Patagonia’s first-ever TV commercial is in defense of public lands

From Hatch Magazine’s Online Publication

Patagonia has never run a TV commercial. Not once. In 60 years. Since its earliest roots as Chouinard Equipment, a one-man operation run out of the back of Yvon Chouinard’s car, Patagonia has grown to become one of the largest apparel companies in the world with annual revenues upwards of $500 million dollars. And the company has accomplished all of this, in the competitive apparel world where marketing is half the battle, without ever running a television advertisement. Until now, that is.

Patagonia will air its first-ever television advertisement today but it won’t be in an effort to grow profits or reach more customers. Instead, the company’s first TV spot is the outgrowth of Patagonia’s corporate conscience and its longstanding activist efforts on the front lines of issues such as fair and humane working conditions, reducing the environmental impacts of manufacturing, preserving clean air and water, educating on the mounting issues surrounding climate change and, most recently, preserving America’s public lands legacy.

It is public lands that has prompted Patagonia to make the leap into the world of television with a $700,000 investment in a minute-long spot featuring Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard.

Despite then incoming Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke stating that “our greatest treasures are public lands,” access to and the extent of America’s public lands are increasingly threatened under the current administration. Donald Trump’s executive order requesting a review of 27 of America’s national monuments has put protected lands such as Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument, New Mexico’s Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, Maine’s Katahdin Woods and Waters and more under threat of rescission or reduction.

America’s public lands have long been a target of special interests, through bill mills like the American Legislative Exchange Council and bought-and-sold politicians on the political fringe, such as Utah’s congressmen Rob Bishop and Jason Chaffetz, as well as its governor, Gary Herbert. But, under the Trump administration, the Department of the Interior has publicly and unabashedly shifted gears to place fossil fuel extraction above all other land management priorities, bringing the degradation of America’s public lands into the mainstream.

n Patagonia’s 60-second spot, Chouinard outlines the value and threats to America’s public lands heritage and calls on Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke to stand by his pledge to preserve our nation’s public lands.

“Public lands are under threat now more than ever because of a few self-serving politicians who want to sell them off and make money. Behind the politicians are the energy companies and the big corporations that want to use up those national resources. It’s just greed—this belongs to us—this belongs to all of the people in America,” Chouinard states bluntly in the ad spot.

To air its first television commercial, Patagonia has purchased statewide television and radio time in Montana, the home state of Secretary Zinke. Patagonia has also purchased television and radio time in Utah, home to the the hotly debated Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante National Monuments, as well as in radio time in Nevada, where Gold Butte and Basin and Range National Monuments are also under threat.

In a statement, Patagonia noted that “This is not about politics or partisanship—it’s about standing up for places that belong to future generations. Patagonia wants to raise awareness of history’s lesson that when public lands are turned over to states that can’t afford to maintain them, the result is the land is often auctioned off to private companies who irrevocably damage them and deny access to them for all of us. Whether you are a hunter or a hiker, an angler or a climber, Patagonia wants you to join them in this fight to ensure access and protection for our public lands.”

Watch Patagonia’s first television commercial below.

Here is my letter to the editor published in the Register Guard last week.

Here is another great piece on getting outside and enjoying our national lands.

Another great piece that ran in the Register Guard

In 8/21/17 RG

Interior’s orders troubling for hunters, anglers

By Karl Findling

For The Register-Guard

When Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke was confirmed by the U.S. Senate back in March, hunters and anglers felt their interests would be well-represented by the agency responsible for managing 500 million acres of the nation’s public lands, including our national parks, wildlife refuges and Bureau of Land Management lands.

After all, as Montana’s lone member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Zinke demonstrated that he was willing to buck members of his party in support of a critical public-lands program — the Land and Water Conservation Fund — and was a vocal opponent of the disposal of federal public lands.
However, five months later, unless we see some major shifts at Interior — and soon — it’s looking as if Zinke will go down as yet another politician who fooled the sporting community by pretending to be one of us, someone who legitimately cares about the future of wildlife habitat and public lands.
Ever since the secretary moved into his new D.C. office, hunters and anglers have watched a steady stream of antisportsmanand anti-wildlife orders flowfrom his desk. First, it was a secretarial order to eliminate the Interior Department’s mitigation policies, which are intended to offset the impacts of development on fish and wildlife populations. Mitigation is common sense and completely necessary to ensure that we continue to have healthy fish and wildlife habitat as development spreads on the landscape.

