Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Adieu et c'est la vie

Starting now and continuing for a few years, the non-native-but-wild cutthroat trout present in an unnamed drainage are going to be euthanized or relocated in an effort to help conserve an even more endangered native fish. Limits are high, and a mandatory-kill law, like the one at Yellowstone Lake, was apparently on the table (though decided against). Non-native trout removal is happening nationwide and it is what it is.

But liberal limits and a fish trap are certain not to guarantee elimination of the big, beautiful fish, which are currently planting and fertilizing eggs. And there are undoubtedly hundreds more - maybe thousands - that are too young to spawn this year, thus making them difficult to capture. Fisheries management is an inexact science and managers admittedly don't really know how to handle this situation in a multiple-use/conservation-minded area keeping as many folks happy as possible. It's an experiment that will be evaluated when it's over.

So we fished. Within 15 minutes, Liz landed three around 20 inches - it probably goes without saying that the level of "sport" was low (we didn't fish over redds or anything, but we might as well have). These fish were absurdly aggressive - in some holes, two casts was an extended dry spell. But this trip was more about having fun while helping conserve a unique fish in an incredible place, than it was about sport-fishing. We have no illusions about our success.
Big smile now...
Fish til you giggle...
Like a boss

And they tasted great...

At the fishing access site...
If you recognize this fishery, have at 'er and help conserve an endangered fish. Keep in mind, however, that it's small water and a fragile ecosystem that probably wouldn't appreciate throngs of anglers.

We hate to lose this tremendous fishery, but if not for the efforts to rid the big and beautifuls, the creek would be closed this time of year and we'd never have the opportunity in the first place.

Regardless, we indulged for one weekend. It was something most lifelong fly anglers will never experience, and we appreciated every second and every fish. Hopefully this was not a final goodbye.
Copyright Liz Juers
More photos

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Whatever floats your boat

Be happy.
In my reality, there is nothing more important than happiness. And happiness can be a fickle thing, so however you can find it (within reason), go for it with everything you've got.
I recently recalled judging a childhood friend and his family for having a run-down house with buckled siding,  cracked walls and messy rooms, but an excellent Bose sound system and all the TimeLife CD collections you can imagine. I thought their priorities were twisted, and I shook my mushy-brained adolescent head.
But now I have a plain, old, small, stained-carpet dead-grass-yard garage-free townhouse in a blighted neighborhood, nine fly rods and reels, eights pairs of Simms waders, and two rafts.
The second raft hasn't hit the water yet, but with a little luck it will this weekend. A brand-new Outcast PAC 1300 on a brand-new Adams raft trailer (the lights even work!) is sitting in my driveway, yearning for water.
Don't judge me - I am a (happy) fly fisher.