Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Letter from Alexandra Morton

I have been in Norway for 10 days because 92% of fish farming in British Columbia is Norwegian owned. I have met with many Norwegian scientists, members of the Mainstream and Marine Harvest boards, been to their AGMs, toured the area with fishermen, examined a closed-containment facility, met the Norwegians fighting for their fish and joined a scientific cruise.

I thought Norway had this industry handled and I expected to learn how marine salmon farming could work, but this has not been the case. My eyes have really been opened. This industry still has major issues that are growing and has no business expanding throughout the temperate coastlines of the world. The way they have been treating sea lice in Norway has caused high drug resistance. The only solution in sight is increasingly toxic chemicals. In the past two years (2007, 8) sea lice levels have actually increased on both the farm and wild fish. The scientists I met with are holding their breath to see if drug-resistant sea lice populations will explode and attack the last wild salmon and sea trout. The same treatment methods have been used in BC and we can expect this to occur as well.

I am not hearing how the industry can possibly safeguard British Columbia from contamination with their ISA virus. Infectious Salmon Anemia is a salmon virus that is spreading worldwide, wherever there are salmon farms. In Chile, the Norwegian strain of ISA has destroyed 60% of the industry, 17,000 jobs and unmeasured environmental damage. The industry is pushing into new territory. If this gets to BC no one can predict what it will do to the Pacific salmon and steelhead, it will be unleashed into new habitat and we know this is a very serious threat to life.

Professor Are Nylund head of the Fish Diseases Group at the University of Bergen, Norway, reports that, “based on 20 years of experience, I can guarantee that if British Columbia continues to import salmon eggs from the eastern Atlantic infectious salmon diseases, such as ISA, will arrive in Western Canada. Here in Hardangerfjord we have sacrificed our wild salmon stocks in exchange for farm salmon. With all your 5 species of wild salmon, BC is the last place you should have salmon farms.”

New diseases and parasites are being identified. The most serious is a sea lice parasite that attacks the salmon immune system. There is concern that this new parasite is responsible for accelerating wild salmon declines. The Norwegian scientists agree with many of us in BC. If you want wild salmon you must reduce the number of farm salmon. There are three options.

The future for salmon farming will have to include:

permanently reduction of not just the number of sea lice, but also the number of farm salmon per fjord,
removing farm salmon for periods of time to delouse the fjords and not restocking until after the out-migration of the wild salmon and sea trout.
But where wild salmon are considered essential they say the only certain measure is to remove the farms completely.

There are many people here like me. I met a man who has devoted his life to the science of restoring the Voss River, where the largest Atlantic salmon in the world, a national treasure, have vanished due to sea lice from salmon farms. Interestingly he is using the method I was not allowed to use last spring... Towing the fish past the farms out to sea. Another man is working with scientists and communities to keep the sea trout of the Hardangerfjord alive. There are so many tragic stories familiar to British Columbia.

The corporate fish farmers are unrelenting in their push to expand. With Chile so highly contaminated with the Norwegian strain of ISA all fish farmed coasts including Norway are threatened with expansion. I made the best case I could to Mainstream and Marine Harvest for removing the salmon feedlots from our wild salmon migration routes, but they will not accept that they are harming wild salmon. They say they want to improve, but they don’t say how. Norway has different social policies which include encouraging people to populate the remote areas and so fish farming seemed a good opportunity to these people. BC has the opposite policy, but the line that fish farms are good for small coastal communities has been used in BC anyway. I have not seen any evidence that it has even replaced the jobs it has impacted in wild fisheries and tourism.

It is becoming increasingly clear to protect wild Pacific salmon from the virus ISA the BC border absolutely has to be closed to importation of salmon eggs immediately and salmon farms MUST be removed from the Fraser River migration routes and any other narrow waterways where wild salmon are considered valuable.

Our letter asking government that the Fisheries Act, which is the law in Canada be applied to protect our salmon from fish farms has been signed by 14,000 people to date at has still not been answered.

