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Wild and Wet Winter 12/5

It’s Wednesday’s Wild and Wet Winter … a CalTrout, Keepemwet Fishing and Lost Coast Outfitters initiative celebrating California’s wild winter steelhead.

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High and turbid winter flows, especially during migration and spawning, make it difficult to accurately assess Northern California’s winter steelhead population. The optimistic estimate is less than 20,000 fish, a mere 10% of historic annual levels, ranging from just north of the SF Bay Area to the Oregon border.

With fewer fish and steady, if not increasing, angling pressure, it’s imperative that we learn how to handle fish carefully and minimize our angling impact on wild fish.

Odds are, if you’re a winter steelhead fly fisherman, you’re also a dedicated catch and release angler. Today there is a small but growing body of scientific research into the impact of catch and release angling not only on mortality, but also on post-release impacts on things like spawning and behavior. And, while little research to date has focused specifically on steelhead, we can extrapolate some generalities from research on other salmonids.

So a few things to keep in mind:

Releasing a steelhead and watching it swim away doesn’t necessarily mean the fish is in optimal shape. And, while that fish is likely to survive, our collective impact is not zero. It’s generally accepted in the angling community that bait is the most effective method to catch a steelhead, followed by lures which in turn are more effective than flies. It’s generally accepted in the scientific community that mortality rates for bait caught fish are higher than lure caught, which in turn are higher than fly caught fish.

A summary covering a number of steelhead mortality studies published in 2002

assumes the following mortality rates: bait 10%, lure 3% and fly 1%.

These differences are primarily driven by how frequently a fish is deeply hooked, and make sense when you think about how a fish eats a bag of roe versus takes a fly.

A recent study on British Columbia’s Bulkley River wild steelhead showed a survival rate three days post-capture at 95.5%.

This study also demonstrated that fish held out of the water for ten seconds or more

suffered impaired equilibrium and an immediate downstream movement compared

to fish kept in the water. Learn more about the research here.

If you’re lucky enough to come across a wild winter steelhead this season, please consider keeping your fish in the water, minimize (if not eliminate) air exposure, and handle the fish carefully.

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CalTrout: to learn more about California winter run steelhead

Keepemwet Fishing: to learn more about Keepemwet priniciples

Lost Coast Outfitters: blog on many things fly fishing related

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Welcome to a “Wild and Wet Winter”

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Welcome to a “Wild and Wet Winter” … a CalTrout, Keepemwet Fishing and Lost Coast Outfitters initiative celebrating California’s wild winter steelhead. Our goals are to build awareness of the environmental threats and opportunities impacting sustainable population recovery, as well as, to educate the angling community on the rationale for Keepemwet fish handling practices, and to encourage anglers to follow them.

Each Wednesday through the end of the winter season, we’ll focus on one or more aspects impacting winter run steelhead. You’ll hopefully better understand the winter run life cycle and population distribution, top three threats … (major dams, estuary alteration, and agriculture), and conservation efforts ranging from the Smith to the South Fork Eel.

We’ll help you understand ways in which anglers can minimize their affect on fish. We’ll provide insight into the science supporting Keepemwet practices. You’ll understand the impact of landing time, landing practices (netting versus tailing), and barbed hooks, what happens when you take fish out of the water, how long is too long for a fish to be out of the water (and why), thoughts on ways to hold fish to minimize harm, and lastly how to take pictures that celebrate your catch while keeping fish wet.

Hopefully, we’ll help minimize fish mortality and the negative impact some practices can have on spawning efficacy.

See you next Wednesday and have a Wild and Wet Winter

CalTrout: to learn more about California winter run steelhead

Keepemwet Fishing: to learn more about Keepemwet priniciples

Lost Coast Outfitters: blog on many things fly fishing related

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KWF Builds Momentum at ICAST/IFTD

The Keepemwet Fishing team spent last week at the world’s largest sportfishing trade show, ICAST/IFTD, in Orlando, FL.  The highlight of the show for us was hosting a panel discussion on the branding of catch-and-release.  We were joined by Brian O’Keefe, Jako Lucas, Jennifer Lavigne, Mark Harbaugh, Dr. Aaron Adams, Capt. Tony DiGiulian, and Dr. Jake Brownscombe to talk about fishing, fish science, and the roll of anglers, guides, and the industry in creating sustainable fisheries.  You can watch a recording of the discussion here.

