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at around 2500 metres near the French/Andorran border is where one of my favorite playgrounds, the Ariège river starts its journey.

up here its just a maze of fishless, tiny, seemingly insignificant rivulets racing downhill but most great things start off small and get greater and greater until they eventually turn into something else. ya gotta start somewhere and I couldn’t think of a nicer place to be born.

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“Let the river take you, wherever that may be… “

sounds cliché but how cool is this ?

Sound recordist and Montana local, ‘Fishman’ Mike Kasic, has an unmatched obsession for the underwater wilderness of the Yellowstone River. In this 10 minute essay film, Mike swims the Yellowstone like a human-fish through swift river canyons, watching trout in fast currents filled with frothing water tornadoes, stopping only to body surf river waves.

Wild vs Stocked Trout- The Purity of the Breed ?

by Peter Lapsley via FlyFishing & FlyTying

sonagnan trout

one of the more interesting articles i’ve read on this oft heated argue/debate: preserving the genetic and ecological integrity of wild indigenous trout species while introducing farmed diploid (fertile) or triploid (infertile) trout to their environment.
in the article we’ll notice that a few taken-as-facts notions aren’t what we might have thought.

even if these studies where performed in the UK let’s not forget that most ‘wild’ brown trout around the world where stocked, brought in from elsewhere, not exclusively, but often from the UK so these findings are probably valid for any trout waters around the globe, and since they’re salmonids we can also suppose that these findings could very well be applicable to all the other salmonids whether they be purely freshwater or seagoing .
ok, i’m no ichthyologist and that last part is just a guess but i’d bet its mostly true. anyhow,

here’s a few random tidbits from this great article i highly recommend reading in its entirety.
“It seems reasonable to suppose that farmed brown trout stocked into rivers will necessarily discomfort those rivers’ wild trout – that they will harass the wild fish, dislodging them from their lies; that they may prey on small wild fish, particularly if they themselves are large; that they may disturb wild trouts’ spawning redds; or worse, that they may mate with wild fish, diluting the genetic integrity of wild trout populations.”

“Intriguingly, the outcomes show the suppositions set out at the beginning of this article to be completely wrong on both upland and lowland rivers, chiefly because wild trout – far more stream-wise than farmed fish – have no difficulty in holding their own.
There was no statistically significant drop in abundance or growth of wild fish when stocking took place. Stocking did not cause the displacement of wild fish. Fish formed a very small part of the diets of both stocked and wild fish, and bullheads, stone loach and minnows were the predominant species found in the stomachs of the few trout that did occasionally take fish. The growth of stocked fish was negligible.”

“The question that must niggle away in the back of one’s mind, of course, is how so distinct a sub-species could have come to be present in waters as far apart as Lough Melvin in Ireland and Lochs Awe and Laggan in Scotland. The answer may lie in the fact the as recently as 15,000 years ago there were no fish at all in British or Irish lakes or rivers, because those waters were buried beneath 13,000ft of ice. All our freshwater fish came in from the sea after the ice cap had receded.”

and that’s just to wet your appetite. click the trout image for the complete article, enjoy !


Sonahgan trout image courtesy of
Paul Vecsei on flickr

Trout Temple

Trout temple 1
a little, surprising and very charming encounter from under the bridge along a local fishing spot. first thought was these might be a burial ground for someone’s pet mice or cockroaches but i wasn’t about to disturb the mounds to find out. there seems to be no end to the marvels we can find waterside just waiting to fill our minds with their beauty; in my eyes these are trout temples…

Trout temple 2Trout temple 3Trout temple 4trout temple 5

Why do rivers curve ?

a lot of us learned this earlier on in our schools days but a little refresher course can’t hurt. apart from the cool factor and one of the explanations why our stream and river systems are so beautiful in their natural irregularity, anglers can use this great little film from MinuteEarth to help figure out fish holding areas, specially useful in times where they can’t be seen.
its all good, enjoy !