Along with hits to mitigation came a process aimed at eliminating “potential burdens” to oil and gas production. To put it into perspective, safeguards in place to conserve mule deer or bighorn sheep habitat could be perceived as “potential burdens.”
Next came a review process in which the secretary announced that the Department of the Interior was going to evaluate 27 of the nation’s national monuments covering 11.3 million acres, with an eye toward revoking or shrinking individual national monuments through executive action. These tactics are of questionable legality and could threaten the legitimacy of all monuments dating back to Devils Tower in Wyoming, which was created by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906.
Of the 27 monuments being reviewed, 22 are open to hunting and fishing including the 100,000-acre Cascade Siskiyou National Monument in the southwestcorner of Oregon, a national treasure that provides important public recreation opportunities and habitat for big game and wild trout. Its future is now at risk.

Third, the secretary directed the Interior Department to review the national sage grouse conservation plans, which were the product of years of collaboration between public, private, local, state, and national interests to find common ground and keep the sage grouse off the threatened species list. These efforts also provided numerous benefits for big game — like mule deer and wild sheep — as well as native fisheries and other wildlife. Just the other day, Interior released a report on the sage grouse plans that could lead to a significant rollback of conservation safeguards, affecting 67 million acres of important wildlife habitat.

If these ongoing and anti-sportsman processes don’t cause alarm, maybe the fact that the secretary recently attended the American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual meeting in Denver, Colo. ALEC is known as being one of the primary proponents of disposing of America’s 640 million acres of public lands, the same lands that 72 percent of Western sportsmen depend on for hunting access.
This is also the time to renew — and increase for inflation — the 53-yearold Land and Water Conservation Fund.It utilizes offshore drilling royalties to fund land acquisitions and helps to create fluid uninterrupted wildlife corridors. The best example of this process in Oregon is the 2015 purchase of the 10,000acre Lower Deschutes River Ranch. In partnership with the state Department of Fish & Wildlife and other conservation groups, the LWCF funded the purchase of a private in-holding which preserved 25,000 acres of contiguous wildlife habitat benefiting steelhead and bighorn sheep, and secured public access — a win-win.

I understand that there will be policy changes under a new administration. But I also expect that, as a self-identified Western sportsman and Theodore Roosevelt conservationist, Zinke would demonstrate that he cares about our community and our interests. With energy, monument and sage grouse conservation decisions looming in the coming weeks and months, the time is now for the sporting community to judge the secretary. And it’s time for Zinke to show that he cares.

Karl Findling is the owner of Oregon Pack Works in Bend. He is a member of the Steens Mountain Advisory Council and several sportsmen’s groups.


Posted in Oregon Conservation News | 2 Comments

DRA Secures Important Victory for Clean Water Advocates!

Photo _14 copy

From the Deschutes River Alliance

Dear Deschutes River Alliance Community,

We’re excited to announce a major development in the DRA’s Clean Water Act lawsuit against Portland General Electric.

For months, the DRA Legal Team has been working diligently to defend citizens’ authority to enforce water quality requirements at hydroelectric projects. This past Monday, August 14, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit appeared to put this critical question to rest, by siding with the DRA and refusing to hear a PGE appeal on the issue. This decision will allow the DRA’s critical Clean Water Act lawsuit to proceed, and is an important victory for clean water advocates across the country.

The Ninth Circuit’s decision has great significance for water quality in the lower Deschutes River, and for other rivers that are severely impacted by hydroelectric projects. Click here for more on the DRA’s lawsuit and the Ninth Circuit’s important decision!

Cooler, cleaner H2O for the Deschutes.

Posted in Oregon Conservation News | Leave a comment

Nicholas’ Review of Gamakatsu SL 12s, SC 15 2H, SC17, and 811S fly tying hooks

Jay Nicholas Gamakatsu Hook Review

Hooks pictured above:
top row left-right 811-S_ 3/0 – 2/0
second row left-right SL 12S_ 4/0 – 2/0
third row left-right SC152H_ 3/0, SC15_ 2/0
bottom row left-right SC 17_ 3/0-2/0

I have found a few hooks that I particularly like and trust when tying very heavy estuary flies and saltwater flies. This post is my effort to share a few of my thoughts on each of these hooks.

I am absolutely confident recommending all of these hooks to anyone tying the very best flies.

Shared qualities: all of these hooks are durable, saltwater resistant, strong, and have sharp points right out of the package. All have nicely formed eyes.

Thoughts on sharpening these hooks. Compared to some estuary and saltwater anglers, my angling experience is limited. Many fellow anglers fish under more varied conditions than I do, so I expect that my remarks on sharpening these hooks is likely not the whole story. In general, however, I do not usually use a hook sharpener on any of these fly hooks. My experience with other hooks that are built of stout diameter wire is that it is difficult to sharpen them properly if they become dulled. My fly hooks become dulled so very rarely, that I just do not see the point (oops) of trying to re-craft a new sharp point. The hooks I,m reviewing here all have extrememly sharp points out of the package, and all of the points are durable and remain sharp after days of fishing in saltwater. If you will be fishing under circumstances where your hook may become dulled, I’m sure that these can be restored with use of a good hook hone or hook file.

