Sun, sand, margaritas, and....

Hopefully a little bit of fishing.

In a week I'll be heading down to sunny Mexico, staying at an all-inclusive just outside of Puerto Vallarta. This is not a fishing only trip, but I should be able to sneak in at least a few casts. But as this is the Pacific side, I'm not really sure what my options are beyond casting off the beaches. I'm not in a financial position to charter a boat, although I'm sure it would be worth it. So if anyone has any suggestions, secret spots, killer flies, etc. I would be more than willing to listen! And yes, I promise to have a shot of tequila in your honour!


Who wants to go fishing?

Imagine yourself sliding into a bubbling hot tub after finishing a gourmet dinner as the sounds of a cool winter night fill the air. You close your eyes and imagine what tomorrow will bring: the long hike through mossy rainforests, the deep wade in tea coloured water, the technical casts and hopefully the explosion of silver on the end of your line. Then your buddies voice cuts through the vision - "Hey! Exactly how many flies DID you lose on that tree today?"

Welcome to the Queen Charlotte Islands, home to wild steelhead, virgin rainforests and uncrowded fishing. And, The Masset House, a B&B located on a secluded harbour of the city of Masset. During the summer months the Charlottes are chock full of salmon and halibut fishermen, whale watchers, hikers, kayakers and the like, but once winter comes these isolated islands grow quiet and peaceful. The salmon runs have finished, the tempermental winter weather arrives and days grow short. However, towards the end of November, an incredible run of totally wild steelhead begin their migration up their home rivers, and a relatively small handful of anglers brave blowouts and down pours, snow and ice, brutal winds and bushwacking to have a chance to hook one of these magnificent creatures.

Pound for pound, QCI steelhead rival Thompson or Dean River fish for their strength and stamina. Average size fish are 12 lbs, with fish up to 25 lbs or more hooked every year. And these are not your typical winter fish. Perhaps due to genetics, or the darker water, or the lack of pressure on them, often times they will be found in shallow water of 1-2 feet deep. The are excedingly aggressive towards the fly as well. Most steelheaders will have to adjust their methods if they want to fish these waters effectively. Classic looking water often is barren, and it's that slot on the far side that requires a deadly accurate cast underneath overhanging branches that will produce. In a typical week, anglers should expect at least a couple of hook-ups (weather dependent, of course), but during a good push multiple hook-ups per day can and do happen.

As the days start to lengthen and temperatures begin to rise, another overlooked but world class fishery picks up - wild sea run cutthroat fishing. These small fish are some of the most beautiful of their species. Averaging 14", they are heavily spotted and show a definite bronze hue due to the tanic river waters. They are also incredibly aggressive towards the fly and are terrific fighters. Fish up to 24" are not uncommon, and local waters are full of these fiesty trout.

Michael & Young Fly Shop is offering hosted trips through Masset House for one week, leaving March 2. For $2899.99 Cdn you will have provided for you your flights from Vancouver, BC to Masset, luxurious lodging, gourmet meals and transportation to and from the rivers. If you are interested, please contact Michael & Young via email at info@myflyshop.com or by phone at 1-800-663-6407


For those who truly believe that the best head is steelhead...

Okay everyone, its time to step up to the plate! My dear friend April is doing her part to help steelhead conservation efforts by starting a fundraiser. There is also a Facebook group with pictures of some of the flies already donated. Here is her note:
Listen up!!! This message is for you whether you live in Norway, Oregon or British Columbia....
Our steelhead are suffering and need your help!
I have started a fundraiser called Flies For Fins. I don't want your money, but I do need some of your time and tying materials.
I am working with Reaction Fly and Tackle, Pacific Angler, Michael and Young Fly Shop and Whistler FlyFishing to raise money for the Steelhead Society.
Each location will carry a cork board that is full of steelhead flies MADE BY YOU. These flies will be sold at the shops, where proceeds will be donated to the Steelhead Society. In the middle of each cork board will be a graph that is updated weekly to show how much money had been raised.
Mailing flies only takes a couple stamps (just make sure that they can be flattened in an envelope.)
This is for a great cause, please choose to take some of your time and flies out of your box for it.
I will have a Face Book page up in the next several days for Flies For Fins, however, we need flies RIGHT NOW.

Flies can be shipped to:
8505 Norman Cres.
Chilliwack, B.C.
V2P 5C6

Feel free to send one fly, or ten! Make them as fancy or as plain as you would like. Please include your name.

Envelope, stamp, fly. It's that simple.
Please do your part and help us make a difference!

Thank you so much,

As many of you are aware, our beloved Thompson River remained closed this fall for steelhead fishing for the first time EVER! While there is always debate about the exact causes of the declining runs, there is a strong movement right now amongst BC steelhead angers to work together for these fish. In the past, user groups have become distracted by personal agenda and old arguments (i.e. gear vs fly), and this has made actually accomplishing anything extremely difficult. The Steelhead Society of BC has been rejuvenated in the past few months, and the current members are making a concerted effort to bring all anglers together.

A chance for all our voices to be heard at once.

