Archive for the ‘The Good’ Category

No PebbleIs it worth the risk?  Hell NO!  In some places you just have to say NO.  Look at what just happened in Japan.  A quake like that will happen again and it could easily happen in the zone of the proposed Pebble Mine project.  You would have to be living in a cave not to know about Pebble Mine and most likely, you have seen this Red Gold trailer.  Its worth a look again so the cause is not forgotten.  These Pebble Folks will hang around for a long long time, because they have lots and lots of money invested and plenty more to use.  There is actually some hope right now that  positive choices will be made, but our voices must continue to be heard.

Save Bristol Bay

Excerpts from TUs most recent Press Release…

“The EPA has the tools to protect Bristol Bay, where more than 40 million salmon migrated last year,” said Paul Greenberg, an author and recreational fisherman. “This is one of our last remaining watersheds for healthy, wild salmon. Even trace amounts of toxic metals from mine waste can interfere with salmon’s ability to navigate and spawn, endangering their survival and the future of this fishery.”

There are now tens of thousands of individuals and thousands of organizations and businesses who represent Alaska Natives, anglers, outdoor equipment manufacturers, commercial fishermen, jewelers, chefs, restaurant owners and people of faith who are asking for the federal agency to protect Bristol Bay from Pebble Mine.

The EPA took the first step toward protecting the Bristol Bay watershed in southwest Alaska on Feb. 7, when the agency announced plans to initiate a scientific study of the Bristol Bay watershed to better understand how future large-scale development projects could affect Bristol Bay’s water quality, fisheries, and communities.

“We are confident that after the science and other public input are considered, the EPA and the Obama Administration will join Alaska Natives, commercial and sport fishermen, chefs, restaurant owners, and outdoor enthusiasts to protect Bristol Bay, its fisheries, resources and jobs,” said former Alaska State Senate President Rick Halford.

TU makes it really easy to Take Action, so please do.

Take Action: Alaska Residents // Save Bristol Bay


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Sustainable Fishing

Healthy Water, Healthy Fish, Careful Release...Sustainable

What does sustainable fishing mean to me?

My goal as an angler and a guide is to interact with the fish and the habitat that supports them in a manner that does not adversely impact either one.  Some impacts are inevitable, but as long as they are minor in nature, understood, and within levels that the fishery and environment can recover from, they can be reasonable.

What fishing practices do I engage in that help fisheries?

I’m not certain whether I chose to be a fishing guide or that guiding chose me, but after several years, I transitioned from an all styles guide to a fly fishing only focus.  While arguable, though born out from my personal experiences, fly fishers tend to be more concerned about the environment they fish within and the fish themselves.  As a guide, I noticed that my impacts on the fishery in the Kenai River were considerably less on fly fishing trips then on trips with a salmon harvest focus and any means (gear/bait) tactics.  I strongly believe in catch and release for resident wild fish and selective harvest of salmon from sustainable fisheries only.  Some years, run strengths my dictate self imposed restrictions beyond allowable limits.  Choosing not to take the largest fish for food from within a population is also a personal choice that can be beneficial to the fishery.

As a guide, I view educating anglers as a huge component to the fishing trip experience. Guiding should go beyond catching and learning to catch fish. Helping our clients to understand the ecosystem, our impacts while fishing and outside threats and concerns to the fishery and habitat are paramount to sustaining our future on the water.

Other thoughts on this subject

Most of us have homewater or possibly several locations where we spend the majority of our time fishing.  Take some ownership.  Learn it.  Find out about the history of your water and how it is today vs. the past.  Is it getting better or worse?  Can you help?  Join a local fishing club or start one with a focus on issues facing your homewater.  Join a national organization that focuses attention on your homewater.  Help, protect, defend and sustain it!

As anglers, it is imperative that we each develop our own code of ethics with a focus on Green Fishing practices.  It is imperative that we take responsibility for sustaining the habitats and the health of the fish we pursue.  It is imperative that we help educate new anglers and show them wonders that fishing can provide.  Sustainable fishing needs sustainable anglers.

Support businesses that support fish.


GreenFish has three primary goals:

1) Improve our fisheries and marine environments

2) Promote responsible and sustainable fishing techniques such as catch & release

3) Promote and protect the sport of recreational fishing for future generations to enjoy

“This blog entry is my submission for the GreenFish and Outdoor Blogger Network Writing Prompt Giveaway”

Fishing and conservation are dependent on one another.  GreenFish offers a fine outline to follow and I’d happily sport any of their apparel.  Good luck and fish on!