Of the three hooks reviewed here, the 811-s is the most easily restored, because the wire is the smallest diameter. The S12-S is the next easiest to restore, and the SC-15 2H and SC 17 are the most challenging to sharpen because their wire diameters are larger. Makes sense.

Hook finish:
811-S: dull silver stainless
SL 12S: shiny saltwater resistant finish
SC 15 2h: shiny saltwater resistant finish
SC 17: black nickel shiny saltwater resistant finish

Hook wire diameter (relative):
811-S: finest
SL 12S: moderate
SC 15 2h & SC 17: heaviest

Hook shank length: in order from the longest to the shortest shank:
811-S: longest
SL 12S & SC 15 2h: miderate
SC 17: shortest

The length of the two middle hooks is practically indistinguishable, but the first and last hook listed are definitely the longest and shortest shanks.

811-S: This is my favorite fly for saltwater flies that require a long shank hook and — with the reservation that the wire on this hook is not nearly as stout/strong as the other three hooks noted in this review. I have felt felt very comfortable using this hook with #30 lb leader but I would not if I was fishing a species like tarpon with a very hard bony mouth. While the hook is super sharp, I would not feel like the wire is quite up to the task of penetrating bone. I have not seen experienced tyers recommending this hook for species like tarpon, and I would be interested in hearing what others think. This hook seems suitable for Roosters and Dorado under all but the most extreme conditions of heavy tippets and monster fish.

SL 12S: My favorite all-around hook. I use this hook for clousers, Coho Bucktails, Tube Flies, and all manner of baitfish style flies. For my tying style, this hook has the nicest combination of wire diameter, hook bend style, shank length. My largest objection is that there is no size 1 in this hook because I would love to have this hook larger then the 2 and smaller than the 1/0. Oh well. Tyers more experienced than me say that the 1/0 and 2/0 in this hook are entirely sufficient to hook tarpon on smallish sized flies, and that the hook wire is up to the task for fighting hard with #30 leaders.

SC 15 2H: This is my go-to choice for vary large clousers, and saltwater baitfish patterns, and tube flies that require super-tough hooks with a moderate-length shank.

SC 17: This is my go to hook for tying modest and large size tarpon flies, not because I’ve ever caught a tarpon, but because this is the hook recommended by the vast majority of tyer/anglers who specialize in tarpon flies. I also like this hook for tying my albacore and skipjack casting flies. This hook has the stoutest wire, shortest shank, and will track true when stripping the fly very fast on the retrieve. I would feel comfortable using this hook with the toughest fish and the stoutest leaders – that’s how strong the wire and overall hook is.

I hope you find these remarks helpful.

Jay Nicholas August, 2017

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies | Leave a comment

Cooler Temperatures and Dropping Water Make for Improved Local Fishing

mckenzie river trout

Look for trout fishing to perk up this coming week with cooler temperatures and perfect water conditions. It’s a great idea to take a look at The Middle Fork of the Willamette above and below Hills Creek Reservoir. The South Fork of the McKenzie above Cougar Reservoir and the North Forth of the Willamette near Westfir. All of these smaller waters will have excellent access and fun fishing. Go old school and use your two or three weight a shorter leader and a standard Elk Hair Caddis for good results. Bring a few grass hopper patterns and small yellow stone fly nymphs just in case you need to go subsurface.

Posted in Fishing Reports | 1 Comment

Random Review of Fly Tying tools, materials and gear – August 2017

Random selection of fly tying tools and gear that I regularly use and endorse.

Random selection of fly tying tools and gear that I regularly use and endorse.

For the record, I’ve been thinking about reviewing a bunch of fly fishing related items for quite some time.  I wanted to share my appreciation for a wide variety of products that I use on a regular basis.

I will say more about some of these products than about others. My point here is simply to list several of the products and say a little (or a little more) about each.

Are the products I use better than others currently available?

Although a few might be, more likely, these are simply decent products that I have found agreeable to my personal tying skill and experience. I am fortunate to be able to tie with a very wide assortment of tools, materials, and hooks. Some of these please me greatly, some do not.

I decided to simply browse my tying bench, grab a fair number of items I have been using lately, lay them out on the floor, take a photo, and get on with my review, providing links to the products so that the reader currently unfamiliar with each could easily check them out in the catalog.

Please excuse the madness of this post. Best I can do today. Now here goes.

I will make my way generally from upper Left to lower right.

