No secret spots [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: No secret spots

09-08-2002, 09:20 PM
Can we get all the little known and "secret" spots out for everyone. One of my old standbys is now out and all over the net.
Will have to look for a new place now that everyone is all over this place I used to like to go.
Maybe there are no seceret spots left.
It sure is getting hard to find a spot thats not being fished to death, and from flyfishers too.
Never thought that would happen 30 years ago.
I remember the old days out with the long rod on the Sky in the winter and almost getting into fist fights with drifters just cause I had a fly rod out on 'their" waters.
How times have changed?
Maybe theres some good spots out on the salt chuck left?:confused:

09-08-2002, 09:49 PM
out of Medford, OR. Fished Friday evening, Sat morning, Sat evening and ditto that for Sunday (2-3 hour shots, no more than 30 minutes from downtown Medford on the upper Rogue.

Result (no bull) Friday: 2 for 3, Sat 2 for 2, Sunday, 2 in the morning and hooked the KAHONA this evening. Fishing short with a 7136 and 6/7 xlt with a big black bug. 20'ish foot of line out of the tip and a 15-16 foot leader. On his first run he cleaned out the rest of the 120 foot of fly line and 30 some yards of backing.

Anyway, got him turned, line back on reel and back and forth for about 20 minutes to where he was 'almost mine for proper release.'

Three or 4 other folks at Denmon Bar/Ponds (one of the Beaches we did the Clinic on) had a very good look at "That's Mr. Fish To You" before he spit the hook 30 feet from me. Sigh??? Well, short line release, long line release he was one that should be in the Gene Pool.

Think I've got to get a new key board; "stickey" keys make for a lot of letter drop outs. Yuck.

09-08-2002, 10:13 PM
I still have secret spots. I have them on both coasts. They aren't necessarily the best spots in the world, but on some days they can be as good as any. I am not the only one to know about them; I see traces of others even when they are gone - but so few know about them that to the small circle in the know, they are still 'secret enough'.

I imagine back when there were less people, spots could be kept more secret than now. But the problem is not the internet, it's the people who are on it. The internet is just a physical medium. It does not give information, it only carries it. People give information.

In my opinion, in the big picture it helps the resource to have more anglers. The more people we have who enjoy a free-flowing, clean, productive river - the more people who will vote and work to keep it that way. We may lose a share of our solitude to others who come to love the river as we do, but they are our brothers in the fight to preserve what has not already been lost.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and mine is that it's better to share the water with many enthusiasts than fight against big industry and government as a small private interest minority with many special spots for each practitioner.

Once again in my humble opinion - take off from work on a Wednesday and start at dawn sharp. You can find a secret spot on almost any river. When the time comes to vote or fight to preserve these resources, I am glad more people are getting into it.

just my .02

09-08-2002, 10:18 PM

I fishied the infamous Fortson's Hole on the Stilly on Labor Day for 4 hours in the late afternoon/evening and saw only 3 other fishermen. And two of them were on their way out of the water and left as I arrived. The other fellow who arrived at the same time as myself had the water to ourselves for a little over four hours.

I lost the big Kahuna by putting too much pressure on the 6lb. tippet 5 minutes into the fight. It was sure fun!

Fished the upper Sky yesterday for 2-3 hours and saw 4 other fisherman (all using fly gear). Two were just putting their rods together at the bridge over Hwy 2 as I was driving by it; 1 was fishing the run a 1/4 mile below me; and the other 1 began fishing the run above me the last hour of daylight. Almost forgot, I was fishing the camp water, which is hardly a secret spot.

Amazing how we can find water like this that is supposed to be full of anglers virtually empty. Maybe everyone is thinking that it will be crowded.

09-09-2002, 12:49 AM
There aren't many, but some. I know of a couple rivers that come to mind. Some aren't secret, some are simply just so hard to access, only die hard fisherman (didn't say fly, said die hard) will attempt to fish them. Then, there is a couple that have awesome runs of fish that I see maybe a handful of locals fishing. I've been fishing this river for a good 24 years (my Dad well over 50 years) and have yet to see a fly fisherman, nor a non local fish it (besides ourselves). Has a quick run of fish, have to know when to fish it. Most people simply drive by it without thinking of hitting fish there.

Life is good, until one of these fisheries gets put into a magazine. I know one day my few remaining spots will be posted. It was bad enough when the Nooch was put up on the block. I remember when you were lucky to see only a couple boats and a handful of guys fishing it back in the 70's. Now everyone is fishing it.

09-09-2002, 01:55 AM
Eddie said it in the thread regarding flyshops...he stated:

When I come up on a river and see "too many" people, I include myself and look for a different spot.

We will all have to learn to live with it and we will just have to search out new 'secret' spots if we can not handle the people.