The show was also an opportunity to for us to meet with current partners and establish new connections with likeminded individuals and companies.  While Keepemwet Fishing did not have a booth of our own, some of our partners were kind enough to give us space at their booths.  A huge thanks to Patagonia, Nautilus Reels, Thomas & Thomas, Alphonse Fishing Co, KastKing, Smith, Sight Line Provisions, and Ed Anderson for lending us some real estate.  We also debuted our new principles cards, which we will make available to a wider audience soon.  

 

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Catch Magazine- A MOBILE VIEW featuring KWF Ambassador Team

Our longtime friends at Catch Magazine have consistently produced the highest quality digital publication for many years now. And when it comes to representations of best case handling of fish that are released, they absolutely get it!

It's awesome to have our own feature article "A MOBILE VIEW" which can be found in the  April/May 2018 issue. If you don't already subscribe to Catch Magazine but can't get enough of the greatest fishing adventures on the planet, you're missing out!

Enjoy this excerpt from issue #56 with photo and C&R handling tips from our own Keepemwet Fishing staff and Ambassadors!

Make sure you have enough phone storage before you get on the river. Erase photos you don’t want. I’ve been in the middle of taking photos and received a message saying storage full.  Photo by Marty Sheppard, KWF Ambassador.

Make sure you have enough phone storage before you get on the river. Erase photos you don’t want. I’ve been in the middle of taking photos and received a message saying storage full. 
Photo by Marty Sheppard, KWF Ambassador.

Photo by Dr. Aaron Adams, KWF Science Ambassador.

Photo by Dr. Aaron Adams, KWF Science Ambassador.

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Left - 3. Use the video mode for lens option different than photo mode and the ability to capture more of the experience then simply save the best still frames from the video!    Photo by Sascha Clark Danylchuk, KWF Operations/Science Liaison.    Right - 4. A common misconception about Keepemwet is a perceived opposition or conflict with grip and grin photos. While we work to raise awareness of the impacts surrounding various handling practices, it's a no-brainer to handle fish with care and get great photos too. My better half Ali demonstrates with ease on a cool October day last fall.    Photo by Bryan Huskey

Left - 3. Use the video mode for lens option different than photo mode and the ability to capture more of the experience then simply save the best still frames from the video! 
Photo by Sascha Clark Danylchuk, KWF Operations/Science Liaison. 
Right - 4. A common misconception about Keepemwet is a perceived opposition or conflict with grip and grin photos. While we work to raise awareness of the impacts surrounding various handling practices, it's a no-brainer to handle fish with care and get great photos too. My better half Ali demonstrates with ease on a cool October day last fall. 
Photo by Bryan Huskey

    Captain Rob Kramarz holding a Permit in the Florida Keys. This fish was caught as part of a Bonefish and Tarpon Trust tracking study led by Jake Brownscombe aimed at understand habitat connectivity in the region. The visible dart tag is used for individual identification in case of recapture, while an internally implanted acoustic tag transmits a unique signal that is used for spatial tracking.    Photo by Dr. Jake Brownscombe, KWF Science Ambassador.

 

Captain Rob Kramarz holding a Permit in the Florida Keys. This fish was caught as part of a Bonefish and Tarpon Trust tracking study led by Jake Brownscombe aimed at understand habitat connectivity in the region. The visible dart tag is used for individual identification in case of recapture, while an internally implanted acoustic tag transmits a unique signal that is used for spatial tracking. 
Photo by Dr. Jake Brownscombe, KWF Science Ambassador.

This is the most air he saw, and it was only for a quick second. I tell people to hold the fish completely under the water and just lift it enough so I can see it's eye. Only takes a second or two and I shoot as many photos as I can, rapid fire. One usually turns out crisp.    Photo by Jeff Hickman, KWF Ambassador.

This is the most air he saw, and it was only for a quick second. I tell people to hold the fish completely under the water and just lift it enough so I can see it's eye. Only takes a second or two and I shoot as many photos as I can, rapid fire. One usually turns out crisp. 
Photo by Jeff Hickman, KWF Ambassador.

