- Oct 15, 2013
Bob Margulis of the Wild Steelhead Coalition just passed along a note from someone that I thought might be of interest to those in the anadromous world regarding steelhead in the Columbia Basin in particular the Yakima River region:
The 6,000 steelhead returning to the Yakima has to be put into the perspective that most of the present production is coming out of Satus Creek and Toppenish Creek. There remains an immense amount of fine habitat in the Yakima outside those two streams. The Naches River alone should be having returns of over 6,000 steelhead, Satus and Toppenish each 2,000 and the upper mainstem Yakima and many of its tributaries such as Big Creek, Cabin Creek, Teanaway River, and many others should have at least another 6,000-10,000 … even under present conditions. Given the good passage conditions in the Columbia in recent years and the good overall ocean conditions, the Yakima should be having wild steelhead returns of 15,000-20,000.
During the early to mid 1980s when the then NW Power Planning Council (now NW Power and Conservation Council) began to have discussions about making the Yakima the poster child for Columbia Basin recovery, it was estimated that the Yakima Basin was second only to the Snake Basin in numbers of returning salmon and steelhead. It was estimated that it’s historic returns were 600,000 combined total with 100,000 of those being steelhead.
However, our present work on the Columbia using amount of available gravel as found in the 1930s to estimate salmon returns suggest that there was sufficient gravel available for about 1.5-2 million spring Chinook alone in the Yakima basin … and that was the most conservative estimate. If we had used what is a more probable redd area per spawning pair of Chinook it would have been more on the order of 3-5 million. We have not completed our mathematical runs per gravel available for all the species, but the Yakima had large runs of coho, steelhead, fall Chinook, and sockeye — the latter having 3 large lakes available (Kachess, Keechelus, and Cle Elum) and one smaller lake (Bumping). In 1916 there was a count made of the number of salmonid juveniles killed in one irrigation field watering of some 200 acres near Yakima. From that count expanded to the total irrigation acreage at the time, it was computed that about 4.5 million outmigrating smolts were being killed with each watering in the Yakima basin. Subsequently in the 1920s it was better determined how many waterings occurred per year and the final estimate was that some 20 million outmigrating salmonids were annually killed via diversion onto irrigation fields where they died. This did not include how many juveniles were killed in the irrigation canals each year when annually dewatered each fall. It was only a count of those that went out onto the fields being irrigated when diverted from the canals. This was long after the sockeye runs had already been wiped out in the very early 1900s by construction of dams at the outlets of each of the lakes already mentioned that had no passage systems. And salmon runs overall were known to have severely declined in the Columbia basin from 1883 onward. By the 1916-1920 period of time salmon numbers (adult and juvenile) were a fraction of that when Lewis and Clark Expedition occurred.
Just for a couple comparative examples, Osoyoos Lake on the upper Okanagan this year will have a run-size of wild sockeye of about 450,000 (515,000+ have thus far passed Bonneville most of which are destined there). That is only one lake and Osoyoos is still in recent process of recovery. Lake Quinault historically had an estimated wild sockeye run-size of one million as late as 1941 (tribal harvest of 500,000 that year). Obviously, the NWPPC Yakima basin estimate back in the 1980s was a lowball estimate at 600,000 total salmon and steelhead along with the historic estimate of 100,000 steelhead. I do not have a present estimate we will eventually have for historic Yakima steelhead based on spawning gravel, but I can guarantee it will be well above 100,000. The Yakima is an immense basin and steelhead historically used nearly all of it.
For instance, we estimated that the Snohomish basin in 1895 had steelhead runs of about 160,000 and the Nooksack 140,000 or more (Skagit about 105,000 and Stillaguamish about 75,000). None of the Puget Sound rivers had the available basin area the Yakima historically had, and no Puget Sound river had the productivity of the Yakima. The Clearwater River of Idaho had a count of 46,000 steelhead past Lewiston Dam in the early 1960s (before any hatchery program there) and that was after many were harvested in lower Columbia commercial and sport fisheries as well as in Snake River sport fisheries prior to Clearwater River entry (this was after The Dalles Dam inundated Celilo Falls in 1957 and tribal fisheries had yet shifted to gill netting as the former dip net fishery was eliminated). Again, the Yakima basin size is larger than the Clearwater and greater productivity per mile of available stream.
