|Column nr.2 2002|
| SALMON RESTABLISH
Its not often outdoor writers find their sitting on a great story in their own backyard! In fabled Marin County California magnificent shopping malls and million dollar homes are cradled on misty mountaintops. This is an idyllic place to live with a vibrant eclectic population. A salmon miracle has transpired within the sweet waters of the area known as San Geronimo Valley. As unlikely as it sounds to natives and state biologists, Lagunitas and San Geronimo Creeks are breaking records for eggs deposited and returning fish. " Its the absolutely best weve seen," says Gregory Andrew Fishery Biologist for the Marin Municipal Water District. Both Chinook and chum Salmon are showing up in record numbers!
Local Marin residents, that include Robert Redford, Andre Aggasi, George Lucas, Cindy Garrison, Sean Penn, are doing headstands over this little miracle of Mother Nature regenerating an area once neglected. This fish tale really began in the 1980s when the respected conservation group Trout Unlimited began to assess and organize efforts to clean up the waters. Local groups and school kids jumped on the bandwagon, in time ancient spawning rituals began to occur to the delight of biologists. Of course the one dominant aspect of this success story is the fact it happened in a highly populated community. By George it can be done, we can change the tide of river, stream neglect and clean up our local watersheds. I have been a long time advocate for local proactive water management and conservation practices. This recovery story warms this fly fishers heart and makes me believe almost anything is possible with focused community organization. Three cheers for my hometown of Marin California, Im proud to be a citizen and tickled pink to tell the fly-fishing world not to give up. Special thanks to San Francisco Chronicle Newspaperman Peter Fimrite for writing the original story this information was taken from. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
ADOPT A RIVER OR STREAM
Fellow fly fishers and concerned citizens of the world can take a page from this wonderful recovery story. Why not take a long hard look at your own local rivers and streams. If you find room for improvement and wonder how to go about restoring local waters? Why not enlist local schools into adopting a needy stream or river and turning it into a community or class project? If anyone anywhere wants more precise details on how to evaluate and begin cleaning and rebuilding delicate water eco systems? Please contact me at this column and I will do whatever is needed to help you get started, Why not begin the ball rolling and make a significant concerted effort and get the local schools, groups, clubs, churches involved, Why not take the first steps before its too late
My earliest memories of wild fishy adventures while under ten years of age happened in the tiny town of Colma California. This quiet hamlet known throughout the San Francisco Bay Area as the cemetery capital, because of the many all faith cemeteries that dot the landscape. Was one of my first adventure filled training grounds for countless outdoor escapades. Near the fabled El Camino Real highway a large acreage manmade lake was home to Carp that often tipped the scale at 30 pounds or more. It was too irresistible in the minds of my 9-year-old associates and I. We would carefully sneak down along the shaded water edge and rip off long tree branches, tie on line taken from our fathers salt-water reels, fasten safety pin hooks from Moms sewing basket. Then we loaded the makeshift hooks with wet balls of bread and threw this crazy rig as far as we could. Bam, those big old fat Carp would gobble and fight like hell. We were in heaven and felt like real angling adventurers!
DIE IS CAST
On one memorable fishing safari down to the pond all hell broke loose and a local legend was born. My boys and I had had all hooked up to carp at one time and the three of us were busy running around and making way too much noise. When here comes a somber funeral procession with a long line of cars and sobbing mourners. We of course would not let the fighting carp loose and continued running up and down the bank grasping broken tree limbs. One of the funeral directors, a dour looking chap of middle age and no sense of humor ran after us screaming! " What in gods name are you little morons doing? " I remember thinking we are in big trouble when my Dad hears this one! Then two young guys jumped out of one of the limos and ran over to the funeral guy and grabbed his arm and said " Our father was an avid outdoorsmen and fishermen, you leave those little boys alone, he would have loved this scene. " If they had only known that this day and other early wacky outdoor fishing expeditions would cement forever my desire to chase fish & game all over this little blue marble we live on
THIS AINT NO FISHING RESORT SON!
At 53 my recollections of the madness that was my everyday lot in life in Vietnam circa 1965-66 are starting to fade. I was one of the youngest Marines to serve during that period and found myself not wanting for adventure of any kind! I was stationed at the brand new Danang Air Base that was still under construction. One of my many jobs was standing outer perimeter guard at night in four-hour watches. We also did patrols around the outer perimeter. During daylight hours some of the time was my own and exploring the countryside became priority one. The famed China Beach or Red Beach was a military recreation area, so the boys and I decided to rig some salt-water gear and see what happened? After spending a few hours finding the right combo of gear and bait, a few exotic looking sea creatures were landed gutted and eaten. We had no idea what the fish were called or if they were even edible! It didnt matter, we were fishing and that was all that mattered. It was during one of these semi successful excursions, I got the bright idea to get abit bolder and see if I could finagle my way onto the local rivers and catch a few fish.