1. Craft Fur Brushes
2. Steve Farrar’s blend
3. opal mirage lateral scale
4. Zap A Gap
5. Gamakatsu SL 12S
6. Loon UC Clear Fly Finish Thick
7. Fluorocarbon tippet by Hatch and Rio
8. Regal fly tying vise, with magnum jaws
9. ProSportfisher Classic tube
10. Hareline Alaska Brass Cones
11. Petitjean Long Loop TRr Scissors
12. OPST Dubbing Twister
13. Loon Ergo Bodkin
14. Loon razor scissors 4″
15. C&F rotary hackle Pliers
16. NorVise Clutch Bobbin

1. EP craft fur brushes: With a stainless steel wire core, these brushes are available in a dizzying number of colors. I use the white/white for baitfish bellies. You can use these brushes to create baitfish bodies, finishing collars, wet fly hackles, and more. The Craft fur brushes may be the easiest to use, but it is well worth the time of all tyers who craft large fresh and saltwater flies to check these out. Brushes are composed of natural and synthetic materials and incorporate various amounts of flash.

2. Farrar’s Flash Blend and Farrar’s UV blend. This material is the most delightful and frustrating I regularly use for tying baitfish wings. The delight comes from a great array of color choices, the blending of several colors (e.g., bleeding mackerel, bleeding black), and the incorporation of flash into the materials. Some of these colors make the most spectacular baitfish style flies in my box.

The frustration I have with these materials involves the fact that the basic texture varies depending on the color and over time. For example, the texture of Fl chartreuse Farrar’s blend has varied over time. The material I purchased two weeks ago is head and shoulders “better” than it was a year ago. Color is better, texture is better, and the flies I tie are better. My assertion that the material is now better is of course a subjective evaluation

3. Lateral Scale: This is my favorite flash material for everything from steelhead flies, salmon clousers, to saltwater flies.

4. Zap A Gap: simple and dependable glue. Super tough. Helps make your flies super durable. Be careful how you use this stuff.

5. Gamakatsu SL 12S hooks: my favorite all round saltwater and estuary fly hook, I will be reviewing these in a separate post. From #2 to #8/0 these are a very nice balance of hook wire diameter, sharp points, saltwater safe finish, and strength in a fly hook.

6. Loon UC Clear Fly Finish (Thick): Now that Cure Goo is out of the picture, I have considerable experience with this new Loon UV cure and really like it. The Thick version has a consistency that is easy to work with when making heads on large saltwater fly heads.

7. Fluorocarbon tippet by Hatch and Rio: I find myself fishing fluorocarbon leaders more often than not. I fish both Hatch and Rio Fluorocarbon material and find both brands are entirely reliable, tough leaders.

8. Regal fly tying vise, with magnum jaws: withoug goint into detail, I tie on two vises, the NORVISE and the REGAL. I prefer the REGAL when tying large saltwater flies, because I like the way I can slowly rotate the head of the regal vise while forming UV cure heads on big flies. I need the Magnum jaws for my very large hooks on heavy wire.Regal vises are absolutely dependable, hold hooks well, and I’m confident that the REGAL and the NORVISE will perform for every tyer.

9. ProSportfisher Classic tube: I use this tube when tying tube Intruders because it is PERFECTLY suited to rigging hooks on a mono loop. I tie my fly on the tube (note that I can cut my tube to any length I wish) and then to rig the hook, I slip it into a mono loop and pull the loop knot into the rear of the tube to secure it. This tube material will not crack in cold temperatures, can be cut to any length, and does not require a separate hook holder. This tube is available in different colors and diameters from a micro to a magnum.

10. Hareline Alaska Brass Cones: These are big and bad heavy cones. These are the ONLY cones I have found that I can use on both tubes and hooks. The cone is PERFECT for use on the PRO SPORTFISHER Classic Tubes. It is also perfect to slip over most of the heavy saltwater hooks I tie on.

11. Petitjean Long Loop Trim Scissors: These are absolutely fantastic specialty scissors that I would not like to be without. There are so many situations where I need a long straight scissor blades. This includes working with tying Intruders, trimming saltwater materials and so forth.

12. OPST Dubbing Twister: heavy duty and dependable. I love mine. Bet you will love yours too.

13. Loon Ergo Bodkin: I once thought that bodkins were all alike. Not so. I LOVE the handle on this bodkin. I can hold this tool while I am winding on a composite dubbing loop.

14. Loon razor scissors 4“: I have tied with Dr. Slick razor scissors for years. I have recently tied with these Loon razor scissors and LOVE them. I like the yellow rubber finger loops. It is POSSIBLE that these Loon scissors are sharper and hold an edge better than the DR.slick scissors. I am not sure. This is possible, I think they are but dang this is a close call. At present I think I like these are a tiny bit better, and think it is worth your while to check these LOON scissors. Just sayin’.

15. C&F Hackle Pliers: I have written about this product before, but I am still so enamored with the ability of these pliers to hold everything from hackles to dubbing loops to marabou, to craft fur brushes – that I felt motivated to mention them again. Great product.