Most of us are well aware that steelhead stocks in B.C. are. declining and that very little help is being given to these fish from the government. In light of the upcoming Provincial election, at their monthly meeting, the directors and officers of the Steelhead Society agreed, that there is an important window of opportunity for all BC steelheaders to voice their displeasure with the mismanagement of steelhead stocks. We feel that a mass e-mail campaign is a great way to start the ball rolling.

The provincial election is scheduled for May and politicians have their ears open now, more than at any other time, to the voice of the voters. Below you will find a copy of all the current BC MLAs’ email addresses, including those of the premier and the opposition leaders. On Feb. 1, 2009 we are asking all of you who are concerned with the plight of steelhead in the province to email a letter to every MLA in the province. A deluge of e-mails voicing the concerns of voters on one day cannot be ignored. Again, Feb. 1, 2009 is the day.

Below is a brief form letter that can be copied and pasted, making it easy for those who are pressed for time or not quite sure what to say. It is recommended that people try and write their own individual letters as those do hold a bit more weight than a form letter. Jason Tonelli, the President of the Steelhead Society, will be writing a separate letter on behalf of the Society that further outlines our concerns. This is a chance to grab the ears of those in government that we should not pass up. We strongly encourage all who are willing to participate to spread the word of this e-mail blitz.

I would also like to ask that any discussion that follows this stay positive and constructive. Thank you. Brian Braidwood Vice President Steelhead Society of BC

As a steelhead fisherman in British Columbia, I am extremely concerned by the provincial government's complete neglect of the plight of this great fish. Thanks to a steady pattern of government cut backs, there is an incredible lack of core funding available for this resource. After an election promise of the “the best fisheries management, bar none” I would have expected to see more funds made available for protection and enhancement of steelhead in the province. Instead I have seen the opposite. The number of people assigned to steelhead management throughout the province has dwindled to an embarrassing few. A mere fraction of what there once was. Once there were more people working on steelhead management on Vancouver Island then there now are in the in entire Province. ''The best fisheries management bar none''? I am still waiting for that to happen.

Steelhead are an extremely valuable recreational sport fish. To many, the pursuit of them is a way of life! I, and a multitude of others, travel all across this great province in pursuit of steelhead. Along the way we spend money in local tackle shops, hotels, pubs and restaurants, often in small towns during off-peak seasons. Gas is put in vehicles; boats and motors are purchased. All of this money is spent in the pursuit of steelhead, providing employment and income to local BC residents and businesses. For many of these businesses, steelheaders are the major source of income for much of the off-season. Anglers travel from all over the globe to come to BC and fish for the largest wild steelhead to be found on earth. Will they (and the funds they bring) still come, once the steelhead have been ignored into extinction? The amount of money that recreational fishing contributes to the provincial economy is very significant, but if the fish disappear, so too will that revenue. It seems that the economic benefits of the recreational angling for steelhead are totally ignored by the government when it comes to investing money into the fishery that generates such considerable value!

The government insists anglers purchase a fishing license and a steelhead tag in order to fish for steelhead. This should mean that the government is responsible for steelhead, yet the government is ignoring this responsibility! The anglers of this Province have long been fighting for this fish, spending their own money and time with little or no government support. Is this government willing to increase the funding for steelhead protection? Funding for more staff dealing with steelhead issues, funding for necessary habitat work, funding for studying, and stocking steelhead. These fish are in dire straits and need the government’s help.

The party that commits to support these fish will be the one supported with a vote from me!


And finally, here is a link to a great Fly Rod & Reel article - if you are a US resident hoping to fish in BC for steelhead you need to read: http://www.flyrodreel.com/Fly-Rod-and-Reel-Online/Online-2008/Access-Denied/


Oooooooohhhhhhhhhhh yeah!

Please, can I have some????


This takes a while to load, but trust me - its worth the wait!

Angler of the Month

Ladies and gentlemen, she's back! Rogue Angels blog is up and running again (YAY!!), at a new address: www.rogueangels.net

So I decided that every month I'm going to feature an angler who inspires me. Although I'm not going to limit it to women only, I'm going to try to focus on the female side of things.

For my first feature, there is no one more worthy than the original Rogue Angel herself, the famous (or infamous) Kalamity K8. I've already mentioned her in previous posts, and I'm sure most of you are familiar with her, but how can you not love K8?

