Fly fishing & photography magazine
Nยบ 11 February 2012
Fly fishing & photography magazine
Nยบ 11 February 2012
PROTECTING THE MAGIC OF BRISTOL BAY By Kate Taylor
POP UP FLASH IN DAYLIGHT By Nicola Zingarelli
IN OUR MEMORIES
FLY TYING VIDEO CADDISFLY EMERGER
Eerie howls echo from the white spruce forest across the small stream, raising the hair on the back of my neck. My clients, a father and son, look to me and I nod: Yes, those are indeed wolves. Returning to casting for rainbows, we almost stop breathing when a tall, lanky, grayish-brown wolf emerges from the thick brush on the opposite bank. The wolf notices us, we freeze, and its eyes lock on ours. Suddenly lurching forward, it grabs a sockeye salmon carcass, steals a glance our way, and vanishes into the shrubs. I turn to my clients, speechless. The son looks to me with wonder in his face and whispers, â€œmagicalâ€?.
Protecting the Magic of Bristol Bay Text & Photos: Kate Taylor
But it isnâ€™t magic. Itâ€™s Bristol Bay, Alaska. Untouched, unaltered, and simply pristine. A region so remote, millions of acres remain completely roadless. Itâ€™s easy to believe the reason Bristol Bay and its remarkable fisheries have not been exploited, overpopulated, and polluted is the lack of access. And as salmon runs along the entire coastline of North America have degenerated, some to the point of extinction, Bristol Bay continues to annually host the largest wild sockeye salmon run left in the world. Even with the sustainable commercial harvest of up to 25 million sockeye each year, around 11 million sockeye still escape into nine major rivers that feed the Bay. And each year over 37,000 anglers flock to the area to chase five species of salmon, unprecedented numbers of trout, and the opportunity to hold a large trophy fish in an environment that makes them feel like a first explorer. The chance to closely view wildlife in their natural environment brings not only anglers, but also wildlife enthusiasts and photographers to the region as well.
And it wonâ€™t take a magician for Bristol Bay to remain a pristine ecosystem. But it will require efforts from people around the world. Because currently a mining company looking to extract one of the largest deposits of gold and copper ever found is exploring at the headwaters of the bayâ€™s two major rivers, the Kvichak and Nushagak. Anglo American and Northern Dynasty, London/UK and Canadian based companies respectively, have been exploring the region since 2002. They call themselves The Pebble Partnership and the site, Pebble Mine. They propose to create the largest open pit mine in North America extracting gold, copper, and molybdenum ore. This mine would span 140 square kilometers (54 square miles). A 518-meter deep by 4.8 kilometers long and over 3 km wide open pit on top of an underground mine of roughly the same size. The site contains well over an estimated $300 billion dollars worth of minerals.
The waste rock created by a mine of this type and size raises deep concern. At the Pebble Mine site, the minerals of copper and gold are found in bedrock of sulfur. The Pebble Partnership will grind up the ore to extract the wanted minerals, leaving behind waste of sulfur powder. They propose to store this waste in large tailings ponds covered with water. Combine sulfur powder with water and oxygen and you’ve now made sulfuric acid, a highly toxic waste. The Pebble Partnership proposes to put up to 10 billion tons of toxic waste in a pond of over 226 meters deep (740 feet) and over 4.8 km long (3 miles). This tailings pond will hold the by-product, sulfuric acid, contained by a man made earthen dam. This dam will need to safely contain this toxic waste forever, a task proven to be near impossible with acid mine drainage across the world. Even worse, Bristol Bay—situated on the edge of the infamous Pacific “Ring of Fire” — sits very close to the fault lines associated with some of the world’s largest earthquakes.