Please forward this letter and encourage more people to sign our letter to government as it is building a community of concerned people word wide and we will prevail as there is really no rock for this industry to hide under and longer.

Alexandra Morton

Saturday, May 23, 2009

C&R photo/story contest

This contest is all about proper care and handling of fish, with an emphasis on releasing the trophy ones UNSCATHED. Face it, we have all seen the grip-n-grin hero shots of our lifetimes. Are those large gamefish still out there? Yes, but certainly not in the numbers of the old days. Why? Well, the majority of people did not have the amount of education available in the past as we do today to be able to properly understand the benefits of catch and release and ramifications of angling as a whole.

Angling kills fish. However, with proper care and attention one can minimize the impact. In fact, if one chooses to fish strictly catch and release barbless hook angling - you are going to give the fish the best possible chance for survival…well next to not using a hook. My vegan dad and stepmom woulda called me on that. :)

Of course, there are many learned skills and many common sense rules when it comes to care and handling of fish that applies when landing them. Please share yours with us and win a Redington Rise Reel -, courtesy of Redington Fly Fishing -

Hey... here is a good deal! Catch and Release Photo Contest LINK
Submit your fish photos & stories to FFG forum and you got a chance to win a nice reel!! OK... I am going to dig out all my nice "little" trophy photos...

rain; forest; river

The rain, the river, the path and the coffee blended into a peaceful memorial holiday... (to be continued)

Thursday, May 21, 2009


I live about 5 mins away from a state park. It is actually a small yet very nice beautiful forest. A pond I can kayak, I can practice spey cast and a woods with many deers and turkeys that never see hunter before. Better yet, a small gem clear creek run though the forest and they rarely meet fisherman. this place is a kind of secret garden to me. When things get too complicated or become mind disturbing, I like to drive there with my little fly rod. 3wt fiberglass is just perfect for this sanctuary. I spend couple hours in there yesterday, it's good feel, catching those jewelry in the Eden.

Monday, May 18, 2009

fish simple, fish with confidence

Just saw this great post on the Rogue Angels by Whitney Gould who is the champion spey caster in 2009 Spey-o-rama and pro-staff in C.F. Burkheimer Rod.
Fish simple, fish with confidence! That's great! "Simple" is not a ultimate goal, instead, simple is a philosophy in the fishing process. Fish with the way you like and enjoy every bit of it... that's "the simple". Sure, it can be simple in gear fashion as well... "one fly, one rod, bare foot, it's your skill against them!" (Quote from Running Down The Man DVD). I like fish with a very simple mind, simple tackle. The mind go to the state that imagine the fly swim, feel the flow. It's zen kind of simple. John Gierach said, if your fly have 10% of chance to catch a fish itself, and if you fish it with full confidence, actually you can bounce the chance up to 15-20 %. True! Check out the link.

Decho 5122

This is 5 wt 12'2 feet soft two handed rod. I still regret I sold it to a friend. It has soft action but a lot of "emotional elements" in there. Swung fly though the current, felt the smoothness and the rhythm. It remind me the clarinet concerto.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Village Water
Just saw this lovely post from a friend in Japan. The photos of small creek flow through a village have touched me and bring back a lot of kid fishing memories I have done with my little brother. Sadly, the creek I fished is polluted and gone. Although it is such a small creek like this in the photos... there are a lot of emotions associated with a water like this... Link

Thursday, May 14, 2009

FF - simple life edition

Fly fishing is a life style to me, and it could get very complicated sometimes... However, every once of awhile a angel will land on my shoulder and told me... it's time to go simple... simple life as it is... and it is the beauty of flyfishing. You can go either direction and it's all fun.

a simple click and pawl reel and a fiberglass rod? YES, I was fish this little click and pawl reel the other day... for... stripers... ha... I was expecting a catastrophic result since the striper here are notorious in their bad temper. But due to the brain washing from a sentence in the DVD "running down the man", it said: "bare foot, one rod and a fly, it's your skill against them" (he is talking about stalking a giant rooster fish from the beach).

