Oxford College is offering a free class entitled Discover Fly Fishing: An Introduction. The three-hour session will consist of an overview of basic skills and equipment used in fly fishing. By the end of the course, participants will have a basic understanding of the sport of fly fishing and will be able to demonstrate a variety of fly-fishing casts.

The instruction will be held on the campus of Oxford College. Two sessions are available, both held on Saturday, March 28, one begins at 9 a.m. and the other begins at 1 p.m. The class is free but space is limited and participants must reserve their spot prior to the class. Participants must be 10-years-old or more. No equipment or experience is necessary. To register call Dr. Todd Sherman at (770) 784-8354 or e-mail him at tsherma@emory.edu. If using e-mail, please put “Fly Fishing” in the subject line.

Source: http://www.covnews.com/news/article/6366/


Mount St. Helens researchers are fighting a bill in Washington’s Legislature that would allow limited rainbow trout fishing in Spirit Lake for the first time since the 1980 eruption.

The bill, SHB 1838, passed the Washington House earlier this month on a 95-1 vote. It authorizes the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife to establish a limited, raffle-based recreational fishery for rainbow trout in the lake, where trout topping 20 inches have been recorded.

Roger del Moral, a biology professor at the University of Washington, sent a letter protesting the move to Washington state Sen. Ken Jacobsen, D-Seattle, chairman of the Natural Resources, Ocean and Recreation committee. John Bishop, an associate professor of biology at Washington State University and a trustee of the Mount St. Helens Institute, also wrote in opposition to renewed fishing.

Both men cautioned that they are not speaking for their universities or the institute, but said they have done extensive research at the lake, set aside as a scientific reserve after the eruption.

Allowing fishing in the timber-clogged lake would “end the only natural experiment of its kind” into the process of natural repair, del Moral wrote. People walking along the shore would alter it, he said, and introducing rafts and other craft would “inevitably” introduce aquatic weeds.

Bishop noted that scientists were “forced to give up” nearby Coldwater Lake, created by the eruption, to fish stocking to protect Spirit Lake for research. Spirit Lake brings in hundreds of thousands of federal research dollars each year and researchers from across the globe.

“I am not overstating the case when I say that this has become one of the world’s top few sites for studying the biological responses to catastrophic disturbance,” Bishop wrote.

Recreational fishing groups have worked with the state for seven years to re-establish a fishery. Proponents say Spirit Lake would be a world-class fishing destination, full of healthy, trophy-sized rainbow trout. Anglers, they say, could help manage the fish, which have declined in average size recently.

Source: http://www.oregonlive.com/environment/index.ssf/2009/03/mount_st_helens_researchers_fi.html


Despite her fear, one Wessex Scene writer keeps climbing that colourful wall to the top.

“Hey Ben! How’s it going? What are you up to?”

“Oh just heading off to go rock climbing actually…” His sentenced trailed off as I zoned out completely, fixated on one thing: rock climbing.

And that conversation is how I ended up rock climbing on a Tuesday afternoon.

From the moment I told Ben I wanted to go climbing, I knew I had gotten myself into trouble. Don’t get me wrong, I was interested in going, but I have a love–hate relationship with rock climbing. Prior to our conversation I had gone twice before in America, both times being roped into it by a friend. It’s those experiences that formed my relationship with rock climbing. I loved it; my stomach on the other hand did not. It was one of those cases similar to that of going to the gym – you don’t really want to, but when you’re finished you feel great. Well, I was always massively scared to rock climb, but when I made it to the top the feeling was incredible.

It was 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon when we met outside the Cube – at least I had made it that far I told myself. As Ben led me downstairs the anticipation was killing me, I could feel my stomach knotting as I explained to him that I am a chronic chicken, and that maybe this first time I will just watch. He just looked at me and laughed. I however, found nothing funny about that statement; this was going to be…interesting.

We arrived at a door, dropped our stuff, and he handed me climbing shoes to put on while he unlocked the door. When I finished tying my shoelace, I looked up cautiously at the rock walls towering over me. Here we go again I thought. I followed him into the room with padded floors (where I would probably be spending most of my time I thought) and walls filled with different colored grips as paths up to the top. Ben introduced me to his friend Helton, who had been rock climbing for years, which made me feel slightly better, although not enough to stop my palms from beginning to sweat. Before I could even utter a single sentence Ben was climbing up a wall. I stood on the ground absolutely bewildered.

“But…where are the ropes, the harnesses, you know, those lovely gadgets that keep me from falling on my ass?” Helton looked at me and laughed, apparently this question amused him. “Here we don’t use them, it’s just you and the wall.” Great.

