Friday, March 28, 2008

Trout Season

It’s almost the beginning of trout season. With the stirring of insect and fish comes the preparation of shop, stock, guides and gear. Angling dreams of hatches and takes are mixed with business hopes for ideal water, bookings and revenue. It’s a tangled, intertwined, biological and economic web….and all because of fish. Let the season begin and may your fishy goals be achieved. Feel free to share a season opener comment, story or photo.

Illustration by El Pescador

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Footprint Chronicles

The Way Upstream community has been vocal in its appreciation for the transparency that this blog provides with regard to gear for fishing. It has given the community a voice that didn't really exist before. Well Patagonia has taken things a few footsteps further by becoming the first major apparel manufacturer to track and expose the social and environmental impact of building specific products through The Footprint Chronicles, an interactive website that reveals to consumers the good and the bad involved in manufacturing outdoor clothing such as Synchilla fleece vests and rain shells. In a bold move that might make most companies nervous, Patagonia is determined to be candid and forthright about its impact on the environment and created the site to encourage dialog with its customers who are concerned about the environment.

"Our customers are scientists, activists, professors, doctors and more – they have the collective experience and knowledge we’re looking for," said Casey Sheahan (Patagonia CEO). "We’re highlighting exactly what happens in the manufacturing process and asking customers for their suggestions and help in efforts to find solutions to our less sustainable practices. It’s a unique dialogue to engage in – but one that will ultimately allow us to cause less harm to the planet."

According to Jill Dumain, Patagonia’s director of environmental programs, the research involved in developing the Chronicles has proved to actually drive major business decisions at Patagonia. The Chronicles revealed that transportation makes up only about 1 percent of our overall energy use,” said Dumain. “Had we listened to the current media buzz touting transportation as the largest factor in energy consumption, we might have greatly misplaced our efforts by making strides to geographically shorten our supply chain – which would have massively impacted our business financially, logistically and perhaps even effected product quality – and we would only have reduced our energy savings by 1 percent. Instead, we are focusing our energy on areas where we can truly make a difference – right in the heart of the manufacturing process."

The launch of The Footprint Chronicles puts into practice a prototype that hopes to inspire other companies to increase their transparency, and at the very least, raise awareness.

The Footprint Chronicles includes more than 35 filmed interviews and slideshows of factory workers, farmers, owners, designers and third-party auditors to provide an unprecedented level of transparency both internally and externally - from the factories and manufacturing partners that create its products, to the end of the product’s lifespan.

Press release excerpt by Jenn Rapp
Factory photo by Steve Swartzendruber
Footprint photo by Tim Borski

Friday, March 21, 2008

Insulator Pant

Wading can be a little chilly after breakup but there's no need to go numb below the waist just because you fish in cold water. The Insulator Pant serves as a warm buffer between you and your waders. They're made of eco-friendly polyester (51% recycled) double-faced fleece (brushed on both sides for loft and warmth) with a moisture-wicking finish. Details: elasticized waistband with drawcord and a brushed tricot lining, two tricot-lined front pockets, one zippered hip pocket and tapered cuffs for a smooth, low friction underwader fit. They are recyclable through the Common Threads Recycling Program. I know many of you have expressed appreciation for the old El Cap pants. The Insulator Pant was cloned from the rootstock of that classic style.

Photos by Rene Braun

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Bird Vise

Tim Borski takes some interesting photos in addition to painting and fly designing. Here's one photo I received that I couldn't help toying with. The image shows Tim's hand holding a bird that flew into his studio with a fly resting next to it. I've created some unusual versions of this image but here is a version that's close to the original. I used Flickr toys Framer to soften the edges and Matte to frame it up "museum style". This is not your average "still life". Maybe a collaborative series will emerge.

Original photo by Tim Borski
Artistic license exercised by El Pescador

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Where should I park?

TROUT UNLIMITED announced that its new television program "On the Rise" will begin airing on the Outdoor Channel this spring. Hosted by Telluride, Colorado fly fishing guide, Frank Smethurst, the show will feature some of the best fly fishing around the country. Traveling in an Airstream trailer painted in trout patterns, Frank travels to rivers and streams where TU has made a difference and takes the viewer on a fish-filled journey across America. Those of you who see the current AEG Film Tour will get a glimpse of this project.

Filming continues on the east coast this spring. If you have a suggestion of where Frank should park his trailer alongside a river and cast a few flies, please fill out the online form (click here).

Photo courtesy of Jerry Darkes

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I see pictures from around the world of fisher folk and there is one article of gear that is so uniformly accepted as part of the ceremonial garb of fishers on and off the water that I thought it was worth a post. That piece of gear is the ball cap. I suppose there are many names for it but I think you know what I mean by the term. What I'd like to ask the Way Upstream community is this, What matters most regarding your choice in a lid? Is it six panel design, stretch, size, adjustability, pony tail opening, brim, lining, vents, sentimental value, fabric, logo, shop or brand affiliation or what? Let me know your thoughts on lids.

Photo by El Pescador

Friday, March 7, 2008

No Upwelling

From the Associated Press
March 4, 2008

GRANTS PASS, ORE. -- Scientists examining the sudden and widespread collapse of West Coast salmon returns are pointing to the unusual changes in weather patterns that caused the bottom to fall out of the ocean food web in 2005.

NOAA Fisheries Service oceanographer Bill Peterson said the juvenile salmon that left their native rivers and entered the Pacific Ocean in 2005 found little food being transported by the California Current, which flows from the northern Pacific south along the West Coast.

The reason was that the jet stream had shifted to the south, delaying the spring onset of winds out of the north that create a condition known as upwelling, which kickstarts the ocean food web by stirring the water from bottom to top, the agency said.

If there is no upwelling, there is no phytoplankton growth, no zooplankton growth, and basically you have no food chain that develops, because it all depends on the upwelling," Peterson said.
"We are not dismissing other potential causes for this year's low salmon returns," NOAA Fisheries Service Northwest Science Center Director Usha Varanasi said in a statement. "But the widespread pattern of low returns along the West Coast for (both coho and chinook) salmon indicates an environmental anomaly occurred in the California Current in 2005."

Read the complete article by Jeff Barnard (AP Environmental Writer) - click here

Drawings by Noah Stracqualursi
Flickr illustration by El Pescador

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Ray blockers

Sun protective clothing is fast becoming a staple offering from outdoor and fishing retailers. Consumers are more aware of the dangers of UV exposure and see the benefits of UPF rated gear. The Sun Mask (UPF 15) and Sunshade Shirt (UPF 30) are both pictured above on Craig Amacker (Fontana Sports Specialties) while on recent a trip to Ascension Bay. Click on the bold text for more details. One word of caution though, if you wear the Sun Mask for activities other than fly fishing or if you walk into your local gas station or convenience store with it on be ready for some strange looks. On an environmental note, both the Sun Mask and Sunshade Shirt are recylable through the Common Threads recycling program and the Sun Mask is made of 100% recycled polyester.

Photos courtesy of Craig Amacker