- Aug 09, 2013
So by now I have done my fair amount of travel to various locales around the world, many actually. Probably the one thing I see most commonly is new anglers to the travel world over or under pack for such trips and much of the time, the outfitter, booking agent or host has not done their duty informing them of what, what not and how to pack for such trips as well as traveling in general.
As host, I take a good deal of the burden of the success of the trip on my shoulders. I know I don’t necessarily have to but at the same time I know if I want my clients/friends to trust me and travel with me again, it is imperative that I go the extra mile and I love nothing more than when I have planned for the unexpected and can shoot the issue down immediately because I was prepared.
The climate in which you are heading bears different criteria for packing than others so in this post, we are going to focus on tropical or peak of summer travel. My goals are to be just under the 50lbs (40lbs if necessitated by the airline) for checked bags and then maximize what I can in carry on. I tend to carry a ton of camera gear so this very important to me.
TIP #1 When traveling in a group, spread the carry-on responsibility amongst the group. In other words, if you are going to carry on all fly rods and reels, put everyone’s reels in one bag (or 2 if necessary) as this holds up a tight security line by one 1 person rather than everyone. For rods, a dedicated rod tube that can house 8+ rods ( I have one that holds 16) does the same thing and allows for other gear to be more easily dealt with such as camera gear or medical supplies.
1. 1 Patagonia bag – 90 liter Black Hole duffel, perfectly fits 4 piece rod tubes and tripods lengthwise in bottom
2. 1 tripod – A graphite tripod will scrub a couple pounds as well.
3. 1 very compact rain jacket, no pockets, something that can wad up into a ball.
4. 2 pairs sun gloves – 1 to use, 1 to give lend out, replace first pair if lost or ripped, use to allow other pair to dry
5. 2 sun buffs – Same as with sun gloves, typically forgotten by clients or not deemed necessary until after day 1!
6. 2 hats – Same as with sun gloves and buffs, also I like a couple different hats for photographs, distinguishes different days a bit better
7. 2 pairs quick-dry pants – Once wet, they usually do not dry overnight, some tear
8. 2 sun hood shirts – Additional coverage from sun, helps overlap, feel very comfortable in humid weather, more freedom to cast
9. 2 short sleeve/quick dry shirts – Lodge attire, undergarment for sun hood shirts
10 1 pair Marlwalker boot – This is important, some locations have very rough, coral bottoms, Hawaii, Honduras, portions of Christmas and neoprene boots do not offer rigid enough protection from this, slip off a piece into a whole or have a chunk break off and land your ankle against it and then there are sea urchins which will penetrate the sole of most soft booties.
11. 3 fly rods – If possible, switch rods into graphite tubes instead of aluminum ones. Use as the base or bottom of the bag.
12. 2 fly reels – Can sometimes be in same carry on as rods. I never keep them loose, always in another bag within the bag with other things so they can’t just disappear when being checked.
13. 2 sunscreens – Put inside boots inside a plastic bag, pressure squeezed out of them.
13a. Bug repellent – This can vary depending on location. OFF worked great in Bolivia, not so well in India. Skin So Soft or Ultrathon would be great supplements. With this, a bug net for your head is not a bad idea either.
14. 2 two way radios – Nice to be able to communicate (sometimes not too) with a partner on the flats from a distance, especially if something comes up and guide is with fishing partner.
15. 1 headlamp – Sometimes the walk from lodge to cabana is in the dark, potentially staying out late on purpose or accident on the water, night fishing…reason’s can go on!
16. 2 extra fly lines – Some places are rough on lines, don’t expect lodges to have extras laying around, some do and that is great but don’t leave the fate of your (or your friends or clients) trip in their hands, too easy to pack.
17. Talcum Powder – Gold Bond or baby powder, whatever, just bring some as it can really assist in not getting cracked or rotten feet, plus just overall chaffing of pants.
