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Talking Trout with Kirk Deeter

Description: Have we gone too far with native species? with Kirk Deeter This week, my guest is Kirk Deeter, editor of Trout Magazine. Kirk is never one to shy away from controversy, and our topic this week is the concept of native species and the feasibility of trying to turn back the clock. We also ramble a bit about the state of the fly-fishing world in general, but as always Kirk is thoughtful and incisive in his views.
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Podcast Transcript:

Tom: Hi and welcome to "The Orvis Fly Fishing Podcast." This is your host, Tom Rosenbauer and my guest this week is an old friend, Kirk Deeter, editor of "TROUT Magazine" and founder of "Angling Trade" magazine, which is a trade magazine for the fly fishing industry. And Kirk is never one to be shy about his opinions and he's sometimes controversial, and we're going to talk about, kind of about the state of trout fishing in general in North America. But in particular, the question has the passion for indigenous or native species gone too far and is it too late to turn back the clock and should we even turn back the clock? Have we gone too far in our enthusiasm for native species? So, sure this one will be controversial, but I hope you enjoy it. And if you take issue with anything we say, you're welcome to drop me an email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
And speaking of which, if you have a question or a tip that you'd like to share, I can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., and you can either put your question in the body of your email or you can attach a voice file and maybe I'll read it on the air. I read 'em all, I don't answer 'em all. I don't publish all your tips because sometimes the tips are something we've already talked about before. But anyway, love to hear from you and you are the most important part of this podcast, so this podcast is for you and hope you contribute.
All right. Let's go onto the fly box. Going to start with an email as usual and this is a tip from Chris from Sorrento, Louisiana. I'm a newcomer to the podcast and have spent the past few weeks delving through the nearly 200 episodes you've produced. I've got a long way to go, but all have been enjoyable and remarkably informative so far. I'm extremely grateful to the fellow angler who brought the podcast to my attention. Beyond expressing my gratitude for the work you put into this podcast, I also wanted to chime in with a quick tip regarding gar on the fly. I've caught a few references to targeting gar in the fly box segment, most recently in the John McPhee episode and wanted to chime in with my experience. Living in the South, I come across gar quite frequently while targeting bass, carp and other warm water species. They are an absolute blast on a light fly rod and I never turn down the opportunity to cast to one. Contrary to popular practice however, I've never reached for a rope fly when targeting gar. Instead, I reach for my carp box and fish out one of Bob Clouser's swimming nymphs. Tied an orange or olive on a size 4 or 6 bonefish hook, these flies have proven near unbeatable when sight fishing gar.
Fly placement is, of course, integral to success in all sight casting and gar are no exception. Flies placed in front of the fish will certainly elicit strikes from hungry gar. However, your odds of hooking and landing such fish are extremely low. Instead, try to place the fly parallel to the fish just behind its line of sight. Once the fly is settled to the desired depth, begin your retrieve with a series of short, slow strips. Ninety percent of the time, you will see the fish snap in the direction of your fly as it passes in front of the eye. If this fails after multiple attempts, repeat the process but halt your retrieve as the fly passes the fish's eye. As often as not, the gar that ignored your actively retrieved fly may roll to the side and gently snap your nymph off the substrate. In either case, that small, sharp bonefish hook is now positioned somewhere in the softer corner of the gar's mouth. Set the hook and hang on. You're in for a ride. While there's still the risk this fish may cut your leader, a short shock tippet is highly recommended. Very few of these fish throw the hook. While I primarily utilize this method on the local spotted and shortnose gar, I'm hopeful fellow listeners will be able to put this method to use on longnose as well. Thanks again for everything you do.
Well, that is a great tip, Chris. And, you know, the problem with the gar and the reason people use rope is that, you know, their snout is so long and bony and the teeth are needle sharp, they get caught in the yarn. But, there is some evidence that getting all that yarn in a gar's mouth is not a good thing for 'em, so your method of trying to get a small hook in the corner of its mouth is one that I hadn't heard of before and sounds like a great way to do it, so thank you for sharing that.
Jonathan: Hey, Tom. My name's Jonathan and I live in southwest Louisiana. And so, for us, there's no trout. They stock some ponds and stuff during the cold months, but you can't beat people to it. They stocked one a couple weeks ago and it's already empty. So, one of the things, and I'm new to fishing and I'm definitely new to fly fishing, but I've decided that if I want to get into it, I really wanted to fly fish. And if I don't have a lot of money invested into it, I wanted to just go to the fly route because that's what I just feel led to do that. But I come across a couple questions. The question number one is, when you practice, because I believe practice is key and I wanna practice as much as possible. But, what I've run into is practicing in grass with just a fly line in the leader, and then, like, a piece of yarn on the end of it so I can see where it's going, what I've run into is that when I've taken my rod out to the water and I have, like, a clouser minnow on it, as soon as that clouser minnow gets wet, then everything that I've practiced is so much different. So, when it comes to practicing with weight, would you suggest that I use, like, split shot, which is aerodynamically different, or would you suggest maybe that I purchase some really cheap flies and cut the hooks off 'em? That way, it wouldn't catch in the grass or it wouldn't do anything like that, and so that I could really practice with weighted flies because that's what I want to fish with, weighted flies. I was just kinda curious how you thought I should do that.
And second, I do love the taste of trout and I understand that a lot of people are about, you know, catch and release and I'm totally understanding that. But, when it comes to catching trout, like up in Arkansas or whatever, if the limit is eight a day, that means that it's okay to keep some. So, what is the reasonable medium here as to catch and release and then keeping everything? Would it be okay to keep, like, a third or maybe half of the limit a day, or, you know, because if I go, it's only gonna be for, like, a couple days. I grew up on trout in the mountains in North Carolina and I love it. I just wanted to ask that question. What's the normal procedure for such?
And other thing is, you know, a couple months ago, you talked about having an upgrade in audio quality. And so, I went back and listened to one from a few months ago and as a fellow podcaster myself, the audio quality has gone way up and is so good. So, you don't even have to mess with it anymore, it's great. I love what you do. Thank you for all I have learned from you in the last six months. Thank you, be blessed, have a wonderful day.
Tom: So Jonathan, I think you have a great idea and something I probably should have suggested to people before, yeah, just use a yarn on the end of your leader, but put a split shot or two that equals the weight of the clouser minnows that you're gonna be fishing. That's a great solution and you're right. We always practice with yarn, and then we go out there and we fish weighted flies and things behave differently. So I would definitely do that. And the next thing I would do is go to the Orvis Learning Center and there's some great casting tips from Pete Kutzer about casting weighted lines and weighted flies using things like the Belgian cast. It's under intermediate/advanced videos, and then at the very bottom of that section is some casting tips from the advanced/intermediate section. So, I'd go in there and look at that, but that sounds like a terrific idea.
