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Welcome to a “Wild and Wet Winter”


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



KWF to Host Panel Discussion at ICAST/IFTD in Orlando


The Branding of Catch-and-Release

The rise of social media and smartphones has made the days of anglers telling tales and exaggerating the size of their catch all but obsolete.  While this might mean that anglers are now more honest people, what does it mean for fish intended for release? Does it matter what fish photos ‘look’ like? Is it time to reevaluate the traditional hero shot?  What role does the industry play? 

Please join us for a discussion at IFTD on Thursday, July 12 from 1:30 - 2:30

Join panel members Brian O’Keefe, Jako Lucas, Jennifer Lavigne, Mark Harbaugh, Dr. Aaron Adams, Capt. Tony DiGiulian, Dr. Jake Brownscombe, Sascha Clark Danylchuk, Dr. Andy Danylchuk, and Bryan Huskey as we discuss the branding of catch-and-release.

Feel free to pass this invitation along to others attending IFTD/ICAST who may be interested in joining the conversation.



Interviews from Bonefish & Tarpon Trust International Science Symposium 1-3

Keepemwet Fishing Science Liaison  Sascha Clark Danylchuk  talks tarpon tagging with Luke Griffin at the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust 6th International Science Symposium.  Watch the video here.

Keepemwet Fishing Science Liaison Sascha Clark Danylchuk talks tarpon tagging with Luke Griffin at the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust 6th International Science Symposium. Watch the video here.

Dr. Jake Brownscombe discusses BTT’s Permit Tagging Program with Sascha Clark Danylchuk.  Watch the video here.

Dr. Jake Brownscombe discusses BTT’s Permit Tagging Program with Sascha Clark Danylchuk. Watch the video here.

BTT Director of Science & Conservation discuss the Fix Our Water Initiative with Sascha Clark Danylchuk with    Keepemwet Fishing   Watch the video here .

BTT Director of Science & Conservation discuss the Fix Our Water Initiative with Sascha Clark Danylchuk with Keepemwet Fishing Watch the video here.



Ambassador Profile: John McMillan

John was raised along the banks of the Washougal River in Southwest Washington where he spent most of his youth fly fishing for trout, steelhead and salmon.    His favorite fish were the summer steelhead, from the early June rains through the late Indian Summers. All other interests were set aside during this period.  Only steelhead mattered.

His early interest to steelhead carried over to adulthood.  He has lived much of the past twenty years on the west-side of the Olympic Peninsula, and for over a decade he fished an average of 340 days a year.  He spent that time adapting a style of casting and fishing in isolation -- wading deep, casting far, and swimming the fly broadside rather than solely swinging -- to solve the unique challenges of catching large winter steelhead in the brawling rainforest rivers.

He also spent 100's of days snorkeling the rivers, not only to inform his angling but also because he is a fisheries scientist. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals, the vast majority of which has focused on the biology and ecology of steelhead and rainbow trout.  In addition, he has authored two books and several book chapters on steelhead and other topics, and his underwater photography and videography has been broadly published in books, magazines, newspapers, movies and television.  His latest publication is the book May the Rivers Never Sleep, which was a collaboration with his father Bill McMillan and pays homage to the strong conservation influence of Roderick Haig-Brown. 

He now works as the Science Director for Trout Unlimited's Wild Steelhead Initiative after spending the previous five years studying steelhead and salmon recolonization in the Elwha River. Much of his professional scientific study has focused on the biology, behavior and ecology of steelhead and rainbow trout, with a particular interest in the mechanisms influencing why individual fish adopt particular life history strategies -- such as anadromy and residency.

He also focuses on educating citizens about science and believes that every angler owes it to themselves – and the fish – to minimize their impacts by handling fish well.  That is why he is so excited to be an Ambassador for the Keep-em-wet movement.  Not only does the movement include some of the best scientists and advocates, but it also focuses on doing what we can as anglers to ensure that the fish swims away in the best shape possible.  That is something he fully supports the movement by Bryan Huskey and others, because it is up to each generation to do what they can to ensure the next generation has a chance to fish for the incredible wild steelhead.

John McMillan's Instagram page (@rainforest_steel) is perhaps the most fascinating, interesting and inspiring as anything we've ever seen.  View his underwater adventures and captivating narratives here.

John McMillan's Instagram page (@rainforest_steel) is perhaps the most fascinating, interesting and inspiring as anything we've ever seen. View his underwater adventures and captivating narratives here.