Photo by Dr. Aaron Adams, KWF Science Ambassador.

Photo by Dr. Aaron Adams, KWF Science Ambassador.

Photo by Marty Sheppard, KWF Ambassador.

Photo by Marty Sheppard, KWF Ambassador.

Left - Nets allow the fish to recover IN THE WATER while you compose shots. Gentle a-okay grip around the wrist of the tail with non camera hand can point and steer the fish angle and direction. Keep the head in the water and use the net to support the fish for various positions at water level.  Photo by Bryan Huskey  Right - Take lots of photos in seconds by holding the button down. Get as many photos as you can fast.   Photo by Marty Sheppard, KWF Ambassador.

Left - Nets allow the fish to recover IN THE WATER while you compose shots. Gentle a-okay grip around the wrist of the tail with non camera hand can point and steer the fish angle and direction. Keep the head in the water and use the net to support the fish for various positions at water level. 
Photo by Bryan Huskey
Right - Take lots of photos in seconds by holding the button down. Get as many photos as you can fast.  
Photo by Marty Sheppard, KWF Ambassador.

Blue Marlin: Two time Stanley Cup Champion, Tofino Resort and Marina owner and Keepemwet supporter, Willie Mitchell releases his first Blue Marlin in Abaco, Bahamas.  Photo by Keepemwet Fishing Ambassador Captain Tony DiGiulian.

Blue Marlin: Two time Stanley Cup Champion, Tofino Resort and Marina owner and Keepemwet supporter, Willie Mitchell releases his first Blue Marlin in Abaco, Bahamas. 
Photo by Keepemwet Fishing Ambassador Captain Tony DiGiulian.

Keepemwet Ambassador Anthony DiGiulian releases a sailfish with IGFA President Nehl Horton. Leaders lead by example, 24/7 and 365 days a year.

Keepemwet Ambassador Anthony DiGiulian releases a sailfish with IGFA President Nehl Horton. Leaders lead by example, 24/7 and 365 days a year.

Known as the "fish who can stop dam construction," "fish of a thousand casts," "cousin of Taimen, our king of the streams Hucho hucho (Danube salmon)"... Take a snap, release it and you will have the lifelong memory of your fish of a lifetime.   Photograph by Uroš Kristan, KWF Ambassador.

Known as the "fish who can stop dam construction," "fish of a thousand casts," "cousin of Taimen, our king of the streams Hucho hucho (Danube salmon)"... Take a snap, release it and you will have the lifelong memory of your fish of a lifetime.
Photograph by Uroš Kristan, KWF Ambassador.

Sometimes you find big things in small details, even if it just sun coming through a dorsal fin of a nice brown trout. Photograph by Uroš Kristan, KWF Ambassador.

Sometimes you find big things in small details, even if it just sun coming through a dorsal fin of a nice brown trout.
Photograph by Uroš Kristan, KWF Ambassador.

Nice example of pure Danubian strain brown trout from the Obrh River... they fight hard to push out the introduced Atlantic strain of brown trout from our rivers.    Photograph by Uroš Kristan, KWF Ambassador.

Nice example of pure Danubian strain brown trout from the Obrh River... they fight hard to push out the introduced Atlantic strain of brown trout from our rivers. 
Photograph by Uroš Kristan, KWF Ambassador.

Not equally loved around the planet, but really important for the fly fishing community here in Slovenia, this trophy grayling "Lady of the Stream", was caught and released in early spring on the Iščica River.    Photograph by Uroš Kristan, KWF Ambassador.

Not equally loved around the planet, but really important for the fly fishing community here in Slovenia, this trophy grayling "Lady of the Stream", was caught and released in early spring on the Iščica River. 
Photograph by Uroš Kristan, KWF Ambassador.

Here's a wild rainbow trout buck from the Idrijca River. They are almost native now, but at the same time totally alien ... future unknown?!    Photograph by Uroš Kristan, KWF Ambassador.

Here's a wild rainbow trout buck from the Idrijca River. They are almost native now, but at the same time totally alien ... future unknown?! 
Photograph by Uroš Kristan, KWF Ambassador.

