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Mark Stangeland - NUFlyGuide
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And so it begins....

Posted by Mark Saturday, December 31, 2011 0 comments

 After way too long, we got some much needed rain and a serious system flushing is taking place. And so the cyclical patterns of rise and drop begins.Each flush potentially bring new fish upwards. Still a ways off for any kind of consistent fishing but this latest rain is a God send.

 Deadline is at a flat line

 The falls behind Steamboat Inn are non-existent

 Steamboat Creek at confluence with the North @ the Campwater

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Drowning on dry land

Posted by Mark Friday, December 30, 2011 1 comments

 Have you seen the river lately?

Roy Buchanan shreds this....

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Fish Mortality/Gear Type Study

Posted by Mark Wednesday, December 28, 2011 2 comments

Here's a little meat to chew on from an actual study. Now you can start to extrapolate some numbers from this to see what kind of damage is being done to wild fish in the Umpqua drainage as well as many other systems throughout the NW. The days of excess are over people, we need to take a LONG look at how were are managing these fisheries or they will be distant memory. 

Makes me really think about taking wild fish out of the water, even for a few seconds. I always try to get fish in as quick as possible, and do my best to keep the fish I catch in the water.Sure, I admit I have taken pictures of fish out of the water and I am not perfect in this regard but I will make it a point in 2012 to do better.

Maybe Oregon should start regulations similar to Washington that make it unlawful to hold a fish out of the water. I would be all for it.This is a law that only makes sense in a Wild C&R fishery. Handling of the fish and the associated mortality rates would go way down, a good thing and an idea whose time may have come.

From Bill Bakkes Home Waters and Wild Fish site comes this interesting article. A good one to follow close on the heels of my recent post The Choice. Note the parts about repeated hooking and fish out of water/air  exposure and related mortality rates.

In my opinion,and for the more local discussion on the Umpqua drainage, bait would be actual bait(eggs,shrimp,sardines etc) as well as simulated bait including yarn balls,glo bugs corkies etc. which are often enhanced with oils or liquids that give off scent. These methods would all qualify as  "angling with bait generally results in substantially higher catch rates and mortality rates for both target and non-target fish than angling with any other gear type" as noted below.

Here is a another interesting article on single barb-less hooks from Bill's site.

Click on paper below to view the entire thing.


