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Fish Farmageddon Update

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Let’s face it, the national political scene is about as entertaining as a never ending Nascar crash.  As a result, local issues seem to be easily set aside.  About a year ago Michiganfly, along with a number of far more credible sources, reported on the Grayling fish farm and their pursuit of a permit to operate the largest fish farming business in Michigan located in the East Branch of the Au Sable River (Michiganfly Piece).

To bring everyone up to speed, here’s what’s happened over the past year or so:

Trial Update

The Sierra Club and Anglers of the Au Sable weren’t able to win their case.  On February 1, 2017 Judge Daniel Pulter upheld the MDEQ permit with modifications including requiring Harietta Hills to conduct additional water quality monitoring and install settlement basins at the downstream end of each raceway where fish waste would be collected for removal.

The Permit

TDEQ Director Heidi Grether will reportedly make a final approval on the amended permit on March 8, 2017.  If so desired, Director Grether has the authority to deny the permit although this isn’t seen as a significant likelihood.

When will the facility be operational?

The facility is reportedly able to begin ramping up operations at this time.

Can anything be done at this point?

Yes, there is still hope as Anglers of the Au Sable plans to take the case into the judicial court system.  Those of us interested in supporting their cause can do the following:

1. Get educated

MLive piece Read This

Anglers of the Au Sable Trial Recap Read That

NY Times piece (hint: if you have anger management issues DO NOT read the comments) Read if you’ve got the time

2. Those active on social media are encouraged to share updates from the Anglers of the Au Sable website: https://www.ausableanglers.org/

3. Anglers of the Au Sable has spent several hundred thousand dollars and anticipate several hundred thousand more.  Funding comes from the general public Get wallet and click here

4. Take a look at Congressman Dan Kildee’s legislation and write your congressman.  So, new legislation was proposed by Congressman Dan Kildee on February 9, 2017 to ban fish farming in the Great Lakes and all federal “Wild Scenic Rivers” including the Au Sable.  The legislation is called the Ban Aquaculture in the Great Lakes Act.  Mlive has a nice overview of the proposed legislation (MLive Link)

This massive fish farm is a bad idea and needs to be shut down.  Get educated and get involved by voicing your opposition and supporting those who are willing to fight the good fight.  The national political scene is a mess, we all get that, but let’s not become complacent about what is happening in our back yard here in Michigan.

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Travel Ban Invoked Against Michigan Anglers

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This week marks the midway point of the annual migration of Mitt Monkeys to the northern Arkansas White River watershed and, as expected, tensions with local residents are at an all-time high.  From the bloated Cotter Courier police blotter to boat ramp protests at the Bull Shoals dam, it’s clear that Michigan anglers have once again worn out their welcome.

With local officials at their wits’ end, area officials reached out to inquire whether the new administration’s controversial travel ban could be invoked.  After hearing testimony from local restaurant and hotel proprietors and reviewing selected 911 recordings, the administration quickly became sympathetic to the plight of Arkansas residents and committed to adding Michigan anglers to the travel ban under an executive order.  “We think this is best for everyone” tweeted POTUS, “these Mitt Monkeys are really bad and totally stupid”.

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The area has a long history of Michigan angler distaste.  Tensions boiled over in 2015 when Mitt Monkeys were suspected of starting a fire at the Bull Shoals dam (link to article).  In 2016, the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission issued an invasive species alert for Michigan Anglers, a tongue-in-cheek campaign with limited success (link to article).

A rapidly growing group of area politicians are advocating additional tactics to supplement the ban including the construction of a wall said to be paid for by Michigan anglers at the Arkansas border.  Others have put forth a plan to post “Welcome to Buckeye Country” signs at the border meant to confuse, disorient, and deter Michigan anglers.

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With the expectation of an executive order, residents may finally get permanent relief from their distant neighbors to the north.  Will the impending travel ban keep Michigan anglers from venturing south or is a massive wall in order?  Michigan anglers may finally realize that they aren’t welcome back in Cotter.

* Tuesday Bananas is a once a week satire column intended for entertainment purposes only.  No fish were harmed in the creation of this post.


Fly Fishermen Ponder the Approach of Peak Beard

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Although few would argue that the steady rise of beard fanaticism is sustainable, many were taken by surprise this past week when Dale Dobak greeted his clients at Green Cottage on the PM Monday morning with a face as smooth as a baby’s bottom.  Dobak has long been considered a leading indicator of peak beard not only due to his use of beard fibers as dubbing in many of his unique steelhead patterns but also because his wooly mammoth beard covers a number of ill-advised face tats.

