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    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" »

    A Different Kind of Fish Report

    Davis_t_0824 Patagonia Fly Fishing Ambassador, Dylan Tomine, brings us today's post - an update on the current state of the seafood industry as seen from a seat at the 9th Annual Seafood Summit in Vancouver. He attended this year's Seafood Summit, along with Yvon Chouinard, who provided the gathering's keynote address. Here are Dylan's observations from the gathering:

    - Vancouver Seafood Summit 2011
    March 2nd, 2011

    I took some time off from winter fishing, wood cutting and book work to attend the 2011 Seafood Summit, an annual gathering of fish industry people, conservation NGOs, scientists and journalists from around the world.

    The Summit is remarkable in that long-time adversaries are willing to spend the time and money to talk about how we might make the seafood industry more sustainable. What was once a small get-together of conservation orgs is now sponsored by High Liner Foods, one of the largest seafood processors in North America. Hats off to the folks at SeaWeb, who organize and host the event, for bringing everyone together. Here are a few observations from Vancouver:

    [Yvon Chouinard. An avid fly fisherman who has plied the waters in virtually every corner of the globe, he provided the keynote address to attendees of this year's Seafood Summit. Photo: Tim Davis.]

    Continue reading "A Different Kind of Fish Report" »

    Just Released - 2011 Patagonia Fly Fishing Digital Catalog

    Patagonia_fly_fishing_2011

    Like you, we’d rather spend our time on the water, eyeing the arc of a line through air, feeling the push of current against our legs, inhaling the damp earth along a riverbank. But if you can’t immerse yourself in the river, try wading into our latest digital catalog: full of beautiful photos, compelling stories and all of our new, extensively revised fishing gear, it’s nearly as good as coaxing a trout from a willow-lined stream.

    Catch your copy of our digital Fly Fishing Catalog

    [Peacock pyrotechnics just gets the heart racing. Agua Boa River, tributary of the Amazon, Brazil. Photo: Barry & Cathy Beck]

    Phosphate Mining: Sealing Southern Idaho's Fate?

    JWattIdaho-2 Flipping through travel planners and vacation ads, southeast Idaho sounds much like the glorious west of old. A wild untarnished space, home to elk, moose, deer, and many other species of wildlife, with hundreds of miles of rivers and creeks, all bursting with wild native trout. It is. Or at least was.

    Editor's note: Photographer, climber and family man Jeremiah Watt offers today's story for Cleanest Line readers. He writes about a corner of our country not often visited - and how the area's blessing of desolation is the very thing that has allowed it to become home to a mind-blowing number of Superfund sites.

    Today, it is home to 17 Superfund sites, thanks to phosphate mining giants Simplot, Agrium, Monsanto and Rhodia. The phosphate here is primarily used as fertilizer and the herbicide RoundUp. Currently 16,987 acres have been mined with an additional 7,340 acres slated for development. In addition 15,000 acres have been leased and 50,000 acres are identified as containing economically viable phosphate reserves. In total 2,500 square miles – an area larger than Rhode Island - have the potential to be permanently scarred or destroyed from the effects of phosphate mining. Ninety-five percent of this land belongs to you and I.

    [Sunrise on the Blackfoot River. Photo: © Jeremiah Watt]

    Continue reading "Phosphate Mining: Sealing Southern Idaho's Fate?" »

    Looking for Steelies

    1Taking the plunge.Stoecker 2 Taking the plunge (albeit it a shallow one) into the Ventura River in the spirit of Our Common Waters, Patagonia’s new environmental campaign, Patagonia editor Jim Little and a couple of friends spent the afternoon snorkeling for endangered southern steelhead trout. Along the way they sneak up on a few fish and discuss why the once plentiful animal is having such a rough go of it.

    The plan was to take a couple hours out of the workday to grab lunch at a taqueria and go snorkel the Ventura River looking for southern steelhead trout. It was late January, with 80-degree temps, light offshore winds and knowledgeable comrades: fish biologist Matt Stoecker and Ventura watershed watchdog Paul Jenkin.

    2peirano brothers Burritos (and fish tacos) in bellies, snorkel and camera gear in hand, we hit three pools looking hard for a now-scarce fish that once flashed the river in the thousands. When the steelhead ran back in the 1920s, Ventura’s public schools closed so kids could go fishing. But 90 years later, as we dragged ourselves through mossy waters trying not to swallow a single drop for fear of some gut-bending bug, I learned why the endangered southern steelhead are now so few.

    [Above - Into the river in search of steelhead. Photo: Matt Stoecker. Left - Back in the Good Old Days, the Peirano Brothers and others pulled lots of steelhead out of the Ventura River, 1920s.]

    Continue reading "Looking for Steelies" »

    Enriching the Rivers

    Patagonia’s environmental internship program is sending about 20 employees into the field this year to volunteer with nonprofit environmental groups around the world. The company pays employee salaries and benefits for up to a month while they work in D.C., Kenya, Kauai and other locales. Ari Zolonz, an employee in our Portland, Oregon store, spent the month of October working with the Native Fish Society. Here’s his account:

    6Driftcreek_4 Enriching the Rivers

    When trout season is in full swing and the truck is in some kind of working order, forget about finding me anywhere near concrete. I’m gone every day I’m not working in Patagonia’s Portland store.