17a. Vaseline – Go ahead and laugh but this stuff can make painful situations better.
18. First Aid Kit – Here again, don’t expect everyplace to live like typical western civilizations, they just don’t. Bring an assortment of bandaids, anti bacterial salves and wipes
19. 1 roll athletic tape – Stripping fingers can get messed up in a hurry, this is your savior. Have a friend or client who hasn’t done this much, have this and you are a trip saver!
20. Carabiner – Use to hold waterproof camera case, water bottle, fly box, tippet spools or whatever, nothing worse than wading deep and having your fly box leave your pocket without permission
21. Fly box – I bring one (sometimes 2) large ones stuffed with flies then have a small one to carry all day. If worried about running out, give some to your guide as at times, the boat may leave you for a long period of time so just keeping this on the boat doesn’t do you much good.
22. Multi tool – I don’t necessarily see the point in carrying hemos, nippers, pliers and other tools if one can do it all, I think that is why these were invented. Some are “multipliers” which means they amplify the energy you are putting into them, great for cutting large things when necessary like large hooks stuck in fingers and such. Also look for anodized ones, others will rust before your trip is finished.
23. 1 roll duct tape – Water tight a bandage, help make a splint, hold a reel to a rod…you name it, I don’t go anywhere without a roll.
24. Super glue – Just like duct tape, seal an open wound, fix a rod or reel seat, fix a fly for just long enough to get back to the boat…
25. Reel lube – Obvious…or at least I hope.
26. Sharpie pen – Make adjustments on flies, label different cups, mark bad lines or whatever, just have one.
27. Personal items – This is important, will make another post on this later, more than just YOUR personal items.
28. Velcro Straps – Use these with some athletic tape and your can sure a breaking wrist on friend or client to help make their casting THAT much better. Shirt sleeves work to but not if they are wearing short sleeves. I am not kidding on this, may be an embarrassment to some for a spell but when they see how much better they deal with wind, are more accurate and can toss their fly farther, they’ll wear it.
29. 2-3 sunglasses – Someone is going to break, lose or not bring a pair and this sometimes isn’t known until well past the last location of where to buy an emergency pair. Again a simple easy item to pack that can save a trip.
30. Solar charger – I carry a ton of electronic stuff on me and have had issues where there wasn’t the ability to plug anything in. This included, cell phones, camera battery chargers, laptops, satellite phones, camera flashes, diabetes pumps…again, the list can go on and some of these are serious for some people. Good solar chargers won’t necessarily charge fast but sometimes you just need a little juice and they certainly provide that.
30a. Batteries and chargers – Make sure you have chargers for electronics as well as converters. A great way past this these days is having a multi plug to USB converter as many items can charge from computers or other devices. Rechargeable batteries keep from having to pack a heavy and cumbersome 36 pack of AA or AAA batteries.
31. Not pictured – Undershorts, nobody wants to see mine but they end up in the bag…usually! Camera, mine goes in my carry-on, more on that later as well.
Now this is just what I pack, each person can find their own way down this road. I like to compartmentalize similar items to keep track while on the trip, keeps me sane. Other items I have packed before for certain trips would be:
1. Co2 PFD (life jacket) – When in blue water or crossing it, don’t count on small pangas in some areas to have anything.
2. Snacks – In some locations, local cultures don’t eat much so therefore don’t pack much for you. Energy bars pack and travel well, do well in the sun and allow you to enjoy your trip that much more rather than bonking halfway down 11 mile flat or 5 miles up a Bolivian river where you now have to hike back.
3. Steri-pen – I have begun bringing this as I have run out of water on trips before where you are sweating it out faster than you can drink it. Eating fruit helps and in some of those places, it is a toss up on which is worse, dehydration or the water you are wading in.
4. Water bottle – I like a vacuumed or 2 layer bottle to help keep water cold, can double as a liquor import bottle as well for getting favorite libation to your destination.
As a general rule, I always ask everyone on the trip to divulge the following to me as a host and none of this needs to be shared with anyone else unless necessitated by a dire situation:
1. Day job – What do they do…obviously a doctor is a huge benefit on trips, simply their knowledge and presence makes me feel better.
