The Elwha River Restoration

The demolition of the two Elwha River dams has finally begun, after so many years of work by a great many individuals and groups. I first heard of the Elwha River when I attended the UW College of Fisheries in the early 1970’s and read about its role in the development of the Port Angeles area through the production of cheap electrical power, but at the great cost of its magnificent fishery resource. Since the dams lacked fish ladders, all but the lower 5 miles of the Elwha River were blocked off to five species of salmon, steelhead, bull trout and sturgeon. The spawning habitat in the still accessible lower river degraded overtime as floods removed the smaller sized spawning gravels, while the dams prevented their replenishment from upstream sources. Fluctuations in river flow in response to power generation needs, resulted in dewatered redds, and stranded fry and juveniles,
and on occasion adult fish when project shut down completely. I was a new to Washington State, having driven out from Michigan to further my education in the early 1970’s. I knew little about salmon, steelhead and or any of the other fish that migrate from the ocean to rivers to spawn. How could this happen, and why hasn’t anyone done someone to fix the problem caused by the dams, I naively asked? A “public policy decision” was the response. Electricity was needed to fuel the development of Port Angeles. Salmon and steelhead were plentiful in the region and could be obtain elsewhere. Fish ladders were expensive and had never been constructed at dams as high as the 105’ tall Elwha Dam. Fifteen years later, my path once again crossed the Elwha River, this time as a biologist with a resource agency. Various conditions had changed, leading to a window of opportunity for restoring anadromous fish runs to the Elwha River. Salmon and steelhead populations were in serious declines, while the upgrade of a Bonneville Power Administration transmission line eliminated Port Angeles dependency on the power produced by the two Elwha Dams. Equally important was the change in public policy that reduced the bias that heavily favored energy producers that made it nearly impossible to get meaningful  mitigation to restore the fishery and wildlife resources affected. I am waiting excitedly to see the salmon, steelhead and other anadromous fish return to the Elwha River when dams are completely removed. I’ve had
the pleasure to hike and fish in this beautiful watershed, and it will be even more spectacular with return of leaping salmon and steelhead. Check out the Olympic National Park webcams showing the ongoing demolition of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams at http://www.video-monitoring.com/construction/olympic/js.htm.

Chum Outing Anyone?

Our next outing will be held on November 5th. The
goal is to fish for Chum salmon. If you have never
done this, you are really missing something. Chum
are probably, pound for pound, the hardest
fighting of the five North American Pacific Salmon.
The tentative plan is to fish in front of the
Hoodsport hatchery. However, if someone knows of
a better place, please let me know before the
October club meeting (10/18/11). When I fish at the
Hoodsport hatchery, I take my float tube and an
anchor. Using the float tube allows me to get out
beyond the “picket fence” of anglers. I can then
spot and pursue pods of Chum as they mill around.
If you are interested in this outing you can either
sign up at the October club meeting or contact me.
My email is [email protected]

I will get back to you. I will provide information on flies, tackle, and
trip details to all who sign up for this outing. I will
also talk more about this outing at the October
club meeting.

-Peter Brooks

Gwill Ging and Gary Kellogg talk about Munn Lake

This month, we will have Gwil and Gary up front
talking about Munn Lake. They will cover how to
fish it, and talk about our club's involvement with
WDFW in managing it as a trophy fishery. If you'd
like to learn about a quality fishery right here in
town, or would like to get involved, this meeting is
for you. Hope to see you there.

-Jason Small

October Garden Hackle

In this issue...
Don discusses upcoming board member nominations
Jason introduces Gwill and Gary's program
Fly of the Month is "The Green Lantern"
Gwill talks about the Elwha and Munn Lake

Get it all here.

Fly of the Month: October 2011- The Green Lantern

Hook: Mustad C70SD Size 4

Under body: Holographic Mylar Tinsel

Body: Yak or Fish Hair (Chartreuse)

Wing Yak or Fish Hair (Chartreuse)

Thread: Chartreuse 3/0

 

“I shall shed my light over dark evil. For the dark things cannot stand the light, the light of the Green Lantern!”

                                    -Alan Scott

What does DC comic’s Green Lantern and his cheesy battle cry have to do with fly fishing?... Nothing, but after I was done tying this fly, my mind immediately went that way. If the Green Lantern had to use his intergalactic power ring to create an 8wt fly rod and reel set up, I would like to think that this fly would be on the end of his line.

After thinking “What the heck is this guy talking about?” you may also be thinking “What are you using this fly for?” Well, this answer to the latter question is one of my favorite fall fisheries. Chum. We are rapidly approaching prime Chum salmon season.

In my opinion an ideal Chum salmon fly is smallish (size 4-6), light (no weight added), and either chartreuse, hot pink, or cherise. Other fishermen claim other colors work well also, but these colors have worked well for me.

It is important when fishing estuaries that your fly does not sink very fast. Most of the time you are fishing in water that is only 2-5ft deep.  If you are fishing a fly that is heavy you will inevitably be striping your fly in fast, in order to avoid hanging up on the bottom, this will undoubtedly lead to hooking fish in the back. While a back hooked chum will certainly test your gear, it is unsportsmanlike and unethical. A light fly fished with an intermediate line will get you down into the strike zone and will greatly reduce the chances of a foul hookup.

The Green Lantern fly has an underbody of holographic or pearlescent tinsel. The tinsel is wrapped over the yak hair that you have previously tied down, and then covered with a layer of head cement or soft-tex.  Next you will gather the yak hair and fold it up to the head of the fly and create a little bubble around the body of the fly, this is the same technique for tying a sparkle pupa. After tying down the yak hair, fold it back over again and form the wing. Now you can whip finish the head and cement it. I usually trim the wing up a little to thin it out.

Tie a few of Green Lanterns up and keep them in your salmon box for this fall, you will be glad you did!

TAKE A BITE OUT OF THIS YOU DOGGIES!!