Author Archives: Pat Clayton

Iran and the end of American Empire

Normally I would be out on some trail looking for some fish but today is different. Like a bad flashback with the same characters, the drums of war once again are beating on the not too distant horizon. This time, Iran for no apparent reason, the fever dream of present day conquistadors whose twisted logic revolves around controlling terrain thru puppet regimes the world over. Last time they said cakewalk and it devolved into a region wrecking catastrophe, this time will be very different and will end the Untied States as we know it. As the faux “resistance” wasted their breath on spy novel level conspiracy theories involving Russians, Pee Pee tapes, and facebook adds. War mongererers secured the reins of the national security state and have set the table for what might be about to come.  How this goes down:

look how close they put their country to our military bases!

Straight of Hormuz January 2020:

After an embarrassing attempt to overthrow Venezuala’s leader, neocons Mike Pompeo and John Bolton seek redemption. A dolt in the office of presidency is the perfect foil, polling numbers indicate Trump needs a war to win reelection.  After a buildup of more than 100, 000 troops and multiple carrier groups the fuse needed to be lit. This time around there would be no need for a false narrative about weapons of mass destruction, only an incident and that is exactly what would happen. Proxies of some sort launch attacks on oil tankers and in a Gulf of Tonkinesque fake act of aggression, which we seize on it to launch a punishing round of airstrikes. Again, the delusional “thinkers” tucked safely away in think tanks assure everyone that the regime will topple, instead Iran unites. Iran is not like Iraq, it is a Shiite state united under one wing of Islam rather than a cobbled together state with two waring factions like Sadam tried to govern. Iraq was hobbled after 3 decades of war and sanctions, Iran is not. Iran’s strong and loyal military will fight with conventional and guerilla tactics. They will utilize fanatical support married up with state of the art technology on ground much more conducive to defense. Their population is twice as large, motivated, and inspired to defend. None of these warning signs were heeded as the hubris of fat white men over ride logic, the profit of oil companies and arms manufacturers override any Geneva conventions,. Someone else’s kids will die anyways. Late stage capitalism has turned us into an oil company with an army and it is time to put it to use.

unleash the dogs of war

Iran’s military, having a decade to plan their defense already had their assets spread too widely for air attacks to have much effect, The macabre photos of civilian deaths from our unprovoked attack unites the country and the world against us. Warfare breaks out globally as Iranian proxies attack American interests from Africa to Asia. Wisely, our naval commanders place aircraft strike groups away from the coast as they know they are sitting ducks  to the revolutionaries guards surface to ship missiles. It does not work as Iran sends a flotilla of small boats south and enough get thru. A volley of cheap Chinese mass produced cruise missiles overwhelms our Aegis defense system and the final missiles in this volley are the sunburn missiles. Specifically engineered to beat our defenses they score kill shot after kill shot, sinking an aircraft carrier and multiple support vessels. Ten thousand sailors are killed in this debacle and the dogs of war are unleashed. An attempted pincer move by our best ground forces slows to a crawl on the way to Tehran, met by a highway of IED’s and armor piercing handheld missiles. Air support is limited due to innumerable surface to air missiles of all varieties. After two decades of war the fatigued troops, public, and politicians stand dumbfounded on what the last week has wrought. 

let me see that map, where are we going next?

As with all wars, the unintended consequences are far reaching . Outraged over our never ending imperial aggression the region catches fire. Jordans king Abdullah is overthrown, Civil war breaks out in Somalia, Algeria, Libya, and Egypt. Israel stands alone as wave after wave of suicide bombers attack on all fronts and shortly they begin nuking the borderlands. Our dizzying array of military bases all come under attack. Resupply and survival becomes difficult as an already stretched military begins to deal with two dozen Dien Bien Phu’s at once. Tens of millions of refugees flee, eclipsing the current refugee crisis by 20 fold, turning Europe into a desperate continent.  Saudi Arabia is beheading people as fast as they can round them up, Turkey and Syria go to war. Famine breaks out. Our allies condemn us and cut off all economic and military support and within weeks our economy is in shambles. Shiite and Sunni unite for the first time ever, conventional and guerilla war breaks out from Pakistan to Nigeria. An orgy of death commences. Hubris takes over as the architects of this debacle try to save face, tactical nukes are unleashed in a last desperate attempt to turn the tides. Resupply and reinforcement’s, are impossible and our attempted regime change in Tehran grinds to a complete halt. Our overstretched ground troops face a Stalingradesque debacle in the sands of the middle east. The logical end to a 3 decades long delusion. 

