This is the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog Best of 2009. What were the top ten most important events, blog posts, conservation issues and fly fishing products of 2009? Check out our list:
10. Huge chinook on the fly: Despite a dismal chinook salmon return this year, Oregon Fly Fishing Blog went Salmon Crazy. Comets were the name of the game.
9. Skagit Master tell all. Cap’n Jeff Mishler tells the true story of Northwest Steelhead visionary Ed Ward. As a complement to that, Rob Russell laid out step-by-step instructions on how to tie steelhead intruders.
8. A fly fishing entomology book in Eugene, Oregon’s backyard Arlen Thomason and Stackpole Books published Bugwater. This is the most exciting and revelatory book on the behavior of aquatic insects we have ever seen.
7. Second Annual McKenzie River Two-Fly. The Caddis Fly Shop. Trout Unlimited and a host of local guides banded together to raise $4000 for McKenzie River Trust’s habitat improvement projects during last October’s McKenzie Two-Fly Tournament. But the real show stopper was Jeff Carr’s team, bringing in three trout from the Lower McKenzie River, measuring a total 54″ — that will be hard to beat.
6. Hareline Dubbin launches the Oregon Fly Fishing Blog Fly Tying Contest. Hareline Dubbin has sponsored three fly tying contests so far through the blog. Summer Steelhead Patterns, October Caddis and patterns using the UniBobber. What’s in store for 2010 contests? Find out soon.
5. Saltwater fly fishing on the Oregon Coast: We spent a lot of time in the saltwater in 2009, exploring Oregon’s ocean rockfish, salmon and offshore fisheries. Cap’n Nate has hooked sharks too big to land. We’ve stripped clousers through surface baitballs and caught salmon on top. We’ve seen some of the weird and beautiful bottomfish on the West Coast. All on the fly.
4. Jay Nicholas’ Fly Fishing Glossary: We’re lucky enough to have our good friend Jay Nicholas writing for Oregon Fly Fishing Blog, and his ongoing humor column, Jay’s Dark Side Fly Fishing Glossary, is one of his greatest contributions. If you can’t get enough of Jay, check out his new blog Fishing With Jay.
3. Speaking of Jay… The North Umpqua Wild Steelhead Q&A: This monster interview with Jay Nicholas on the biological and cultural significance of the North Umpqua Wild Winter Steelhead is one of the most important documents we’ve ever published. Hands down, a must-read for any student of Oregon’s fishery issues.
2. Record breaking numbers of steelhead on the Deschutes: 2009 had a record-breaking run of summer steelhead on the Deschutes. Oregon fly guides Jeff Hickman and Ethan Nickel kept us up to date on the action.
1. Standing up for McKenzie River Redside Rainbow Trout. The McKenzie River’s native strain of rainbow trout are some of the biggest, baddest rainbows around. Centuries of evolution developed a fish adapted to whitewater, coexistence with voracious bull trout, and ping-pong ball sized prey (Green McKenzie Caddis, Golden Stones, Green Drakes, Etc). These are the greatest trout in the Lower 48, uniquely adapted to about 80 miles of the McKenzie River.
For the past several decades, ODFW has been planting 8-inch hatchery pukes on top of these amazing fish and have created what our district biologist Jeff Ziller has called a “Sacrifice Zone” covering 42 miles of river. While a funding-strapped state bureaucracy and a handful of hatchery trout collectors (i.e. guides) are fine with wiping out our native trout in over half its range for short term benefit, the public is not. The McKenzie’s native trout advocates made progress in 2009 in that at least we’re being heard. 2010 is going to be even bigger.
What’s on your top ten list from 2009?