May 13 2016
Dr. Ken Neill sent over a fishing report with a few short not and picture of big red drum that about sums up all the action.
Comments Off on Big Red Drum being caught in Virginia Beach Area
May 13 2016
Dr. Ken Neill sent over a fishing report with a few short not and picture of big red drum that about sums up all the action.
Comments Off on Big Red Drum being caught in Virginia Beach Area
Jul 31 2010
After switching bags in Yuma, AZ (see part 1 of this fishing adventure) I made my way to Seattle, WA to stage for the next part of my adventure which would take me to Yakutat, Alaska. Last year while I was in Ketchikan, AK chasing silvers with my friend Barrett we started talking about some other adventures we could do in the state and Barrett, being a die hard steelhead fly angler, suggested that we hit the Situk River located outside of Yakutat. The river is known among steelhead anglers as probably the most productive natural (no hatcheries or hatchery enhanced fish) steelhead river in the world. We started planning back in October as soon as I got back from Alaska. Doing these adventures is a pretty big undertaking especially when you are doing it yourself with out any guides, packing yourself into camp, setting up camp and then figuring out how the heck to catch fish in the river. Our original plan was that four of us would go, Barrett, his Dad, me and our mutual friend Tom. Tom fell off because of some other travel stuff that came up and then a few people I had in mind to fill the spot fell off because I learned that the trip was going to involve some aggressive wading which makes me wary myself, but even more so taking anyone that is not totally comfortable with that. Once we learned that Barrett’s Dad decided he would pass so Barrett and I decided we would go it alone. We had to line up a boat because we were going to stay in a cabin in middle of the river and fishing required a boat to move from pool to pool. We thought we had that lined up, but our raft connection fell through, so we went to plan B which was pontoon boats we would pack up, ship as luggage, and assemble when we got there.
Four weeks to arrival time Barrett gets a call from one of our friends asking if he would guide on the Ponoi River in Russia for the season. Barrett was so so on the idea, but decided to roll with it. That put another twist into things because timing was going to be tight between the screening process he had to go through when he arrived into Russia (it requires three days of all sorts of tests) and the helicopter transport that was scheduled to take him and some other guides to camp. Long and short of it at the last minute Barrett could not go, luckily I found a steelhead junky, Andy, in Missoula, MT who was friends with Barrett and who I knew through some mutual friends who was all over it. Andy is going to be a senior at the University of Montana, is a creative writing major with a minor in environmental studies, and is a fishing machine. He guides on the Unalakleet River in Alaska in the summers and is what I would consider to be one of the premier up and coming steelhead anglers (you can check him out in a guide profile in last months Drake Magazine), and as importantly he’s a fun guy who is willing to take on an adventure. He had heard about the Situk and was psyched to get a chance to fish it.
I spent two days in Seattle getting some last minute supplies, picking up a pontoon boat from a friend and having a good dinner at Alki Beach with an old college buddy Tony and his wife Alex. Tony is in the tech world as well and we probably bored Alex to death with the geek talk, but she was a great sport about it. Tony founded a really cool company and if you spend a lot of time online and are not sure where all the time goes you need his product (he has a free version). Check out RescueTime.com I have been using it since it was in beta years ago and it’s pretty good in giving you some insight where you “really” spend your time online.
I got up the next morning still full from dinner, jumped on a plane and met Andy in Anchorage. Three hours and a few stops later we arrived in Yakutat, AK. We had hooked with a guy named Fred through the recommendation of some other friends who had fished there before. Fred had a big dodge that was perfect to shuttle us each day. We arrived around 8pm and given we still had four hours of daylight left, were still not confident we had enough day light to get our boats put together, gear packed on the back and time to float to our camp which our best intelligence told us was a two hour float from the drop off and from what we heard you could not see the cabin from the water. Fred said for $50 we could stay in his camper, set up everything, load it in his truck and be ready to go early in the AM, so we took him up on it. We got everything ready were loaded up to take off in the morning. Before we took off Andy and I walked down to the ocean and managed to strike up a conversation with some Alaska commercial fisherman. The captain invited us onboard and we hung our for about half an hour hearing about their latest journey which had them on the water for four weeks chasing what I think I remember as black bass, one of the fish they use in fish sticks is what I remember. The close quarters they live in and big seas they endure to make a living is amazing. They were waiting to unload their catch and then would fish their way home to Juno. We took some pics, exchanged some fishing stories and Andy and I hit the road.