Michiganfly reached out to several local bearded fly brah’s for comment on this momentous event:

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“Once I saw a small pair of hands shoot out of Dale’s beard to help with a client’s tangled line”

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“I heard that brah’s beard got him in tight with a pack of local Sasquatch.  That shave is probably some kind of Sasquatch hazing ritual”

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“What’s next, are you going to tell me that Dobak took up golf?”

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“No way.  Dobak’s beard has some kinda forcefield around it.  One time at a tying demo I saw his scissors get too close to that beard and they just flew out of his hand”

Is peak beard in sight, will the Dobak doctrine hold true, was Dobak duped into shaving his magnificent beard?


Pollution May Be The Asian Carp Solution

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Severe weather in the Midwest is taking a toll on Lake Michigan waterways as urban chloride pollution from 50 years of heavy winter road salt application has turned sections of area rivers turgid with nearly a half million tons of salt discharged into storm sewers each year.  Since 1960 when the use of road salt began, the salinity levels in the Chicago Area Waterway System have steadily increased to the point now that sections are now classified as salt water.  While Lake Michigan is relatively unaffected, thanks primarily to the reversed flow of the Chicago River, its immediate inland rivers no longer resemble fresh water.

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Surprisingly, this salt pollution has resulted in an intriguing opportunity in the war against Asian Carp. During the fall of 2016, an independent scientific coalition calling themselves SADSACS, Scientists and Democrats Seeking Asian Carp Solutions (Republicans commented that they have their hands full with an invasive species of their own) tested with favorable results the release of several predatory salt water species in a section of the Cal-Sag Channel.  A 6 ft hammerhead shark reportedly survived for 18 hours in the channel until it was caught and eviscerated by a local catfish angler confusing the giant fish with a mutant channel cat common to the area.  Despite the loss, SADSACS confirmed that the shark remained confined to salt laden waters of the channel.
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Hammerhead sharks were selected based their affinity for not only Asian carp but for anything remotely edible including small appliances, discarded auto parts, and empty cheese whiz cans littering the rivers.  The sharks are expected to live quite comfortably until carp eventually arrive in the kill zone. Watersport restrictions are being considered but debates are ongoing as to whether the waterways in question could become any more hazardous.

Confirmation that the salinity of Chicago and NW Indiana water has attained levels high enough to host ocean predators is seen as the likely solution to the Asian Carp conundrum.  In a related note, scientists in San Diego, CA recently provided disturbing evidence that hammerhead sharks are becoming increasingly tolerant to freshwater ecosystems.  When asked about a future involving the great lakes teeming with sharks, SADSACS representatives commented “Let’s just solve one problem at a time”

* Tuesday Bananas is a once a week satire column intended for entertainment purposes only.  No fish were harmed in the creation of this post.


Nestle Admits No Ice Mountain In Evart, MI

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Consumers of Ice Mountain bottled water were shocked this week when news of the deception was announced. For years, area residents have been on the lookout for the Ice Mountain that can be found on Nestlé’s bottled water taken from Evart.  “It’s adorable how the local folks think that there is an actual ice mountain” commented company representatives.  When asked if Evart’s residences are dim-witted, the response was about as clear as a bottle of zebra mussel filtered Muskegon River water “they’ve let us take nearly 4 billion gallons of groundwater from them since 2005 for free, what do you think?”5612036-ice-images

Upon hearing the news, residents were quick to dispute allegations of having a gullible nature.  “Of course we knew there was no ice mountain and yes, I checked again today to find that Evart is not in the dictionary under gullible” commented local resident Dale Gunderson.  To their credit, some area residents confused the 2,500 foot pile of off-spec water bottles near the company’s bottling plant as the ice mountain.  “In the summer when that bottle mountain gets hot, the sun shining through the BPA cloud is downright beautiful” mentioned Gunderson.

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“Look, their high school team mascot is literally a babe in the woods” commented company representatives, “we just can’t help ourselves”.  “In fact, it was kind of a joke when we asked for another hundred million gallons of groundwater but they just smiled and said sure, why not?”

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When asked why Evart doesn’t drive a harder bargain or at least charge a fee for groundwater sold for profit, town officials commented “we heard you can’t put a price on Pure Michigan so of course that’s why it’s free”.  The future is definitely uncertain at the headwaters of the Muskegon River as species indigenous to the watershed prepare to feel the full effect of the Nestle crunch.

* Tuesday Bananas is a once a week satire column intended for entertainment purposes only.  No fish were harmed in the creation of this post.