16. NorVise Clutch Bobbin: Great automatic bobbin, if you have not used one of these gizmos you should try it. One thing you will need to get used to is making sure the thread does not retract into the tube when you finish your fly and cut the thread. This will require you to re-thread the bobbin and it quite irritating. If you are tying with NORVISE you will just secure your thread/bobbin on the thread post, but if you are tying on another vise you will just need to strip out 12″ or so of thread before setting the bobbin down on your bench. It took me a few days to get accustomed to this process but when I did, this bobbin revolutionized my tying.

I hope these ideas help you find the tools, materials, and gear you most prefer from the Fly Tying industry.

Jay Nicholas August, 2017

Posted in Fly Tying, Fly Tying Materials and Supplies | Leave a comment

Wild Willamette Steelhead in Peril

From the Conservation Angler

For Immediate Release: Monday, August 7, 2017 David Moskowitz, Executive Director, The Conservation Angler 971-235-8953
Bill M. Bakke, Conservation Director, The Conservation Angler

The Conservation Angler shares the conservation concerns about wild Willamette River Winter Steelhead: ODFW must address more than sea lions
While seals and sea lions at Willamette Falls and Bonneville Dam are a serious concern and warrant action, ODFW is ignoring a multiplicity of other impacts to wild steelhead in Willamette and throughout the lower Columbia River.

The Conservation Angler believes that actions to reduce predation by sea lions and
seals at man-made obstacles like the fish ladder at Willamette Falls are warranted given the huge regional investments in salmon and watershed recovery in the Willamette.
However, there are a many other factors that are within the authority of ODFW to address right now, without waiting for Congress to act.
ODFW releases hundreds of thousands of non-native hatchery summer steelhead into Willamette River tributaries. Hatchery smolts are large when released and many thousands never migrate out of the rivers. These residualized river smolt prey heavily on juvenile spring chinook and winter steelhead.

ODFW releases tens of thousands of hatchery trout into reservoirs over which they are also re-introducing spring chinook and winter steelhead to help the native fish access historic spawning and rearing habitat. These “catchable trout also prey on the out- migrating spring chinook and winter steelhead.
ODFW permits angling on the hatchery summer steelhead and spring salmon using bait and barbed hooks during the time when winter steelhead are staging and spawning. ODFW cannot calculate the catch and release mortality on wild winter fish encountered in the hatchery summer steelhead fishery.

ODFW authorizes winter and spring gillnet seasons that target spring chinook, but which take place without monitors to help evaluate the handle and mortality on winter steelhead in the lower Columbia River.

All of the above factors have contributed to the decline and prevented true recovery of these ESA-listed fish.
The Conservation Angler would like ODFW to take Dr. Clements’ statement to heart across the range of responsibility the agency has to protect native and fish and wildlife. He said “We are at a point where any more delays in the Willamette may condemn this run to extinction,” Clements said. “We need to act now or extinction may be our legacy.”

The Conservation Angler could not agree more. ###
Background: Willamette Winter Steelhead Trends and Abundance
The trends for wild winter steelhead in the lower Columbia and Willamette River have been somewhat steady over the past ten years, though the overall trend is down.

The previous low return was 1996 when only 1,800 wild winter steelhead passed over Willamette Falls. It is unknown how many wild fish were produced in the Willamette historically.
The most recent ten-year average has been 5,618 wild winter steelhead over the Falls. The most recent five-year average is 5,639 wild winter steelhead.
The Willamette Falls fish count of winter steelhead for the 2016-2017 run year totaled
822 winter steelhead over the Willamette Falls Fishway between November 1 and May 31. There may be hatchery winter steelhead that pass through the fish ladder and that may be why ODFW reports that there were only 512 wild winter steelhead that passed over Willamette Falls.
Steelhead and spring chinook can also ascend Willamette Falls without using the Fishway. The fact that some hatchery winter fish may be part of the fish ladder count, and that both wild and hatchery fish may ascend the Falls without being counted, makes it difficult to use these passage numbers as completely accurate measures of population health and abundance.
When Upper Willamette River wild winter steelhead received an ESA listing in 1999, almost 7,000 fish crossed over the Falls.

ODFW’s website reports in 2014 that wild winter steelhead over Willamette Falls averaged over 6,000 fish for the previous ten years. During that period, they ranged from a low of 2,813 fish to a high of 7,616 wild winter fish.

The number of winter steelhead returning to the Willamette was quite high in the 1960s through the 1980s, though there were also hatchery winter steelhead mixed in with those returns.

What seems clear is that the numbers of wild winter steelhead have been declining as the number of hatchery summer steelhead grew, particularly from 1990 to the present.
The link below is for Willamette Falls Annual Fish Passage Counts from 1946 to 2016.

The Take Home Points:

1. ODFW has contributed to the decline of threatened winter steelhead by running a revenue fetching fishing program for non- native hatchery steelhead rather than recovery for endangered native steelhead. Irresponsible.

