Elfin Cove Featured Photo

Not a Steelhead. Photo by Israel Patterson

Drake Cast #55 Untouched Nature – Steelhead Ch. 2

It’s been a while, but The Drakecast is back by popular demand, at least for a little bit. We’ve got six episodes slated for release between now and the end of 2021.The first of these episodes (which also happens to be the second of the Steelhead Miniseries) is a story of the fine line between exploration and exploitation.

Drake Magazine 2020 Winter

Photo by Corey Kruitbosch

End-Times Steelhead. Group therapy on the Oregon Coast.

None of us guessed what was coming. Within hours of our leaving the river, the county would close all boat ramps and Oregon’s governor would implement stay-at-home guidelines. We were fishing on the last days of winter steelhead season 2020 and we didn’t even know it.

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.

Steelheading in the late 90s, before gloves were invented.

Steelheading in the late 90s, before gloves were invented. Photo: Forrest Arakawa

Thanksgiving Fireball. Redemption on the Babine.

The whole trip was Forrest’s dumb idea. But for Forrest, enthusiasm overcomes all obstacles. In his world, “Rad” is always capitalized. As in, “Dude! It’ll be so Rad to go fishing right now!” But Smithers over Thanksgiving? Not Canadian Thanksgiving, mind you—on October 12, a perfectly reasonable time to be fishing in northern British Columbia—but American Thanksgiving, a month and a half later.

Drake Magazine Southeast Alaska Tongass

Photo by Jim Klug

The Roadless Rule in America’s Salmon Forest

“Judge Sharon Gleason, U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Alaska, ruled last week that the Forest Service violated federal law by approving future logging in the 16.7 million-acre Tongass National Forest.”

I pay my bills here in Southeast Alaska, at least in part, by having short and intense conversations on airplanes. I help wedge wadered clients from all over the globe into DeHavilland Beavers, then drop in on some of the planet’s most spectacular temperate rainforest

Alaska West Lodge

Photo: Tosh Brown

American Greed, Inc.

riter and historian David T. Courtwright calls them “limbic capitalists”—people or companies that target our limbic system, the part of our brains primarily responsible for emotion, especially as it relates to pleasure, motivation, and survival. Courtwright is author of The Age of Addiction: How Bad Habits Became Big Business. “Biological evolution shaped the limbic system,…

Steelhead conservation in Oregon

Photo: Nate Koenigsknecht

Can’t We Let Them Live?

As a lifetime Oregon resident, angler, and guide, I spend 40-60 days a year on the rivers of the Southern Oregon coast. I interact with anglers that use all types of methods, and every one of them I’ve talked to has noticed a significant decline in encounters with wild steelhead. How can this be explained?…

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…

Greatful Dead manager on fishing break

The Dead Drift – Grateful Dead

David Lemieux wears many hats, and every one of them bears a “Steal Your Face” logo. He’s the official Grateful Dead archivist. He’s also the Dead’s legacy manager with Rhino Records, the host of “Today in Grateful Dead History” on Sirius XM radio’s Grateful Dead channel, and a writer for the Dead’s official website, Dead.net.…

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…

The best fly fishing books.

Stocking Stuffers – Fishing Books

Smallmouth: Modern Fly-fishing Methods, Tactics & Techniques Tim Landwehr & Dave Karczynski $29.95 Stackpole Books Most of the how-to flyfishing books at your local library come from accomplished anglers that aren’t very good at writing. This book isn’t one of them. Lifelong smallmouth guide Tim Landwehr of Tight Lines Fly Fishing Company in DePere, Wisconsin,…

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…