Hurricane Irene Destroys Vermont Fish Hatchery and up to 80,000 Trout

The destruction to homes, bridges and roads across Vermont in the wake of Hurricane Irene has been extreme.

On GoFishn, I just read that up to 80,000 trout were lost at theThe Vermont State Fish Hatchery in Roxbury, Vermont. These were fish set to be released into the state’s rivers and streams  in 2012.

From the Times Argus:

As Whalen [supervisor of the hatchery station] walked through the debris-filled, seven-acre area, he pointed to where there had been five ponds and drainage brooks used to raise brook and rainbow trout, which would have been used to stock many of Vermont’s rivers and streams in 2012.

“The buildings are old and tough and didn’t really sustain much damage,” Whalen said.

“I’m sure some of (the fish) made their way to the Third Branch,” Whalen said, referring to the branch of the White River.

Whalen said he and the two other full-time staff were able to capture as many as 10,000 fish and contain them in one of the ponds that had a section of open water, but many of the fish were left to die as the water receded and small pools the fish were in dried up.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Take our Poll: Trout Fishing in a Climate-Changed America

Jim's brookie taken on a #16 caddis

Some like it hot, but brookies don’t. Are days like this numbered due to climate change?

Entering into an already heated debate, a recent study on the potential impact of climate change on trout has chilling news for cold-water fisheries.

In a moderate plan for a warming climate drawn up by the researchers, brook trout would lose more than three-quarters of their range in the West in the next 75 years. Brown and cutthroat trout would lose about 50 percent of theirs. Rainbow trout would fare the best, losing a little more than a third of the miles of stream in which they can thrive.

The rest of the article can be read on the New York Times Environment blog here.

What do YOU think? Take our poll below on how you feel trout populations could be impacted and leave your feedback in the comments section.

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Fisheries Scientist Kristi Miller Muzzled about Wild Salmon Collapse Study

The fin of a sockeye salmon taken at Roderick-Haig Brown Regional Park during the sockeye run in October 2010. Top bureaucrats in Ottawa have muzzled a leading fisheries scientist whose discovery could help explain why salmon stocks have been crashing off Canada's West Coast, according to documents obtained by Postmedia News.


Kristi Miller, a Canadian scientist who published a study on the collapse of Canada’s West Coast salmon in the leading research journal Science has been muzzled by Ottowa’s Privy Council Office from speaking about the research. The research showed a possible link between farm raised salmon exposing wild salmon to disease.

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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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Authors Rick Bass and David James Duncan’s Book Helps Fight Mega-Trucking Corridor in the Rockies


All Against the Haul is group organized to protest the construction of a permanent industrial corridor along rural roads in the Northwest and Northern Rockies, which oil companies will use for mega-trucking to get the Alberta tar sands. Renowned writers Rick Bass and David James Duncan collaborated on a book about this impact his proposed corridor could have on the region, and the world.

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Cleaning Up The Yellowstone River Oil Spill

yellowstone river

More than 240 miles of The Yellowstone River were affected by the spill
Fortunately for anglers, and small consolation for other folks,
 the spill did not affect trout fishing in its blue ribbon strecth

Did ExxonMobil understimate their initial claim of how much oil spilled into the Yellowstone River when a pipe ruptured back on July 1? They may well have, since they first claimed they stopped the leak in minutes, but regulators have since learned it actually took an hour to stop the leak. This according to an insightful update on the American Rivers newsroom blog by Scott Bosse.

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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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