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chrome-magnon man
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2 things this month: 1) an update on the subscription drive; 2) some thoughts about how this all ties in with conservation.

Speypages Subscription Drive

Well, we are now nearing the tape. 9 more subscribers and we will reach the 200 mark, the goal I set back in the fall. I speculated that we would reach this goal early in 2005 and it looks like things are rolling along positively to that end. This has been a great response and I am really grateful to all of you for your support. In a few weeks we should reach #200 and at that time I will draw for a LOOP rod and line combination of the winner's choice, which I will also ship insured at no cost to the winner (the winner will only be responsible for any duties or taxes). Depending on the rod chosen this could work out to a value of over $800 CDN--not too bad for an investment of $40 USD! Good luck on the draw!

So, what happens after #200? Things will simply carry on as before. Every 25 subscribers I will draw for something cool and spey-related. At 300 I will draw for another tackle combo. Everyone who hasn't won will remain eligible for the draws.

Over the next month I will be completing the new newsletter article and additional video clips, so watch for new stuff near the end of the month!


The Conservation Question

Most of us are fishers of anadromous species. All of this spey stuff is fun to talk about and learn, but if we view the spey as a means to an end--that end being the opportunity to angle for steelhead and salmon--I believe it is important that we ask ourselves if we have any responsibilities to the fish and future anglers to ensure that these opportunities exist?

Anadromous fish species are under constant threat. Habitat degradation, open net pen salmon farming, commercial fishing--these and other factors are impacting the fish that make casting and fishing a spey rod so enjoyable. Some of these things seem so beyond our control that it seems fruitless to exert any effort towards their solution. I know from personal experience that it is hard to know what to do in the face of corporate and governmental indifference towards conservation issues impacting anadromous fish.

Being a spey caster is not only a choice of tackle and technique but a philosophical stance as well. We learn these difficult techniques and apply them in pursuit of fish that we hold in the highest regard, and it ennobles us to do so. I have come to believe that it is impossible to be a spey caster and not an advocate for healthy runs of wild salmon and steelhead. When these runs are in peril it is vital that long rodders voice their concerns. Last fall when the Thompson steelhead were in trouble thousands of anglers from around the world heeded their call and let the Canadian government know that the world was watching as the gillnets swept the Fraser river. This had an impact on the decision makers and we must keep them aware of our presence and concern.

It is challenging to do everything that must be done, and for some perhaps impossible to participate directly. Still, there are things we can do. Write a letter; send an email; join an organization. Even if you cannot take part personally, the fact that you belong to an organization ads weight to their argument and gives them credibility when dealing with the government. Organizations such as the Steelhead Society of British Columbia, the Wild Steelhead Coalition in Washington State, and many others rely on volunteers to do the work and membership revenues to support that work. Even if you can't participate directly by attending meetings and doing other volunteer work, consider a membership to an organization you believe in.

For me, so much of spey casting is about wild fish in wild rivers, and the fellowship of other like-minded people. We may not agree on which rod or line style to fish, but we all agree that without the wild places and the pleasures we find there, something in our souls would perish.

And we simply cannot allow that to happen.
 
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