Thursday, January 31, 2013

Cabin Fever in Full Effect

Cabin Fever in Full Effect

As anglers sit here on this last day of January, the cabin fever is beginning to set in.  Steelhead Alley regional weather patterns have varied from one extreme to another this month.  Last week we set some records for cold, while yesterday we set a record for heat.  Frigid evening temperatures locked up the streams across the alley last week, but the upper 60 degree weather on Wednesday has thawed out the ice in the rivers and melted the snow on the ground.  This has caused the river flows to shoot up.

Either way you slice it, the cold weather last week made it difficult for anglers to chase the fish, flicking ice from their guides and fighting the windburn on the face.  With the rising river flows due to the recent snow melt, we wait for the weather to stabilize so that we can get out there and get onto some fishable conditions.   

Tis the season to look for other ways to occupy the time that is typically spent streamside.  There are seminars and expo’s to attend, fly boxes to fill, YouTube videos to watch and learn a new trick, and Facebook to pass the time with fellow anglers.  If you haven’t already, the party is started over at the Team SAA Facebook Group.  If you aren’t there, you are missing the party.  

With my adventure down this switch rod path, most of my time has been spent with learning to tie my own flies.  Chagrin River Outfitters in Chagrin Falls has all the goodies for tying the streamer patterns I have been stocking up on.  When it comes to learning a thing or two, here in Steelhead Alley a lot of area anglers have been participating in not only Steelhead Alley Angler, but also on the Ohio Fly Fishing group page on Facebook.  With Social Media becoming so popular, this is a great way to connect with anglers of all experience levels.  As a relatively new angler to the world of fly fishing, social media such as Facebook and the groups within have been helping me with my learning curve.  

Team SAA has their Meet and Greet on February 19th at Chagrin River Outfitters and we are looking forward to putting faces to names.  Bob and I have been video conferencing weekly and brainstorming some new ideas to bring to our loyal followers new content in ways never done here in Steelhead Alley.  Stay tuned for details!  Keep your eyes peeled as we are going to make some great things happen!

Mario found some Chrome!

Justin found Chrome!

Fabian found Chrome!

Until Next Time…
Fish Hard…Fish Often…

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Preservation of our Steelhead Alley fishery regardless of Wild vs. Stocked fish

Preservation of our Steelhead Alley fishery regardless of Wild vs. Stocked fish

Steelhead Alley Angler has reached across the world and is becoming noticed.  What we say and what we do is being listened too and watched.  As anglers in steelhead alley, we skim the web for different bits of info to feed our passion for fishing, likewise anglers across the globe are doing the same and land upon steelhead alley websites.  On a recent outdoor sports talk radio episode that I was a part of the topic was related to “Wild Steelhead” and the handling laws they have in their part of the country. 

In the state of Washington I have come to understand that wild fish are not to be removed from the water.  Anglers have raised some concerns on the validity of such a law and realistic ability to enforce such a law.  While some anglers adhere to the law and never touch the fish upon landing, others will still lift a fish, leaving the tail in the water for a photo opportunity and be within the legal rules of their division of wildlife. 

Myself being an angler in a state that has no handling laws per say but rather common sense recommendations from our ODNR on how to handle steelhead, I found the discussion to be interesting and enlightening at the same time.  I had no dog in the fight when it came to their law, but rather I was looking at this topic from a different angle.  Washington State’s law I gather is for the preservation of the wild fishery they have, and I can respect that completely.  A few radio segments went along and I listened with interest of learning from anglers out west the challenges they face.

Soon it was my time to chime into the conversation and maybe point out a different view point.  I spoke about while the law may or may not be enforceable on the West coast, imagine a fishery that has no handling rules.  Yes I know that zipping of fish is illegal in Steelhead Alley, but rather it isn’t illegal to handle fish in other manners of which would be considered controversial in many anglers eyes across the country.  The first thing countered to my point by the co-host was “your fishery is stocked and ours is wild”. 

Yes I completely agree our fishery is stocked by our respective Division of Wildlife Offices.  The understanding is that while the fish will attempt to spawn, our tributary systems are not conducive to sustaining fry during the summer months.  While there is a reported small percentage of fish that appear to be wild in Steelhead Alley, without the stocking programs eventually our fishery would go away within 10 years in my estimation.  With the economic downturn, it wouldn’t surprise me a bit if stocking program funding is cut in the future.

