• Visit: Moldy Chum
  • Visit: The Horse's Mouth
  • Visit: Chi Wulff
  • Visit: Parks' Fly Shop
  • Monday, February 26, 2007

    Earth Be Warm - Ice Be Gone - Strange Be Found

    Montana Stream Access Still Under Attack

    .. From beneath the Weddell Sea ice shelves comes a community of creatures straight out of your most vivid nightmares. Reuters reports about new Antarctic expedition.
    .. Of the hundreds of animals discovered beneath what was previously over 5,000 square miles of ice are the possible 19 new species: 15 possible new species of shrimp-like amphipods and four possible new species of cnidarians, organisms related to coral, jellyfish and sea anemones.
    .. The region has been characterized as one of the world's most pristine deep sea environments.
    .. The ice shelves were at least 5,000 years old and collapsed in two stages over the last dozen years. One crumbled 12 years ago and the other followed in 2002. Global warming is seen as the culprit behind the ice shelves' demise.
    .. Thick settlements of fast-growing animals called sea squirts, which look like gelatinous bags, which apparently started colonizing the area only after the ice shelves collapsed.
    .. Senate Bill 78, and House Bills 424 & 642 in the Montana Legislature are causing a stir. The access to streams in Montana is still under attack. K. Durham, in New West spells it out for those folks still unaware of the crisis. The current battle is not only about access but it challenges the concept that citizens of Montana own the water. This is a nasty grab by the wealthy.
    .. Speaking of the wealthy, read how the ultra wealthy are doing in Big Sky, Montana, (and elsewhere,) in the report by The Independent News & Media Limited. We leave you with a description of THE YELLOWSTONE CLUB:

    The highest-end "destination club" in the world, is a private holiday resort set in 13,400 acres of countryside in the Montana mountains. By winter, The Yellowstone is a powder skiers paradise; by summer, there's a Tom Weiskopf-designed golf course, together with some highly regarded riding, walking and fly-fishing.

    There are fewer than 300 members, recruited on an invitation-only basis. Their identities are a closely guarded secret, though regulars are rumored to include Bill Gates, Dan Quayle, and Brad Pitt. With an entry fee of $250,000 (£130,000), plus annual subscriptions of around $10,000. And you'll need to buy a house within the resort at somewhere between $2m and $155m.

    Sunday, February 25, 2007

    Tuesday, February 20, 2007

    EEK! It's A Quagga.

    Hitchhiker Leaps Tall Buildings And Vast Distances
    zebra's cousin now in lake mead

    .. From the STOP HITCHHIKERS program at Protect Your Waters comes news that no longer is the Quagga Mussel just a Great Lakes problem. The invasive species is now in Lake Mead, and threatens all of the waters in the Western United States. California is the most probable place that the invader will propagate.
    .. As of just 4 weeks ago the USGS has information of documented populations in four locations on the Lower Colorado River: Lake Mead, Lake Havasu (2), & Lake Mohave.
    .. Southern Utah's Spectrum carries a story about the surprise of local officials and their responses to the invader.

    Laura Melling, park manger of Sand Hollow and Gunlock reservoirs heard that the mussels had been found at Lake Mead on January 6 her first reaction was that it was scary.

    Part of Melling's feelings of dread was that locally, not much had been done to prepare when the mussels were finally found outside the Great Lakes area where they were discovered in 1989.

    .. The Contra Costa Times also carries a story about the mussel, and the fear of infestation in the California Delta.

    State water and wildlife managers fear the quagga, a fingernail-sized Eastern European import with no commercial application, would suck up algae and small creatures that fish and other aquatic life need to survive.

    "This is the last thing the upper Delta needs," said Tina Swanson, a scientist at the Bay Institute in Novato. "The quagga would add to the problems of a struggling Delta system."

