weather stop him from learning how to fish for Montana's famous trout during his weekend trip to the rustic West and its national parks.

"He insisted that fishermen fish in the rain, so he said, `Let's do it,'" fishing guide Dan Vermillion said. "The weather was really horrendous. We were all real cold at the end of the day."

The president took 2 1/2 hours after his health care town hall near Bozeman on Friday to make good on a campaign promise to learn fly fishing when he revisits the state. His guide said the commander in chief has become a serious student of the sport.

"I found him to be a real good listener. He really wanted to learn about the whole experience of fly fishing," said Vermillion, who runs the Sweetwater Fly Shop in Livingston.

Obama reported practicing the difficult-to-master mechanics of fly casting on retreats at Camp David, Vermillion said.

It paid off. The president did well for a first-timer by hooking half a dozen fish in an area mixed with brown and rainbow trout, but he didn't land any during the afternoon getaway on the East Gallatin River, his guide said.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Another lost Salmon run

From Singlebarbed...

Mark Hume

Vancouver From Thursday's Globe and Mail

The Fraser River is experiencing one of the biggest salmon disasters in recent history with more than nine million sockeye vanishing.

Aboriginal fish racks are empty, commercial boats worth millions of dollars are tied to the docks and sport anglers are being told to release any sockeye they catch while fishing for still healthy runs of Chinook.

Between 10.6 million and 13 million sockeye were expected to return to the Fraser this summer. But the official count is now just 1.7 million, according to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

Where the nine to 11 million missing fish went remains a mystery.

“It's beyond a crisis with these latest numbers,” said Ernie Crey, fisheries adviser to the Sto:lo tribes on the Fraser. “What it means is that a lot of impoverished natives are going to be without salmon. … We have families with little or no income that were depending on these fish. … It's a catastrophe,” he said.

read the rest ....

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Obama Administration Okays Major Mountaintop Removal Coal Project

Let's chalk this up to being a better candidate than an elected official.
This will destroy miles of trout streams.

From Environment360

e360 digest

12 Aug 2009: Obama Administration Okays
Major Mountaintop Removal Coal Project

After vowing to crack down on the controversial practice of leveling the tops of Appalachian mountains to get at the coal seams below, the Obama administration has quietly approved a major mountaintop removal project in West Virginia. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved the issuance of a Clean Water Act permit for CONSOL Energy’s Peg Fork Surface Mine, an 817-acre project that would permanently bury nearly three miles of Appalachian streams in mining debris. The Peg Fork mine was one of six mountaintop removal projects that Obama’s EPA initially said it opposed because “they all would result in significant adverse impacts to high-value streams.” Environmental groups criticized the administration for failing to carry through on its pledge to crack down on mountaintop removal, with a Sierra Club official expressing disappointment that the EPA failed to “adopt new regulations or policies that would end this destructive practice.” Mountaintop removal mines in Appalachia have destroyed more than 1,500 square miles of forests and buried more than 800 miles of streams in debris.

The North Pacific Gyre

Great Pacific Garbage Patch

All the information you would ever need about how our plastic trash is polluting the oceans.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What will the Obama conservation record look like ?



Salmon Test

Published: August 11, 2009

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration must notify a federal court next month whether it will do what is necessary to save endangered salmon in the Pacific Northwest. The decision will tell us a lot about how the administration sees its obligations under the Endangered Species Act. The Bush team evaded its responsibilities with amazing acts of legal casuistry.

A dozen salmon species in the Columbia River Basin have been declared endangered or threatened — their spawning grounds destroyed by logging and commercial development, and their route to the sea made more arduous by a gauntlet of hydroelectric dams.

Over the years, the Bonneville Power Administration, which runs the dams, and other agencies have unblocked spawning streams and increased water flows over the dams to help young fish reach the sea. But that has not been enough to restore what scientists regard as sustainable fish runs. And it has not been enough for James Redden, a federal district judge in Oregon who has become the salmon’s most reliable defender.

Since 2003, Judge Redden has rejected two recovery plans devised in the Clinton and Bush administrations. Both promised further habitat restoration and further modifications in dam operations. Neither, in the judge’s view, did enough to ensure the fish’s long-term survival. And while the Endangered Species Act requires that every effort be made to ensure the recovery of a species, the Bush plan promised little more than allowing the fish to go extinct at a slower rate.

Judge Redden was about to toss a second Bush plan earlier this year on some of the same grounds when the Obama administration asked for time to review it. The judge said fine, while warning that he could not accept any revision that adopted the Bush administration’s misinterpretation of the law.

