Thursday, April 29, 2010


The 3rd OSF contest is scheduled for May 1st, 2010 at Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria, CA hosted by The Artful Angler and OSF team member Gary Bulla. For more info about parking areas and the raffle please give Eric at The Artful Angler a call - 805.566.5900. Registration is free and proceeds from the raffle will benefit The Matilija Coalition. There is a really good low incoming tide that morning so there may be a few corbina landed.

Banner photo by C. Kaufman Corbina photo by J. Dwyer

Monday, April 26, 2010

Every time a good time

McDonald's periodically uses fish and fishing in advertisements of their fast food products. The most recent was the popular spot with the catchy jingle that they did for the filet-o-fish sandwich but here's one you may not have seen. It's an old and rather dark 50 second commercial from the golden arches giant which suggests that big fish like McD's cooking too, packaging and all.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Swimming Upstream

Swimming Upstream

Silver and shimmering
they swim upstream on a mad errand.

Death-defying leaps against walls of water,
then up over the crest
only to be met by the guardians of heaven
standing twelve feet tall and salivating.
Immense jaws open wide to reveal steel knives:
glimmering shiny bodies hanging, helpless,
like towels blowing in the wind.

They go on like a huge ice floe,
miraculously arriving at the familiar shallows,
the life force emerging phosphorescent.

Whereupon, totally spent, they change hue
and become part of the stream bottom,
picked at and scavenged by white-headed birds
who’ve been waiting there for centuries.

Poem by Alan Harawitz Illustration by S. Stracqualursi

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hope for the best

Fimmvörduhals-Eyjafjallajökull-Eruption SD Version from Marc Szeglat on Vimeo.

I had a couple of interesting email exchanges about the volcano eruption in Iceland so I thought I'd share some of the content. These first few excerpts are from my friend Thane Ryland in London. He sheds light on how significant the impacts are of Mother Nature's emissions on British life and livelihoods:

It is Day 5 or 6 of ashmageddon here in London. The skies have been one of those deep, blue Montana skies with a slightly peachy hue to the sunsets. Similar to those I remember after Mt St Helens. A recent weather report here says that the ash cloud is approaching Newfoundland, so our problem may also become yours (N. America).

Now, the UK government is deploying warships to bring Britons back to the UK from the European continent. More than 750,000 Britons are stranded in Europe and 250,000 in other parts of the world. There is talk now of Britons stuck in North America being flown to Spain and then bussed to the UK (a 30 hour trip by bus).

In the meantime, I have seen a new wrinkle in this issue as the climate change lobby is pushing hard on the benefits of having a contrail-free airspace -- not sure they will win this one. I have to admit, it is strange to feel like we wound back the clock 50 years, one in which a low-flying propeller plane grabs your attention. In the meantime, tons of African fruit, British fish and other foodstuffs are rotting in Kenya and at Heathrow. The bigger cost downstream of this crisis is the financial one which will be added to the long tail of the stinger of the financial crisis.

I received the following passages from Jon Pall Hreinsson, Marketing Manager at Einarsson Fly Fishing. He describes how this ash spewing event relates to fish and fly fishing in Iceland:

As for now we are concerned about fish that stay in the rivers thoughout the winter. The salmon run does not start until June and the arctic char run is a little later. The sea trout run has started but this is not the spawning run.

Nobody knows for sure what impact the eruption will have on river or ocean conditions. It depends on wind direction and the chemical nature of the ash. When the same volcano erupted about 100 years ago, it's ashes contained relatively high levels of fluoride, which was reported to have damaging effects on livestock. I do not know how it it will effect rivers in Southeast of Iceland where the ash has fallen so far. I'm pretty sure that this is not good for the rivers and that it will hurt the ecosystem, at least in the short term...but we need to hope for the best!

Photo courtesy of Einarsson Fly Fishing

Friday, April 16, 2010


Fish from Denis Constantinou on Vimeo.

Fish is a traditionally animated short film that Denis Constantinou directed while attending the Arts Institute at Bournemouth. Fish was the winner of Animex 2009 Best Student Animation. Denis describes this piece as "The journey towards happiness, the purpose of goals and inner strength...with plenty of fish." One other interpretation of this film that could be considered is "Keep the line in the water and believe in every cast."

