In the Loop 02.15.11

Salmon carcass

Although unsightly and smelly, salmon carcasses provide vital nutrients for
young salmon. Biologists are learning to “fertilize” rivers that lack these
nutrients to help salmon fry grow faster.

photo by Phil Monahan

Once a salmon run has dipped below a certain number or disappeared altogether from a watershed, the ecology of the system is drastically changed because of the missing nutrients that rotting fish carcasses provide each year. This makes restoring salmon populations more difficultbecause the young salmon must survive in less fertile habitat. Biologists in British Columbia seem to have found a solution: a method of fertilizing rivers to add the missing nutrients. The initial data suggest that salmon fry reared in these fertilized streams are considerably larger and more numerous than those reared in non-fetilized streams. This could offer a huge boost to efforts to restore salmon populations along the Pacific Coast.

fish icon As a sign that the battle against Pebble Mine is gaining traction, even among the non-sporting public, it doesn’t get much better than this: The New York Times editorial board devoting valuable space to an editorial applauding the EPA for its decision to assess the risks to Bristol Bay from large-scale commercial interests: “The E.P.A. is right to do this study. We are certain it will find that the mine presents unacceptable risks and should not be allowed to proceed.”
fish icon Writing in The Bozeman Chronicle, Ben Pierce offers a fond remembrance of Silvester Nemes, the famed tier and angler who died last week at the age of 88. has got anglers and other water users up in arms. Nemes’s 1975 book The Soft-Hackled Fly was largely responsible for the resurgence of wet-fly fishing, which many anglers had viewed as an antiquated method.

fish icon After a decade of slight declines in fish populations, the Missouri River is back, according to fish counts performed by Montana fisheries biologists last fall. The number of rainbows over ten inches was 2,818 per mile in the Craig section and 1,706 in the Cascade stretch. The effects of longterm drought and whirling disease had caused the drop-off in fish numbers, but two solid good-water years have resulted in the river rebounding to the condition of the late 1980s, when it was “discovered” as a great dry-fly fishery.

fish icon Who says fly fishers don’t have a sense of humor. . .albeit a lightly twisted one? 

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