have I mentioned the "anticipation" excitement before? here it is...the anticipation, the meeting are just as exciting as the travel itself. Several good friends start with couple of beers, random talks and "BS" fishing stories...open the maps and point your finger to where you want to be...The plan and the imagination usually get me high!
http://www.tenkarausa.com/blog/?p=111 Yes! Simpler means closer to the state of "a glimpse of the magic" which a flyfisherman spent all his life to pursue. I like cook simple! Direct instruction from a top chef back home.1) heat the pan, 2)few drops of olive oil, 3)fresh raw shrimp (with shell please),4) few salt. That's is one of my favorite dish! Fresh is the key. Just like a fresh creek roam free in a pristine forest. Over years, my fly pattern collection shrink dramatically. I can picture myself one day I will evolved, just like a old fly master in Japan, one fly, one rod and one man in a mountain creek! Check out a nice blog. LINK Note: 1), I won't give up my reel too easily. 2)add some garlic would be good too! : )
Alexandra Morton's letter to the fisheries minister on missing sockeye By Charlie Smith
Fish biologist Alexandra Morton wrote a letter last night to Fisheries Minister Gail Shea regarding this year's dismal return of sockeye salmon to the Fraser River. Straight.com decided to publish the letter in full:
Dear Fisheries Minister Shea:
I am following the news that DFO is reporting 11 million sockeye salmon have vanished. The magnitude, social impact and trajectory of this fishery failure is on a par with the collapse of Canada’s Atlantic cod. Scientists have published on what went wrong within DFO to allow the cod, one of earth’s most abundant food resources to collapse. They identified political distortion of the science as a critical factor. They argue the public was not accurately informed as the collapse was underway.
(Hutchings, J.A., Walters, C., and Haedrich, R.L. 1997. Is scientific inquiry incompatible with government information control? Can. J. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 54: 1198–1210. )
This brings me to several recent comments in the media attributed to high-ranking DFO employees. Bary [sic] Rosenburger, DFO area director for the Fraser, describes the Fraser sockeye collapse as unexpected and that DFO doesn’t know what happened (Globe and Mail, Aug 13, 2009). But the next day he goes on to say it does not look like fish farms are responsible (BCLocalNews.com).
On August 15, Paul Sprout, Pacific Region Director for DFO published a letter in the Globe and Mail “Sea lice from fish farms are not the explanation of this year’s extremely poor marine survival of Fraser River sockeye...”
Given both the importance of the Fraser sockeye to the BC economy, ecology and First Nations; and the analysis that DFO political interference with science may have allowed the east coast cod to collapse, it is reasonable to ask what science did Sprout and Rosenburger use to inform the public that fish farms are not responsible for this sockeye collapse?
Two of your highest ranking employees involved with this fishery have publicly exonerated the fish farmers, an industry associated with catastrophic salmon collapse worldwide (Ford and Myers 2008) and here in BC (Krkosek et al 2007).
The most recent past catastrophic BC wild salmon collapse was in 2002 when 99% of the Broughton pink salmon failed to return. The Pink Salmon Action Plan temporarily removed farm salmon from the Broughton pink salmon migration route and the next generation of pink salmon returned at the highest survivorship ever recorded for the species (Beamish et al 2006). That management decision was reversed and the stock collapsed again.
Dr. Brian Riddell of the Pacific Salmon Foundation suggests that answers to the fate of these sockeye may lie in what happened to them right after they left the Fraser River, before they reached the open ocean. I and others did examine this run of sockeye shortly after they left the Fraser River. We were the last scientists to see these fish before they disappeared, and they had up to 28 sea lice on them as they passed the salmon farms off Campbell River.
Before you reply that DFO’s Dr. Simon Jones says young salmon are highly resistant to lice, please review his publications. I do not find the data in his studies to support this claim once the lice are attached to the fish. Many international scientific papers run contrary to Dr. Jones’ assertions.
