: EARN IT OR BUY IT?
05-11-2000, 04:23 AM
HEY GUYS, JUST STARTED CHECKING OUT THE BOARD, AND IT SEEMED LIKE A PERFECT PLACE TO FIND OUT WHAT SOME OTHER HARD CORE TYPES THINK ABOUT SOMETHING THAT'S BEEN BOTHERING ME. ACTUALLY, I'M PRETTY FIRED UP ABOUT IT, AND WROTE A LETTER TO THE PERSON INVOLVED AND WANTED TO KNOW A.) HOW Y'ALL FEEL ABOUT IT, AND B.) IF YOU WOULD BE WILLING TO SIGN THE LETTER. I KNOW IT'S KIND OF LAME TO START UP HERE WITH A BITCH POST, BUT IT'S SOMETHING I THINK WE SHOULD ALL BE CONCERNED ABOUT. AT THIS POINT, I'LL DELETE THE PERSON'S NAME, AND PASTE THE LETTER. AS FOR FISHING, WELL, THE FIRST SIX WEEKS OF THE SEASON WERE ABSOLUTELY BRUTAL FOR ME (2 FISH IN MORE THAN 20 DAYS OF FISHING) BUT THE LAST TWO MADE UP FOR IT WITH SOME SERIOUSLY EXCELLENT FISHING. GUESS THEY REALLY WERE JUST LATE. WHEW. I WAS GETTING WORRIED THERE, BUT I ENDED UP PRETTY PSYCHED. SO HERE'S THE LETTER:
Hello (insert well known guide's name here)
As a long-time and dedicated steelhead flyfisherman, I would first like to say that in my experience, you are a thoughtful, courteous guide who goes out of his way to be friendly and polite to other anglers on the river. I appreciate your efforts in this area—especially given the crowded conditions we are now experiencing on our Puget Sound rivers.
This, however, is not the primary reason for writing to you. I’m contacting you on behalf of a growing number of anglers who are increasingly concerned about some recent developments in your marketing and business practices. Primarily, we are talking about your Skagit and Skykomish steelhead classes. We have no problem with guiding or your website, and we are clearly not a group advocating censorship of information. We do feel that when you take larger groups of people for less money and show them the exact spots that have taken many of us years to learn, you are essentially selling something that isn’t yours to sell. And certainly, it must have occurred to you by now that—unless you’re giving people a bum steer—you can expect to find your students and their friends standing in the spots you hope to put your guided clients in years to come.
We are aware of the fact that you need to make a living, and respect your chosen profession. This subject is more of an ethical and moral question, and we hope to appeal to that in your nature. I want to be clear that we are not advocating keeping people from flyfishing for steelhead—in fact it is the strength of us as a whole that can save our fisheries. We believe, though, that the process of finding out where to stand and which runs to fish should be earned, not bought for $110 in a group learning situation.
Of course, it would be easy to dismiss this as some random, anonymous complaint and forget all about it. But we ask that you consider what we have said, and if you have any questions or wish to discuss this with our group further, to feel free to e-mail or call. Thanks for your time.
05-11-2000, 10:29 AM
Count me out on the letter. I know exactly who you are referring to and personally, I have no problem with it at all. In my opinion, he isn't doing anything that some of the local flyshops aren't doing for free.
As I understand it, these schools entail much discussion about hooks, knots, and fly types. While there is instruction on types of water to fish, I don't believe that much time is given to location of honey holes.
For what its worth, a fishing buddy of mine took one of the Sky classes last year. His comment to me was that he has learned more about the river from floating with another friend and myself than he learned at the school.
I may be wrong but I am guessing that most of the people who pay for these schools are just getting started. More power to them! We were all there at one time. (And somedays, like this spring, I for one still feel like a novice.)
As for "finding people standing in his spots". That is a fact of life. Actually, I would see a benefit to the schools in that hopefully, the students are taught proper etiquette so that they take their turn at a run and move on.
Enough of my pontificating. Welcome to the board! You will find a good group of guys here and some pretty damn good steelheaders. Glad you did well at the end of the season. It was a slow one overall so I'm happy to hear some people got some good hookups.
Heres hoping for some summer runs!