2. Medical issues – Know if someone is allergic to bee stings, heart issues, diabetes, nuts, fruit, latex, whatever so you can help make sure nothing ends up with them that may cause an issue.
3. Eating habits – So as host if someone needs two sandwiches you can make that happen or as mentioned above, food allergies.
4. Level of experience – So many in this sport embellish their level of experience and then when on the trip make up excuses. Be quietly attentive to this and spend some time before the trip if possible going over the basics and last resort, going over casting while at the destination with them.
5. Language – If in a foreign country and English is rough, spend time to make cheat cards for clients/friends so they can communicate the basics to their guide if you are not with them…bathroom, thank you, please, water, hungry, hot, tired, help, fly, fish, distance, direction (left or right), boat…you should get the picture. These little things make a world of difference in the guide and clients life and actually help in bonding the creating a more enjoyable experience for your clients/friends.
6. Binoculars – Never can tell, from spotting birds and fish, to helping locate the boat/guide/fishing partner. A waterproof pair never a bad idea.
7. More of everything – If space warrants, I bring more rods of different actions, more lines, backing, flies, snacks, money, medicine and whatever so that as I said in the beginning, nearly anything that comes up I can cover it.
OK, that should be enough for now. In Part 2 I will cover the basics for a spring/winter/fall trip with opposing weather and what goes into the differences in equipment and considerations. Part 3 I will go over carry-on bags and some ideas and cautions there then in Part 4 I will cover the more personal side as far as medications and will bring in a well traveled doctor and client to weigh in on the “what to bring” list. Let us know if you ever have any questions, we are happy to answer them for you and on our new website we will have PDF links to our suggested travel lists as well to use as a checklist.
Happy and safe traveling…fishing too!
- Mar 17, 2013
The opportunity arose for taking a few days, mid week to excuse myself from society and all of its attachments by venturing off the grid on the Oregon coast in search of wild steelhead on a small, very difficult stream to access. I had been introduced to this little gem via a now good friend Conrad Gowell who had been courting me for a visit for a number of years, well the time had come. “This is not your average walk and wade trip or even hike in access steelhead trip. Quarters are tight and the only real trails are made by the likes of elk and bear and at best are broken into barely discernible fragments, can you handle that?” asked Conrad and of course the answer was “Yes!”, you can always bail if it gets too tough right?
I asked good friend Rob Masonis to join me on this little adventure as some of the history of this stream might be of interest to him as V.P. of Western Conservation for Trout Unlimited and Conrad knows the history of this place better than just about anyone. So we left Seattle at 5am watching with a critical eye as the weather pattern for the region was calling for some heavy rainfall. As it turned out, the rain landed squarely on the O.P. but left less than a trace where we were headed so water was low and clear…not ideal but better than the alternative. 6+ hours later we arrive at our meeting point with Conrad, unpack, gear up and head out for the river.
Within a few minutes we are on the water and this place is stunning…giant old growth forest carpeted with thick super green moss and little or no evidence of any human presence at all…and it is all ours.
As a life long steelhead angler who only enjoys swinging, small water like this presents new challenges and often times a fork in the road for many. This would easily be nymphable water but with some thought on what, how and where swinging is completely possible…certainly more of a challenge but worth the effort in my book, it is always worth that effort. Small water like this forces one to become a better fly angler by micro analyzing how to manage all facets of your presentation and approach and naturally engages your mind to a level of escapism from everything but the task at hand. My issue here is that I am also toting around about 60lbs of camera gear for the sake of documentation…fly rod or camera, fly rod or camera…
About a mile downstream we enter a tight gorge which requires a “hike” up and around to access some of the middle water. Well this ends up being more of a crawl, uphill breaking trail through Salmonberry, fern and the soft decay of the forest and as I periodically stop to watch and laugh at Rob (or myself more likely). I realize I am not the super human I once was and Conrad I am pretty sure is part elk or some other 4 legged animal that has evolved to ascend such terrain with ease making it evident that getting old sucks. Fingers full of thorns we reach the top and walk and spine to our point descent…keep in mind, what goes up must come down and this presents a whole new challenge.
