Search This Blog

Loading...

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fly Fishing on Pluto


     The July 14th flyby of  New Horizons spacecraft gives new hope to anglers having difficulty landing a Yellow Dog reservation for fly fishing in Cuba. It will take 16 months to download all New Horizon's data and photos by which time it is expected most of the seats on the first Pluto flight will be booked. For those that like to get their fly fishing fix from far away destination, like my fishing buddy Dr. Fred, it would be wise to do a little research now and maybe put down a deposit the minute reservations open up.
Nasa photo - Sputnik Planum.

A typical day fly fishing on Pluto.

    Pluto revolves a lot slower than earth so a day is actually 153.3 hours long. Fishing on Pluto will be very much like fishing in Alaska and Finland during their 24 hours of daylight. This is perfect for fishing an evening hatch which could go on for days. Luckily the flight time of 9 years will be long enough to reset your internal biological clock to account for "rocket lag." The challenge for the guides will be bringing enough flies to last you for 76 hours of continuous fishing. You will want to pack cold weather gear even if you are fishing the volcanic areas. Without considering wind chill, summer temperatures on Pluto are about -369F. A buff will be essential but should be comfortable under your oxygen helmet. Skies will be cloudy.
Don't do this outside on Pluto unless you are used to 30% methane, like being in a room with teenage boys.

A typical stream.

    The photo above shows mountain peaks roughly 68 miles from Hillary Montes in the Sputnik Planum. This area is geologically young at 100 million years like the 80 million year Rocky Mountains. Over the next 16 months we should expect more and better photos. At that point we'll be able to find areas similar to Yellowstone National Park where volcanic activity is melting the ice that covers much of Pluto. Stick close to the "fire holes." Schedule a training trip to the Firehole River in the dead of winter for an idea of the conditions you'll face. Fishing in winter on South Boulder creek during the slush period will  also hone your skills for the slush and frost in the streams of Pluto.
S. Boulder - photo by the author.

    Casting should be relatively easy. Atmospheric wind speeds during storms is about 23 miles per hour, similar to early spring fishing on the South Platte River in South Park, Colorado. Since Pluto gravity is a mere 1/12 of Earth's, your 3.5 ounce Sage One Elite will only weigh 3/10 of an ounce. Fishing until your arm falls off will probably not be possible.

A typical fly.

     Just like the arctic Alaska stonefly, which can withstand -15C and builds glycol, the insects have probably evolved on Pluto the same way. We are all familiar with the winter stonefly which has similar capabilities in our climate zone. Suggested patterns would be black size 50 stonefly nymphs, a parachute adams, of course, size 0 and everything in between. There will be tying benches and material supplied during the 9 year flight. 
From the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation

A typical fish.

     Lack of ground level details has never impeded a fly flinging angler from speculating on a fishery from an airplane window. Optimism reigns supreme. 
     With the same array of hydrocarbon building blocks as earth, and a similar geological history, we can guess that chance and the harsh environment probably played the most important roles in the evolution of fish on Pluto. Water, nitrogen, and methane ice cover the surface, although on close passes to the sun, melting creates a thin atmosphere. It is during this melting that the fish of Pluto will undoubtably spawn. Just as brown trout clean up after rainbows and vice versa, the fish not spawning will be most susceptible to a fly. (Fishing to spawning fish on Pluto in view of fellow anglers could leave one out in the cold.) Consider the Antarctic tooth fish, a close relative of the Patagonian Toothfish we know as the Chilean Sea Bass. They have evolved antifreeze proteins in their blood that keeps water molecules from nucleating into ice in the 28F polar ocean.
PATAGONIAN TOOTHFISH, ALSO CALLED CHILEAN SEA BASS. 
PHOTO BY MONTEREY BAY AQUARIUM SEAFOOD WATCH.

     The Plutonian Toothfish must be strong to swim primarily in slush so 0X is a good recommended starting rig. Threading your size 50 arctic stonefly nymph on 0X tippet in the 23 mile and hour winds in -369F weather will make fly fishing on Pluto a trip to remember. So will the odor of methane.


Authors note: "Bug the Bug -3" is now available on Amazon. Targeted at new anglers and those who have lost their cell phones in the river, it is a recap of perplexing fly fishing question from the Fly Fishing Community facebook group answered by aquatic insects using an iPhone dropped in Clear Creek Colorado. If you are just getting into fly fishing and can't afford this eBook, send me a pm to my facebook page and I'll send you the link to a free review copy.  http://goo.gl/JBFfsY 

     



Monday, May 25, 2015

#CleanWaterRules .... What’s the diff? Polluting the banks or polluting the waters.

What’s the diff? Polluting the banks or polluting the waters.

  ..
Is there a difference between those that toss PBR and Coors cans along the banks of our streams and The American Farm Bureau Federation and friends trying to mandate the right to pollute the water in the same streams?