When we splashed the boats we were quickly reminded with how much in in the wild we really were with the sighting of a large grizzly bear at the launch, unfortunately my camera was packed As soon as we got on the water there were chrome fish everywhere, a good sign. We pushed our way to camp struggling not to break out a rod. We set up camp and decided we would hike down river on our first day. All the pools were loaded with fish and these steelhead were amazingly strong. Hooking these guys was one thing, landing one, well that is a whole other story. These fish will break you off in every way possible; they’ll take you under branches and break you off, make crazy jumps and spit out the hook while basically sticking their tongue out at you , roll and spin making the hook come out and some moves even a pro break dancer would have trouble duplicating. My hook up to landing ratio was easily 15 -1, as Andy would say, “That’s steelhead fishing for you”.
We floated/rowed fourteen miles each day which between rowing slow water and fishing the pools kept us on the water about fourteen hours. Given there is only about three hours of darkness a day, fishing long hours is no problem. We were told of two small grizzlies that were around camp from some people who were camping about a mile away and while we saw prints around camp we never saw them in person. Also never managed to see any moose which really can be more dangerous then the bears. The one thing was was abnormal about the trip was that we had sun and 78 degrees each day, made fishing a bit tougher during mid day, but even worse made for what locals were saying was the worse pollen they have ever seen. It was crazy. When a eagle would leave a branch you could see tons of pollen dump off the branches and where were literally clouds of pollen. I do not have allergies and managed to be OK until the last day, Andy made it through with the help of some medicine. The attack I had turned into a sinus infection which I am on antibiotics for right now and slowly getting over. Man, can pollen knock you on your butt.
All and all an amazing trip. Everything in Alaska is put simply, BIG. The animals, the fish, the trees, everything. It’s also great to see and fish a truly natural river, and at some level this river is a recovery story. When they were logging in the area in the 1990’s the steelhead run was down to about 600 fish, since logging stopped some years ago the numbers have been as high as 15,000, pretty cool what nature can do when you give her a chance to come back. After floating/rowing/fishing a bit over 14 miles a day spanning about 14 hours and hit with the pollen attack from hell, I am still pretty spent, I’ll at least give it another day or two before I start planning the next adventure.
They say there is a good run of chrome in the fall which I may head back for, but the silvers are calling as well, either way, I’ll be back next spring for sure!
Some pictures from the fly fishing for steelhead fishing adventure (click on the pictures for bigger versions)
Jul 24 2010
There is not much more to say about the weather we have been having Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay the last few weeks other then, its’ stinking HOT. The water temperature at Thomas Point Lighthouse registered at 84.0 degrees as I write this, that’s some warm water folks. Despite the heat anglers have been getting out on the water and having decent catches of striped bass, croaker, some large perch, spot and in the lower Maryland Chesapeake Bay reports of some nice sized red drum caught by light tackle, bait and trolling anglers. Read the full Maryland fishing report for details.
On the fisheries front this past week we had a joint meeting of the Sport Fish Advisory Commission and Tidal Fish Advisory Commission. There were not that many hot topics brought up other then the issue of spot traps in the bay which have gained popularity over the last few years as live lining has come into vogue. Nothing was decided at the meeting, but a committee of members of both commissions will convene and develop recommendations to be made to the Department of Natural Resources. The commissions take off the month of August and reconvene in September.
Also this past week was an ASMFC hearing in Annapolis on the topic of increasing the commercial catch of striped bass along the Atlantic coast. Recreational anglers came out in full force opposing any increase in the commercial catch. Many recreational anglers as well as groups like the Maryland Saltwater Sportsman Association (MSSA), Coastal Conservation Association of MD (CCA), Maryland Charter Boat Association (MCBA) turned out and testified against the increase as well. Reasons cited were numerous and hard to ignore. The fact that its been estimated that over 75% of striped bass in the Chesapeake have mycobacterium (often called myco) which essentially has 100% mortality is a hard thing to dismiss; it essentially makes these fish walking dead, it’s not if they will die it’s when. (if you are interested in learning more check the VIMS site on myco.
Also noted was the trending decrease in the young of the year index. The increase in pollution in our coastal waters and of immediate concern of the unknown effects that the oil spill in the Gulf will have on our coastal fish populations. Poaching by all groups, both commercial and recreational not being taken into account. The wide unknown how many fish are harvested in the Virginia winter recreational fishery, estimated to be between 200,000 – 800,000 fish, basically we have no grip on the real number. The large Virginia winter commercial striped bass fishery that intercepts the large breeding striped bass on their way to the breeding grounds in the upper Chesapeake Bay. And the effect that Shifting Baseline Syndrome
is having on all our perceptions of what a healthy population of fish is and/or should be.
Hearings will continue in other coastal states over the next few months and feedback and analysis brought before the ASMFC in the Fall/Winter meetings.
