Short Casts

Short Casts

We're pleased to announce that Kirk Hall of Evanston, Wyoming, is the winner of the 2007 Fly-Fishing Film Festival

FR amp R Fly Fishing Film Tour

Prize Winner

We're pleased to announce that Kirk Hall of Evanston, Wyoming, is the winner of the 2007 Fly-Fishing Film Festival FR&R Kudo Award Prize Package. Kirk drove 100 miles from his home in western Wyoming to catch the Salt Lake City stop of the film tour. "It was a bit of a drive but worth it, and definitely now," Kirk told us.

The prize package features gear that earned a 2007 Kudo Award: Sage's SLT rod, Redington's CPS rod, Scientific Anglers' Mastery Series flylines, Ross's Evolution reel and, courtesy of W.L. Gore& Associates, a pair of Simms L2 waders and a Cloudveil 8X wading jacket.

And if this news wasn't good enough, we just happened to give Kirk the news on his birthday!

Who are the marketing geniuses that came up with this one

The scene: Father and daughter are fishing at the pond. The daughter looks at the sweet, innocent, cuddly minnows swimming in their bait bucket and feels sorry about their eventual fate. She asks her dad if she can set them free. Touched by his daughter's overwhelming cuteness he crumbles, and they dump the bucket into the lake and the minnows swim away-freedom!

How sweet! Feel good TV! Yea!

Um, no.

Releasing live baitfish is bad news, something the Madison Avenue guys would have known if they'd read Ted Williams' column on the subject in FR&R [July/October] before filming this commercial for PBS. Fortunately, Jana West did read the article, and after she saw the commercial, she took action: She called PBS but with no result. She then contacted Ted. Ted eventually got in touch with the program's marketing director, educated her on the ill effects of releasing live baitfish and ultimately got the ad pulled from the air.

Nice work all around.

Joan Wulff inducted into IGFA Hall of Fame


As if she needed anyone to tell her that she's good, the International Game Fish Association has inducted fly-fishing legend and FR&R editor-at-large Joan Wulff into its hall of fame. The IGFA bestowed this honor on Joan in recognition of her years as a competitive fly caster and her educational efforts at the Wulff School of Fly Fishing. Congratulations, Joan!

Can You ID this Reel?


Check out Bob White's illustration on pages 30 and 32 and look at the reel. Bob modeled it on his very first fly reel, a reel he "borrowed" from his father, and which currently reposes in a place of honor in Bob's studio. Do you know the make and model of this reel? If so, visit flyrodreel.com and send in your guess. The first two people to correctly identify the make and model will receive one of the original Bob White watercolors painted by Bob for this article.

Cast from Past

That is one thing wrong with tailwaters-the crowd they attract. It's like a year-round salmonfly hatch instead of a mere week's worth of too many people. It's a bunch of big-fish fishermen and big-fish guides. People who like to brag, in other words.
-M.R. Montgomery discussing tailwaters in May/June 1997

The International Fly Tying Symposium

Sponsored by Fly Rod& Reel
Once again, fly tiers from around the world will descend on Somerset, New Jersey, to trade tying tips and techniques at the 2007 International Fly Tying Symposium on November 17-18.
Fly tiers such as A.K. Best, Gary Borger, Charlie Meck and many others will be on hand offering seminars and answering fly-tying questions. In addition to the professional tiers, dozens of manufacturers and vendors will be showing and selling new materials and tying tools, which means this is your chance to stock up on materials for the winter's tying.
For more information visit www.flytyingsymposium.com, or call 814-926-2676.

DIDYMO

DIDYMO

What we know about didymo
Since we last reported on didymo, the invasive alga has been found in Vermont's Batten Kill and Connecticut rivers. Given the itinerant nature of New England anglers and didymo's propensity to spread, it seems only a matter of time before didymo is found in other nearby river systems. This is not good news by any measure, but what it means for our fisheries, and just how bad things could get, is far from certain-because, unfortunately, we don't know all that much about didymo.

Here's what we do know: Didymo is considered native to North America (which means its presence in New England is not that anomalous). However, its distribution and the number of river-choking nuisance blooms across the country have increased dramatically over the past 20 years. The big question that scientists are trying to answer is why the nuisance blooms are occurring so frequently.

Unfortunately, finding the answer will likely take some time due to the fact that there are currently no projects dedicated to studying didymo in the US. Funding for research projects-in the form of federal and state grants-has not materialized because there has been little outcry from interest groups such as anglers and boaters. That is, until didymo is spotted in their favorite river. In fact, the leading didymo expert in the US, Sarah Spaulding, a Denver-based ecologist with the US Geological Survey, says she works on didymo in between her funded projects. In contrast, she says, New Zealand's response to the discovery of didymo on the Lower Waiau River in 2004 was immediate and effective. "There was a crisis, then they figured out what they needed to do, and two years later there is a plan on how to address the problem," she says. The New Zealand plan includes the inspection of angling gear at customs, signs at river access points with information about didymo, and certain regions, such as the Fiordland National Park, have banned felt-sole wading boots.

It is not entirely clear what effect didymo has on trout populations, but some studies indicate that when the didymo blooms occur the numbers of large aquatic insects (e.g. stoneflies and mayflies) decrease, while the number of midge larvae in the stream increases. Ultimately, a change in a stream's insect community has to have some effect on trout but, at this point, how much and in what way is unknown.

Most mysterious, however, is the steady increase of nuisance blooms over the past 20 years. From her research, Spaulding offers three possibilities: 1) We're changing the environment in some way that makes conditions perfect for didymo to bloom, such as building dams and diverting water from streams (nuisance blooms usually occur during droughts); 2) anglers are spreading didymo on their felt-bottomed wading boots to rivers it would normally not inhabit; or, 3) didymo has mutated into a much more aggressive form. Of course, to find the answer to these questions, Spaulding says, "We need to have more formal studies."

Whatever the cause may be, there doesn't seem to be a magic bullet to control didymo. A number of experiments have been conducted using various chemicals in New Zealand, but Spaulding doesn't expect it is possible to remove a microorganism from streams and rivers. "You can't eradicate it," she says. "Until we know more about didymo in the US, it's not responsible to say 'let's go treat the water' because we don't know why the blooms are happening."

While the scientists continue to learn more about didymo, anglers can take some measures on their own to prevent further spreads. The Federation of Fly Fishers has launched the Clean Angler program to teach anglers how to stop the spread of didymo and other invasive species. The message is simple: "Inspect, Clean, and Dry" your gear after fishing, something we all should be doing.

STOP DIDYMO

The following guidelines were created jointly by the EPA and the Federation of Fly Fishers to stop the spread of didymo and other invasive species and incorporate the latest science. It should be noted that Biosecurity NZ has a stricter decontamination standard that requires anglers to immerse wading boots in no less than 113 F degree water for 40 minutes, or place wading boots in the freezer until frozen solid. Authorities from both countries discourage the use of felt-sole boots.



INSPECT:

Before leaving a river, look for clumps of algae and sediment, and remove them.
CLEAN:
Soak all gear for at least one minute in a 2 percent (by volume) solution of household bleach, or a 5 percent (by volume) solution of dishwashing detergent or salt. All surfaces must be in contact with the cleaning solution for a full minute. Water-absorbent equipment (lifejackets, waders) should be soaked thoroughly to ensure complete contact.
DRY:
If cleaning is not practical, after the item is dry to the touch, leave it to dry for at least another 48 hours before using in another freshwater system.
-Federation of Fly Fishers