The Greatest Steelhead State that Never Was

The State Of Jefferson

STATE OF ARMS AS WOULD ANY GUY SPAWNED FROM THE gravels of Oregon, I had deep reservations about driving the backroads of my home state in a rig blasphemed by California plates. It was a red Tacoma with a watertight canopy and a rod rack permanently bolted to its hood, an otherwise brilliant fishing truck,…

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Meet the Deke

Meet the Deke

FLOWING WATER, BY DESIGN, HAS A SANCTIMONIOUS way of pre-qualifying its clientele. Gentle riffles and wide gravel bars lure the false-casting masses, and boiling black holes rimmed with mossy ledge rock frighten them away. That said, I suppose there’s really no great mystery why the easy flows produce the fussy little degree-candidate fish, while the…

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One man’s battle to free the Klamath

Flowing Ambition

[The Obama administration and California officials are set to announce an agreement to remove four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, sidestepping Congress to restore its salmon and steelhead fisheries. The move would result in the largest river restoration in U.S. history. A news conference trumpeting the deal will take place today at the Yurok Reservation in…

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Views and variety along the Snake

Idaho’s South Fork

DURING THE WANING DAYS OF SUMMER 2000, guide Dave Deardorff rowed his drift boat one stroke too far. Idaho’s lower South Fork of the Snake had fished well that afternoon. Cutthroat sipped BWOs under tormented skies, while Deardorff storm-jumped his way downstream. Finally, something angry surrounded him and his two clients. He sunk oar blades…

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When natural flows return, so do the steelhead

Undammed Rivers Revival

Across the continent, 2012 was a bad year to be a climate- change skeptic, but a much worse year to be a fish. Before you bid a tepid au revoir to this torrid 12 months, consider: According to 350.org founder and climate raconteur Bill McKibben, June broke 2,132 high-temperature records across the country. May was…

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Deconstructing Dworshak

Waters of Idaho’s North Fork Clearwater River once flowed freely to the Pacific. Cayuse Creek dropped from a high-elevation meadow into Kelly Creek, which funneled into the North Fork, which melded into the Clearwater proper, then the Snake, and finally the mighty Columbia. Native steelhead muscled upstream through it all—massive populations of massive fish during…

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Time for the Cardinal to dump their damn dam

Stanford’s Searsville Dam

You’ve never fished San Francisquito Creek. And if something isn’t done about Searsville Dam, you never will. Stanford University owns the dam, which was built in 1892. It buries the confluence of five redwood- and fir-shaded salmon creeks that now run salmonless out of the Santa Cruz Mountains. They all came together beneath what is…

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Drake Magazine Easement Taylor Park Reservoir

Living on Easement Street

There aren’t many rivers in the Rockies more appealing in late September than Colorado’s lower Taylor, which sits halfway between Crested Butte and Gunnison and is known nationally for its monster, mysis-shrimp-filled rainbows that inhabit the short tailwater section below Taylor Park Reservoir. The river received national attention of a different sort in the spring…

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BYE-BYE ELWHA DAM

Bye-Bye Elwha Dam

Members of the Lower Elwha Klallam tribe will tell you that 100-pound Chinook salmon once returned to their namesake river on the northeastern tip of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. While no one can substantiate the existence of these behemoths, one thing is certain: The construction of the Elwha and Glines Canyon dams between 1913 and 1927 cut…

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SAVING OREGON’S SANDY RIVER

Saving Oregon’s Sandy River

When most of us hear the words “steelhead river,” we think “remote.” We imagine bright wild fish and hairy mofos wading waist-deep, bombing Intruders to the far shore. And maybe that’s why so many people cherish Oregon’s Sandy River: it offers the best of steelheading—only thirty minutes from one of the hippist cities in America,…

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