Monday, April 12, 2010

House of cards

I read a Marine Science Today article that really underscored the delicate balance that exists within natural predator and prey relationships. NOAA scientists found that a band of Killer Whales known as the "Southern Resident Population", which spend their time in the inland waters of Washington and British Columbia from late spring to early fall before swimming to the Pacific Ocean for the winter months, have a very specialized diet. It turns out that they are dependent on Chinook stocks from Canada's Fraser River and that 90% of the salmon they ate came from there. How will these new discoveries affect conservation measures? That remains to be seen, but for me it helps illustrate that ecosystems can be as fragile as a house of cards. Read the complete article - Endangered Killer Whales Only Eat One Kind of Salmon

Image from Digitalchemey

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mackerel Fishing

This band claims to have been formed out of a piggery in deepest darkest West Yorkshire. They're called Old Man Pie and they play "naive country, anti-folk and pie music". Here's an animated video of their song Mackerel Fishing. Caution - It contains social and environmental commentary with some adult content.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Missing Piece to Salmon Recovery?

Eel: Missing Piece to Salmon Recovery? from Reznet on Vimeo.

About five years ago the Nez Perce Tribe’s fisheries department started the translocation of the Pacific Lamprey Eel in hopes to assist in the recovery of the Snake River Fall Chinook Salmon. In this film they are picking up eels from John Day Dam, which is located on the Snake River on the border of Idaho and Oregon, and relocating them to the Tribe’s Big Canyon Fall Chinook Acclimation Facility in Juliaetta, Idaho. The eels live in a large tank until they are released into area creeks.

We had thousands of eel in here [Snake River], maybe even in the millions,Nez Perce Tribal member and eel project coordinator, Elmer Crow said. “For the past five to six years all that’s come over Lower Granite Dam is double digits. So, we’ve got a problem."

"The biology, and the restoration, and keeping these things alive is very important
,” Crow said, “but it’s just as important or more important to me personally because of the cultural and spiritual values of the Nez Perce people.

He believes that the Pacific Lamprey Eel plays a role in maintaining healthy river ecology and that eels are an important part of the food chain. “One of the questions we’ve always asked,” Crow said, “ Is this a piece of salmon recovery that’s missing?” Preserve the source.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Method of take

I've experienced some world class fly fishing for Louisiana redfish with Capt. Bryan Carter and Mike Thompson so when they told me about a particular piece of legislation up for review I decided to share it with the Way Upstream community. The following is a press release from CCA Executive Director/CEO David Cresson that explains their viewpoint:

Current Louisiana law grants “gamefish” status to over 10 different species of freshwater fish. However, only one saltwater species enjoys that same status: red drum. In the 1980s, commercial fishermen were decimating redfish stocks trying to meet the insatiable national demand for blackened redfish, a dish made famous by Chef Paul Prudhomme. At that critical time, CCA Louisiana stepped in to demand protection for this important recreational species. CCA was the driving force behind successful legislation that designated red drum as a gamefish in Louisiana waters.

Gamefish status provides a species with many important protections. First, it prevents the commercial sale of that particular wild species taken from local waters. Although we see redfish on restaurant menus across our state, these fish are either farm raised or wild fish brought into Louisiana from Mexico or Mississippi (where redfish do not enjoy gamefish protection).

Another important protection afforded a gamefish is the allowed “method of take.” It is illegal to harvest gamefish with nets, spear guns, or bow and arrow. Black bass, striped bass, white perch, bream and others are all protected from this method of harvest. But redfish are not! It is currently legal to harvest a redfish with a bow and arrow or spear gun. Louisiana is the only state along the Gulf that allows a gamefish to be harvested with an arrow or spear.

Sen. Dan Claitor, R-Baton Rouge, has filed a bill in the Legislature to fix this glitch in our gamefish laws. His bill amends RS 56:320 so that red drum is provided the same protection extended to other species designated as “gamefish.”

CCA Louisiana is not against bow fishing. Amending the current law will still allow bow fishermen to harvest numerous saltwater species in Louisiana’s coastal marshes… drum, flounder, and sheepshead…..among others.


Sen. Claitor and the members of the Senate and House Natural Resources Committees need to hear from CCA members like you. Please send an email of support to Sen. Claitor and members of the committees who will hear the bill. TAKE ACTION

Illustrations by Steve Stracqualursi

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Mayfly Justice

Here's a fitting film for April Fools Day. This story takes place in an outdoor courtroom where the mayfly defendant receives a stiff 50 year sentence (mayfly years). This was the filmmaker's second round entry in the Tournament of Flash Artists sponsored by Albino Blacksheep. The contest theme was "Freedom at last".