|Column nr.6 2001|
STRANGERS HONORED, AND BY STRANGERS MOURNED!"
There are footprints left in the sporting world that can never be erased or ignored. Walt Powell and his legacy of innovation and excellence will stand the test of time. His father E.C. Powell was one of the original Bamboo Rod Makers who changed the course of the fly fishing world forever. The Powell family including Press Powell has turned the sleepy little town of Chico into an international Mecca for fly fishers and those who cherish well-made Bamboo. I had the honor of fly-fishing with Mr. Powell on the Fall River in upper Northern California three years ago. (See article "Lord Of The Flies") He was one of the most articulate storytellers one can imagine. The tales of his great outdoor adventures with past American Presidents and movie stars from Bing Crosby to Clint Eastwood are the stuff of legends. I spent several days with Walt listening and asking many questions about the sport and life in general. He was very funny and gracious to me and countless others who stopped by to sit with the master. In my sporting life the time spent with Walt will always be special to me. Whenever I touch my handmade Walt Powell Bamboo fly Rod or smell the old world varnish when the brass cap is uncorked. The sound of his voice or the kindness of his spirit will be with me. "This early morning I half awoke and heard the underwater collective gasp of relief coming from the depths and shallows of all the dark hollows where wild salmon and trout live, no longer in fear of "The Lord Of the flies" who once did seek them here, there and everywhere".
PACIFIC RIM CONFERENCE
This enlightening conference featuring noted experts in their perspective fields, speaking and presenting papers in regard to the serious state of the last wild strains of salmon & steelhead will be precedent setting. I urge anyone interested to contact the Wild salmon project and ask to be placed on the mailing list or access the website at www.wildsalmoncenter.org.
Lucky fly fishers help collect vital data by catching and releasing as many steelhead as possible in the company of scientists. This opportunity is quite unique and vital in regard to saving the last wild habitats of these magnificent fish.
This is an adventure of a lifetime not to be missed! I have room for ten more world-class adventurers who are looking for something very special to nestle in their memory department. This trip into Russia could be the center jewel in your fly fishing crown! I will be doing regular updates on the excellent work done by this group of angler scientists. Please contact me via the phone numbers and E-mail address at the end of this column. (Or my web page see hot-link to "Wild Salmon Center" www.danfallonflyfishing.com).
In October of this year I will be taking several true fly fishing free spirits to Botswana Africa for once in a lifetime angling for exotic African species such as Tiger Fish and Barbel (akin to catfish) Cindy Garrrison featured in this column earlier this year. Has become a worldwide fly-fishing phenomenon! Her Botswana Africa destination is simply sublime and a must for all who seek extraordinary fly-fishing opportunities. Both Russia and Botswana trips are available both this year and next. There are a few last minute spaces open for this season at reduced rates. I urge anyone who feels a quickening when either African or Russian fly- fishing is mentioned to strongly consider these two trips and contact me as soon as possible.
I will be heading back to another outstanding destination on the 18th of August deep in Alaskan wilderness to lake Marie. This is perhaps one of the last King Salmon strongholds in the world.
I wrote two features on my adventures seeking to establish world records for taking kings with light Bamboo and light tippet. These works titled "Monster Kings & Sweet Bamboo" can be found both here on contents page and on my web sight as well. I have room for four more on this trip and urge anyone with the time and inclination to contact me soon as possible. I guarantee unlimited action on this trip for late season Rainbows so thick you wont believe your eyes or your sore arms? (Hurry for this opportunity)
African master fly tiers are setting standards for exactness in detail and execution. I have been using flies made by the Munel Fly tying Company in Nairobi Africa. I love to use flies that are buggy looking and well tied. My own versions of various streamer patterns work well on many species in a wide variety of water conditions. The Munel "Black Ghost yellow and black streamer" is a killer on big rainbows. The hand tied " Hares Ear " and " Blue Dunn" is superb and has caught many surface hitting Brook trout in Yosemite Park. I highly recommend this fly tying company and have tested all of their patterns this season and they work well. If you have yet to master tying those patterns you know catch fish, look no further for quality flies tied carefully. The Munel Fly Tying company can be reached via the hotlink on my website www.danfallonflyfishing.com.
EXTREME FLY FISHING
I have received many E-Mails asking what exactly is my idea of extreme fly fishing opportunities. It is a simple concept to behold and can be easily realized with only the least bit imagination. The last sensational wild strains of salmon and trout are known to exist in often-rugged difficult wilderness usually accessible to hunters or serious outdoor adventures with solid experience in basic survival skills. The skills needed to hunt wild fighting fish in deep back country are first and most important backpacking, canoeing, wading, hiking, cooking, camping, compass or GPS knowledge, basic fly fishing skills, desire for one of a kind personal adventure and challenge.