09-09-2002, 06:18 AM
I think there is more to it than "grit your teeth and bear it". I'd add that it is important that those who join in become part of the solution for preserving our resources, not part of the problem. There should be a sort of fellowship between anglers that puts the power of the community toward a positive outcome on behalf of the fish populations and their habitats, and most often there is.

Yet one fault of many anglers is that they put their own interests first, therefore creating a lack of unity in the group overall. This is evident for example in the "bonk a native" crowd. Is that good for a fishery, or for a fisher? In my definition, an angler is one who has a true sense of ownership and responsibility; a deep bond with the river - not someone who exploits it.

The angler has this true bond to the river because he interacts with it and it's creatures. We can use as many of this type as possible, it's the other type we need to worry about.


old man
09-09-2002, 12:38 PM
I know how you all feel about secret spots. I gave one out a few years back and then it wasn't secret any more and no more fish either. I still have a few spots left,but now that I'm older than dirt I can't get in to them any more. Wife says not to do it alone anymore. If I fall I might not make it out. So I just fish where everyone else does. Close to the road.

And some are in the head waters of the "Sky".

09-09-2002, 03:06 PM
Eddies statement is very true and we all need to look at it that way.
But in your statement you said we all have to live with it and just search out new secret spots.
I would really like to know why and honestly why we have to live with it.
Do you not feel that you me and all of us can have a positive effect on fishermen, shops and the industry who give out too much info by not giving out as much info. Just seems to me that at this period of time in the history of fly fishing we tend to take great pride in letting everyone know that we caught fish, where we caught fish and how we caught fish and even that we didn't catch fish at a certain spot. It's gotten to the point where it's the in thing to do with many and I've been guilty more than once.

So what I'm asking to you and anyone if they care to respond, don't you feel fly fishing might be better off if we set the standard by not giving out as much info? Not the basic info like for you in the shop when someone asks"where are the steelhead this week" and you say they are running in the Sky, Skagit and Stilly so give one of those rivers a try.

You know Ryan we all can search out secret spots but there is a saying that you can run but you can't hide. I'm getting older and have been runing for new fishing spots for too many years and maybe for all those who feel the same that it's up to us to make popular again the need to share less info. Ya know fishing is much more fun when there is a mystery about it.

09-09-2002, 05:31 PM
I don't get it - if people share less info how does that improve flyfishing and for whom does it improve?

IMHO sharing is good, and the number of people you will see out there is a percentage of the total population pretty much regardless of what you do or don't do. If you see too many people for your tastes, well maybe there are just too many people period. I don't think clamming up is going to make anything better.

I really enjoy the people I meet on the river with very few exceptions. Maybe the best thing to do is to enjoy your fellow anglers' company and put your best fly forward.

I've caught many a steelhead in the company of others and to tell the truth I don't often feel like they are messing me up. If so, I simply move to another "secret spot", I've got a bunch of 'em.


09-09-2002, 06:53 PM
I used to fish the Kalama alot back in the 70's, but then the word got out and that great river was listed in almost all the mags. Dont fish there much anymore. Used to be you would see maybe 6 boats all day, now, who knows. I agree we need more fly fishers, but heck lets spread them out, so we are not on top of each other all the time.
Shops are great for info, but they give out too much some times, like when you go in and theres a reader board listing all the hot spots for that week.
Of course having more quality waters would help. I guess any new spots will have to be kept close to the vest from now on.
Sad, cause I like helping fellow anglers.
I too search the net for more info, but I really dont expect to get anybodys seceret spot from it.
If there are so many more fly fishers now, lets lobby for more quality waters!
Anyway good luck to everyone (maybe its time to go back to the drift gear?). :confused:

09-09-2002, 11:11 PM
Steelheader 69,

I know exactly what you mean about what happens when a magazine publishes an article about where to go on a particular river. I saw several rivers get overrun with boats and inconsiderate guides in Montana during the 12 years I spent there. It got to be so bad that people who lived there began asking for restrictions on the number of guide boats allowed on several rivers.

I also saw this happen on the Salmon River in the Queets drainage on the Olympic Peninsula. An article was put into HUNTING & FISHING NEWS that included where to go, specific runs and holes, and best times to go for coho. This once wonderful place to go has become a zoo ever since the article was published 6 years ago. People cast over each others line, threaten others, purposely get in the water right in front of you (nearly touching your shoulders to do so), and in general make fishing a miserable experience regardless of the type of gear you use.

Old Man,

I know about giving out secret spots as well. I made the mistake once of telling a person about one such place on a local river. The following week, it was in FISHING & HUNTING NEWS! There were so many people in the three back to back runs I told him about, you couldn't make a cast without snagging someone's line. I was taken rather aback by the number of folks therein since it required a walk of about 1/2 mile to get in to them. It seems that if a magazine publishes info on a particular run or pool, the herd decides it is the place to be. Thankfully, last year ( a full 4 years after it was published) the herd had decided not to go there. I sure hope it doesn't get pubnlished again.