    .. Like their cousin the Zebra Mussel, the Quagga is dioecious (either male or female) with external fertilization. A fully mature female mussel is capable of producing up to one million eggs per season. The prolific nature of the beast is one of the concerns of fishermen and wildlife officials.
    .. The mussels also compete with small and/or young fish for food, and can introduce toxins into the food chain. One of the concerns is their ability to transmit Clostridium botulinum.
    .. Good Information:
    --- Wikipedia
    --- USGS, Quagga & Zebra
    --- EEK
    --- AIS, Pennsylvania
    --- Anthony Ricciardi
    --- Absolute Michigan

    Friday, February 16, 2007

    Yellowstone, Didymo & Eco-Toxicology

    Answers Coming Soon - We Hope

    .. The diatom Didymosphenia geminata has been spreading slime and destruction in New Zealand waters at a rapid rate. It is also gaining an ever-widening presence in North America. The common name is ROCK SNOT, and it fits.
    .. After spending $12,000,000 on research, New Zealand is conducting it's first field tests with an eradication procedure that may just help conquer this slimy devil.
    .. The Southland Times from New Zealand has a story today about the field research that led to this trial.
    .. Eight study sites on the Princhester Stream will be treated with a chelated-copper compound called Gemex. This poison is the best, (so far,) in the battle. Monitoring of the results will also include observing effects on not only didymo but native algae, water invertebrates and fish.
    .. The research is being conducted by Dr. Sue Clearwater, an eco-toxicologist for the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (Niwa). Results should be available soon.
    .. Rock Snot is one of the Five Invasive Threats currently known to threaten Yellowstone National Park. We have mentioned Rock Snot in previous posts and now look to this research in New Zealand for hope in being able to win one small battle.
    .. Stop Hitchhikers has just posted news about other invasive species. There is a possible $9,000,000 to control Asian Carp, an increase in VHS in the Great Lakes, and the concern about over control of non-native species.

    Sunday, February 11, 2007

    How To Access Your River

    .. The scuffle and tiff between land owners and fisher folk is being addressed by the Montana legislature. It's sure to bring conversation to a boil. At issue is the attaching of private fencing to county bridges.
    .. Does this illegally limit access to the rivers? The resolution is a bill presented in the legislature, (passed by the senate,) and poses rules of law that: ". . . are not intended to expand the rights of recreationists or to diminish the rights of landowners."
    .. New West has a fine article that explores the problem. Bozeman lawyer and state senator Larry Gent has defended the bill by saying: "
    What we’re doing here doesn’t change law in any way. There ain’t no other choice. It’s this bill or let the court do it."
    .. One thing is for sure; The conversation is not finished as the bill now goes to the Montana House of Representatives.
    .. Environmental news relating to Montana can be found at the Montana Environmental Information Center web site: MEIC. It currently has a section on the 2007 Legislative Session.

    .. The stream access issue is also featured on the Montana Wildlife Federation web page; including a review of the current 1985 Montana Law.

    .. The Wild Fish Habitat Initiative, (Montana Water Center,) has some interesting cutthroat reports available on-line.

    .. The Whirling Disease Initiative site has updated their site to include a data repository.

    .. The third edition of the "
    California Salmonid Stream Habitat Restoration Manual" is now available on-line.

    .. Hubbard's Guide Academy is now accepting applications for 2007.

    Saturday, February 10, 2007

    Lowland Fishing

    .. Just over the hill and down the road and around the bend and across the bridge and up the the other road is a winter fishery. We got there yesterday and are going back today. The West Fork of the Madison is open until the end of the month, and with a 90-degree swing in temperature it is almost shirt-sleeve weather.
    .. Most of the fish are already smelling the coming spring in the lowlands and there is a very sparse hatch of little black caddis and some snow flies. The riffle at the first pull-out was full of yearlings and they were taking yellow dusters. The narrows before the meadow was full of gear fishermen and the trout were taking gold 00 mepps. The second meadow pull-out was soft and muddy, we pulled in and walked to the water and the fish were cooperative.
    (From Grin Fish)
    A cowboy lay sprawled across three entire seats in the posh
    Ellen Theater. When the usher came by and noticed this, he whispered to
    the cowboy, "Sorry, sir, but you're only allowed one seat."

    The cowboy groaned but didn't budge.

    The usher became more impatient: "Sir, I don't care if you're drunk- if you don't get up from there I'm going to have to call the manager."

    Once again, the cowboy just groaned. The usher marched briskly back up the
    aisle, and in a moment he returned with the manager. Together the two of
    them tried repeatedly to move the cowboy, but with no success.

    Finally they summoned the police. The local sheriff surveyed the situation briefly
    then asked, "All right buddy, what's your name?"

    "Chico," the cowboy moaned.

    "Where ya from, Chico?" asked the sheriff.

    With pain in his voice Chico replied,. . . . . . "The balcony."

    (From Grin Fish)
    A cowboy is riding across the plains of the old west, when he is captured by Indians. The tribe puts him on trial for crimes against the Indian Nation, and he is found guilty.

