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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Dam Klam

I just wanted to share this letter i recently received from my buddy Issac Roman up in Northern California. One of the area's Ike guides is the Klamath River. Having grown up in the area and making a living on the river, he has some strong opinions on the Klamath Dam Removal issue, which i feel is an issue all fly fisherman in California should know more about.
Hi, my name is Isaac Lara-Roman, and I am a fly fishing guide, father, and steward of these beautiful northern california rivers. I do a lot of trips just below the Iron Gate Dam, which is a tragic barrier for our anadromous fish. I am sending this to hopefully help this issue of dam removal to get out to some people that care also and can see through the blinders.

First here is a great article by Tom Chandler, a great writer and investigator of the truth!

There are always issues with water here in the Klamath Basin. The farmers are still operating with the beliefs that they can use as much water as they need to irrigate their alfalfa crops, which feed the cattle that graze the rich farmland laced by small streams and important spawning water for the once abundant salmon and steelhead that are native to these watersheds. De-watering though is only a small fragment of the issues. The majority of problems right now are dealing with Pacific Power and their 3 dams blocking the ancient spawning waters located above these barriers. We, unfortunately, have some people on our board of supervisors that seem to have more power than they really should, and no soul or common sense. Continually these folks fight to keep dams in place that are literally killing off native populations of fish and are not even preforming like they were originally designed. For instance the Iron Gate dam was built ultimately as a flood control dam, although the mighty Klamath has yet to breach it as originally created, due to the regulated flows above at the copco dams. Keeping these flows over regulated also keeps gravels from turning and nutrients, not fertilizers, from naturally being released.

More hogwash is the denial of multiple salmon species being found in the Klamath. Chinook, coho, pinks, and chums were all found in the river, prior to the damn projects being completed. There was also a cannery at the mouth of the river that stopped everything from coming up for years. A 5 yr study by the DFG completed in 1931 clearly shows that they understood the power of man and that the fishery would deplete very soon if something didnt change. Hatchery reared fish would only soften the blow.........

The water issue really started in 1902 with the Reclamation Fund ACT that allowed farmers to de-water streams and marshes for their grain. Although most of the waterfowl and predator birds continued to thrive, the upper reaches of spawning streams were sucked dry, beginning the decimation process. Re-alignment of the larger low gradient tribs like the Scott to follow farmers property lines also warmed the waters and shortened its overall length. Switch back like corners snaking through the valley like a spring creek with colder, deep channels were lost.

Now, back to the dams. Once the IronGateDam was completed, there was evidence of changes almost immediately with the stream-bed and the main stem spawning areas. As temps rose, aquatic vegetation flourished, choking out a lot of the good gravel. No spawning areas, no eggs deposited, and so on. Along with rising water temps due to the lakes created above the dams, fry released by the hatchery have little chance of survival, even when planted by the millions. Cold water releases are not feasible due to the shallow warm water held behind.

Now, we all know water is important, so is powering our homes, but shouldn't we have some balance here. Money can definitely bring out the bad in a lot of people. Yet it feels good to do whats is right, RIGHT? So with all 3 dams that are going to be written off as a $20 million a year loss, why would you really want them in. Sure as locals we are already seeing giant increases in our power bills for the damn removal process(whether thy come down or not, no refunds!), cant our politicians, dfg, department of the interior, bureau of reclamation, and pac power do whats good for the environment and the people. Its not just about fish, its about the health of an ecosystem that WAS the 3rd richest in fish behind the Columbia and Sacramento. Enough of the lies and twisted biologist reports, we need people who CARE about where they live and not how much money they can make today. Get real and grow a heart.

siskiyou county local, guide, father, and a guy who is just sick of the bull*&^%

Isaac Lara-Roman

Issac showing the ways of river to the next generation of local fisherman.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Hello Friends of FISH EYE and BURL Productions. I'd like to take a second to tell you about a new movie project I'm working on called CALI RUSH. CALI RUSH Movie is a celebration of California and some of it's most adventurous and talented athletes, spectacular landscapes and diverse wildlife. The movie features athletes who are in search of the Ultimate rush as well as a more harmonious relationship with the Natural world through sports, lifestyle, recreation and environmental technology. Join this modern day tribe of adventurers as they explore some of California's most wild and beautiful places in search of epic conditions and the ultimate ride. CALI RUSH features all human-powered sports that work in harmony with the flows of nature, don't rely on gasoline and create the least amount of impact. This HD multi sports adventure movie follows the changing of the seasons through some of California's most wild and beautiful places and highlights some of the burliest action sports and progressive athletes our state has to offer.

