Category: Conservation


It’s finally out, just in time for trout season and anyone planning to make the journey to Argentina and fulfill a dream. I try to re-fulfill the dream every chance I get!!! ūüėČ

Click on the image below to download the PDF document.

 

 

 

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“La Plata Basin: Sustainability in the face of development”, Conference in¬†Asunci√≥n

The conference is to be held from the 14th to 16th of September in Asunción Paraguay, with attendence from more than 40 delegates representing NGOs from five countries, international conservation groups, in addition to experts and government authorities. The intention is to develop a shared vision paper and a portfolio of proposed projects for the Basin.  Topics will include, new development in the region and their impacts, and North-South inter-relations, such as the role of NGOs in the near future. Te Platine basin is one of the 5 largest on the planet, while at the same time being one of the most highly populated.

The Río de la Plata Basin (Spanish: Cuenca del Plata), sometimes called the Platine basin or Platine region, is the name given to the 4,144,000 square kilometer (1,600,000 sq mi) hydrographical area that covers parts of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay.

“CUENCA DEL PLATA: HACIA LA SUSTENTABILIDAD
DEL DESARROLLO‚ÄĚ, SER√Ā EN ASUNCI√ďN

El encuentro tendrá lugar del 14 al 16 de setiembre próximo, con más de 40 delegados de ONGs de los cinco países y de representantes de organizaciones internacionales de la conservación, así como de expertos y autoridades de gobierno. Se espera elaborar un documento de visión compartida y un portafolio de propuestas de proyectos sobre las principales cuestiones de la Cuenca. Las nuevas tendencias de desarrollo en la región y sus impactos, y las interrelaciones Norte-Sur, así como el rol que tendrán las ONGs en el futuro cercano, están también entre las temáticas a abordar. La Cuenca del Plata es una de las cinco mayores del planeta; es también una de las más pobladas. Incluye a Buenos Aires, Asunción, Montevideo, Brasilia y San Pablo.
http://www.proteger.org.ar/doc926.html

When I start thinking about my next fishing outing, like most fishermen, my thoughts focus on the enjoyment I have waiting for me; a chance to reconnect with nature, sooth my soul and take away memories to last me until my next outing. I think of myself as someone who does his best to preserve nature so that I can continue to enjoy the environment and so that my son, and generations to come, can do so also. I don’t litter and even will pick up bottles or garbage that I find and hope my fishing companions will notice and that it will be¬†contagious. But I’m not one to impose my values on others. So if I see a fishing pal drop a wrapper carelessly, instead of saying “hey jackass friend, why not drop that in a wastebasket instead”, I’ll just subtly pick it up myself (hoping he/she will notice)¬†and save it to toss later, or toss it directly if there’s a recipient nearby.

But even though I think I’ve got all the good behavior down (and maybe you do too), perhaps it wouldn’t be a bad idea to consider how recreational fishing can have an impact on the environment, because in fact it’s not just commercial fishing that has a negative impact on the environment. Unfortunately, we good natured weekend warriors also make an impact and recreational “harvest” may make up as much as 12% of the global take. ¬†source: Cooke & Cowx

 Ok, now you’re thinking, “Hey, I practice catch and release…” But it is not only those fish that you keep. Even the ones you toss back may end up as¬†flotsam. Not to mention that¬†negligent¬†fishing practices and carelessness can also harm other wildlife and even destroy entire habitats. Here are some things that might be good to keep in mind, consider and even address actively and constantly improve your conservationism and minimize your negative impact on the environment and sport we all love. To approach this logically I’ve assembled five points, one for each finger (assuming you haven’t lost one to a nasty Pike, Muskie, Walleye, Golden Dorado, Pac√ļ, etc. while trying to extract your “lucky fly”).

  1. Transport – Imagine putting your outboard in your bathtub before taking a bath. Right, they are nasty. So imagine what they do to the natural environment. Now jump in the tub with your outboard and crank her up… You may or may not whack a fish with your outboard propeller but it works like a moulinex on plants and anything else that are vital for fish survival (i.e. food and shelter).

    Moulinex

    Engines also make clear waters murky because of their¬†pollution¬†and contribution to¬†erosion.Some alternatives I can think of are, electric motors, not using a motor at all, and at the very least, just being conscious of the potential damage you might do if you’re not as careful as you could be while operating a fishing boat.Giving up the motorized transport may introduce you to a whole new fishing experience.