Regardless of handling laws, is it not the duty of an angler to be a Steward of their fishery? Is it not the common goal of all anglers that when releasing fish back to the WILD, they are given the best chance of survival?  With our fishery in Ohio, anglers have the opportunity to harvest a certain amount per day, though this doesn’t mean that all anglers do that.  Of those landed and harvested, many more are released back to the WILD to give other anglers the opportunity to enjoy in the future.  Land 20 fish on a good day, keep 2 if you so desire and release 18 fish that day.  Stewards of the fishery will release 18 fish back in the best condition possible.  Yes I know we may be spoiled on numbers of fish and that may be a topic for another day.

Without handling laws in Ohio, we see a variety of techniques being used.  All of which in the eyes of the common sense angler, would be viewed as inappropriate and not in the best interest of the fish.  Would a handling law in Ohio prevent this?  Nobody really knows, but surely it wouldn’t hurt to release fish in a manner that gives the fish the best chance for survival.  Punting the fish like a football, throwing a fish in midair and everything in between doesn’t quite qualify in my eyes as an acceptable release.  Then we have brilliant minds that think it is funny to make YouTube videos on handling methods of which we all know is intended to get under the skin of anglers who actually care about the fishery and it’s preservation.  If the state ever cuts the funding for steelhead stocking due to an economic downturn, it won’t be so funny then nor is it funny now.

So while we may never be able to change the East Coast vs. West Coast, Stocked vs. Wild fish and Bait vs. Fly beliefs and misunderstandings, it is my opinion that we all should be stewards of our fishery for the simple fact that if we as anglers do not do so, nobody else will either, and in essence my son one day might not be able to have the same great opportunities and memorable fishing experiences that I have had.  Fisheries sustained by wild or man should be respected so that future generations can enjoy it.  Education of other anglers new into the sport is critical as without education it is certain anglers will be their own worst enemy.

Until Next Time…
Fish Hard…Fish Often…

Monday, January 7, 2013

Team SAA fly swap

Team SAA is holding their first ever Fly Swap. If interested, responses below by Friday, January 18th 2013 are requested. Deadline to get your patterns in is February 1st, 2013. Pattern for January 2013 is "STREAMER/INTRUDER PATTERNS" Details below:

Confirm your entry by: January 18th, 2013
Swapmeister receive flies by: February 1st, 2013
Pattern: Streamer/Intruder
Number of flies to tie: 10
Number of flies you will recieve back: 10 flies plus a Team SAA sticker for your participation.

Swapmeister- "Ben See"

Tiers- When you join the swap please adhere to the deadlines. Please use PM with the Swapmeister for communications about the swap.

Tiers- either post on this Facebook thread when you have mailed in your flies or PM the Swapmeister.

Tiers- When mailing your flies, please send them in a strong enough and big enough box to protect them and to hold all of the flies you will be receiving back. Mark the box with your name and address. Mail them at least 5 days before the end of the swap so they will get to the Swapmiester by the deadline date or earlier.

Tiers- include in with your flies a self addressed envelope that is strong enough for the fly box you send and will receive back. Include postage (please do not use metered mail strips on return envelopes) or money (I do not recommend sending cash) in the proper amount to send the flies back to you.

Tiers- if you want your flies sent back to you Priority Mail be sure to include enough postage to cover the increased cost over First Class Postage.

Tiers- include with your flies a toetag (small piece of paper) with the name of the fly and your email addy so the other tiers can email you for the fly tying instructions.

Swapmeister- when Ben See receives flies from the tiers, he will let them know on the Facebook post that he have received them.

Swapmeister- once Ben receive's all flies from all tiers sort them, get them all packaged up and deliver them to the post office in a timely manner. Notify all tiers on this Facebook post that he has mailed out the flies to the tiers.

Tiers- when you receive the swap flies back in the mail notify the Swapmeister on this Facebook post that you have received them.

Swapmeister- Ben See will message you his address for shipping of your tied flies once you have posted that you want to participate.

Swapmeister- will take high quality photos of your flies and feature them on Team SAA. Also, Ben See has a swim tank that will be put to use for video footage fun!

Above all else everyone have a lot of fun with the swap and be open to suggestions and comments, we can all learn from each other.