Regarding that trout limit, you know, eight fish per day is a pretty liberal limit. And what that tells me is that the fishery is either heavily stocked or it's got a heavy trout population. And those things don't come out of thin air. If there's limit in eight trout, probably the resource can handle it. But, what I would do, if you want to keep some fish for dinner, is I would just kill as many fish as you need for a meal, okay? So, it probably won't take eight trout to make yourself a nice meal, so just keep your limit to the number of fish and the, you know, size of the fish that you think will make a nice meal, whether it's for you or your family. And then, you know, trout don't keep that well, so I wouldn't keep anymore trout than you can eat that day or in the next day or so. It's a fairly fragile fish and they don't really keep and freeze that well. So anyway, just keep enough for one meal if you're gonna keep them at all. And thanks for your comments on the audio quality. A lot of it's due to my Vanguard Audio Labs microphone that I use.
Here's an email from Matt. On your most recent podcast, a fellow had emailed with some questions about a tiger trout he had caught, and I think the possibility that it was a natural occurrence is stronger possibility than you suggested. I live in Central Wisconsin and do most of my fishing in the Central Wisconsin sand creeks and famous Driftless region of the state, since it's just an hour or so away. Our state has never stocked tiger trout, but most of the serious trout fishers I know have caught at least one. And for whatever reason, I get the feeling it's becoming a more common occurrence here, and if they have wild brookies and browns, I'd be far more inclined to believe it was a wild tiger than a travel worn stocker. Thanks for everything you do. I enjoy your podcast, especially the fly box segment. It's been extremely helpful for me as I've gotten into fly fishing and put my spinning rod away for good.
Here's an email from Colin from the Driftless. I've been fly fishing for a few years but always on graphite rods. I'm currently having my first five-weight bamboo rod built for me and I'm uncertain as to what kind of reel and line I should get. I know it's traditional to get a click and pawl reel. Why is that? Does it make any difference other than nostalgia? I'm also wondering about fly line. I've seen lines made specifically for bamboo rods, but what would be the difference? What kind of taper would be the best all around for that style of rod? What would be your recommendations?
Well, Colin, first of all yeah, a click and pawl reel is just tradition. You can put a disc drag reel on a bamboo rod. I have a bamboo rod that I use quite often and I sometimes will use an old Odyssey 1, which was an Orvis reel that was made, oh God, maybe 15, 20 years ago, and it's a quite heavy reel and it's a disc drag. So, I sometimes use that on my bamboo rod because I like the reel. But, it's just traditional and you can put any reel that you feel balances the rod. You know, bamboo rods are a little heavier so you could put a little bit heavier disc drag reel on the rod. I'm not one that worries too much about reel balance. I don't think it makes a lot of difference really. So I would put whatever reel you like on it. You know, a bamboo rod's a very special piece of equipment and people just, I think, like to have a really nice reel on their bamboo rod, but not necessary. You can put any kind of reel on it you want.
Regarding fly lines, you probably just want something that's not a terribly aggressive fly line, like, you don't want a power taper or something with a heavier front taper. You want something that has a lighter front taper, more gradual front taper because bamboo rods actually are more delicate, particularly short distance than graphite rods. Their slower line speed delivers the line lighter. And so, a shallower front taper or a little bit thinner front taper is a better line. I don't know about a lot of the lines made for bamboo rods out there. I know that I use the Orvis Superfine Line, which is designed for that kind of rod, you know, bamboo rod or fiberglass rod. The Superfine also works well on light graphite rods, but Superfine line is the one I use and I really like it. So, just stay away from a real aggressive taper on your fly lines and you should be fine.
Jeff: Hey, Tom. This is Jeff from Chicago. I'm calling to see if you could help me crack a mystery here. So, I was recently fishing in Mexico and I stumbled across some floating fly line that was right next to me as I was fishing. I knew it wasn't my fly line, so I grabbed it and started hand lining as much as I could to get it out of the water, and I was just curious where it was gonna end. Sure enough, it ended with a crab pattern stuck to a rock. So, I picked up the crab pattern and kept winding. After I had winded for a little while, I recovered an entire fly line, unscathed, and it was even attached to backing. So, once I started winding the backing onto my hand, I was half expecting that I would pull up an entire rod and reel. That wasn't the case. It was just the fly, the fly line and the backing. But, my question, and the mystery that I'm trying to solve, is what could have possibly happened that would totally unspool a fly line to the backing and have someone leave it there? I couldn't figure it out myself so would love to get your insight on what you think might happen.
My second question is, I did take the fly line with me and it doesn't seem to have any nicks or cracks or visible damage that I could see. So I'd love to use it in the future. So, my second question is, is there any reservations I should have about using this fly line? I don't know how long it was in the water, so maybe that would compromise the integrity of the fly line, but would like to get your thoughts there. And then finally, trying to figure out what line weight this might be. I have a pretty good idea because I did weigh the fly line, and the first 30 feet of it was about 19 grams. And after looking at a little conversion chart that would equate to about 290 grains, which would make it about a 10 weight. And I have both an 8 and 10 weight, so would love to kinda recycle this fly line and use it myself. I've broken a couple in the past, getting snagged on rocks or cut up on rocks in the surf. So, would save me a little cash and just curious if I'd be able to use it. So, if you have any insight on any of those three questions, I'd greatly appreciate it, but love the show and thanks so much. Hope to hear from you. Bye.
Tom: So Jeff, that is quite a mystery. But first of all, I would save that crab pattern that you found because what I think happened was somebody hooked a big fish and they got spooled. They didn't have enough backing or the fish was just so big that it ran out all their backing, and then it popped at the arbor knot on the spool and the fish swam away with the fly line and the backing. And fish usually get a fly loose pretty quickly, so that fish probably got the fly out of its mouth and all that fly line that was hanging behind it, the crab stuck on a rock and that's where you find it. So, that's got to be a pretty good crab pattern if it hooked a fish big enough to spool somebody. That's my theory.
Anyway, the fly line should be fine. If it doesn't have any visible cracks, you know, it's probably just fine. If it looks good, it probably is good. I'd try, you know, casting it and fishing it and see how it works. And I think that, you know, you weighed that and it was 290 grains, that's a 10 weight. Sounds reasonable to me. So, I think you got yourself a new fly line, so use it and make sure you have enough backing when you're using it.
Here's an email from Chris. I'm 17 years old. I live in Denver, Colorado and I'm a pretty new listener to the podcast. I've been fly fishing for trout for about four years and I've gotten to the point where I'm confident in going out and catching trout. But I want to try something new. I'm planning on heading to Florida next year and really want to fly fish for bonefish. I've gone fly fishing for bonefishing one time and the conditions were awful with 25 plus mile an hour winds, which was a big letdown since I was very excited to catch some bonefish. So, since I'm heading back to Florida in about a year, I wanted to get my revenge on those bonefish. So, my question is, what are some general things I should know when wading the flats to find bones? Since I'm still in high school, I don't have enough money to pay for a guide, so I want to venture off by myself to chase some bonefish and I have no idea where to start. So, if you could give me some general tips and info, that would be great. Thanks for all that you do for the sport of fly fishing and by answering mine and many other people's questions about the sport of fly fishing. You always provide the right info to always learn something new listening to your podcast. Thanks, Tom.
