Yellowstone River Oil Spill Update

yellowstone river

The Yellowstone River

The EPA updated its site yesterday regarding ExxonMobil’s clean-up plan for the oil spill on the Yellowstone River, which, though it did affect ranchers and other landowners, has NOT affected fishing. In part, the EPA stated:

“Over the weekend, ExxonMobil delivered a draft work plan to EPA. The work plan contains seven elements. EPA has determined three of those elements require further clarification and scope definition by the company. EPA has instructed ExxonMobil to provide a revised plan within the week. Those three areas that will be addressed are the oil recovery containment, source release area, and remediation sections of the plan.”

UPDATE: Jason Elkins of Orvis Travel notes that fly fishermen traveling to Montana have little to fear from the oil slick. “Although this is a serious issue, trout fishermen may be relieved to know that the spill is located far downstream from any trout habitat. Anglers planning to fish in Yellowstone Park or on the Yellowstone River this summer will not be impacted by the oil spill.”

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NRDC Puts Spotlight on Bristol Bay/Pebble Mine Issue

Lake Clark National Park, Bristol Bay, Alaska
photo by Matt Skoglund


The other day I got a letter from Robert Redford. No, he wasn’t solicting a film script from me. Instead, he was urging me, via his position at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), to take action against the threat of Pebble Mine to Bristol Bay, Alaska. Even though I have written a great deal on the Pebble Mine issue and contributed in every way possible to help prevent the mine and to bring exposure to the threat, I was greatly encouraged to see the materials from the NRDC arrive by mail. It means that the level of exposure is growing, and more important players are becoming involved.

Shortly after that package arrived, a colleague here sent me a link to an NRDC blog about the issue. It was written by Matt Skolgund and has the personal angle to which many of us can relate. As Matt wrote:

If this nightmare known as the Pebble Mine is allowed to go forward, it will be – take a deep breath – a 2,000-foot-deep, two-mile-long gold and copper mine with gigantic earthen dams built to hold back some 10 billion tons of mining waste. Roads will be built, and the mine will be smack dab in the middle of a known earthquake zone.

Pebble Mine will inflict irreversible damage on Bristol Bay, including the permanent destruction of dozens of miles of wild salmon habitat. That’s why NRDC has joined Alaskan Natives, anglers, hunters and other conservation organizations to fight this wretched proposal.

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Catch-and-Release Tips for Bonefish

I’ll be the first to admit it, and then other fly fishermen can chime in. In the past, though I was well intentioned, I sometimes handled fish in a manner that may have reduced their chance of survival after they were released. Maybe it was because I was excited about catching an especially big fish, or perhaps it was the first of that species for me. But mostly it was. . .

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TU and Ranchers Work Together to Save Wasson Creek

Protecting, conserving, and restoring our coldwater rivers and streams takes a lot of hard work, not just on the stream itself, but working with land owners, ranchers, and other parties who at first might seem at odds with certain goals. This video demonstrates that partnerships are entirely possible and are key to achieving both conservation goals and the goals of ranchers and others who depend on the water for their own livelihoods. Kudos to all.


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New TU On the Rise Episode: Sandy River

In this week’s On the Rise episode, host Jed Fiebelkorn visits Oregon’s Sandy River. In recent years the marmot dam on the river was taken down and smaller fish now find passage downriver easier. The Sandy has faced may challenges but much is being done to help restore this great river. Check out some great fishing and even better conservation work this week on the Sportman Channel. What’s your favorite river in need of restoration and protection? Fri 6/3/2011 7:30AM Sat 6/4/2011 12:30PM

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10 Waters to Watch – and to Save

The National Fish Habitat Action Plan has unveiled the 2011 10 “Waters to Watch” list, a collection of rivers, streams, lakes and estuaries that will benefit from strategic conservation efforts to protect, restore or enhance their current condition over the next year. 

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Orvis Supports the Ambergis Caye Eco Challenge

The mangrove and reef ecosystem around Ambergris Caye is one of the most productive fly-fishing locations in Belize with vital habitat for bonefish, permit and tarpon. When Ali Flota, owner of the Orvis-endorsed El Pescador Lodge approached Orvis Travel about supporting the Ambergris Caye Eco Challenge to promote conservation and awareness of the complex ecosystem, we donated a $500 gift card. It went to the most Eco-Friendly Team. The winners are Irvin Chacon and Shadany Bradley.

The 42-mile, two-day kayak race, which attracts dozens of participants from across the country, is designed to promote awareness, protection and the conservation of mangroves, lagoons, reefs and the diverse species found in Belize. The race starts on the stunning lagoon side of Ambergris Caye and finishes the next day in San Pedro where a celebration awaits participants, including everything from barbecue and ceviche competitions to live music.



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Scary Decline in Striper Stocks



striped bass

Peter Brannen of the Martha’s Vineyard Gazzette wrote a great piece on the drastic decline in striped bass stocks that has state and federal officials scrambling to protect the fish, but many recreational fishermen say the government isn’t moving fast enough.

“It’s really scary,” said Cooper (Coop) Gilkes 3rd, owner of Coop’s Bait and Tackle shop in Edgartown, who has seen the haul from the annual June catch-and-release striper tournament fall dramatically. “At one point we had somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 fish weighed in on one night. Last year there were 100 and it’s like a staircase going all the way down to last year. It’s just dropped every year.”

Last year, Mr. Gilkes said the annual springtime sea worm hatch in the Island’s coastal ponds — an event that historically attracts stripers by the hundreds — had “just about failed” after years of under-performance.

“It’s mind-boggling that we could get to this point with everybody watching,” he said.

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Catch Orvis on TU’s On the Rise Show

Check out this week’s episode of TU’s On the Rise (trailer above) which takes place on the Battenkill and at the Orvis fly rod shop. Over the past several years, Orvis has raised more than $100,000 to help TU and the state of Vermont restore key in-stream cover to the famous Battenkill. The result is a success story, with restored stretches seeing fish returning in strong numbers; up to a 500% increase in some stretches. In this episode of On the Rise, Orvis CEO Perk Perkins speaks with host Jed Fiebelkorn about the Orvis Commitment to conservation. I was lucky enough to fish with Jed and show him some of the restored water. We caught some nice fish and had a great fall morning of fishing and wandering the river. You can watch the entire show this week on the Sportsman Channel.

Mon 5/16/11 1:00PM

Tue 5/17/011 10:30PM
Fri 5/20/011 7:30AM
Sat 5/21/11 12:30PM

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New TU On the Rise Episode – The Klamath


In this week’s On the Rise episode, host Jed Fiebelkorn visits the Klamath River and fishes for its wild steelhead. The Klamath has faced may challenges in the past (and today) but much is being done to help restore this famed river. Check out some great fishing and even better conservation work this week on the Sportman Channel. What’s your favorite river in need of restoration and protection?

Mon 5/9/2011 1:00PM
Tue 5/10/2011 10:30PM
Fri 5/13/2011 7:30AM
Sat 5/14/2011 12:30PM

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