Tuesday, September 30, 2008

River Portrait - 2

As promised, here is the second edition of River Portrait. This is an image of Jeff Leopold exiting a pool on the Stordal River in Norway. The original photo was very dark (taken around 11:30pm) but I was able to extract the data that I wanted which was the land of the midnight sun glow. I then tweaked it with Adobe Illustrator. Click on the image for a closer view.

Image by Steve Stracqualursi

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mixing business with pleasure

Here's a Way Upstream follow up to the recent Fly Fishing Retailer trade show in Denver. I wanted to do a post that gave those of you who weren't there a sense of the Patagonia booth and touch on the product highlights. The booth was beautifully executed by Tania Bjornlie and her team. They created a fuller sense of display this year with more product monuments and more imagery. The result was a presentation that provided clear stories focused on freshwater, saltwater, lifestyle and more.

For product highlights, much is new for Spring 2009: We’ve streamlined our proven HydroStorm wader offerings into a new Watermaster series (M's and W's waders a new Hip High style) and a new, exceptionally tough Guidewater Wader with wool-grid neoprene booties. For all wader styles we’ve moved away from metal snaps to a TPU post-and-keyhole system. Our Riverwalker Boot becomes our focused offereing but the Patagonia footwear line contains some surprises like two new proprietary Idrogrip rubber soled sandals and a multi-functional non-marking deck shoe. Speaking of feet, don’t head to the water (or the mountains) without your Remat.

We’ve also redesigned, with the help of the boss, the venerable SST Jacket to include a new integrated hood with a single pull adjustment, a waterproof, corrosion resistant main zipper and hand pocket zippers, and improved wrist closures. Both the Deep Wading Jacket and M’s Guidewater Jacket get some distinctive color updates.

The new Guidewater Shirt is a fishing-friendly soft shell “shaket” (hybrid shirt/jacket) you can wear alone or layered. It can follow the seasons so you may need two of them (check out the Digi Camo). The new Guidewater Pants and Shorts draw on the excellent nylon Wavefarer boardshort fabric from our Surf line. Marlwalker® Pants and shorts are made from 60% recycled (and recyclable) nylon. These new styles are tough, resilient, amphibious and moisture shedding. Other notable introductions include a Sun Glove, made of rashguard fabric, and a new Guidewater Duffel Max to transport your gear safely to hell and back.

Our Double Haul (2 colors), Hip Chest Pack (3 colors) and Pack vest all use tough double-weave, eco-friendly fabric now plus have all been appointed with various redesigned qualities. Our award winning Guidewater Vest and Riverwalker Vest get color updates. The patented Great Divider has a new little brother - The Sub Divider and both have been modified to be even cleaner and smoother operating. We’ve also made sure that the vest component of Pack Vest can connect to the all weather Stormfront® Pack.

Lastly I'd like to touch on the Patagonia reception held every year at the Denver Store. Cat Angell, Mary Beth Crumbaker, Terri Brady and the Denver Retail Store Staff deserve huge thanks. This event is where we get to show a bit more of our personality. This year we had over 200 guests with many industry heavyweights attending. Those that visited were treated to catering from Gene Tang's 1515 Restaraunt and artisan beer from New Belgium Brewery. Guests were entertained and enlightened by art and film clips from a posse of creative young anglers like James Prosek, Felt Soul Media, AEG, Rollcast Productions, Burl Productions and this year we had scientific/enviro partners Aaron Adams from BTU plus Dave Petersen and Andy Danylchuk of Core Angling show films of their groundbreaking work.

Let me wrap up with a quote overheard after the reception that I think puts the exclamation point on the post "Man, I couldn't believe the energy in the room during the movies. People were actually cheering jumping fish! That energy is what can save the fly-fishing business. Unfortunately, we keep putting old duffs out there as our heroes. They're all nice people, but it's making our sport seem too old and decrepit. I know that sounds tough, but I'm only talking business....Thanks for the party and the shot of adrenalin. I've been telling everybody, "You should have been at the Patagonia party, and you should have heard the crowd!"

