The Cleanest Line

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    Picture Story - Live Release is Working on the Miramichi River

    Most of our photo-centric "Picture Story" posts have been about climbing. Today, the fishing guys get in on the action with an encouraging report from one of eastern Canada's iconic salmon streams, and a family fishing operation that depends on the health of the river's fish populations: - Ed

    Miramichi

    Live Release of Atlantic salmon is the best practice the Wilson family could have adopted  for their sporting camps on the Miramichi River. Years of overfishing, dams and habitat destruction all have taken a toll until some years back when ASF and NASF salmon groups came in with plans for passage, buying out commercial nets, etc. After years of hard work, good numbers of fish are once again coming into the system.

    Pictured here is Bill Taylor, president  of the Atlantic Salmon Federation releasing a huge hen salmon that Jake MacDonald hooked, and after a wild twenty minutes managed to land. It began as normal as any other fish until the first jump revealed a monster of a salmon (Jake's first ever). Ten minutes in, Jake announces that he thinks he lost it, and when he tried to reel-up we discovered the line was around a big rock on the far side of the  river.

    Jake was fighting the fish from the canoe so I told him to keep a tight line as we poled the boat over to the rock, just in case the big girl was still hooked up. Sure enough, as I drifted closer she ripped clear and the fight was on again. Another ten minutes and Bill managed to slide the big salar into a landing net. It is amazing how such a big fish can be landed after all that on such a small #8 hook. Guide Keith Wilson is all smiles as the two put this beautiful salmon back in the river to swim another day. Live release has been a major conservation tool at Wilson's since 1983 and success is evident today as the camp broke records with the number of fish caught in 2011. Ernest (EJ) Long has been guiding at Wilson's for nearly 48 years and he credits the ASF with the best fishing he has experienced on the Miramichi to date. There is no doubt that Live-Release angling is working for the Miramichi River. - Keith Wilson, of Wilson's Sporting Camps

    To the Elwha and its Salmon - Welcome Home

    While the Patagonia environmental team was busy hosting its Tools for Grassroots Activists Conference last week, one of our activist community's greatest victories in recent decades was unfolding, the removal of the Elwha Dam. If you haven't had a chance to get the full story behind the Elwha's removal, check out yesterday's post from the New York Times, or the Seattle Times' comprehensive special coverage. Today's post is for all those who couldn't be on-hand to celebrate this unique moment in our environmental history.

    To all those who worked so hard for this victory: Thank You.

    And to the Elwha and its salmon, on behalf of advocates of free-flowing rivers everywhere: Welcome Home.


     

    And from American Rivers, American Whitewater, and the Hydropower Reform Coalition, a film by Andy Maser:

    Year of the River: Episode 1 from Andy Maser on Vimeo.

    Your Help is Needed to Protect the Green and Colorado Rivers

    Recently Patagonia participated in a Save the Colorado River campaign funding meeting that provided over $150,000 (including $25,000 from Patagonia) to over a dozen outstanding nonprofits working to protect and restore the ecological health of the Colorado River and its watershed. The Save the Colorado River campaign is a partnership between business and philanthropic groups, founded by New Belgium Brewery and including Patagonia, CLIF Bar, Teva, Kenney Brothers Foundation, the Environment Foundation, Environment NOW, National Geographic and Clean Water Fund. Learn more at:   www.savethecolorado.org
     
    Through Save the Colorado River and the Our Common Waters campaign, we encourage you to read on and lend your voice to a coalition of 20 conservation groups who are fighting to stop the proposed Flaming Gorge Pipeline water project…

    Please sign the petition at StopFlamingGorgePipeline.org

    The Colorado River Watershed today faces many challenges, as our need for water in the west continues to grow.

    From hopeful beginnings at the headwaters of its longest tributary, the Green River…

    UpperGreenRiverWY
    Photo: G. Thomas, via Wikimedia Commons

    to the dry and cracked landscape of the Delta, 50 miles south of the Mexico border.  Where the mighty River once met the Sea of Cortez in a rich estuary, it is now reduced to this:

    End of colorado
    Screen-grab from Pete McBride's short film about the proposed Flaming Gorge Pipeline project.

    These conditions will only get worse as human consumption increases and climate change threatens to jeopardize the snowpack that feeds the river.

    Hit the jump to read more about the proposed Flaming Gorge Pipeline project, and watch Pete McBride's image-rich video trailer.

