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Fly-fishing with Mike
December 23  |  By MIke Benbow
Today, Dec. 23 is my last day at The Herald and it's the last day for this blog.

We're both retiring.

Thanks for reading.

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December 20  |  By MIke Benbow
The Outdoor Channel announced Tuesday that it's renewed an agreement to serve as the official high definition partner for the 2012 Fly Fishing Film Tour.

Between January and May 2012, the tour expects to offer 12 to 14 short films focused on fly fishing and adventure, making 110+ stops across the U.S. and Canada, including Portland, Seattle, Denver and Atlanta.

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December 16  |  By Mike Benbow
I was fortunate enough to be invited to the fund-raising auction by the Olympic Fly Fishing Club in Edmonds earlier this week.

It was fun to watch auctioneer Don Bayes of Stanwood, who volunteers to do that for many outdoor groups, and to meet with club members.

Jim Traner was the member in charge of the auction, and he was named The Man of the Year for the club for all the work he's done for the organization.

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December 16  |  By Mike Benbow
I don't think the little rain we had on Thursday will do the trick, but it could.

And there's supposed to be me more rain this weekend.

Normally, I wouldn't be calling for rain this time of year, but our rivers need it to get some steelhead moving in and moving around.

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December 12  |  By Mike Benbow
Snohomish County has been awarded nearly $2.5 million in grants to a variety of projects intended to help restore salmon runs. Here's a look at the projects:

PEOPLE FOR PUGET SOUND GRANT AWARDED: $100,000 FOR STUDYING THE FEASIBILITY OF UNCOVERING WILLOW CREEK

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December 6  |  By Mike Benbow
The Evergreen Fly Fishing Club based in Everett is also offering a series of fly tying classes this winter.

This class lasts for 12 weeks and includes a lesson on how to tie flies that club members have found to be very successful.

It's open to both members and nonmembers.

The class will teach intermediate-level skills, but novice tiers are welcome. The nonmember fee is $60.

Each week, participants will be taught a proven fly pattern that works in the Pacific Northwest.

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December 6  |  By MIke Benbow
If you're looking to buy a gift for a fly fishing friend or relative, here are five suggestions:

1) Glacier gloves. The manufacturer has a lot of gloves, from some with the tips cut out to a nice pair that includes windproof fleece, a polyurethane palm and a flip mitten to put over the exposed fingertips when you're not using them. A must for a steelhead angler to fight the cold. They start at around $20 and go up.

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December 6  |  By Mike Benbow
The Seattle-based Washington Fly Fishing Club is conducting some fly tying and fly casting classes this winter.

I know a lot of people don't think about fly fishing until spring, but this time of year is great for making sure your equipment is in top shape, tying some flies or honing your casting skills.

The tying class is for beginners and the casting classes cover beginners and more advanced casters.

Here's the info:

TYING

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December 2  |  By Mike Benbow
My friend Jerry Buron of Marysville loves to fish for chum, so he didn't let my reports about old tired fish deter him from checking things out on the Skagit (near Rockport) for himself. He said he went looking for bull trout, but didn't find up with some nice salmon that he released. Here's Jerry's report, via email:

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December 1  |  By MIke Benbow
As previously mentioned, I didn't get to the rivers as planned to fish for chum.

But I did catch a couple chum in the saltwater and I saw other creatures, mostly seals, catch a lot of them in the saltwater.

It's interesting to watch because the seals hold the salmon in their mouth and then fling them around, opening to stun or kill the fish before they ram them down their throat.

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December 1  |  By Mike Benbow
I took Monday off, but I didn't get to the rivers this week because the heavy rains put them out of fishing shape.

Jake Jacobson of Mukilteo got out to the Skagit River Wednesday and said that the fish were a little flaky looking, definitely past their prime.

I hate to hear that, but I may have to check it out myself this weekend.

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November 23  |  By Mike Benbow
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will close the Samish River in Skagit County to all fishing this winter to protect wild steelhead.

Officials said the Samish no longer receives hatchery steelhead. The closure, which begins Dec. 1 for the portion of the river between I-5 and Hickson Bridge, is intended to prevent incidental hooking and death of wild fish. The portion of the river from the mouth to I-5 will close Jan. 1.

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November 22  |  By MIke Benbow
A bad cold has kept me from getting out much lately but I've been getting a lot of reports of chum salmon being caught in the saltwater areas like Hoodsport and in rivers like the Skykomish and the Skagit.

I don't believe there's a season for chum on the Skagit this year and I can't take the gang-style fishing at Hoodsport, but I've going to try to get out over the holiday weekend and see if I can't find some fish.

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November 10  |  By Mike Benbow
Here's a story by Richard Marini of the San Antonio Express-News on a program called Reel Recovery that helps people deal with cancer.

BOERNE, Texas — Other than the fact that the drought has rendered a certain stretch of Joshua Creek in Boerne little more than a shallow pond, there's nothing unusual about the two dozen or so men fly fishing along its banks.

Except that about half have cancer.

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November 9  |  By MIke Benbow
The Edmonds Salmon Chapter of Trout Unlimited will present the award winning documentary Red Gold at meeting at 6:45 p.m. Nov. 16.

The film is about a proposed massive pebble mine that opponents say could destroy the world's best salmon fishery in Bristol Bay and its tributaries in Alaska.

The TU meeting will be at the South Snohomish County Senior Center, 220 Railroad Ave. in Edmonds. It's near the waterfront just north of the ferry terminal.