Photos by Joe Tayag

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Caples Lake

I got wind of the draining of Caples Lake from Mikey Wier and Chris LaScola. I could feel the sadness in their hearts through the words of their emails. Apparently the gates below the lake's dam require repair so the water level needed drastic reduction in order to accomplish the work. Lowering the water level means that winter temperatures will freeze the lake and almost assuredly result in a complete fish kill not to mention what effect it will have on the entomology. Mikey took his friend from Trout Unlimited out there, then took him to the EID meeting in Placerville. They both stood up for the fishery in front of the board. Mikey also contacted California Trout and the Department of Fish and Game. The attempts to stop action were gallant but the drain plug had been pulled. What struck a cord with me about this story was that change was fixed and that it would be a long time before things would get back to the way they were, if ever. Change is something we anglers are facing all around us. Water flows can be changed, climate can be changed, food chains can be changed, what we know today can be changed tomorrow. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that there is a bad guy at fault in the case of Caples Lake. Fish rescue efforts are being attempted. The goal of this post is to encourage all of us to make our voices heard on resource issues......because the times and the waters are changing.

Photos by Chris LaScola

Friday, September 19, 2008

Being Here

Being Here

Fishing is the lonely sport:
for dreamers, star gazers, storm chasers.

Just a long stick of a rod and a few feathers
wrapped around a shank of bronze,
a simple reel you almost don’t need
and a pair of eyes with hawk or eagle genes.

Never mind the rain or April snow,
the rushing water, wind and air to blow
the flying line behind your head you cast
so straight to bend the elements your way.

And the tiny fly, Gordon Quill or Hendrickson,
mixed among hundreds, no thousands,
landing, sailing, flying everywhere

and you standing, leaning, bending,
peering at the swirls of life and death
running down this river clear as ice
or piercing Sunday preacher’s eye.

And then the lordly sip, the take,
the one you dreamt about,
fantasize the giant brown or rainbow
before reality sets in, if it ever does,
where losing the prize
is more exciting than the catch.

Allows you to say, “That’s fishing.
Just being here’s the thing.”
And strange as it may sound,
it’s what you really mean.

Poem by Alan Harawitz

Photo by El Pescador

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Here's another multi-species fly pattern from Jerry Darkes. He calls it the Crawpin. This pattern struck me as a fish catcher as soon as I saw it. For a complete materials list and tying instructions head on over to Jerry's blog ACS - the FISHDOG.

Photo by the FISHDOG

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stormfront® Pack

Whenever rain, rapids, surf, planned or unplanned swimming sessions occur, the Stormfront® Pack is in its element, hauling gear and keeping it dry. Back by popular demand and improved, the new version features an easy-to-use waterproof, corrosion free zipper and an internal, custom-fit padded gear case with adjustable dividers. The generous, waterproof, welded “Pod” is comfortably supported by a removable shoulder-strap harness. Take the harness off and voila, you have the perfect dry bag. Internal zippered mesh pocket keeps valuables organized and accessible. The new harness system has evolved to include tool attachment and storage capability. Four external lash slots allow for a variety of connection possibilities. Two 14" locking lash straps are included. This limited run product will be on shelves this November.

Ideal Uses
* Coastal rainforest hike-ins
* Chasing the beach blitz in higher than normal swell
* Rain soaking steelhead chases
* Just about any watery situation you can think of

Ultra-simple, minimalist, welded waterproof pack with lash-on capability, removable harness system and mesh hydration reservoir pocket, Pod easily converts to a stand-alone dry bag.

Body: 11.5-oz; 420-denier polyurethane-coated nylon plain-weave
Back panel: 3D Spacer mesh

* Easy to operate waterproof main zipper (TIZIP)
* Waterproof welded Pod
* Internal custom-fit padded gear case with 2 dividers
* Detachable harness transforms the Stormfront® Pack Pod into a skiff, kayak or driftboat dry bag
* Streamlined harness/pack/d-ring connection system provides additional storage and tool attachment capability
* External mesh hydration reservoir pocket
* Internal zippered mesh pocket for additional organization and protection
* 4 external Pod attachment slots with 2 locking straps

Size details
Pod: 25L (1550 cu.in.) H 17.5" X W 12" X 9"
Gear Case: 4.8 L (293 cu. in.) H 11.5" X W 7" X L 7"

Color - Nickel

Photos by Dave Skok, Alistair Stewart and El Pescador

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Catch Magazine Premier

There's a new online rag on the virtual newsstand. It's called Catch Magazine. The creators are billing it as the "Official Journal of Fly Fishing Photography and Film". Brian O'Keefe (photo editor) and Todd Moen (film editor) invite you to check out the free premier issue. Catch Magazine is scheduled to be released six times a year and will house content from a host of creative contributors. I think this product might just exceed your expectations. One word of caution from Brian "Catch is not dummied down for little, small computers and monitors. Catch needs a powerful computer, NO DIAL UP!!, a fast, high speed internet connection (especially for video) and a nice sized monitor. Send the link to your work, a neighbor’s house, etc, if you have an old clunker."

Cover photo by Brian O'Keefe