Cutthroat Transmitters

via Wyoming Game and Fish Department

it always leaves a strange feeling seeing our little friends get sliced up, have an antenna pushed up their butt and find themselves with one of R2D2’s spare parts placed in their belly… but if its good for the many then i guess its a good thing.
having but the most rudimentary notions of fish biology and studies, i have no idea of the validity or effectiveness of these types of study projects but knowing about the process is quite interesting. enjoy !

its time to take your water thermometer out

here’s why.

personally, apart from sort-of ‘bragging rights’ where i might use my thermometer to show i’ve been fishing in minus 10° temps (as if that was something to brag about…), this is the only serious use of one i can foresee.
i don’t live and generally fish in an area where any kind of bug activity can be predicted by water temperature but ! i definitely always have it with me in the hotter months to know when to stop fishing.
sometimes its best to put the rod away and go for a swim instead or simply pretend to be a hoot owl.

surprise visit

'canalmay' 2 m.fauvet:tlc 24-6-14TLC headquarters is within spitting distance of a canal in the south of France: Le Canal du Midi. as scenic and tourist-drawing as this little waterway may be, and even though its commercial use of shipment barges is long gone, it nevertheless runs through a valley where agriculture borders it from the Atlantic ocean to the Mediterranean sea. in other words, its a gutter for pesticides and whatever else crap that comes from both sides of the surrounding hills. not the kind of place one wants to go for a swim and its pretty rare to see anyone doing this.
aquatic insect life is what you might expect, mostly chironomids (in great quantities !) and a few dragonfly species just to name the more prominent flutterers. however, in the last few years their have been a few visits at night to my desk from small and lovely caddis adults. a little research and explanations from amateur entomologist friends have countered my idea that these lovely bugs could actually live and develop in the thick sticky silt that beds this canal but yesterday’s surprise was a real slap in the face, at least this guy’s “any kind of mayfly must come from a lovely, clean, bubbling, cool temped, stone-bottomed stream” face. i like to be slapped like this and hope it happens frequently.

'canalmay' m.fauvet:tlc 24-6-14

‘Headwaters

by Elizabeth and Charles Schwarz 1966
SchwartzCharlesElizabethPuerto Rico1b

” The upper reaches of streams are a wonderful part of this world. But they are delicate and vulnerable environments, often assaulted unknowingly by human use of the land. The film introduces the “citizens” of this unique world, featuring the smallmouth bass, and shows how these creatures live and die in a small community. “

filmed almost fifty years ago here’s a lovely refreshing treat, specially if your summer heat is as nasty as it is here. primarily focussed on the smallmouth bass, this lovely time-piece is a reminder that each element in a system is just as important as another.

of course, one can wonder why they’d go all through all the effort of showing us what a special and vulnerable environment it is and end it all by showing fishers stringing up these fish for the sake of ‘sport’, but i guess that just like pollution, watershed management, forestry work and all the other elements that are detrimental to waterways, this  film reminds us that a lot of things don’t change.
ok, i had to include that last part because i can’t help it… but ! to not end on a negative note, the viewer can rejoice because even though death in various forms is normal and present throughout the film, there’s a whole lot of fish sex as well. the film is 30 minutes long so, if you can’t watch it now be sure to save it for later. enjoy !

click on the Schwartz’s pick for more info on this most productive nature filming couple.

The World About Us

 

the educated trout -book cover

what a charming, lovely find. much more than just a fly fishing movie, this very rich one hour film divided in four chapters gives us a view of a not-so-far past on southern england chalk streams, their ecosystems, their habitants, flies, gorgeous under and above water film and photos studies of insects and fish and all sorts of other goodies.
i’ll pass on the ‘educated trout’ aspect but greatly applaud their somewhat early adoption of catch and release. give yourself an hour to kick back, forget the  week-end stress and allow yourself to be emerged in these beautiful streams. enjoy !
thanks Alun !

related articles

for the love of water- Sacred Headwaters

via Patagoniavideo

“In northern British Columbia, three of the province’s greatest salmon-bearing rivers are formed in the subalpine basin known as the Sacred Headwaters. The land has one of the largest intact predator-prey systems in North America and is the traditional territory of the In northern British Columbia, three of the province’s greatest salmon-bearing rivers are formed in the subalpine basin known as the Sacred Headwaters. The land has one of the largest intact predator-prey systems in North America and is the traditional territory of the Tahltan First Nation.
The Headwaters is at the centre of a dispute between the Tahltan, resource industries, government and environmental groups. Competing interests concerning land use, mining and hunting have created divides and put the future health of the Sacred Headwaters at risk.”

since it seems we’ll be around for a little longer, maybe it’s a sign telling us we might want to help  preserve what we have left and it’s not just about fishing.
here’s a nice place to start.