I cannot tell you that fish farms definitely killed all 11 million missing Fraser sockeye, but fish farms most certainly are involved because DFO and the Province of BC sited them on the Fraser River migration route. The missing sockeye did swim through fish farm effluent. Rather than exempting fish farms from your investigation you must order complete disclosure of the health and number of farm salmon on the missing Fraser sockeye migration route in 2006-present. And we, the people of Canada and beyond, need to know why DFO is exonerating fish farms in the first few days of the investigation on what happened to one of earth’s most generous human food supplies?
one of the biggest surprise on the trip is to encounter those amazing salmon in a remote part of eastern Oregon. I received the great honor (from my team mates' pick) to get into the cages with those magnificent salmons. It's the fish of a life time! Knowing them migrate hundreds of miles from the ocean to this little tributary, I am humbled by those amazing creatures. Photo by BG! Thanks!
I recently chatted with my parents about some oversea traveling experience. To me, traveling is not an easy thing, it’s quite a stressful business where so many uncertain things will be encountered during the travel. Quite opposite, my parents are really an adventurer type of people. They love travel! They had once told me even during my “diaper era”, they were hauling everything to lakes or mountains… My parents probably think it’s strange that their son is less exploratory than themselves. Ha..not really, the adventure I like it more stationary. Something you need to observe more closely, more slowly, “hit and go” adventure has it own fun, but rarely appealing to me. I have to agree, though, that some people are more “capable of bearing frustrations” than others. Some enjoy the uncertainty more than others. I have several friends that are really enjoy those kinds of uncertainties in life. Me, as the opposite, I am a “household” traveler. I like travel, but I like to travel to somewhere that I can experience more in depth. Knowing nature, culture and people live there.
Couple years ago, I have a chance to visit a good friend in Japan. I brought my fly rod and managed to catch my first amago trout in a beautiful mountain creek. During this visit, there were not much touring around. This is just a short visit and I want it to be simple. This trip, however, probably is the best foreign traveling experience in my life, to date. Fishing was great, but it has less to do with the travel experience. I think the main reason may come from the people I met. My friend’s families and their inspiring life styles. I had a great honor to stay with her family for several days. During the stay, I had a chance to observe what a normal Japanese house looks like, what a regular life could be, what do they think about their society. Those things are so great! I really love to experience life stories than seeing famous monuments or famous sceneries. I like little things in the daily life. Those little things and trivia stories have it’s potential to enlighten me. For instance, we went to a mountain village, I saw a young man work in a shop, he has a fancy hair style. It’s really hard to make a connection between his fancy hair style and the farmer job he was doing…We chatted with him and bought some fresh vegetables. He probably think I am interested in those watermelons but could not afford it. (I was taking a photo of those beautiful watermelons). At the end of the check out, he gave us one watermelon as a gift. This is the kind of story that will always warm me up. One of the many trivia that I treasured during my travel.
Fishing, this life experience hunting is just like a typical mountain creek fishing. It’s slow and more stationary, but it gives me “more feel” than big water fishing. You find a spot by carefully observe the creek, the swirl behind a rock, the flat run with deep dark depression, the grassy bank with wild flowers on top etc… a lot of trivial that I really appreciate to be in a little creek.
A recent bull trout kill thread in a fishing forum make me start to think the role of angling in this endangered species. Angling for trophy and endanger sp. is always been in a grey zone, to anglers, to wildlife departments, or to conservation groups. I am not talking about protection, I am talking about the conservation. The difference is clear. Conservation is the field included SUSTAINABLE USE of natural resources. That is the main reason make conservation so hard, Fortunately, or unfortunately it always lie on the grey zone, it is a art form when exercised. Question: if the wildlife department said: you CAN take 1 bull trout a day in this particular watershed. Would you do it, or not? If you don’t, what do you think if other angler does?