2. ODFW releases so many hatchery summer steelhead that cause competition and predation for threatened winter steelhead they have asked anglers to fish for hatchery steelhead smolts, a fishery that also kills wild winter steelhead smolts.

3. Seal and Sea Lions were not solely responsible for the low 2017 return. Predation on salmon and steelhead by marine mammals reaches a critical impact when the return is as low as counted and the number of marine mammals is high. The
question is how did the Willamette Winter Steelhead population drop from over 5,778 in 2016 to less than 900 in 2017? Again the low return in 2017 was not caused solely nor principally by marine mammals. By lumping all the negatives on sea lion predation ODFW has found a cover up for their own incompetence.

4. Federal enforcement of the Endangered Species Act recovery of threatened winter steelhead has purposely failed, giving ODFW the green light to promote the extinction of winter steelhead rather than their recovery. Shameful and illegal.

5. The Conservation Angler supports marine mammal management to prevent the serious depletion of ESA-listed wild salmon and steelhead at human-caused bottlenecks, but this action must be accompanied by addressing ALL causes of decline.

Posted in Coastal Steelhead Fishing, Oregon Conservation News, Oregon fly fishing links, Oregon Salmon fly fishing | 1 Comment

Willamette steelhead on verge of extinction due to increasing sea lion presence at Willamette Falls

Willamette Falls


From the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

Monday, August 7, 2017
SALEM, Ore. – One of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest’s iconic fish, native steelhead trout, have been migrating over Willamette Falls in Portland to spawn in Cascade Mountain rivers for millennia. They are now at high risk of going extinct, based on a new analysis by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 1999 due primarily to the impacts of federal dams and habitat loss, wild native Willamette steelhead have now slipped to high risk of extinction. Willamette steelhead now face a new and growing threat from male sea lions that have learned to exploit the fish as they congregate below Willamette Falls before navigating upriver to spawn.
Continuing a decade-long downward trend, the number of wild steelhead returning to the upper Willamette this year was the lowest on record, with only 512 fish passing above the Willamette Falls. ODFW scientists found that sea lions consumed at least one quarter of the wild steelhead run and warned that if sea lion predation continues at these levels, there is an up to 90 percent probability that at least one wild steelhead population will go extinct as a direct result of the predation. The near-term risk of wild steelhead extinction can be significantly reduced or avoided by limiting sea lion access to Willamette Falls.
“We know what the problem is and have seen this coming for about a decade, we just couldn’t take action to prevent it,” said Dr. Shaun Clements from ODFW.
California sea lions have expanded along the West Coast over the past four decades to a population of nearly 300,000 animals coast-wide today. As numbers increased, a small proportion of sea lions – all males – have expanded their range into freshwater areas where migrating salmon and steelhead are especially vulnerable, including in places such as Ballard Locks in Washington, Bonneville Dam, and at the Willamette Falls, where fish tend to congregate before moving upstream. At these locations, predation by sea lions is especially high and adversely impacts salmon, steelhead, and sturgeon. In the 1980s, sea lion predation on winter steelhead at Ballard Locks in Seattle effectively destroyed the Lake Washington stock.
“Removal of a few problem individuals will have no impact on the overall sea lion population but can significantly benefit ESA-listed fish,” said Robin Brown, lead scientist for ODFW’s marine mammal program.
Any solution to address the threats to wild fish populations will have to strike a balance between the recovery of imperiled salmon and steelhead populations and the ongoing conservation of sea lions. Also at stake are significant regional investmentments in recovery efforts, such as improvements in fish passage at dams, restoration of fish habitat, and implementation of fishing regulations that prohibit anglers from harvesting wild fish. ODFW scientists have determined that curtailing the immediate impact created by sea lion predation is essential to saving the steelhead from extinction to support the success of long-term recovery efforts.
Sea lions are protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). TheMMPA, unlike the ESA, has fewer tools for managers to use to balance the conservation of predators and prey and prevent these situations in locations where fish are most vulnerable. Sections of the MMPA were revised in 1994 to allow limited management of sea lions for the purpose of protecting ESA-listed salmon and steelhead.Unfortunately, the revisions do not allow for proactive management and cannot address emergencies like that occurring at Willamette Falls.
“We are in on-going discussions with state and tribal fishery managers and several stakeholder groups,” said Dr. Clements, “Given the situation at Willamette Falls, everyone is united in their call for swift action, and ODFW stands ready to provide expertise to the Northwest congressional delegation on a bipartisan, compromise bill to revise the MMPA to address these emergency situations without undermining the strength and importance of this law.” Bills in the House and Senate; H.R. 2083, sponsored by Rep. Jamie Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.) and Rep. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.), and S 1702, sponsored by Sen. James Risch (R-Idaho), represent the first steps toward that goal.
“We are at a point where any more delays in the Willamette may condemn this run toextinction,” Clements said. “We need to act now or extinction may be our legacy.”
Upper Willamette wild steelhead have been listed as “threatened” under the federal ESA since March 1999. ODFW has not allowed harvest of these fish for more than 20 years. California sea lion populations are robust, and the animals are not listed under the Endangered Species Act, but are protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Dr. Shaun Clements, (541) 223-8437
Rick Swart, (971) 673-6038

Posted in Coastal Steelhead Fishing | Leave a comment

EP Brushes Help Make Super Baitfish Bellies


Jay Nicholas Coho Bucktail with EP Brush .