Upcoming Fishing Events, Fishing Tournaments and Other Fishing Meetings
White Marlin Open
When: August 2nd-6th, 2010
Where; Ocean City, MD
More Information, Registration and Details
MSSA Fall Classic
When: Nov 20- 21st , 2010
Where: Maryland Chesapeake bay
More Information and Registration
Upper Chesapeake Bay Fishing Reports
I have not heard much in the way of striped bass fishing for any keepers in and around the Susquehanna Flats and a few miles south. There are mixed results for live lining spot for striped bass in and around the Bay Bridge and Bay Bridge pilings. Spot have generally been on the smaller side and at times hard to catch. Some anglers fishing out of Sandy Point are heading to Hackets Bar outside the Severn River and catching their way though white perch to get some spot of size and then running back up to the Bay Bridge to dunk the spot on the pilings. With current you’re likely to find some keeper striped bass.
There have also been a few reports from in and around the Middle River, Knolls (6ft Knolls) area of lots of schoolie stripers and some smaller bluefish mixed in. Check your map for the lumps and humps in the Knolls area and with current drop some jigs.
Reports of jumbo white perch are available throughout the upper bay. Grass shrimp and bloodworms remain the bait of choice. Some of the better locations are the Bay Hackets Point, Bridge pilings, Magothy River mouth, Mountain Bar off Gibson Island, Key Bridge, Pooles Island, Swan Point Bar, Belvedere Shoals, Chester River and Corsica River.
Middle Chesapeake Bay Fishing Reports
Breaking striped bass has been the name of the game in the evenings in and around the mouth of Eastern Bay and over the last few days more in the Bloody Point area. Light tackle anglers have had the best luck with poppers while trolling anglers have had good luck with 15 and 17 Tony Accetta spoons.
Charlie S from TidalFish.com’s Maryland fishing forum filed this report from Thursday: We left Tilghman at 5:30am with intentions of drowning some spot down at the Gas Docks. Some last minute intel changed our minds and we went out into the “Hook” to look for some breakers. WE went from the So. end of Poplar all the way to Stone Rock without marking anything worth working over. Reversed course and headed north with the idea to look at E bay and see what was happening up there. Almost to 84 and there they were Continue Reading »
Jun 15 2010
I have been on the road the last few months and am way behind posting reports and pictures of all my trips so I figured I ought to get this report out the door asap or it seems I never get them done. (picture left: A part of the Colorado Delta from the air. Click on all photos for larger versions)
My first stop on this adventure was Yuma, Arizona where I rondevued with my friend Tom and Luther P. who is the executive director of the Sonoran Institute on a mission to baseline via aerial photos the lower Colorado River/Colorado Delta where the Sonoran Institute is working on several restoration projects . I know Luther and his wife Liz from the non-profit conservation world as well as part of the Jackson Hole summer crowd. About four weeks ago we were all in the Bahamas together chasing bonefish. Tom and I have been talking with Luther about the Sonoran’s restoration efforts in the delta. Luther saw our aerial photo work we have been doing for the Henry’s Fork Foundation based in Idaho over the last few years (If you grab a copy of the Henry’s Fork 2010 calendar all the photos are mine and Tom’s) and asked if we could do some similar work for the Delta. After learning more about the great work Sonoran we agreed. We spent a day in Yuma checking out some restoration projects the city is doing around the river, had the privilege of having dinner with an elder from the Cocopah Indian Tribe to learn about his and the tribes viewpoint of all the water rights issues, and then the next morning awoke early to meet Fred our pilot who would fly us over the Delta and into Mexicali, Mexico. We took off and followed the river down to Mexicali where we landed and dropped off Luther and picked up Francisco who is in charge of the restoration project for Sonoran. As we flew over the delta and followed it to the mouth where it flows into the Gulf of California the only word that came to mind was “vast”. In many ways it’s vastness reminded me of the Chesapeake. An amazing site. After a few hour flight we landed and took a tour of specific restoration sites. We also visited with community that owns a large area of land in the delta which just so happened to have one, if not the best, largemouth bass fishing lake I have ever seen. We only managed to fish for thirty minutes, but I hooked a bunch of largemouth and saw more 7,8,9lb fish I have ever seen in one place. I’m headed back there in the fall for a longer visit .
An interesting thing to note is that just a few months ago Mexicali was hit with a 7+ earthquake and we managed to see some of the damage. The community that we visited that has the bass lake is so terrified of the aftershocks and everything they completely abandoned their village in fear another earthquake would strike and their homes fall on them. The entire village moved about two miles away and now lives in large mobile military tents. When you talk to the people you can see in their face the fear is as real as it gets. This is the type of story that rarely show up in the news once the initial reports and buzz on the story fade, but was a striking reminder to me of the real life struggles that people face after such natural disasters.
