About this blog

This blog is all about fly fishing for native trout. On it I cover trip reports, fishing tactics, conservation, the latest news about native trout species and much more. This site provides a companion to my web page Nativetroutflyfishing.com.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Call for Support! Alvord Cutthroat

The Alvord cutthroat has been declared extinct for most of the past century, however in one small creek in Southern Oregon there is still a remnant of these fish left. Although it is unclear how genetically pure the fish in this creek are, some are phenotypically correct representations of the Alvord cutthroat trout and this may be the last chance to save these fish from extinction. The problem is that closely related Lahontan cutthroat have also been stocked in the creek and the greatly out number the Alvord type fish and seem to be slowly but surely replacing the Alvord type fish. For more information of these fish, please visit http://kortumofdiscovery.wordpress.com/ or http://www.nativetroutflyfishing.com/alvordcutthroat.htm.


Now is the time for action and I urge any of my readers to write letters in support of a restoration project. Such a letter should include the following information:
1. Conducting a transplant of the most "Alvord-like" fish to a stream with suitable habitat. Such a stream should have good riparian habitat and water quality so that a self sustaining population can be created.
2. The stream currently holding these fish should to made catch and release only and no bait to help protect the remain "Alvord-type" fish found there.
3. The restoration of these fish should not hinge on waiting for genetic testing as such testing is timely and this population is too fragile to await such delays. Also this testing is going to be difficult to conduct as the Alvord cutthroat is lacking in quality genetic samples to compare with.
Please submit letters of support for an Alvord phenotype rescue and restoration project to: Shannon Hurn, ODFW District Office, 237 Highway 20 South/PO Box 8, Hines, OR 97738 or via email to shannon.m.hurn@state.or.us

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beyond Expectations

Sometimes when you think you have things planned out, a spurt of the moment change of plans can be a great thing. That was the case for me over the weekend. My original plan was to take things easy and catch up on my to do list. However, a phone call from my buddy Jonathan quickly changed that. It seemed he was in a bit of a bind, he had planned a guided trip on the Olympic Peninsula for Steelhead with a friend of his from Colorado, but his friend got the flu the day before the trip. So he had a seat for the trip that needed filling and with a nice hole in my schedule I quickly took him up on the offer to join the trip.

So Friday night I got home from work tossed my gear in the car and we headed for the coast. As is common with Forks, WA it rained most of the night, but we woke to clear skies in the morning and met up with our guide Jim Kerr (http://www.raincoastguides.com/) just as the sun was peaking over the horizon. With the rains overnight the rivers had bumped up a bit and the clarity was marginal, but flows were dropping and with any luck some fresh fish would be pushing in on the high water. As it would turn out luck was with us...

The river

With steelheading I always set my expectations very low, if I hook a fish it is a great day as it is  more about just being out on the river. Therefore when Jonathan got things started out nice sea-run Cutthroat and a beautiful 4-5lb native hen kelt, the day had already treated us better that I would hope. However, it just kept getting better, as I followed suit with a similar sized wild hen that was still working her way upstream to spawn. As always with steelhead fishing not every piece of choice looking water is going to hold a fish and as such persistence pays off and not to mention it helps having someone as knowledgeable as Jim at the oars. Jim put us on a great looking run with some down timber that he said typical holds a fish or two. He was right and just where you would expect a steelhead to sit, there were two of them and Jonathan and I had a double going. It was quickly clear that Jonathan's fish was the bigger over the two, but it didn't stay on long enough for us to see just how big. I had a good hookset on my fish and after a quick fight I ended up landing a beautiful about 8lb chrome buck.

Native steelhead, it doesn't get a whole lot better.

The fishing remained good throughout the day with Jonathan and I each picking up another steelhead. However, one of my highlights of the trip was still waiting as downriver I got into my biggest fish of the day and this season so far. A wild hen that I hooked part way down a rapid and that decided that it wanted to go up that rapid. This left me being pulled on from both ends, the raft going down the rapid and the fish up and by time we got to the bottom, there were maybe five to ten wraps of backing left on the reel. With that I hoped out of the raft and chased the fish on foot, finally gaining the fly line back by the time it decided to go down the rapid. This worked to our advantage though as we were able to land it in a side channel at the bottom of the rapid and I briefly admired the 13lb hen before sending her on her way again.

My big fish

In the next hole down river Jonathan hooked into a nice fish, but after a couple minutes the Steelhead won out and continued on its way. However, a few casts later Jonathan got a consolation prize with a small jack Steelhead and then while demonstrating a couple useful small stream steelheading techniques that apparently work wonders Jim got a nice hatchery Steelhead.

Jonathan working some prime water

Jim with his "quick and easy" hatchery Steelhead

At this point I really would have thought that the day couldn't get any better, but it wasn't over yet and Jim still had a couple of tricks up his sleeve. Although we had missed our shot at a double earlier in the day, take two went better and this time Jonathan got his big fish with about a 13lb hen, while I got another buck that looked to be 8 or 9lbs.


All that I can say is that this was one of the most memorable days I have ever had on the water with one of the best guides out there. I really can't image a more knowledgeable guide or more pleasurable person to fish with than Jim. The knowledge that Jim passed along would have been well worth the price of admission alone. Add to that how good the fishing was and things went well above and beyond any expectations and it will be a trips that I will be talking about for along time to come!

The sunset over the Olympics and Lake Crescent, a great end to a great day