This goes on for most of the day, one steelhead seen(spooked) and with daylight barely lingering we begin to escape up and out. We get to an old forest service road right about dark, exhausted and out of water with a 3 mile hike back to the starting point and as we walk and talk, we come to a sign that says 1 mile to…Rob and I both about fall over as it seems we have been walking for miles already. Once back at camp, Conrad confirms out assertion that we likely rose nearly 1000 vertical in about a quarter mile…on no trail! Legs burning we eat, enjoy some malted spirits and hit the sack exhausted, hoping to be up for the challenge again tomorrow!
Waking up, I have a much clearer picture of how to pack and what to bring for the day, more water, steri-pen, 3 flies instead of a huge box and have Conrad carry the underwater camera gear for me! That makes things much easier which turns out to be a big help on day 2 with some precarious situations ahead. No fresh rain over-night, Legs feel good, hearty breakfast and a drive to the lower river where we fish a mere 3 miles from the Pacific. Today begins with a serious hike down and in, no easy entry today and after the bushwhack of yesterday, hoping my Patty waders held up and be better than mesh today…amazingly, zero leaks, wahoo!!!
Again…incredible! Giant boulders make even stream-side transit a challenge and as I watch Conrad and Rob fish I take in all the other goodies that come from being deep in the wilderness. Fairly fresh cat prints and scat, signs of elk everywhere, a lizard Conrad has never seen and tis the “season” for the salamanders, hundreds mating in every little bit of still water they can find and as I watch, I think of how my daughter would be happy to waste an entire day in a 20 square yard section of where we are…that thought stays close for the rest of the day and will for life.
We move out of the 5th gorge and into a more open stretch and voila…3 chrome, almost opaque steelhead hanging behind a rock. Conrad turns one on his 3 cast which seems to put them off as they proceed to ignore our presence and our flies for the next hour as we trade off turns fishing and watching!
We end the day with an elk sighting, amazingly the one and only considering all the tracks around, a few sea run cutthroat to hand and just to remind us, a long and arduous hike out. All told, we likely hiked, crawled, scrambled, scaled, waded and slid a good 15 miles or more in 2 days over some rigorous terrain…all for a few cutthroat and the sight of 5 steelhead. Was it worth it, would we do it again, fish or no fish? No question…absolutely! Henry Van Dyke puts it perfectly:
- Jan 29, 2013
Wow, if you haven’t seen this yet, you should probably sit down for it. It will never cease to amaze us how this “story” of consuming native steelhead manages to make itself present in mainstream media. We are obviously still entrenched in a battle of information and sourcing correct data to those who can spread it because at some point we are simply headed to a place where all we will be able to do is talk about “what once was our state fish of Washington”….before they were decimated by poor fishery management led by poor data. Read and weep as they make 4000 fish seem like a million.
- Jan 18, 2013
How many times have you been caught daydreaming by a fish? Maybe you were lost in the rhythm of cast, step, swing when a steelhead grabbed your fly and you pulled it right back out of the fish’s mouth, or perhaps you were casually mending your line upstream when a big, hungry rainbow decided to make a meal of your elk hair caddis. Chances are, most fishermen have had these types of experiences, and more often than we would like to admit! It is easy to zone out and enjoy the ride when the fishing is good, but to catch fish under difficult circumstances is a challenge that requires concentration and focus. Some might call it “zen”. I like to think of it as being in the moment.
Living in the moment is a concept familiar to most of us, but practiced by few. Counter to the cultural stereotype, it is not the same thing as going skydiving or quitting your job and spending your life savings on a backpacking trip through Argentina. I’m talking about being aware in the present. In yoga we practice this by taking our body through a series of postures and breathing exercises that by design require us to be focused on what is happening in the moment. A true student of yoga strives to bring this same level of focus into every day life. Humans are creatures of habit, and our natural tendency is to fall into an almost autonomous pattern of living. We give into our desires, we nurture our fears, we worry about the future and dwell on things in the past that we can’t change. In short, we live a lot of our lives in a sort of robotic trance that prevents us from achieving our full potential and it is very difficult for most of us to take a step back and ask ourselves if this is actually how we want to go through life.