I have no problem with a shop or magazinde giving out generalized info such as there are fish in the Sky, the Skagit has fresh fish, there is a great blue wing olive hatch on the Yakima, etc. This doesn't provide the exact places to go. It provides the info that a good fishermen needs to decide where to go. Then he is on his own. Also, I don't have a problem with a shop or magazine saying that the hot fly or lure is --- and the best time of day is ---. Again this doesn't tell them exactly where to go. Giving out access points is also no problem because an access point is usually not good holding water, it is simply a place to access the river.

09-10-2002, 04:56 PM
While the fishing industry in general has stayed even in growth over the last 2 years the fly fishing segment of the industry has grown 18.1 percent in that same time span.

I'm not sure if you are trying to make it sound like it is a selfish act for those who wish for less info given out in our fly fishing community. I'll be positive and assume that was not your sole intention but wanted more information with your post above.

There is no question that we all want our time on the water to be a quality experience. It's not a question that quality can be a different thing for each person because most of us realize that is just the case. For some here who have voiced their concern about different stretches of water being over run after a promotional article in a magazine or by a fly shop who's philosophy is tell all and our customer base will continue to grow because fishermen want that info. And yes there are plenty of shops that think that way. Also is the concern that over the internet the giving away of specific info about certain spots be it secret or popular does bring more fishermen to to that area. So yeh there is some selfishness when a local conplains that his waters have gotten over crowded because information has been given out by whoever.

This I feel strongly goes far deeper than the cry of selfishness of some local. That cry is not only about too many people fishing around him. Realized or not that cry is a concern about his local resourse and the adverse affects extra crowds driven by new and specific information that continually shows up can have on his watershed. Juro, Kush and Ryan have brought up that the more information we have, the more fly fishermen we have, means the more people we have to wage the needed wars against pollution, unchecked growth and developement sprawl. This is true and many great things have been done for the bennefit of our enviroment by fly fishing groups and induviduals big and small through out the country. I will go as far to say that even the fly fishing industry who I have a tendency to mistrust over last 10 years has given an increadible amount of money time and information to fight for great causes. All the indviduals, the industry should be commended for the efforts over the last 25 years or so...... But?

When does this increadble wealth of information which has driven the tremendous popularity in fly fishing reach a high point and then begin to be detrimental? When do we begin to love our fishing rivers, bays and ponds to death? You say it can't happen, not where I live anyway? I have mentioned in previous posts on similar subjects about the adverse affects that are taking place in some of the rocky mountain states from the result of the over popularity of fly fishing so I won't go there but they are real and with a growth in the fly fishing industry of 18.1 percent those adverse effects could be coming soon to a river or bay near you. You maybe saying, "what does the giving out of information have to do with those problems"? One only has to read the sport fishing trade publications to understand that our fishing industry is using information and as much information as possible to keep the growth and profit of fly fishing increasing. Every fly fishing publication and TV fishing show is industry information published with it's featured and non featured articles not solely for the bennifit of we the fishermen but for the industry ability to sell us many fly fishing related things. One need only complete reading a glamorous information article in a FF mag and notice that the very next thing you read is multiple informational advertising for resorts, fly shops and guides in the area that you just read about. This is not a bad thing it is capitalism at it's best. But sometimes capitalism at it's best brings problems like over developement of our enviroment we have all seen this, look at Cape Cod, look at the Skagit valley, the Frazier Valley. I ask all of you this question with great concern, could the increasing of popularity of fly fishing in your area become a over developement issue in your watershed. Just one example: Take the time to research the Madison River in Montana drainage problems from whirling disease to septic infiltration and high nitrates. Caused by who? Yup, us the flyfisherman who has bought 90% of the land along the river and subdivided for their own little piece of paradise. It was industry information that popularized fly fishing there. It was industry information that made the Madison River a great catch@release fly fishery. And it was industry information that has now created the very problems mentioned above. This is not just a sub developement issue could it be an over developement in the ability of just being able to go out and enjoy your local river.

What I feel we need and like Kush and Juro it's just my opinion. I've fly fished for 38 years, been following the popularity of fly fishing with great interest now for 25 years. I love fly fishing dearly and most of those who fly fish. For many of those years I enthusiasticly supported the growth of fly fishing, the sharing and developent of the information that helped create it's popularity. There is a growing concern begining to grow not just by me but by many that we may become the very enemy we have fought. I've racked my brain and soul for a solution. It is my belief that we as fly fishermen need to just slow down some, after all that is why so many have fly fished since Walton . A piece of mind and soul I believe. Take a good look around, we are going at a very fast pace, fly fishing should not be that way. I really think that if we as fishermen just cool our jets on all the info we give out to other fishermen we will have a tendancy to slow down the process of fly fishing. Maybe we can find some type of stabelization in our art form as it is now sport, maybe we can relay or set an example to the industry or to those few who still are in the idustry that fly fished for the love of it to build a good sound base of the already clientel and encourage those new to fly fishing to slow down and enjoy the entire learning process that comes not so much from info but from the beauty of just being out there fishing
Sorry it's long but fellow fly fishermen take a good look where we maybe headed and is it where we really want to go.