Anglers, boaters, hikers, swimmers and downstream water users can’t understand either group. We can pick up the litter and tsk,tsk the thoughtless who did it, but once the dirt, bacteria, fertilizers, manure, acid, and heavy metals have killed the bugs and fish, we CAN NOT clean it up on our own. We have to wait until the EPA declares it a superfund site, and then with tax payer money and fines we, the people, clean it up. Clear Creek, Overland Park, Rocky Mountain Arsenal are examples of EPA cleanups we enjoy in Colorado. 
As we all know, it is illegal to litter and when caught you’ll be fined. But thanks to a couple narrow court cases and some confusing administrative guidance in 2003, it’s really easy to get away with polluting upstream water and destroying wetlands.
The Army Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency are close to promulgating a simple rule that defines what “The Waters of the United States” are for purposes of Clean Water Act of 1972. The purpose of that act was to restore and maintain the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of the nation’s waters … and maintaining the integrity of wetlands. Sounds just like the Trout Unlimited mission.
When the 2003 Bush administrative guidance gutted enforcement of the 1972 Clean Water Act, polluters could foul millions of wetlands, lakes and ponds that are within a state and streams that aren’t obviously connected by surface water to other navigable streams, rivers or coastal waters. The “guidance” barred Clean Water Act enforcement  for 117 million people in the US who get their drinking water in part from intermittent, ephemeral or headwater streams.  Between 2006 and 2010 EPA reported at least 1,500 major pollution investigations were shelved because of the uncertainty created by the guidance. Hazardous waste may not be dumped directly into your drinking-water supply. But a polluter may be within the law if he dumps it into a stream that feeds that supply if the stream is not obviously connected. The 2003 guidance has made it impossible for the Corps of Engineers and EPA to do their job in making and keeping our streams fishable and swimmable and our water drinkable.
The Farm Bureau has gotten itself into a position more in tune with the destruction of the EPA than in the interest of farmers. Unlike most farmers, it believes that keeping the EPA out of the water is more important that assuring the water the livestock drink won’t kill them. This is not surprising since it is in fact the voice of grain and meat processors and opposes the Clean Air Act, Voting Rights Act, Department of Education, and the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Their lobbying effort and social media campaign against the “Definition of Waters” rule focus on building fear that the EPA rule will force farmers to get permits to build fences, use pesticides, and dig ditches. Here is the EPA’s campaign.
Decide for yourself who is “overreaching.” Here are the two pages of the rule.
Support the Corps of Engineers and the Environmental Protection Agency rule “Definition of ‘The Waters of the United States’ Under the Clean Water Act” so that once again it is clear which specific waters of the US are protected from pollution.
  • It protects all tributary streams and waters adjacent to such streams or other covered waters (adjacent meaning along the bank of, or in the floodplain area of, covered waters), because the science confirms they have a significant effect on the biological, chemical, or physical condition of downstream water bodies that are navigable or that are interstate.
  • It does not fully protect “other waters” – ones more distant from covered waters.  It would allow them to be protected if they are shown to collectively play a significant function with respect to downstream waters in the watershed.
  • It lays out what activities and what water bodies are not covered by the law’s programs, by reaffirming a number of pre-existing exemptions and by codifying for the first time exemptions that had previously only been followed as a matter of administrative policy (for instance, stock ponds dug in uplands).  The rules will also specifically exclude certain things that nobody really thought were waters of the US, such as groundwater and tile drains.
  • It explains that certain agricultural practices aimed at improving water quality are entitled to an exemption from the Corps’ permit program, an action the agencies made immediately effective.
To support this rule and tweet our Senators
@SenBennetCO @SenCoryGardner Support #CleanWaterRules  We must restore and maintain the biological integrity of the nation’s waters.
More opinions and facts about this rule:
From the National Resources Defense Council. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/jdevine/everything_you_wanted_to_know.html
From Environment and Energy Publishin  http://www.eenews.net/stories/1059963096
From Fly Rod and Reel. Ted Williams http://www.flyrodreel.com/magazine/2015/clean-water-showdown
From the New York Times http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/05/22/good-news-for-the-nations-waterways/?ref=topics&_r=1

New Belgium Brewery wants Clean Waterhttp://thinkprogress.org/climate/2015/05/19/3660492/epa-water-rules-new-belgium-brewery/

Thursday, March 12, 2015

What a bag of dog shit.


Leave no trace. 

Does it apply to a bag of dog shit?


     It's absolutely true that dogs and dog owners start to resemble each other as they age. (I know, because I read it on the internet.) Yesterday Cheesman canyon gave me an excellent example of a woman who is starting to resemble her dogs droppings. 
 
     I've seen her before. She must have a travel routine that puts her and her yippy little dog in the Cheesman trail parking lot just as Fifi has to dump a load. Unless she can't read, this Forest Service Trail is clearly marked with the following rules:

     I'd just enjoyed a great, exhausting, humiliating, but invigorating day in this glorious canyon that I shared with a dozen other Colorado Troutbums and their friends. 





    All had meticulously keep the trail spotless. Yesterday, an insecure Hansel had left a trail of orange peel pieces along the trail, but I managed to scarf them up. (Hansel, there's no sub-rule that says bio-degradables are ok to leave behind. Next you'll be bringing down your compost.)

    But as I approached the parking lot, I found that FiFi's bag of dog shit had been left neatly along the trail for me just off the parking lot. 

     What could this mean? Is FiFi's owner, let's call her Babs (for Bag of Blue Shit), saying to me:
     "Well, John, I cleaned up after my dog. I've not thrown it into the vault toilet. I've put a little rock on it so that it doesn't blow away. Now I'm counting on you, John, to take it home with you since my car is much to nice to transport this little blue bag of dog shit." 
     I did bring it home. And I'd like to return it to you Babs. Some day, Babs, we will meet again. Better bring a big, big, blue bag because I've got an awful lot of shit to deliver to you about how you are treating the Colorado outdoors. You are a bag of dog shit.