“You cannot be serious, what about release forms or insurance policies? What if I, you know…” He stopped me before I could finish. I whined for a few more minutes as he and Ben just nodded at me. This was a battle I had already lost.

After some more moaning, I finally agreed. They pointed out an ‘easy’ route and offered a few tips, I nodded and hoped I looked more confident then I felt. As I walked towards the wall my stomach began knotting itself into a big tangled mess, similar to my love life, but I won’t even start on that topic.

Ben handed me some chalk to dust my hands with, gave me a pat on my shoulder and told me I could do it. I turned around hesitantly, looked up and took a deep breath. With a few steps forward I was right up against the wall, as ready as I could be. I placed both of my hands where Ben had shown me to, took my first step up and began to climb. With each movement I felt all the muscles in my body tighten up. My breath got heavier and my heart raced. I gripped onto each plastic mould knowing that unfortunately the only place I would go was down.

Then, after I was a little bit higher than half way up the wall, I got stuck. “Ben!” I whined, “My leg doesn’t go that far! Can I just come down now?” Somehow, I knew what his reply would be, but I had to give it a try.

“Jaz, just pull yourself up a little more with your left hand and shift all your weight to your left side and then try. Trust me. You are so close.” I turned my head away from the floor, which in my mind was miles down, closed my eyes for a second, and focused on his instructions. I swung my body to the left and I stretched my right leg to the next mould. With a little effort, an exhalation and some muscle tensing, I made it. The last few movements felt like baby steps compared to my last maneuver and as I got to the top I felt my smile growing wider. The adrenaline rush that flooded my body when I grabbed the top of the wall was amazing; it came with a wave of excitement and a sense of accomplishment.

That feeling, like a slap in the face of positive, adrenaline-fueled emotions is why, all hatred aside, I have kept at rock climbing ever since.

Source: http://www.wessexscene.co.uk/features/3186


Developers hope to have a world-class sailing resort open at Loch Tay by 2012 after being granted planning permission by Perth and Kinross Council.

The Croft Na Caber site will feature a marina, bars, spa, more than 50 holiday apartments and a watersports centre.

Strathtay Developments has said that 42 jobs will be created at the facility.

However, about 80 locals lodged objections about the proposals, many concerned safety on a narrow road which the site near Kenmore straddles.

Eric Strickland from Strathtay Developments said he was “absolutely delighted” that their plans had been approved.

“It’s been a long process – we’ve been working on this process for the last three-and-a-half years,” he said.

“The vision is to really create a 21st century sailing resort which is going to cater for families and members of the public and tourists that will be able to experience sailing in a variety of different craft without necessarily having to get into a damp wetsuit.

“There is not a lot of opportunities for young folk [in the area] and we’re going to be creating 42 jobs in the running of this resort, not to mention the jobs created in the construction of it.”

However, Bill Oppenheim, chairman of the Loch Tay Association, told the BBC Scotland news website that the area was falling victim to a “stampede to develop.”

He was angry that the council rejected their concerns and gave approval to the plans.

“It was quoted to us that Highland Perthshire is identified as one of six hotspots for development and basically that just ran roughshod over any concerns that anybody had,” he said.

“We’re all for tourist development but there were in our view serious problems with this proposal and they just ignored them.

“The serious problems had inspired 75 people to object to the plan yet they just didn’t care.

“A stampede sweeps everything aside that’s in its path – good, bad, indifferent and in our view this was a pretty clear case of the proposal being accepted because of considerations other than those to do with the specific site.”

Source: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/scotland/tayside_and_central/7953164.stm


MEREDITH, New Hampshire (Reuters) – From his wooden fishing shack on Lake Winnipesaukee’s thinning skin of ice, Mike MacDonald doesn’t need to think twice about why more Americans are going “fishin'” in the deepening U.S. recession.

“This costs $6 to get a bucket of bait and it will last the whole day,” he said, skinning a fish next to a hole drilled into the frozen New Hampshire lake. “Compare that to skiing — one day of skiing would cost $80 just for the lift ticket.”

As Americans forgo expensive vacations, costly dinners and shopping mall splurges, many are opting instead for the quiet simplicity of fishing, according to the sport fishing industry and reports from bait shops and fishermen.

From the icy north to fly-fishing streams in Texas, angling is on the rise. For families, it’s an inexpensive outing. Those with a knack for it can trim their grocery bills. And for newly unemployed, it’s something to do.

“I’m seeing a lot more fishermen down here,” said John Miller, owner of Bob’s Sport & Tackle in Katonah, New York. “With the economy the way it is, people are getting laid off from work and don’t want to sit at home and do nothing.

“The cheaper alternative,” he said, “is to go fishing.”