So Chris, it's difficult to find wading flats for bonefish. There are some and with some research, you can find them. But, a lot of the bonefish flats in Florida and in Florida Bay are more offshore and they're accessible only by a boat. And some of the other ones are not easy to wade because they can be very soft, so you have to find a flat with a hard bottom where there is a school of bonefish living in or near that flat. And what I would do is plan on driving around a lot because you don't know at what tide the bonefish are gonna be in. Typically, the best time to find bonefish on a flat is either the end of the outgoing or the beginning of the incoming. When the water is lower, the bonefish will show themselves. And if they're around, you will see some wakes. You may see tails. That would be nice to see tails or fins. And, you know, often, if you get that low part of the tide coinciding with dawn or dusk, when there's not a lot of boat traffic, you're more likely to see some bonefish in shallow water. I plan on doing a lot of driving around and looking.
And bonefish in Florida are heavily fished, they're quite spooky, so don't get discouraged. You know, you're gonna want to be very, very careful with your wading and your stocking and your casting and they're pretty picky. So, you know, they're probably the toughest bonefish in the world to catch. I remember once I had a day where I caught a permit and a tarpon and wanted to get the...this was in the Keys, wanted to get the bonefish to complete a grand slam and I just couldn't, I couldn't do it. I couldn't seal the deal with the bonefish. So they are very difficult. The good news is bonefish populations in Florida seem to be on the upswing and there are lots more smaller fish than there used to be. So, you probably have a better opportunity than you would have 10 years ago. But, you know, do a lot of looking around, do a lot of careful wading, use the flies that are recommended by the local fly shops. Generally, bigger flies in the Keys, you know, size 4s, even sometimes size 2s. These are big bonefish and they eat a lot of bait fish, particularly the bigger ones, so, you know, don't be afraid to throw a bigger fly. Just make sure that it's not one that's gonna create too much of a commotion when you cast it because again, they are very, very spooky. But, good luck catching a bonefish. Wading from shore in Florida is quite an achievement and I hope you seal the deal.
There's an email from Nick from Arizona. I've been listening to the podcast for almost a year and like your other listeners, I just want to let you know how much I appreciate the information you put out. I have a quick fish story and a few questions. First, the story. About a month ago, I was out deer hunting and listening to back episodes of the podcast while driving from one spot to another. I happened to be listening to the winter fishing episode with Tim Johnson. Fast forward a few weeks and I decided it was finally time to upgrade to a top end 9-foot-5 weight. I'd been fishing a mid-tier used rod for the past four-ish years. I went into my local fly shop, the AZ Fly Shop in Phoenix, and they set me up to test out a bunch of high-end rods. It probably won't come as a surprise to you that the two rods that I hands-down enjoyed casting the most were the Helios 3F and 3D. Both were great rods and I was really having trouble deciding which one I should purchase. But, beyond the action, these rods were not totally equal. The 3F had a special cork handle with some beautiful art by none other than Tim Johnson. As we drove from the park where I was casting back to the shop, I was still really unsure of which rod I was gonna buy. Well, we walked into the shop and standing in the rod room was Tim Johnson himself. Seemed like a clear sign of which rod to go with, so I'm now the owner of a new Helios 3F.
As an extra fun aside, the first fish I caught on the new rod was a Sonoran sucker. Tim told me he has it on good authority that the F in 3F stands for funnel mouth. That's a great story, Nick. Now for my questions. One, I've had a couple fishing trips over the past couple years where I fish multiple watersheds over the course of a day or a few days. I try really hard to clean my waders, but it's not always possible to completely dry them. What's the best practice for these types of trips?
Number two, I was watching some videos of swimming nymphs and I noticed there's a lot of movement in their tails. I'm wondering why most nymph patterns have relatively stiff tails with not a lot of movement. Are there other patterns similar to a damselfly nymph, but smaller, that do a better job of matching this swimming nymph action? Three, when you travel, is there a minimum set of materials that you bring with you for fly tying? What do you never leave home without?
All right. So, your questions. Number one, you know, if you're fishing multiple watersheds that are within a beaver or an otter's walking distance or a heron's flight or a merganser's flight, you probably don't need to worry much about that because any kind of organisms that are in those waters are gonna be transferred by the local wildlife anyway. You know, if you're traveling over a mountain range or traveling a great distance between waters, the best thing to do is to take your wading boots and clean 'em. Clean 'em with a wire brush. You know, clean all the dirt off the sole, whether it's felt or rubber. Rinse 'em thoroughly. Clean anything out of the laces. Really wash 'em down well to remove anything that might be stuck in there. And then, probably not possible in the same day to dry the waders, but if you clean 'em really vigorously, you should be well on your way to preventing movement of any aquatic species. But as I said, if you're in watersheds that are connected to each other, it's not as big a deal. But I would wash those wading boots in between spots.
Don't use chemicals on your wading boots. For one, it may break down the wading boots and also you don't want to transfer chemicals to a watershed. So, just rinsing them with, you know, hot water if you can get it, or even cold water, but just rinse 'em really, really well, not in river water but in, you know, tap water from a hose or something somewhere.
Regarding swimming nymphs, yeah, you know, there is a fair amount of movement in tails, and I know that Coq de Leon is a very popular tailing material, but it's quite stiff. And you know, there may be something to that. In the old days, or, you know, prior to people using Coq de Leon for everything, we would use, and we still do use wood duck fibers and Hungarian partridge fibers, which are a lot more mobile in the water. But there may be something else that'll imitate those tails. But, I think if you use, you know, a few fibers of hen hackle or wood duck or mallard or, you know, another softer feather, you probably will be getting enough movement in those nymph tails. But, then again, the flies with Coq de Leon stiff tails don't seem to suffer any from effectiveness, so it may not be an issue.
And when I travel and when I do bring materials, I don't always bring materials, but when I travel, generally what I find is that if there's a fly that I don't have, it's probably a need to match some sort of specific insect. I mean, you know, generally, streamers, same streamers work well in most waters if you have a pretty good variety. And even nymphs, if you have some small ones and some large ones and some heavy ones and some light ones, you can usually make a nymph work and there isn't a need. But, if you're, let's say you're in a watershed where the fish are taking a little tan, size 18 emerging caddis and you just don't have anything that matches that, then you're gonna be in trouble and you're gonna want to tie something up.