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November 8  |  By Mike Benbow
Here's a story by Jessica Dyer of the Albuquerque Journal on work being done on the popular San Juan River to improve the tailwater fishery for trout.

NAVAJO DAM, N.M. — A trio of wading fly fishermen worked the Texas Hole in search of rainbows and browns last week as the sound of trickling water mixed with motorized purring.

Front-loading tractors hummed and beeped in the background, digging a large hole on the southern edge of the San Juan River.

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November 7  |  By Mike Benbow
The Wall Street Journal generally leaves a spot on its front page for a story you wouldn't expect.

Often it has nothing to do with business. It's usually a little weird. And it's always well written.

Today's is about the Paiute trout, a subspecies of the Lahontan cutthroat, that is the rarest trout in North American.

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November 2  |  By Mike Benbow
As I mentioned in my previous blog item, I didn't make it to the Methow as planned last week.

OClaire Enstad of Edmonds and Dale Dennis of Arlington did make it over the pass and said the water was colder and lower and that it seemed like the fish had moved to slightly different holding water.

Basically, they were a little deeper and in water that was a little slower, Enstad reported.

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November 2  |  By Mike Benbow
I was on vacation last week and I only went fishing once, a first for me in at least a decade.

The usual drill is to use every vacation to go somewhere to fish.

I had planned to go most of the week to the Methow River for summer-run steelhead, but I just moved to a new place I'm renting right on Puget Sound and it was so beautiful, I couldn't leave.

Everyday, I'd get up and think it was time on a road trip, but my heart wasn't in it.

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October 21  |  By Mike Benbow


During a long session that went into the early morning hours, the U.S. Senate approved a bipartisan amendment authored by Senator Maria Cantwell that calls for an investigation and rapid response plan to prevent the spread of a potentially deadly salmon virus.

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October 21  |  By Mike Benbow
As he has every year for many years, Jerry Buron of Marysville went fishing for chum salmon on the Harrison River in British Columbia, a relatively short trip just across the border.

Unlike previous years, fishing was poor and very expensive.

After fishing with former Everett Police Chief Jim Scharf, Buron found that two tires on his truck had been slashed, an event that will cost him more than $500 bucks.

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October 21  |  By Mike Benbow
Project Healing Waters, which uses fly fishing and fly tying to help rehabilitate wounded military members physically and emotionally, is a very active organization around the country, including in Washington state. He's a story about a program outing in Montana written by Patrick J. Murphy of The Sheridan Press.

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October 19  |  By Mike Benbow
Closing winter steelhead fishing early in many Puget Sound rivers and preventing anglers from keeping sturgeon in the Sound and its tributaries are among new fishing rules proposed for next year by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

The department will hold a public meeting in Mill Creek and three other locations next week to discuss the proposed new rules.

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October 18  |  By Mike Benbow
Pass Lake, which is near Deception Pass linking Whidbey Island to the mainland, is usually one of my go-to spots this time of year.

Pass has a lot of shiners and some good-sized brown and rainbow trout that like to eat them. I think fish know that cooler water means winter is coming and they need to eat as much as they can.

That's why I usually try to hit Pass in October and November, fishing a minnow pattern along the shorelines and into the cattails.

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October 18  |  By Mike Benbow
Here's a story from Becky Bohrer of the Associated Press on a measure that would prevent a proposed pebble mine in Alaska opposed by environmentalists.

Voters of a small southwest Alaska borough narrowly passed a measure blocking a proposed gold and copper mine that conservationists said would have threatened one of the world's premier wild salmon fisheries in a local election that gained national attention, pitting environmental and business interests on opposing sides.

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October 16  |  By Mike Benbow
Michael Leach, a fishing guide at Yellowstone National Park and a former bear education ranger there, will present a program on the wildness and spirit of Yellowstone at 7 p.m. Nov. 3 at the Northwest Stream Center.

The center is in McCollum Park, 600 128th St. SE, Everett.

The presentation will look at the threats to the Yellowstone ecosystem and the importance of keystone species such as grizzlies, wolves, and bison.

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October 14  |  By Mike Benbow
Carey Kilgannon of The New York Times had a great story today about fishing for striped bass from shore at the Montauk Lighthouse on Long Island in New York. It sounds like they've brought combat fishing to new heights there. The story isn't about fly fishing, although I know a lot of fly fishers go after stripers at Montauk. Here's a portion of the story:

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October 12  |  By Mike Benbow
For people who don't think recreational fishing is important to the economy, I have just one word — humpies.

Pink salmon, otherwise known as humpies, are often prolific and usually not too smart, so they attract anglers in droves.

Carl Wollobek, chief operating officer at the Port of Everett, talked with me earlier this week about how important pinks are to the port.

“Thank God for humpies,” he said. “It makes a big difference.”

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October 12  |  By Mike Benbow
Here's an interesting story by Tania Valdemoro Longest of the Miami Herald on the fashion trend that has women adding feathers to the hair. One of the most interesting parts for me is how fly tying saddles have gone from about $50 to as much as $300.

When Alexandra Litowitz came to Miami last October to visit her family, her new hairdo caught her twin sister's eye.

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October 7  |  By Mike Benbow
I’m not what you’d call an early adopter of new technology or products, so forgive me for singing the praises of my switch rod now.

Switch rods have been used by a lot of people for years, while I continued to use my single-handed, 10-foot 7 weight for my favorite fishery, summer-run steelhead.

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