History & Influence

So I was browsing the internet last week, checking out my regular selection of websites, when I came across Joel Shangle's new blog on the NW Wild Country site, and it got me thinking. The post is about the influential outdoorsmen in the Pacific Northwest, and Joel's proposal is for a "Mount Fishmore" - which 4 outdoorsmen would you nominate to have their faces carved in stone, forever?

I think its easy in today's world to get caught up in the latest and greatest: the newest gear, the modern technology, the new "celebrity" anglers, etc. There is so little left to explore and find out for ourselves that we turn to competition to keep ourselves entertained. Who has the best gear, who is the best caster, who caught the biggest fish, has the fastest boat, fished the most water, tied the most productive fly, fished the most days this year, had their face/photo/story in a magazine/book/movie...

Sometimes we need to take a step back and pay our respects to those who paved the way for us. I'll admit, I fall into that trap. I'm a self professed gear junkie who's eyes light up when a brand new rod comes into the shop and my fingers itch to play with that new material. I'll go into a run that a friend told me about and be thrilled that I can throw a cast to the far bank. I'll immediately flip through a new magazine, looking for the latest news and information. I revel in the luxury of cushy seats and a cold bottle of beer on the jet boat while cruising up and down the river. I thank God for Gore-tex and neoprene and polypropelene.

But I do try to pause sometimes, to take a moment and look around, wherever I am and really see where I am. To close my eyes and picture the anglers that have stood where I stand, to wonder at the people who explored and discovered this place and made it possible for me to be here. To look down at the sand and imagine the layers and layers of vanishing footprints. To take some time before I go on a trip and discover the history behind my destination. To really know a fishery, I think it helps to know both the past and the present. It doesn't mean that I need to live in the past, but to know and understand it gives me a much greater appreciation for the sport in general. Everyone likes to know where they came from.

That being said, my contribution to Joel's list is decidedly fly oriented, as that is my experience and my passion. So maybe we can do one called Mount Fly-Fishmore??

As a BC fly angler, where would I be without Simon Fraser and David Thompson? How about author A. Bryan Williams and artist Tommy Brayshaw? Then there is Boris Peetz and the Peetz salmon reel for saltwater anglers. General Noel Money and the Stamp River. No one can argue that Bill Nation, Jack Shaw, and Brian Chan successively created the world class interior lake fishery. How about steelheaders, authors, conservationists and local legends Art Lingren, Lee Straight, Harry Lemire (okay, he's from WA, but a staple on many BC waters), Van Egan and Jerry Wintle? Dick Blewett on the Dean? Rob Brown on the Skeena? Bob Clay on the Kispiox? Peter McVey and Corbett Lake. Joel already mentioned Roderick Haig-Brown, so don't think I forgot him. And so on and so on.

Now that I look at this list, and think of all the names that still could mentioned, it occurs to me that maybe 4 isn't enough. How can I possibly pick a handful when so many gave and shared so much? Can I argue that one person's contribution is greater than another's, if it all leads to where I am today? When many of these people inspired and supported each other in their endeavors? When one person's work carved the path for the next, and so on and so forth? I've probably already failed to mention some very obvious and important nominees.

I'm going to say Joel, that your mission is impossible. It cannot be done, even if you were Tom Cruise. There are too many.

Maybe each river, lake and ocean inlet, each mountain peak and valley floor, each grassy plain and pine topped ridge should have its own monument, to commemorate those that had an impact there. That way, we can be reminded of those that came before us when we are there, walking in their footprints.


Two days is too short.

Okay, I didn't get to make sucker lips this time... and I couldn't convince Curtis to do it. The river was high and coloured, but we caught a few fish and it was just so great to be out on the water. We don't have much in the way of trout opportunities up here at this time of the year, and while I do love the hunt for steelhead, sometimes its good just to do something different.


Spey Rods, Spey Reels, and Lines - Oh My!

