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by MIchael McGannon

Here are my notes with some of the fishing photography tips that pro photographer Brian O’Keefe shared at our June 2, 2021 SCFF meeting

He recommends the iPhone 11 or 12 to meet all of our fish pic needs. Specific notes regarding the use of those cameras are at the end of this piece.

  • For a “Magazine Cover” format, keep the LENS AT FISH EYE LEVEL by the water surface, with the FISH HEAD ANGLED SLIGHTLY TOWARD THE CAMERA .
  • With TOOTHY FISH, pics especially good with its head angled well toward the camera.
  • Nice to show the ROD/TACKLE HELD NATURALLY, NOT over your shoulder, in your mouth, etc.
  • Pics of FLIES are fun.
  • Try getting UP HIGH. Stop the car for a good shot! Pics from a LOW DOWN angle are also especially good.
  • Look for pics of CURVES IN THE RIVER, with the FOREGROUND IN FOCUS.
  • To take a pic of your buddy DON’T SAY “WAIT”, SAY “KEEP FISHING!”
  • BACKLIT SHOTS ARE GREAT, lighting up the net, the fish’s tail, etc.
  • Avoid the “BORING BULLSEYE” with your subject centered in the photo.
  • ”30 SECOND RULE”: Take a bit of time to move to the spot with the best composition, background, light, etc.
  • FISHERMAN LOOKING AT THE FISH (rather than at the camera) respects the fish.
  • Showing JUST THE HEAD OF THE FISH is good.
  • With SUPER SHINY FISH, FIND SHADE to show the scale detail.
  • With SILVERY FISH try bending fish at different angles to decrease reflection.
  • Showing DRIPPING is good!
  • ”THE HONORABLE BLUR” shows a moving fish.
  • OK to hold BASS a bit out of the water, best just out at the surface, but KEEP YOUR ARM BEHIND.
  • BTW: SHOTS LOOKING DOWN AT THE FISH BY SHORE SHOW all the MUD aroused in the water.
  • On BRIGHT SUNNY DAY with the fisher’s face in shadow use FILL FLASH.
  • Tell people to LOOK HAPPY! SHOW THE MOMENT!
  • THROW IN SOME COLOR: shore foliage, etc.
  • Show what fish eat!
  • For SHALLOW DEPTH OF FIELD (flower shots, bugs, etc) use PORTRAIT MODE.
  • BIG COLOR is great to capture when present.


  • He recommends the iPhone 11 or 12.
  • Also good is Olympus T6-4 MP Olympus Tough, waterproof with 3” LCD, about $575. Both this and the above iPhones have excellent Macro ability.
  • Good distance shots however require a pro camera with telephoto lens.


  •  The VOLUME button can operate the SHUTTER.
  •  In PANO mode he seldom uses the whole range, often just 1/2 or 2/3 of the range.
  •  3 colored dots in the upper right corner indicate FILTERS. These can be used before or after a shot. Be sure to SAVE THE ORIGINAL before trying various filters.
  • PORTRAIT MODE blurs out all but the subject. He especially likes STAGE LIGHT MONO setting.
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Hang In There – We’re Almost There!

Mona and I have been going to Kennedy Meadow’s fishing the Middle Fork of the Stanislaus for 30 years now.    How I remember the old days!  The Stan is where I saw my very first fly fishermen.   Yep a couple of ole timers who were fishing the pocket water (I didn’t’ know it was called that back then) with some really tiny PT and Zug Bug nymphs.    Mona and I were just kids, 27 and 25!   We marveled at the peace these two fly anglers carried, casual, fulfilled.    We wanted that.

As Mona and I started our annual trips there, it wasn’t just for the fishing.   We met family there.   We slowed down, and stopped all together.   There was no such thing as a cell phone and we didn’t know words like – Wi-Fi, YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, or what an App was.

This last trip was our best fly-fishing experience in those thirty years.    I suppose it’s because our 23- and 25-year-old children, who were practically born at Kennedy Meadows, are healthy, and because for the first time, Tommy hooked and landed at least 15 fish on dry flies and another 15 or more on nymph’s.   And we were practically the only people on the water.   Laughing.   Taking it all in.  Slowing down, stopping.   Enjoying.

It isn’t and wasn’t always that way.