    Two years ago, I decided to try fly fishing from a canoe I found by a path leading to a small lake behind the cabins we were staying in while fishing Trout Lake in Canada. I’d never tried to fly fish off a canoe before, and it wasn’t easy, but when I finally hooked a Pike, even though he wasn’t very big, he hauled me all over that little lake before I got him in the net. It is still the most vivid catch memory from that trip.

  2. Gear – Most of your gear goes in with you and comes back out, but there are some things that you leave behind which can have significant negative effect you may not be aware of. There are the obvious things, such as lures that get snagged and you end up loosing because of a broken line. Whenever possible, make every effort to retrieve them. You’ll have the lure to use again in the future, and you’ll ensure that no animals are injured when they come¬†across¬†your lure either by mistake or because they mistake it for real food. Fishing line is also a huge hazard. It doesn’t¬†bio-degrade¬†and can trap fish and fauna alike. Next time you have a big hairy knot-up (galleta as it’s known around here) dispose of it properly instead of just tossing it to the depths.Lead weights are another¬†hazard. ¬†They are toxic and left in the water they can also be mistaken for food. Believe it or not there are lures and weights that are now made of fish food and might actually improve the luck of some of you out there who I know can use all the luck they can get… ūüėČ

  3. Trash – This one is simple to remember. Don’t be stupid. Don’t litter. ‘nuf said?
  4. Non-native – Non-native plants and species can¬†devastate¬†your newly discovered fishing paradise. You’ve all heard by now about Zebra Muscles, Asian Carp and Sea Lamprey among others, that are invading and significantly impacting your local fishing environments. In most cases this didn’t happen because some crazy guy introduced the non-native plant or creature on purpose. Usually these problems started because of carelessness. Be sure you boat, float, lures, bait bags, minnow buckets, etc. are all cleaned and free of plants and other animals before you go from one body of water to the next. It’s just the smart and correct thing to do. It will also ensure that your gear stays in the best shape possible and you enjoy your investment that much longer. Invading species can displace native ones by outcompeting them for resources, thus altering the species composition and balance of the ecosystem. According to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, non-native and invasive species cost the United States more than $100 billion dollars each year.Also, don’t dump your unused bait in the water when you are done fishing, and don’t use live bait if it is prohibited. Be a good sportsman and obey the rules. If you set a good example, other will follow.
  5. Handling – This is something that is becoming more and more popular and well know, and I’m happy for it. The length of time and how you handle your catch is key to fish survival.I hope most, if not all of you, are practicing catch and release, and only keep what you eat during a shore lunch or dinner. Taking “limits” back home to store in a freezer for me is just greedy. Go out and have a nice fish dinner in a restaurant when you get back home, and if you want fresh caught Pike or Trout, enjoy it when you’re on the water only.

    Keep only the small and medium sized fish and let the big ones that reproduce do their duty. ¬†Use barbless hooks to minimize damage, hold the fish as little as possible, avoid touching their gills and removing protective slime. Reel them in, take a quick picture and return them to the water quickly (to avoid exhausting them). If you hook a fish deeply, don’t risk unnecessary harm by trying to get it out — simply clip the line and let the fish go.

Give and Take-care

Like I said before, I’m not one to impose, but I hope by now you are considering some ways that you can be a more environmentally friendly fisherman. Nobody is perfect, but by setting an example whenever we can, we’ll ensure that there are many more productive and enjoyable fishing outings in our future and for those who follow on behind us.

Sources: Cooke, Steven J. and Ian G. Cowx. “The Role of Recreational Fishing in Global Fish Crises.” BioScience. September 2004. Vol. 54, No. 9.


Tierra del Fuego

Land of Fire

If you translate the caption of the picture of the picture to the left into Spanish you get… “Tierra del Fuego”.

If you know anything about fly fishing in Argentina, or if you don’t, you should start feeling a little fire start down in your belly right about now… but I’ll get back to this.

One of the great torturous things about fishing in Argentina is that there is more fishing to be done and more places to explore, than time to do it.

Like most fishermen, those that are addicts – and by that I mean someone who dreams about fishing when they sleep, always sees a break in the work schedule (even an hour or two) as a possible fishing opportunity, gets sweaty palms walking into a fly shop, or who’s heart starts to beat a little faster when catching a whiff of that aroma unique to tackle boxes; anyway, most fishing addicts have¬†a list.