Fucking guy should be in prison

The end of an imperial power commences. Eisenhower warned about the military industrial complex, as with all capitalistic enterprises this industry is wed to a perpetual growth paradigm. When that growth can only come thru war this is the end result. China collapses our currency, petro states cut off our supply, wall street collapses as we quickly default on all our debt. The century of American dominance is over. NATO is defunct as Europe turns into a massive refugee camp. Central America, South America, and China rise for avoiding conflict. This all occurs as the general public is infotained by conspiracy theory and waste their energy being outraged over bathrooms. An academic and media sector that is delinquent in their duty to teach and inform. A political class that is corrupted, ignorant, and entitled. An economic system that is oligarchical in nature and immoral. Democrats long ago gave up being anti war, it all culminated with Hillary Clinton launching multiple regime change wars of her own from her seat as secretary of State and Barack Obama droning wedding parties with wreckless abandon.  The United Sates breaks apart in a flurry of civil unrest as mercenary armies skirmish over resources. Are we going to resist this now? Where is the media? Where is the anti war movement?

General Eisenhower’s prescient warning comes to fruition

Our media gearing up for high ratings as the wargasm commences:

Trumps war cabinet, Bolton and Pompeo are sick men:

The David to our goliath, Iran’s sunburn missile:

Posted in Blog

Getting real about Pebble Mine

Getting real about Pebble Mine

What it is and what it represents




Since the first moment Europeans stepped ashore on what they humorously called the “new world” an unrelenting march westward has continued unabated. This thirst has left the original wilderness and its inhabitants all but crushed beneath the sole of our war boot. A toxic mix of Manifest Destiny married up to the genetically flawed imperative to tame the wilderness, fueled by religious zealotry and racism. Super charged by the cult-like necessity to extract profit from the land and its resources at any cost. Which brings us to the last frontier, Alaska and Pebble Mine.

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It’s well past time to call this what it is, colonization of native lands and the wholesale destrucion of our wilderness for this flawed ethos. Ink has been spilled about the last vestiges of native subsistence culture, a sustainable commercial fishery, and a thriving tourist industry which connects people to this very landscape. Opposition to the mine uses these talking points as if it matters to the proponents of this criminal enterprise. What needs to be recognized are that these forces unstated goal is the destruction of all of the above. All this destruction is in service of an economic system that places value on profit and nothing else. They want corporate fish farms, not wild salmon. They want workers for their mine, not subsistence villages. They want the wilderness monetized and tamed, not revered.

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Courts and petitions, EIS documents, stickers and facebook pages, lobbyists collecting salaries and non profits working deep within this flawed system, all nothing more than formalities. From the second the scope of the deposit was understood the clock began ticking. The inevitable pillaging might be stalled, but the profiteers will not rest until their bonuses are paid and whatever multinational owns the rights to our land meet their stockholders demands. Profit.  Like the unseen gravitational pull of a much larger stellar body, Bristol Bay will be sucked into this matrix and brought to heel. This unseen force at play in our culture for millenia is stronger than ever. A sickening greedlust alive and well, existing to make money and crush any remnant connection to the wild in service of the wholesale industrialization of every aspect of our lives. Our fish will come from chemical filled pens, salmon will face the same fate as the herds of buffalo. Wilderness experiences turned into canned for profit tourist trips to whatever last remaining slices of terrain their industries deem useless.

Sockeye Salmon #7

Like a snake coiled waiting for the kill, mine proponents have waited this one out until the ground was ideal to strike. That time has come. Opponents naively hoped that the very system which shepherds the inevitable would come to its senses. As if the economic laws and cultural norms which dictate all would, for the first time in history, do something different. Pebble is nothing short of the largest land use decision we have faced in decades. Pebble is an issue encompassing intense social justice and global environmental concerns and threatens a functioning, billion dollar a year commercial fishery providing a vital source of healthy renewable food. Against that backdrop it has somehow been turned into a kitschy cause for elitist flyfisherman and their barely registering non profits.  Our side is fatigued and bored while they gather momentum, the specter of billions of dollars in profit energizing their efforts. A legacy project to insure multi generational wealth for its owners, shareholders, and children of privilege.  Another nail sunk into the coffin of wilderness.  Industries death-march continuing unabated in service of a flawed economic system. All to further the goal of a culture bereft of any connection to the natural world. We are going to need to find our second wind now, improve our strategy and outreach, find allies, and for the first time get on a war footing because this abstraction is steamrolling towards reality. I will do what I can and I hope you all will join me.

pebble mine

There, I done fixed er’ right on up! It’s well past time, this should have been fought for when Obama was in office.
