Hard times have had this effect on Americans before. In the last U.S. recession, from 2001 to 2002, spending on fishing rods and reels rose 12 percent to $343 million, according to the National Sporting Goods Association, a trade body that measures how much people spend on sporting goods.

That can add up. When including the cost of fishing rods, tackle boxes, lures, lines and other equipment, recreational fishing in the United States is a $2.2 billion industry, according to the association’s data, which excludes spending on fishing tourism, clothing and fishing lessons.

Sports network ESPN added 44 percent more pages than planned to an insert in its “Bassmaster Magazine” aimed at saltwater fishermen because of advertiser demand, the Walt Disney Co-owned network said last week, citing demand from suppliers of equipment and boats to bass enthusiasts.

In Texas, fishing license sales have increased considerably in recent months, said Tom Harvey, a spokesman for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. “We suspect it’s because the price of gasoline has come down considerably and thus facilitated more driving and boating,” he said.

In the Dallas suburb of Lewisville, where there is a stream stocked with trout in the winter, Mike Hamilton, a 47-year-old fly fishing pharmacist, said fishing close to home was something he could do without breaking the bank.

“I’m not into spending a whole lot of money on my recreation,” he said on a cold March morning, standing in the stream with fly rod in hand.

‘SIMPLE AND PRETTY CHEAP’

In February, amid a bombardment of dire news on the U.S. economy, an annual ice fishing derby on Lake Winnipesaukee drew nearly 5,500 people — among its best seasons ever and up about 7 percent from last year.

“All you need is a license and then you can come out, cut a hole in the ice and fish,” said Steve O’Brien, who has fished there since November. “It’s simple and pretty cheap.”

Source: http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSTRE52I01Z20090319


When Robert C. Willging learned he had chronic leukemia, he had no idea what was in store for him.
He didn’t know how much time he had left, and, after a year of unsuccessful chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant stood as the last defense against his onrushing mortality.

That was 12 years ago.

Recuperating meant staying indoors, rather than getting out into wild, but his time afforded Willging the opportunity to flesh out a number of deer hunting history articles.

That undertaking  became the backbone for a 292-page labor of love, “On The Hunt: The History of Deer Hunting in Wisconsin,” published last fall by Wisconsin Historical Society Press.

The book is the culmination of his subsequent fight to survive and it takes readers back more than 10,000 years, when Paleo-Indians — fighting to survive — likely entered Wisconsin, after coming across Bering Sea land bridge.

Willging’s book takes deer hunters from those Paleo-Indians in southwest Wisconsin, to the present and through five years of chronic wasting disease struggles. In between came subsistence hunters, market hunters, sportsmen, deer wars, record years, endless opportunities and a prion that changed everything, at least in southern Wisconsin.

“I relied heavily on newspapers for some sections,” said Willging, a 48-year-old wildlife biologist who is northern Wisconsin’s USDA wildlife damage management supervisor out of Rhinelander. “Many times the newspaper writers didn’t know what was going on biologically, but their emotions came through.

“Many of these newspaper articles weren’t in the editorial sections, but they could have been.”
Willging wanted to write a book that revealed the hunters’ perspective, as much as a scientific one. The book includes pages of notes and citations so readers can track the sources.

Hunters’ emotions, he found, ran as high then as now.

In 1943, for example, the Oshkosh Northwestern lambasted Wisconsin’s Conservation Department and Conservation Commission with “…After seeing the extent of the slaughter, many persons cannot help wondering if there are any more deer left in the woods.”

Another newspaper, the Marshfield News Herald countered with “…If anything, not enough deer were taken to permit the remainder to feed on their winter ranges without over-browsing them.”

That was during the deer wars after 12 years of alternating open and closed seasons.

Willging, who grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, said he learned a great deal about Wisconsin’s deer hunters, even though their attitudes and reactions changed as the season structures did, beginning with the first season in 1851.

“One of the biggest things I encountered was that there are a lot of guys out there working to keep the deer camp tradition going,” he said. “Usually it’s one person in the group that holds things together.”

Willging observed deer hunters sometimes have short memories.

“Most look back to the closest good season,” Willging said. “But there are cyclic patterns. Almost the same words were spoken in the 1930s as in the 1940s, 1950s and on and on.”

Don’t expect to find answers to hot-button topics — population estimates, CWD and baiting and feeding — in the book. Willging, who has a wife and two children and who hunts from a deer camp in Bayfield County, kept those thoughts to himself.

“One of the interesting things I’ve found out since the book was published is there is a real disconnect between what hunters want and what they are willing to do to get that,” Willging said. “Some of that is now coming out in research by Robert Holsman (and Jordan Petchenik).”