I decided to give it a try... sneak up a interesting holding water, few cast in a small pocket water, the line was zipping through the bobbles... the reel was screaming like a little girl.... OMG... here we go again... the click and palm really is the whole world spell at that full 3 minutes. I was so lucky that I landed one and lost one that day. it's a great fun to go simple...great fun to connect to the wild in a simple way and feel the vivid pauses of life.
A spiritual mentor Mr. Lee Wulff in action..

great couple...Lee and Joan Wulff...I love this DVD a lot!

Just in case, you miss this master piece from Mozart... flyfishing and classic music! man... I call it "life is good!" : ) Thanks Youtube!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Vintage Bonefishing

Bonefishing is cool!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

woodblock print and brookie

A fly fishing club in PA want some arts for raising the fund. They will use the money to fix bridge and obtain stream access. Here is the two pieces will be up for auction in the event.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

to all the Moms ...

fish gentlely, fish with good manner

Wiley Paul is a gentleman, fisherman. You can tell when he landed that fish, the audience applaud, and he waved. Just like a great tennis player. Great instruction! : )

symbol of survival

The film (interview) probably was taken more than 20 years ago. Despite the less understanding of the genetic impact from the hatchery fish, the professor in the film already mentioned that the less the alternation of genetic structural (hatchery fish) the better. Reduce habitat degradation would be the better way to improve the fishery.

I will trade all my fancy gears with a day fishing in the skeena river in it's 1960'. Use a click and pawl reel and fiberglass rod... how sad... I always a bit late to fish the golden period...

I wrote this in the blog last year, still feel the sadness.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Happy Mother's Day


river run silvers

Friday, May 08, 2009

Fenwick 909

Fenwick 909 -- 9 wt, 9ft. What a great rod, a great feel, "chewy and fluidish" : ) BTW, this fish was released.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

kids say Darndest thing

I don't have any kid yet, but I will! I grew up watching Bill Cosby's show... and this is just as wonderful as his show. You won't regret spend couple minutes on this video! Listen carefully to see what angels say!

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Art Trade

A good friend of mine just sent me this wonderful hand-made reel seat. We do a little bit "art trade". Matt is an awesome amateur rod builder, yet with professional skill. The special thing is he make his own rod component from scratch. Turning reel seats, mill metals... unbelievable! It's my honor to have his work! I think I am going to have "someone" to build my ultimate trout rod! my dream rod : ) Steffen 8' 5/6 fiberglass rod! How exciting!

side note: fiberglass rod in action
In general, casting a graphite rod, the cast itself is more "forgiving" mean easier to generate a fishable cast, the stiffer graphite rod is more likely to mask a improper casting stroke, so you might feel it is easier to cast a modern graphite rod than fiberglass or bamboo rods. Fiberglass rod is softer in action, full flex and is easier to have dampen feel on the rod tip. Because of this characteristic, it is much difficult to maintain a straight rod tip path in casting stroke. This usually cause tailing loop. (this statement is actually from Mr. Lefty Kreh's article, not me) BUT, if you can fix the casting stroke - rod tip travel in relative straight path line, smooth acceleration, and combine with hauling. You will get a pretty good distance with "quiet loop" and tight loop. The fiberglass is a bit hard for beginner, but I always joking with my friend using graphite rod "Hook a fish with a graphite rod is pretty much the end of fun; but hooking a fish with fiberglass rod is just beginning of another fun." (to be continued)