I remember the fires that nearly choked us out of our five days stay and the fire we missed altogether – thank God.   I remember the thunderstorm that rolled in, flooded our tent and campsite in a matter of minutes, all while we ducked for cover from lighting that had shattered trees next to us.   Or the seemingly perfect week, except for an ice dam break and filled the river with chalky white silt for that entire week.  No fishing, no fish, not a one.

While we distinctly remember these days, we lose site of the many years where the fishing was good, or okay, but the trip itself with family and friends, the hiking and the beauty of the Sierra, left us with something far more beautiful to remember.

I’m remembering these days because I need to realize that even the worst days fishing, aren’t really that bad when we put things into perspective.   When Covid disrupts our plans for a year, or maybe another 6 months, again, compared to thirty, ten or even five, it’s not that bad.

I was so looking forward to kicking off our September return to meeting together – like we’ve done for the last 43 plus years, without any consideration, except perhaps when the ’89 earth quake occurred.   But Covid has dealt us another setback; so we won’t be meeting in person in September.    At this point, I’m not even sure of October, but we will keep moving that direction and keep you informed.

We are going to have a super Zoom presentation, and I have some awesome speakers lined up for October, November and December– Spey Casting for Steelhead and a review of the Green River – for those of you planning 2022 outings.    September is “fanatical fly-fishing” who is an adventure outdoors team specializing in some pretty fun fly-fishing destinations, techniques, tackle, and flies.

Thank you for all your help this year.   Thank you for persevering with us throughout so much.   Our mission and goals have remained – To Promote, Educate and Enjoy the Sport of Fly Fishing.   And, as hard as it is to believe at this juncture, I’m optimistic about a good wet year ahead, the disappearance of Covid and a lot of fun to be had together, as we work hard return to normal!

See you soon. Promise.    Tom

Date:  Sept. 8th

Time:  6:30 p.m.

Place:  Zoom

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Yellow Clouser

by Elaine Cook -- fly tying chairman

It’s Striper time! This clouser pattern was supper productive at the O’Niel Forbay last fall. The club fishouts to the Forbay will start next month but don’t wait till then to give this one a try. This is a large fly so will be easy via Zoom as well as for beginners. Sign up by calling me at (831)688-1561 at least a couple days ahead to allow time for packets of materials to be assembled and you to pick up at my door. Thread will be flat wax nylon white, Monocord, or other very strong equivalent. You can borrow some. Beginners can also borrow vise and tools. To join in, go to the bar at the top of our newsletter and tap Zoom, then fly tying class.

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Red and White Bead Chain Whistler

by Elaine Cook --- fly tying chairman

This pattern can be used for stripers, pike, salmon, steelhead or ocean fish depending on size. These directions are approite for stripers. Use a fast sinking line and rapid long strips. The overall length of this fly should be about 3 1/2 “. This fly will turn upside down when fished.

Hook: Mustad 34007 size 1    1.Crimp Barb.

Thread: White very strong, ie: flat waxed nylon or monocord    1.Attach behind eye.  2.Touching wraps to mid shank then forward to one and half eye lengths behind eye.

Eyes: Lg. bead chain, cut in sets of 2     1.Attach to top of shank with many figure eight and circular wraps.  2.Apply Zap-A-Gap or similar glue.  3.Thread wraps to mid shank.

Upper Body: Red Bucktail    1.Cut clump from hide about size of wooden matchstick.   2.Pull out long fibers from tips and line up with others.   3. Cut butt ends at an angle 3 1/8 ” from tips.   4.Attach to top of shank behind barbells wrapping back to mid shank.   5.Repeat with a second clump.  6.Apply glue.

Mid Body: Mega Baitfish Emulator-pearl    1.Cut about 1/8″ of binding.  2.Attach strands behind barbells to top of shank tips at rear of fly.

Lateral Line: Neck grizzly hackle    1.Select 2 feathers, barbs equal to hook gap.   2.Cut stem 3″ from tip.  3.Cut about 10 barbs short on each side of butt end of stem forming a “crew cut”.   Tie one “crew cut” in on each side of shank behind barbells.

Lower Body: white Bucktail     1.Repeat like upper body but only use 1 clump.