So here's what I carry. Here's the list of what I would always have. First of all, a good assortment of hooks, obviously. Lots of hooks. Lots of dry fly and nymph hooks in every size possible, from probably size 8 down to a 22 or a 24. I would have an assortment of dry fly dubbing, you know, just pick your favorite dubbing in lots of colors, buy a, like, the Spectrablend Dry-Fly Dubbing is what I carry. I would have some Comparadun-compatible deer hair, you know, some short, fine deer hair because then I can tie lots of sparkle duns and Comparaduns and X Caddis. I would have some Z-Lon or Antron for making shucks in a couple of colors, probably tan and brown, maybe olive. I'd have some CDC. I always take a dun, a brown, a grizzly and a cream hackle cape so I can match nearly any dry fly. I'll have a pheasant tail. I'll have a bag of hare's ear dubbing so I can rough up some of the dry fly dubbing that I have, if need be. I'll have some beads, Tungsten beads in probably black and gold, just black and gold. I can, you know, generally either a flashy one or a subtle one is good enough, but in a variety of sizes. Some Hungarian partridge, preferably a skin so you can get in different sizes, a piece of black Thin Skin for making wing cases, a few colors of Ultra Wire, some brown rubber legs and that's about it. The other thing I'll often do when I'm traveling and tying is pick a couple of new materials that I haven't used and just throw 'em in my box, in my fly tying box or bag or whatever I'm carrying. Because you may want to come up with some wild new pattern and, you know, it's kinda fun to try a new material, so I'll often do that as well. Or go to a local fly shop when you're on a fishing trip and buy some new materials. So that's what I carry anyways.
Rick: Hi, Tom. This is Rick from the Missouri Ozarks. I have a odd question, which I've never encountered before. One of my bead forceps has become magnetized so that if I pick up a hook, it's hard to let it go. Whereas another one of my forceps is not magnetized. Is there any way to demagnetize these forceps? I've just never seen anything about this before and I thought you might know. Thank you very much.
Tom: Rick, I honestly don't know how to demagnetize a pair of forceps, but I have the same problem. My fly tying bench, I use a forceps to get hooks out of the hook boxes that I use and I'm always getting, like, five or six at a time. So, I bet that somebody listening to the podcast has a method to demagnetize a pair of forceps, so if you have a suggestion, please let both Rick and myself know. Of course, Rick, the obvious thing is to buy a new pair of forceps and use those forceps for something else, like pulling slivers out of your finger. But, I don't have an answer for that one, but I bet somebody listening to the podcast does.
Here's an email from Josh. Hey, Tom. Love the podcast. So, I live in Arkansas and I fly fish for trout. I mainly streamer fish when I can and I've had pretty good luck here on the white. I recently have gotten into lake smallmouth. I have a lake about an hour from me that has big smallmouth in it. The entire lake is covered with rock and huge bluff ledges. I've done okay by catching a couple fish each time I go but have never been real consistent catching fish. I have been using my Orvis Depth Charge line with some intermediate line as well, using clousers, Murdich minnows and GameChangers. These lakes get really deep so I don't know if I'm fishing it right. My question is how do you fish for lake smallmouth? Line, leader, depth, flies, any info would be appreciated.
Well, Josh, the first thing I would recommend you do is go to the Orvis Learning Center and go to the advanced/intermediate video section, and then watch the video there on bass fishing, chapters on bass fishing, because there's quite a bit there on fishing for smallmouth in lakes. And it's really gonna vary with the time of year. You have to understand the lifecycle of the smallmouth, when they come in shallow for spawning, when they come in shallow for feeding, and you have to figure out how to intercept those smallmouth at times when they're gonna be in the shallows. You know, if smallmouth is down really, really deep, it's gonna be very tough to find 'em. You could get lucky, but you probably want to concentrate on times and places where you can find 'em in shallow. And it's gonna vary. It's gonna vary. I think that what you're doing with the Depth Charge and intermediate line and, you know, I wouldn't worry too much about leaders. You know, a 7.5 to 9-foot leader on the intermediate line and a short 4-foot leader, 4-foot just piece of different material on the Depth Charge line. And the depth, who knows. You gotta find 'em and I can't tell you what depth you're gonna find 'em. You're gonna have to learn that lake and do a little bit more research on the lifecycle of smallmouth and their behavior and how it changes through the seasons. So hope those videos help. I think they're gonna give you some good tips.
Here's an email from Pam. Hello, greetings from cold De Pere, Wisconsin. I was listening to your podcast on CDC and in the fly box, there was a question about dropping hooks and materials. You mentioned a magnet on a string. I found a telescoping magnet in an automotive supply shop for less than $5 and it's perfect for making a sweep of the floor around my bench for stray hooks and beads. If you add one to your fly pack vest, you can pick up small flies that have fallen out of your fly box stream side. Thank you also for your continued support of the 50/50 movement. I listened to your podcast on 10 Trout Tips and you stopped the presenter and asked him to address fly fishers, not fly fishermen. I've been fly fishing for over 25 years and pretty much just get used to being one of the guys. Thanks for the support of Orvis and yourself in continuing to make this sport accessible to all.
Well, thank you, Pam, and that is a great tip. I think there was someone else who actually suggested that telescoping magnet. But, that's a good one and taking it stream side is a really good idea. I can't tell you the number of times, you know, a gust of wind or I've bumped my leg and dropped a fly box on the bank and, you know, I wish I had a magnet then to pick up all the flies that had fallen in the brush. So, that's a great tip and should be essential for all of us clumsy fly fishers. So thank you very much, Pam.
Chris: Hi, Tom. I hope you're doing well. My name's Chris and I live in Bozeman, Montana. I'm looking out the window right now on a fresh skiff of snow. We've had a pretty dry season so far as the rest of the west has, but the last week, we've got quite a dump and cold temps and the snow is still coming and still in the forecast, thank goodness. This is the week before Christmas. Everyone seems to have everything on their mind, but what needs to be on their mind, at least as far as work is concerned. I know I'm having a tough time concentrating on work, which is why I'm calling you right now. Got some questions about winter fly fishing and not just normal winter fly fishing, I'm talking about trying to fly fish in creeks in the winter. That's kind of a difficult type of water to access in the winter, but I like to do things in the winter that get me back into the hills. I do a lot of back country skiing, do a lot of cross country skiing, technical cross country skiing on [inaudible 00:39:08] mountain bike single track trails, and I do a lot of fat biking on the snow and that gets me close to some pretty cool little areas that I have fished a lot in the summer, but I've never tried in the winter. I don't know if these little brook trout and cutthroat and rainbows and browns stay in these creeks in the winter or if they migrate back to the main rivers. I've just never thought about it. Well, I've thought about it but I've never known the answer and I've never taken the steps to try to figure it out on my own. I figured I'd ask you before I load up a pack. Let me know what you think and hope you have a great holiday season. And everyone always says this and everyone always says that everyone always says, but seriously, thank you, of course, for what you do for our sport and for the community and for nature, but also just personally, I just enjoy the time that I spend listening to this podcast so much. It's become its own pastime listening about a pastime that I've enjoyed for over 25 years now. Thank you.