09-10-2002, 09:08 PM
OC -

I read your whole post and admire your passion for preserving the 'quiet' in the quiet sport. Thanks for taking the time to reply - but I fear my posts may have been interpreted well beyond their intent.

I re-read my own posts and can't understand how you might interpret the sole intent as such. I wouldn't necessarily assume that I am implying selfishness by promoting it's alternatives.

As stated my concern is that I am not sure a large population of introverts is better for flyfishing than the same population of extroverts, and I also suggested that perhaps the problem is largely the size of the population itself.

I don't have the answers, just a philosophy.

So let me ask - aside from the commentary, what actions are you (specifically) suggesting that people take?

09-10-2002, 10:50 PM
Interesting thread.

People frequenting this forum seem to generally be exceptions, but I think that some fishers are much more willing to spend major $ to travel great distances to better fishing, rather than invest $ to preserve/enhance their local fisheries. Granted, we all crave variety, and one can't fish for, say, bonefish in the Pacific NW, but if fishers didn't act like there were alternatives to their local waters, perhaps we'd have better habitat, and more waters designated as "quality", be that FF only, or artificials only, or C&R as appropriate.

Just to make sure I'm not insulting anyone, my impression is strong that those within this forum who travel great distances to fish also, like those who don't, put forth significant efforts on behalf of fisheries.

I think the problem is, to a significant extent, one of numbers. Also, though, the ease of information exchange has facilitated success (fish caught) in the sport for even those of modest interest. Individuals with only modest interest tend to care only about their fishing, and not the resource. If their interest was tested by having to find their own way in the sport a bit more, like many of us, then they might not have continued.

Of course, a counter-argument is that "converting" non FF fishers to flyfishing tends to make them more concerned about the resource, since FFers generally have more success the more we learn about our quarry and their habitat.

To sum this up, I guess I agree with Juro's comments:
"In my definition, an angler is one who has a true sense of ownership and responsibility; a deep bond with the river - not someone who exploits it.
The angler has this true bond to the river because he interacts with it and it's creatures. We can use as many of this type as possible, it's the other type we need to worry about."

IMO, easy information can bring more people into the sport that will not invest back into fishery resources, but creating more FFers can also develop more people who understand and care about threats to those resources. Therefore, there is no clear-cut answers to when and how much info is appropriate.


09-10-2002, 11:27 PM
Juro says he doesn't get it! Well I have been an Angler for a good little while and I don't get it either.
What I do get is that Juro and I are," not getting it" on extreme opposite ends of the spectrum regarding the Kiss and Tell nature of modern fly fishers. Someplace between my time honored tradition of show em nothing and tell'em less and Juros "what have we got to loose but everything"(a loose paraphrase) there is lots of room for helping out newbies and wantabies without destroying all we love. It (angling) is a simple passtime I would like it to remain so but have you paid attention to how convolouted some accounts of casting a bloody fly line have become lately? Enough said I am going back to my rod room and am going to polish a couple of my old cane rods to use this week in my travels across the states for Steelheads.
When I was a youngster an assitant director of the Washington Department of Fisheries a Mr. Lassiter came to Port Angeles to address the Olympic Outdoor Sportsmans Association, everyone was expecting a speech of great promises about the future viability of our "beloved" hatcherys system (1964) and related topics. However Mr. Lassiter launched in to a very lengthy and to some I'm sure boring account of how the state of Washington needed to launch into a program of "Infrastructure Capitalization for Recreational Oppurtunitys." The entire presentation was tuned around the beleifs at the time that sport angling in crowded conditions would be detremental to the sport of angling and therfore a viable alternative would be an investment in other outdoor activitys.(he suggested tennis courts swimming and boating areas etc. All this to keep the present cadre of anglers safe from the invading hordes to come.
I guess he had it wrong maybe he had it right, you be the judge!
The Mariners lost and it looks like it will take a miracle for me to watch them win the 7th game of the World Series at The Log Cabin Pub so I guess alls I will have to placate myself this Fall will be the sparse (I hope) company of a few new and old friends on the rivers of the West. Its Late I have a long hike planned for tomorrow and a long drive a couple of days later Good Night I'll type you when I get back later in the Fall if I type you at all!
Peace in the Valley

09-10-2002, 11:30 PM

Very well said indeed, and I wholeheartedly agree. I lived in Montana as the Madison was developed 20 acre parcel by 20 acre parcel during the 1980's by fishermen trying to get a piece of 'paradise'. I also witnessed the beginning of the same thing on the Missouri below Holter Dam during the 1980's as well.