There are several elements in this question. The game rules and the ethical feeling. Needless to say, any game has it’s rule and every player should follow the rules. Simple! An angler should follow the rules. Remember, the angler killed a bull trout is just exercise his right on the river, he did not violate the regulation. So what is the fuzz? Well, the fuzz is some anglers think the kill is not necessary, because they think they can exercise another form of angling which is “catch and release”. You hook and play the fish, and let it go for another day of surviving or let another angler has chance to hook it again. It seems cruel, but the reality is if the fish number is big, the chance of fish get hooked again is low, low enough to not call it tortures (in my opinion). So, it really is the idea of recycle a fish and reduced the angling stress on a population. Personally, I exercise catch and release, and I TRY to make sure the fish swim away healthy if I don’t want to eat it. (I love eating fish BTW). So, it would be a prefect world if everyone exercise catch and release. right? Well… yes and no. It’s an ideal but it is impossible in reality. It’s more like asking every fisherman on the river to be fly fisherman or catch and release fisherman (those two thing are not necessary happen together BTW). It is just impossible.
If the rule says you can keep a bull trout and you did. There is no question about it. You can blame the angler is ignorant. Ignore the fact that the bull trout is listed as an endangered species. But he is right about his citizen right, he follows the game rule. What you should blame, if you think you really need to, is the wildlife department that set the rule. We (me included) are barking at the wrong tree?! How many of us willing to participate a boring meeting, willing to write a letter to the relative organizations. How many of us feel the thrill and the need to point our fingers to others on the internet web? You have a deeply thought about bull trout and probably, some ecology knowledge about the endangered species. But this doesn’t absolutely make you a better fisherman. Bottom line, better fisherman is the man who follow the rule. AND should follow and participate the meetings in the fish and game department and of course exercise higher standard of environmental ethical.
We need more people on the river. So killer angler is good? If he follow the rule. Yes. We still want him on the water. We need all kinds of angler to enjoy the river. I really don’t mind to share the water with other anglers. The more people on the water means more power to the water. One of the biggest threat of the environmental conservation issues is that people lost the interest of the particular natural resource and it become the minority fighting the big commercial monsters. It usually ends up as lost of the law suit, lost the resources. It’s so sad that we use our mind and our desire as the center of the world. Sadly, and cruelly, this is how the world works. How many people will concern how the fish feel, how the polar bear feel? We feel the need of conserve clear water is because WE want to drink it. We feel the ice burg is melting is a bad thing, because we are worry about the climate is destroying our fishery and agriculture. Who care what animal feel? Maybe only Dr. Jane Goodall care about what animal feel.
Conservation needs strategies. This is the reason we want all types of anglers on the water. We need to protect the rare and endanger sp. even the kill is an another form of conservation strategy. Remember conservation is sustainable use, not pure protection. Otherwise, other non-fisherman will say, why catch and release? Stay home and leave them alone!
just read a great adventure article from the big pull blog, the author is exploring a interesting Atlantic salmon river in the western Russia. The river is big and mighty, fish are big and strong, quite an interesting read. Among those great exotic stories, one caught my attention. Ryan mentioned the river is fast and wide, it is really difficult to make a drift to the spot where salmon holds, even with a long rod. So the most practical way is to reply on a fishing guide to maneuver the boat in the center of the river and you have a much easier position to reach the salmon and make a good drift (of your fly). The man, Ryan, refuse to do so. He decided to go a hard way, fishing from the bank, from the wade which is way more harder regard to the cast and drift and fighting the fish. He mentioned, by doing this way, he is the one actually fishing, not a just a "rod holder". Spot on, I can not agree with him more!
To me, most of the fun part in fly fishing is to figure out "where" is the fish, "how" to deliver the fly and "what" strategy to use. If it all come down to the point smoothly and get the hook up. It is a accomplished achievement. If you don't, you switch to plan B...c...etc... This is the feel of accomplished a task, the reward is from the moment of hook up (reward from the hunt itself), Not really come from the trophy (I really don't care if I land the fish or not). What really annoyed me is someone try to teach me how to fish, how to fight the fish on the river. I think I have done that to my friends uninternationally. I think it is bad! It's really a worst thing you can do on the water. Unless someone is asking, otherwise it's really "a moment killer". I have a fish on, I am dancing all around with the fish, enjoy the ecstasy! Just me, fish and the electric connection between us. I am the one really fishing...fish on my way, whether it's a hard way or a unsuccessful way!