Ever thankful for his understanding and lovely wife, Laurel, and his sidekick Gordon Setter, Honey, much of his free time is spent casting Burkheimer spey rods, snorkeling and taking underwater photographs of juvenile and adult steelhead.





Special Edition Keepemwet Artist Series "SILHOUETTES"

As we developed the Keepemwet logo featuring the silhouettes of three fish, we sought iconic shapes that were emblematic of major sport fishing categories. A bass shaped profile for warm water species, the iconic tarpon representing salt water game fish, and a salmonoid shape which could be interpreted as a trout, steelhead or salmon, representing cold water species. Another element of this selection was to feature species that are commonly caught and released- the paramount purpose of the existence of Keepemwet Fishing and reflected by the underwater port-hole.


These of course are just three of many categories, which is why we also have art and designs on hand for many many other popular C&R species such as permit, rooster fish, bonefish and pike. As we look into these generic shapes however, we can imagine individual fish we cherish as part of our passion for fishing, wild species and pristine habitats. We can imagine what those individual fish may look like, which is exactly what I asked a few of our artist friends to do with a special edition artist series featuring the stars of Keepemwet Fishing and our logo.

"Consider this black and white outline part of a coloring book." I said. "Fill these lines with the fish that you see when you close your eyes." The invitation sparked instant responses from our friends Ed Anderson, Josh Udesen and Travis Sylvester. The green flag waved and they each set forth in their own respective styles and mediums.

It's no surprise that Ed Anderson and his organic, up-tempo gestural style finished first. If you've ever seen Ed paint, it's impressive in his speed. He moves in quick reflex motions, almost like he's not really using his eyes, like the brush is guided by his entire arm and body with results that flow together quickly. Paint drips and splashes on the floor. It's really cool to watch!


As Ed explains "It's great to be working with Keepemwet Fishing on this project.  Keeping our fish populations healthy for sport fishing plays an important role in creating all my pieces.  This species is one of my favorites and hopefully this tarpon can help continue the mission."

With that we introduce the first fish in the Keepemwet Artist Series Silhouettes and "Baileys Tarpon".

7.5 inch decals of "Baileys Tarpon" and "Wild Steelehad" are available now, and stay tuned for print availability throughout the entire series.



Ambassador Profile: April Vokey

April Vokey began fishing as a toddler. By the sixth grade, she was saving her allowance for weekend visits to the local tackle shop where she eventually stocked her ‘hand-me-down’ Plano box with every lure and bait she could afford.

After discovering a passion for fly fishing in her teens, April Vokey soon dedicated her entire life to the pursuit, eventually culminating in her founding Fly Gal Ventures in 2007 at age 24.  The company was built on the basis of the promotion of both education and encouragement to those who looked to chase their dreams.  She has since established herself as a respected authority in the sport and has traveled the globe in pursuit of gamefish on a fly rod.
Her writing has appeared in numerous industry leading publications including Fly Fisherman, Fly Rod & Reel, and Fly Fusion magazines. Also a popular TV personality, April has been featured on the Outdoor Channel’s Buccaneers and Bones series, 60 Minutes Sports, The Steve Harvey show, Discovery Channel’s Refined, Discovery’s/OLN’s Close Up Kings, and WFN’s Fly Nation TV.  

Most recently, Vokey proudly wrote and hosted her own exclusive series, ShoreLines with April Vokey, as shown on the World Fishing Network.  The series focuses on fly-fishing’s rich history and the people it consists of.  Feeling limited by airtime, she has since branched out with her podcast, Anchored with April Vokey, a series dedicated to archiving the stories and personalities from some of fly-fishing’s most influential people. The show is one of the only fishing podcasts solely recorded in a face to face environment where April ensures to ask questions apart from the norm.

“I’ve been a fan of the 'fish in water' movement for quite some time now, so I was excited to learn more about Keepemwet Fishing.  I absolutely drilled Bryan about the movement's mission and goals, and was delighted to find that his only motive is helping to promote responsible fish handling.  I think we are constantly learning how to be better stewards of the sport, and I’m proud to be a part of this team of like-minded people."

April is a Patagonia ambassador and co-owner of Epic Fly Rods.

Website.  Instagram.




Week 1 of #keepemwetchallenge is in the books and our winner is @calicarpin who thanks to the good folks at @umpquafeathermerchants will be getting a dozen barbless flies in a wooden Umpqua box.
Each day we saw incredible images of wet tiny fish, and each day it would have been easy to pick a winner. Thanks to all of you who have participated and represented the basic steps we can take so fish we release have the best chance of survival. Cheers to you and stay tuned for Week 2 criteria and prize coming up next!