Thorax: red chenille-lg.     1.Strip fuzz off exposing threads.   2.Tie in threads.   3.Advance thread to barbells.   4.Wrap chenille forward.    5.Tie off, cut excess.

Hackle: Very webby Grizzly hackle with very playable barbs.     1.Select feather, barbs equal to 1 1/2 hook gap.   2.Cut off fuzzy end and prepare “crew cut”.   3.With dark side up, tip to rear, tie in “crew cut between barbells on top of chenille.    4.Stroke barbs to rear while wrapping hackle 3 times behind barbells.   5.Tie off, cut excess.   6.Moisten fingers, hold barbs back, make a couple thread wraps to hold them toward rear.

Head: Tying Thread     1.Make a number figure 8 wraps around barbells.   2. Form a small tapered nose infront of eyes.   3. Whip finish, cut thread.    4.Apply glue to nose and thread between barbells.




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Klamath River story

by 'Stosh'

This link is the best one I have read to date and brings me up to date on this ancient and historic ‘fish channel’. The present dilemma is the timing of dam removal and the amount of mud and sediment that will fill and choke the lower river where the tribal fishermen can take an X number of pounds yearly, what they got this year  is 1/3 and the fish are trapped in low warming water. The water behind Iron Gate dam is shallow and warm and the surface is covered in green algae, all to be flushed downstream. A careful dismantling and timing with the winter rains to flush out the sediment as quickly as possible and then wait for the river to heal itself again.  We carefully un-do what was a bad idea in the first place.

Dam work is due to start next year….it has been postponed before, it’s a very complicated operation politically and logistically and humanely.


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Fishing in Montana

by Pat Steele

August 2-7 – Montana – Pat and John Steele
Fishing in Montana, after over a year and a half’s absence from any fly fishing, was restorative.  We came home exhausted, yet refreshed.
We began our five day trip in Bozeman, and fished the Yellowstone River, which, because of summertime low water and high water temperatures, was observing so-called “Hoot Owl” hours, restricting fishing to between 6 AM and 2 PM, in order to not over-stress the fish.  We enjoyed catching many healthy, robust rainbows and browns, taking care to snap photos quickly and return the fish to the water as fast as possible.
The second day we were in Bozeman, the guide took us to the Madison River.  We were a bit reluctant to fish there, as it has been historically very crowded with other boats, and the water at this time of year is pretty darn skimpy.  We were pleasantly surprised to find it not too terribly crowded, and the water higher than we expected.  The fishing was likewise much better than it has been in the past few years we’ve been there.
The third day we picked up a car and drove to Helena, and fished the following two days on the Missouri River.  The first day there, we fished in a drift boat.  We passed by the railroad tracks where the thieving eagle had stolen John’s hooked fish two years ago.  I guess he/she wasn’t on duty this time.  The population of nice, robust rainbows seems to be as good if not better than it has been in the past years.
The last day was the cherry on the sundae, as we fished from a power boat on the “Land of the Giants” part of the river, right above Holter Dam.  The fish here are phenomenal, you have to resist the temptation to clamp down on your reel, or tighten your drag, you must be patient and let them take out line, jump, try to get tangled on the boat, and be strategic about how you go about landing them.  They don’t get big by being stupid or meek.
The terminal tackle used in both places was sub-surface stuff, crawdad/shrimp imitations, with a dropper called a “Friskett”.  In deeper water, a split shot was added to get the flies down.  Chucking this rig isn’t very visual and doesn’t require a whole lot of finesse, but it does get results.
Kudos go to our outfitter, Ed Lawrence, who has done several presentations to our club, and his able guides, Tim Schwartze and Captain John Hall.  We also need to cite several handy apps for land transportation, Uber and Turo.  Turo is a peer-to-peer car rental app, and we were very happy with it, the pick up place was within walking distance of the hotel, the car was immaculately clean, and the cost was a third of what a commercial rental car place would have been.
This having been our first fishing foray since the pandemic shutdown in March of 2020, we weren’t sure about how it would go, but we were reassured that there still is a world out there, and the fish still like us.  Go forth and fish, stay safe, stay well!
Pat and John Steele
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August fly fishing the surf

by Sam Bishop, Surf "Fishmaster"

Rio Del Mar had a low tide, low waves and a flat beach for the seven club members on the August 7 surf fish-out. Flat beaches with little “structure” are common later in the summer. That all changes when the winter storms come in.

