Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Rebirth of a Childhood Fishing Hole

Remember that place where you went to fish as a kid that no matter the weather or time of day always produced fish?

My special fishing hole when I was a kid was along the stream below the family cabin in the Bighorn Mountains.  A wide bend in the creek filled with a series of deep pools around the outer bank was my trophy hole; it was also my childhood boundary for fishing without adult supervision when visiting the cabin.

No matter where I began fishing on the stream I would always finish by casting my fly along the placid waters of the bend.  Its glass smooth surface and occasional deep hole (often with an ancient tree trunk buried deep within it) always hid brook, rainbow, and the occasional brown trout.  I never left the stream without a fish in my creel if my patience held out.

Returning to my favorite childhood fishing hole after a decade-long absence, I found it changed from the vision of a trout haven pictured in my mind's eye.  Seasonal high-flows had reshaped the stream above the bend in the creek, turning it into a warm and shallow backwater filled with thick mats of algae.

This last winter was one of the worst (or best depending on how you judge such things) we've had in thirty years.  This year's runoff was powered by an immense snow-pack that sent sping floodwaters ripping off the mountain.  This last weekend was my first trip to the family cabin and I found the creek running high for this time of year, but I also found my childhood fishing hole in the bend of the creek returned to life.  The snowmelt waters scoured the algae from the cobble and deepened portions of the stream beginning to fill with silt and sand.  For a few days the hole returned to its childhood glory.

By the end of the trip the fate of the hole was evident.  Watching the high water visibly receding it became obvious that the coming summer low flows are going to return the bend to its dreary backwater status.

Nature is ever changing, but for one weekend I got to experience the same thrill on one of my favorite fishing holes like I was ten years old all over again.
Until next time,
Cheers & Tight Lines,
Brad

Interested in my forthcoming book, Wyoming Mountains & Home-waters: Family, Fly Fishing, and Conservation?  You can find information here, want updates and news on it and other books coming from Sage Creek Press?  You can signup for our newsletter on the website.

You can find me at:
Sage Creek Press
email-conservationflyfisher@gmail.com
Twitter- @ConserveTrout
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/conservationflyfishing


Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Wyoming Mountains & Home-waters



From idea, to book, to independent publisher

Between April and December of last year I wrote a series of blog posts sharing how I "accidentally decided to write a book".  More than half-a-year after that last post I'm sharing where that endeavor stands today.

At no point in my life have I ever thought of myself as an entrepreneur, yet here I am.  My passion for fly fishing, conservation, and ecology have brought me to the doorstep of self publishing, which without at least a modicum of entrepreneurial spirit, is destined for failure.  My book, Wyoming Mountains & Home-waters: Family, Fly Fishing, and Conservation, is a labor of love such that even at times when I attempted to walk away from it, I could never bring myself to fully given up on its story and message.  I was drawn back to the keyboard, at times mentally kicking and screaming,  to continue writing.  However, a year ago I thought the project was dead.

I spent nearly a year trying to sell the manuscript to publishers and literary agents, there were nibbles of interest to be sure, but in the end all decided to pass.  For several months I gave up on the project and tried to move on.  I even tried to make peace with the outcome on a backpacking trip in the Cloudpeak Wilderness of Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains.  What I realized instead was that in trying to sell my book to established publishing companies, I was equipped with the knowledge necessary to, at the least, get the book out the door as an independent publisher.

Looking into Wyoming's Bighorn Mountains.
I organized a company in January 2017, Sage Creek Press, to become my professional writing and publishing outlet.  For months prior to that my research into self publishing took me everywhere but back to the keyboard.  I delved into the nuances of small business administration, marketing, and of course the publishing process itself.

Since committing to self publishing, Wyoming Mountains & Home-waters has been though several rounds of developmental, line, and copy editing.  Today, it is with Createspace as they help me develop the cover art and layout the interior.  Once all this is done it will go to a proofreader for the final review before publication.

The journey from wannabe author to self publisher is far more exciting than I ever expected.  So much so, that I'm already considering what it would be like to help other authors launch their works. But that's a story for a different day.