05-11-2000, 02:01 PM
Hey, Sinktip, thanks for the response and the warm welcome to a guy who started up with a complaint. In response to your comments regarding this person not showing the actual spots, I offer the following quote from his course description: "...members will learn the 'Sweet Water' as you will stop at each holding pool along the way (between Sultan and Monroe). Name Withheld will point out the waters that have consitently held fish..." Anyway, sounds like he's going a lot further than a flyshop telling you where to fish. As far as the idea of getting new people involved in the sport, sure, I'm all for it. I know the stronger we are as a group, the more clout we have when it comes to protecting our resources. I guess some of us just feel that part of learning to catch steelhead on a fly is through personal experience and relationships, not paying to find out which rock to stand on. Mind you, I have to be careful not to be hypocritical here, I love the literature, websites and guide's information as much as the next guy. What I'm talking about is the process of learning, and how we go about it--it just doesn't seem right to make it a large-scale, low-cost, money-making operation. Well, I'll look forward to hearing back from you guys on this subject, I think the whole issue is good for discussion, and based on your intelligent, thoughtful discussions on other matters, I feel comfortable talking about this with you as a group. Enough of this ranting and raving. Anybody fishing out there? I'm pretty much taking the month off, after 35 days of fishing in the last two months, it's kind of a relief for it to come to a close. Just tying flies, catching up on all my long forgotten household duties and uh, wo, wor, wor...you know, that thing you have to do to make money.
05-11-2000, 03:39 PM
>Anybody fishing out there? I'm pretty much
>taking the month off,after 35 days of fishing
>in the last two months, it's kind of a relief
>for it to come to a close.
Gee Dylan... you sure know how to twist the knife, eh? 8^)
05-11-2000, 04:28 PM
I'm not trying to twist the knife, I'm only saying if their weren't some kind of legal limits on my steelhead flyfishing, I would surely be broke, alone and insane, hopelessly trying to tie steelhead flies with salvaged bait hooks and cat fur. Any thoughts on my original post or long-winded reply to Sinktip's response? I really am trying to guage peole's individual opinions--any input would be helpful. Thanks.
05-11-2000, 05:55 PM
I know what he says in the add but based upon my friend's report, they spent almost no time fishing and exploring "sweet water". Either way, I guess I am not upset at him as he has to make a living and let's face it, it isn't hard to find the best water, all you need to do is look for fishermen.
I guess my biggest complaint with the guide in question is his repeated antidam stance on his reports page. Don't get me wrong, I agree but I feel that he is preaching to the choir on that issue.
Glad to see there is another addict out there. You sound like you have me beat as I have only totalled 36 or 37 days since Jan. 1. I am headed to the Deschutes in Oregon for four days of chasing trout and then back for metalheads come June 1.
Congrat's on the luck at Jack Daniels the last day of C and R. If I have the story from Doublespey right, I believe you and a friend were the ones that hit fish there. I fished it around 1:00 and my budy had a hot hookup but the hook came free.
Tight lines --
05-11-2000, 05:57 PM
I'm not sure where I would stand on this one not knowing the individual and seeing that there are others who know the fellow and seem not to agree with you.
On the other hand I tend to agree with you that not *everything* has to be divulged, particularly when it comes to spots that could use a break or places that might be impacted upon negatively or couldn't stand the pressure if more people fish them. Certain places you just don't name... period.
05-11-2000, 08:12 PM
Hey Skookum, Trutta, Sinktip, et all
I've got an idea - one of us needs to take this Class and see what he's teaching! If it's really about knots and flies (somebody pass the maribou <g>) and river courtesy, then GREAT! Hell, I'll show them my whole flybox if that would guarantee that they'd all follow decent river courtesy and wait their turn on popular runs. I'm sure we'd all agree on that one <g>
But I have to agree with Skookum, it would seem like a (self-destructive) sellout if a guide goes down a river like the Skykomish divulging the Sweet Water to a class of 20-30 "students" as he advertises. Doesn't mean I can stop it, but I'd certainly want to make a comment or two stating my displeasure.
What if, for example, he's decided to move to Alaska? Or decided to get out of guiding altogether? "C'mon, everybody, I'll show you every Steelheading secret and Spot I've learned in the last 20++ years for $100!" I don't know about you, but I feel like he'd be betraying both the river and the other veteran anglers kind enough to have helped him gather that information over the years.
So it all boils down to what's really going on in these classes. I'm guessing it's mostly Hype - I know the guide and he's pretty savvy about protecting his "spots". Then again, things change. . .
And I'm really curious to hear Juro's take on this subject, as he always has an interesting viewpoint on such issues.
First and foremost - welcome Dylan! It's great to have you in Steelheaders Anonymous. Let's all fire a spey cast motion in his general direction http://126.96.36.199/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif" border="0" align="middle">
Seriously, this is an important issue that has parallels in every region where there is precious water and lots of pressure. There are honey holes with resident status access on Cape Cod where the locals frown on guides bringing people in on their resident permits. I understand the emotion but then there's an ocean of fish in that case, and the clients can't get back in there any other time. The fish are also moving through in a mega-migration pattern and it's hit or miss with few secrets divulged. In this case I would say the concern is unwarranted.
But sweetwater - especially steelie water, now that's different...
I have shown a lot of water to a lot of folks but if they weren't buddies they'd better live at least 1000 miles away or they never saw the good stuff.