The list is made up of not just places to fish, but also species to fish for and even techniques and types of equipment, ¬†and any number of things that are prioritized into the short, middle and long term¬†foreseeable¬†future. This list – which is basically a plan, is carried around with us so that when opportunity presents itself we‚Äôre ready to pounce – fills a space we carve out for life’s upcoming fishing experiences.

But sometimes, you can get stuck on one particular aspect of that list and forget about, or neglect other aspects. When that happens, you can lose the excitement of discovering something new and it might take an external push to get you to open your eyes and realize, ‚Äúhey, that‚Äôs something new for my list!‚ÄĚ

Sea Run Brown Trout

Sea-Run Brown

About two weeks ago, I got a call from a friend of mine at the Embassy asking me if I could help a couple of guys get some information on sea-run Brown trout in the Rio Irigoyen. ‚ÄúYou bet!‚ÄĚ I said and started working my network of blogs, bulletin boards, guides, lodges, friends (of course), fly fishermen and fly shops.

Since I haven‚Äôt been to Tierra del Fuego myself yet, it was a lot of fun discovering where to go, what to do and see, and also learning more about the sea-run Browns. Trout, sometimes called ‚Äúsalters‚ÄĚ, which live in rivers that empty into the sea,¬†may spend up to three months at sea in the spring, not straying more than a few kilometers from the river mouth. The fish return upstream to spawn in the late summer or autumn. This is not just a Brown Trout phenomenon, and even Brook Trout can exhibit this behavior. The reason everyone is crazy about Brown that go to sea is because of their growth capacity. If you‚Äôve ever hooked a Brown, you know that it is probably the fiercest fighting trout species, and since it is one of the larger species of trout‚Ķ well, you get the idea.

Santiago del Estero

Santiago del Estero

Around the same time that I got the call from Charlie at the Embassy, I also got together with my friend Jim for lunch. Now he‚Äôs the kind of guy that has done or knows something about just about everything. The one thing that he hasn‚Äôt done is to have gone fishing for Golden Dorado in the Argentine ‚ÄúLitoral‚ÄĚ also known as Mesopotamia. So while we‚Äôre eating lunch Jim says that when he gets back from his next trip he wants to plan a trip with me to go after some Dorado. Now, I‚Äôm always up for Dorado (‚Äútiger of the river‚ÄĚ) since it is one of the greatest fishing freshwater fish around, but there is a problem‚Ķ a big problem. Due to overfishing and a lack of preservation efforts in Mesopotamia (which is comprised of the provinces of Misiones, Entre Rios and Corrientes) there fewer and fewer Dorado and the catch sizes are smaller and smaller when you can find them. It‚Äôs really a shame.

However, this is good news for guides and lodges popping up to the west of the Mesopotamia in Santiago del Estero and Salta. The respective rivers in each province, Rio Dulce and Rio Juramento, still have Dorado‚Äôs in quantity and quality. (Are you on ‚Äúq‚ÄĚ?) Although conservation efforts are still not as good and enforcement not as tight as it probably should be, at least in these provinces there are mandatory catch-and-release policies.

So now Jim and I have another adventure on our ‚Äúlist‚ÄĚ.

Rio Dulce

Rio Dulce

Going back and doing research on these fish, fishing habitats and regions of this beautiful country (which I‚Äôll share in upcoming articles), I suddenly got out of my rut ‚Äď which I hadn‚Äôt realized I was in ‚Äď and was humbled once again by the beauty and diversity of this planet. I hope you‚Äôll considering adding these adventures to your list. You won‚Äôt be disappointed. Now excuse me while I get my gear in order so I can get ready to enjoy a few adventures on MY list.

As you know, I am a widely traveled man. This allows me to corroborate the claim that a trip is always more or less illusory.

That there is nothing new under the sun, it is all one and the same in the end.

But also, and paradoxically allows me to ensure there is no reason to stop looking for the exotic, the new.

Indeed, the world is endless.

J. L. Borges.

Help limit the spread of invasive/exotic (non-native) species!

Digg!

Asian Carp

Non-native species are can threaten or destroy local aquatic ecosystems. Invasive plants, fish, crayfish, snails, mussels, or parasites can destroy existing aquatic communities when they enter a new river or reservoir because they may either overtake local species, or may introduce disease.

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The old Lakota was wise. He knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard; he knew that lack of respect for growing, living things soon led to lack of respect for humans too.

Luther Standing Bear (Lakota)

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