I have been fly fishing since age 5, some 44 years ago, and I agree with you that we should al learn how to slow down and enhoy the total experience. Fishing has far more to it than simply catching fish. If the most important thing is catching as many fish as possible, a person should take up fishing with gill nets in the rivers or streams. And I don't think any of us on this forum would advocate that despite its effectiveness.

I have very fond memories of heraing my father and his fishing friends talking about the importance of taking care of the resource and not over running or overfishing a river or stream. I also remember a time when the fishing and sporting magazines did the same. It has changed from looking at the whole experience of the outdoors when fishing to catching the most, the biggest, using the smallest tippet, the smallest and lightest rod, etc.

It is high time we start teaching the newcomers that fishing, especially fly fishing, is supposed to be the contemplative sport.

09-11-2002, 12:49 AM
At first I felt this post was a vent over the inevitable. After reading OC's passion of the subject I really took a moment to place this into my perspective.

I have been flyfishing for 17 years and steelheading for the last 9. Flyfishing has a strong tradition in my family, heard many stories of great grandad and his lessons to my father. It was natural progression for me to take up the 'quiet' pastime. But, that was trout fishing. Media advertising brought me to steelhead. And with it has come many, many thousands of dollars on gear, gas, and grub.

The school of hard knocks taught (and still does) the many lessons of a river. I relished the challenge (and still do) of learning something new each day astream. I still feel that the majority of anglers want to pry, poke, and prod on their own, however there are plenty that don't. When you only get a couple of weeks/year to fish, why not maximize your chances? It sure is a lot easier to book a good guide or pimp a shop and get enough of a helping of information to get past 5 years of learning. And all of this comes on a silver platter so you want a bigger helping next time. The impatience of modern society- cell phones, 24 hour stores, and the internet.

In the last 3 or 4 years it has become even more apparent about the quick gratification requirements of the modern flyfishing society. Since I only fish my home trout waters 1 or 2 times a year it has become pretty easy to pick up on what has happened. 99.9% of the fellow anglers are all fishing the same tactic- the easiest to learn and get quick results. This has only come about from shop advice and magazine articles.

I really like the advice to 'slow down'. Why on earth do you want to go from a 24-7 society and impose that on your recreation? It will suck you in if you let it. Competition rises for 'good' water, conflicts and tempers become part of the game, ill will towards fellow fisherman because 'they' are impacting 'your' recreation. Then the viscous cycle of staying away from the crowds only to find the crowds following you for the same reason.

The last great rise in steelhead popularity arose from the monster steelhead runs of the mid 80's. I missed those, but it reared its ugly head last year with the dam counts. People came out of the woodwork to fish waters that generally don't see as many anglers- with this many fish in the lower 48, why go to BC? What a year to learn on, right? Unfortunately this trend in popularity of flyfishing is not going to wane anytime soon. The almighty dollar talks and there are plenty of marketing mechanisms to keep the rain falling on corporations to feed the beast.

As for 'secret' spots, KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. It is human behavior to want to share special experiences with friends and by doing so it will eventually bite you in the rear end. Catch 22 I suppose. I guess you need to follow Gierach's advice and learn to BS. If you were the only person there, tell people you were one of 10 and that will lessen the likelyhood of a 'secret' getting out- cause we all can't keep one. ;) In reality there are no secret spots left and somebody will eventually spill the beans to enough people that the solitude will be compromised.


09-11-2002, 05:32 AM
Moonlight, et al -

Before I get further misinterpreted or wrongly categorized (or maybe it's too late) - I am unsure where you get the impression that I am in favor of exposing detailed information; like specific locations for the "unworthy" (as people put it) on a public forum for public consumption? I am against and don't practice it - please don't jump to conclusions.

You expressed the very essence of my point in your own post "there is plenty of room for (camaraderie) without destroying everything" - precisely! Look at this Forum for instance - I feel I have been on the contributor side of the FF community fence yet I have revealed very little if not zero about "secret spots". Do you feel such efforts (like the Forum) help or hurt the angler situation? I would like to know, having put an incredible amount of time, money and effort into building the Forum.

Once again, and with hopes of no misunderstanding - I simply feel that given the inevitable increase in anglers, it would be better if we weren't spiteful of each other. I've seen the spiteful community and I've seen the brotherhood. I think there is more value in camaraderie than angst.

Apparently, you have a firm position as do I. I respect your opinion, but you may have misinterpreted mine a wee bit. Perhaps I would be able to understand your position better if there were any concrete examples of steps you would suggest be taken.

And BTW - There is no bigger Mariner fan east of the Cascades than I. I am divided by 3000 miles but have an M's batting helmet on my desk and listen to KIRO "my oh my" every game over, painfully I might ad lately, 3 hours later than the home crowd with the 9th inning on the other side of midnight at the end of each busy workday.

09-11-2002, 09:30 AM

While I am certainly not shy about voicing my opinion, I carefully checked this thread in vain for even one post - let alone a clear position!