    Continue reading "Your Help is Needed to Protect the Green and Colorado Rivers" »

    Vermont’s First Inaugural TU Trout Camp 2011

    Peeps in water
    Today's post is from Warren Coleman, a lawyer whose work focuses on protection of the waterways throughout the northeastern U.S. Warren's also a certified New Hampshire fishing guide, in other words, the perfect person to help host Trout Unlimited's inaugural Vermont Trout Camp. Here's Warren with a recap of the kind of fishing that can be found up in the Northeast Kingdom:

    I’m still not sure who had more fun at the Vermont TU Trout Camp – the campers or the counselors. I guess when it comes to fly fishing, the line that defines a kid and an adult easily blurs if you measure it on a scale of fun: zero (0) indicating that you were skunked and the river was blown out from torrential rain storms; ten (10) being a hurting arm from all the fish you’ve landed on dry flies and raccoon eyes from having polarized shades permanently affixed to your head for days on end.

    I’d have to say that our first inaugural Vermont Trout Camp rated about an 8, which is pretty darn good considering that we had lousy weather (except when it really counted and the sun came out) and the fishing was challenging (again, except when it really counted).

    [Vermont Fisheries Biologist, Jud Kratzer, leads Trout Unlimited's Vermont Trout Camp participants a few counselors on an electroshocking exercise on a nearby stream. Photos courtesy, Kurt Budlinger.]

    Continue reading "Vermont’s First Inaugural TU Trout Camp 2011" »

    A Watershed Moment for Wild Salmon

    SOS banner

    Here at Patagonia, we have two or three holy grails of conservation. One is the permanent protection of the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wild Refuge and another the restoration of the legendary salmon runs in the Columbia and Snake River Basin.


    Salmon swimming We have advocated for over 10 years that the best way to achieve this second goal is by removing the four lower Snake River dams and allowing the salmon and steelhead a fighting chance to finish their upstream journey of many miles (as long as 900) home to spawn. Removing these dams would be the largest river restoration in our nation’s history and would be an inspiration for the rest of the country to take the initiative to build a healthy future not just for salmon and rivers in the Northwest, but for other endangered wildlife and waterways across the U.S.

    With the recent federal court ruling on the latest Obama administration's salmon plan, we asked Steven Hawley, journalist, author (Recovering a Lost River), salmon expert and self- proclaimed river rat for his take on the federal court decision. Here’s Steven, with a fish story that’s about a lot more than fish:

    [Salmon moving upstream, from this earlier post about the pending salmon decision. Photo: © University of Washington, Thomas Quinn]

    Continue reading "A Watershed Moment for Wild Salmon" »

    Just Released: SoulFish 2 - Fish Mode

    Mikey weir Good news to all you trout-chasers sidelined by swollen creeks this season: SoulFish2, Fish Mode from the Burl Productions is now available on DVD. Fire up the video while you're waiting for the waters to mellow out and enjoy footage from choice locations around the world. Here's a note from Burl Productions' founder and Patagonia Flyfishing Ambassador, Mikey Weir. - Ed

    After 3 years in the making, SoulFish 2, Fish Mode is ready. It’s been an amazing journey that has taken us all around the world and allowed me the fortune of spending time with some of the most dedicated anglers on this planet. It’s a privilege to finally share these stories in our latest feature-length flyfishing travel documentary.

    Our crew survived camping near black wolves during a 140-mile float in remote Mongolia; scorpions, spiders and man-eating crocodiles in Egypt; banditos in Mexico; freezing temperatures in B.C.; rugged and remote backcountry hikes in California; suprising cold on the marshes of Louisiana; and the hot tropic environments of Belize and Hawai'i; all to bring you the very best in flyfishing videography. SoulFish2, Fish Mode explores the minds and travel habits of some of the most notable characters in the fly-fishing industry today including: Ralph Cutter, April Vokey, Jeff Currier, Brent Dawson, Jonathan Boulton, Coach Duff, Richard McPherson, Mike Copithorne, Bryan Carter, Peter Mullett and myself (Mikey Wier), among many others. Join us for the ultimate adventure in search of the world's greatest fishes. With over 10 years of filming experience behind us, I’m proud to say that this is BURL Productions finest work to date. 

    Hit the jump to watch a trailer from the new movie, and find ordering information.

    [Mikey Weir on location in Mongolia, from the original SoulFish video.]

    Continue reading "Just Released: SoulFish 2 - Fish Mode" »

    Tenkara USA Joins in Sharing Time-Honored Fishing Techniques with Patagonia Japan Employees

    Fishing has always been about being simple, but 15 minutes of trout talk with a czech-nyphing double dropper can sometimes be enough to have you thinking precisely the opposite. A masterful style of fishing recently brought to Western rivers from the mountain waters of Japan presents a welcome antidote to the elaborate (and oftentimes extravagant) style of fishing that's come to dominate the image of fly fishing. Tenkara USA is a company dedicated to this style of fishing, and today's post, from company founder Daniel W. Galhardo, is about sharing the simplicity of fishing with others. - Ed

    DrIsh
    [Dr. Ishigaki doing a tenkara demonstration for Patagonia employees of different Tokyo stores. Photo: Daniel W. Galhardo]

    Today tenkara, Tenkara USA and Patagonia once again crossed paths, this time in Japan with staff from a couple of Patagonia stores in Tokyo.