And once the mining company has extracted the minerals and taken their $300 billion profits back to Canada and Britain, and left 10 billion tons of toxic mine waste, who is responsible for any clean up when the dam fails? Do you really think Anglo American and Northern Dynasty will come back to Alaska and fix any problems? Consider the Formosa Mine Superfund site in Douglas County, Oregon. Here, a foreign mining company, Formosa Resources Corporation, mined for copper and zinc leaving tons of waste in a man made tailings pond. Four years after the corporation left, the holding area failed, releasing acid mine drainage into the South Fork of Middle Creek. Now, fourteen years later, at least eighteen miles of stream are sterile of fish and clean water. The area is officially declared a Superfund site by the Environmental Protection Agency. Formosa Resources Corporation dissolved itself leaving miles of sterile water, acid mine drainage, and a large clean up bill for the American taxpayer.
As if earthen dams holding back toxic tailings ponds weren’t dangerous enough, water moves through the tundra of Bristol Bay like no other place. Walking through the tundra is akin to walking on a wet sponge wearing moon boots. The tundra, made up of low growing fauna such as blueberry, cranberry, and Sphagnum moss depresses under your feet then springs back as you step forward. The entire region is highly permeable allowing water to travel freely between surface and groundwater. A study of the Pebble Site by Dr. Carol Ann Woody, an Alaska fisheries biologist with twenty years of fisheries research experience in the Bristol Bay
watersheds, revealed salmon smolt in water not visibly linked to free flowing streams. Her team found “96 percent of the streams in the site contained 13 species of fish and 74 percent of those streams contained anadromous fish.” * Even the slightest amount of copper, increases of 2-10 parts per billion above normal, local levels, can disturb salmon’s ability to locate its spawning grounds, evade predators, or spawn. These fish are highly sensitive to very minute contamination from chemicals. Placing a large tailings pond full of sulfuric acid in an area with constant exchange of surface and groundwater is clearly a risky proposal for the health of our water, wildlife, and fisheries.
The plentiful examples across the world demonstrating the high risks of open pit mining are frightening. Anglo American has been linked to many environmental mining catastrophes. They are associated with the pollution of the Yellow Jacket River in Zimbabwe. Its Lisheen Mine in Ireland contributed to the closing of two tributaries of the River Suir for heavy metal contamination. Anglogold Ashanti mine in South Africa has been connected to the pollution of the Vaal River helping render the water undrinkable, and the list continues. With a questionable record across the world for maintaining healthy water systems near their mines, Iâ€™m not ready to trust them in a large-scale extraction of precious metals from such an environmentally pristine and ecologically sensitive area.
Last year the Department of Natural Resources fined The Pebble Partnership $45,000 for 45 incidences of withdrawing water from areas not permitted. A recent video of the exploration site has shown strange leakage from the drill sites into the highly permeable tundra. If we canâ€™t have confidence in these foreign companies during the exploration stage to act with integrity and concern for the health of our region, how can we trust them when it comes time to dig the largest open pit mine in North America?
As anglers, we rightfully feel the health of our rivers, lakes, and streams are constantly under attack. These regions are often rich in natural resources and forces from all sides seek to exploit them. While it is easy to feel slightly hopeless or even helpless on environmental matters, it is important we realize this is a critical time for the Pebble Mine issue. Over the next year, the Environmental Protection Agency will be finalizing an assessment of the watershed and making a decision as to whether or not they should invoke its authority under Section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act. This could preemptively stop the Pebble Partnership from continuing forward with the proposed Pebble Mine. And pressure from tax paying citizens applied to elected representatives, can help push the EPA toward the right decision.