    "You have been sentenced to death," said the Chief, "but, as is our custom, you have three wishes to make as your last requests."

    The cowboy thought for a minute and said, "Well, for my first wish, I'll need my horse."

    "Give him his horse," said the Chief.

    The cowboy whispered something into the horse's ear, and the horse took off like a shot across the prairie. Twenty minutes later, the horse returned with a beautiful blond woman on its back. The cowboy looked at this, shrugged his shoulders, and helped the young lady off the horse. He then took her into the woods and had his way with her.

    "Second wish," said the Chief.

    "I'll need my horse again," said the cowboy.

    "Give him his horse," said the Chief.

    Once again, the cowboy whispered into the horse's ear, and once again the horse rode off over the prairie. Thirty minutes later, the horse returned with a beautiful brunette on its back.

    The cowboy looked up and shrugged, helped the young lady off the horse, and went into the woods, same reason as before.

    "This is your last wish," said the Chief, "make it a good one."

    "I'll need my horse again."

    "Give him his horse," said the Chief.

    The cowboy grabbed each side of the horse's head, and put his face right up to the horse's.

    "I said POSSE!"


    Thursday, February 08, 2007


    Can We Obliterate Whirling Disease?

    In Praise Of Whitefish!

    .. STOP HITCHHIKERS reports that there may be hope for combating whirling disease by using resistant tubifex worms. Could this be the answer we've been waiting for? The original article is in the Rocky Mountain News.

    .. Thanks to the lowly Rocky Mountain Whitefish, we may be on the right track. The fish has for decades been reviled as poor fare - unless smoked - (if you can keep them lit.)
    .. Now the disappearance of this native fish has proven to be one key to understanding the vector in the whirling disease story. The fish has become an unsung hero in this battle. It's time we learned to love it too!

    .. For more information about Rocky Mountain Whitefish visit Montana Fish Wildlife & Parks.
    .. For More information about Whitefish Montana see Big Sky Fishing.


    Friday, February 02, 2007

    Where Do Flies Come From?

    .. Well the cold has returned and we note that 18 degrees seems chilly to the folks in salubrious and sunny Northern California. It's a mere 40 degrees colder than that here, and the flies are dancing all over the bench.
    .. One of our neighbors stumbled through the door and after a brief bit of resuscitation, exclaimed that there were probably many better ways to spend the winter than shredding the pelts of long dead critters and plucking the feathers from fowl with unpronounceable names. We strongly disagree, and ultimately the discussion turned to both fine malt and fine feathers.
    .. The gist of it was that the real professionals can always do it better than just the casual fly tier. We than wondered just where it was that all those flies come from.
    ..So, with Swarovski tumblers in hand we began to shred commercial tiers instead of pelts. We spent far more time than is justifiable looking at feather pages and fly shops online, and talking about "BLOGGING." We even compared the merits of single malt to blended libations.
    .. He wanted to know how blogging was done, and just what is was. We demonstrated. There are tons of electrons out there - we exercised many of them. This is the result.
    .. We talked, cruised, surfed, clicked, compared, and conversed. And, we finally decided that the folks that gather up gobs and gobs of dead critters and turn them into fish catching art were doing a pretty good job of enhancing everyone's fishing pleasure, and - - - contributing mightily to the world's economy.
    .. A pleasant way to avoid both the cold and tying flies. Our only clear conclusion - "The reason that there are so many flies is that they all work!"
    ..The Internet provides some very interesting resources - if you can keep the Scotch off of the keyboard. Here's a few of them.
    .. Have $13,000 +/- in inventory? Weigh them!
    .. Five story tall fly factory? You better believe it!
    .. Advocate for independent fly tiers? Of course!
    .. Custom ordered flies? Easy enough!
    .. All USA suppliers? You got it!
    .. Interview with Jim Watson? Why Certainly! Well worth a rereading at High Country Flies. This is an excellent review of Umpqua Feather Merchants and the quality in their flies.
    .. What does the USA Fly Fishing Team think of Umpqua? Read it here!
    .. Want to get into the importing of foreign feathers and other gear? Try this!
    .. The House Of Harrop? Just click!
    .. Craig's place? For sure!
    .. English-tied flies? Right here!
    .. Materials on sale? Save here!
    .. Bargains on used equipment? You won't believe it!
    .. Exceptional Salmon Flies? Visit Wolfgang!