    At the moment, I am sitting in my tatami room in the town of Kaida Kogen, Nagano prefecture in Japan. We just finished a hot-pot dinner, which topped off a day of teaching tenkara to four Patagonia-Japan employees. Over the next couple of days more people will join the tenkara class.

    Continue reading "Tenkara USA Joins in Sharing Time-Honored Fishing Techniques with Patagonia Japan Employees" »

    Five Stars for 5-Point Film Festival

    Confession: I don’t usually like film festivals. I like the idea, much like I enjoy seeing live music – at least when it’s good, because then it’s great. Sure, you can listen to a Rolling Stones album, but seeing them live leaves you speechless. Not a great comparison, since at film festivals you’re still watching an on-screen production. But on a big screen, and with the energy of the audience. Plus, I like seeing friends and bullshitting at the bar (any worthy film festival has a bar, or at least bar-like beverages nearby). But too many outdoor films put me to sleep, and even evoke my Kelly Attitude: This sucks, can we go climbing now?

    Dawson - IMG_0023-wolf


    I think things are changing. I hope so, anyway, and last weekend’s 5 Point Film Festival gave me proof. I never got fidgety, and I ran to the beer room in between films because I didn’t want to miss a second. Normally… I’m a grouch, I know. And super critical.

    [Jeremy Collins paints, his ensemble plays, and animation fills the screen at his stunning performance of The Wolf and the Medallion, at last weekend’s 5 Point Film Festival in Carbondale, CO. Photo: Lou Dawson, wildsnow.com]

    Continue reading "Five Stars for 5-Point Film Festival" »

    May 1 and 9 - Two Important Dates for Salmon and Free Flowing Rivers

    Sawtooths-redfish

    Salmon are anadromous. They live mostly in the ocean, but return to distant, fresh mountain headwaters to spawn. This term that describes their biological ties to seemingly disparate environments (ocean and mountain) might just as easily describe the ways in which salmon bring together competing cultures and histories. Their power, their story, have earned salmon a broad cross-section of advocates. The sustained, collective will of these unlikely allies is needed now, as federal courts near a decision that will determine the fate of Snake River salmon, and potentially set a new example for the management of fisheries resources. Some talented salmon advocates join us today with their words, images and video. Here's Emily Nuchols, from UnderSolen Media to get things started:

    Snake River salmon swim farther and climb higher than any other salmon on earth. And because they return to the biggest, highest and best-protected habitat in America, endangered Snake River salmon are slated as the West’s best chance to save salmon for future generations in an environment threatened by climate change. These cold, crisp waters, spanning three Western states — Washington, Oregon and Idaho – will remain cold under warming climates, protecting these one-of-a-kind salmon with a one-of-a-kind habitat. On May 1, PBS' Nature will premier Salmon: Running the Gauntlet, a program about the ongoing debate on how to save this endangered species.

    And on May 9th, a federal court is poised to make a decision that could change the fate of endangered species across the entire country. U.S. District Court Judge James Redden will decide if the Obama administration’s federal salmon plan will pass legal muster — a decision that will do one of two things for endangered wildlife: protect the Endangered Species Act (ESA), or weaken it. Making the wrong decision on these rivers would effectively damn these salmon to extinction.

    [The high country that Snake River Salmon call home. Redfish and Little Redfish Lakes, "so named for the brilliant sockeye salmon that once returned from the Pacific Ocean in such massive quantities that the lake shimmered red during spawning season," sit at the base of Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains. All photos ©Neil Ever Osborne, iLCP]

    Continue reading "May 1 and 9 - Two Important Dates for Salmon and Free Flowing Rivers" »

    Baja in the Rearview

    1_Morning shot of truck

    When last we left the fly-fishing filmmakers of MOTIV Fishing, they had converted a mid-'90s F250 to run on used vegetable oil and successfully crossed the Mexican border. Today, we pick up their scent in Baja as they continue traveling south in their pursuit of tight lines.

    Over 2500 miles behind us and we were still truckin’ on used veggie oil! Our F250 truck ran smoother, quieter, and depending on which 55gal drum we suck waste oil from to fill our veg tank, we either smelled like an Italian, Sushi, or Chinese buffet when we rolled down the highway. Brian swears that he saw people in the tail lights chasing us with knives and forks at times. The exhaust fumes alone have probably packed an extra 10-pounds on each of us, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way. The money that we saved by not having to purchase much diesel for the trip has easily paid off the initial expense of the vegetable oil conversion.

    [Above: Morning shot of the truck. All photos: MOTIV Fishing.]

    Continue reading "Baja in the Rearview" »

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