Direct quote from the big pull: LINK From my time here and on the Ponoi, it seems there is a strong tradition in Atlantic salmon flyfishing of covering mid-river lies from a boat. We don’t really have that in steelhead fishing, and frankly I can’t dig it. I want the challenge of knowing that some fish are just going to be harder to reach than others. Plus, the fish deserve their refugia. It took Blacky and I a couple days to communicate this to our guide, Vasilly, who, like all guides, probably prefers the boat because a.) his dudes hook more fish, and b.)in positioning the raft for the perfect swing, he is really the one fishing, the anglers becoming rod holders. We finally had a breackthrough moment on the second day when, after trying to trick me into fishing from the boat, I said in my cursory Russian, “No, we want only bank. No fish, no problem.” Gradually he got on the program and actually started to root for us, to take pride when one of us hooked up, handicapped as we were from the bank.
what is "moment killer"? ha... one of my favorite episode..
Not sure when I started to get a bit excited/admirable to the maps (in general), any maps. Not sure when the feel started to transfer from intimidating toward admiring, become a bit obsession actually. The maps, the power. As soon as I learned how to read a map, the power grows, I feel I am empowered with a magical ability. Needless to say, the power of maps has been that way for thousands of years, and it never diminished a bit since it has invented from our food gathering ancestors. Of course the magic is not just the piece of paper per se, it's the treasure it has concealed... rivers, peaks, valleys, drainage ,forest types and it's inhabitants, they are all in there! you just need a special eye to see it, a special mind and knowledge to reconstruct it... When not in the outdoors, I like to read the maps, use the knowledge, the principle to put all the pieces information together. It should have a river here? it should be a lake? maybe some fish in there? the forest, the drainage should be big enough to sustain a good creek? all those imaginations and hypothesized story are just as fun as the exploration itself. (to be continued)
disclaimer: there is not big fish in those reports. If you are looking for a big fish story, you might want to come back a month later. Because in this series of reports, it will only carry some of my mumblings,after thoughts of the western trip, and there is only some small cutthroat trouts in this trip.
This is one of my rare portrait image that caught by my brother BG during the provo fishing. Pretty good actually,ha,looks like 10 years younger of me... I post them here in order to show my parents that I am still exercising and maintain a relative good shape. Thanks for the good fresh air in the small town I live.
One of the best part (the mystery) of nymph fishing (oh, come on, nymphing fishing talk again...@@) is you actually don't need too much water to play during a day's fishing. You select a good run and work on the run thoroughly... step by step, seam after seam... until you enter the state of "zen"... actually you hardly will get bored, because you are going to catch a lot of fish, no matter how busy the water is, no matter what your brother is doing 10 feet away from you (at least in the provo). I feel it is like play in your own sand burg. Why? why not just throw a dry fly pattern and work through the water quickly? well... fishing is just a excuse that make you feel you are doing something, keep me in a routine mode, slow down my pace. Actually, I am doing more important thing while nymphing... I was socializing... with friends. (Just like the afternoon tea time) like this photo, I love sit on the bank and watch other people fishing... it's the same pace I like while I go birding. Sit on the roadside and wait for the birds to show up by themselves. It's quite an relax feel. I start to understand what Jon Wulff said there is 4 stages that every fisherman has to go though...1) catch a fish, 2) catch as many fish as you can, 3) catch as big fish as you can, 4) just enjoy be there. I guess this is the 4th stage, I really enjoy it lately...
