The Friday 5: The Ranch, AFFTA, the Farm Bill, Hot Water and brookies

Here are this week's five trout-fishing tidbits that you can take into the weekend:

1) The famed Railroad Ranch on the Henry's Fork opened this week, and Jimmy's All-Season's Angler in Idaho Falls reports pretty consistent caddis and PMD hatches on the storied river. Fishing the ranch can make you feel like a hero when you dial in the bugs, and generally worthless when you don't. But don't fret--the lower Henry's around the town of Ashton is a bit more forgiving and fishes less like the torturous spring creek as it flows through the Ranch and more like a traditional freestoner. If you're willing to venture farther afield from Island Park, consider the South Fork--good PMD and Yellow Sally action is happening as you read this and next week... the big salmonflies should be out in full force below the canyon and working their way upstream. NOT to be missed.

Volunteers from the Snake River Cutthroats chapter in Idaho Falls, Idaho, work to restore Rainey Creek, a tributary fo the South Fork of the Snake River. Money to restore creeks like this often come via the Farm Bill.

2) It may not seem too terribly exciting, but the U.S. Senate passed the Farm Bill on Thursday with what the policy folks here at TU call "a strong conservation title." What that really means is that conservation funding for things like stream restoration projects, reconnect work, and irrigation improvement--you know, all the things that make trout

fishing better throughout entire drainages--is included in the Senate's bill. Now it's on to the House where we'll need some help. Contact your federal delegation in the House and urge them to support the Farm Bill.

3) Did you know that 140 million Americans engage in outdoor recreation each and every year, and that the outdoor recreation industry contributes $646 million to the economy and supports 6.1 million American jobs? The Outdoor Industry Association released a report this week detailing the importance of outdoor recreation to the American

economy, and, to its credit, the American Fly Fishing Trade Association was quick to point out the connection between the economic activity cited in the report and the presence of intact fish and wildlife habitat. It's simple: Intact habitat translates into opportunity, which drives economic activity.

“While the money that’s spent on gear and equipment is certainly significant, the real economic impact occurs when people get outside and use the equipment that they’ve bought,” said Jim Klug, AFFTA chairman and co-owner of Yellow Dog Fly Fishing Adventures during an interview on National Public Radio’s broadcast of Marketplace Morning Report.

AFFTA is a big partner in TU's efforts all across America to protect, reconnect, restore and sustain our country's trout and salmon watersheds. It's great to see the trade organization taking a lead role in the effort to protect the places we love to fish.

4) Some sad news. The Yampa River in northwest Colorado--a quality trout stream and a popular river with tubers and boaters--was voluntarily closed to all recreation this week when water temperatures reached 72 degrees at the 5th Street Bridge in Steamboat Springs. Water temperatures higher than 70 degrees can be fatal to trout. This year's low snowpack, and the hot dry weather in Colorado of late (the Yampa is located west over the Continental Divide from the fires in the mountains near Fort Collins) has lowered stream flows enough to where resource managers asked for and received a voluntary closure. It's a good lesson for anglers. During the heat of summer, when water temperatures are high enough to stress trout, it's best to seek other fishing destinations, or focus on warm-water fishing until things cool off a bit.

Backcountry brookies... does it get any better?

5) Or, stick with trout, but head to the backcountry. The higher you get, the colder the water and the healthier the fish. And, generally speaking, when you fish small mountain streams in the West or along the Appalachian spine, you're likely going to find yourself in beautiful country. As a refresher, author and angler Ron Belak from Colorado gives you some great advice in this video on fly fishing the small water.

Enjoy, and have a great weekend.

- Chris Hunt



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