As for how I do feel, I try for the middle ground. While I am incredibly selfish about my time and my enjoyment from fishing, I do recognize that there is strength in numbers! I abhor the flyshop/guide practice of "steelhead schools" yet if these people want to get into flyfishing they will one way or another - I guess I'd rather they learn the ropes from someone who at least has an idea of common practice on steelhead waters than out there totally stumbling around in my way.

At the same time I think that some waters are better suited for the pressure than others. Generally, I guess this has to do with location and access, for example it would be unrealistic to expect that people wanting to get into steelhead flyfishing would not have heard of places like the Skagit and Skykomish. They are going to go there and as has been lamented a number of times on this board, it is crowdwed to the point that it interferes with some peoples enjoyment.

These well known rivers provide the "entry grounds" into the sport and the political numbers that we need to protect us from the likes of Puget Power et al. That said, you will not find me talking about the places I hold near and dear. While I do fear that sooner or later the innevitable surge of humanity will find its way there, for now I wil not be doing anything to encourage it! I guess all I can hope for is that when the people do find their way to me that at least they know what they are doing and we can get along with each other when we cross paths on the river.

New Spey
09-11-2002, 12:37 PM
I don't know that we need to worry about secret spots as much as we need to find creative ways to expand our fisheries. We need to make sure that there is plenty of public access. We Need to help wild fish any way we can, because they tend to hold in many pools on their way upstream, rather than swimming straight to the hatchery hole like the hatchery fish do. Then finally, where we do have hatchery programs we need to create a system that makes them act more like wild fish in order to spread fishing opportunities through out the river.
Here in the Eugene , Springfield area we have two nearby rivers running right through our towns. We have nothing but hatchery steelhead, because we never had wild fish. Because of this, most of the fishing has always been done near the dams and gets very crowded. Because they wanted to create an urban fishing experience, the ODFW tried an experiment. They dumped hatchery fish in town. Their theory was, that the steelhead would at least pause for a short time before heading up to the dam. Evidently they didn't pause for long, because angler success remained low and most people still fished at the hatchery holes The imprinting for the hatchery was just too strong.
After giving up on the grand experiment they received a surprise the fish from the last year they tried, holed up in town. Anglers were catching fish through out the river expanding opportunities and giving us elbow room.
This last bunch of fish staid in town, because they had used steelhead from the Santiam River. The fish were lost, so they milled around at their different release points, trying to find their way.
It was so gratifying that year to hook a steelhead, with no one else around. I had the river in this area, all to myself. Unfortunately, they had already given up on the experiment, so I have had to wait for returns of their next try, using Santiam fish.
The point of my story is that someone tried something creative to expand fishing opportunities. Even though the original experiment didn't work they were able to accidentally come up with an expanded fishery. We need to use our increased numbers to pressure agencies to keep working to come up with more creative ideas.

09-12-2002, 10:02 AM
Everyone, great posts. I'm glad to see we are begining to think a little more about our responsibilities as stewards of the land we walk and float. Not saying that we never have been, flyfishermen have always led the fight for a better place to lie, I mean live. If I could fault fly fishermen just a bit it would be that we sometimes feel so good about the good we do that we can become very tunnel visioned.

Kush, I am sorry about your name mentioned, I swear that I read a post by you somewhere above or at least something you wrote about #'s of fly fishermen. Sorry again it must have been the pain killer I took that morning for a painful tooth. But good to hear from you, hope to see you this winter in the area.

Yes everyone should be involved in some form or another and if there were one law allowed to limit the amount of fly fishermen it would be that in order to fly fish one must be an active member of a political group that puts our fish and wildlife first, that means above the fisherman too.
Yes Juro I am involved, I am an active member of the WSC, anyway I hope I'm active. The WSC recently asked that I become a board member and that was an honor but I'm on the road way too much so declined the offer. I am doing some work for them on a low land wilderness bill for the NF of the Sky. Also plan on working for other groups that are pushing such a wonderful bill as low land wilderness. If you want a list of all the enviro groups I've been with over the last 25 years I could e-mail them to you.

My solution to what I feel fly fishing has become is just as I have preached over the last year or so on your wonderful site. That is we need to slow down and stableize fly fishing some. Some take this as an attack on them and their habits other on the industry. So be it if it is. But I am not alone in this idea of slowing down. The back packing industry learned the hard way what I feel the fly fishing industry will soon learn in the coming years and that is one can love the enviroment to death. I commend most of the back packing industry and community for having the courage to take a good look at themselves and to have seen that they too are the enemy. I have not seen this addressed in one trade publication as yet in the fly fishing industry. On the national level the industry seems solely interested in increasing profit and #'s over what that may mean to our more beloved fishing destinations. If someone can give me some lit that says differently I would be a happy man.

We the fly fishermen are the grass roots when it comes to the subject of where fly fishing is going in the future. It is not as Ryan believes that we can't do anything about it. We can and we should at least start to look at our own actions as induviduals.