There's a perfectly good place to bring hordes of anglers for an indoctrination into steelheading, and drastically increase the odds of losing the cherry too - it's spelled C-O-W-L-I-T-Z. Bring 50 folks down there and no one will even notice!
It's not hard to figure who we are talking about and I respect him a lot. I think his heart is in the right place and I wish I had his day job! On the other hand, Dylan has the heart of a riverkeeper and I think if I were running large groups I would do the Cow instead.
BTW - the Cow is a much maligned river, one of the greats in the PNW before Mayfield and Riffe and other impoundments made it a hatchery scene. As far as that goes, it's among the most successful - which says something about the river not the program. I would often ponder what it would have been like if untouched... the Dean?
Anyway, since I don't have enough info I'd have to say:
If the program reveals all the hard-earned intricacies of the Cascade streams to the unworthy masses for short cash, the program is an unfair treatise to the resource and it's steelheading community.
If the program uses these streams as the setting for introducing the fundamentals of steelhead flyfishing, knots, presentations, etc. - then the convenience of the location for introduction of more flyfishers (and thus less roe chuckers) is just fine.
Don't know - I guess we're just gonna have to take the course! <img src="http://188.8.131.52/images/flytalk/Wilk.gif
05-11-2000, 10:15 PM
Good point, people. Having not taken the "class," I'm only basing my fears on what he's written on his website as a course description, and what I've heard happened on this year's Skagit class (from a fellow steelhead addict). According to this person, he did exactly what we all hoped he wouldn't. Of course, since I don't fish the Skagit too frequently, when I heard about that, it was easy to say, yeah, it's too bad but what can I do? Then, when it comes to my own home river, well, all of a sudden it's pretty darn important. What I'm saying is that I'm guilty a kind of self-serving concern, and in reality, we all need to watch out so that a certain respect is given to all our rivers. Anyway, I'm really excited about the level of discussion going on on this topic. I know it's not as much fun as fishin' reports, but you guys are putting a high degree of thought into this, and I'm learning something from all of you. So I really appreciate that--keep on going.
05-12-2000, 01:03 AM
I know this guide and respect his knowledge regarding steelhead and their habitat. I too believe that he has the best possible day job. Brian and myself have spent a day on the stilly with him and I would say that other than his distain for the two hander, he is one of the good guys. He is without question an anadramous fish advocate. I don't like the idea of showing everyone the "holding" water for a fee, but I would put cash on the line he is not showing any secrets.
Juro, 50 rods on the Cow not, bad 50 extra sleds sucks. I can't wait now that I'm staying local.
I have a symbiotic relationship with sledders! As you know, in low fall conditions the summer slabs hold under the willows in the trench on the far side. If you're lucky you get a low and inside fish at dawn. Then nothing happens until the sleds start pounding the far trench - suddenly at 10 o'clock in bright sunlight WHAM, multiple hookups for the fly guys. Makes the free drifters and boondoggers scratch their heads. BTW - the fish hang all through the knee deep rocks after 5pm froom September on until the winter fish arrive and the river swells.
*** now don't get me wrong, I'd rather be skating a caddis muddler in pocket water on the upper Kalama ***
I am not a Cowhead as this thread might indicate, but on the other hand I don't often have seven fish evenings with summer bucks to 17 pounds on dry lines very many places, and work a lot harder to catch chromer summer fish by Father's Day elsewhere, etc. I guess because I caught my first Washington Steelhead there I have a strange affinity for it among the many rivers I love. Every time I fish it I dream about it without dams and hatcheries. The Toutle, the Green (Lewis / Clark cty) are remnants of it's glory.
Another sleeper is the Green (King cty). The upper green is incredibly beautiful and it's size is just right for summer run flyfishing if you ask me. The spring run of natives (although less numerous) is significant and 27 pounders have been recorded. I've landed 11 fish in the last 9 days of the season of which one was a hatchery kelt and the largest of the string was a 16 pound native hen I'll never forget. There are plenty of summer fish and they are real surface oriented after August.
In any case, I've got summer-run fever already. When is one of you guys gonna go down to the East Fork Lewis and bang a chromer on a prawn pattern for the team?
05-17-2000, 02:59 AM
I think that we can rest easy. You can't buy "it". If you could, everyone would have "it". I teach workshops of many kinds and I find that most people that aren't motivated enough to figure "it" out the hard way aren't going to stick with "it" anyway. They are mostly day trippers looking to be entertained for a day. Nothing wrong with that. But fishing, and fly fishing, and especially that often cold, wet and often futile devotion...flyfishing for stealhead..is just plain tough! Anyone who takes that course and falls in love with this facet of the sport should be a friend.
I doubt that it is possible for even Uber Guide to drag more than 3 beginers more than 50yds. down the stream.
I hope I'm not wrong about all this. Eddie