Tom: Well, Chris, first of all, I apologize. I had saved your phone call and it's long past Christmas, but hopefully you're still winter fishing. And that's a question that I've been asking myself recently because Vermont just opened our trout fishing to year-round catch and release or catch and release in the months between November through second Saturday in April, we can now catch and release trout. And so, that opens up a lot of our small streams. And I've been doing a little poking around and, you know, no surprise here. What I've found is that you need to look for the deepest pools. You know, the fish have got to deal with anchor ice when it gets really cold, and anchor ice is gonna form, especially in the shallower runs, so they're not gonna be in the shallower runs and riffles. They're gonna be in a place where they can get out of the way in slower, deeper waters. So, you wanna look for those big plunge pools if you're gonna find fish at all in those small creeks.
And the other thing that you want to look for is some groundwater influence, some spring influence, if you can find it. You know, if you see a little watercress or a little vegetation around a seep that's coming into the stream, that's gonna be spring influence and it's gonna be warmer, it's gonna be...groundwater is gonna be warmer than the air. So, look for places with spring seeps. Look for deep pools. Fish will feed all winter long. They're gonna feed for a brief period during the day, probably mid-day when the water has warmed up. And it doesn't take more than a degree or two to get them to feed, but then they're gonna shut down pretty quickly. So, time of day is important. And yeah, some of those fish may drop down into bigger rivers to find some winter refuge pools. So, some of the creeks may not have trout in them or may have very few, but I think you'll find some if you can find some with some spring influence or deep enough pools. So, good luck and again, sorry it's late.
Well, my guest today is my old friend, Kirk Deeter. Kirk and I have both been in the fly fishing industry a long time and if you, you know, it's not a huge industry, so you generally get to know everybody out there. And we've fished together and worked together on lots and lots of projects, and I always enjoy talking to you, Kirk. So, welcome to the podcast.
Kirk: Well, thanks for having me, Tom. It's always good to be with you. I wish we were on a river, but other than that, it's always great to talk to you.
Tom: So, just so people know, you, in the past, were a writer for "Field & Stream" and a freelance writer, and you founded "Angling Trade" magazine, which is a magazine for the fly fishing industry and you've done lots of other things. Currently, you are editor of "TROUT Magazine," which under your guidance has turned into just an amazing, amazing magazine that's just spectacular and great job on that.
Kirk: Thank you. That's very kind. It's a labor of love. It was kind of a homecoming and, yeah, I've enjoyed writing in lots of different places and seeing a lot of different things, but mixing the conservation ethic and putting back and then making some interesting stories, it's kind of like the best of all worlds, so I'm really happy.
Tom: And then, you have another hat that you wear at Trout Unlimited, right, currently?
Kirk: Yeah. Well, you know, with the magazine, we also have digital, you know, so we've got a weekly newsletter that people can sign up for, it's free and, you know, digital version of magazine when we do film. So, I'm kind title is editor in chief of Trout Media. So it's the magazine and the other things.
Tom: Cool. And what else are you doing these days? You're still active at "Angling Trade," right?
Kirk: Yep. I'm co-publisher and owner with Tim Romano of "Angling Trade," and we come out every two weeks on Wednesdays with a, you know, digital version of the magazine. And we will print eventually again when we have trade show again, but we're doing well digitally. We also own, so that helps people who want to get a job in fly fishing. Yeah, so we put people in...a lot of that's, like, getting guides hooked up with lodges for the summer in Alaska and stuff like that, you know, so that's fun. And yeah, a lot of irons in the fire. And I freelance still, I write stories for different places.
Tom: And you have a book coming out soon, right?
Kirk: Yeah, pretty soon. I co-wrote, it's called "The Little Black Book of Fly Fishing." And it's the sequel 10 years later, actually 11 years now later from "The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing." And I wrote "The Little Red Book of Fly Fishing" with Charlie Meyers, the late Charlie Meyers. He passed away right as that book was coming out actually. But this book, "The Little Black Book of Fly Fishing," I wrote with Chris Hunt, and Chris now works for Backcountry Hunters & Anglers and is an old friend of mine. He actually hired me into Trout Unlimited and he was introduced by Charlie Meyers. So, we went and did a story up in Wyoming together, Charlie Meyers and I did, and it was about the Wyoming range. And Chris Hunt was our point of contact there and we became fast friends and we've traveled and done stories. And so, it was appropriate that when we came to do this sequel, we call it "The Little Black Book" because it's more like black diamond. It's a little more expert tips and stuff like that. So, seemed appropriate that we'd go full circle and close that loop and have a mutual friend that Charlie and I liked so much and Chris Hunt be the partner on this book.
Tom: That's great. And aren't you working on a book on brown trout too? That's not out, right?
Kirk: No, it's not out, it's not out of my head yet either. I get my arms, legs around it. You know, the thing of it is, is that I learned to fly fish on the Baldwin River in Michigan and my father-in-law really kinda taught me. And they own a family cabin, we still do on the Baldwin. And the Baldwin's where the first brown trout was introduced into the United States in 1884. And you know, ironically, you know, that was the first fish I ever caught on the fly and ironically, that fish has led me all over the world now. I've been to chase brown trout in Tasmania and Australia and New Zealand and Iceland and Ireland and, you know, Argentina and Chile. It's just weird and, like, who'd thought back when I started fishing that that fish would take me so many places. So, I think it would be a cool story to track that and talk about that a little bit.
Tom: Absolutely and there's a lot of brown trout fans out there.
Kirk: That's right. And I like to say, you know, the sun never sets on the empire of the brown trout, right?
Tom: Yeah.
Kirk: Quite literally, because [inaudible 00:48:29] what they said about the British empire, and they were largely responsible for moving those fish all over the world which, you know, I'm sure we'll talk a little bit later about.
Tom: Yeah, we're gonna talk about that because today's topic is introduce species and the native fish question, and I knew that you would be a good person to have as a guest because you're never afraid to speak your mind regardless of've created some controversies over the years. And, you know, kind of the topic is, has the native fish issue gone too far?
Kirk: Yeah. Well, you know, I'm ready. I'm ready to talk about the fish.
Tom: And I should say that I dearly love and treasure catching native fish in their home range, where they are indigenous. And it's a very special event to me and I think that we should, and I think that you agree, that we should preserve these places wherever we can. But there's some steps that have been taken that seem a little extreme. And Kirk, why don't you kind of give your philosophy on this.