I've been working on this movie project for over 3 years now from concept to execution. It's been a fun but huge and sometime overwhelming task to gather all this footage. I've filmed a good portion of the movie myself and the rest is footage i'm buying from other film makers who specialize in the the different sports we're featuring. CALI RUSH is like a California Adventure Film Festival all rolled into one package. The Movie is broken up into 12 different chapters that represent the different months of the year. Each chapter features a different sport and location.

We would really appreciate the support from the fans of BURL Productions. Writing, Filming, Directing and Producing movies like SOULFISH and CALI RUSH is not easy. Luckily most of the hard work for CALI RUSH Movie is already done. We have all of our footage and are in the post production phase now. So far this project has been independently funded. I personally have hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars invested. I've had to keep working full time and fund the film through BURL Productions, which is one of the reasons it's taken so long to complete. Now we are at a stage where i need some help. Please take a minute to check out our kickstarter page. This is an independent funding platform for creative projects such as this collaborative movie. You can pre order a DVD or Download, poster, shirt or another of the great rewards from the site. It's going to be a great movie and i'm sure you won't regret owning a copy. You can also become an associate producer of this creative project or sign on as a sponsor and marketing partner. With your help we can Kickstart finish this one of a kind movie.

The target dollar amount of our kickstarter goal is the minimum we need at this point to finish the film. The money is going to finishing the final edit which, is already over half way done. Then paying the rest of the additional footage and music licenses, graphic design for box, poster and shirts, motion graphics, color correction, final audio mix, master render and finally some DVD's, Marketing and web updates. Additional funds raised will go to kicking off a tour for the movie. The more we get, the better the venues will be and the better the bands we can bring in. We plan on having an art show at most venues and many of the shows will also feature live music or a DJ set. Our goal is to bring together the outdoor community for celebrations of California's art, music, sports and natural environment which makes it possible for us all to live the dream.

Please take a moment to check out our page and make a pledge if your situation allows.

Thanks for your support. Please share this kickstarter link with as many friends as possible. You can also check out our new website at and like us on Facebook.

Mike E. Wier

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

TG in the AC

Here's a couple photos from my brother and I's annual fishing session on our home waters.

The mighty Mokelumne River.
Only one fish landed on this outing. Not great numbers in this area but it's a beautiful stretch of river to fish so it keeps us coming back. It's more about getting out with my brother and walking some river anyway.
This little guy was a great take. He came up high in the water column for this streamer swung on a sink tip. I had a bite from him on the way up river then stopped at the same spot on the way down and managed to get him on the line. It was a treat to watch him come up in the clear water and tease him to the fly.
Big Thanks to Ross Slayton for the home tied fly.
On the way back down river I herd a yelp from my brother. I was up fishing a pool still and thought he had picked up a fish down lower. When i looked down river he wasn't fishing though. He was knelt over on the gravel bar. It sounded like a yelp of excitement. We are both always eyes peeled for gold or crystals or other treasures washed up in the river when fishing this area. The Moke has allot of history and there's many Native American and early Settlers artifacts around as well as an abundance of mineral and interesting rocks. I ran down to see what Eugene had found. Upon arrival he produced this amazing perfect Rose Quartz crystal. I've never seen such a perfect specimen in this area. It had obviously been washing around in the river for quite a while. We speculated that maybe it was lost on a rafting trip or thrown in the river at some point in time. If it's a natural crystal from the area it's a very very rare find and either way it was a very special highlight to another great day on the Moke.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Team USA qualifer Reno

This past weekend was the Reno regional qualifier for the Team USA National Championships. We fished the lower Truckee through town and Pyramid Lake. Lots of great anglers came out from all over the country to sample some of our local waters.
Day one started out with me on the River. In the AM i got to fish the same water i had fished two years ago in the Cutthroat Classic. We started at 9am and It took an hour or so for the river to turn on. By 10ish the fish started biting. I went two fish landed out of 7 hooked. Had trouble keeping fish on using small flies. The biggest fish of the morning bent my hook. This beautiful rainbow didn't count for me because by the time i got it in, it had spit my primary fly and snagged on the dropper. At the end of Beat 1 all i had on the board was a 12 inch white fish.