Here's a baby marble trout from the emerald daughter of mountains, the Soča (Isonzo) River . Please #keepemwet and Catch & Release for generations to come. About the net - This amazing "floating" landing net was a game changer and a clever simple design/innovation from a man who is a total fly fishing enthusiast. His name is Glen Pointon from England, and the name of the  net is  Glen Pointon Living The Dream Catch and Release Net .  Photograph by Uroš Kristan, KWF Ambassador.

Here's a baby marble trout from the emerald daughter of mountains, the Soča (Isonzo) River . Please #keepemwet and Catch & Release for generations to come.
About the net - This amazing "floating" landing net was a game changer and a clever simple design/innovation from a man who is a total fly fishing enthusiast. His name is Glen Pointon from England, and the name of the
net is Glen Pointon Living The Dream Catch and Release Net
Photograph by Uroš Kristan, KWF Ambassador.

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AFFTA Fisheries Fund Awards Grant to Keepemwet Fishing

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Keepemwet Fishing is about releasing fish in the best condition possible.  We believe that recreational anglers are a key component of fish conservation, and that science-based approaches can help create healthier fisheries.  Our education campaign provides anglers with easy to use principles and tips that help create the best outcomes for fish that are caught-and-released.  

“The grants we have received from the AFFTA Fisheries Fund have allowed us to reach a greater audience through our education campaign on the best handling practices for catch-and-release.  We couldn’t have done it without the help of AFFTA.” Sascha Clark Danylchuk, Operations at Keepemwet Fishing.

We thank AFFTA and the Fisheries Fund for another year of support for our work!

 

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Introducing Keepemwet Fishing Endorsed Publications

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We are proud to introduce American Angler Magazine as the first Keepemwet Fishing Endorsed Publication.

Keepemwet Fishing Endorsed Publications pledge to publish images of catch-and-release fish that are in the water or dripping wet. Images and the representations of what catch-and-release angling looks like are foundations of the Keepemwet movement.

"We believe that setting good examples within angling media and social communities is essential for improving the norms of how catch-and-release  fish are photographed and handled." said Bryan Huskey, founder of Keepemwet Fishing. "Absolutely nothing is lost if anglers and photographers simply understand what science is telling us about C&R practices and how minor tweaks and awareness can have major impacts."

American Angler Editor Ben Romans explains "I’m happy to say American Angler is the first fly fishing publication to receive the Keepemwet endorsement. Going forward, I have to be more attuned to every detail of every image I publish, and at the same time, continue making a conscious effort to use images that portray anglers properly handling fish."

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Also embracing this effort and pledging to lead by example are digital and print magazines Swing The Fly and Catch Magazine. Swing the Fly Editor Zack Williams has long upheld stewardship as a pillar of the publication and explains "As anglers in an increasingly crowded world, we all have a responsibility to minimize our own impacts and leave our fisheries in better condition than we found them for future generations. Following the principles of Keepemwet Fishing is an incredibly easy way for us to do just that. It's really a no-brainer."

Catch Magazine and Swing The Fly demonstrate leadership and commitment to angler education as they join the Keepemwet Fishing Endorsed Publication inaugral class.

Catch Magazine and Swing The Fly demonstrate leadership and commitment to angler education as they join the Keepemwet Fishing Endorsed Publication inaugral class.

"Catch Magazine has and always will publish photos and videos that reflect exactly the values Keepemwet believes in, and as a Keepemwet Fishing Endorsed Publication we take serious the responsibility to promote healthy and proper fish handling and fly fishing ethics to our worldwide audience." says Todd Moen, editor and co-founder of Catch Magazine.

As an organization, a movement and community Keepemwet Fishing welcomes and embraces any and all that are willing to take a look at the standards they've considered 'good enough' in the past and challenge themselves to be better. Keepemwet is not divisive, but rather a unifying effort working to engage and bridge angling culture and communities of all stripes. We welcome any and all that wish to start with small simple steps and lead by example.

Keepemwet Fishing believes that the path forward to effective conservation for recreational fisheries is through promoting a culture of education and embracing science-based evidence. We thank the publications, organizations, partners and individual anglers around the globe who are joining us in this effort.

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