Have you ever been to a spey clave/spey day/spey gathering? I've been to several - all the M&Y ones and the past two Sandy River Claves. What are these events, you ask? Here is my interpretation: a gathering of like minded individuals to watch, learn, cast and meet new friends. There is an incredible mix of experience levels, from the rank beginner who has barely single hand cast let along thought about spey cast, to some of the best casters in the world. These events are not intimidating in the least - everyone is there for the same reason.
Last year's event.
The M&Y Spey Day started off small - around 50 anglers attended the first year and grew to nearly 200 in attendence throughout the day last year. As usual, we will be having this year's clave at Peg Leg Bar on the Fraser River in Chilliwack, around 20 minutes from the Sumas border crossing and 15 minutes from the Vedder River. The day will start at around 9am and wrap up between 4 and 5pm. This year the executive chef from Queen Charlotte Lodge has kindly volunteered to whip up some fabulous breakfast for everyone (be there at 9:30!) and as usual we will be providing a bbq lunch.

A crowd gathers to watch a demonstration.

Featured demonstrators this year are Tim Rajeff of Rajeff Sports (Echo, Airflo), Steve Choate (world champion spey caster) and Steve Rajeff (G.Loomis rod designer and undisputed best distance caster ever). The day's itinerary hasn't been finalized yet, but there will be several other demonstrations throughout the day.

Product reps such as Chris Seipio (G. Loomis, Airflo, Ross, TFO), Peter Morrison (Sage, Rio), Al Belheumer (Scientific Anglers), Jack Cook (Guideline), Pro Staffers Roger Baker (Scott, Hatch), Tyler Kushnir (CND), Dan McCrimmon (Guideline), M&Y staff Ryan Heitz, Dave O'Brien, Aaron Goodis, Tim Arsenault, Lawrence Vanderven, Steve Morrow and myself will all be on hand to help you out, whether it be matching a line to your rod, finding a new rod, trying a new cast, or just learning to cast in the first place. There will not be any product for sale at this event! The idea is to have a relaxed, comfortable atmosphere - so you don't feel any pressure to pull out your wallet. All the reps and pro staffers will have demo lines and rods to try, so make sure you bring your waders and boots!

Way Yin captivates the crowd.

Directions to Peg Leg Bar can be found here. If you have any questions call the shop at 1-800-663-6407 or email info@myflyshop.com


Stranded sturgeon...

Apparently these poor little beasties were stranded on this mud flat just north of Everett, WA as the tide went out. One estimate was around 1500 fish caught up in these channels. I don't know any more details about this, but hopefully these hearty fish survived.


Going back to the Yak.

Yay, I'm going fishing! I know I've been neglecting my blog lately... the flu, work, family, an afternoon on the water, busy evenings... I promise I will be back in the game in a few days. But for now, I'll put in a full day at the shop tomorrow and then its off for two days to hunt down some trout (and maybe another sucker like this guy!).


Steelhead: BC's Provincial Fish??

Dear Premier Campbell

re: Designation of Steelhead as an Official Emblem of British Columbia (Provincial Fish)

Further to our earlier request of February 26, 2004, the Steelhead Society of B.C. again asks the government to give serious consideration to designating the wild steelhead (Oncorhynhus mykiss) as B.C.’s provincial fish for the following reasons:

- B.C. has a provincial flower (Pacific Dogwood, designated in 1956), a provincial gemstone(jade, designated in 1968), a provincial bird (Steller’s Jay, designated in 1987), a provincial tree(Western Red Cedar, designated in 1988), and most recently a provincial mammal (Spirit Bear).However, despite the cultural significance of fish to British Columbia, a provincial fish has not been designated as an official emblem of the province;

- Wild steelhead (and their land-locked equivalent, rainbow trout) are distributed throughout most of B.C. British Columbia is the only province in Canada with native, wild steelhead populations.These populations are the largest remaining in North America. The world records for the largest steelhead caught in fresh-water, and the largest steelhead caught by fly fishing, are both from British Columbia;

- B.C. is world famous for its unequalled wild steelhead sport fisheries, which are an economicallyand culturally priceless part of our heritage. The designation of wild steelhead as our provincial fish would add to these values.

We look forward to your response.

Yours truly,

Jason Tonelli
Steelhead Society of B.C.


Quick Hits.

UPDATE: Flies for Fins has placed the boards in all five participating shops, so thank you to everyone who has donated flies. Please keep them coming! But now we also need people to purchase said flies, as this is where the actual funds for the fundraiser are generated! Contact Reaction Fly & Tackle, Michael & Young Fly Shop, Pacific Angler, Sea Run Fly & Tackle or Whistler Fly Shop to place your order.

Rogue Angel K8 with an incredible fish...