Kirk: Well, I am in lockstep agreement with you that, you know, a native fish in a native range is top of the game and should be preserved. And second in line are wild fish. Brown trout weren't native to the United States, but they were brought here and now there are some, including those in the rivers that I talk about where, you know, they haven't been stocked for years and they're wildly producing fish. And they're sacred fish to me too. I would never advocate for planting, and I'm not a big hatchery guy at all and that's why, you know, Trout Unlimited was founded in the first place, was, you know, in 1959, you know, the thought was we can't let fish management be just raise 'em in a hatchery and dump 'em in the river. It's all about habitat. Also, those wild and native fish, they're the telltales for healthy rivers. And so, that's why we love 'em so much.
Having said that, you know, the brown trout in particular, I'm not afraid at all to talk about my unabashed love for brown trout. Actually, I think they're the superior trout. They're more fun to catch. They fight. I don't know. It's just my flavor that I like. Some people like vanilla ice cream, some people like chocolate ice cream. I like brown trout. I like 'em all, but it bothers me when folks say that they're invasive. The word, invasive, I mean, because they didn't swim across the ocean themselves and climb into these rivers. They were brought here, just like people. They're immigrant fish. Came to this country about the same time my ancestors came to this country. So, you know, technically, I guess, I'm an invasive species too that way. And I think people get a little bit carried away with some of the hype about all of that. I don't know. That's where I stand on the issue.
Tom: Yeah, you know, I look at my backyard and it's a river that has brook trout, brown trout and rainbow trout, not very many these days. And I look at the watercress where the springs come in, and I look at the honey bees, and I look at the beautiful Dame's Rocket wildflower that not only smells great, but my son has taught me is delicious to eat. And my son is a forager, and all the changes that man has made on the landscape. I mean, there are very few places you can go where we haven't, man hasn't changed the landscape, even in wilderness areas. You know, I was reading that invasive plants started with the Plymouth colony. You know, they already had European plants growing in the Plymouth colony in their gardens. So, you know, these things have been happening for a long time and man has changed the landscape, and to try to turn the clock back is kind of, I think, misguided in a lot of cases.
Kirk: I think so. And, you know, the genie's out of the bottle, right? And so, we had a similar discussion about a lot of things, you know, horses, right, cowboys, cattle, feed. These are all introduced and now they're part of an economy and they're part of a culture, and I think the same for some of the fish. Now, reminding again that, you know, would I stock brown trout over native cutthroat trout? Never, ever, ever would I advocate for that. But, where they are, you know, what I'm not a big fan of [inaudible 00:54:21] rivers and, you know, resetting the deck. There's a discussion now about grayling in Michigan, and Michigan, you know, to me, the trout fishing culture is about brown trout in Michigan, and rainbows and, you know, the "steelhead" that come out of the lake that were introduced, and salmon, Pacific and steelhead introduced in the mid '60s, right? And, you know, we've tinkered with the ecosystem so much that it's a matter of, you're not gonna put those pickup sticks back in perfect order. I think it's a matter of managing and working our best to support healthy habitat so that the fish do well. And that's really the key.
Tom: Well, the Pacific salmon were introduced in the Great Lakes to help control the alewives which were invasive because they were able to get into the Great Lakes because of the Welland Canal and the St. Lawrence Seaway. So, you know...
Kirk: Yeah, and I heard, maybe you know this, maybe it's a rumor, I don't know. But, it was almost like a flip of the coin as to whether they were going to introduce the Pacific salmon and steelhead or stripe bass.
Tom: Oh, wow. I never heard that. Huh.
Kirk: Can you imagine, like, if the Great Lakes were filled with big stripers? How would that be?
Tom: Interesting.
Kirk: It's an interesting thought.
Tom: Yeah, yeah. Hadn't thought of that. Maybe we should dump some in. No, no. I shouldn't say that. I shouldn't say that because I do think...
Kirk: Now you're creating the controversy, not me.
Tom: Yeah, yeah. No, I shouldn't say that. You know, I know that, and I'm not sure if you were able to find any information about this, but the National Park service kinda quietly a couple years ago poisoned the upper Gibbon River to try to reestablish native cutthroats. And, you know, I can see, I still don't...I totally am in agreement with you, I don't believe in poisoning streams to reintroduce native species. But, do you know how that has worked out, if there's any data on whether that was successful?
Kirk: I don't know much about the Gibbon, but I do know about Yellowstone Lake and the lake trout, and same type of situation where they were gillnetting lake trout and just killing them, because the lake trout were eating the Yellowstone cutthroat trout. And I was actually supportive of that. I've got friends who were on the other side. That one's kind of, you know, like, it's a sticky wicket, right? But that one worked, or is working. I don't know if they'll ever fully be out of the woods on that, but the populations of the cutthroat trout are coming back. So, you know, it's one of these areas where we can get caught talking out of both sides of our mouth. If you read stuff where I've written in support of that, where I've just talked about the other stuff. You know, I guess that's the whole point, Tom, is that it's just areas of gray. You know, it's really a case by case basis, think things through. But, whenever anybody's so absolute, you know, it's my way or the highway and every brown trout in the country should be eliminated, every lake trout in the country has no, you know, unless they're in the Great Lakes or their native range back east, is, you know, wrong, I'm just not buying that. I don't think that's good for the sport and I think frankly, we've got other battles to fight that are, like, way more important than that.
Tom: Yeah, yeah. Reminds me of the, you know, the catch and release at all costs versus habitat. I've always believed that individuals only have enough energy to fight, you know, one or two main battles and, you know, if you're going to preserve trout fishing in an area, catch and release is not the way to go. It's habitat.
Kirk: Oh, totally. You know, catch and release is just a poor, a Band-Aid, it's just a poor excuse for degradative habitat, right?
Tom: Yeah. It's stockpiling trout for next year as opposed to preserving the habitat for, you know, your children and grandchildren.
Kirk: Yeah, but you know, even that, it doesn't work all the time, right? We're seeing, with the increased pressure and if everyone goes out now and decides that, you know, the benchmark for a guide to have a good day is to have a client catch 30 fish in a day, hammer in the resource. Even if it's catch and release, you know, 5% of them die. And the numbers don't add up. So, you'll see in places like the Big Hole in Montana and other notable rivers where the fish counts are dramatically down. So, I think that the person who, you know, has their catch and release license plate holder and, you know, thinks they're a conservationist, but then goes out with a nymph rig and pounds 35 fish in a day, is really not doing what we need to be thinking about, you know. It's okay to go nymph fishing, but maybe switch it up. The steelheaders are on it, you know. The steelheaders have a culture that understands that, you know, you walk into a bar in the Olympic Peninsula and talk about how you talk about 10 steelhead in one day on a nymph rig, and see what kind of reception you're gonna get. Right?
