Tag Archives: Pikeminnow

Hopefully it tastes like Chicken

I suppose it’s a study on trade imbalances and deficits, but California may lead the nation in Sushi consumption –  yet is dead last in angler participation.

According to the U.S. Census, 10% of California’s population fished in 2001, tied for the 46th place in participation. Ten years later, California’s fishing participation rate plummeted to just 6% and ranks dead last in the nationCalifornia Sportfishing League

The California Sportfishing League points to the high cost of fishing licenses coupled with our license’s validity being based on the calendar year versus 12 months from the date of purchase like other states.


But I’m not so sure.

My casual contact with non-sportsmen suggest blood sports are on the way out. The evening news points to every gun owner shooting up his workplace, and fishermen killing what they can, and the uninitiated lack balance and counterpoint to this steady barrage of mis-information.

Television and the Internet don’t seem to be aiding us much. Most of the angling available to general broadcast channels feature commercial tuna and Alaskan King Crab boats – and everything coming aboard is stuffed below decks immediately.

Angling organizations and clubs have lamented for at least a decade on our inability to appeal to youth, and us longtime practitioners dwindle as age and frailty catches up with us.

Waters are polluted and wild fish don’t come snuggled in antiseptic Saran Wrap, and despite doctors urging us to consume anything with fins, non-anglers are wary and unlikely to replace a hamburger and fries with farm-raised Tilapia.

Now that we’re fixated on Invasive species and fish farming, from the public’s perspective it may reinforce the notion that GMO, tanker bilges, and salmon lice merely prove we’re as inept at breeding as we are at long term conservation.

Fly fishing hasn’t helped with our dogged insistence that the buy-in of gear, outer wear, and titanium vest fodder requires us to dump $5000 before we can learn to cast.

… and don’t forget the “end game” for all that capital investment is a 10” trout that was fed dog kibble prior to being shat into the creek for your pleasure. Five Grand for a wriggling fish you’d as soon toe into the underbrush in not a compelling proposition.

Add into this mix a half dozen agribusiness-friendly Governors and their attendant legislatures, a Fish and Wildlife organization reeling from declining anglers and dwindling license revenue, and the systematic extinction of every species worth catching. Add four years of drought, the high cost of lodging and gasoline, and a 50% reduction in home prices, and you’ve a better reason why the recent economic swoon has rid us of 40% of our numbers.

Since 1980, when annual licenses were sold for as little as $5.00, California’s annual fishing license sales have dropped by more than 55% (1980: 2.26 million; 2014: 990k), while our state’s population has increased by nearly 60%. In 2014, 40,000 fewer annual fishing licenses were sold compared to 2013.

If the 35-year trend remains constant, annual fishing license sales could fall below 500,000 by 2027, or another 49% over the next 12 years. Should this occur, between 1980 and 2027, annual license sales will have dropped 78%. This downward trend could accelerate if fees are increased substantially, or new regulations are imposed that increase costs or barriers to fishing.

The 2014  population of California was 38 million, which is a net increase of about 50% over the self same period wherein we lost or disenfranchised 40% of our fellow anglers. That is damning evidence that the high cost of licenses is only part of something much worse.

By 2027 I’ll be telling fish stories instead of fishing, so my being inconsequential will sting less then folks recently introduced to the sport. Our lack of voting clout will mean dark days for our conservation ideals and organizations.

Figure 1-2 percent of anglers are fly fishermen, and if the overall numbers drop to 500,000 as above – that suggests we’ll be in rarified company …

… and fishing for Pikeminnow.

Weather and temperature conspire, but at least I remembered the rain parka

Nothing like a three day weekend to come face to face with wanderlust. One day to do something responsible, one day devoted to NFL debauchery, and the last to piss away adventuring.

That’s my new “politically correct” term for walking around with a flyrod hoping that something other than exercise is on the menu.

A break in the weather afforded me the opportunity to check on Sacramento steelhead fishing; from the bridge I’d assumed a cluster of fellows waving flyrod’s meant something with fins was on the menu, none were in evidence, it was a spey casting clinic put on by a local shop.

I was afforded the rare luxury of watching unfortunates arse deep in too-cold water flinging stuff at even colder water, now I know what I look like to the casual dog walker.

The blue sky ran for cover, taking me with it

That’s the reoccurring theme in all my fishing of late, weather and temperature conspires to keep me fishless, with only the burn in calories to show for all the legwork.

The Little Stinking always offers a good hike, in expected fashion the weather held until I was 3 miles above the vehicle, then the rain started. I hadn’t seen a fish during the entire journey and had the foresight to take the rain parka so I meandered back to the car without mishap.

That’s my Pikeminnow, dammit

I had to examine the film I shot with the same care as the “Zapruder” footage, but I had seen a fish without knowing it. The Merganser armada was fighting over one of my treasured Pikeminnow, I couldn’t hold a grudge as they burn far more calories keeping ahead of me than I do keeping up with them.

At least somebody caught something.

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Singlebarbed as Charismatic, our Grape Koolaid is made from Creek water

Kelvin occupied with a local residentIt’s over now, another Singlebarbed reader has got the “pooty” on him, and while the Brownline stain may come off his waders with a little soap, his soul is another story.

This is Kelvin, Singlebarbed reader, former Blueliner and aficionado of the pristine reaches of Lassen National Forest, now eschewing his old haunts in favor of a little Pikeminnow love.

I’m feeling a little bit like the Pied Piper and a lot like Jim Jones, somewhere in all of this is a good fringe religion, a Rolls Royce, and a tureen of Grape Koolaid.

Kelvin thinks I’ve been stretching the truth a bit on the crap water angle, as he saw the Little Stinking as something far prettier and cleaner than I had described.

The horse stables hadn’t pumped muck into the creek for a couple of weeks now, and the water was in good shape. The wind was a bit blustery, the dry fly fishing suffered accordingly, and after the rain clouds blew through the fishing started to perk up.

The Fly Fisherman Cover shot

The Carp are still missing in action, and the smallmouth were largely absent, plenty of large Pikeminnow prowling about – they were fixated on the spinners in the water, almost to the exclusion of all else.

Pikeminnow exhibit a strange behavior that I haven’t quite figured out; a half roll while swimming that seems completely out of place. I figured it was the steady diet of toxic waste – kind of like a nervous tic, only the aquatic kind. You’ll see the silvery flash of the flank of the fish as they rotate 90 degrees while swimming.

Initially I thought it was a feeding pattern, but after watching this all morning, I’m not so sure. If I start doing the same maneuver while walking then I’ll know it’s the water…

We covered a couple miles of creek and managed to seduce the occasional fish. The fishing was not spectacular, my guess is the storm that had hit the area the evening before was the culprit.

 Say Hello to my Not So Little Friends

Nothing beats a visible quarry, this is a pod of good sized Pikeminnow that we teased for a bit. The occasional bass added to the parade of fish, most kelvin-hat.jpgwere in the 16-18″ range. These fish are in 4 foot of water and would flee as soon as the fly impacted the surface. Kelvin and I wore them out as they ran from my fly – straight into his – and vice versa. If you can’t catch them, might as well drive them nuts…

Every pilot has to earn his wings, for being a good sport Kelvin was awarded the SingleBarbed “Finger” hat, for some it may be a transition into manhood, mostly it’s for entertainment purposes. Any guy wearing this chapeau, you can point at – then flip off, he got the Brownline on him.