The more I practice yoga, the more similarities I see between yoga and fly fishing. In their highest forms they are both moving meditations. They are arts that require patience, practice and discipline to perfect. Each can be what you want it to be, and what an individual gets out of practicing either depends completely upon what they put into it.
These days, when someone achieves the level of expertise in the fly fishing world that lends them the esteem of other anglers, they are often described as being “fishy”. While I’m not trying to take away from anyone’s abilities or talents with the long rod, I would argue that there is no mystery behind how one person can catch so many fish while another might struggle under similar circumstances. These guys don’t have mystical powers. They aren’t blessed by the fish gods and as far as I know there is not a human on this earth who has figured out how to whisper to fish. What are these guys doing that other people aren’t? They are being present while they fish. They have learned to pay attention to the environment around them while focusing on technique, allowing them take advantage of subtle opportunities that only present themselves to those who are aware.
Now before I start to sound like I’m galloping around on a white horse, let me just mention that I am not always 100 percent on my game, in fishing or in life. Make no mistake, being present is not easy. It takes practice, persistence and a ton of mental energy. I will say that some of my best fishing experiences have come from trying to be more conscious on the water, and that bringing this practice into my every day life has made me happier and more productive.
What are you doing while you are on the river and your fly is drifting along a likely seam? Are you watching it intently and waiting for any sign of movement around the periphery, mending when required to make sure it drifts as naturally as possible? Are you thinking about the fifty seven new e-mails in your inbox? Are you wondering why your fishing partner always gets so lucky? Ask yourself what your intention is. Maybe you are just trying to get out of the house. Maybe fishing is just an excuse for you to get together and kick back with your buddies. I’m sure regardless of the motivation, you wouldn’t mind catching a fish or you would probably be golfing. You don’t have to be a yogi to understand that the guys who catch all the fish are the ones who pay attention to the present and focus on what is going on around them.
In my opinion, swinging flies for steelhead is the perfect paradigm to demonstrate the principle of being present while fishing. Too many steelhead fly anglers spend their days on the river just going through the motions of cast, swing, step, repeat. It is said that the best steelhead anglers are constantly adjusting their position, their cast and presentation to suit the subtle variances in the river. A good piece of steelhead water is rarely uniform. Most runs have multiple current seams, depth changes, boulders or other obstructions and variable water speeds. Logically, it would make sense for an angler to account for several factors such as the distance and angle of the cast, the size of the mend, the speed of the swing, the position in the water, the number of steps taken between presentations, and the fly itself among other things. This is a lot to keep in mind, I know, but with practice it becomes second nature. Sure it is much easier to step into the water waist deep and start blasting your line across the river in automatic steelhead mode, slipping into a daydream while you wait for that big pull, but will you be ready when that pull comes? Is your fly even in productive fishing water, and is it getting down to where the fish are at the right speed? These are questions you will only be able to answer if you are focused, alert and above all present.
You don’t need to practice yoga or meditation to master this principle. Fishing is the perfect place to begin your practice. Next time you are on the river give it a try. I guarantee it will improve your experience, and hopefully transcend into your every day life.
- Jan 10, 2013
What you do at work when you are bored depends on a myriad of criteria: where you head is, what your passion is, what did or didn’t happen last night, what is coming up in the next week or two and so on…the list is long! Well when you pretend everything revolves around a two handed fly rod, your favorite dance is the swing and your partner is always a native fish named Mykiss, this is one possible tangent your mind might travel down on a lack-luster day at work, from Ted McDermott:
From this data:
I did some math. Check out the attached spreadsheet for details and river specific data, but here is the overall analysis: This was fun.