After we wrapped up our tours we had dinner in downtown Mexicali, hit the sack at a nice hotel in town and departed via truck back to the US. The car line wait to get back into the US was only 45 min which from my experience coming back into California from Mexico is not too bad. We were told the line can be as many as four hours sometimes….one hot wait in 100+ degree temps.
Once we got back to our place in Yuma I switched bags and started getting things together for the next part of my adventure which would take me to Seattle, WA for two days to stage and then to Yakutat, AK to chase some steelhead for a week.
A part of the Colorado Delta from the air (Gulf of California in the background)
Where the natural Colorado River Stops and the man man-made river begins
On the ground checking out one of the restoration sites. The ditch is where irrigation water comes into the restoration project area
The man-made Colorado River
Apr 03 2010
The Maryland trophy striped bass season is just a few weeks away and with the advent of great weather throughout the Chesapeake anglers are uncovering their boats and have fishing on the mind. While light tackle and fly fishing can be great fun, the preferred method by many anglers is trolling. You can cover a lot of water and with the stripers moving like they are this time of year it is usually a very effective method. Some light tackle and fly anglers employ trolling until they find a school of fish, then shut down the boat and the light tackle fishing anglers start jigging and fly anglers start dredging sinking lines or casting to breaking fish. Here is a great article by one a well known captains, Capt. Mark Galasso, on the Chesapeake where he explains several trolling set ups to get you started this spring on your hunt for that monster striped bass. (Note the link will take you to another site, TidalFish.com, for the full article with illustrations. Click here for the trolling set ups article)
Jan 29 2010
DNR Helps Build New Public Access Site On Elk River
The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has awarded a grant to Cecil County to construct a new boating facility on the Elk River and dredge the adjoining channel. The facility will provide recreational boaters with access to the Elk River and Chesapeake Bay, and other residents will enjoy the landside facilities.
“Everyone at the federal, state and local level pulled together to make this project happen,” Said DNR’s Boating Service Director Bob Gaudette. “This new boating facility will be enjoyed by local residents as well as boaters throughout Maryland.”
The Elk River Park Boating Facility was substantially completed and opened in July 2009 with $437,700 in Waterway Improvement Funds. The entire project, including dredging, will cost just over $2.3 million and also includes funding from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Cecil County, and Program Open Space. $86,000 in Program Open Space funds helped provide landside park facilities including a picnic pavilion, barbeque pits, and a swing set. Boy Scout troop 131 designed and installed the pavilion and swings.
The facility boasts a new two-lane boat ramp with a 5 feet by 60 feet floating dock, two ADA accessible car/trailer parking spaces, and a new access road and turning area. Additionally, DNR included Continue Reading »
Dec 08 2009
Waterkeepers Chesapeake of Maryland and Waterkeeper Alliance (collectively “Waterkeepers”) today filed a detailed, 58 page petition seeking major changes in the way Maryland operates and enforces the Clean Water Act in order to better protect the Chesapeake Bay.
The petition asks the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw Maryland’s delegated authority to administer the Clean Water Act’s (CWA) pollution permitting program for dischargers in the state. Under the CWA, EPA retains ultimate authority to monitor and control point source discharges of pollutants across the nation through its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) program; the Agency typically delegates this authority to the states for implementation. In the petition, filed on behalf of the Waterkeepers by the University of Maryland Environmental Law Clinic, Waterkeepers request that the EPA evaluate the systematic failure of Maryland’s Department of the Environment to properly and effectively administer and enforce the CWA’s NPDES permitting program.
Organizations represented in the petition include: Anacostia Riverkeeper, Assateague Coastkeeper, Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, Chester Riverkeeper, Choptank Riverkeeper, Lower Susquehanna Riverkeeper, Patuxent Riverkeeper, Potomac Riverkeeper, Sassafras Riverkeeper, Severn Riverkeeper, South Riverkeeper, West/Rhode Riverkeeper, and Waterkeeper Alliance.
“If you want to see proof of the failure of Maryland to enforce the CWA within its borders, look no further than the spiraling health of the Chesapeake Bay,” said Michele Merkel, Waterkeepers Chesapeake regional Coordinator “Over the last twelve years, MDE has failed to properly administer the CWA in Continue Reading »
Nov 10 2009
A good article on what the EPA is doing to determine where we need to clean up in the Chesapeake Bay first, i.e. where are the most polluted areas. Check this link for audio and the article.