Photo by Kurt Budliger

Kings

Let this be a warning to you and to me and to all the other salmon killers out there; to the moochers and trollers and dam builders; the seiners and gillnetters; sushi chefs and leach mines; treaty breakers, billy clubs, old-growth bulldozers, and an ocean of plastic; to fillet knives, fish farms, and this ever-warming world, let this be a warning: These fish will outlast you.

Photo Courtesy Rep. Simpson's Office. Idaho's 2nd District G.O.P. Rep. Mike Simpson, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Stanley-to-Redfish Lake Trail. 

The Bold Effort. An Idaho Congressman shares his thoughts.

In April 2019, Congressman Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, gave a somewhat stunning keynote address at an environmental conference hosted by Boise State’s Andrus Center for Public Policy. His comments were thoughtful, educated, and encouraging. But mostly, they were surprising, particularly his thoughts about what might be necessary to save Idaho salmon. Rep. Simpson and I discussed the topic in mid-December, and his quotes below come from his keynote and our conversation. Can Idaho salmon truly be saved? No one knows. But the Congressman has been down a similarly daunting path. In 2015, Mr. Simpson’s 15-year effort to broker a seemingly impossible deal resulted in the creation of Idaho’s Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness. (Which Mark Menlove covered in his 2014 feature, “A Fisherman’s Monument.”) If wild salmon and steelhead can indeed be saved, then Rep. Simpson is providing these essential fish the best shot they’ve had in decades.

Bobby Foster Chrome Winter OP

Commodities and Steelhead. An imperative shift on the Olympic Peninsula.

Wild Steelhead are not corn, wheat, or cattle. They are not oranges, apples, or anything that we can control with expected specific outcomes and pounds delivered to market. Put them in a box and they will swim right out of it.
Even among anadromous fish, steelhead are the least predictable of any salmonid swimming the North Pacific. They are never a species of multitude, like Kings, Coho, or even Pinks, that come home in a rush of biological delivery to the rivers spanning the West Coast. They cruise along the edges, arriving to their natal rivers in fits and spurts, with dozens of life histories across each watershed. In short, there were never that many steelhead to begin with.

PHOTO BY MORGAN HEIM

Smoke on the Water

Marijuana cultivation’s impacts on our rivers Chris and James stand on the lawn behind Indian Creek Resort, stomping their feet against the cold while passing a joint back and forth. Recreational pot has been legal in California since January 2019, so the two aren’t breaking any laws. Tomorrow the three of us will be rafting…

A FAT BATCH OF NEWLY MINTED ELWHA CHROME.

PHOTO BY SHANE ANDERSON

Undeleted – Story of Elwha River

The return of the Elwha’s steelhead Give a rainbow trout a direct line to the ocean and you have a potential steelhead. Throw a dam in its path and watch anadromy hit a wall. Salmonids in Washington State’s Elwha River, on the northeastern edge of the rain-soaked Olympic Peninsula, found their long-lost gateway to the…

CHICKEE CHECK-IN TIME.

PHOTO BY JEREMY CLARK

Swamped

Revivalists and renegades in South Florida’s Everglades It begins as a subtle unzippering across the surface. Nothing more than shape and motion—forcing the brain to calculate distance to target, direction of movement, and speed of travel. These computations form the basis of what comes next: an attempt to drop a bottlecap-sized fly in the path…

Patagonia's Riverside Warehouse

Photo: Julie Brown

Patagonia’s Riverside Warehouse

The wader-repair department at Patagonia is a standalone, self-sustained operation in a hard-to-find corner of a 342,000-square-foot warehouse in Reno, Nevada, just steps from the rainbows, browns, and—as of last summer—native Lahontan cutthroat of the Truckee River. The department is little more than a series of temporary walls erected on the edge of the receiving…

Release - Finding Grace in the Rainforest

California’s Prop 68: Salmon & Steelhead Funding Decided at the Ballot

If you (or a good friend) enjoy the outdoors and live in California, this is a must-read. In 2017, the California state legislature passed Senate Bill 5, which will allow the issuance of bonds to finance drought-recovery, water, parks, climate and outdoor access programs. That bill, now known as Proposition 68, will appear on California voters’…

Pete Soverel works for Salmon Conservation

At the Helm- Salmon Conservation

The status of wild winter-steelhead populations can drive the most committed steelheaders to seek refuge near the fringes of Salmo Mykiss’ geographical range—fewer anglers can mean a few more fish. So, after 19 hours of driving, I pull my truck into the dark driveway descending to a rustic lakefront cabin. Towering cedars block what scant…

LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENTS INSPECT A "TRESSPASS GROW" ON CALIFORNIA PUBLIC LAND

PHOTO BY MORGAN HEIM

California Makes Weed Tax Work… for Fish

Amid November’s national display of democracy California passed Prop. 64, joining the brotherhood of states legalizing recreational marijuana use. Humboldt Nation, on the North Coast, is the crossroads of both Cali weed and steelhead culture. It’s no secret that illegal weed grows have dewatered and poisoned key steelhead and salmon spawning tributaries. But soon skunked…

Umpqua Feather Merchants collaborates to conserve habitat in Tongass National Forest.

Umpqua Marks 45th Anniversary with $45k Pledge

LOUISVILLE, CO — Forty-five years ago, Umpqua Feather Merchants opened its doors to anglers and shops in search of high-quality flies and unmatched variety. Now it’s wrapping its anniversary celebration around a good cause, collaborating with Trout Unlimited and the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska to raise $45,000 to help conserve and restore key salmon and…

Gardening

Pot Farms Guzzling NorCal Dry

SAN FRANCISCO—According to a study by state biologists, several drought-stricken rivers in northern California’s coastal forests are being polluted and sucked dry by water-guzzling medical marijuana farms. Worse, many affected waterways also contain non-smoking endangered salmon, steelhead, and other species. Biologists estimate that 30,000 pot plants were being grown in each river system. It’s also estimated…

Wild Fish Conservancy Northwest

Suit Filed To Block Elwha Hatchery Programs

Citing warnings from agency and independent scientists, four conservation groups filed suit today against several federal agencies and officials of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe (in their official capacities) for violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and ignoring the best available science and threatening the recovery of killer whales, Chinook salmon, and native steelhead by…