Based on Data from 12/1/12 to 1/6/13 on the Major OP Rivers for all fishing styles:
Steelhead caught per hour: .0805
Native steeelhead Caught per hour: .0167
Hours spent on each steelhead: 12.42
Hours per Native steelhead: 59.95
Steelhead per fisherman: .3917
Native steelhead per fisherman: .0812
Would love to compare this to other watersheds during the same time (Puget Sound!!??) and also different times of year on the OP and see what we come up with. The analysis doesn’t take into account weather, so take the data with a grain of salt.
Either way you can use this to casually tell clients that steelhead fishing is hard. Now you have the numbers to prove it.”
Doubt most the catch were from swinging steelheaders so if that is your zen…these numbers might look really good to you. Either way, steelhead fishing is hard, and we love it!
- Dec 18, 2012
Historic protection for BC’s Sacred Headwaters Announced
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – 18 DECEMBER 2012
Contact – Melyssa Rubino, email@example.com, 604-331-6201, ext 227
Historic protection for BC’s Sacred Headwaters Announced: Major victory in campaign that puts local communities over corporate profit
Coalbed methane development to be permanently banned from headwaters of major salmon rivers VANCOUVER – The B.C. government announced today that Shell would be withdrawing its plans to develop coalbed methane in the Klappan-Groundhog tenure area in northwest British Columbia. The government will also not issue oil and gas tenures in the area in the future.
“Eight years ago, northern B.C. communities joined together to say ‘no’ to coalbed methane and ‘yes’ to wild salmon,” said Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition executive director Shannon McPhail. “Today is an incredible day for residents of the Skeena, Nass, and Stikine watersheds. We are grateful and proud that First Nations and communities from the watersheds came and stood together. The B.C. government and Shell deserve recognition for listening to these communities and making a decision that will protect salmon cultures and livelihoods.”
This region, better known as the Sacred Headwaters, became the source of controversy in 2004, when Shell drilled three test wells in the area. Blockades and public rallies across the northwest ensued in 2005 and 2006, resulting in the arrest of Tahltan elders. International protests were also held at Royal Dutch Shell headquarters in The Hague. Due to opposition, the Province imposed a moratorium on coalbed methane development in the area in 2008, which was set to expire on December 18.
“Shell has backed away from a project only a handful of times. The powerful, relentless movement led by the courageous Tahltan and supported by nearly 100,000 people from around the world has not only stopped Shell, but persuaded the BC government to permanently protect the region from any further gas development,” said ForestEthics Advocacy senior conservation campaigner Karen Tam Wu. “It’s an inspiring day when communities in northern B.C. can stand up to one of the largest oil companies in the world and win. Congratulations to the Tahltan, and to the citizens and government of British Columbia.”
Highlights of the campaign to protect the Sacred Headwaters include: – International attention on the conflict by generating nearly 100,000 signatures from around the world – Several international actions in the Netherlands – Meeting directly with Shell Canada President – High level government relations – The first ever swim of the entire length of Skeena River.
The Sacred Headwaters is located in northwest British Columbia, about 600 kilometres north of Terrace, B.C. The region is home to a diversity of wildlife, such as grizzly bears, caribou and moose. Shell’s plans would have seen thousands of gas wells and thousands of kilometres of roads built at the headwaters of the Skeena, Nass, and Stikine rivers—three of B.C.’s top salmon-producing rivers. The headwaters were listed on the Outdoor Recreation Council’s Most Endangered Rivers list for the past three years.
ForestEthics Advocacy and Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition would like to thank Clean Energy Canada at Tides Canada for its work to create this solution for the Sacred Headwaters, and for their work building support for a vision of a low-carbon Canadian energy economy.
ForestEthics Advocacy is a non-profit society devoted to public engagement, outreach and environmental advocacy – including political advocacy. We secure large-scale protection of endangered forests and wild places and transform environmentally destructive resource- extraction industries.
Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition is a non-profit society focused on cultivating a sustainable economy rooted in culture and a thriving wild salmon ecosystem. As residents of the region, we advocate for community-based decision-making regarding large industrial projects.
- Dec 09, 2012
View the numbers of the report here.