A river ran near town that had been a main supply corridor for Vietcong for many years. It was not always a hot danger zone and I knew several Navy Patrol Boat guys who made excursions up and down the river searching any boats in the area. One morning I bribed a Navy guy to take me up river a few miles and drop me off with my makeshift gear (No flies). We found a semi-secluded riverbank with many overhangs where I could hide and throw across the current. It all sounded fine to my 17 year old brain or rather what brain actually existed between my ears. Man, I thought I was really getting away with murder sneaking around that river bank and throwing line out into that murky water. Time passed with no luck and I almost forgot where and how ridiculous this activity was. Then as if in a bad dream while daydreaming about being back home. A young Marine Officer sneaked up on me and screamed in my ear, " What the Fk do you think your doing Marine? Hell, thank god we still have a few youngsters crazy enough to not let this war stop their life completely! " He then walked away and never looked back at the 17 year old holding the makeshift rod & reel, Cheshire cat grin ear to ear
SUPER STAR UPDATE
My good friend and now partner Cindy Garrison has become one of the fastest rising international fly-fishing guide super stars! In the last year I have had the honor to write and publish four major feature articles on Cindys African fly-fishing exploits. Two features on the World Wide Web and two stories in both magazine and newspaper formats. The highly acclaimed fly magazine " The Edge Big Game Fishing Journal " published a story titled " Eye Of The Tiger " and in Cindys hometown of Marin County California local paper Marin Independent Journal published cover feature story titled " Marin Guide Tames Africa " It has been a non stop round of trying to keep up with all the demands being made on her time and energy. Im most proud to announce that Cindy and I have formed a partnership with the aim of writing and producing a television fly fishing show titled " Cindy & Dans World of Fly Fishing ". We have decided to combine forces and break the mold in regard to televised fly-fishing shows filmed in exotic locations, with an eye toward the more extreme and dangerous! Im excited to join with Cindy in taking this sport into remote areas never filmed and bringing the sports viewing public a visual visceral experience not to be forgotten! Stay tuned for more updates on this ground breaking outdoor series that will redefine those tired good old boy fishing shows we have all grown bored with
LATEST NEWS ON LONG LOST WOODPECKER
In my last column update a story was related in regard to the possible sighting of specie of Louisiana Woodpecker called the " Ivory Billed ". This black and white bird with a 30-inch wingspan was perhaps the largest woodpecker in North America. In the spring of 1999 David Kulivan, a student at Louisiana State University thought he had spotted one of these rare birds not seen in many years. A team has spent 30 days armed with high tech scientific listening devices trying to catch a glimpse of this now mythical bird. The short story is the team sighted no actual birds. One small ray of hope exists because these dedicated scientists did manage to record what might be the birds distinct double RAP-RAP sounds.
Long ago when this giant woodpecker was prevalent. Fly tiers and bird watchers coveted its unique striking black and white coloration. Those of us fly fishers who cant help but pay attention to all the wonderful bird life we come across are excited, that perhaps many other thought extinct birds and mammals may have survived the gauntlet man has consistently erected in their paths! Hail to the "Ivory Billed Woodpecker" we prey you may still exist somewhere out there
LOOMING EXTREAM FLY EXPEDITIONS
Those regular readers of this monthly column now in its 4th year are aware of my inclination toward seeking out true rare fly-fishing adventure. This year several opportunities exist for serious fly fishers to join me in seeking to carve a new notch or two. If your interested in my Botswana Africa trip, Kamchatka Russia, Lake Marie Alaska, USA guided adventures. Now is the time to get in touch and lets get a little crazy about this quiet sport we all love. As of this month many openings are still available for these trips and I welcome fly fishers of all ages and skill levels to either e-mail me via this monthly column or call (415)-332-3803 Sausalito California for more details and possible dates. Why not join a once in a lifetime expedition and forget about chasing those poor overfed hatchery-raised zombies your always bragging about!
EXOTIC WOOD HANDLED CUSTOM FLY ROD
The special limited edition numbered fly rods designed by famed rod maker Ira Stutsmen and my self have been almost sold out. The 100-rod offering is now winding down to last few in the series. This one of a kind custom traveler with leather carrying case is a fully functional heirloom quality rod that will warm the hearts of generations of fly fishers. The rod can be seen by clicking onto the hot link on my web site at www.danfallonflyfishing.com. Ira will tailor make the rod to your exact needs in regard to weight or length. One cannot attain a fly rod like this beauty anywhere and it is an attention getter to say the least. Exotic wooden handled adorned with Nickel Silver and the look of fine Bamboo sets it apart quite nicely.
Until next month and the possible whispering sounds of spring beckoning outdoorsmen to once again slip into natures waking dream. Think about taking a hard look at your local waters and perhaps getting together with like-minded souls and restoring that neglected stream or river. Maybe you can actually make a difference that will help future generations taste the wildness and feel the heart-quickening thrill of catching and gently releasing wild fish
Written by Dan Fallon, Febr. 2002 ©
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