Tom: No, and I think, you know, when I was a kid and I first joined Trout Unlimited, the mantra was, "Limit your kill, don't kill your limit," right? That was the license plate and the sticker and everything for Trout Unlimited. And I think that we need to now talk about limiting your catch.
Kirk: I think so.
Tom: And this came to me, I think it was the summer I did a podcast with John McMillan, and we were talking about fish and temperature. And John was saying that, you know, this stress hormone that builds up in fish after they're caught can last for days. And so, a fish that's in a river that's heavily fished and is caught, you know, two or three days in a row, and this happens. We know this happens. I've caught the same fish twice in the same day. This happens and that buildup of stress hormones can eventually weaken the fish and kill it. And so, you know, when people are going out and catching 50 fish a day, you know, the next person that goes on that river and catches 50 fish in a day, they're probably gonna have some overlap.
Kirk: Yeah, you know, and it's counterintuitive, right? Like, my mom doesn't fish, but if I go fishing and I call her at the end of the day, I mean what's the first question she asks me? Oh, how many did you catch? Or did you catch a big one? You know? And those are's cultural, you know. On a good day, you catch a lot of fish. And so, we kinda have to rewire that and I'm not saying, I don't think the way to go is to beat people over the head. It's just to, I think it's to inspire people to try different things, you know. Like, if I go out and I want to catch a couple fish on a dead drift, you know, nymph rig or whatever, European nymphing or whatever, catch a couple fish, you know, it's okay to spend the next hour or two looking for heads, you know, and trying to throw a dry fly. Or maybe you take off the indicator and you, you know, you try a no-indicator technique or you try sight nymphing, which is awesome fun. I've done that with you and it's super technical and tricky. But, trying to up your game is what I'm saying. I think the more we infuse thinking into fishing, the better off we're all gonna be as we try to, you know, work towards better sustainability in most of our fisheries.
Tom: Mm-hmm. And of course, we've got the, you know, the elephant in the room of climate change, which we won't get into here, but it's going to change things. It is changing things.
Kirk: Yeah. You know, with "Angling Trade," we do a survey as part of our Wednesday newsletter every other week, and this last one, it was an interesting question that was what's going on with your bugs? You know because bugs are...and are you seeing the hatches that you used to see? Is it good? Is it better than it's ever been? And the number one answer was, "We still have the same bugs, but they're happening at different times of the year."
Tom: Uh-huh. Interesting. Because I'm seeing fewer bugs and I worry about a combination of climate change and pesticides, I think that...well, we know that insects worldwide are declining and if we don't have as many bugs in a river, especially the young fish are going to have a problem growing into big trophy-sized fish because they're just not gonna be able to survive if they can't find enough food. And I'm seeing that in certain rivers where it used to be lots of little fish and the occasional big fish. Now it's just large fish and very few small fish, and I'm starting to think that maybe it's because the young fish can't find the food supply they used to. And the few that are surviving are becoming large and feeding on sculpins and dace and crayfish and things like that. But, you know, things are changing definitely.
Kirk: You're absolutely right and I'm really psyched. One of our main features in the upcoming issue of "TROUT Magazine" is called, "Is your food killing your fishing?" And it's about pesticides and the influence of eggs, specifically on the bugs and what we've just been talking about, and I think you're absolutely right, Tom. I have seen decline in insects. I think it's climate change and pesticides are the two main culprits and things that we need to tune into. You know, how we go about conservation, how we go about approaching these rivers is going to change in terms of our priorities going forward. I'm not talking for Trout Unlimited there, I'm talking about, you know, just generally me, as an angler, I think that's gonna be...the dialogue is going to evolve and evolve very quickly in the context of climate change.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Yeah. I know that, you know, we're starting to talk about invasive versus native fish, and one that's very close to home for me is the Batten Kill, which is a river that historically, it hasn't been stocked since the 1970s, I think, at least in Vermont. It is stocked with brown trout in New York. But, historically, you would see browns and brook trout co-existing, side by side, and both populations were very strong. And the browns didn't seem to be hurting the brook trout population at all. They were, you know, the brook trout were as abundant as they ever were historically alongside the brown trout. But, over the past 45 years that I've fished the Batten Kill, I've noticed fewer and fewer brook trout in the lower river. I mean, it was a pretty good size river to have brook trout for the east, not a big river, but bigger than most brook trout streams. And the brook trout are slowly declining and moving upstream and it has to be the changing climate because they were always quite happy to...I mean, not quite happy alongside the brown trout, you would often see the brown trout occupying better places in the stream, but the brook trout were still there and very abundant, and they're really declining in the lower river and I'm sure it's water temperature related.
Kirk: I think you're right. I think that climate change and the water temperature issue exacerbates those factors that would cause brown trout to outcompete certain fish, right? So, like, what you just said, I mean, you said it perfectly. In cold, clean water, brook trout can be happy and co-exist, right?
Tom: Seems to be, yeah.
Kirk: Yeah. When the water's not as cold and not as clean, everybody suffers.
Tom: Yup, yup. Kirk, how do you feel about barrier dams where, you know, you have a headwater stream that has browns and rainbows and a few brook trout in the lower part of the stream? They do this a lot in the southern Appalachians. And then, they build a barrier dam to prevent the browns and rainbows from getting up into the headwaters where the brook trout are. How do you feel about that philosophy or that management technique?
Kirk: Well, I can see the logic in it. You know out here where I live in Colorado, we have waterfalls that are natural barriers. So, where they have undertaken projects to reintroduce greenbacks, for example. You know, I just was in a meeting this last summer where we're talking with the Feds about trying to put some cutthroats and reintroduce greenbacks, true greenbacks adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park above where the burn area was. And that's gonna involve [inaudible 01:09:25] barriers. That's just kinda how they make these, you know, they hedge their bets that way. But, I gotta tell you, you know, I've given them the benefit of the doubt there, but some of these barrier dams look like, you know, wastewater treatment plants, and it's an eye sore. And gee, I wish that people would, if they're gonna go there, engineer it in a way that makes it more, I don't know, natural, natural-looking at least. But, I'm not a big fan of constructing any dams at this point. And that's another, you know, hot button topic, right? They're taking out dams, fly fishing wouldn't exist as we know it without hydroelectric dams. But, you know, some of those dams are obsolete, you know, we saw one fail in Madison this year and they got everybody [inaudible 01:10:25], but I don't know. Does that answer your original question? I know I'm kind of evading your question because I'm stuck on, again, some places good, some places not, but I'm not a big advocate of manipulating nature.
