Sylvandale River Restoration Workshop 2015
Guest Blog by: Rob Stout 3/18/2015
I recently got the chance to go up to Sylvandale guest ranch for a special event. It was a “River Restoration Workshop”, and it was a great event. The diversity of people there to speak and listen was just immense, and the knowledge I gained was invaluable. It started mid-day through Sunday, and the first speakers were Geoffrey Elliot and Dan Stubbs. They gave an in depth presentation on basic river functions and how rivers work. They then went over basic info on river monitoring and restoration. After that, there was a presentation on river restoration planning and processing by Corey Engen, the president of FlyWater inc. He talked about different structures, how and why they work, and when and where to put these kind of things.
After that, there were several options. You could go on a river walk with Corey, and he would explain different aspects of the river. Option 2 was to do a “fish inventory” (fly fishing). I jumped on option number 2, and rigged up my rod and slipped into my waders. Within 5 minutes, I had a beautiful, healthy, fat 16-inch rainbow
into my net. Not only was it great to see such a nice fish come out of the Thompson
, but especially being a post-flood fish, it was a great sign. I fished hard for about 30mins, but didn’t land any other fish.
We then got inside, and got an in depth presentation on soil and sediments and their effect and relationship with rivers from Randy Mandel. It was followed by a great meal from the Sylvandale staff, and the hospitality and level of work the staff had made it an overall enjoyable experience. After dinner, there was a presentation from a panel of people who were involved with the river, including Geoffrey Elliot, Dan Stubbs, and Chris Carlson. They discussed many aspects of the river and how it impacts people, and it was a very insightful conversation.
Day 2 was a tough sell for my parents. Trying to convince them to let me leave school was no easy task; however, with support from my teachers, I was allowed to go to part 2 of the workshop. The morning started off with a great homemade breakfast, and I was able to meet several nice fly fishermen, and we chatted it up about the whole world of fly fishing. After breakfast, we got a presentation on the resiliency of not only a river, but the whole watershed around it, and how different animal and human activities can affect a whole watershed.
Afterwards, we got another chance to hit the water, and it was fantastic! I walked down to a nice looking hole. And missed a smaller fish right off the bat. I put on a few lead shot to get my flies deeper, and that’s when the fun began. I lost a big rainbow right off the bat, but within 2 drifts, I had my first fish in the net. I got 5 fish out of that hole, all big fat healthy rainbows around 14in long. Most came on a prince nymph, although I got one on a #20 rainbow midge. Afterwards, we went in for lunch, and chatted a bit more. There was a time mix up, and unfortunately, the last speaker couldn’t make it, but, we were allowed to head back out.
I headed down with one other guy, and we walked down quite a ways to a stretch called the cliffs. The river flowed right along several beautiful cliffs that went ridiculously high. I ended up walking back upstream, and right before I left, I picked up my last fish of the day. He went well over a foot in the air 4 or 5 times, and it was hilarious to see. Ironically, my little rs2 was barley caught in his lip, and I’m lucky I didn’t lose him. However, it ended the trip in a memorable and fun way. To see these kinds of fish coming out of a stretch of the river that was heavily impacted by the floods was just amazing. The river has kind of worked itself out, and it is now just a cleanup process around the area.
I would like to thank Sylvandale for hosting such a great event. They worked hard to put this together, and it was a very well planned and fun workshop. I would also like to thank all of the speakers who took this time to come and present. The knowledge that I gained from these presentations will not soon be forgotten, and It is really great for on the water analyzing.