Posted in Blog

Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

anwr 1Mountain rivers born high in the snowfields and Glaciers of the Brooks Range spill onto the arctic Plain. These braided riparian corridors slither through the tundra before dropping into the Beaufort Sea, our trip would follow this water cycle from source to plain in search of the most colorful salmonid on earth, the venerable Dolly Varden. These fish move between ocean and river utilizing the former for fattening up and the latter as nurseries and rearing areas. They power their way upriver sometime in fall making their way  to the fast, clear, and cold waters in the mountains to spawn.  All the rivers on the arctic plain support runs of different sizes, these fish make up a subsistence and sport fishery as well as a link in the food chain for the ecosystem as a whole. Finding and documenting this run of fish was an iffy proposition at best.  After weeks of paddling and searching we found a small spring creek that held the stunning fish we sought.

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Traveling from the headwaters to the plain is a journey thru time into a wilderness untouched. As if I was transported back to the last ice age, mans long reach nowhere to be seen, skies exploding with stars and northern lights, great herds of strange beasts dotted a landscape bathed in color from mountain to sea, from sky to tundra. 

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Posted in Trout Photos

Fly fishing in the year 2045

The swirling eddys at the end of every long rip rap wall was where the slab smallies ambushed their prey. Wham, any good cast thru the lazy water would result in a slashing strike from one of these predators. The dog days of June when temperatures spiked into the high 90s was prime time. Hoards of crickets would hatch and flood the water inciting a feeding frenzy. These crickets tormented the last few ranchers in the valley, wreaked havoc on the landscaping around the trophy homes, and made golfing at the numerous courses a strange affair. Things would slow down in a few weeks when water temperatures reached the low 80’s and Montana’s Paradise valley filled with smoke from another round of forest fires. At least the launch fees from the privatized boat ramps would drop along with the water.

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Things are different now, the skyline is the same, Emigrant Peak still strikes its pose but everything else has changed. In the distance, the rumble of the once busy four lane leading to Xanterra Park drowns out the gurgling coming from the weed laden water of the Yellowstone River.  Industrial sized dump trucks from the nearby mines plow onward alongside the tourists and local work force.  Abandoned trophy homes and golf courses line the armored riverbanks and a small city has formed in Emigrant to house the army of service workers. The valley is green, irrigated landscaping has replaced the fields of yore. The forests up high have burned and burned again morphing into a hodgepodge of downfall, second growth, and bone dry dirt. As with all the main stem rivers in Montana, the Yellowstone is no longer a cold water fishery. Their fate sealed by chronic dewatering, disease, invasive species, nutrient loads, sedimentation, and warming temperatures. The beginning of the end for the Yellowstone  was in 2016, a hot summer/low water outbreak of the PKD that mysteriously kept flaring up year after year. The warning signs were everywhere; sometime around 2014 the legendary Beaverhead began showing more turbidity than ever before. The healing flows of spring runoff no longer able to wash away the practices of upstream users. The mighty Missouri started filling up with weeds choking out bug life and depriving the water of its oxygen.  Small towns like Bozeman and Helena had turned into sprawling cities as the chamber of commerce’s “only in Bozeman” campaign proved very successful with the climate change refugees from fire ravaged California, the desertifying SW, and Hurricane ravaged Florida.  The waterway was no longer able to carry away the nutrient load of these ever expanding cities without drastically altering the downstream biology.  We ignored it and fished scuds under bobbers instead of dry flies. Freestone rivers had hoot owl restrictions during all summer months as global temps crept upward, their precious flow evaporating into welfare ranchers fields.  Nothing was done. Still, the AG industry profiteered while taking exactly what the law allowed, as much as they wanted. These rivers were filling with sediment, nutrients, and pollution, dying their slow death. Unchecked development in all drainages further pressured the available water sources. The trout got smaller and smaller year to year, rumors of bass as far up as Livingston began circulating. Nobody cared, 2020 was the high point for the fly fishing industry, film tours and fancy gear. Trucks raced from river to river, rod tubes on top and boats in tow.  The money would never stop flowing. Mostly these people had not been around long enough to know any different. Adding insult to injury, from his gated community where Senator Steve Daines could fish worms in the private ponds, a bill was drafted to open up Wilderness study areas to all sorts of pillaging.  The only success story was the Gallatin River. After a permanent Moratorium on construction in Big Sky was implemented in 2020, the river held its own. Increased precipitation in the Madison Range from global warming helped and this river still has trout. Granted, the application process to get a day of fishing is daunting and expensive.