Willging believes some of the sociological research suggests some hunters want the Department of Natural Resources to empathize with them rather than tell them when they are wrong.

“I have been surprised, however, how vociferous people have been after the 2008 season,” he said. “We (biologist and others) have been hammering to get the herd down and now that it may be lower, many are mad about it.”

The book is available at www.wisconsinhistory.org/whspress or by calling 800-621-2736.

Source: http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/sports/outdoors/443530


Hiking boots and tennis shoes adorn the feet of the East Texas Trekkers Walking Club as it prepares for its winding journey down dirt trails.

The group, founded by David Porter, has more than 65 members who enjoy trekking together through Texas.

The group, called a “volksmarching” (or non-competitive walking) club, is a popular form of “volkssporting,” a part of the American Volkssport Association that made its debut in the United States in 1976 as part of the nation’s bicentennial celebration.

“Our club is a member of the AVA, and they have awards for participating in different programs,” Jan Wood, club member, said. “Each time you walk an event, you get a stamp in your distance book and your event book. When you complete the book, you turn it into the AVA and they will send you a patch or a pin to recognize your accomplishment.”

According to Ms. Wood, her walking has earned her enough patches to create two quilts.

“It’s my legacy to my grandchildren,” she said. “I had started putting them on vests, but I had too many, so I went to quilts. I have one queen-size one and a king-sized bed spread. I’m working on 10,000 km right now and I’ve walked in every state in the United States.”

Her favorite walks are located in two vastly different locations.

“I love the Crazy Horse walk in South Dakota,” she said. “I love the camaraderie of having up to 12,000 walkers doing the same event at the same time. The Crazy Horse is a very difficult walk because you have to climb up this big mountain and you’re doing switch backs and they are very difficult, especially as you’re getting close to the monument at the top of the mountain.”

The other favorite is a monument walk in Washington, D.C.

“You see all the monuments in D.C. and the walk covers all the sites, like the Washington Memorial and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial,” she said.

Even though the walks can be long or challenging, you don’t have to be in great shape to do them,” she said. “The better shape you’re in, the easier they are, but we have a lot of people who aren’t in great shape and they do fine. It’s not a race. You can do it at whatever speed you want to, and there is a certain window of time when you have to start and finish. There are even some walks that are wheelchair accessible, so it doesn’t really matter what your abilities are.”

Ms. Wood got involved with the Trekkers after doing rehab at Mother Frances Hospital.

“I’d had some stints put in and one of the ladies mentioned the organization to me,” she said. “I enjoy it because you get to meet people and see places you would never, ever see. I’ve traveled all over the United States, which I would never have done had it not been a goal of mine to walk in many states of the U.S. I’ll never get back to Alaska and Hawaii, but I did get to go.”

The goal of the East Texas club is fun, fitness and fellowship, she said.

“You get to get out and meet nice people and see places,” she said. “I can take you to the walk here in Tyler and I guarantee you will see things on that walk that you’ve never seen before, even if you’re from here.”

The Trekkers like to have events in different places each year and try not to repeat the same city or walk more than once.

“There are people in Texas who are working on walking in every county in Texas,” she said. “In order to offer a variety of walks, we have to reach out. We don’t have a lot of trails here in Tyler, so we have to go to different towns. We go all over.”

According to Ms. Wood, walking helps keep you healthy and isn’t as hard on your body as running and other forms of exercise.

“It helps me maintain my weight and it’s good for my heart,” she said. “Walking is better for you than running because it doesn’t break your body down. Walking doesn’t get you in the legs.”

Each year, the Trekkers hosts two 5K walks, and this year’s walk is March 21 between 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. at Camp Tyler, located just outside of Whitehouse.

If walkers participate in both walks, it will equal 10K or 6. 2 miles.

The walk is mostly on natural surfaced trails and is not suitable for wheelchairs or strollers and pets are not allowed.

The event is open to the public, and membership is not required to participate, but the group does ask that all participants bring canned goods to be donated to People Attempting to Help (PATH) after the walk.

There is a participation fee of $3 per walker over the age of 12, and walkers under the age of 12 can walk free if they are not requesting an IVV credit.

A limited number of award patches will be available for a $4 fee, and there is also a $5 fee for the Camp Tyler Foundation to help maintain the facility.

“I think this event is especially fun because it’s at Camp Tyler,” Ms. Wood said. “A lot of people who grew up in Tyler attended Camp Tyler, my children even went, and it brings back memories of when you were out there as a child. If you haven’t been there for a while, it will be a whole new experience.”

For additional information, contact Jan Wood, 903-534-9301 or visit www.walktx.org/easttexastrekkers.

Source: http://www.tylerpaper.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090316/FEATURES08/903150327