On the more serious side

Nestle is working to double-down on bottling groundwater from the headwaters of the Muskegon River.  Osceola County and the DEQ are set to approve an increase of nearly 2.5 times their current withdrawal, amounting to about 576,000 gallons-per-day or 210 million gallons-per-year.  One would think that the DEQ would advocate the resource but they’ve instead quietly given their seal of approval despite less than favorable computer modeling data concluding that a massive increase in Nestlé’s harvest of Muskegon River tributary groundwater may not be favorable for the watershed (not to mention the big picture issue of millions of additional plastic bottles set free in the world – not exactly environmental stewardship at its finest).

For those interested in voicing an opinion, public comments on the Nestle proposal (http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/deq-odwma-ehs-nwsu-nestle_section17_application_533989_7.pdf) are being accepted until March 3, 2017.  Comments may be sent to deq-eh@michigan.gov


Swingers Unite

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Fly fishermen choosing the alternate swing lifestyle have found themselves the subject of ridicule and jeers from nymphers, pluggers, centerpinners, and spin fishermen.  Although the method held mainstream appeal in recent years, it’s no longer the case as swingers are increasingly bashed for their choice of piscatorial presentation.  “It’s bad” commented Dale Farner, “I’ve been locked in the Pine Street outhouse, my truck tailpipe jammed with spawn, and the other day a Tenkara guy shoved me and called me a loser”.

Swing fishermen have recently realized kindred spirits with the original swing community.  “It’s no surprise” commented lifetime swinger Jim Barns, alongside his frisky wife Betty, “we all love to hook up”.  Citing additional similarities, Barns went on to comment “think about it, we both use intruders when conditions are right and we all like to work with jungle cock when we can get our hands on it”.  As it turns out, swing fishermen have recently taken a page from their kindred spirit brothers and sisters and have adopted the swingers pineapple as the international symbol of their preferred pastime.

“I don’t miss having that awkward conversation with new fishing partners” says Farner, “we both know what each other wants so we get right down to business”.  Nowadays, Farner is often seen browsing around local fly shops wearing his pineapple trucker lid.  “You’d be shocked to find out who swings these days, the camo wader crowd is surprisingly open”.

So if you’re finished being rejected by pals when you mention breaking out the spey rods and fat lines, take a cue from the original swing crowd and slap a pineapple decal on your bumper.  Whether swinging for steel or swinging for real, both groups agree that the tug is the drug.

* Tuesday Bananas is a once a week satire column intended for entertainment purposes only.  No fish were harmed in the creation of this post.


Unpopular Fishing Blog Announces 7 Month Vacation

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Likening the task of pushing out two or three posts each week to repeatedly placing a man on the moon, wildly unpopular bolggers at Michiganfly announced today that they will be taking 7, maybe 8 months off to recuperate, fish, and try desperately to catch up on American Idol before the series finale.

Just when site traffic finally began to surpass most pre-2012 inactive DIY project blogs, the guys predictably decided to “take a bunch of time off before people’s expectations get way out of whack” according to Michiganfly’s Chief Rocka.

Response from their tragically low readership has been mixed.

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“It’s obvious they’ve been coasting the past few weeks and to be honest, I don’t think I could bear to see what they’d post if they were to try even less” commented Rich Youngstein.

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“Avoiding work is pretty much what they do best so it’s no surprise they’ve decided to take a 28 week vacation” commented Ryan “Pulled Pork” Riggins.

Unsurprisingly, many appreciate the break.

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“I just wish I could get back the four or five hours that blog sucked from my life this past winter” commented Cole Beardsley.

When asked if actually planning to return later in 2016, Bob and Dan commented that they’ve been thinking of opening a mall kiosk selling replica designer sunglasses and motorized scooters with all the click-through proceeds from their site. If for some reason that fails you can expect to see them back at it this fall.

 


Brah’s Annual Steelhead Weekend

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Preparing for the annual weekend of “hot steelhead action” with Sam, his high school best friend, Dale Unger has a pretty good idea what to expect. Sam, a tantrum-prone 35-year-old, predictably goes through the same rituals starting with a healthy dose of pre-trip boasting about all of his new gear, secret bugs, and YouTube prep for an average of 12 weeks prior to the outing culminating in the purchase of a top shelf rod, reel, or waders, typically a brand name he’s spent years criticizing. About one week out Sam’s focus and attention is directed to heavy internet analysis with hourly USGS updates, Facebook puffing, and sarcastic forwarding of fishless outing reports from acquaintances with taglines like “not gonna be us pal”.

Knowing the impending events about to unfold, Dale endures Phases 1 and 2 like a pro realizing that this, by far, will be the most joy Sam will feel during the entire experience. Phase 3 starts in the parking lot where they meet Saturday morning when, while gearing up, Sam begins laying out a carefully orchestrated series of handicaps and disadvantages for use at some appropriate moment during the day. In a futile attempt to lower the odds of a meltdown, Dale often gives Sam’s gear a quick once over for obvious flaws.