 Ghost of years past

At least we still had the bass to catch; they were fun and helped pass the time. I am nearing 70 and big adventures to far flung places with backpacks are a thing of the past. The last remaining trout are highly sought after and live above 9000 feet in cirque lakes, too difficult for an old man like me to reach. So I take what I can get. At least us fisherman are better off than the hunters. The herds of ungulates that once filled these valleys are long gone. Chronic Wasting Disease exploded three decades ago putting an end to sport hunting in nearly all regions around the greater Xanterra region.  The results were ugly, feeding grounds in Wyoming were the cause of the explosion hastening the spread and creating biological superfund sites. Some of the guilty parties did hard time, hunting in this region was part of our culture and revenge was dealt out.  Misinformed locals took matters into their own hands destroying the wolf packs that offered the last best chance to cull sick animals. Xanterra’s last Grizzly bear was poisoned by an outfitter from Jackson Hole a few years later in the headwaters of Slough Creek.  The only cougar south of Glacier was illegally treed and shot by someone who proudly claimed it on facebook.  He walked free when judged by a jury of his peers. None of this had any effect as the disease ran its course. Mortality rates were over  90% and the immune have yet to reestablish. Most people no longer had land to hunt, as Zinke’s “open public lands bill” had put most forest service land behind private companies lock and chain. His lead deputy, Ammon Bundy made BLM land a pilfered dustbowl where not even cows could roam anymore. The racist militia movement out west, had, by force of arms turned all BLM land into their private profit centers.  Hunting, unfortunately, is a past time whose time had passed.  Sportsmen kept voting republican solely on masculinity and guns, while the environment and public lands were being actively privatized and destroyed by the party. Like a mentally ill patient punching themselves in the face over and over, hunters and fisherman kept pulling the wrong lever until they had nothing left. Luckily there were still hunting videos to watch late at night after another tinder date had fallen through.

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Chronic Wasting Disease

As bad as things are around here they are worse elsewhere. Outside of a few rivers flowing from remnant glaciers in Olympic National Park, salmon and steelhead have become functionally extinct from the lower 48. Sometime in the mid 2020’s they just stopped showing back up. None. Science’s best guess was ocean acidification. A trophic cascade was set off as the Puget Sound’s iconic Orcas, the J pod died of starvation. Some species exploded while others cratered. The whole ecosystem was and is in flux at the loss of this keystone species and their apex predator.  Disease outbreaks, pollution, global warming was scrambling the board.  Feedback loops intensified as CO2 was released from tundra, methane bubbed up from the ocean depths, Amazon rain forests faltered, ocean currents shut down, and the worst case scenarios from the scientific community became reality. Up and down the west coast of America, drainages once impervious to wildfire were seeing climax fire events followed by  atmospheric rivers which choked waterways with debris and sediment. But hey, my friend saw a rooster fish off the Oregon Coast…..

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Young J52 was accompanied by his mother (seventeen and a half year old, J36) and an adult male (twenty-six year old L85, potentially his father) at least five miles away from the other members of J and L pods that were foraging within a mile or two of the coastline from Camper Creek to Bonilla Point west of Port Renfrew, British Columbia. The observation of this sad event was at sunset, and the young whale appeared very lethargic while barely surfacing as the two adults were swimming around in circles and not feeding while attentive to the young whale. We estimated J52 was within hours, if not minutes, of death at the time, and he was not present during the J pod foray into Puget Sound on 19 September, though his mother and L85 were. The mother did not appear overly emaciated on either occasion, but she is lean and seems distressed.

 To the North in British Columbia the story was the same. The canary in the Coal mine was 2017 when sockeye and Steelhead numbers on the Frasier collapsed. The culprits were many but signs pointed to the proliferation of toxic fish farms running up and down the Inside Passage. The diabolic, purposeful, corporatized, profit scheme destroyed wild runs thus making us reliant upon their product was later discovered. The perpetrators walked. Now the only salmon at market is hormone filled and toxic, not fit for a dog. Mines, logging, and numerous toxic spills from tar sand ports destined for China all acted to further toxify the coastline. Things got dicey between the US and Canada after a super tanker emanating from the newly constructed Kinder Morgan pipeline depot wrecked in the Strait of Juan de Fuca spoiling beaches for miles in all directions. The cross border rift was exasperated after a tailing pond  just to the south of Alaska failed and fouled much of the Tongass with heavy metals. One river is Canada still has a functioning salmon run, the mighty Skeena.  35 years ago, first nations made their last stand here by blocking roads coming into their territory. They occupied the fish farms and bravely held their ground against the extraction industries for decades. No outsider really knows, but rumors are they still harvest salmon there.