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“Imagine a world where all the kids wanted to grow up to be fishing heroes.” Despite what we often see on popular waters today, fishing license sales are declining.  This is scary when one considers that we as anglers are one of the last lines of defense for the wildlands and rivers we cherish.  I would like to challenge all anglers to introduce a youngster to the sport.  As a guide, I have been fortunate to take families fishing and pass the angling bug on to the next generation.  It’s very special when I get the chance to take a three generation trip and I don’t take the situation lightly.  Inevitably, the trip is first and foremost, focused on the grandson/son and one fish can make three faces light up.  How special is that?

My first fishing hero was Jake Moelk on Boulder Lake in Northern Wisconsin.  He had an arsenal of the coolest steel rods and Pflueger reels spooled with black Dacron musky line.  He was on the water during the glory days of Wisconsin musky fishing and he took me out several times (at the request of my dad I’m sure).  Also living nearby was Joe Bucher.  I used to bike past his house on the way to Northern Highlands Sport Shop.  His boat was seldom home.  At the shop, Jim Ashland entertained a young boy who handled every rod and lure in the store on an almost daily basis during the summers.  I went on my first and only guided trip for many years with musky guide Dick Gries, a buddy of Joe’s.  These men had a profound impact on my life and future.

Tonight, our fly fishing club in Great Falls, MT is getting a presentation from some students involved in the North Middle School Fishing Cub.  How awesome is that?  Here is a link to an article in our newsletter by Pat Volkmar.  Check it out.

Fishing Heroes“You heroes out there know who you are.  We whom you taught to fish, want to say a great big Thank You!

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This information is no surprise to those of us who live to fish and fish to live.  The Kenai River Sportfishing Association has numbers about fishery $ values on on the Kenai River and Cook Inlet that echo much the same.  I don’t like to think of sportfishing as an industry, but from an economic standpoint we are and we need to start wielding more clout!

Trout Unlimited

Southeast Alaska’s Salmon and Trout Fisheries Contribute Nearly $1 Billion Annually to Regional EconomyStudy Finds Combined Value of Commercial, Sport, Subsistence and Hatchery Fisheries Tops $986 Million and Accounts for More than 10 Percent of Jobs

(Juneau, Alaska) – A new study commissioned by Trout Unlimited Alaska finds that Southeast Alaska’s healthy salmon and trout populations pump nearly $1 billion into the local economy every year and account for more than one in ten jobs.

This is the first study that takes a combined look at the economic value of all four sectors of the region’s salmonid fisheries – commercial, sport, subsistence/personal use and hatchery production. Previous studies have looked at each of the sectors separately.

“The study shows the healthy and abundant salmon and trout populations of Southeast Alaska are a huge driver of the regional economy. The reason we have such rich and sustainable fisheries is careful harvest management as well as a lack of the dams, pollution, and agricultural and urban development that have decimated so many runs in the Lower 48,” said Tim Bristol, director of Trout Unlimited Alaska.

Southeast fishermen and regulators agree.

“I hope this study helps to raise awareness of the critical importance of coldwater fish to the economy, ecology and identity of this region.  I think we as Southeast Alaskans sometimes take salmon for granted—and yet it’s literally the lifeblood of our communities,” said Linda Behnken, a Sitka-based commercial longliner/troller and executive director of Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association.

Although past timber harvesting has degraded fish habitat in some Southeast Alaska watersheds, Southeast still supports a disproportionately high share of the wild stocks of trout and salmon remaining in the Pacific Northwest. Limiting habitat degradation, restoring impacted streams and riparian areas and minimizing the negative impacts of climate change will be key to continuing Southeast Alaska’s salmon success story.

“As someone who worked in the timber industry 35 years ago, I welcome the chance to be involved with efforts to restore impacted high-value, fish-producing watersheds.  Especially given the economic and environmental importance of salmon to the communities within the Tongass National Forest, I’d also like to see some intact watersheds safeguarded from future development that could negatively affect the productivity of these areas,” said Steve Reifenstuhl, general manager of Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association.

The study, conducted by economist Thomas Wegge of TCW Economics, used 2007 as a snapshot year. Wegge determined that Southeast Alaska’s salmon and trout populations contribute nearly $1 billion to the region’s economy by calculating the economic values and impacts of Tongass fisheries. Use values measure the monetary importance of these fisheries to those who participate in them. Economic impacts, on the other hand, measure the contribution the fisheries make to economic activity within a region, as measured in terms of jobs and personal income. An input-output model developed by Wegge’s colleagues for the Southeast Alaska economy specifically allowed Wegge to estimate how fishery economic activity multiplies as it ripples through the regional economy.