In 2001 Bob Hooton, fish biologist for the British Columbia Ministry of Environment, evaluated the impact of bait, lures and flies on steelhead and resident fish. This paper reviews what is known through scientific evaluation of relative impacts of these fishing types.  I have provided a few interesting quotes form this paper below.
“During the Keogh River experiment, it quickly became evident that, in order to obtain the requisite sample size of steelhead hooked on artificial lures, it was necessary to commence angling sessions with that gear type.  Despite a strong bias towards artificial lure fishing prior to using bait, lures caught 99 fish while bait produced 236 or 2.38 times as many for similar hours fished.  Additionally artificial lures caught fish were hooked deep inside the mouth or gill arches and bleeding heavily in 4 of 99 cases (4.04%).  Bait caught fish were similarly hooked in 26 of 236 records (11.02%) or 2.72 times as often.”
“During the Keogh hooking mortality study discussed earlier a total of 130 and 206 
steelhead were angled in study years 1985 and 1986 respectively (Hooton, 1987). The
weir count of adult steelhead over the period that angling occurred downstream from the
fence was used to provide a reasonable approximation of the percentage of the run
captured in the time allocated. In 1985, the data revealed that project staff fished 117
hours to catch 130 steelhead that represented about 27% of the fish available. In 1986,
121 hours were angled to catch 206 fish that represented about 19% of the supply. In
other words two anglers fishing an average of one hour per day over a two month period
caught roughly one quarter of the population one year and one fifth the next. All of that
occurred in about 50 meters (164 feet) of river.”
“More recently Keogh project technicians involved in requisite sampling of steelhead
upstream from an electronic counter captured 45%, 62% and 30% of the total available
supply of steelhead in 1998, 1999 and 2000 respectively. For 2001 to date the figure
stands at 51% (personal communication, Bruce Ward, Senior Anadromous Biologist,
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries, University of BC, Vancouver). These catch
rates resulted from two staff fishing for an hour or two per day over several kilometers of
a river that is not held to be particularly accessible or “fishable” by most steelhead
anglers. All of the fish were angled with bait.”
“What we can say, however, is that angling with baited hooks is prevalent in streams
where it is legal, that angling with bait generally results in substantially higher catch rates
and mortality rates for both target and non-target fish than angling with any other gear
type, that many of the wild steelhead stocks subjected to this combination of factors are
far below target escapement and that the status of non-target stocks and/or species is
frequently as bad or worse than steelhead.”
Catch and release may have been oversold in that there tends to be a pervasive opinion it can be prosecuted limitlessly with no influence on the status or health of steelhead or sympatric species. With respect to fluvial resident trout populations it was accepted long ago fish are too catchable and prone to hooking mortality to sustain fishing with certain gear types. Resident fish are simply that – stationary inhabitants of the available habitat. Arguably, steelhead in most of British Columbia’s short coastal streams, are effectively resident trout. Their vulnerability is entirely comparable to fluvial resident trout.”
Rearing juvenile steelhead and resident fish are affected by gear type:
“With respect to fluvial resident trout populations it was accepted long ago fish are too catchable and prone to hooking mortality to sustain fishing with certain gear types. Resident fish are simply that – stationary inhabitants of the available habitat. Arguably, steelhead in most of British Columbia’s short coastal streams, are effectively resident trout. Their vulnerability is entirely comparable to fluvial resident trout.”
““Bruesewitz (1995, WDFW) examined the location of hooking among creeled summer and winter steelhead in different Washington State streams in the 1992, 1993 and 1994 sport fisheries. She found that the single hook and bait combination resulted in a 2.33 times higher incidence of hooking in critical locations (14.9% versus 6.4%) than did single hooks and artificial lures.”
Exposure to air and mortality rate:
“Ferguson and Tufts (1993) reported disturbingly higher mortality among domestic
rainbow trout subjected to air exposure after mimicked angling events than for control
fish or experimental fish not exposed to air. Their data revealed 100% survival among
control fish and 88% survival among exercised (i.e., “angled”) fish. Among fish that were
exercised and then exposed to air for 30 and 60 seconds immediately thereafter,
survival dropped to 62% and 28% respectively. The authors stressed their results had
important implications for Atlantic salmon sport fisheries where the marked trend was
toward catch and release but where anglers habitually hold fish out of water for
significant periods of time prior to release.
Influence of multiple captures on fish mortality:
The influence of multiple captures of individual steelhead is another element of many
British Columbia steelhead fisheries that remains to be evaluated. Catch and tag
recovery data from a large number and range of Ministry programs indicate that in many
heavily fished streams steelhead are commonly caught two or more times. It is
reasonable to conclude the frequency of these occurrences has increased steadily over
the past two decades. The emerging and unanswered questions are whether or not
there are cumulative effects associated with multiple captures and how significant these
are from a population perspective? It is clear from the available CPUE (and mortality
rate) data presented above, however, that any risk of sub-lethal effects associated with
multiple captures would be skewed markedly toward gear types and procedures that
increased an individual fish’s frequency of exposure to those circumstances.”
Hatchery fish increase angling pressure and wild steelhead mortality
“Close examination of Steelhead Harvest Analysis (SHA) data reveals a consistent pattern on streams where hatchery steelhead have been introduced. The years immediately following first returns of harvestable hatchery fish display pronounced
increases in angling effort and record high estimates of wild steelhead caught and
released (mandatory). Catches tend to have been sustained despite conclusive
evidence of declining abundance in index streams.”
Anglers can choose to protect wild steelhead
“The angling community may wish to contemplate leaving a smaller and softer
footprint on all wild fish or risk the steady erosion of longer term opportunity. A sobering
reality is that the trends in stream fishing opportunity throughout virtually all of
southwestern British Columbia have manifested themselves in a very few generations of
steelhead. Ignoring history and assuming trends will be stabilized or reversed in the
absence of attention to fishing impacts is unlikely to produce a desirable outcome.”

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Posted by Mark Tuesday, December 27, 2011 0 comments

 Here's some recent pics....enjoy!

 My buddy Scott tied up this stunning batch of married wings.......jaw dropping stuff!

 Upper Upper Rogue

 Wallowa Lake

 Christmas Time in the High Desert with K2

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The Choice

Posted by Mark Friday, December 23, 2011 9 comments

Pardon me while I get on my soapbox here for a little while. I love these fish and I get fired up sometimes. Bare with me as I rant.

I am not trying to push my values on anyone here but I will speak openly and honestly. Many of the values I speak of should be everyone's values when it comes to stewarding our wild fish.It all about The Choice you decide to make. Choose wisely....

So when does really good fishing become irresponsible? Does anyone have a conscience anymore?I will submit to you that there are times when environmental conditions can provide the "perfect storm" so to speak and put fish in an unfavorable position. Is it fair and reasonable to target fish that are stacked and concentrated due to these environmental factors? Is it fair and reasonable to continue to target these fish over long periods of time? Is it fair and reasonable to hook as may fish as you can while these conditions persist? When is enough enough? How many fish do you need to catch in a day to be considered good fishing? I can't answer these questions for you, you must make those choices and decisions yourself.