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Klamath River fish kill circa 2002

This brings us to the last frontier, Alaska. 2016 was the crucial year.  While National Monuments were being gutted in the southwest, the largest industrial projects since the dam building era began in earnest. The election of Donald Trump, appointment of Scott Pruit to EPA, and Ryan Zinke to interior triggered a veritable gold rush in the north. Immediately, they reopened the application process for Pebble Mine, dismantled logging restrictions in the Tongass, drilling in ANWR was added onto their corporate tax cut bill, and in Trumps second term, offshore drilling, the Ambler road, the damming of the Susitna.  Alaska’s wildest places were open for business. In a collaborative effort between environmental groups and foreign mining firms, Pebble Mine was green lighted. This opened the door, as power from the massive new Trump Dam on the Susitna was run over the Alaska Range into the new mining district in Bristol Bay. All those test holes they dug quickly morphed into massive open pit mines in all directions. The result was inevitable, numerous rivers running into the bay were fouled and to date over 60% of the salmon run has disappeared.  In ANWR, the calving grounds of the largest caribou herds were quickly industrialized and the collapse of our largest ungulate land migration was a given. The legendary rivers and hunting ground of Alaskas wildest Range, the Brooks, now looked out over pipelines and drill pads. On a positive note, what rivers were not fouled began seeing stray salmon arrive for the first time ever. Global warming was pushing them further north than they had ever been seen. Another massive mining district was opened on the Kobak with the construction of a long haul road thru a National Park and native lands. This effectively meant that every wild area from Bristol Bay to the Arctic Ocean was being pillaged and as with all large scale industrial projects, the ecosystem paid the price.  As the Colorado River dried up, armed conflict began. California, in a desperate attempt to find the fresh water they needed, built an 8 quadrillion dollar diversion dam and piped Alaska’s Copper River to Los Angeles. This pipeline was in operation for only 6 months before the massive earth quake on the Juan De Fuca subduction zone destroyed it.  The ill faded project forever decimated this legendary Sockeye River.   Many of the native subsistence villages from the North Slope to the River deltas in Bristol Bay, still to this day, stubbornly refuse to be drown out by drug ridden man camps and dirty money.

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The ecocide we were witnessing on land played out equally as quick in the ocean.  Searching for that epic tarpon or rooster fish was always a patient affair.  Maybe a day, maybe a week? When things became a month it was a wake up call for a lot of sport fisherman. We heard about Reefs being bleached somewhere or another fishery pummeled by drift nets. Red flags were flying high when sometime around 2016, 75% of the world largest reef, the Great Barrier was bleached, never to recover. Experts were literally brought to tears as this wonder of nature all but disappeared overnight. It was the same story everywhere; acidification, overfishing, and global warming were wreaking havoc. Nobody could even track it as it was happening so fast, the undocumentable speed of collapse was scary. Salmon were gone, sardines no longer arrived, species showing up in places they had never been seen. Trophic collapse had all sorts of ramification known and unknown. By 2010 over 90% of the worlds fisheries were depleted with no end in sight. Failure after failure of the Dakota access and Keystone XL pipelines soiled the Mississippi River.  Refining facilities and chemical plants on the gulf coast were devastated by ever larger hurricanes, and an ever increasing load of fertilizer from desperate farmers upstream resulted in the Gulf of Mexico becoming barren of any sea life. The worlds oceans were collapsing from the bottom up and the top down.   What that meant was fish went from 20 dollars a pound to a hundred dollars a pound real fast. Tofish, like tofurkey but fish flavored and textured became very popular with what we called Millenials. A new generation of kids coming up, who, for obvious reasons, were rejecting the failing capitalistic paradigm.  But it was too late, the generation known as the “me” generation stubbornly held onto power and doubled down on their failed economic, environmental, and imperial policies.