The following are some of the study’s highlights:

  • · $986.1 million:  estimated annual total economic output generated by commercial, sport, subsistence and hatchery production of salmon and trout in Southeast Alaska, as purchases made in each sector ripple through the regional economy

  • · $466.1 million:  estimated annual value of salmon and trout to people who fish them commercially, for recreation and for subsistence and personal use

  • · 7,282:  estimated number of full or part-time jobs sustained by the four fishing sectors

  • · 10.8 %:  approximate portion of regional employment that stems from salmon and trout fishing

  • · $188.9 million:  estimated annual personal income generated by salmon and trout fisheries and hatcheries

“With this study, we can now say conclusively that salmon and trout are a cornerstone of the Southeast Alaska economy and that maintaining and enhancing the conditions that allow these fish to thrive should be a key goal for land managers and everyone else who cares about jobs in this state,” said Bruce Wallace, a Juneau-based purse seiner who has commercially fished Southeast Alaska waters for three decades. Wallace also sits on various boards including United Fishermen of Alaska and the Southern Southeast Alaska Regional Aquaculture Association.

The full report and an executive summary can be downloaded at:



Paula Dobbyn
Trout Unlimited, Alaska Program
Director of Communications

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Here I sit in the depth of winter playing with photos and video of a season rich in fun and fish.  This is the time to celebrate another year gone by and to plan the details for making the next one even better.  It is also a time to face some of the challenges eroding the health of the waters and fisheries that we love.  Take some time to reflect, make plans to spend more time on the waters and I encourage you to dig a little into some of the issues that make our fishing futures uncertain.  Many of us are so busy, we can barely find the time to fish, let alone be crusaders.  Everything helps.  Consider at the very least joining organizations such as TU.  They will help keep you informed of important issues like the Pebble Mine and your dues and donations will add to the positive side of things.

I just paged through the second issue of  The Contemporary Sportsman.  Check out the “Sea-Run Angle” by Jeff Bright for an excellent and eloquent perspective.

Reflection, Celebration, Vigilance

Reflection - Celebration - Vigilance


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Good-Bye Old Blue

Fins Down

On the return from a quick trip over to Washington State, my Durango’s engine gave out at a Taco Bell drive through in Missoula Montana.  We’d had a beautiful afternoon driving up the Clearwater and Lochsa Rivers.  I was seriously considering replacing the brakes and getting new tires and rolling through one more season.  After 250K miles, 20 passes over the Alcan Highway, hundreds of trips on Skilak Road, a close encounter with a moose in the Yukon and mule deer in British Columbia, Wyoming and South Dakota, one more taco was asking too much.  We limped to a corner of the parking lot and that was the end.  Kudos to the poor guy who carted us back to Great Falls in another crazy spring snowstorm.   Crossing the divide at Rogers Pass was insane.  I think we were the last rig to make it through that day.

April 30

April 30

It could have been far worse.  The Durango could have given out while crossing the Northern Rockies in B.C.  I sure hope this Yukon is ready for the hard miles ahead.

The new Mystic Waters Road Warrior

The new Mystic Waters Road Warrior

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A delegation of Alaska Natives and commercial fishermen will fly to London <http://www.ak2uk.com/index.html > next week to confront mining industry giant Anglo American at the company’s April 15th shareholders meeting with concerns about the massive Pebble mine project in the headwaters of Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska.

Efforts to stop the Pebble Mine are going global.

Efforts to stop the Pebble Mine are going global.

Visit the website for more info.  Good luck delegates!

Opposition to Pebble Mine

Opposition to Pebble Mine

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I recently attended the monthly meeting of the Missouri River FlyFishers.  The presenter was my friend Brian Neilson of Fin Fetchers and the topic was Project Healing Waters.  Brian volunteered on a Smith River trip in 2007 that was documented on a great DVD.  It was very interesting to watch the DVD and listen to Brian add background about the program, the wounded vets and the trip he participated on.   There will be another trip this year on May 7.  The Smith River trips are sponsored by Mike Geary of Lewis and Clark ExpeditionsMike has been volunteering time, money and lots of heart for this fantastic project.  To support the program or find out more, visit Mike’s website.

Project Healing Waters on the Smith River Montana

Project Healing Waters on the Smith River Montana

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