Please just vote

British Columbia has a provincial election coming up on May 9th, 2017. The current Liberal government has proven time and time again that marine and freshwater fish in particular, and the environment in general, are not even in consideration for real and meaningful protection under their governance.

In the recent past anadromous fish values were swept under the rug with the Kokish River run of the river hydroelectric project, today it is the “Site C” dam proposal, tomorrow it could be anywhere, the Thompson, Dean, Skeena, Nimpkish rivers or any of your favourite streams.

The flora and fauna of this great coast have no representative in this government, so if you care, go and vote one in, from whichever party, because the only steelhead management plan that this government is currently seeing through is the extirpation of the species through much of its range on the south coast.

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Why I write this garbage

I waver often in whether I think this blog serves at all the intended purpose of influencing people to care about the anadromous fish of the west coast, or if it simply just masturbating into the ether. I love the west coast of BC, it’s rivers, the many creatures that live within and without their waters. I love travelling to the many amazing places here, scheming to get out and experience as much of it as I can.

Now I am an idiot in my way and I like fishing and taking pictures of sea run cutthroat way too much (just ask my long suffering wife) but I often make the point that if you care about something you care about it. If I was never able to fish any of the rivers I love again I would still care, I would still go to those creeks and rivers, and I would still engage the lunatics and their stooges (Christy Clark) whose sole wish is to pick apart our world piece by piece until there is nothing left.

Our society’s philosophy of endless human growth that so many people’s lives embody and so many believe in is actively designed to eradicate all sustainability in our interactions with the physical world. I am not a slave to this cheap dogma, nor to any of it’s permutations. Wild fish are and will be grist for the mill of this fallacy until there are no more of them left, unless people fight to preserve them and the larger world around them.

There is too much at stake, too much subterfuge by the powers that be, and too much apathy in and about the world that sustains us. That apathy is being preyed upon. The issues at play reverberate far beyond the pool full of trout for fly fishers to play with on the weekend. They also reach beyond the cheap chest thumping of people who work in the oil or logging industry or the cowards of popular media. This world isn’t yours only. So while I do think this blog isn’t doing much of fuck all, I still care and I’m not going to shut up about it.

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Sea Run Cutthroat Trout

I imagine that fly fishing for sea run cutthroat must be a bit of a mystery to most people.  One warm and sunny august evening along time ago when I was young my dad took me to a local rocky beach to spin fish with silver spinners for sea run cutthroat. All you needed was a pair of shorts, an old pair of runners (barnacles on the feet suck) a light spinning rod, (and the ability to cast it), a few small spinners or spoons, and a tide table. Oh yeah and you need the fish too. We went down a few times that summer, and I caught one fish, a ten inch wild feisty cutthroat. The rod was too powerful for this small fish but it danced, dug down, spun darted and did it’s best to shake the hook, for it’s size it went absolutely crazy. Through the weird window that is looking down into salt water at the beach it was hard to get a look at the fish. My dad waded over and helped corral the fish and held it in his hand for what must have been ten seconds. we didn’t have a camera or a net or anything but that fish has always stayed with me. I remember the excitement. I also remember the late summer/early fall evening light, the cool water contrasting with hot air, the smell of the sea air(rotting seaweed), squinting into the low angle sun watching for rises amongst to floating eelgrass and light ripples of the tide. From that simple beginning my fascination with these fish has blossomed into a full blown obsession.

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The colours of a sea run cutthroat trout are absolutely captivating and the places they live are second to none. Sitting on a beach enjoying the warmth and the sunset in the evening on a protected beach on the west coast is something that most people enjoy. Fly fishing for these fish on the beach is just one step beyond doing just that. I enjoy it whether I catch nothing, a ten inch fish, cabezon, coho, surf perch, or a 17″ silver gold husky adult sea run covered with spots, and spotted with sea lice.

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I have definitely made it into something much more complex than those simple beginnings but it is not like almost any other fishery that I have ever seen. Switch rods, high tech salt water resistant fly reels, winter fishing, tying 100 variations of every fly, travelling to far off locations, have all added to this but fly fishing for these fish need not be complicated or expensive. If you can cast 40 feet with the cheapest or old setup and you can get your hands on(or better yet tie) a few simple minnow patterns or woolly buggers then you can catch sea runs. I know I can catch far more with spinners (and I have caught hundreds this way) but in spite of that I have chosen to fly fish for them. I don’t need to catch every single fish around, and usually I am targeting the larger older fish. One fish in a trip makes me happy and grateful that I get a chance to do this. There is way more to this fishery than just late summer along the beach. there are many food sources, tides, unique traits for individual runs, types of water and beaches, fishing from boats, dry flies. You can make it simple or complex. I have caught sea run cutthroat in every month of the year both on the beach and in rivers.

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The best analogy I can make is that it is like steelheading but it’s fun and there is no BS, or angry people. My father was a winter steelheader and although I have tried I just do not understand or enjoy anything associated with this fishery. I have never seen more oneupmanship, bitterness and negativity associated with recreation in my entire life. Sea run cutthroat fishing is a challenging and fun antithesis to that fishery

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It is as always my hope here to foster that fascination and appreciation for these fish, and the desire to protect them more than anything and I apologize for the ranting (another trait inherited from my father)

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