Tom: Yeah, you know, I worry about barrier dams for another reason, where they're not natural, in other words, where, you know, somebody's created a barrier dam. First of all, lot of times they don't work because at a high water, fish can get over 'em. And you know, trout can jump, I believe it's seven times its body length, if it has enough of a runway, which is, you know, that's a lot higher than we think they can get over stuff. So they're pretty good at navigating those things. And the other thing is that brook trout and I suspect cutthroats often use the lower reaches of streams for winter refuge. You know, they'll drop down lower than you think brook trout would be able to exist in the winter time when they're just out of oxygen and temperatures aren't a problem, to get away from anchor ice and low flows in the winter time. And then, they move back into the headwaters. And you know, I worry that building a barrier dam on a brook trout stream might remove their access to those winter refuges. So, yeah, I'm not a big fan of 'em either.
Kirk: Yeah, it's a valid concern, very much so. You know, when you're talking about fish moving, not to jump back on a topic, but one of the interesting things when we talk about wild fish or native fish, what we're really, as anglers, trying to do is trick instinct, right? I mean, they have brains the size of a nut, so you're not really matching brain power, but you're matching up against instinct. And like some places, like the Dean River in British Columbia, the steelhead there are notoriously strong fighters, and the reason being, they've gotta come up through a really powerful rapid. They have to jump seven times their body length [inaudible 01:12:43] through these rapids. And it's been that way for, you know, thousands of years. And so, the fish have evolved that way and that's what really makes it special. So, stocked steelhead suck because they don't have any of that. So I don't know. You triggered a thought there, Tom. I wanted to make that point, kind of an homage to the Dean River steelhead, so. [inaudible 01:13:16] throw you off track there, buddy.
Tom: No, no. And how do you feel about places where trout can't survive 12 months a year, stocking fish in, you know, streams that are going to get too warm during the summertime but, you know, there wouldn't be any trout fishing without hatchery support?
Kirk: Yeah, that's another one. You know, like California, southern California where they dump trout into the lakes and that's why they have massive bass in those lakes, basically feeding. And people have, like, three weeks when they go out and catch trout. I don't know. I'm not a fan, to be honest with you. You can make the argument, the town where I grew up in Pennsylvania, they have a city pond and the local [inaudible 01:14:20] chapter would put rainbows in it, and then all little kids would come out with their Snoopy rods and pull on 'em and catch 'em and take 'em home and eat 'em, theoretically. You know, that's exposing kids to the outdoors and it's getting them into fishing and it's having them feel that tug on the line, and it's where I started and where my son started and all that stuff. But, you know, as a matter of practice, I think it's just not my cup of tea. I'm not a big [inaudible 01:14:56] intake person anyway. I'm all about the habitat.
Tom: So, in a stream that, you know, I'm thinking some of the southeastern streams, where they can't support wild trout because of water temperatures. You think those streams should be left to the native species...
Kirk: I don't know.
Tom: ...and not stocked?
Kirk: Yeah, I mean, you know me, man. I like catching carp...
Tom: They're not native either though.
Kirk: ...on the fly. Not native.
Tom: I love catching carp.
Kirk: Smallmouth bass. Probably the most underrated fish in the world of fly fishing. Man, I was talking to Brian O'Keith the other day. He's catching small...a lot of people I know have moved off intentionally the crowded trout rivers and have just kinda launched into smallmouth bass fishing, you know.
Tom: But, most places where we fish for smallmouths today, they're not native either.
Kirk: That's right.
Tom: Right? I mean, certainly, none of the west coast smallmouth are native. I think they were originally only native to Great Lakes and the Ohio River drainage, I believe.
Kirk: That's right.
Tom: So, all of the southern...of course, there are some, like, subspecies of largemouths, what, the shoal bass and the spotted bass that are native to southern United States.
Kirk: Yeah. I don't know. I mean, my friends in Texas on the Guadalupe River is a good example, right? They had a tailwater down there, it's cold, comes out the bottom, and they put trout in there and there's thriving trout culture. Trout Fest is coming up in a month or so. Those anglers in Texas do so much for trout nationwide and their they raise their money, and then they use it to help rivers in New Mexico and Colorado and they support youth programs for TU throughout the country. They're our biggest chapter. So, who am I to, you know, complain about the effect of having trout in the Guadalupe River? You know? But, that said, you know, I've been down there a few times and my favorite thing to do is fish in the hill country for the native Guadalupe bass.
Tom: Mm-hmm. Yeah, yeah. Okay. Well...we've kinda rambled, but I think that you brought up some really good questions and, you know, get people thinking. I had Doug Thompson on a couple weeks ago who wrote a book called "In Search of the Golden Trout," and Doug is very much a 100% native species and totally against fish stocking. And you and I have kind of talked about balancing that a little bit more, expressed our love for brown trout.
Kirk: Yeah, I think that in this day and age, where everything is so polarized, it's like the way people in politics work. It's the way that would be nice if we all worked together and found [inaudible 01:18:59] you know, and found consensus, and that goes to some of the topics we were talking about. Maybe this summer's not the summer to go out and try to catch as many fish as you possibly can. Maybe it's the summer to learn a new technique or spend some time watching fish or whatever. But, like, for sustainability of rivers, don't pound the fish as hard, you know? And then, maybe if we focus on the habitat and having cold, clean water as much as possible, we don't need to worry about, you know, poisoning out brown trout and things like that. I think that we have way bigger battles to fight, needs to be climate change and some of the other topics that we talked about. The purification of the gene pool and eliminating immigrant fish in some places, wild fish and native fish are both very sacred to me.
Tom: Yup, I'm in total agreement with you there. And again, the opinions expressed here are not the opinions of Trout Unlimited or the Orvis company. They're just Kirk Deeter and Tom Rosenbauer expressing their opinions, right?
Kirk: That's right. That's right. I'll get a call from the boss.
Tom: Yeah. Although I don't think you've said anything that Trout Unlimited wouldn't agree with actually.
Kirk: No, I don't think so. Again, I'm not speaking for 'em, but it's a pretty consistent thing. If you go back to the roots, like I said, I mean that's why TU was founded, was to work on the habitat that had, you know, in support of wild fish and native fish.
Tom: Mm-hmm. All right, Kirk.
Kirk: There you have it.
Tom: All right. Well, I want to thank you for taking the time to talk to me today. Always fun talking to you.
Kirk: It's always fun...yeah.
Tom: You're always controversial.
Kirk: I try not to be. I don't know. It's okay to drop the puck every once in awhile, get the dial up.
Tom: You speak your mind, you speak your mind and it comes from a lifetime of experiencing these things.
Kirk: Well, and I do thank you and thanks for the opportunity, and I look forward to chatting and kicking things around when we're in waders sometime.
Tom: Yeah, yeah, yeah. We could both travel a little bit more, that'd be nice.
Kirk: That'd be a lot more fun. I'm looking [inaudible 01:21:46] days again.
Tom: All right, Kirk. We've been talking to Kirk Deeter, editor of "TROUT Magazine" and thank you for coming on the podcast today.
Kirk: Thanks for having me, chief. It's always a great pleasure.
Tom: All right. Talk to you soon.
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