Inspect, Clean and Dry

Invasive Species: these kind of hitchhikers suck.

without thinking about it, you pack up and go home after a good day or just to another fishing spot and you’ve brought evil-doers just ready to take over another waterway, spread their disgusting evil invasive speciness all over and who knows, maybe reproduce in the seams of your waders or who knows where.
don’t know about you but i don’t particularly like the idea of evil invasives reproducing in my anywheres, they should be doing this in their own homes, not mine or yours. from the Clean Angling Coalition here’s how to kill these nasty little fuckers…

Tips For Careful Cleaning 

Everyone who fishes needs to be a Clean Angler, one who makes Inspect, Clean & Dry an automatic part of every trip. Many fishermen understand how important this is and are taking these simple actions. The three steps of Inspect, Clean & Dry are self-descriptive. Just from these three words, people understand what they are to do and the actions they produce are what we need. If you want more detailed information about how to clean, The Center for Aquatic Nuisance Species has these suggestions for cleaning fishing gear, boats and trailers. 

Cleaning Fishing Gear 

Waders must be cleaned very carefully!
– Separate all individual components such as insoles, socks, booties, ankle guards, and laces. Then wash everything – inside and out with water.
– Make sure you remove all dirt, plants and other visible substances. Be sure the treads, seams and any creases or crevasses are completely clean. Use a small brush if needed.
– If possible, thoroughly dry everything before you reassemble the waders.

– Other Equipment- Reels, nets, lines, gear bags etc. Thoroughly wash them to remove dirt, plants and other visible substances. Completely dry them, ideally in the sun on a hot day.
– Heat and cold can kill many invasives that might be hitchhiking on your equipment. These treatments can be used to supplement careful inspection and cleaning. However, these methods do not kill all invaders. So realize that they help but are not perfect.
– Heat – Soak in a bucket or tub of the hottest water available. Be aware that many hot water heaters to not produce water hot enough to kill AIS. Available research studies suggest minimum of 140° F is necessary. Remove and dry.
Cold – Store your gear in a freezer to kill many invasives. After overnight freezing remove, thaw and dry. Freezing might be the only good option if you are on a traveling fishing trip with no time to dry between waters. Some motels have freezer space if you ask nicely. Remember, freezing will kill many but not all of the aquatic invasive species (AIS) we are concerned about.

Drying kills most invasives. High temperatures and low humidity are deadly to most AIS. Do everything possible to expose your equipment to hot and dry conditions for as long as possible. It’s best to dry gear in the sun. If possible, after cleaning, allow the gear to air-dry for at least 7 days. Longer is better. Where to Clean is just as important as how you clean. It’s important to clean in the right location. If possible, clean your gear on-site at the end of your trip. If you wash off any invasives at the water you have been fishing on that day, you will just be leaving them where you got them. Don’t let them hitchhike away from the site. If you are not able to clean before you leave the site, make sure to clean in a place where there is no possibility of anything removed getting into another water source. Be aware that runoff from your driveway could lead to surface water and some species are tough enough to survive the journey from your driveway to a nearby water. So, if you are cleaning at home, do it on the lawn and make sure that the wash water is all absorbed into the ground. 

Never clean at the launch point for a new trip. That would be like intentionally introducing a species. Always clean before you visit a river or lake. Most self-serve car washes are good places to clean but make sure that any water goes down the drain in the middle of the floor. 

Chemicals are not recommended! AIS can be a variety of different types of living organisms; plant, animal or microbe and there is no known chemical treatment that is effective at killing all of the potential AIS without being harmful to the environment. There are specific chemicals that are effective for controlling single species but they fail to guard against other species. Therefore, we do not recommend the use of chemicals ever. There are a lot of different recommendations regarding the use of chemicals that have been, and are still being, provided by agencies and others It is common to hear these misinterpreted and passed on to others as advice that is just plain wrong. If you are advised to use chemicals make sure that you understand why and based on what. If the recommendation is from an agency ask what the specific species is that they are trying to fight. Never think that the use of any chemical takes care of your basic Clean Angling responsibilities of Inspect, Clean & Dry. If you’ve been told that bleach, Formula 409, salt, one of the many commercial products or any other chemical rids your gear of all AIS, it is not true.
Pets can spread invasives! If you take your dog fishing remember that it may have been exposed to invasive species. Inspect and clean its paws and carefully wash away any visible mud or foreign matter. At home, give your dog a good bath and combing it to remove any remaining invasives. Be sure to properly dispose of any weed seeds or other material.

