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Gierach talks Tenkara

Thursday April 17, 2014

One of the most important endorsements for tenkara fishing came from beloved fly-fishing writer John Gierach. The "Trout Bum" author has always been a fan of small streams, and found tenkara a great way to fish them. (He also happens to have a longstanding interest in Japanese culture.)

Gierach has a chapter about tenkara fishing in his new book, "All Fishermen Are Liars," and sat down for an interview with Daniel Galhardo, founder of Tenkara USA. It's worth a watch.

For a complete look at the history of tenkara fishing in the U.S.,  check out About.com's coverage and primers on tenkara rods and lines, tenkara flies and tenkara information resources.

 

The Tenkara Fly-Fishing Revolution

Sunday April 13, 2014

Five years after Tenkara USA introduced japanese-style fixed-line fishing to the United States, thousands -- maybe tens of thousands -- of anglers have learned how fun and effective it can be to fly-fish without a reel.

"Just a rod, a line and fly," was Tenkara USA's slogan, and it struck a chord with anglers intrigued by a minimalist approach to fishing. But tenkara isn't just simple. It's a great way to catch a lot of fish, because the ability of the long rod to hole the light line off the water makes for a great presentation and a direct connection to the fly. (Just ask European and American competition fly-fishers, who use very similar tackle and techniques.)

And while the first American tenkara fishers were mostly experienced fly anglers who recognized its potential, tenkara is user-friendly for newbies.

This week, About.com marks the fifth anniversary of tenkara fishing in the U.S. with an interview with Tenkara USA founder Daniel Galhardo. We also take a look at tenkara rods and lines and the basics of tenkara flies. There's also a resource guide to much more information about tenkara fly-fishing.

 

 

Didymo or no Didymo, Clean Angling's a Must

Wednesday April 9, 2014

It turns out didymo wasn't being "spread" on the soles of anglers' wading shoes after all. It was already present in many streams, and only began blooming in recent years because of environmental changes.

But that doesn't mean we no longer need to worry about dirty wading shoes spreading contaminants. Clean angling advocates say some anglers have taken the new findings on the cause of didymo blooms to mean we're off the hook when it comes to clean angling -- but switching from felt to rubber soles (if possible) and practicing Check, Clean and Dry are still vital to the health of our trout streams.

Felt soles may not "spread" didymo where it's already native, but they can still spread whirling disease, New Zealand mud snails and who knows what else. And didymo can be transported via wading shoes to pleas where it isn't native. Just ask anglers in New Zealand, where introduced didymo has wreaked havoc on blue-ribbon streams.

Check out the details in About.com's exclusive coverage of the reaction to the new didymo findings, and of the new thinking about the causes of "rock snot."

Didymo: Felt Soles Not to Blame

Monday March 31, 2014

When Didymosphenia geminate, very un-affectionately known as "rock snot," began appearing on beloved American trout streams in the mid-2000s, state governments and environmental organizations said it was being "spread" by anglers, in the damp felt soles of their wading boots.

It was a logical conclusion, promoted by a Canadian environmental scientist who studied the first major North American didymo blooms in British Columbia.

But now, that same scientist says further research shows the rash of didymo has not been caused by the spread of a new, bloom-prone variant after all. Didymo was already native to North America; what's different now is that environmental factors are causing it to bloom where it never did before, Max Bothwell writes in the journal Diatom Research.

Check out the full story here.

Spey Fishing: Two Hands Are Better Than One

Monday March 24, 2014

Here's the scenario: you think there's a big fish lurking at midstream in a large river. The forest comes right to the water's edge, leaving no space for you to throw a back cast, and the river's too deep to wade out and make room for one.

If you'e holding a two-handed Spey or switch rod, you're just a few well-practiced arm movements away from a cast that sails out across the water and deploys your fly in the far-off fishy spot.

Originally developed in the U.K. to fish for Atlantic salmon, Spey fishing has become popular in the Pacific Northwest and the Great Lakes for salmon and steelhead trout. Now, it's catching on around the country, as anglers discover how useful and fun Spey fishing can be for regular stream trout, bass and saltwater species.

Unlike regular overhead fly-casting, Spey fishing doesn't use a back cast. Instead, the angler flips his or her line into position on the water in such a way that a simple roll cast -- along with the flinging power of a rod as long as 15 feet -- can launch a very long line, even with a sinking tip and a heavy fly.

