Bull TroutWritten by Cameron Larsen
The Bull Trout is indigenous to Western North America. Once hailed as greatest of all Salmonids, it began a quick decline in 1930's. Early naturalists had this to say about fish: Bull Trout are by far most active and handsome of trout, they live in coldest, cleanest and most secluded waters. No higher praise can be given to a Salmonid than to say, it is a charr(sic). Indeed they are an aggressive and worthy game fish. And because of their desire for coldest and cleanest water, they are a great indicator species. A whole watershed's health can be measured by its indigenous population of bull trout.
Once common in Montana, Idaho, Washington and Oregon, as well as Alberta and British Columbia, it has now declined so much as to be put on endangered species list. Of course human degradation of environment is much to be blame. But at least as big a factor is introduced species. The Bull Trout was considered an enemy of Rainbow Trout, because of their predatory nature, so as Rainbows were introduced, catching and keeping of Bull Trout has been encouraged.
The Bull Trout can be highly mobile, often migrating back to lakes that form headwaters of streams, or even into different streams altogether. Coastal streams will have populations that migrate to ocean and then back. Often times in same stream will be stationary and migratory Bull Trout. This migratory ability has undoubtedly aided diversity and thereby prosperity of species.
Besides their beauty and fighting abilities. Bull Trout are also known for their size. River Bull Trout can reach 4 pounds, while lake dwellers have been caught up to 20 pounds. Perhaps saddest part of their recent history is that sportsmen's desires for other fish, and official biologists agreeing with this desire has directly resulted in their perilous status today. It seems we do a better job today of recognizing entire eco-systems and appreciating them for what they are. But once we begin to trigger some species as desirable and others as not, we are playing with a kind of fire that can burn us for generations. Native species exist where they exist for a reason, and we cannot wily nily go deciding we prefer other species to live there instead.
Short Bio of Lee WulffWritten by Cameron Larsen
For those of us who sometimes think about fly fishing beyond catching fish, Lee Wulff is no stranger. By all accounts Lee Wulff was accomplished at whatever he set his sights on. When I read about Lee Wulff, I am reminded of how life should be lived, fully. An artist trained in Paris, he was renowned for his meticulous attention to detail and amazing finger dexterity. Those of us who fly fish owe a great deal to this man, and we are lucky that he chose fly fishing as one of his passions.
Undoubtedly Wulff is most well known for his Wulff series of flies. The classic harwing series all started with Royal Wulff, he adapted from Royal Coachman. Wulff also invented White Wulff and Gray Wulff, and as most us now know there is a whole series of Wulff patterns. The great thing about classics is imitations they spawn.
As great as Wulff series is, we should probably be more thankful for his inspiration of catch and release. In 1936 Wulff was quoted as saying, "game fish are too valuable to be only caught once." And thus catch and release was born. Not fond of hatchery fish, Wulff knew that native fisheries could not be duplicated in concrete vats. Wulff pioneered through conservation groups, and his writings idea, that we are all responsible for future of fisheries. A concept that took sometime to catch on worldwide, and something we as fly fisherman are never done being concerned with.