Another interesting project to share with you – this time we collaborated with Orvis to offer the ultimate dry fly rod in the H2 family to our newest Life Members. It was an honor and pleasure to work with the head designer Shawn Combs and fly fishing legend Tom Rosenbauer on this one. …now I really ought to work on getting my posts on Alaska and Pulaski up!
Stoked about an important project at TU – we are now creating maker films for our collaborations with the fly fishing industry. The first features a limited edition Bamboo rod designed and built by R. L. Winston Rod Co. Bamboo junkies will find this highly collectible rod intriguing. We’re only building 59 in honor of TU’s birth year, 1959. Zero is spoken for!
Yesterday launched the new Trout Unlimited wild steelhead initiative known as Wild Steelheaders United. Across the nation and especially in the native range of steelhead (anadramous rainbow trout), we celebrated an invitation and a call-to-arms to come together to protect and conserve this most precious salmonid. In Boise, Juneau, Portland, Seattle, and Santa Cruz, TU threw a launch party where we screened some new films about the campaign, and shared the Wild Steelheaders United credo. We saw packed houses at each event, full of concerned anglers of every stripe who care deeply for steelhead.
In my short time at TU, I’ve been blessed to visit with TU members in over a dozen states, to fish for salmon in Bristol Bay, to fish with our TU Business members in Idaho, Colorado, New Mexico. I’ve been a part of engaging new corporate partners to support TU’s mission and programs ranging from Far Bank (Sage, Redington, Rio) to Cortland Line. Each and every day I get to talk to our volunteers who continually amaze me with their tireless energy and passion. And I know we are making a difference. The Wild Steelhead Initiative has given me an opportunity to add to that rich well of experiences. We took a different tact with branding our campaign, reaching out to filmmakers, branding and digital marketing creatives who were steelheaders themselves to breathe life into the look and feel of this campaign – and we tapped the passion and expertise of our staff and volunteers to provide guidance on the substance. This campaign has only just begun, and it will truly come to life when anglers and people who love steelhead come together, take the pledge, and help us to ensure wild steelhead are around for the next generation of anglers.
Wild Steelheaders United believes…
- Wild steelhead must be protected, restored and sustained.
- Wild steelhead can thrive and support fishing opportunity.
- It is not the type of fishing gear you use that counts, but how you fish and how you care for the resource.
- In using sound science to manage steelhead.
- In respectful dialogue to solve problems, not rigid ideological positions.
- In short-term sacrifice for long-term, durable progress.
- It is not possible to rebuild fishable wild steelhead populations in every river and that some rivers should be set aside for hatcheries.
- Wild steelhead — and steelhead anglers — cannot wait for Providence or government agencies to deliver solutions.
- Together we can make a difference.
- Comebacks are possible.
Follow the campaign on Facebook, Twitter @wiildsteelheaders and with #besteelheaded, and visit Wildsteelheaders.org for more information.
O Me! O Life!
I recently attended the IFTD/ICAST show in Orlando. I wisely took a few hours at the end of the trip to de-stress and wind down from some very long intense days of meetings with the industry on behalf of TU. With the help of Mike Hodges (author of On the Fly On the Bay) and TU’s national comms director Chris Hunt (author of Fly Fishing Idaho’s Secret Waters) – we managed to get some dock fishing in after the show with Capt Ethan Kiburz on Tampa Bay. We got into lady fish, speckled trout and I got some very nice reds, but the Snook weren’t biting. We saw some BIG snook too.
Hunt wrote about the trip in detail for Hatch magazine which you can read here.
About a month ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to visit with some of TU’s most important donors at the Henry’s Fork Lodge in Idaho. Ah, the famed Henry’s Fork. The stuff of fly fishing dreams, and nightmares if you’re a nube on Harriman’s Ranch. Our trip, brilliant calculated, ran just a week or so before the Harriman State Park opened and so thankfully we were spared the hordes of anglers who regularly make the pilgrimage to the state park’s opening. I was fortunate enough to float the box canyon stretch of the north fork of the Snake River twice, once with the famed Mike Lawson’s Henry’s Fork Anglers, and again with the young upstarts from TroutHunter.
Two great floats, two very different trips. The first float with a Lawson’s guide name Smitty was on a bluebird day requiring going deep with a two nymph rig, small flies and carefully fishing the slots. The second float was a race against a big front that produced fewer fish but more drama. And later on my trip I hiked into a lower stretch of the Henry’s Fork below Mesa Falls for a long and grueling afternoon of hike/fish/hike action.The hike was worth it (even the sprained ankle) to get the sense of isolation and beautiful wild rainbows.
Perhaps the best part about the trip, was the chance to fish mammoth dry flies as the famed salmonfly hatch was slowly progressing up the river. Low flows may have had some of the guides grumbling, but for a relatively new to the West angler, casting size 8 and 10 salmonflies to big willing rainbows was pretty much the pinnacle of my fly fishing career to date.