Imagine there are three types of floors that made up from 3 different mateials – rubber, wood and marble stone. You are standing on top of the floor bare footed. On the corner, someone drop a penny. Which floor you will feel the vibration better? Yes, the rock. The harder the material, the less the absorption, the faster the speed it transfer and the less the wave energy loss. That is the reason that fast action rod with high carbon modules are more sensitive in detect fish strike. Of course, assume everything being equal. Majority of the missing fish strike is not due to material, is due to fisherman, I have to admit.
Then there is another problem that people swear that a softer rod is “more sensitive” when fighting a fish. In my opinion this is a miscommunication of definition at “sensitivity”. The sensitivity here is not quite the same as we used in the rod action. The fast action rod will still remain more sensitive through out the fight. No doubt. You feel every move of the fish on the other end of the line. But, what people say about the other “sensitivity” is about the rod response to the fish fight. Softer rod bend easier, so every fish thrust and struggle will registered into the rod bends… this is “the second sensitivity” people are using. It’s different than the first sensitivity we have define in the rod action and vibration due to the material difference. The second sensitivity should be call flexibility. Softer rod should be more flexible during the fish fight. This is by definition. Because every fish struggle will registered on the rod bend and change the flex of the rod readily, so people call this high flexible and quick flexible response as “more sensitive”. It’s understandable that the flexibility make up the sensitivity. Especially visually! Most of the people use the bend of the rod to judge the fight and the power. So how about the flexibility of the fast action rod? It is not as flexible as the softer rod. But the angler still feel “the same” struggle and power from the fish. So angler should experience the same fight, it doesn’t matter what rod you use. The two end of the line should be maintain the same pressure. This is the principle of physics. What people (included me) think about “the joy” of softer rod is more in fighting a fish. Is because the visual and psychology components come into play. You feel the deep bend of the rod, your angling experience start to tell you subconsciously that this is a great fish and you going to break the rod, the line. The extra dose of excitement make it more fun especially you got other anglers’ attentions. ha...

It sounds a bit "illusion" in soft rod. no, another fact is no illusion. The soft rod actually add more challenges into the fight and make the rod feel more "sensitive". Remember the soft rod bend more, thus they change the leverage frequently and varies a lot. Every leverage change will make angler to change the center of the lever (pivot). that's another reason those addition responses make fishing soft rod more challenge and more fun (second sensitive).

There is also advantages and disadvantages to use the softer rod in fighting a fish. Softer rod absorb the line shock. So it is more likely the hook will remain "sticky" on fish’s lip and it protect the light tippet. When I swing a soft hackle for trout, it is very common the fast action rod will experience break off more often than soft action rod. Second, the disadvantage of the soft action rod is that you lost some leverage in control the fish because of the deep bend of the rod, this is especially true when fish is close to you, it’s hard to exert leverage to the fish, the only way you can do is move up and down the stream to move the fish in different directions. Leverage advantage is important in fighting big fish. Because the tippet is relative light, you have to use the leverage to disoriented the fish and drag them to the beach or to the boat. So in conclusion, what I said about the fun of use soft rod is, first, it is a challenge to cast a softer rod, so when you get a good loop consistent, this is really fun. And you really can feel the rhythm of rod and the line. They all coordinated in the well after a masterful control. Second, swing a softhackle with a softer rod is really a relaxing angling experience to me. Everything is so “fluid”, you never know the next moment would be a explosive take? Or a subtle tug. But you don’t need to worry about the break-off either ways, the soft rod will bend over to protect the tippet. (to be continued)

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Scanout Magazine

It's a "ok" magazine for now, but still worth to take a look. I say it with a reserved tune, that is because they also reserved their best photos for commercial use. Very smart! LINK

every baby is a joy, a new hope

Finn was born yesterday. My good friend Cameron - a.k.a fiberglass freak- can't wait to announce the new territories in the hospital. I think the near babies will cry out loud "it's not fair, I want one!"

Every baby is a new hope. We need more baby to join this FF communities. Experience the beauty of the wilderness, enjoy the fun and save our world. Congratulations! Cameron and Mellisa!

Monday, May 04, 2009

color vision

this is my watercolor plate. my friend once told me, it looks like teeth! ha... how terrible! look at all these holes... : P . unfortunately, I have been leaving them "clean" like this for almost two months. too busy to play with them...

