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Posts Tagged ‘Alaska’

Fly anglers love to debate stuff.  Do fish see color? (Absolutely) Does fly line color matter? (Sometimes) Is fishing a dry fly the only true form of fly fishing? (Absolutely…not) Is dry fly fishing better than anything else? (Sometimes)  Do trout on the Missouri River really think a pink Ray Charles is an egg? (Are you kidding me?) Do these waders make my butt look big? (Who Cares?)  What is the best state for fly fishing? The Fly Talk Blog at Field&Stream just wanted to pick a fight.

Wild King SalmonObviously, the best state depends on species and how you like to fish, but I’m soundly in the top five in any event.  Michigan ranked #1.  I was born in Michigan and caught my first wild char (brook trout) there.  I’m now a resident of Montana, because I live here for more than 6 months of the year.  Montana ranked #5.  I caught my first cutthroat here about 30yrs ago.  There is something about this place that gets into your head and your heart.  Then there is Alaska. Alaska is ranked #4 and that is where I guide, because, well, it’s Alaska.  Somehow, Wyoming and Louisiana got in there ahead of AK and MT.  I have fished a bit in Wyoming, but never in Louisiana, though I’d certainly give it a try.

Wyoming does have some great water and a low population density.  Those are two of my keys to fly fishing greatness.  I just don’t think it edges out Montana.  Michigan does have tremendous variety, including transplanted salmon and steelhead, but Alaska has something no other state has.  Pure, indigenous, wild fish!  For me, that puts it squarely at Number 1.  You can call me a snob. I will chase any fish, anytime, on the fly, but I prefer wild native fish in their natural range and waters.

 

Troutzilla

Not a great lakes steelhead.

If I want to catch a steelhead, do I really care weather I go to Oregon or Washington or Idaho?  If I want to catch a bass, I can do that just about anywhere.  If I want to catch a redfish, I can do that from Texas to the Keys to the Carolinas. If I want to chase troutzilla; I’m not talking about some freak of science triploid fish, but a real native rainbow the size of a King Salmon; I go to Alaska!

Of course, Alaska is also blessed with lots of tasty, healthy, wild, salmon. (Say no to Pebble Mine)

Not available in the marsh.

I also think another key to the question of crowning the best fly fishing state is this.  Where do you most want to go?  Lets hear it.

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No Pebble

I’ve been reading through comments to some of the news stories about the Pebble Mine.  Most of the battle focuses on economics or the value of minerals vs. salmon or minerals vs. natural ecosystems.  I don’t believe that money is the only issue at stake.  It’s about lifestyle and vision for the future.  Both sides believe strongly in a set of values whether they admit it or not.  Development believes that life will be better when we increase our economic worth and have more goods to produce and sell. The other side believes in the living values inherent in the natural world like sustainable food, clean water and wild land recreation.

I have a pretty strong preference toward saving the salmon and the entire habitat that supports them, but I also realize I’m a hypocrite when I consider my lifestyle.  While I don’t make or spend a lot of money, I do burn petroleum and utilize many chemical byproducts.  I use a computer and cell phone full of minerals, and I’m pretty sure my fly rods, reels, fly lines, nylon leaders, fluorocarbon tippets et al are somewhat evil in light of their compositions.  I truly love the stuff, yet I am soundly against development most of the time.

Some of my best friends are involved in the oil industry and/or mining and we get along and they fish.  Many of my clients are captains of industry, oil executives, resource gobblers and other bad stuff, yet they fish and support me as a guide.  It does seem hypocritical to me when they exploit resources in one place to get the money to go fish in another that’s less messed up, but we’re not going to talk about that stuff while we’re fishing.

I’d love to go back in time to over a hundred years ago and fish all over a pristine Alaska.  Of course I’d want my arsenal of Sage rods, Ross reels and Rio/Airfo fly lines.  A GPS would be nice also. I’d probably need a float plane and a jet boat or at least my aluminum Willie drift boat as well.

John Shively is the CEO and mouthpiece for the Pebble Partnership.  He’s very upset that *outside interests (Americans) such as Trout Unlimited and the National Resources defense council are throwing money into the fight against Pebble.  As far as he’s concerned, anyone against Pebble is against Alaska and the United States and the economy and business and is an eco terrorist.  So John, where is the money coming from to develop Pebble?  Oh, it’s coming from “outsiders”.  Who stands to make the most profit?  Again, “outsiders” who are not even Americans. I guess we’re all hypocrites with a different vision.

*Outsider: Anyone who does not live in Alaska as a resident and receive a Permanent Fund Dividend Check from the State.

Well, I might be a hypocrite, but I still say no to development at Pebble.  At least for the foreseeable future: until we have far better technology and control over the process: until permits are not just a license to pollute.  It’s a crazy complex world we live in.  My vision is a world where a high standard of living and a thriving natural world are not mutually exclusive.  Responsible Mining – Sustainable Fisheries…at Pebble?  I’m not buying into that vision.  For now, I am thankful for every day I get to spend on wild waters and I take none of it for granted.

Where is the proposed Pebble Mine located?

Location of the proposed Pebble Mine.

EPA includes Pebble in Bristol Bay review

Get the latest  Pebble News from ADN.

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This title was a comment from one of my favorite guests; Matt Ruck.  It related to a quick post from last June titled “Fishing So Good; they are jumping in the boat“.  Matt had recently fished with Stacy Corbin and me and although fish were caught and fun was had, no fish jumped in the boat.  It is often funny how perception can make it seem like fishing was always better yesterday.  Hope makes one expect better results in the future.  Reality is the time you are on the water.  I’m sure Stacy and I told our guests about the big rainbows caught by Matt and his posse, while we were in the midst of catching a bounty of sockeye salmon.  They probably thought; “These sockeye are great, but I’d really like to catch one of those big rainbows.”   Here are Matt and Stacy with a Fall Humpy.  Matt’s trying to sell Stacy on the fact that its a nice fish, but Stacy’s not buying it.  Looks like you were too late on that one Matt.

Nice Humpy or Moldy Chum

Should have been here when that fish was still swimming.

 

Don’t ask Matt about the magpies.

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Chasing Rainbow Trout on the Kenai River on a misty, mystic, perfect fall morning.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

 

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Back on September 13, (my wife’s birthday by the way) I was busy as usual, guiding daily on the Upper Kenai River.  Blood Knot Magazine posted a story I had submitted last spring.  I just noticed it while visiting their website today.  No guide trip is ever the same, but this one was a little unusual.  On Me, In Me and In the Boat Check it out and give Blood Knot a view.

Bloodknot Magazine

 

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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:

WWW.TU.ORG/CONSERVATION/ALASKA/TONGASS

 

Paula Dobbyn
Trout Unlimited, Alaska Program
Director of Communications
907-230-1513

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I picked up these links from Moldy Chum.  The Pebble Partnerships ad champaign is deceptive and misleading.  Water flows downhill.  Salmon swim upriver.  What does walking have to do with anything? Everyone but the Pebble Partnership knows this.  Or do they?  They believe that misleading the public will help them secure their permitting.  Lets give them a reality check!

Video 1 – Go directly to YouTube to post your comments

Video 2 – Go directly to YouTube to post your comments

Check out this link  Do they think we are idiots? for the perspective from Headwaters.

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