An Open Letter From Fly Fishing Industry Leaders

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May 20, 2015

An open letter to Congress from fly fishing industry leaders:

As leaders of America’s top fly fishing companies, we write to express our support for the efforts of the Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restore protections for our nation’s headwater streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. Simply put, the proposed Waters of the United States rule is a good one, and it should be allowed to move through the federal rulemaking process without interference from Congress.

The small waters to which this important draft rule applies are the lifeblood for many of our country’s prized fisheries. They flow into rivers, streams and lakes that provide the foundation of our industry—our bottom lines depend on intact watersheds, cold, clean rivers and streams and intact, fishable habitat.

Given that fishing in America supports approximately 828,000 jobs, results in nearly $50 billion annually in retail sales and has an economic impact of about $115 billion every year (Sportfishing in America, American Sportfishing Association, 2013), it stands to reason that the health of our nation’s waters is vital to the continued success of our industry, and to the health of America’s economy. We urge you to allow the EPA rulemaking process to continue unimpeded.

In recent years, participation in fishing and hunting—fly fishing included—has grown. We are seeing robust interest in our sport and it is translating to our sales, to the numbers of employees we hire right here in America, and to the health of brick-and-mortar retailers all over the country. Like us, their businesses depend on clean, fishable water.

But, in addition to being acutely interested in the health of our watersheds, we are also concerned that blocking this rulemaking process could turn back the clock on the progress our nation has made since the Clean Water Act was put into place more than 40 years ago. Today, rivers that once actually caught fire are home to remarkable runs of steelhead and brown trout. Streams that were once uninhabitable for native brook trout are now home to robust populations of these prized fish. What’s more, our country’s drinking water is healthier and safer than ever before.

Please consider the present state of our watersheds before interfering in a proven process that has generated nearly a million comments from the public in support of this rule. While we understand that politics these days can be tumultuous and rancorous, we strongly encourage you not to play politics with clean water.

Thank you.

Travis Campbell, President and CEO, Far Bank Enterprises (Sage, Redington and RIO)
Dave Perkins, Vice Chairman, The Orvis Co.
K.C. Walsh, President and Owner, Simms Fishing Products,
John Land Le Coq, CEO and Founder, Fishpond/Lilypond Inc.

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Hex Magic in Michigan by Pete Humphreys

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Mention the word Hex to a regular John Doe and it may bring thoughts of sorcerer’s spells and curses from the Dark Age’s. Mention the word Hex to a Michigan fly fisherman and you will see his eyes twinkle, sweat bead on brow and a strange trembling at the knees. So what is it about fishing the Hex Mayfly hatch that gets us so worked up? Continue reading

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Babies of Campeche by Cathy Beck

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It’s 6 a.m. in Campeche, Mexico, and in the background I can see the lights of a Starbucks, a soon-to-be busy highway, and the hotel that I will call home for the next three days. Around me are a group of guides setting up rods, loading ice coolers into flats boats and promising us that the weather is going to be perfect. Soon we leave the shoreline behind and head into the darkness – our day is starting.

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Lees Ferry, Spring 2015 by Jesse Robbins

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A series of events over the past several years all culminated a few weeks ago with my first trip to fish the Colorado River at Lees Ferry, AZ. Back in 2012, my parents made a trip to Marble Canyon and Lees Ferry. Their visit included a day of fishing, and my father’s glowing report upon return put the locale permanently in my mind. A year or so after that, one of my very best friends relocated to Las Vegas, NV. While the move was a step forward in his career, it cut into his angling time significantly.

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The Steelhead Swing… How Deep? by Jeff Putnam

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After fly fishing for steelhead for over 30 years I have come to the conclusion that I really enjoy the feel of a steelhead taking a fly on the swing with no slack in the line or leader.

Swinging presentations can produce a violent slamming-tug that’s arm-wrenching and exciting, followed by a chrome bullet leaping into the air and cart-wheeling downstream as you count the turns of backing left on your reel and then decide that now might be a good time to start running after it. This is incredibly exciting fly fishing at its best!

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Crooked Island Bonefishing by Sarah Gardner

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It turns out you can teach salty old dogs new tricks—especially when you throw them a bonefish.

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