K8 should be an inspiration to anyone, regardless of gender, ability, experience or age. If you've read her blog, you'll know that K8 truly wants everyone to experience fishing the way it should be - with awe, joy, passion and love. Fishing with K8 makes you appreciate all the little details, including those hard lessons we all have to learn. No matter what, I've never seen K8 beat down, whether she fell in the river five times, didn't catch any fish, got her truck stuck in the mud or had to push her drift boat up a side channel. She takes those bad times and moves on to the good. K8 is constantly pushing herself to learn more and to move beyond boundaries. K8's like having a happy little angel sitting on your shoulder, encouraging you to be the best you can be.
K8 took a leap of faith last spring, and wound up spending the summer on the incredible waters of Bristol Bay in Alaska, guiding for giant rainbows and chasing bears. I imagine working 14+ hours a day, seven days a week, for months at a time would kill most of us but every time I talked to K8 throughout the season she sounded... well, tired, of course, but like she had come home. That she was in the place she was meant to be. How many of us can say we feel like that on a regular basis? Usually we're all bitching about not spending enough time doing what we love to do.
Since the day I met her, K8 has always been trying to find ways to encourage more women into the world of fishing. Whether friend, client or total stranger, K8 is always there to share her love of the outdoors. I think a lot of women are intimidated by a sport that has traditionally been dominated by men, and have trouble finding the resources to feel capable of going out on their own. Knowing K8 makes me believe that there is no reason why I can't pave my own path in the fishing world. My gender doesn't diminish my ability or my passion, nor should it compromise my confidence. Whenever I'm in danger of forgetting that, I've got have the newest member of the Loop Army on my side, reminding me what fishing is all about - fun.


First rant of the year.


Now that we have that out of the way, I thought I'd put up a post I did for Fish Frontiers last summer... Some things have changed, i.e. my vehicle status, gas prices, the amount of snow and ice around (what the hell, this is the West Coast, its supposed to rain!), but some of this is still relevant.

Do you ever find that the more you want to fish, the less you are actually able to go out? When all the frustrations of living a busy life in the city start to wear me out, fishing is one thing I can count on to relax me…but as my days seem to be getting busier and busier, I am significantly less relaxed. In other words, not enough fishing. I know this is a universal issue, that everyone who enjoys spending time out on the water feels they don’t get the opportunities they wish they had. I can’t tell you how often, working in a fly shop, I hear that eternal complaint – “No, I haven’t been out. Too busy. Life sure gets in the way of fishing!” Does it ever.

On that note, for the past couple of days I’ve been thinking of all the complications in my life that prevent me from heading out with my fly rod.

Here is my list of ways to spend LESS time on the water:

#1: Don’t start fishing at a young age. Think of the free time and lack of obligations you have as a kid. Weekends, three months of summer, two weeks at Christmas, Spring Break, after school, heck – a full day if you skip school… Once you turn 16, get your driver’s licence, it’s off to the river or lake. If you have understanding parents this means that you have a lot of time to be out, without that nagging voice in your head telling you all the things you should be at home doing. And because you learn easier when you are young, this time should actually count as double the amount of time you would spend out as an adult. So beginning your fishing career after you hit the legal drinking age will account for a huge chunk of time not spent fishing.
#2: Ambition. Work full time. At a job you like. Put in extra hours. Go that extra mile. Show your boss you care! I can just hear those hours ticking away while stuck inside. Outside of your 9-5 pursue a side job or start your own personal business. Extra points if this adds up to an additional 40 hours a week. Do this under the guise of needing to make more money. You’ll never have the time to spend it, but that’s not the point.
#2a: Work in a tackle shop. This means that you get to hear other people’s stories about how great their trip was or is going to be. You get to talk about fishing all day long, telling other people where to go, how to get set up, what flies to use, etc. This makes you want to get out more. You will also work weird hours and have a low wage, so it won’t be a guise that you need to work more to make more. You will actually need the extra cash.
#3: Make sure you have a long commute to work. A good solid hour of driving is minimum, preferably in heavy traffic. Not only does this mean you won’t have enough time to fish your local spot before or after work, but you will be stressed and exhausted when you get home at the end of the day. If you combine this with long hours at work, you won’t want to do anything when you get home and all your cleaning, laundry, lawn mowing, house repairs, etc will have to be done on your days off.
#4: Speaking of days off, if you can manage to schedule your “weekends” during the middle of the week your odds of having a buddy able to go out with you are significantly reduced. Most people have Saturday and Sunday. Not too many have Tuesday and Wednesday (of course the rivers and lakes are way less busy at this time, so not getting out hurts that much more). This scenario is especially good if you have an unreliable vehicle, one that’s not capable of making long trips for instance, or can’t go up huge hills. Then you will have to rely on other people to get you places, and with the price of gas, long distance solo trips are becoming almost obsolete anyway.
#5: Have children. I can’t speak from experience on this one, but apparently this is one of the best ways to eat up what little free time you have left after work and on weekends. Especially if they don’t like fishing, camping, or the outdoors in general. Make sure your spouse isn’t interested in those activities as well, and you will definitely be off the water more than on (again, I can’t speak from experience here either).

Okay, so I’m being somewhat negative here; it just gets frustrating sometimes when the thing that you love to do the most is what you end up doing the least. None of these scenarios are really horrible, except maybe the unreliable vehicle and the gas prices. Maybe my next blog should be on how to spend MORE time on the water, if I can ever figure that one out…

I was going through a particularily dry spell at the time this was written, so hopefully it doesn't come across as too bitter. I have to say I am extremely lucky that my work allows me to be surronded by my passion, so even when I can't get out I can still be involved in it.
Hopefully 2009 brings more days on the water and more fish on the line, for everyone!