    I have been thinking a lot about it lately in regards to the Main Umpqua that has had unreasonably and unseasonably good fishing the last few weeks. The regulations and fishing practices down there affect both the North and South Umpqua drastically.I will start by saying I do know that there are responsible fisherman out there(fly and gear) that realize a good thing and can limit themselves when they have had a good day and not get greedy.I am not talking to you.

The fishing has been good in large part because the water is at an all time low for this time of year and the fish are not moving.Stacked up and concentrated in a much narrower stretch of water than normal. They are living there. These are fish that usually have the cover of high water to make their ascent in relative obscurity. These are wild winter steelhead and they are getting absolutely hammered. Now don't get me wrong, I like to catch fish as much as the next guy but, at some point you gotta say enough is enough don't ya?Reports of double digit days swinging flies are common. That's cool and fun but after a few days like this doesn't it start to dawn on you that you are literately shooting fish in a barrel? Whats the fun in that. The fish have nowhere to go and are being repeatedly hooked.Those using egg imitations and bait are recording numbers off the charts.  A discussion board recently had a post from a guy( a guide I think) that was boasting of boating 186 fish in 11 days.That's to the boat, who knows how many were hooked.That's 186 wild winter fish! And that is just ONE boat people,and he wasn't happy about it either.He was vociferously complaining that only one or two of that almost 200 fish were clipped and could be kept. The locals and others are all up in arms that they can't kill fish, yet they do kill fish on a regular basis. There is no real Law Enforcement presence to deter much of the bad behavior so it continues. Mishandling of fish is at an all time high as wild fish after wild fish is reeled into the boat or bank, netted,to flop around on the bottom of the boat or the sand or rocks,held up by the gills for a few hero shots and then unceremoniously,booted, tossed, or dropped from 4 or 5 feet in the air, or over the shoulder back into the water. People are actually cussing as they wind in another fish to find out it's "just another nate". Sad indeed. Meanwhile, as a testament to the sheer numbers of fish being hooked and mishandled,the back eddies and big pools have dead wild fish littering the bottom. This is a travesty.Most of these fish are heading much higher in the system and many will not survive the mishandling and repeated hooking that they will go through. It's like crack though as people can not stay away or limit the numbers of fish they hook in a day.This will go on for the next 4-5 months as hundreds of boats fish questionable tactics and gear, and repeatedly hook and mishandle fish that are to be released.The fact that ODFW regulations allow for treble hooks and bait on a strictly wild catch and release winter fishery is just ludicrous. Hundreds of boats hooking thousands of fish in a season, and as I mentioned many, many of those beautiful wild fish will never make it up into the upper fly water where they can spawn. A month or two of low water where fish are mercilessly pounded can harm/kill a large portion of the run and have far reaching effects. When an anomaly like what is going on right now with water levels happens, the fish are exploited to unbelievable levels.These low water events have happened in the past and the corresponding return years of the offspring have been poor. Pray for rain for the fishes sake!

I will be controversial here but here goes.I am not saying that we should change the current ruling,which is No Kill, but I do think about these regs in the Main stem a lot. I think that in many ways a catch and release fishery when bait and trebles are allowed can be worse than a kill fishery. Yes you heard me right. Think about it. In a kill fishery they have to stop fishing when they have their limit of fish. In a C&R fishery they can catch and continue to catch fish after fish. Ripping gills with trebles,mishandling in the boat or on the bank, deep hooking of fish swallowing bait etc. One angler could potentially kill or seriously harm a half dozen fish in a day if he hooks 20. Hooking 20 fish on bait or yarn in a day can be rather common at times.I don't know the answer but I do know that there is a serious problem with the way the fishery and regulations pertaining to fishing methods and wild fish are being handled. Something to ponder for sure.

Catch and Release regulations should be enforced(that means give tickets to jackwagons who abuse fish) and fishing should  be No Bait and Single Barbless Hook basin wide. These rules should be enforced.

Maybe adopting a "keep the fish in the water policy" would be something that would help.

Life is about choices, lets make good ones.

Off the soapbox,

Merry Christmas......Remember it's about Christ!

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Winter Fly Coolness

Posted by Mark Sunday, December 11, 2011 1 comments

Great flies and step by step on these killer winter patterns!

Thanks Dimitri, nicely done!

Happy tying!

Purple & Blue Tube Fly from Dimitri Gammer on Vimeo.

Pink Fox Steelhead Fly from Dimitri Gammer on Vimeo.

Pink Marabou Steelhead Fly from Dimitri Gammer on Vimeo.

Black and Purple Tube from Dimitri Gammer on Vimeo.

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Ice Station Zebra

Posted by Mark Monday, December 5, 2011 1 comments

Low, clear and cccold.

I think I saw Chilly Willy out there this morning!

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