As the wolf left the riverbank, we stood in wonder, my thoughts trailing to the inherent magic of the wolf. Since I can remember, wolves have been steeped in mystery. From Little Red Riding Hood and the Three Little Pigs, to their re-introduction back into Montana, wolves have always represented a fear of the unknown. In Bristol Bay, they are also a symbol of all that is wild, boundless, and untamed. Yet, wild as they are, wolves somehow manage to hunt cooperatively when bringing down prey. The idea that something so undomesticated relies on teamwork leaves me thinking that isn’t too far from what’s happening in Bristol Bay: Cooperation from an unprecedented alliance of Alaska Natives, commercial and sport fishing, hunting and subsistence groups, along with an unlikely coalition of jewelers, restaurant owners, artists and executives, all fighting together for the health of the Bay. And so the next time I hear the mysterious, magical sound of wild wolves, I’ll be inspired to fight harder and work more closely alongside my allies for the health of this pristine region we all share. I hope you’ll join me.
Call to Action If you live in the United States, please write a letter to your congressman, senator, President Obama, or the EPA. It is extremely important that your voice be heard. If you live outside the United States, donate money at Savebristolbay.org. Monetary contributions help fund the men and women who are on the front lines lobbying to prevent the Pebble
Mine. For everyone, now is the time to renew your Trout Unlimited membership, join the Sportsmanâ€™s Alliance, and/or the Renewable Resource Coalition. If there is any time to get behind something and involved, now is that time. Donâ€™t wait for something miraculous to occur and save the day. Do your part to make the magic of Bristol Bay a lasting region for generations to come.
Kate Taylor has spent the past four summers guiding for Alaska Sportsman’s Bear Trail Lodge, www.fishasl.com/naknek , in King Salmon, Alaska. She spends the winter chasing steelhead and guiding in coastal Oregon with her boyfriend Justin Crump. She also publishes the women’s fly fishing blog, Rogue Angels, www.rogueangels.net , which highlights some of her fishing experiences: from roaming the tundra of Bristol Bay, to chasing steelhead throughout the Pacific Northwest during the fall and winter, to hunting roosterfish in the surf of Baja during the spring months.
POP UP FLASH IN DAYLIGHT
by nicola zingarelli
Using an external flash in full daylight might sound like nonsense, yet is quite a smart idea. 2:00 PM light in summertime, when the sun is beating like Thorâ€™s hammer, is hard and harsh and paints heavily dark shadows on your subject...
Amberjack Using the pop up flash
... if the subject is well exposed maybe the sky has turned as white as Casper, or the other way around, the sky is nice but now you can’t even figure out the subject’s eyes for as dark as it gets. You know, light meter’s stuff, for as good as they are they still live in a different league compared to our eyes, a pretty much perfect machine. Fortunately for us there’s a way to sort this lighting chaos and the small flash, even the tiny little window that shows in front of our compact camera, is our life raft. Let’s put the camera in matrix metering (if you don’t know how to do it better hop to the next article) and force our flash to fire; all cameras, even the simplest, allow to get the flash out of the clumsy hands of the “full automatic” mode. If we are very close to our subject we can even put the sun in the shot, the
little burst of artificial light will still be able to fight against all odds and the results could really surprise you. Golum’s shadows will disappear, and so the bleached sky and the fisherman from the Black Forest; light will flow and makes everything shine: the world, the fish, your pals and even the guy who’s holding the fish sweating, huffing and puffing under the tropical heat hitting 40 degrees Celsius and 97% humidity. Said this, I must confess that I abandoned the oncamera flash at the end of the Paleolithic era, in fact after a never ending trial and error period I have learnt to use it off camera; yet the small pop-up is a good tool to start getting acquainted with artificial light.
To know more about Nicola Zingarelli´s professional activity: http://.caranx.net/wp http://nicolazingarelli.com
See the difference of using pop up flash of the camera.
