The Vanishing Salmon of California’s Bay-Delta Estuary



The San Francisco Bay Delta is formed where the San Joaquin and Sacramento Rivers join in Northern California. The delta is an important resource for both fisherman and farmers. However, as with many rivers systems, far more water has been diverted from these rivers for irrigation than is needed for the farming, and the fish populations are being devastated. In this compelling video by the NRDC, we learn that salmon populations dropped from 1.4 million to 39,000 between 2002 and 2009, a 90% collapse. But action is being taken, and awareness of the problem is being raised, in part by videos such as this one above.

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Friday Film Festival 07.29.11

Welcome to another edition of the Friday Film Festival, in which we scour the web for the best fly-fishing footage available. This week’s collection has got it all: freshwater, warmwater, and saltwater action. From the chilly northeast of Norway to the marlin-filled waters off the coast of Australia, anglers continue to produce high-quality footage for the rest of us who can’t be there. But it’s not just entertainment: there’s educational value here, as well. Did you ever want. . .

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“Taking Your Chances” with Brown Trout on the Battenkill

Ghost Brown Trout

This is the picture I should have been posting this morning, but alas I didn’t “take my chance” when it presented itself. So I must be content with this imaginary brown trout.

photo-illustration by James Daley

In this country, the phrase “to take your chances” usually means to try something that may end up being a disaster—as in “You’re taking your chances driving on those bald tires.” But across the pond, they have another way of using this phrase. 

I watch a lot of English soccer (which they call “football,” of course), and they use slightly different wording to express something quite different from the American version. To “take your chance,” in this instance, means to make the most of the chances presented to you. So, for instance, if a player is presented with a good look at goal and buries the ball in the back of the net, the announcer will say that he “has taken his chance well.” Alternatively, the losing coach might say that the reaon his team lost was that they  “didn’t take their chances.” Because good scoring chances come infrequently in soccer, you must “take your chances” if you want to win.

This meaning of the phrase was driven home for me early this morning on the Battenkill. Eric Rickstad and I hit the water at 5 a.m., hoping to tempt some big. . .

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“Toto”: A Famous Dog, More Famous than We Realize

toto 2

Terry in her most memorable role as Toto, with Judy Garland

We all know and love this purebred Cairn Terrier in her role as Toto, but Terry (her real name) had many other roles before and after her mixing it up with a conman wizard, a witch with a fear of water, a dancing scarecrow, and a gang of lollipop kids.

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Tying a Simple Gartside Gurgler

The Gurgler, invented by the late fly tier and iconoclast Jack Gartside, is one of those all-around useful patterns than will catch everything from panfish to tarpon. It’s sort of the topwater version of a Woolly Bugger, and like the Bugger, it can be tied in many different sizes and colors, with a variety of materials and accoutrements. Gartside wrote about his creation: . . .

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Tuesday Tip: Casting Angles

Welcome to our sixth installment of “Ask a Fly-Fishing Instructor,” starring our own Peter Kutzer, who works at the Manchester, Vermont, Fly Fishing School. A couple months ago, we asked you to
post some questions about your biggest casting problems. Reader “griffjc” wrote,

From all the advice I’ve gotten on casting, the rod has only ever been described in a forward-and-back motion. Is there ever a reason to cast slightly to the side or even at an extreme angle, . . .

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Which Knot? Part II

Which Knot II

There’s no such thing as one “right” knot. It’s up to you to figure out what works best for each situation and your particular skills and needs. The Orvis Animated Knot Series can help you find the knots you need.

Fly fishermen love to argue about which tippet-to-fly knot is the “best” or strongest (see Which Knot? Part I), but the truth of the matter is that, all things being equal, no single knot does everything an angler needs. There are many variables that go into determining which knot is “best” for a given fly-fishing situation. Here are just a few of them: . . .

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Tom Rosenbauer’s Ten Steps to Getting Kids and Teens into Fly Fishing Plus a Rant on New School vs Old School

This week I give you a 10-step plan for getting a kid into fly fishing.  These are proven methods based on my experience and that of others I’ve talked to in the course of researching a book called Family Friendly Fly Fishing that I’m working on.  I’ve also added three additional tips for getting teenagers into fly fishing.

In the fly box items this week we talk about the old 10 o’clock to-2 o’clock casting technique, casting into the wind with big poppers and other bass flies, attaching a new fly line to backing that’s already on a reel using a loop, and the correct size sink tip fly line to buy and I go on a bit of a rant about “new school” vs. “old school” fly fishing.

Click the READ MORE button to listen to this week’s show.

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Friday Film Festival 07.22.11

Welcome to another edition of the Friday Film Festival, in which we scour the web for the best fly-fishing footage available. This week’s collection is mostly amateur footage, but there’s no shortage of great action and gorgeous fish. There’s plenty of backcountry action, from Montana to New Zealand, as well as a group of college students who may well turn out to be future FFF stars if they build on what they’ve learned. . .

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