    As an angler concerned with the declining state of nature, I support various environmental groups with a small amount of cash. So when the opportunity arose through Patagonia’s environmental internship program to volunteer with one of my favorite groups, the Native Fish Society, I jumped on it.

    Based in Oregon City, Oregon, the Native Fish Society is devoted to the conservation, preservation and restoration of wild native fish in the rivers of the Pacific Northwest. They work with federal and state agencies to improve fish-management policies, and encourage the public to get involved with issues affecting their waterways and the fish that inhabit them.

    [Home to native steelhead and salmon, Drift Creek is a coastal run. Ari found this one to be much healthier than other streams he visited that flowed through intensively logged landscapes. Photo: Ari Zolonz]

    Continue reading "Enriching the Rivers" »

    Dirtbag Diaries: What We Had

    Flyfisher Happy New Year. We're starting 2011 off right with the first-ever fly fishing story to be shared on the Dirtbag Diaries. Host Fitz Cahall introduces today's podcast:

    Mark Rutherford and John Merritt grew up sharing the same sand box. As they grew up, they each followed separate paths. John had a successful career in the Chicago financial world. Mark moved to Alaska and raised a family in tiny cabin he built with his own hands. Twenty years ago, Mark began a successful adventure fly fishing guide service in the Bristol Bay region. An avid fisherman, John got in touch with Mark and scheduled a trip. On that first trip, John revealed that he had been diagnosed with M.S. Ten years prior, doctors told him he had seven years to live. That first trip marked the beginning of decade of trips, each more adventurous than the last. Today, we are headed up stream to the confluence of several lives. Friendships are a bit like rivers -- when they converge, they swell into something greater.

    Audio_graphic_20pxListen to "What We Had"
    (mp3 - right-click to download)

    There's more to this touching story than what you just heard. Hit the jump for some background on the folks who were featured in today's podcast and a link to some photos from the trip they described.

    Continue reading "Dirtbag Diaries: What We Had" »

    Viva La Vegetal - Fly Fishing through Mexico under Power of Vegetable Oil

    Photo-9 It started out as an idea and later became a vision while on a trip across Argentina seven years ago. Former members of AEG Media, creators of The Trout Bum Diaries and Fish Bum Diaries DVDs, have collaborated once again to document a new expedition throughout Mexico. The crew is operating under MOTIV Fishing these days but their mission to get off the grid as far as possible with a fly rod and camera in hand is still the same. [Photo: MOTIV Fishing]

    The vehicle of choice for the expedition across Mexico is a mid-'90s F250 converted to run on recycled vegetable oil. In the crew's own words, they’re going to travel across Mexico "wrestling waste oil out of grimy barrels in the back of taquerias and begging tortilla chip factories for a liquid substance that most wouldn’t touch with a 10-foot pole – free fuel and they say it's good for the environment."

    It’s a dirty job but someone has to do it. Here's a report from the MOTIV Fishing crew.

    ¡Vamonos a la Baja! After countless hours of major surgery to the rig the veg conversion is done and we are headed south to our first fishing destinations in Baja Sur, prepared to take on the rough terrain though Mexico. Joel Woolf at Veg Powered Systems made sure that everything was dialed on the rig before he would let us drive our truck down into Mexico. This was no minor task as our truck needed a new thermostat, glow plugs, fuel pump, and some serious welding work on the rack and frame. We set up our camp in Joel's backyard and spent 10 days helping him with the conversion and truck overhaul. We decided that due to the short supplies of veg oil along the drive down baja our plan was to bring a trailer that would double as our fuel tanker.

    Continue reading "Viva La Vegetal - Fly Fishing through Mexico under Power of Vegetable Oil " »

    Media Review (and marg recipe): Eastern Rises

    Eastern_rises_felt_soul_3

    Last night I saw the best outdoor film I’ve seen in awhile. It’s about fly fishing. Huh? I’ve never fly fished and, honestly, I never really “got it.” I know there must be something there, though, because even if it makes as much sense to me as drinking margaritas in Russia, people love it, obsess over it like I do with climbing, and friends do with skiing and surfing. Tons of people at Patagonia go nuts for it. Cool. But still, I didn’t really understand the allure. Until last night. [Photo: Felt Soul Media]

    The 39-minute film is called Eastern Rises, and it showed at the opening night of Adventure Film Festival, the festival created by my friend Jonny Copp that's continuing onward in his memory. In short, Eastern Rises follows a few fly fishing obsessed guys who go to the ultra-remote Kamchatka Peninsula in Eastern Russia to fish (of course), traveling by ancient Russian helicopters, enduring Vodka culture, Sasquatch, Grizzlies, monster fish and encountering a variety of characters at every turn – and these guys fully fit-in, being quite far from the cardboard cutout types themselves. According to the film info, the Kamchatka’s coastline has “the most abundant and biologically diverse population of wild rainbow trout, salmon and steelhead that has ever existed on Earth.” Once they arrived, wow. You don’t have to care about fish to fall in love with the landscape, though I imagine it must be like the fishing version of an undiscovered and unbelievably pristine mountain range made for climbing.

    It takes more than pretty pictures, though, to make a great film.

    Continue reading "Media Review (and marg recipe): Eastern Rises" »

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