PORTLAND, Ore. – The Fish and Wildlife Commission today approved a new management framework for Columbia River fisheries that includes more salmon for the sport fishery, a gradual shift of commercial gillnets to enhanced off-channel areas and development of new commercial selective gears for the mainstem. The Commission also set new barbless hook requirements for sport anglers beginning in 2013.
The adoption of the new management framework is the culmination of several months work by a two-state workgroup comprised of members of the Oregon and Washington Commissions, advisors and staff.
“We are very grateful for the time and effort of our Commissioners, our sport and commercial advisors, our colleagues in Washington and our staff in developing a new framework for Columbia River fisheries in a very challenging environment,” said Roy Elicker, ODFW director.
“The challenge going forward will be to implement this plan to the benefit of both the sport and commercial fishing industries,” he added.
Sport share of mainstem salmon harvest to increase
Both sport and commercial fisheries are constrained by the allocation of wild fish they can catch. The plan approved by the Commission generally shifts more allocation to the sport fishery.
Increased production in off-channel areas
Commercial gillnets will gradually be moved from the mainstem of the lower Columbia River to off-channel select areas. To balance the loss of mainstem fish to the commercial fleet, the number of hatchery fish in the off-channel areas will be increased. An additional 1,000,000 spring chinook, 920,000 coho, and 500,000 select area bright fall chinook smolts will be released each year during the transition period, with additional increases in future years.
The plan also would allow for some continued commercial fishing in the mainstem, particularly to harvest excess hatchery fish. In addition, the plan would allow commercial fishing in the mainstem using more selective gear such as seine nets. The commercial efficacy of alternative gear will be tested during pilot fall salmon fisheries in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
Barbless hooks, new Columbia River endorsement required for sport anglers
The Commission declined to delay the barbless hook requirement on the Columbia River and selected tributaries. Therefore, beginning in 2013, barbless hooks will be required in the mainstem Columbia River up to the OR/WA border and some lower tributaries.
For 2013 the following tributaries will be restricted to barbless hooks:
Youngs River from Hwy 101 bridge upstream to markers at confluence with Klaskanine River.
Lewis and Clark River from Hwy 101 bridge upstream to Alternate Hwy 101 bridge.
Walluski River from confluence with Youngs River upstream to Hwy 201 bridge.
Gnat Creek from railroad bridge upstream to Aldrich Point Road.
Knappa/Blind Slough select areas.
Willamette River mainstem below Willamette Falls, includes the Multnomah Channel and Gilbert River.
Lower Clackamas River upstream to Hwy 99E bridge.
- Oct 30, 2012
Burke Museum, Wild Steelhead Coalition partner to raise awareness of “The Magnificent Steelhead”
Museum exhibit, reception and art sale support wild steelhead in the Pacific Northwest.
SEATTLE – Anglers know it as the “fish of a thousand casts.” Washingtonians know it as their state fish, symbolizing the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. And through November 15th, the steelhead will be celebrated in an exhibit at the University of Washington’s Burke Museum to raise awareness and support for this iconic, and threatened, fish.
Titled “The Magnificent Steelhead,” the display will culminate with a reception and art sale on November 8, with all proceeds benefiting the Wild Steelhead Coalition, an organization dedicated to increasing the return of wild steelhead to the rivers and streams of the Pacific Northwest.
Works in the Burke exhibit include photographs printed on canvas, as well as mixed media pieces from individuals in the angling community, including Andy Anderson, Jeff Bright, Keith Douglas, Brian Huskey, Brian O’Keefe, Jonathan Marquardt, Dave McCoy, Ken Moorish, Tim Pask, Steve Perih, Mike Savlen, and Bob White.
Visitors can also learn more about steelhead, as well as conservation efforts being taken by the Wild Steelhead Coalition to support the species through hatchery reform, scientific research and policy changes on behalf of wild fish.
The event runs from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. and includes hors d’oeuvres from the Steelhead Diner and beverages from Precept Wine.
Burke Museum Exhibit Reception & Sale: A Benefit for the Wild Steelhead Coalition
November 8, 2012 | 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. | Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture
On the UW Campus – 17th Ave NE & NE 45th St