The idea of getting out of my car and throwing flies at the same fish everybody within a thousand miles has already thrown to leaves me empty. Of course it can be wonderful spending time boating on lakes like Eagle Lake in California stocked with trophy rainbows and full of fish. When my time is running short and I need to be out on the water so be it, these local trout repositories will due just fine. These days my time and energy is spent seeking and traveling to more remote waters where possible world records can be established with light Bamboo and light tippet.
International records for fly-fishing are kept by gauging strength of tippet only. I have been quietly or at times not so quietly attempting to establish records catching and releasing with Bamboo and light tippet. The trip to lake Marie Alaska last year was one attempt described in features one and two of "Monster Kings Sweet Bamboo" (see contents section for these feature columns) I have fished on many lakes and streams this summer and every month since January. The Carson River up Northern California way and the American River down in lower elevations each presenting challenges and fun. The Merced River is finally getting almost too low for most fly fishers. I will look for very early or late dry fly action on this great river in the coming months. The next trip out may be to another private stream near Lake Tahoe where well-heeled bug throwers take their wallets and their dream catchers mitt
The salt water fly fishing is getting better everyday here in Northern California. The striper action is really about to come unglued when they come in close to the Golden Gate Bridge and you can easily catch fish in the ten to twenty pound range. The many public fishing piers around San Francisco make it easy and very inexpensive to fish for large perch some rockfish and striper or salmon runs each year.
SAN FRANCISCO SPORTS FISHING
San Francisco Commercial fishing party boats are almost always ready to go after whatever is running throughout the year. Contacting San Francisco Chamber of Commerce is easy from anywhere in the world. Those who never think of this great city as a sports fishing Mecca are in for a surprise lying just off shore. On the web contact www.sanfrancisco.com. It is hopefully not a secret to all those international sportsmen who read this monthly column, California is a cornucopia of sporting opportunities hunting both fresh and salt-water game species. The offshore action is world class for anglers of all persuasions from fly to metal throwing. Those readers who may be wondering how deep this writer/ monthly fly fishing columnist may be treading in this sport. Im a licensed bonded fly fishing guide throughout the Western United States. I have fellow guide destinations and fishing rights in places all over the world.
The trips mentioned in the above article are all happening right now and next year as well. Botswana Africa, Kamchatka Russia, Lake Marie Alaska, Virgin Islands, Yosemite National Park, Fall River Mills or many other venues are available within my network of guided fly-fishing trips. I teach fly-fishing all year long in two places in California, one near Redding in Shingletown and the other school near Yosemite Park in Mariposa. I teach both beginner and seasoned pro clinics depending on class size. I speak to many clubs and organizations year around on many topics related to fly-fishing. I write this monthly column 9/10 times a year and write for magazines and newspapers. My life has become a fly-fishing mini empire in the last ten years. I love everything about this sport and have never regretted a moment spent on the water or working the waters of my imagination
HOW HEALTHY ARE YOUR WATERS?
The state of the worlds remaining wild fisheries is in serious trouble as anyone who has spent time hunting big fish can attest. The quality of waters that were not long ago near pristine in places like California and even Alaska and South America is highly diminished. If the state of once grand fisheries such as Alaska is in jeopardy then the canary for fish may have to be removed from the coalmine and buried. The degree of global habitat degradation is troubling in light of severely diminished salmon runs in almost all parts of Alaska. The once great abundant wild stocks of fish that have been plundered by nations of vast floating canary type vassals have vacuum cleaned the mighty Pacific Ocean in my life time. I can easily recall being blinded by the stark white foam at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Today that same shoreline is not quite as white as it was in the 1950s. No question the Earths waters are in sad shape and the remaining fish stocks, whale stocks, bird genetic diversity pool need to be saved quickly.
If Alaska and the wildest areas are nearing critical mass in regard to perpetual self sustaining of last fish stock, considered with global warming issues and general global fish stock depletion. Then we have had more then enough wake up calls fellow fly fishers. Take a look around your favorite local within a 100 miles fly-fishing waters. In your mind are they all healthy and self-sustaining with an abundance of natural regenerating food and basic water quality in balance and harmony? Is your back yard clean and healthy and above all, self regenerating? If not, then its up to you to do something about focusing the attention needed to come up with a plan and fix what needs fixing. We fly fishers are lucky because we are mammal canarys standing in waters and more closely aware of the delicate harmony and balance that is ideal.. It is we who see the damage first or experience the rebirth.
In California we have witnessed the rebirth of a legendary wild trout habitat near the Sacramento River. A toxic waste spill killed everything and in just a few years the waters are again full of fat trout. This remarkable ability of Mother Nature to rebuild is what has to give all of us great hope for saving what is left and learning some hard lessons about selfish industrialization versus water quality. In the end, it is my belief water quality is really all that really matters period
Read the article on Walton Powell: Spare the rod, by Devanie Angel
Written by Dan Fallon, Aug 2001 ©
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