Jeff Gose, Kirk Mathew, Justin Ice, Scott Councilman, Tommy Polito, John Davis joined me at 6 am.  Some fish were caught, but it seemed like all the surf perch were born only a few weeks earlier! Then there were a couple of Sculpin in the mix too.

In the pictures, note Tommy and his hand made basket. Notice the close-up of the “Sharpie” pens he used to minimize tangling! Other pictures include Justin, Jeff, Kirk. I think I missed John and Scott.


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Traveling the West

by Elaine Cook

When last I wrote we had been fishing the Firehole River in Yellowstone National Park in mid June. Many road miles and tested waters since then. Low warm waters, heat, “Hoot Owl” restrictions, and smoke have dominated. All of which has lead to poor fishing. There have been a handful of special days that we reflect back on as great memorable fishing. There was adult damsel fishing that produced many, many 16″ to 19″ Rainbows and Cutthroats in a lake east of Yellowstone. A small county park pond, full of small large mouth bass that readily responded to a popper. If we caught one we caught a 100. That was just outside the town of Sheridan Wy. A little further south, another bass water in a local reservoir. Numbers were not the result, but searching them out in a forest of reeds and getting explosive takes that produced really large big mouths was truly exciting. Went back a couple weeks later and we couldn’t produce the same results. To escape the heat we took a gravel/dirt road into the mountains. There had been rain a couple days before and the night we arrived. That made the river look like chocolate milk. Waiting patiently for 2 days payed off. So many large Cutthroats brought to net in the wilderness. Of course all on dry flies. And lastly, we forked up the bucks and hired guides to take us onto a beautiful priviate  stream in ranch land at the base of the Big Horn mountains. Grass hoppers were everywhere and guess what the large, plentiful Cutthroats did with an artificial fly that resembled the insect! We are now road weary and will thankfully be home by the time you read this. Elaine and John and part of the time Kathy

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August B-B-Q / Swap Meet

by By Vice President Kevin Murdock

We have found an incredible venue for our annual B-B-q/Swap Meet this year! The Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Posse House is a beautiful property on the bank of the San Lorenzo River. There’s an outdoor picnic area, a pasture where we can demo or practice our casting, a beautiful indoor area with tables for our swap meet, a built-in grilling pit, and a horseshoe pit. (There’s also a fire pit but we will abstain for now). The club will supply burgers, dogs, sides, and soft drinks. We’ll have club swag for sale. You can bring your family & friends, but please RSVP  in form below or email to  so we know how much food to provide.  You may responsibly bring adult beverages, as well as any rods you might want to try out or tackle you want to swap or trade. No leaving unclaimed gear behind. Please, no pets.

The Address is 2127 Ocean Street Extension. To access, take the Ocean Street Extension past the cemetery, past the crematorium, about a quarter-mile down on the left. Use the second driveway entrance. Please drive slow and be respectful of the neighbors and this beautiful historic property.

5:00 pm:  Casting practice,  swap meet display

6:30 pm:  BBQ Dinner

Cost:  $0.00

The Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Posse Grounds

This will be our first opportunity in what seems like forever to meet and greet in person. Please, if you are un-vaxed, wear a mask for your own protection.

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Stay Fishing My Friends

by Tom Hogye

Hi everyone.    I am back from a terrific fly-fishing and hiking week with family high in the Sierra, far away from the internet or a phone.  The only technology in my hand was my  3wt, Sage LL with my beloved Abel reel.   Okay, truth be told, I had my “camera” with me – that sometimes doubles as a phone!    Hence the photos in this P-Message.    Tommy and I fished a mile together for the entire day both landing about thirty fish each, Tommy catching more than 15 on dry flies.   The beauty of a net and barbless flies is they often came out of the fish in the net, and made getting them back to their habitat all the better.   It was awesome spending a whole day together doing that, laughing, and talking.    The fish made it best of all and so much easier to do the rest.

Getting away from technology is one of the best things we can do today.  But admittedly, there is technology that enables us to enjoy that getting away even more.