Flymage Free Su
With the approval of the new Royal Decree concerning invasive exotic species in Spain, the future is very uncertain for many species of fish in our waters, including rainbow trout, pike and black bass. Three species that attract a large number of anglers, more than half, we dare say, of all our freshwater anglers. The eradication of these three species, certainly a very difficult undertaking, and almost impossible to achieve, would put an end to the hobby of thousands of people. Most of these angling fans are certainly in favour of conservation and care of the environmental, but the news of this new law has come like a bucket of cold water, positively freezing in fact. To talk now of the eradication of invasive exotic species, such as the three mentioned above, which the same governing bodies introduced legally many decades ago, is an entirely unrealistic notion in Spanish aquatic ecosystems. The widespread abuse of water in such an arid country as Spain, indiscriminate pollution, obstacles in the paths of fish on their way to their annual spawning grounds and the reduction in current that many of rivers suffer below dams, are all problems against which we have to fight. Once we get our rivers back to being as “wild” as possible, it will time to think about the species that live in them. Having said that, we are not in favour either of the indiscriminate release of fish or their illegal translocation, that some “anglers” have done, bringing species such as bleak, largemouth bass or wels catfish to their waters. We defend only the hobby of the great part of Spanish anglers and the livelihood of many angling professionals in all areas. It seems that the behaviour of some fishing clubs in the indiscriminate stocking of rainbow trout has been the trigger for these latest legal checks. With better local government control and the vigilance anglers themselves, we could bring an end to these few cases of abuse. It would be interesting to know what the economic impact of fishing for rainbow trout, largemouth bass and pike is in Spain. We are sure that with such figures in our hands, more reservations would arise before the adoption a law like this. Speaking of laws, when are we going to have a national law to protect Atlantic salmon, an endangered species that has its southern distribution limit in Spain? How can it be possible that a province decides on the future of one species such that it changes the responsible fisheries law for another, one that will steer the salmon to a point of no return? Despite all this, and if you can still catch rainbow trout in your area, we recommend some flies that work very well, sent by our friend Aitor Urruzuno. Tight lines!
Under the surface
ENGLISH BLOG: CLICK ON THE IMAGE
SPANISH BLOG: CLICK ON THE IMAGE
IN OUR MEMORIES
Fishing trips are remembered for many reasons and although the main one is the fish which are caught, there are many others as good or greater than the fishing itself and that are recorded in the memory of the angler and in this case, of the camera.
Atlantic salmon in one of the most famous and photographed pools from the York River, Quebec. Canada.
Local beer. Canada
AlainÂ´s candy box
Night-time at DevilÂ´s lake. Madeleine river. Quebec
Fighting a salmon on the Madeleine river. Quebec
Local guide, Jean, holds up a salmon before releasing.
The Great Falls. Madeleine river. Quebec
Salmon that have just come up via the 140 m underground ladder. Madeleine River. Quebec.
Looking for salmon
One of the 181 salmon there were in the river Madeleine above the Great fall salmon ladder.
Seafood restaurant, in the background the St. Lawrence River. Canada
Early-morning fog on DevilÂ´s lake. Spot the rabbit?
Fishing cottage, Madeleine river.
An angler drifts a bomber over dozens of salmon, char and trout. Big Indian pool. St Jean River. Quebec
Skjern salmon river, Denmark.
Golden years of the atlantic salmon. Denmark
Preben Kaeseler after Baltic sea trout. Bornholm island, Denmark
Preben KaeselerÂ´s shrimp pattern.
Baltic sea trout.
Tom KaeselerÂ´s knives, forged in the traditional Viking way.
Salmon flies. Norway
Casting a small summer fly.
Guidesâ€™ break time.
Grant Foreman casting in Junction pool, Gaula river.
Johan Sandberg with a beautiful salmon from Gaula river, Norway.
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Contributors in this issue Kate Taylor - Nicola Zingarelli Preben Kaeseler - Mikel Elexpuru - Juan Urán John Langridge - José Luís Garrido - José Luís García
E D I T O R S José H. Weigand Angler, photographer and TV fishing editor at Caza y Pesca channel on Digital+ for 14 years. Contributor to some international magazines, blogs and forums.
Antonio Goñi Antonio Goñi, fishing video producer, photographer and angler. Currently producing fly tying series “The Silk corner” at Caza y Pesca channel on Digital+.
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