Saturday, April 29, 2017

Montana Fly Fishing Magazine, Spring 2017

montana fly fishing

Back and better than ever, and ready to tackle the controversial issues behind the public image. Find it HERE.

Advocate for Wild Steelhead

 April 28, 2017
 Some say we are witnessing a golden age of advocacy. With so many ways to reach decision makers - and so many issues to weigh in on - the American public is participating in the process of government like never before.

For steelhead anglers, the conversion of passion to activism comes naturally. If one has the fundamental stubbornness to chase a fish for days, weeks - heck, years - for just an occasional sublime tug, then you can darn well bet they'll stand up and fight for that fish when it comes time.

But even passion needs direction. Effective advocacy takes education, strategy and sustained effort.

This week, we've got a few tips and tools to help you become a better voice for wild steelhead.

Being a better advocate means honing your skills beyond pushing "like" on Facebook.

Here are a few tips for going above and beyond as an angler-advocate. And if that's not enough, we've included an old School House Rock video as a brush up. You'll be humming "I'm Just a Bill," for a week.


Want to speak up for wild steelhead? Here's a good opportunity:

After closing to fishing in 2010, Washington's Skagit River bounced back from a low of 2,500 fish to a recent average of over 8,500, now representing one of the largest wild steelhead winter runs in the Northwest.

It's time to re-open this famous steelhead fishery to angling.

After years of feedback from anglers, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife developed a Skagit River Steelhead Fishery Resource Management Plan. This plan would re-instate the wild steelhead fishery on the Skagit but must first undergo a review by federal steelhead managers. Despite WDFW submitting the plan in November of 2016, with the goal of re-opening the Skagit for a spring steelhead season in 2018, NOAA has yet to initiate the review process.

Take action to tell NOAA to make the Skagit River a priority.


 Step one to being a better advocate is always to become better educated on the issues. To aid in that essential step, we have put all our best Science Friday posts in one easy to find location.

Learn how scientists measure escapement, why rainbow trout are important to wild steelhead populations the definition of and differences between wild, native and hatchery steelhead... and more!


Dean Finnerty goes to the mat for Oregon's Elliott State Forest in the Wild Salmon Center's latest video "Keep the Elliott Public." The 88,000 acre state forest is in danger of being sold to private interests. The board tasked with deciding the Elliott's future has indicated they are leaning toward keeping this sportsmen's paradise as public land. However, the final decision has yet to be made.

In this country, public lands are the bedrock on which most fishing and hunting experiences are built. Hunters and anglers have been using this area for decades. Help keep the Elliott public by going to


Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Signs and Wonders

A warm afternoon and evening at Yellowwood fishing the shorelines under dogwood and redbud. Black Crappie flashing on stripped streamers. Bluegills popping a muddler variation fished high and dry. It was my go to fly for the trout in my lake in Washington; seems appropriate that the bluegill would like it here. Then the first largemouth on a dry fly this season. A skinny little fish that hit the muddler with relish. That's a milestone. To top it all off, loading up the truck in the gloaming I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me. But it was indeed what I thought I was seeing: fireflies glittering in the trees. Signs and wonders.

Friday, April 21, 2017


An afternoon at Griffey Lake. Sebastian takes the camera and captures a parking lot not jammed with cars for a change.

We had started fishing at the other end but had nary a bite. So we go back to the dock. I get a bite first and Sebastian reels it in for me. It's good to catch a fish again.

Sebastian wields his rod in a running series of duels with some very tricky bluegills.

He gets frustrated and puts his rod down and picks up the camera. When one of those fish comes out from under the dock and hooks itself he keeps the camera while I reel it in.

That worked so well we do it again. Nice shooting, Sebastian.

We catch a few more and then decide to take a hike.

I thought he might want to head home after that--I was tired: he has a knack for finding the steepest trails--but he's still fresh and wants to fish some more. OK by me. We cross the road and try the other side of the lake. We see a big water snake curl off the rocks and pour himself into the water. That, if you don't count another little bluegill, is our big excitement here.

So it's back to the docks. We catch a few more fish. He finally hooks one himself.

Then he takes over the photographer role again and comes up with a couple of great shots.

Well done, Sebastian. We'll be doing the FHF (Fish-Hike-Fish) again real soon.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Opening Like a Bud

Spring is stepping up. The world under the intensifying sun lights up brighter each day. The lake is opening like a bud. At dusk the water calms and bluegill decide to come up and play on the surface. You are far from the take out, but you have so much fun catching bluegills on a dry that you don't get back to the truck until the sky is awash with stars. But that's OK. Jupiter watches over you all the way home.