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The Grind, how we treat out oceans

It seems obvious now in hind sight. But at the time we were just trying to get by, make money. The devaluation of the American petro dollar and bursting of the second housing bubble of the 2020’s slowed growth to a crawl. China’s and Europes new green alliance began dictating world affairs and was much more powerful  than the Trump-Putin oil/military alliance. Yet we plowed on and plowed under many of the thing we took for granted. The Chinese-European proprietary invention of cold fusion put us to second rate status for good, bankrupting the war torn Middle East and made the American greenback into a repeat of the ruble after the fall of the USSR.  Putin did not care, from his prison cell in Malta, he finally claimed victory over his cold war rival. In 2024, when given the choice between the republican or the republican light, the disgusted electorate didn’t show up and for the fourth time in a row Hillary gave her concession speech. Her crowd was an aging and diminishing group of rich white women wearing pink hats and a small cadre of child molesting Hollywood moguls. The whole political class was bought off, rotten to the core. This ushered in the Mike Pence administration, whatever funding was still available for green energy and research was made illegal; the wholesale rejection of science was complete when it became a jail able offense to say the world global warming. Public education ended in favor of a church voucher program hastening our descent into ignorance, denial, and blind faith. This ideology was strengthened by the military industrial complex and oil companies who owned the internet and all information was vetted through a centralized distribution center in Houston Texas.  It ended with a whimper as our once mighty economy collapsed for good sometime around 2035. Much like the Prussian empire did decades ago, the once United States split into a loose conglomeration of six weak and isolated countries. We were not the first empire to guarantee our demise by soiling our own bed. At a time when the biosphere was collapsing we were glued to smart phones that made us anything but, arguing about what sign should go on a bathroom door, and turned reality television into daily reality. Looking back after all these years, why did we rush forward to destroy things that nature took so long to build? Our insatiable appetite for growth sealed our fate as we turned away from sustainability for short term profit.  I am just a fisherman, 30 years ago I envisioned myself during these years ticking off things from the bucket list. Now they are all but gone. To think these things are permanent is to not have reference or reverence. Ever since the first steam engine was built and the first barrel of oil was internally combusted this has been the path, increasing in intensity and speed.

Note: As bad as this sounds, it could be even worse. Problems such as, extreme climate change, refugee crisis, depletion of top soil, availability of groundwater resources, complete ecosystem collapse, a failing biosphere, peak oil, famine, failure of agriculture systems, failure of economic and political institutions, a plague of cancer from our toxified food and environment, drug  resistant viruses and bacteria, disease jumping from the overpopulated domesticated animal pool to the overpopulated human population, unsanitary and overpopulated conditions leading to the next plague and end of civilization; Racial, economic, nuclear, biological, civil,and/or resource wars. This dystopian future we are hurdling towards is not set in stone. But unless we recognize it, embrace science, and make a quantum leap in our value set, it is all but guaranteed. What will our children think of the future we handed them?

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 Oil Company Mercenaries brace each other against the recoil

Standing Rock, North Dakota

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As the ice disappeared, starving Polar bears began rummaging around the villages for any scraps. They are now extinct, the last few were captured in a failed attempt to breed them in captivity.


Frontline documentary on the treasonous militia movement:

 Documentary on the great barrier reef dying in real time:

 Worst case global warming scenarios coming true in real time:

Scott Pruitt dismantles protections for Bristol Bay:

 Fish farms are atrocious, a biological disaster for wild salmon:

Orcas starving to death as the salmon disapear:

Same in the arctic with the polar bears:

Arctic National Wildlife refuge opens to drilling:

Tongass roadless and Old growth restrictions to be lifted

Montana’s rivers in bad shape:

Senator Steve Daines proposes elimination of Wilderness study areas

Mountain journal exposes the lies and politics behind Wyoming’s hunting industrial complex in a three part expose on Chronic Wasting Disease:

Klamath River fish kill:

Fraiser River Salmon following the Columbia river model, collapse:

Alaska’s proposed Susitna Dam

Alaska’s proposed Ambler road

Dakota access and keystone xl do what they do. Leak oil:

Canada’s shitty mines and shittier tar sands:

The Boomers are a sociopathic Generation

They took everything their parents built, profiteered, privatized, perpetually lowered their taxes, chronically ignored infrastructure, denied science and gave nothing back. In turn blaming millennials for what they destroyed:

The coming Collapse of the American Empire



Posted in Trout Photos

The Yellowstone River fish kill, Global Warming, and the path forward.


Ever since dead whitefish began sloshing up on the shores of the mighty Yellowstone River, a lot of ink has been spilled over the status of this most iconic of rivers.  To the untrained eye, Paradise Valley and this waterway appear to embody everything that draws people to our rivers. Sprawling views in every direction of a relatively untouched land, clear and cold water teeming with wild trout, and a river corridor supporting all sorts of fauna. When one lifts the rosy glasses a very different picture begins to emerge.