There are some growing interests in color vision in fish lately in other blogs. What fish see? what color of flies and ultimately, as we all interested in, Works~!! Well... there are some discussions about the color vision in fish in terms of which color fish can see better, which color stand out better in the light environment which fish live... all good points from physiology and ecology... BUT, there is one big chunk of information have been overlooked. It is the behavior part of the fish? why fish bite your fly? I think I will address this a little bit more since I do interested in fish behavior and have been working on animal behavior in general for a while. As we all knows, fish bite flies can attribute into two gross categories. First, for food, because fish see it as a food, so they eat them. Second, because fish see it out of curiosity (or aggression), so they need to feel them with mouth. Those initial motivations in fish are very important in understanding fish strike flies. Without those information, we will Not be able to pin down which flies to use during any given time of year, weather, water and light condition.

For trout, we all know "match the hatch", what match the real insect will trigger fish rises. The better the match, the less hesitate the fish. We match the color/size right, we will get fish. Simple. Trout see those mayflies as food, so they rise up and inhale them like food. Better yet, if you are fishing during caddis hatch, you want to twitch the Elk Hair Caddis fly to match the skating behavior of the real insect. Those will give trout more clues about "food", come get it! But what trout see the color? Is our Elk hair color close to the real caddies enough in fish's eye? This question involve two steps, 1. physic light spectrum reflect on trout's retina and 2. neuro-physio brain process in trout brain "the size of pea". We can simply measure trout's eye property - the color sensitivities from different color pigments in the eye. But this is only complete step 1. Step 2 is much more commplicated. It's more psychology question. How those signal transfer and process in the brain. We feel cool when see blue, "feel" hot and danger when see red. All those process and describe is neuro-phsio process. Those process and discussion can go on and on into more philosophy discussion.

But I say, for the perspective of being a fisherman. We don't need to dig into that kind of details, because what fish see and feel is NOT the real "fuzz" for a fisherman in this particular first category (food trigger eat behavior). The real "fuzz" is fish eat it as FOOD or not. How close is the color of flies to the real bug. If we know the insect looks brown (to us), and we use something (feather) looks brown (to us), it should work right?. and it does work better if the presentation is right. How about flies underwater? Should we care about what flies looks underwater environment? no. we don't. If we pick up a mayfly nymph under the rock, they looks deep brown on our hand (above water), we should imitate the deep brown color without consider light environment in the water. All thing being equal, the flies looks similar in our hand will still look like a real insect underwater, even the water filtering out some light spectrum. But how about UV reflectance in those real insect? Good point! Because human only see color from 400-700 nm light wavelength approximately. Everything under 400 nm is into UV region. We now know there are lot's fish and bird see UV color. We could miss out the whole channel and mismatch the whole color. e.g. the deep brown drab mayfly nymph is not as drab as we think, IF they reflect UV light, and trout see UV. If this is true. We will have to use UV reflecting brown material (UV_brown) to match the insect. This is a easy task, just use spectrameter and we will know if mayfly nymph is true brown? or UV_brown? (to be continued...) in the next few posts I will address few other important issues, a. Fish can see some color better is not necessary the color trig them strike. b. the color trigger aggression response.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Joan Wulff - FF "the internal hope".

"Double haul"? That's right! This lovely lady - Joan Wulff. I learned fly casting from her DVD. Still one of the best fly casting DVD in the market. It's just a pure pleasure to learn all the tricks from her, from the DVD. Single hand castings mostly involved in a back and forth motion. Feel the line travel through in the air, feel the rod load and the loop zip though smoothly. I enjoy casting as much as fishing. Joan mentioned there is something special about fly casting and fishing. It's a best example of "internal hope". Always next cast, a big one is waiting!

BC for sale

warning, this video is pretty heavy.

Schubert's Piano Quintet "Trout"

It's May 1st! Let's celebrate the early summer with Schubert's "trout". Summer trout is just as lovely as Spring bass...
BTW, people in the video looks familiar to you? I can not believe there were so many famous people in this group. They are Daniel Barenboim, Zubin Mehta, Itzhak Perlman, Jacqueline Du Pre, and Pinchas Zuckerman! Enjoy!