Significantly, he also said that any new plan should leave all recovery options on the table, including the idea of breaching four dams on the lower Snake River. We have long recommended such a course, which many scientists see as the surest means of restoring the fish.

The judge has now given the administration 30 days to get this right. The official who will ultimately make the decision is Gary Locke, the secretary of commerce and former governor of Washington. We would be surprised if he recommended immediate breaching. Ways must be found to replace the power that the dams generate, which amounts to 4 percent of the region’s total. But he has to do better than his predecessors, otherwise Judge Redden could well place the operations of the hyrdroelectric system under court order and devise a plan of his own.

This means that at the very least Mr. Locke must reject the Bush plan, promise to devise a new one in close consultation with regional interests and keep dam removal on the table as very real backup if all else fails.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

While Fishing, find fossils ....

Fishing 12-year-old nets Ice Age bone in Embarras River

From the Herald & Review. Com

Monday, July 27, 2009 6:34 AM CDT
By TONY REID - H&R Staff Writer

GREENUP - Josh Brandenburg went angling for a mammoth catfish and came back with a big bit of mammoth instead.

The platter-size circular bone he fished out of the Embarras River is now setting off some elephantine ripples in the scientific community. Experts from the Illinois State Museum in Springfield say the size of the bone means it belonged to one of the biggest mammoths on record from Ice Age Illinois.

The bone also has some "chatter marks" on it, which suggest it was gnawed on by a big meat-eater or maybe even hungry prehistoric humans who had just nailed the mother of all pot roasts.

Either way, Josh's find is something special. The bone is anywhere from 13,000 to 24,000 years old and came from, most likely, a woolly mammoth or another mammoth type, the mammuthus Jeffersonii, which is named for Thomas Jefferson, a major prehistoric critter fan.

Read the rest...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Seeing Spots

So I packed up the car last Friday night on a bit of an spur of the minute escape. Got everything packed, a little food, tent, fly rods, six pack of beer, and almost packed everything, except I left some of my fly boxes. In fact, all I ended up with were softhackles and streamers. July 18, 19, 2009.

Since I had no dries I just fished right through that coral dun hatch with softhackles. I think every rising fish I saw took the softhackle.

The last fish picture was a trout of about 15 inches. I was fishing in a car sized hole, a bit of a rock ledged drop around it with a nice riffle pouring in. The bottom was filled in with a beaver willow cache. I had already taken about half a dozen smaller fish off the surface with a Soft Hackle on the return & saw a bigger trout strike at one on the retrieve. So I put an enormous streamer on - one that came from an unknown streamer swap, conehead with eyes, and large green articulated rabbit body, about 3 or 4 inches long. Soaked it, cast it in and on the strip had a log like trout hit it take it down into the brush pile and get off. Next cast in, a smaller fish - a brook trout hit is , larger than the one pictured jumped and flipped the fly. Third cast the pictured fish took it an I landed him. This was all in a spring creek hole about the size of me car, with a riffle pouring in.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Police spear Zander Fish

Monster fish killed after terrorising Swiss swimmers

GENEVA (AFP) — Police divers have ended the reign of terror of a huge fish that was attacking swimmers in a Swiss lake.

The zander, which was 70 centimetres (two feet three inches) long and weighed eight kilos (17.5 pounds), was harpooned on Sunday after it bit six swimmers over the weekend, fish warden Fabio Croci told local media.

Two swimmers were treated in hospital for bite wounds up to 10 centimetres (four inches) long after being attacked on Lac Majeur, which borders Italy, he added.

Police divers at first tried to capture the carnivorous fish with a net, but when this failed they pursued the zander with a harpoon and managed to kill it.

The meat from the captured fish was served up to tourists at the lake.

"It is quite unusual for zanders to bite humans", Croci said, adding he suspected the fish was suffering from a hormonal imbalance which could be responsible for its aggression.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Jim Lee column: Rainy fishing trip finds ray of sunshine

This story must have been written from a trip taken in May, as it hasn't rained much in the five weeks in the U.P. For those unfamiliar, it is not the wild unbroken wilderness people want it to be, and as this article attests, the natives are skilled at taking fish from the water with spinners, nightcrawlers and set lines. This is about the average experience up there though. Mostly few and smallish fish from the Escanaba watershed. The below is posted from the Green Bay Gazette.

ISHPEMING, Mich. — "All's well that ends well" ... so the saying goes.

"… if you can forget the misfortune it took to reach the finish," I might add, speaking from experience after a recent routine canoe trip got off to a rough start. Then things got rougher.