Interested in Wyoming Mountains & Home-waters: Family, Fly Fishing, and Conservation?  You can find the story behind the book and a description of the book itself at Sage Creek Press.  Want more than what you find there?  Sign-up for my newsletter that will offer news, updates, and exclusive promotions to subscribers.
Until next time,
Cheers & Tight Lines,
Brad

You can find me at:
Sage Creek Press
email-conservationflyfisher@gmail.com
Twitter- @ConserveTrout
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/conservationflyfishing

Monday, June 12, 2017

Today's Conservation is Really About the Kids

School has ended and summer has dawned. It's time for kids to return to the outdoors!  Just this last Saturday, June 3rd, it was take-a-kid-fishing day here in Wyoming.  It was also a day when anyone could fish, even those without a license.

Our local Game and Fish Department employees brought numerous activities to our local ponds, introducing kids to the fish they would have the opportunity to catch as well as providing lessons on outdoor recreation, conservation ethic, and basic biology.  Having two little ones of my own I can appreciate the youngest of those in attendance finding these activities to be only an impediment to catching the trout stocked for the day's enjoyment.  But, for a few, the biology, recreation, or ethics lessons might be that spark that kindles a passion years later, and when added to the joy of fishing, is all it takes to reintroduce a digital generation to the outdoors and their natural resource heritage.


Last Saturday was for the kids, but then again isn't all of it, really?  Arguments about conservation, like all things lately, have succumbed to the hyperbole and over-heated rhetoric that dominates today's discourse.  And lately things feel very much like they've been turned upside down, and as though the environment could be thrown under the bus for nothing more than short-term political gain.  At times like this its easy to forget that, while there's always a sense of gratification that comes from participating in conservation, such efforts are less for us than they are our children.  Sometimes it takes a little boy or girl squealing in delight as they reel in a flopping, wiggly fish to remind us of what's really at stake and why its worth fighting for.

Until next time,
Cheers & Tight Lines,
Brad

You can find me at:
Sage Creek Press
email-conservationflyfisher@gmail.com
Twitter- @ConserveTrout
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/conservationflyfishing

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Public Land Development, Protection, and Public Access

National Monuments Matter

Let me begin today by saying, I despise the 'slippery slope' cliche.  This is the argument that is being made right now as the Interior Department undertakes a presidential ordered review of all national monument designations since 1996.  The fear underpinning the 'slippery slope' argument is that rescinding the status or even reducing the acreage of our national monuments amounts to nothing less than a direct attack on public access to public lands.  While I believe the simplistic 'slippery slope' cliche fails to capture the true threat to sportsmen access to undeveloped public lands, I wholly agree with the logic that underpins the argument.


The vast majority of public lands in the United States are open to resource development, whether it be logging, mining, grazing, or oil & gas development.  Most development takes place on Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managed lands.  The subset of public lands set aside as national parks, national monuments, wildlife refuges, wilderness or some other form of conservation land-use designation are dwarfed in comparison to those open to development.

To remove or reduce national monument status to those lands to which it has been bequeathed is a slap in the face to all sportsmen and women!  The loss of conservation lands, for all intents and purposes, is permanent.

Chances are good that if you're reading this blog you are a part of the sporting community.  Take a look at your favorite places to hunt and fish then ask yourself, just how protected are they? Concerned?  Then I suggest you contact your favorite outdoor club/ organization and ask what position they've taken on the issue.

Your voice matters in sustaining your access to your public lands!

Until next time,
Cheers & Tight Lines,
Brad

You can contact me at:
email-conservationflyfisher@gmail.com
Twitter- @ConserveTrout
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/conservationflyfishing

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Trout Won't Wait on Climate Change Politics

The politics of climate change is filled with turbulence, but the impacts of a warming world are on display for all to see-- if you choose to look.

If you've followed the science of climate change and its impacts you've likely seen numerous reports, news columns, or even articles in your favorite fishing magazine speaking to the impacts of climate change on trout and salmon.

California recently released a report to add to your growing compendium of fisheries related impacts from climate change titled, "State of the Salmonids II: Fish in Hot Water".  As stated on the report's website, "at the current rate, 45% of California's salmonids are likely to be extinct in the next 50 years."

Given today's announcement by the President that the United States is going to withdraw from the Paris Accord, I'm going to keep this post short and finish with this thought: science is not an ideology, it is the foundation upon which we develop the knowledge to understand our world.

Until next time,
Cheers & Tight Lines,
Brad

You can contact me at:
email-conservationflyfisher@gmail.com
Twitter- @ConserveTrout
Facebook- https://www.facebook.com/conservationflyfishing