903 Emigrant Peak, the Audacious and Silly plan to build a mine behind this mountain has raised hackles


Yellowstone River

This brawling river flows natural and protected out of Yellowstone Lake, undammed and wild as it tumbles over one of our most iconic falls then rages through The Grand and  The Black Canyons of the Yellowstone. As it exits the Park it runs headlong into humanity.  In Gardner, these flows are immediately augmented by an ever increasing amount of treated sewage being directly discharged. Soon after, head gates and canals begin diverting small and large quantities of its precious flow. Cold water tributaries flowing from the Absorakees and Gallatin Range are completely disconnected, being diverted to the farm fields nearby. This critical source of cold water to the heart of the valley is all but lost. What should be a high desert valley turns green for most the summer, golf courses and hay fields suck much of the life force. Water quality quickly begins to diminish as silt, nitrogen, phosphorous, and temperature regimes begin to change. Now, I am not a hydrologist, biologist, or any other sort of ist but I have eyes and see the water turning yellower, warmer, and slower. Governor Bullock said he would follow the science, that science leads to one place, the head gate at every irrigation canal.


Above humanity, the mighty Yellowstone flows clear and cold through the Black Canyon

All this is exacerbated by extensive levying and an ever increasing demand on groundwater. The rip rap that often hides the largest of fish also acts to disconnect the very riparian areas that all flora and fauna rely upon.  Back Channels so critical to spawning are left dry in perpetuity, the very hydrology changes as the flow is hemmed in between these rock walls.  This acts to wash gravel downstream, where the vast majority of bugs would survive; left in its place is larger substrate not suitable for much other than using as an anchor. Critical spring creeks, Armstrongs and Depuy’s, are actually meant to be side channels and flushed in high water years.  Instead they are levied off behind no trespassing signs, privatized for the few and are slowly silted in, which, to a degree, deprives the main stem of this vital cold water infusion. The floods of ’97 actually took this ground back, back hoes quickly repaired the “damage.”  Every well and groundwater fed center pivot system is lowering the water table.  Along the whole river, springs large and small discharge their cold water into the bottom of the river.  This hydrology is being lost with every gallon of water being taken.  This water is critical to keep the river cold in summer and where these fish lay to over winter. The AG industry is a resource extraction industry, no different than the oil industry or a mining firm. What they extract is our water, and just like those other industries, they pay little or nothing for it, abuse this public resource for personal gain, and when shit goes bad, the public pays the price and the taxpayer picks up the bill, always.


Headgates dot every main stem and tributary in Montana,




Where are we?  According to the best available science, the virus that caused the fish kill has existed in the waterway for years, last summer’s low flows and high temps finally engaged it to fish kill levels. Save the Yellowstone?  Much public outcry has been expended on a proposed mine, articles about global warming dot the landscape.  While these are huge and important issues there is much more.  Marketing campaigns have been launched and donations accepted as people rally against the proposed mine, meanwhile the river dies a death by a thousand cuts.  Industrial level commercialization of the resource is furthering the decline as hundreds of guided trips a day pound away at the fish with not so much as a peep about regulating numbers. This is of course exacerbated by the fact global warming and water diversions are hammering other popular rivers.  Hoot owl restrictions begin earlier and last longer, the Yellowstone ends up taking the brunt, as people flock to the last open stretch of water.


 In the western water wars, above is our share, below is theirs904


As Montana’s economy evolves away from resource extraction to tourism, these new industries must unite to protect, improve, and preserve the resources they make money off of.  A holistic approach to the greater needs to be implemented.  This all starts with minimum in stream flow legislation.  Without that everything else is pointless. Single issues like a mine, or small projects like paying hundreds of thousands of dollars to purchase a few CFS from a rancher, are simply not seeing the forest through the trees. Whatever improvements are being made with habitat or flows are nowhere near keeping pace with global warming and increased residential and commercial water use.  The pressures on these ecosystems are relentless, occurring every hour of every day, and require valley wide rehabilitation.  What is true on the Yellowstone is true on every river.

912  Yellowstone at full bank, cottonwood bottoms rely on this sort of seasonal flooding, Much of this dies a slow death behind levies.

