Monday, June 29, 2009


Jim McCarthy works for an Oregon river conservation organization named Waterwatch and he wanted to share one Oregon "success story" about the Rogue River's salmon and steelhead with the Way Upstream community. Here's what Jim wrote in an email to El Pescador:

"Waterwatch, along with several allies, has led a campaign for over 20 years to help protect and restore the Rogue, focusing in particular on four fish-killing dams that made the most sense for removal: Gold Hill Dam, Elk Creek Dam, Savage Rapids Dam, and Gold Ray Dam. The fight to remove these dams has been quite long and sometimes bitter, involving litigation as well as battles in the state legislature, US Congress, and the media. But in recent years all the work has begun to pay off. An unprecedented number of significant dam removals has occurred on the Rogue over the last two years. In fact, I know of no other river basin in the US experiencing a comparable number of dam removals in so short a time. Last year, Gold Hill Dam was removed and Elk Creek Dam was notched. This year, Savage Rapids Dam is undergoing removal, representing one of the largest dam removals ever in the US. With some luck and a little help from a still-hoped-for grant under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka the federal stimulus), Gold Ray may come out within the next 18 months."

"Perhaps best of all, there are no real losers in the story of these Rogue dam removals. These dams are either defunct but too expensive for local governments to remove unassisted (Gold Ray), were determined not to be worth the cost of completion by the federal agency in charge of dam-building (Elk Creek), or outdated structures readily replaced by modern, fish-friendly pumps (Gold Hill and Savage Rapids). Though I've mentioned that the Rogue debate has been long and at times bitter, in the end it essentially has been a process of convincing local communities that some of the old ways of using our just rivers aren't working anymore – but there are better, more river-friendly options now. We can switch to the new ways and still enjoy the same benefits we had with the old ways, but leave a lot of the environmental problems behind. On a world famous gem of a watershed like the Rogue, you can really see the upside of taking care of our rivers. For example, government scientists have estimated that Savage Rapids removal alone will increase Rogue salmon and steelhead runs by 22%. In good years, that could translate into over 100,000 more fish, bringing enduring positive impacts for the region's ecology and economy."

"There may be some lessons to learn from the Rogue that can be applied to rivers like the Sacramento, Klamath, Columbia and other smaller watersheds around the West. Just ten years ago, the Rogue debate was just as polarized as things are now on the Sacramento or the Columbia. Hopefully attitudes there are trending in a more fish-friendly direction. The situation on the Rogue certainly shows that we can protect fish and still satisfy other competing interests on our rivers."

Contribution by Jim McCarthy Photos by Bob Hunter

Friday, June 26, 2009


Mike Thompson and Capt. Billy Trimble have been keeping me informed of prototype micro-skiffs being built by longtime boat builder Bruce Wild. Some of you may have seen pix here on Way Upstream of the 22' Big Easy and the Easy 18 via my Flickr feed. For more information on these particular micro skiff designs, read this recent article by David Sikes. There is a nice collection of images in a photo gallery included with the article. It features shots of the boats, nice fish and Tiffany Fluett (Gruene Outfitters) testing the Patagonia W's Sunshade Shirt and Sun Mask. Photos courtesy of Capt. Billy Trimble

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Chasing fins

I've been trying to get my hands on this live performance since the Fly Fishing Film Tour took place in Portland, ME earlier this month. After some urging I finally got Jeremy Cameron to let the video loose. I was hoping to get the raw version but Jeremy couldn't resist blending in some of the other live performances that went on that night as well as some plugs for those who were there in support. The night was a success on all levels. Maine TU Trout Camp and Stripers Forever both were beneficieries of funds raised from the evening. It was a fun party and the films were great but for me the special moment was when Jeremy and Greg "Boz" Bostater performed this song against a video backdrop to kick the evening off on the right fin.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


Each year for the last 4 years I've floated the Kennebec River with Master Maine Guide and Patagonia product tester Sean McCormick. It's always special but this year was exceptional. I managed to complete the Kennebec Grand Slam (brown, brookie, rainbow and landlock salmon). I also landed a memorable 20" brown (shown above) that absolutely crushed my barbless size 18 olive dry. 5wt line peeled off the reel instantly and each time the guide tried to net the trout during the nervous fight. On top of it all, Sean found one of the coolest Abenaki Indian stone tools (front and back shown below) on one of the many river islands. You can also see petraglyphs left from this tribe on certain rocky outcroppings. I can't wait until next time but I know this trip will be hard to top.

Photos by El Pescador

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Not a bad start

I've never gotten such a late start on striper season but when I finally got out with my friend Joe we managed to kick things off right. The photo above was the first fish to cooperate. Not a bad start when the first striper takes you into the backing. We caught three fish in an hour and a half. The largest was 28" and the other two went 25". The fly in the fish's mouth is a variation of my coyote crab pattern.

Photo by El Pescador