One of the most important tasks in the expedition is shopping. Gathering all the necessary supplies could be a mixture of fun and stressful. We have to get all the essentials and eccentric all at once. There is no goofy around, budget is limited as well as space in our cars. Remember we had a big dog – Chilli, a amazing dog (I will introduce her later). Unlike other backpacking trip, however, this is a road trip with wheels, if it fit in the cars, it carries. Thank God! I have done a lot of backpacking trips, the calculation of the weight capacity really have to add another dimension of difficulties. Now, we can have more luxury thoughts for the fresh food and drinks (a.k.a. beers to be exactly), but in order to suit all the different personalities and dietary types in one big purchase, it is still a big challenge. Luckily, we are all carnivores and anything fit in the high calories category will do the trick. You probably already sense the food is the most important thing beside fishing in this trip, shamelessly, I have to admit, YES! We, as a modern people, are just helpless and vulnerable in the wilderness without constant (good) food supply. So, all the camping, and fishing schedule has to be arranged around food. I wish I can have evolved, at some point, hunt and fish for my own food in the woods. Like a mountain man.
Flashback, in the earlier age of my college time, I have attended a lot of expedition types of mountaineering trips. I am always being nominated as the field chef, well, cooking is another passion. Plus, who don’t want to get the first bite, officially?! The principles of food shopping are 1) light weight, 2) fast cook, but 3) have some delicacy in it. Light weight and fast cook are easy to match. You always can just pack a lot of instant noodles or dried veggies to the wilderness. But “some delicacy” is the key. We are not in the military training, MRE (meal ready to eat) types of food are not acceptable. “Delicacy” do has some “philosophy” in it, it is an art form. What I consider delicacy is to cook something like your home dishes, like your Mom would do in a modern kitchen, but we make it happen in an open fire place. One of the best tricks I have learned from the indigenous mountain people is to cook rice on the open pit fire. Different than noodles, rice are EXTREMELY hard to cook on the open fire… let me repeat it, extremely hard, especially in the higher mountain without sufficient air pressure. However, if you know how to control the heat and the timing. A good pot of steaming rice will earn you a honor… ha… no joke. A good bowl of rice is just that vital and important to Asian, just like a good burger or a juicy steak to the westerners. Fortune enough, I have lived in the US long enough that a well cooked burger sure will make me drool as well. In this trip, the burger cooked from the camp fire probably is the best of my life. Thank my team mates… (to be continued…)
the doors, the 70's music in the trip... pounding my head and echoing through the winding road. I am a big fan of some 60', 70' rock n' roll (not sure if their music belong to this category though). Anyway, when Grizz introduced those electric voice to me during the 12+ hours drive, I immediately get hooked. It's amazing how the old tune can shake your soul even it is across different cultures and different generations... A+ LINK
Preface After the long drive and long flight back to sweet home, I finally settled down my (not very well oxygenated) dizzy brain and digested all the excitements in my gut. I feel the blood start to flow back to the small brain from my shaking hands and pumping heart. It was a trip of life time, period. Not because the fishing is good, but, instead, is the spirit we are pursuing lead the trip into another level. We were doing something different than just family reunion, different than Provo fishing. Don’t get me wrong, I love Provo fishing, I absolutely love to fish with other people in a popular river. It more like walking in a night market, shopping in a mall, in a zoo, it’s crowded, but just because it is crowed, it make you concentrate even more on the friendships, relaxing and gathering all the thoughts that has been lost in the previous year. I guess fishing is a “excuse” in the Provo. That is always the way I collect myself in the western trip, either memories or new insights. This time, I have seen something different than before, so I will try not to do a laundry list report about my adventure. I will do a serious essay instead. A thought at a time.
I am a biologist grew up with a fishing rod in my hands. I have been fortunate enough to embrace my love of art and science in my career. Most of my free time were well spent in the nature, either studying bird behavior or chasing variety of fish with fly rods. My favorite art medium is watercolors, I love the natural and spontaneous feel created by watercolor pigments. I am currently a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard University. Welcome to my website. Mark