Coho Bucktail with EP Brush forming the belly of the fly.

Many fly tyers have realized that various material brushes can be great time-savers when creating a belly on baitfish & streamer flies. I have been using these materials for several years and have found several brushes that all work very well for the flies I am tying.

I thought it might help folks who have not used this technique much to note four of the brushes that I use on a routine basis – I will show images of two of these.

The four brushes I use most often for white bait fish bellies are:

EP Craft Fur Brush white/white
EP Foxy Brush white white
Ep Sparkle Brush Pearl Magic
EP Senyo’s Chromatic Brush Live Bait


Jay Nicholas EP Craft Fur Brush white/white.

Jay Nicholas EP Craft Fur Brush white/white.

The EP Brush pictured above is the Craft Fur brush in white/white. This brush is my favorite for most of the flies I tie. It has the longest flowing fibers and a dense middle portion.


EP Brush  Sparkle Brush Pearl Magic.

EP Brush Sparkle Brush Pearl Magic.

The EP Brush pictured above is the Sparkle brush in pearl magic. I reach for this brush when I want maximum sparkle and shine. It is not as full and bushy so I need to take more turns to full out the belly, and it is not as long or as flowy as the other three brushes, but is is very nice, especially for shorter streamers.

Step 1 creating baitfish belly with EP Brush.

Step 1 creating baitfish belly with EP Brush.


Step 2 creating baitfish belly with EP Brush.

Step 2 creating baitfish belly with EP Brush. I have tied the wire core to the hook shank in prparation for winding it like a hackle around the shank.

Step 3 creating baitfish belly with EP Brush.

Step 3 creating baitfish belly with EP Brush. This image shows the brush after I wound it around the hook shank. This probably represents 5 or 6 full turns.

Finished Coho Bucktail.

Finished Coho Bucktail. I added a top wing, lateral scale on the sides of the fly, placed eyes at the head of the fly, and finished it with UV cure.


Coho and albacore flies with EP brush bellies

Coho and albacore flies with EP brush bellies – I hope to put all of these beauties to work in the next several weeks, depending on ocean conditions.

I highly recommend the use of various brushes when tying a wide range of baitfish patterns for fresh and saltwater flies.

Jay Nicholas – August 2017






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Hot Weather and Higher Flows on the McKenzie


Fishing was surprisingly good yesterday on the upper McKenzie. Higher flows out of Cougar Reservoir and Blue River seemed to spurn activity despite the heat. 100 degrees plus heat meant mid day hatches were zero but fishing a mid sized (#10) Gold Chubby Chernobyl and a Mega Prince dropper was very effective.


The entire river is likely to benefit from the higher and cooler sustained flows we will see from the corps early summer release of water.


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Coho Fly Fishing Report at Pacific City July 28 2017

The dory is ready to roll at the cabin.

The dory is ready to roll at the cabin.

It was a busy day on the beach at Pacific City while we were launching in the morning.

It was a busy day on the beach at Pacific City while we were launching in the morning.

I had the opportunity to troll bucktail flies out of Pacific City with friends a few days ago.

We fished from about 0630 to 1300 hrs – hooking 9 silvers, and brought 3 to hand. Two were wild fish released from barbless hooks, one was a hatchery fish put in the box by friend Ed Bowles.

Headed to the salmon grounds.

Headed to the salmon grounds.

It was my turn to get a fly line destroyed in the prop. Last week it was Rob Perkin’s misfortune. Oh well that’s how it goes.

Rob Perkin is ready for a coho to grab with the sun rising in the east.

Rob Perkin is ready for a coho to grab with the sun rising in the east.

overall we had a very nice day. By the way the bass were there but not on the bite to the extent we usually find them. Still, we managed to catch a few to finish out the day.

Crab Spawn from the stomach of a hatchery coho caught in the ocean off Pacific City in July 2017.

Crab Spawn from the stomach of a hatchery coho caught in the ocean off Pacific City in July 2017.

Our one hatchery coho had been feeding on “crab spawn.”

Enjoying the aftermath of a good fishing day and safe landing on the beach at Cape Kiwanda.

Enjoying the aftermath of a good fishing day and safe landing on the beach at Cape Kiwanda.