During the walk in, Sam treats Dale to stories of his many successful outings in this river, often recounting events that Dale is pretty sure never involved Sam. Tuning out Sam’s tall tales, Dale recounts some of the more memorable blowups, fondly recalling the 2013 event when Sam spent 45 minutes fighting a “monster chromer” that turned out to be a despondent turtle. In 2014 it happened when Dale hooked and landed a large buck in water Sam had fished for over an hour. 2015’s meltdown resulted from Sam ripping a hole in his waders trying to step over a low barbed wire fence and snapping Sam’s brand new Sage 8wt that he’d nicknamed Excalibur.

Desperately trying not to trigger Sam’s impending hysterics, Dale fishes secondary water two bends down from his pal. After about an hour and when some of Sam’s gear begins floating by, Dale knows his buddy is upstream going ape shit.  Thankful for not having to witness this years meltdown, Dale quietly gathers his gear and prepares to call it a trip.

Reflecting on the galactic disconnect between Sam’s expectations and reality, Unger notes that it would probably help if Sam got out and fished on some of the 363 days between outings.


FishBrah App Release Announced

Buckle up brahs, the much anticipated FishBrah app is set for release on May 1.  This killer app is stacked with everything a brah needs to max their stream creds.

Brahs can tune up their streamside photo’s into epic shots.  Can’t grow that bro beard – no problem.  Forgot to sport that flat-brimmed hat today – gotcha covered.  Didn’t want to bring your psycho dog in the boat but want him in your shots – can do.  Want to spice up that shot with a flowing red cape – Done!  Just drag and drop from their extensive menu of goatees, bro beards, muttonchops, gangsta lids, and superhero accutraments.

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Right On Brah!

And it doesn’t stop there.  FishBrah ensures that photo’s posted to social media sites will get proper billing.  Want to kick off your post with 25 thumbs up – you’re covered.  Are you tired of aunt Betty commenting about your “pretty fish” – now her posts just say “right on brah!”  Are you done with those snarky comments like “that’s my favorite spot” or “I remember when I caught that fish” – they’re outta here.  Protect your prized posts and be the hero you deserve to be.

FishBrah IS the must-have app for all troutbums and brah’s.  Get yours May 1.

Upgraded versions of the Brah app will:

  • Allow you to auto generate a photo slide show that plays bluegrass music while transitioning from photo to photo
  • Post automatic comments to your buds social media updates – using phrases like: “so sweet”, “yup!”, “get some”, “rad”, “duuuude”, “boom”
  • You will be able to swap out the fish in your picture with the hot trendy fish of the year, options include: musky, carp, pike, catfish, bluegill, taimen, and bluegill

*A small upcharge is applied for premium features. 

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MDNR Unveils Master Plan to Thwart Snagging


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Snaggers looking to pluck fish off beds this spring may find the task more challenging than ever as MDNR plans to deploy their fleet of metallic monofilament-chomping fake fish known as Gravel Guards. Placed strategically in and around spawning areas, Gravel Guards deter those planning to “fish” actively spawning steelhead with their scissor like mandibles and realistic profiles. Results of the Gravel Guard test phase were considered a fantastic success during the spring of 2015 as many anglers looking for an easy meal left disappointed and separated from most of their terminal tackle. Crowds gathered at times to watch world class lifters and snaggers attempt, unbeknownst to them, the impossible task of hooking a 40 inch, 75 pound, fake fish.

“When we realized our poaching hotline had been dialing a closed soul food restaurant in Detroit for the past 5 years we decided to refine our approach” commented MDNR spokesperson Phil McCracken. Following the hotline debacle, efforts to remove snaggers primarily involved posting bogus used car ads at trailheads, mostly for late model Chevy Astro Vans, a wildly popular vehicle among the snagging community. After a couple years of distracting snaggers with excellent results, the Astro program was exposed and snagging resumed in force.

With fewer returning steelhead anticipated this year, MDNR’s approach to protect the limited resource is considered pure genius. While a shroud of secrecy surrounds the program and specifics as to where Gravel Guards will be deployed, it’s no secret where snaggers tend to operate. River stretches with monofilament tangled tree limbs and the occasional rusty lawn chair are considered prime locations but beware as the agency plans to deploy some in secondary gravel areas to keep the honest fisherman honest.

Let it be known that MDNR has given fair warning to fishermen that choosing to snag may lead to nothing but frustration and failure. Time will tell as to whether the Michigan crickets and other lead-laced treble hook creations have finally met their match.