Hope that all of you take a step back and ask the question, where do we want fly fishing to go and what type of quality do I want from my fishing in the future?

I got to go fishing, before I get fired!
All enjoy the Fall season.

09-13-2002, 12:11 AM

I remember back when buyiing good fly equipment ment buying it from a catalog for most parts of the counry. Most quality rods were purchased from the manufacturer individual rod maker. And good flies were either tied yourself, bought from a catolog like Bailey's, Orvis, Bud Lilly, the Darbees, Dettes, Art Flick, etc. at prices which were considerably higher when adjusted for inflation than we pay for flies now-a-days.

Interestingly, with the increase of fly shops around the country, there seems to have been a lessoning of the 'sporting ethic' of taking care of the experience of the sport of angling. There are fewer anglers on our streams and rivers with good manners, fewer that seem to be interested in the whole experience of the outdoors, and more that seem to be interested in catching the most or biggest fish.

I'm not sure if we are better off with having a fly shop within 60-80 miles of our homes than we were 30 and 40 years ago when we had to buy things directly from the manufacturer or one of the very few full service tackle or fly shops in the country. Seems like when people have to expend more effort to acquire the implements to pursue their favorite outdoor activities that they take better care of them. And appreciate the experience of being out in, as my father puts it, "God's beautiful garden and the creatures therein."

I, for one, hope that more anglers, and tackle shops, begin to put sporting ethics and total experience as a priority. Otherwise, we trout, salmon, and steelhead anglers will becopme the caracatures that professional bass anglers have become. Fishing for salmonids, in my humble opinioin, should never become a competitive sport. Yet it sure has been moving in that direction.

09-13-2002, 01:26 AM
I just wanted to comment about the "everyone should be involved in one political organization". You know, I believe in trying to do what's right for the resourse. I believe in trying to better the sport. But for pete's sake, I feel there are NO political sources that are truly friendly 100% (I have not checked out WSC, so can't comment on that one). Most have an agenda, and agenda's have no room in fishing.

But, I guess my problem is I'm an ANGLER. I am not a fly fisherman, I'm not a conventional fisherman, I FISH....PERIOD. The problem is, everyone thinks THEY have it bad, and rest have it good. You wanna start a chain, here we go. Sled vs DB vs bank drifter vs bank plunker vs side planer vs jig guy vs fly guys. Each wants what other has. It's not a gear vs fly thing. If you think that, you've never spent much time on the gear side of life. I can list a TON of fights amongst the groups, and then the political resources each has on their side (WA Trout, NW Steelheaders, etc, etc). It always seems one group wants to alienate the other. I may have to check out WSC, may be the one for me.

But, I digress to the actual topic. I have secret spots. How do I know this? Because noone fishes them, except for a few locals. I understand the whole "invite people to the sport", but that's what some of the "name brand" rivers are for (as I call them). If you find one of these zippers on your own, good for you. If you choose to tell everyone about them, that's your call. But, protecting the resourse also dictates fishing pressure as well. Is sending tons of guys to an overfished spot good for resourse as well? Should we have so many people fishing a river that it becomes virtually unfishable. There are TONS of zippers out there. How do I know this? Because I've heard many times from people (even locals) talking about bodies of water and saying "I wonder if fish are in there?". Chances are, if it comes from salt, there could be fish. Small trickle to Columbia sized rivers. The rocky little creek you pass up today could be full of fish and unfished. Just a thought to ponder

09-13-2002, 10:22 AM

We must be from the same era when it comes to buying rods sort of an inbetween era of the really old days and the start of the era we have now. My uncle when he was in his 20's right after WW2 used to have to make two trips of 6 hours in each direction to buy a new Alantic Salmon fly rod or trout rod. The first trip was always done just before winter came or durring hunting season. That trip was to talk to the cane rod maker about what he wanted exactly in a rod. Guess they would talk back and forth, smoke a couple cigars, how are the kids, just BS. My uncle used to tell me how excited he got all winter thinking about the new creation that was being made for him and it made long cold winters go a lot faster. The next trip to the rod maker again was a 6 hour drive and it would be in the spring to pick up the rod, cast it a few times in front of the rod maker, comment on its action, a couple of cigars and the exchange of cash for the rod.
I know that's not for everyone now but you still can do that. There still is a cottage industry here in the United States and in Europe. Expensive yes but good things take time from all sides.