A cool little Mink came trotting along my beat on the side of the river.
John Stanley was my controller for the morning session.
In the afternoon i was further up on the river in Beat 1. I was one of the only competitors who fished a streamer in the comp. This beautiful rainbow grabbed a sculpin pattern within the first 15 minutes.
After covering the water with a streamer i went back to nymphing and managed to pull out this bright buck. Great take and long hard fight.

My controller Dan and i had to jump through some hoops to get to the good water at the other side of the river.
My last fish landed was this nice 22 inch rainbow. Went 3 for 3 on the second heat.
Day 2 put me at Pyramid Lake. It was cold windy and overcast in the a.m. I fished hard in the first heat but got blanked at Separator Beach. There were only two fish caught in our entire group that session.

The afternoon session was at Indian Head. I managed to pull in this fat 2 foot LCT within the first ten minutes. Got him on a good old black wolly bugger. Just grinding it out with cast and strip cast and strip. A few other fish were caught this session but i think this guy was the biggest. It was good enough to put me in number one for that heat.
Over all it was a great weekend. Lots of nice fish were caught and it was great to see some old friends and make some new ones too. I ended up placing 5th overall and qualified for the National Championships in Bend later this summer. Big thanks to Doug Ouelette and Mike Sexton for helping so much in putting this event on, The Truckee River Fly Fishers club and also to all the other folks who volunteered and donated their time to making this event a great success.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Cleanest Line

My Mokelumne Video and Story made it onto Patagonia's Cleanest Line Blog. Watch the full video and read the story here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Lowwer Klamath Rafting Video

Here's a short promo video i shot and edited for O.A.R.S. rafting company last summer on the Lower Klamath River. For more info on trips with O.A.R.S. check out

Monday, March 5, 2012

Fly-Fishing Meditations

Dappled light filters in through the branches of an over hanging tree and reflects in golden stars on the rivers water. It takes a second for me to pick out my small fly made of feathers and deer hair on the waters surface. It’s late evening on a mid summers night and the fish are rising aggressively to a hatch of caddis flies. In fly-fishing this is what we refer to as the magic hour or happy hour for the fish. Trout are opportunistic feeders and can be fooled and caught with a good offering at any time of the day, but in many places the last hour of light can be the best time to fish with dry flies. Once the light gets low and the shadows cast on the water, the trout, who spend their life hiding from over head predators like osprey and eagles, loose their inhibitions and began to venture closer to the surface of the water looking for an easy meal. Many of the insects trout feed on are sensitive to the harsh UV of direct sunlight and also become more active at this time. Dancing in perfect unison over the surface of the water in a mesmerizing display of natural harmony and synchronicity.

Rhythm and motion combine as the line from a 5 wt. fly rod unfolds back and forth into the warm air. Little droplets of water aerialize off the line and illuminate in the patches of sunlight. A good timed cast and accurate loop land my small deer hair caddis fly imitation in the perfect spot on a seem of current near the far bank of the river. I mend the fly line upstream to alleviate any drag from the swift current on my leader and fly. Intensity and anticipation as the fly drifts perfectly down with the current like a dying caddis in his last dramatic encore, offering himself to the fish. I may repeat this scenario dozens or even hundreds of times in a good evening of fishing. Interrupted only by the indescribable thrill of having a fish engulf the fly with a splashy rise. It’s a great way to tune into and interact with the natural world and underwater ecosystem.

In today’s world it’s hard to keep my mind in the present. I find myself always thinking forward into the future or brooding over events from the past. Things I need to do or the things I should have done. Fly-Fishing is one of the sports that have an uncanny way of stealing thoughts and returning them to the moment. It’s a present moment meditation as I like to call it. Once I’m out on the water everything else falls away for a while and my mind zeros into fish mode. Every cast, every drift holds my attention until finally I realize it’s dark and I need to try and find my way back to my car or campsite.

This an essay that i wrote for the 2012 O.A.R.S. Adventures Magazine. Check it out at