It’s always Christmas, 24-7.
The Bonefish Missionaries
For over two hundred years, English, Australian and American missionaries have cast their secular nets over a small isolated outpost in the Line Islands of the North Pacific. Their prized catches were the hearts and minds of the Gilbertese, Polynesian descendants named after the British Sea Captain and explorer, Thomas Gilbert, who inhabit the planet’s largest coral atoll of Christmas Island.
Today a new kind of disciple preaches to devoted followers. Often shoeless and quick to smile, meet the “Bonefish Missionaries”, a handful of highly skilled native fishing guides that patiently teach a steady stream of converts who come to Christmas Island weekly to pursue Bonefish, a.k.a., the silver streak of the flats.
Guides, like Tanaka, who learned to swim before he could walk. Born to become a fisherman, his knowledge of the flats and his uncanny ability to see “through the water”, provide an exciting narrative for the thousands of fly anglers that have made the pilgrimage to this Bonefish Mecca.
American Angler Magazine has recently published my latest article on the impacts of removing the Clark Fork Dam near Missoula. You can read it at my website under the link Free Lance writing. In researching the subject, I discovered the Clark Fork Coalition. Based in Missoula, it is a blue ribbon organization fostering environmental stewardship. The staff of professionals are committed to their mission and action oriented. I plan to write a sequel to the Milltown Dam removal article, focusing on current restoration initiatives underway and planed for the upper Clark for River – from Missoula to its head waters at Warm Springs.
Closer to home, in the Kittitas Valley of Eastern Washington, The Yakima River, my home water, has several water quality restoration projects being coordinated and managed by the State Department of Ecology. We are planning an April meeting of key stakeholders including, state and local officials, landowners, farmers, and representatives from the yakima nation. Unlike other great western trout streams, the Yakima River needs an advocate organization to preserve and expand quality fishery and recreational opportunities for current and future generations. If you are interested in joining a mailing list to receive updates, please e-mail me direct at firstname.lastname@example.org.
April/May brings the annual “flood irrigation” of farmland in and around the Yakima River, near Ellensburg. Toxic fertilizer runs into creeks like Cherry and Wilson that feed the Yakima River. Below Wilson Creek, the Yakima River struggles to absorb the brown layer of muck and debris. Solutions have included creating holding tanks to filter the irrigated water near where it runs into local creeks. Farmers argue that it’s too expensive to build. So year after year the cycle is repeated. It’s time to unite all stakeholders in an effort to create a strong voice for the long term health of the Yakima River. Troutdogs is exploring the establishment of a coalition to address the many issues that confront the use of this unique resource. Please contact me at Troutdogs if you are interested in participating. Future posts will provide updates.
Please see my latest article Montana North, featured in the Expeditions section of American Angler Magazine. www.americanangler.com