You mentioned Baileys and Bud Lilly, loved them both they were good to me, always encouraged never lectured on how to or where the ya got to go to catch fish. Yes they were owners of their shops, no corperate backing, just hard work and dedication to the communities of Livingston and West Yellowstone. When Bud was about to sell his shop back in the 80's for the second time I was very interested as was one other person. Bud would call me often and voice his support because he felt that I knew the local community and the other guy was from Oklahoma and only fished a couple of weeks a year. That shop was mine for the taking and I have a feeling for a lot less than the price given to the other guy. For Bud it was resonsibility to the community first. It's funny now that a lot of these famous fly shops are owned by large corperations, did you know that the Henery's Fork Angler is owned by one of the Rockerfellers large holdings. Did you know that Sage, Winston, and most of the other famous names that started out as a cottage industry have been gobbled up by you know who. Did you know that the fly fishing trade industry that sets a lot of the direction the entire industry follows has marketing done for them by such groups as Vita Stratigic Communications. A couple of thier lectures or selling points to the industry are, " How to work with the media to sell your product and how to get more people into fly fishing. I realize this is the trend in the entire 1st world now but this is just mass marketing now and I for one don't like what I love so much being treated that way. I wonder how many of Vita Stratigic Marketers have ever fished let alone fly fished and how many of them build in safe guards in thier marketing directives towards the sensitivities of the locals and thier enviroment the way the Dan Baileys and Bur Lilleys did.
We the fishermen are the grass roots, we should and can have more say. Voice your concern to the fly shop or guide who you think is not so ethical, Take the time to find out if the rod or reel company you support is a true friend or just puts on a big front for the enviroment in the name profit 1st be damned if we create problems from more is better.
I think a lot of us think alike that there is just too much hype in fly fishing today. The hype has been coming from the top downward for twenty something years now and flytyer you are right on when you said we are becoming BassMasters #2,. Maybe the young and the new want it that way but maybe that's because they know nothing but the hype. It is our job,(fishermen) and the industry to change that direction with positive communication so that our fly fishing does not end up on some stupid low life tournement fly fishing TV show. Or has it?

Would love to hear from the Industry, maybe Juro can or knows some of the players to respond. It is not my objective to tear it down but to get them to start to think more about what effect they have had on fly fishing and where it's headed for in the future.
Good to all

09-13-2002, 07:54 PM
Steelheader 69,

You are right on about it being about FISHING. For me, at least, it has never been about fly fishing vs. other types of gear. I've shared too many runs on too many rivers and streams over the last 44 years with folks fishing with all types of gear, and had very enjoyable experiences doing so.

One of my best friends, when I was in my early 20's, was a 50 something live bait and lure fisherman. I spend many a day on the Upper Delaware River (mainstem, east and west branches) with him in the early and mid 1970's. Cal used a fly rod for fishing minows or worms, and a spinning rod for lures and spinners. I fished with a fly. We each caught our share of fish, including some montster browns at night on the Delaware.


I'm 49 years young and began fly fishing in 1958 at the age of 5, and fly tying in 1962 at the age of 9. This pastime and ourdoor pursuit known as fishing has been a part of my life since age 3 when dad started to take me to a small local spring creek in Pennsylvania. I absolutely love the environs in which salmonids live.

Yes, I'm aware that many shops and nearly all of the manufacturers are owned by large corporations. This I in my opinion has been in large part responsible for the mass marketing push of the last 20 years.

The inclusion of fly fishing in the ESPN Great American Outdoors Tournaments is a great example of the movement from corporate tackle manufacurers to what I term 'FISH-O-RAMA'. This is hardly what the experinece of fishing is about.

When I lived in Montana from 1979 to 1991, I also got to know Pat Barnes and Bob Jacklin. Pat was a great gentleman, and I was glad that he sold his shop in West Yellowstone to Jacklin.

I like you OC has noticed over the last 20 years an increasing emphaisis on profit and selling more, more, more! Before I get criticized too harshly, I have a goodly number of high end rods and would not have it otherwise. However, I know why I payed my hard-earned dollars on the rods and know the niche that each of the rods fills. I have noticed that htere are many fishers out on the rivers and streams who have the latest version of a rod, not because it fishes better than the rod they bought 2 years ago, or fills a niche their current rod arsenal doesn't fill. No, it is because it is the latest and greatest, just read all about it in the fishing magazine and besides, "Ol Joe down at the tackle shop swears it is the best thing to come along in years!"

Most of the time this is nothing but hype and marketing nonsense dreamed up by the marketing department. Same with clothes for fishing. I buy a vest or rain jacket and use it until it is worn out, which is alsways many years after it was purchased. Waders are like that too. What is the difference between a $400.00 pair of breathables and a $140.00 pair" The of course is not much.

Steelheader 69,

Right on regarding belonging to or joining a particular 'conservation group'. All of them have let me down during the last 25 years and all of them have had hidden agendas. I don't know about WSC because they are too young. I hoe they do not go down the road of the others. Some of the groups have gone to worshipping hatchery fish, orthers to worshipping wild fish, some to pandering to a particular user group, others to making poilitical statements. ONe thing I am sure of though is that all of us sport anglers (and that includes all fishers regardless of gear they use) need top learn how to get along and have a unified voice for conservation or the resource uipon which we all depend will be overexpoited.

What ever happened to the genteeleness of fishing?