As Mona and I traveled Sonora Pass in our air-conditioned comfy Ford F150, enjoying our cabin with electricity, a shower and a refrigerator, we took turns reading about the history of Sonora Pass, it’s first discovery, how treacherous it was to build and how people “camped” there in the weekends traveling there in Model T Fords with an ice box, no electricity, no showers and no “facilities”.  No fly boxes filled with hundreds of flies purchased with ease, if necessary, from the comfort of your home delivered to you next day.

Sonora Pass has some terrific history – ironically, if it weren’t for the Depression in the 30’s and WWII, it would likely not be the treasure it is today.    In the 20’s, plans were to take full advantage of that area building communities for getting away from the city.    Clark’s Fork, if you’ve ever been there, ends at Iceberg Meadow’s, abandoned plans for another highway that would have continued north and east, connecting with Highway 4.   Leland Meadows, a place I haven’t been, is reportedly the one place that was last developed beyond Pinecrest, but most halted because of the depression and the war.

While no one likes a pandemic, a depression, a war, these things have benefited the earth and all the creatures, and people, that were here long before us.   Even on this trip, while a year later, it seemed more beautiful, quieter and abundant.   I never realized that if it weren’t for the depression and WWII, where we’ve been going – for almost 30% of it’s entire 100 year+ existence, would not be what it is today.   Pretty cool.

I hope to see you at the BBQ Wednesday.   Look at the newsletter and send Scott an article under the Newsletter submission page.  Someplace where you fished with family and or friends.    We love hearing from you – our members.

As we work hard to navigate the waters of living today, please know your board is actively and constantly talking about how we do our best to continue our mission to promote, educate and enjoy the sport of Fly-Fishing solely for the purpose of our members having fun, being engaged and being contributors to the same.    Thank you all for your encouragement, your membership and for participating like you do.  It is in fact how all of us came to this club, joined and took interest.   It is a lot of fun and such beautiful work.

As the year winds down, we are looking ahead at how we can continue growing.   I’m excited about the opportunities to be together, have fund-raisers, education days, new fish-outs, fly-tying, casting and other activities we will do thoughtfully with you, our members, in mind.   Do keep the ideas coming and thank you for being the most important part of the Santa Cruz Fly Fishing Club.

Oh – Follow us on Instagram:  santacruzflyfishing – and follow me:  tomhogye !

Fish often my friends.   Tom

Date:  8/11/21

Time:  6:30

Place:  Zoom

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Balanced Leech – August fly tying class edition

by Jerry McKeon

At first glance this fly looks like your typical wooly bugger but it’s not.  It’s tied in a way that allows it to hang in the water column in a horizontal plane or balanced.  Hung under an indicator in choppy water the fly pulses and swims  the way a baitfish or leech does.  Professional fly anglers like Phil Rowley and Brian Chan are big advocates for this pattern on still waters for trout and I’ll vouch for it as a great bass pond fly.

The body of this fly is created using a dubbing loop so some kind of dubbing whirl tool is needed.  Dubbing looped bodies are also very effective for nymphs and other streamers so this is a good technique to know.  If you need more info, check out this video with options for dubbing whirls:

Class is 8/11/21 @6:30PM on Zoom.

Please email by 7/29 and include your address so I can mail you the materials.  The days leading up to the class I will be out of town and unavailable to reach which is why I’m asking for the early RSVP.

Hope to see you there, Jerry




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Bead Chain Woolybugger

by Elaine Cook----fly tying chairman

To fish this fly, use a sinking line, twitch or strip to elicite a strike from a trout. Woolybuggers typically are not tied with bead chain eyes. They give an entirely different profile. This pattern also varies in that dry fly hackle is used and barbs are kept short.

Hook: TMC 5263 , sizes 8-14

Thread: color to match tail or body

Eyes: bead chain , size proportional

Tail: Marabou, color to match hackle or body.

Hackle:  Neck or saddle. Color to match body or tail, or dun.

Body: Chenille: black, brown, olive, cinnamon, or those colors variegated.

1. Crimp Barb.

2. Attach thread behind eye. Touching wraps 1/4 back on shank then forward to one hook eye behind eye.

3. Cut bead chain with wire cutters into sets of 2.

4. Attach bead chain eyes to top of shank, one ball on each side, using multiple figure eight wraps and around base of eyes on top of shank. Wrap thread to mid shank. Apply drop of glue.

