Clearwater River Closing for Steelhead

A dead hatchery steel on Idaho’s South Fork Clearwater, which will close to fishing, along with the mainstream Clearwater and Snake rivers, on Sept. 29.

To date, steelhead returns for 2019 are approximately 11 percent of the 10-year-average at Lower Granite Dam.

From Eric Crawford, Trout Unlimited:  The Idaho Fish and Game Commission announced today that they would be closing the Clearwater River to steelhead fishing effective Sept. 29, marking the first time in decades that the Clearwater has been closed to anglers.

Returns of salmon and steelhead are on track to be one of the lowest on record, creating a long-term problem for recovery of these iconic species. All of this comes as the governor’s work group on salmon recovery meets in Lewiston, Idaho for its third meeting.

“This should be a very strong signal that it is time to get our act together on restoring these fish populations,” said Eric Crawford, north Idaho field coordinator for Trout Unlimited. “We don’t have a lot of time left to get it right. Anglers are losing more and more opportunity in Idaho and that impact is not isolated or insignificant.

“Unfortunately, anglers and the guides and businesses that depend on these fish need to prepare themselves for the fact that this is a multi-year issue,” said Crawford Continue reading

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Get American Angler’s Anadromous Issue Now

If you like big fish you’ll want to check out the September/October issue of American Angler. It’s loaded with salmon and steelhead stories, ranging from Canada’s Grand Cascapedia, to Russia’s Yokanga, to British Columbia’s Dean, to Oregon’s Deschutes. There’s more, too: best selling permit flies; catching steelhead in bright light; chasing false allies from the boat and the beach; taking Labrador’s brook trout on top . . . on mice; the fall hecuba hatch; searching for 20 pound bull trout near Golden, British Columbia; seeking golden char in Hokkaido, Japan; plus efforts to save cutthroats on Idaho’s South Fork Snake; and more. Don’t miss it —GT


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Bristol Bay on the Brink







I’m as tired of hearing about the Bristol Bay mine issue as you are and I just want the whole dilemma to go away. But that’s exactly what the mining company, Pebble Limited Corporation, wants us to do and, damn it, I’m not doing it. Neither should you.

This may not be an end-all solution to the problem, but the American Fly Fishing Trade Association and a number of industry members are taking tomorrow, August 24, to show their support for quashing efforts to build a gold mine at the headwaters of the greatest wild salmon production grounds in the world. This could begin in 2020 if we don’t meet their proposal with tactful resistance.

Called A Day For Bristol Bay, common anglers are urged to shop at participating shops or donate directly online in an effort to build funds to fight the mine proposal. You can Continue reading

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Simms’ “Fish It Well” Motto Helps Tonic Get To The Dean

I know Simms would have preferred that I write about their new campaign, called Fish It Well, a month or more ago when they sent me a hoodie emblazoned with a logo promoting the campaign.

But I wanted to wait and give the whole idea some thought. I am definitely from the mold that you get one life so you better make the most of it, and fishing and hunting have been instrumental in my efforts to do just that.

The package arrived at a time when I needed to make a decision between a few extra days with the kids or actually taking care of myself  for once. On the table was a trip to British Columbia’s Dean River and BC West lodge—I’d been there before, landed 21 steelhead in six days, and didn’t want opportunity to slip.

Do this and you will live a good life.

In the end I accepted the trip and fished with three men I’d never met, the writer and founder of Spey Pages, Dana Sturn; Mike Walsh, who’s a serious fly tier and a salmon and steelhead junkie; and Dake Traphagen, who is a custom guitar maker, a dedicated fly tier, and a master of Pacific Northwest steelhead and salmon.

We’d chosen a week on the Dean that could be hit or miss—the second week of the season when water conditions might blow out completely. When we arrived, the river was high and muddy, but the forecast led us to believe that the river would drop and our timing might be perfect. Continue reading

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Great Days on the Dean River, British Columbia

I lied. Too much good stuff going on when I was fishing the Dean. Couldn’t find the time to write. Was up at 3:45 a.m. for the first couple days, grabbing Cut Bank before anyone else could. Then fatigue set in (either that or I spent a little too much time at the Canada Day party on the beach) and I went to the Continue reading

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Kings and Steel on British Columbia’s Dean River

Several years ago, after trying for about 10 years, I got an invitation to fish British Columbia’s Dean River, and I took advantage of that opportunity—I had 16 steelhead to the beach by day four and ended up wit Several years ago, after trying for about 10 years, I got an invitation to fish British Columbia’s Dean River, and I took advantage of that opportunity—I had 16 steelhead to the beach by day four and ended up with 21 for the week. I’d set a goal to catch one and would have been happy if that was the way it had worked out.
That was some of the best steelheading I’ve ever enjoyed, of course, but that wasn’t what completely set the trip apart. Instead, it was the people who I shared camp with (BC West), those being George Cook, Andrew Bennett, Jeff Watt, Michael White, and Gary Berenson. We Continue reading

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The New American Angler’s Adventure Issue

The new American Angler should be hitting the shelves soon and there are some good reads to be had in its pages. The theme is DIY and adventure. And there are few adventures that rank as high as going into the mountains with a pack and a tent on your back, whether to find fish or for other reasons. When you’re in the crags anything can happen, whether that’s wildlife invading camp or
mountain storms bearing down. Most anglers never make it into the high country with a rod and reel, and they miss out on some seriously fun fishing. High country trout aren’t too skeptical and they can grow to good size. You’ll learn that in the story, If I’d Ever Been to Iceland, which recounts author Jeff Day’s hike into the Wind River Range for golden trout (and you’ll meet two memorable characters—Flu Guy and the Iron Haired Lady). You’ll also read about big time Continue reading

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Fine Sticks for Sale

I am trying to make my life a little easier these days and part of that equation is handing off some of my gear so that I can make room to try some new items. Over the years I’ve accumulated a nice quiver of fly rods, but some now have to go. If you are interested in any of these Continue reading

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Georgetown Rainbows in the Shallows

Took a drive over the weekend and saw these brutes doing their spawn at Georgetown Lake. Can’t fish for these right now—nor should we while they’re doing this—but they are fun to watch. Dipped the Go Pro for a few seconds and came up with a little footage for you.  GT

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The New American Angler, May/June Issue

As most of you know I took over American Angler last summer and have been ripping through manuscripts, trying to bring the mag into the modern world. How-to is fine, which is what American Angler was, but I feel like you can get that info online or in book form and that magazines should offer something better . . . like a story to go along with the dirt.

You’ll find that in the coming issue, which should hit newsstands in the next week or so. I took a warmwater focus with this one, because there is more than trout and salmon and steelhead swimming around out there, and because I think Continue reading

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