Bob LaFreniere and I had scheduled a trout fishing float down the Escanaba River in Michigan's rugged Upper Peninsula only to waken on the appointed day under soggy skies amid cool temperatures in the mid-50s.

"A little rain never hurt anybody," said LaFreniere, a native Yooper. "Grab your rainwear and let's get on the road."

Forty minutes later, our two-vehicle caravan pulled up to a backwoods bridge and dropped off Bob's pickup. Ten minutes and a roundabout six road miles later, we offloaded a 17-foot aluminum canoe at the designated starting point, a bridge about three water miles upstream.

Neither of us had experience with this segment of the river and had no idea what to expect, though we had heard trout fishing could be worthwhile at times.

The plan was to drift and paddle downstream to the truck, fishing and taking in scenery along the way.

No problem there. We managed to land a handful of brook trout, including a couple that broached the 10-inch mark, but the wilderness setting was too frequently interrupted by rustic cottages.

"These are all deer hunting cabins," LaFreniere assured. "The owners don't fish."

Some of them obviously had an interest in the water, however, as small docks emerged from several shorelines. A well-worn spinning rod sprouted from one of the appendages, the line still holding to a weed-encrusted bobber stuttering in the current.

The pulsating drizzle was an annoyance, not a hindrance, and the un-summerlike temperature coupled with a gusty wind removed the need for mosquito repellent.

Bob preferred fishing with nightcrawlers. I started fishing with worms, then switched to a spinner. Both rigs were effective.

A five-hour float brought us to the takeout point. When the canoe touched bottom, I made a move to exit. Veteran legs — after spending too much time in the cramped front seat — weren't up to the task.

My foot slipped on a rock. I tilted backward, lost balance and kersplunken ... I tipped the canoe.

After a few sobering seconds of soaking up river flow that eagerly ebbed over the top of my waders, I turned to find a somber Bob pinned in waist-deep water and contents of the canoe floating around him in disarray.

"You know my cell phone is shot," he quickly pointed out.

A dunking is death to a cell phone but considerably less hazardous to rods, reels, creels, boots, bait, clothing, cushions and lunch.

We gathered the drenched booty and hauled the canoe well on shore.

As Bob silently approached the waiting truck with a load of dripping gear, he slowly turned and said, "Do you want to know the rest? ... I left the keys to the truck in the Jeep back at the other landing."

There we stood, looking at one another — Glum and Glummer.

"Someone has to eventually drive by this landing," Bob finally said. "We'll ask them to bring us to the Jeep."

"This is a gravel and dirt road that doesn't go anywhere except to deer hunting camps," I pointed out. "It could be an hour or it could be days before someone comes along. You stay here and I'll start walking the road back out."

Approximately 45 minutes into a lumbering trek in semi-soggy waders, a rumbling pickup truck piloted by three young men stopped and offered to be my taxi. I eagerly clambered into the back of the truck bed, gingerly stepped around a pile of jagged, rusted, scrap metal and found a sprawling spare tire for a seat.

Heaven never looked so good.

After reconnecting with Bob, we made a beeline for Ishpeming, intending to replace the deep-sixed cell phone, which contained numbers vital to his business in Ohio.

No luck in Ishpeming. Ditto for nearby Negaunee. Finally, in Marquette, we located Bob's cell phone carrier — and an angel in the form of a customer service representative. With an ever-present smile, she patiently listened to our tale and helped Bob select a new phone — one with more features and a larger keypad than his defunct unit.

After processing the purchase, she beamed and said, "This is your lucky day. We're having a special sale on that model. After a mail-in rebate, it will cost you nothing."

Then she downloaded all information from computerized chips in the old phone into the new one. The major loss turned out to be three hours of phone service.

As we walked out the door, Bob was smiling again.

"You know," he said, "I never thought I'd be glad you dunked me."

Believe me, I just love a happy ending.

— Jim Lee is an outdoors writer for Gannett Wisconsin Media
. E-mail him at

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Two Weekends in June

Recent pics ...

Sun on the hill on the other side of coulee.

A river pic - that is bank work that is one year old.

No big fish, but lots of these small stream fish

We we're at the farm so there were chores to be done.

Grif had to be penned up separate and was not happy about it.

Three of the girls were in heat and it wasn't puppy time.

The orphaned calf had to be fed.

Tractors had to be ridden

Next day we fished a stream that had had 4 inches of rain a couple of days before.

Hot steamy and foggy.

This brown trout lip jewelry is a swap fly.