Cleaning Boats and Trailers 

These recommendations were developed for powerboats and associated recreation. The principles can be adapted to any type of watercraft, including drift boats, rafts and personal watercraft. • Dispose of unused bait into a dumpster. Do not take bait home or dispose of it by dumping it on the ground. NEVER release unwanted bait into any water body. • Drain ALL water from the boat, especially the live well. Drain all water from the bilge, motor well and any water-holding compartments. Do this before you leave the water. If you wait until you get home to empty water it could spread invasives. • Completely drain all water from the motor cooling system. Failure to do this can result in invasives growing inside the engine block and in the lines carrying cooling water to and from the motor. Thoroughly inspect the boat, trailer and all equipment for mud and plants. Completely remove anything you find. Specifically, check the following areas. • Trailer -trailer frame, rollers & bunks, license plate, lights, wiring, axles, springs, fenders, hangers, pockets & hollow spaces, trailer tires & wheels • Water Craft Exterior – entire hull, trim tabs – including hinges, thru-hull fittings, cavitation plates, anchors, anchor rope, depth sounders, water intakes & outlets, lights, bumpers etc. • Motors – entire exterior housing, propeller and all related parts. • Propulsion systems – lower unit, gimbal area, water intakes & outlets, • Boat Contents – nets, personal flotation devices, rope & equipment lockers, recreational equipment, down riggers & other fishing equipment, etc. • Oars – examine the condition of your oars for any splits or crevasses that may hold invasive species and rinse completely. Maintain the condition of your oars to minimize any splits in the structure. Wash with a pressurized power sprayer using the hottest water possible whenever necessary. • Completely spray the entire exterior of the craft and the trailer. Perform the wash slowly and carefully. Since the water at commercial car washes is not hot enough to kill the organisms it is important to thoroughly spray the entire boat with pressurized water to remove any AIS. Be sure to spray all small nooks and crannies. • No soap, detergent or chemicals are necessary. 

Drying Kills Most Invasives High temperatures and low humidity are deadly to most aquatic invaders. Do everything possible to expose your equipment to hot and dry conditions for as long as possible. It’s best to leave your boat outside in the sun, after opening and exposing all compartments and wet locations. If possible, after inspection and cleaning according to these procedures, allow the boat and trailer to air dry for at least 7 days. Longer is better. 

Weeds are Invaders Too 
When you are out fishing, boating or enjoying the outdoors make sure to do what you can to avoid spreading noxious weeds through your activities. These invaders have significant ecological and economic impacts. They can harm our waters in many ways and every angler needs to act to prevent their spread. 

Here’s what you can do: • Learn to identify the problem weeds you might encounter. It’s easy to learn to identify the problem weeds in most areas and you can find a host of free ID guides wherever you are or are going. • Avoid parking in weed patches. Most weeds spread along roadways, as vehicles can easily transport many types of weeds and seeds. Avoid parking in weedy spots. If you are driving off the pavement, try to identify a course that will avoid any weeds. Avoid walking through weed patches. Many weed seeds will cling to waders, vests or clothing. If you avoid walking through weeds you will reduce the amount of seed that you might be transporting. • Carefully inspect yourself and your equipment at the end of your trip. Weed seeds will cling to most materials so be sure to carefully check everything for weed seeds. Do this before you leave a site and throw the seeds in the trash. • Wash your vehicle undercarriage as soon as possible after leaving a weedy area. If you know you have been in weeds go straight to the car wash without any delay. As soon as you drive out of the weeds you will begin spreading seeds so the sooner you can get to a car wash the better. Make sure to spray the undercarriage of your vehicle with high pressure water to wash off any seeds. Only wash inside the car wash bay and never spray weed seeds outside the car wash bay. • Report any new weed discoveries. The key to stopping the spread of weeds is to quickly respond when they first become established. Learn to look for plants that don’t belong and report any suspicious plants to authorities. When weeds are caught early they can almost always be eradicated. All of these suggestions are intended to help you do a better job of reducing the chances that you are spreading AIS. Everything that the Center for Aquatic Nuisance Species wants people to do is aimed at reducing the risk to our waters. Inspect, Clean & Dry cannot provide complete protection of our rivers and lakes. However, without doubt, following these steps will reduce the risk to our resources. Be a Clean Angler and teach others to be the same.

please pass this article on to your friends, it’s really-really IMPORTANT !
for more info click the logo to reach the Clean Angling Coalition site, thanks.

today’s stream

is a lovely little piece of water in the Pyrénées foothills that flows right behind the fishery. it’s not the fishiest place but has provided some nice surprises in the past.
today’s surprise was a rather brutal thunderstorm that came in less than five minutes. just enough time get head-to-toes wet and  ditch the rod in the bushes until i could fetch it on the way back with the van. it was a nice afternoon.