May 13

I’m not going to Alaska… at least not now.

I read the Fishing Poet’s recent submission for the 2013 Blogger Tour, and it got me thinking. I thought I’d go a different rout.

Dear Alaska,

You sound really, really awesome. However, you and I aren’t going to meet any time soon. Let me just say, I am sure you are worth it. I’m sure you are spectacular. First off, you are just so massive. There is so much wild and green and mountain and rock, river, lake in you. I love all those things and I’m positive I would be lost in your vastness. I know as big as you are you face some real challenges. You are beset by resource extraction industries that risk extracting the very heart out of Alaska, before moving on to rape and pillage some other place, or, given your size, moving on to destroy some other adjacent bit of Alaska.

Don't do it.

Don’t do it.

Industries which employ the unemployed and also line the pockets of the powerful are difficult forces to combat. The mantra of “progress” is repeated loud and clear in every statehouse around the country and if you can’t get behind “progress” you get branded a hippie, a lefty or a loon (and maybe all three at once).

The truth is, Alaska, I had no idea there was even a place called the Tongass 77 or the Last Salmon Forest. There are probably a hundred other places I haven’t heard of either. You have so much wilderness there it must be impossible to get to know it all.

I’m not ready to try.

My mind is still focused on the flats. The flats are equally wild, just warmer with slightly fewer mosquitoes and an unsurprising lack of moose. You have trout, the flats have bonefish. You have halibut, the flats have tarpon. You have Grizzly Bears and wolves, the flats have Lemon Sharks and barracuda. You have osprey and eagles and the flats have… osprey. You have months of frost-biting cold, the Caribbean has months of sunshine and pleasant temps with a few months where you risk getting blown away by 100 mph winds.

The flats aren’t threatened by people who want to rip their souls out, but more by those who want to smother them with affection. It is over development or agricultural runoff or the odd cruise ship port deepening that really threatens my flats. It’s a different kind of threat, but the flats are still threatened.

Subdivided, but not sold... not yet.

Subdivided, but not sold… not yet.

It is conceivable that Into the Wild could have taken place in Andros or the Marls of Abaco, although it would be harder to hitch hike to the Islands and white kids running away from things tend to stand out.

In both places there are whole swaths of nature without people. The Alaskan hinterland doesn’t have to deal with all the ocean transported plastic, but the Bahamas doesn’t really have to deal with oil pipelines. Funny that both items are really the same stuff, just in different states of delivery.

Global warming is something impacting both the Alaskan wilds and the reefs and flats of the Caribbean. The polar bears may run out of ice and the corals may be bleached by high ph and warmer temps. So no one wins there.

I’ve been up near Alaska in the middle of BC. It was spectacular. I saw several grizzlies beside the big, broad Babine River. I saw the thick virgin forests and enjoyed both the technological solitude and the company of my fellow anglers. I skated dry flies to feisty steelhead and swung freight trains and felt the tug and heard the reel scream and admired the silver flanks of the hens and the blushing cheeks of the bucks. I know I would love you, Alaska, but I have another mistress at the moment and I can only handle one at a time. I’m not French.

There's my biggest steelhead.

There’s my biggest steelhead.

So, for now, I’m going to think about bonefish and tarpon (I’m not even spiritually ready to think about permit), and I’ll put off our meeting until this has run it’s course.

Until then,



This is kind of, but not really, my submission to the Trout Unlimited 2013 Blogger Tour, sponsored by FishpondTenkara USA and RIO, and hosted by the Outdoor Blogger Network.

Sep 10

Silvers of a different latitude

I have yet to fish Alaska.  I’ve fished up in BC a couple times and loved it.  My dad is a bit confused why I’d rather fish in Andros than the Dean, but I keep telling him that I really, really like flipflops and palm trees.

Still, anglers who pursue Gray Ghosts on the flats of Belize are often the same folks that chase Silver Salmon and monster bows in the wilds of Alaska. A buddy of mine sent along an action alert and I wanted to put it out here for all those world-traveling anglers.

Pebble Mine is a horrible, horrible idea, of course.  You can have a say in how things go down… this is how, courtesy of NRDC.

The Obama Administration is inviting input from across America on how to protect our nation’s most cherished wildlands and other outdoor spaces.

Please take a few minutes right now and tell administration officials — in your own words — why they should save Bristol Bay. The deadline for submitting your message is September 30.

I know this action involves more than the usual click of a mouse, but I’m sure you’ll agree it’s time well spent for the sake of stopping the Pebble Mine. A thoughtful and personal message from someone like you can make a big difference!

Here’s how to do it:

Visit the America’s Great Outdoors website and register to participate.

Then, explore the Ideas page:

  • Post your own idea.
  • Vote to “promote” ideas that call for protecting Bristol Bay.
  • Join conversations on ideas that matter to you.
  • Share with your friends and encourage them to vote.

Or email your personal message directly to ago@ios.doi.gov

Please keep these talking points in mind as you write:

  • Pebble Mine threatens Bristol Bay’s clean waters, wild salmon, wildlife and traditional subsistence ways of life.
  • Public lands in the Bristol Bay watershed should be closed to large-scale metallic sulfide mining. Protecting habitat, subsistence and recreation resources should be the top priority.
  • The federal government should provide strong oversight of the Pebble Mine permitting process and analysis of cumulative impacts to the Bristol Bay watershed.
  • Relationships between federal and tribal governments should be strengthened.
  • Standards for mineral development in wetlands should be tighter.
  • Clean Water Act standards for large-scale metallic sulfide mining should be more stringent.

You can also refer to our SaveBioGems web page about Bristol Bay if you want more information.

No Pebble Mine