Jay Nicholas, July 2017

Posted in Fishing Reports, Oregon Salmon fly fishing, Oregon Saltwater Fishing | 2 Comments

Cascade Lake Report : July 2017

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Had to get my lake on, got one of the Technical Men’s Council (old dawgs who have fished together for decades) and headed off to Craine Prairie last week.   The lake is about 85% full and based upon our results, the fish were scattered. Needless to say, the weather was outstanding!
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We fished for two days.  Day one was very good with Chironomid and bobber.  The snow cone Chironomid was the key fly for the day.

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Day two brought provided an event, we had not seen for some time, a blue damsel hatch. Fish were leaping out of the water to pursue these blue darts. Our boat became a sanctuary from consumption! The dry blue damsel fly, was the key. The hatch lasted a few hours until the familiar winds of Craine kicked up late in the afternoon.

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We are continuing to see great weather and good fishing all over our area. Time to get out there and enjoy the Northwest at its finest! Oh, headed back next week….!


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Pacific City Albacore update – – – the Dory Fleet Connected!

Yes the Albacore were offshore Pacific City on the 21st and the dory fleet was able to find fish willing to grab.


The two dory boats with fly anglers managed to find enough tuna that everyone aboard hooked and landed fish. These fish ranged from about 15 pounds to a solid 25 pounds. The most productive flies had blue over white color themes and were about 6″ long.

The fly bite was slow until noon, with plugs and irons producing the most fish early in the day. Flies were apparently more appealing to the tuna in the afternoon, and my friends all returned to the beach tired but happy.

Since their day began about 4 AM preparing to launch and ended close to 8 PM with clean-up in my yard, they were all pretty much done for the day, and tuna processing occurred the next day, with fish packed securely on ice overnight.

The tuna were found roughly between 25 and 50 miles offshore. Long day and a lot of gas burned by the fleet.

My yard was crowded with cars and dory boats.

The wind is howling now, so it will be some time before anyone heads out from the beach to tuna fish here at Pacific City.

My best to you all in the meantime.

Jay Nicholas July 26 2017

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Your Input Needed on the McKenzie

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From the McKenzie River Trust

As many of you know, In 2016 McKenzie River Trust purchased 278 acres from Roseboro Lumber Company including the Finn Rock Boat Landing on the McKenzie River. As we work towards developing our conservation management plan for the area, we are seeking public input specifically regarding the boat landing, to help inform our plans.

This input will help us to plan, and seek to fund improvements to the landing and be sure that our next moves are guided by the businesses and community who utilize this free launch site. We would deeply appreciate your input!

To fill out the survey online visit

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Great Albacore Flies will be put to the test on July 21st!

A selection of my best Albacore flies to fish offshore Oregon.

A selection of my best Albacore flies to fish offshore Oregon.

But not by me.

My friends will be charging out into the ocean offshore Pacific City at about 0445 hours this morning. I will have wished them all well, anxiously awaiting the return of the tuna fleet late in the afternoon.

This is a very quick post to show the type of flies that we have proved effective, and to show the general color themes and relative size of the flies my friends will be fishing.

Color themes: most have a blue back, but we have had success fishing flies with a purple and bronze too.

Size: these flies are as small as 3″ and as long as 7″Size: these flies are as small as 3″ and as long as 7″

Weighted vs unweighted: all are weighted except for the second and third flies from the left.

Troll vs cast flies: the two flies on the right are our trolling flies, the rest are our casting flies.

Reports indicate that the albacore are (at present) 25-35 miles offshore of Pacific City as I type, based on satellite imaging that reveals surface sea temperatures and chlorophyll densities. The tuna guys look at the images and set their course to the coordinates they think are most likely to be hospitable to the tuna.

Several dorys fishing out of Pacific City caught albacore recently, and ocean conditions look even better for the 21st.

Best wishes to you all — I hope to venture forth in pursuit of albacore very soon.

Jay Nicholas – July 20, 2017



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Summer Water Conditions in the Willamette Valley

Summer on the McKenzie

Water levels have dropped, hatches have diminished and there are more folks out fishing than almost anytime of year. Sound like a great recipe for tough fishing? Well, it can be. High sun in the afternoon can be tough, trout tend to stay down and hide in the shade of big boulders in deep water. Even with deep nymphing tactics it seems that they have a period where they are “turning off” a bit. Your best bet is to fish early and late and look for the faster oxygenated runs. Despite a drop off in hatches there are still some smaller caddis and Pale Morning duns out. Try size 14-16 high floating caddis patterns in fast or shaded water during the day and look for better hatches in lower light conditions. You will still catch fish during the day with “hopper dropper” rigs and again look for that faster water where fish can get cover and food. If you do go deep use slimmer jigged patterns that descend quickly into the fast water. Enjoy the beautiful weather!

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