YOU Can Make a Difference!

August 25, 2014


Is anyone tired of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Facebook? I am sure tons of money has been donated which is awesome, but many people don't even know what ALS does.  It fights and studies Lou Gehrig's disease.  It is very exciting to see a unique grass roots type funding rally for this cause.  I can't ever remember anything like this! Props to those across the country that put $100 in the mail instead of getting showered, and props to those that followed through with the challenge.  I don't mean to sound bitter, it is actually wonderful how much awareness this has raised but this whole trend kind of reminds me of Catch and Release.  

While it is fun to see pictures of happy people hoisting big fish out of the water, that isn't what is best for the fishery in the summertime.  The water is low on oxygen and the fish are being caught somewhat frequently which is very stressful!  A photo of a big trout out of the water is sort of like getting showered instead of donating $100.  While the shower is fun to see on video, raises awareness, and your friends see it; the real work is done by the unsung heroes out there quietly and gently releasing trophy and writing checks to ALS.   The guys releasing the trout without so much as a thought on handling are making your fishing better for you one release at a time.

We want to challenge you.  Not an Ice Bucket challenge or a donation, we want you to do some good for our fishing resources right now so please help. You can do two things, TODAY.  First, vow to start handling trout better.  Even if you are already gentle try to play them quickly, pinch your barbs down even more flush, fish a single nymph rig instead of a double, and try to mentor your friends.  I promise it will have a positive impact on your home water.  While it might be subtle, if we all commit to this we will be catching more and bigger trout.

Second, support the Catch and Release proposal that is up on the WDFW website right now.  As a group that loves to see anglers have good fishing we have lobby'd for this hard over the past couple of seasons but we need your help!  You can support it online with WDFW right here through this link:

Support Catch and Release Management on the Naches River

*choose Region 3 to see this application

Local Public Meeting

  • Moxee: 7 to 9 p.m., Sept. 11, East Valley Fire Station, 2003 Beaudry Road - This is the LOCAL meeting, please try to go to this!  If the future of your local fishery is important to you don't miss this.  We need citizens, not guides at this meeting.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

Aug. 21, 2014
Contact: Craig Burley, (360) 902-2784

WDFW seeks comments, schedules meetings 
on proposed Columbia River Basin fishing rules

OLYMPIA - State fisheries managers are seeking public comments on proposed sportfishing rules they're recommending for the Columbia River Basin.

As part of that effort, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has scheduled five meetings through September to discuss the proposed rules with the public.

The rules are specific to the mainstem Columbia River, its tributaries or lakes within the basin. The proposals cover fishing seasons, daily limits and other rules for the Columbia River Basin.

To review and comment on the proposed rules, visit WDFW's webpage at . Comments will be accepted through Oct. 16.

Fisheries managers have recommended 32 of the proposals submitted by the public in May move forward for additional review. The webpage has more information about the proposals as well as those not recommended for further consideration.

The public meetings are scheduled for:

  • Clarkston: 6 to 7:30 p.m., Aug. 26, Walla Walla Community College, Clarkston Main Building Multipurpose Room, 1470 Bridge St.
  • Spokane Valley: 6 to 7:30 p.m., Aug. 27, WDFW Spokane Regional Office, 2315 N. Discovery Place
  • Vancouver: 6 to 8 p.m., Aug. 28, WDFW Vancouver Regional Office, 2108 Grand Boulevard
  • Wenatchee: 7 to 9 p.m., Sept. 10, Chelan PUD auditorium, 327 N. Wenatchee Ave.
  • Moxee: 7 to 9 p.m., Sept. 11, East Valley Fire Station, 2003 Beaudry Road - This is the LOCAL meeting, please try to go to this!  If the future of your local fishery is important to you don't miss this.  We need citizens, not guides at this meeting.

The public also will have the opportunity to provide testimony on the proposed rule changes during the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission's meeting Nov. 7 and 8 in Olympia. Check the commission's website for details on the meeting.

The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to vote on the proposals during a meeting in December.