The equipment is specialized, and so is the technique. But once you get the hang of it, Spey fishing is a blast. Check out About.com's guide to the basics of Spey fishing, an overview of Spey rods and lines, and a look at the ancient and effective technique most often associated with Spey casting: swinging a wet fly or streamer across the current.

Big Fly, Big Fish

Friday March 14, 2014

Early spring can be a great time to fish streamers. Most aquatic insects are still a few weeks away from being active, so trout aren't in "bug" mode yet. But if a hapless sculpin or minnow (or a fly that looks like one) can be had without too much trouble, it will make a nice breakfast for a trout that's hungry after a long, cold winter without much to eat.

Thing is, streamers are no longer just something you try when there are no bugs around. We're in a golden age of streamer fishing, year-round, with inventive tiers coming up with new patterns every day and anglers anxious to try them down deep, where the big fish lurk.

About.com takes a look at the "big fish eat little fish" school of fly-fishing with an overview of streamer fishing, and with a selection of time-tested patterns. Check it out!

Protecting Wild Steelhead

Wednesday March 12, 2014

Steelhead.jpgStrong, sleek and elusive, the steelhead is among the royalty of American game fish. There's a lot of great steelhead fishing in the Great Lakes region, but the real mecca for these ocean-going rainbow trout is the West Coast, and especially the Pacific Northwest.

State governments have supplemented wild populations of steelhead, salmon and stream trout with hatchery-born fish for decades, to make sure there are enough for anglers to catch. But in recent times, fly-fishers have come to value wild fish above all else. And evidence is mounting that stocked fish can cause genetic and ecological harm to wild fish populations.

So the Washing Department of Fish and Wildlife plan to quit stocking steelhead in two rivers went over well with Trout Unlimited, the trout and salmon conservation group.

"Rebuilding wild steelhead populations requires designating rivers where wild fish are free from the harmful effects of hatcheries and ensuring that those rivers have enough quality habitat to support healthy, naturally reproducing populations," says said Rob Masonis, vice president for TU's Western Conservation Program.

Click here to learn which rivers will be managed for wild fish only (and where the fish that used to be stocked in them will now go.)

 

A Reclusive, World-Class Fly Tier

Friday March 7, 2014

Eric Steel's documentary "Kiss the Water" tells the story of Scottish fly tier Megan Boyd, whose full-dress salmon flies were prized by local guides and UK royals. It's a beautiful film that shows the parent culture of European and American fly-fishing, and sheds light on a gifted but reclusive tier whose flies were both works of art and effective fishing lures.

Click here for the review, and for a special discount for About.com readers to watch "Kiss the Water" online.

Indicators Now Welcome at Some Tournaments

Thursday March 6, 2014

Competitive fly-fishing has been "blowing up," as its fans like to say, for the past few years. Hundreds of anglers, many of them young, take part in dozens of competitions, mostly for bragging rights, in a league that keeps score.

But the founder of the TroutLegend league thinks the European-style competition rules of the tournaments are discouraging anglers who fish in what's become a traditional American way: nymphing with split shot and a strike indicator.

Euro-style rules don't allow split shot or indicators, and tackle has evolved accordingly -- mainly long, light rods and really long leaders. But with the new rules for TroutLegend's local, one-day competitions, your regular 9-foot 5-weight will now be right at home.

It will be interesting to see which method is more successful, tight-line or suspension.

Pebble Mine: 'Significant and Irreversible Harm'

Tuesday March 4, 2014

You don't want to hear words like that from the agency that will decide whether your project lives or dies.

The EPA all but declared the proposed Pebble mega-mine an unacceptable risk to the world-class salmon runs of Bristol Bay in southwest Alaska on Feb. 28. Two years of study and more than a million public comments led the agency to invoke its rarely used authority over dredging and filling, and it doesn't sound like Northern Dynasty Minerals will be allowed to dredge or fill.

It is still technically possible for the company to propose a scaled-back version of the project. But there's never been a hint that anything less than North America's largest open-pit mine will suffice to exploit the gold, copper and molybdenum under the salmon-rich headwaters region of Bristol Bay.

The Pebble Mine has faced staunch opposition from Native Alaskans, commercial and recreational fishing interests, conservationists and even the PR-sensitive jewelry industry. In September, Northern Dynasty's much-larger partner in the project bailed out, and in December, a major shareholder said it was considering divesting. Now, its project faces unequivocal opposition from the Obama administration, too.

Here's the latest on reaction to the EPA's bombshell announcement.

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