5. Pull clump of marabou off stem of feather. Note: moisten marabou for easy handling. Cut off butt ends. Lay butts on top of shank behind eyes. Tie to top of shank back to end of shank. Break (do not cut) tips to desired length.

6. Select hackle with barbs equal to 1 1/2 hook gap. Holding tip, stroke barbs against grain. Position tip on top of shank, butt end to rear. Tie in place.

7. Pull fibers off about 1/4″ of chenille exposing core threads. Attach threads to rear of shank. Advance thread to behind bead chain.

8. Wrap body forward with touching wraps. Tie off, cut excess.

9. Spiral hackle forward in 6 evenly spaced wraps. Tie off, cut excess. A couple more thread wraps to secure.

10. Make several figure 8 wraps around bead chain eyes. Wrap thread head. Whip finish. Cut thread. Apply glue to head.





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Gill Net Buy-Back In California

by Bob Garbarino

In the California budget for 2021-2022, $1.3 million is allocated to pay each commercial fishermen $110,000 in exchange for turning in their gill net.   Gill nets are huge nets (up to one mile) suspended in the water column that ensnare any fish or mammal that gets entangled in the net.  Sea turtles, whales, sea lions and dolphins are some of the sea creatures that have been trapped in the nets.  California state law mandates that all gill nets be phased out by 2024.  Deep set buoy gear is the new method that is suggested to replace gill net fishing.  As expected, some commercial fishermen are resisting the change, claiming that gill nets are not as harmful as claimed by the NOAA and Oceana.  The fishermen also say that alternate fishing techniques are not commercially viable.  

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Pebble mine update

Our club’s  financial support has helped this campaign and one of our former ‘in person’ presenters at the Aptos Grange Hall, who lost his life on a sweeper tree on the American Creek AK, was our incentive to act for the noble causes to save the last non-dammed rivers in the North West and especially the greatest fisheries for commercial and sport salmon fishing in the  world. Pebble Mine is the big challenge and we must keep opposing them.

Dear Bristol Bay supporters,

We have exciting news to share with you! Yesterday, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game reported that the Bristol Bay’s 2021 sockeye run reached the largest on record with 63.2 million fish returning to the bay. The 2021 run broke the 2018 standing record at 62.9 million fish returning to the region.

Thousands of years of Indigenous stewardship and 100+ years of sustainable commercial fishery management made this year’s record-breaking sockeye run in Bristol Bay possible. Science has shown that clean water and healthy fish habitat will continue to support this world-class fishery that produces roughly 50% of all sockeye salmon on the planet.

Even though the fishery’s biggest threat- the proposed Pebble mine– was denied the key federal permit last year, Bristol Bay isn’t safe yet. The region still needs durable and permanent protections to ensure that Pebble, or another mining company, won’t come back in the future. Join us in asking decision-makers to advance permanent protections for Bristol Bay today.

Both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Congress have the opportunity to establish safeguards that, together, would protect the fish, people, and fish-based industries in Bristol Bay. They need to hear from people in Bristol Bay and beyond that this is a national treasure that requires permanent protection. Take action here. 

The 2021 run record is just one reason why Bristol Bay needs greater protection for the years to come. It’s another reason we say “No Pebble Mine– Not Here, Not Ever.” And it’s why our work doesn’t stop until we can fully assure that we will never have to fight this irresponsible mine plan again. Help us continue our work in Bristol Bay by making a donation today.

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The Annual John Steele Award

by V/P K Murdock

While summer is in full swing, now is the time to take note of the help you receive on your flyfishing journey. Freeze in your mind each act, and then nominate the perpetrator for this year’s John Steele Award. Our Annual B-B-Q at the Sherriff’s Possee House would be a great place to drop off a ballot. Or just e-mail me at

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Fishing the Firehole River in Yellowstone Park

by Elaine Cook

If you have never fished the Firehole, it’s fun to know that the stream has many geysers that drain into it which makes the water warm year round. Our annual trek brings us here to catch Browns and rainbows that average 9″ to 12″ and some up to 15″. This year found the water warmer than usual and only the 1st day produced fish. When the water reaches 70 degrees the fish turn off and fishing is highly discouraged. In the photo, you can see where we fished right across from a major outflow from one of the geysers and the fish readily came up for dry flies.