907  If this kind of theft occurred at a convenience store, rest assured the perpetrator would not be driving around in a brand new f 350……



This is where I would usually insert a link to relevant groups in regards to minimum stream flow legislation but there seems to be none.  Instead we hear platitudes about “resiliency,”  neo liberal schemes with fancy names like “mitigation banks,” laughably ineffective voluntary drought irrigation cutbacks,  and tears shed over “stakeholders.”  These “stakeholders” being the very demographic who deny global warming are in turn blaming it for the lack of water, their rather large straw sucking the precious flow for their own fiscal gain. It may come as breaking news, but we are all stakeholders and this is clearly outlined in our state’s constitution. As the picture of the true costs of global warming on our waterways comes into focus,  the reality is, if we are to preserve our cold water fisheries, minimum stream flow legislation is our only course of action. Saying it cant be done is weak tea. So, I give to you one brave man who has stood for what is right for decades, as to why this article is titled the way it is, well you can connect the dots there:

Our past times, many of our professions, and indeed our existance are inherently connected to the environment. Support businesses and manufacturers who hold these values. Patagonia is fearlessly leading the charge, Orvis is quietly a force for good, REI, Black Diamond and many others. Non Profits like the Center for Biological diversity, Earth Justice, the Wild Fish Conservancy, the Upper Missouri waterkeepers, MEIC, and alliance for the Wild Rockies are who to support and more importantly where you want your money to go. Do your research on this, many small advocacy groups do great things well many larger well known organizations sold out decades ago.

There is another way of ranching, good land stewards do this voluntarily, unfortunately they are in the minority. Minimum stream flow legislation is the only way to force their hand on a large scale. It is not an either or scenario:


blog 2!

How Bad can it really be?  These three rivers join to form the Jefferson. This was toted as a collaborative success.  The lower Jefferson died an ugly death last summer.  The fish kill on it was not witnessed because nobody was on it to see.  It peaked at over 75 degrees, it looked like a stagnant series of puddles, ranchers were busily digging in the riverbed with their backhoes creating coffer dams to form pools and siphon the last of the water.  20 cfs at the bottom, meanwhile the three rivers that make this river were gushing at nearly 900 cfs.  Is 22 cfs a fair allotment?

sf final!

Posted in Blog

The Rainbow of Trout!

Trout Pictures – Madison River Rainbows – Image 200

Madison River Rainbows!


Fly Fishing Art Photo – Rainbow Trout Riffle – Image 201

Rainbow Trout Riffle


Fly Fishing Art Photo – Missouri River Rainbow Hog – Image 203

Missouri River Rainbow Hog

Fly Fishing Art Photo – Emigrant Peak and rainbows on the rise at sunset – Image 210

Emigrant Peak and rainbows on the rise at sunset

Fly Fishing Art Photo – Spawners – Image 212


Fly Fishing Art Photo – Tailing Rainbow on the Missouri – Image 209

Tailing Rainbow on the Missouri

Fly Fishing Art Photo – A six pound 24 incher from the Yelowstone.

A triploid mutant from the Yellowstone River


The Sphinx, Madison Valley, Montana

Fly Fishing Art Photo – Gallatin River, Montana in fall – Image 217

Gallatin River, Montana in fall

Fly Fishing Art Photo – dancing with the current – Image 218

dancing with the current

Fly Fishing Art Photo – Alaska Leopard Rainbow – Image 213

No Pebble Mine!

Trout Pictures – Ocean going Rainbow – Image 204

Ocean going Rainbow. The venerable steelhead making its way home

Trout Art – Nature's Artwork – Image 208

Nature’s Artwork

Fly Fishing Art Photo – Native inland Redband Rainbow – Image 214

Native inland Redband Rainbow

Trout Pictures – Leopard Rainbow – Image 215

Leopard Rainbow

Fly Fishing Art Photo – Caught one – Image 205

Caught one!

Trout Pictures  – Smith River, California Steelhead – Image 438

Smith River, California Steelhead

Fly fishing Art Photo – Release – Image #220

thanks dude


Posted in Trout Photos

All the prettiest things!


Beartooth Plateau, Montana. Sunrise



notice the inlet to that lower lake.....

Montana backcountry lakes


Yellowstone Cutthroat


Crazy Mountains, Montana


Montana Wolf


Mule deer, Montana


Over/under photography is the most difficult. Rainbow, trout from the Gallatin River drainage, Montana


Bridger Bowl, Montana


Brown Trout, Madison River, Montana


Osprey, Ennis Lake, Montana


Golden Trout, Wind River Range, Wyoming


Beaver Pond Brook Trout, Montana


Kingfisher, fish king!


Posted in Trout Photos