WDFW is recommending proposals that would:

  • Close all rivers, streams and beaver ponds in the Columbia River Basin to fishing unless otherwise stated in the rules pamphlet, and implement additional conservation measures to provide greater protection for juvenile anadromous fish.
  • Change open dates for most year-round lakes to March 1 through Oct. 31 for lakes in Asotin, Franklin, Kittitas, Yakima and Walla Walla counties.
  • Eliminate the retention of sturgeon on the Snake River and its tributaries. Catch-and-release sturgeon fishing would be maintained.
  • Adjust size and daily catch limits for kokanee in Cle Elum Lake, while removing daily limits for eastern brook, brown and lake trout.

About this Proposal on the Naches River

The root of the issue to me is that there are more and more anglers that want to enjoy using our natural resources all the time. At some point you need to look at your resources and decide how best to utilize them among our society. The fact is, fly fishing and catch and release is pretty darn popular. It makes great use of a resource because you can catch the same trout numerous times throughout its life and share that joy over and over again throughout multiple users. Decades ago this wasn?t an issue as there wasn?t nearly the number of fisherman and keeping a few fish worked just fine. Nowadays there are a few more hooks in the water and we have to figure out the best way to keep the fisherman attached to the other end of the hooks happy. If there were enough mature trout for everyone to keep a limit and still have quality fishing then that would be great. The truth is, there is a lot of dead water on the Naches system as the trout population never gets a chance to build momentum. We need a lot of 14-18? fish in the system so they can spawn productively and get a self perpetuating population going. Without enough mature spawners the overall health of the system founders and will never pick up steam.

As a fly shop that communicates with LOTS of anglers, guided, non-guided, and plenty of you that simply want free advice this rule proposal makes a ton of sense and is a very important issue for the future of the river. 10 years from now we will scoff at the idea that it was once a catch and keep fishery. It would be managed much like the Yakima River system and allow for spinners with single-barbless hooks and be all catch and release from top to bottom. The season that makes sense is the same, June ? October which protects spawning trout in this little river and also the wild steelhead that migrate back and spawn in the winter/spring.

I just can?t imagine the Yakima River as a catch and keep fishery at this point, to have the opportunity to expand the Naches River catch and release water makes all the sense in the world. Let the two rivers flourish and be the best trout fisheries that they can be. Currently there is one small section of the Naches that is catch-and-release and it is great fishing. It is also getting popular! Imagine that. By expanding the volume of water offered as catch and release it would preserve the trout, increase angling opportunity, and dilute the fishing pressure that we have on the Yakima River and the C & R section of the Naches. More water means a greater aesthetic experience for everyone. If you would like to see the Naches River be the best trout fishery it can possibly be, please come to this meeting next week in Yakima and voice your opinion.

  1. Thanks Joe for posting this blog on CATCH & RELEASE. You know my stance on this subject and I will continue in making proposals to the State. One day I hope we treat the wild trout in the same manor as the wild Steelhead. I reach out to everyone in support of more C & R on the Naches. We definitely need more C & R waters In this state. Let's Catch and release each wild trout as if it's the last trout on earth.
  2. Don't handle the fish and don't show photos of people handling fish on your web site. The rule should be for as long as an angler holds a fish out of water his or her head should be held under water for the same amount of time. See how the fisherman likes it. Guides are as guilty as anyone.
  3. Thanks Joe for the post and the link provided so that we can comment on the proposal. I know of way too many a fisherman, who will complain about the demise of our fisheries, but few who are willing to do something about it! Regarding the comment above....Joe would be the first to agree that if you are going to get a hero photo of your fish, make it quick. I have fished with the guides from Reds on several occasions and believe, me you are instructed to only lift the fish from the water for seconds. The safe release of the fish is of paramount importance. Joe has even suggested that when releasing a fish, hold your breath as a reminder of how critical time is to the fishes survival. Capturing a memory was optional, release mandatory. Good river stewardship is all of our responsibility.
  4. Joe, First, let me compliment you and everyone else who has helped create one of the best fishing "blogs/sites" I have come across. Great articles; instructive on a number of fronts, and so easy to navigate. Simply Top Notch! With regard to making a difference, can you explain why it is recommended to fish a single nymph instead of a dual nymph setup? -Mark Farrow