King Midas’ Curse- Retold Through the Story of an Idaho Gold Mine

As the story goes, King Midas of Phrygia lived a life of abundant luxury. He ruled over his kingdom from a great castle, filled with all the riches a man could ever dream of. A materialistic man, Midas centered his happiness around his impressive collection of gold. One day while out walking through his rose garden, Midas happened upon a drunken and sickly Satyr. Midas, recognizing the Satyr as one of the God Dionysus’ good friends, brought him into his castle and nursed him back to health. 

Dionysus, Greek God of wine, fertility, and ecstasy (seems like a fun guy), was thrilled to have his friend back in good health. To show his gratitude, he offered to grant King Midas one wish of his choosing. Immediately and almost without thinking, Midas wished that everything he touched would turn to gold. Dionysus granted the wish gladly. 

Midas, thrilled with his newfound power, quickly began exploring the limitations of the gift. He ran through his castle, handling any random objects in sight. As promised, they all turned to gold. He ordered his servants to prepare him a great feast to celebrate. Midas sat down in his golden chair at his golden dinner table and began to eat. He reached for a vine of grapes, which were transformed into solid gold the moment he laid his fingers on them. He picked up his bread, which also metalized upon contact with his magical hands. Frustrated, Midas lifted his glass of wine and began to drink. This, too, turned to solid gold the moment it touched his lips. King Midas spiraled into a storm of rage as he began to realize the implications of his great gift. His beautiful daughter, pride of Midas’ life, entered the room and he ran to hug her, seeking comfort in her embrace. The moment his arms wrapped around her, she too turned to solid gold. Midas was devastated. His greed had destroyed everything in his life that he held dear. 

This story and its many re-tellings offer a simple lesson to readers: be wary of man’s undying greed for money and power. The fable of King Midas has been retold through countless events throughout history, and each time, the lesson rings true. This story and its moral can be applied quite seamlessly to one very unfortunately-named Canadian Mining company—Midas Gold.

Midas Gold Incorporated, like many modern mining companies, is headquartered in Canada due to the relaxed and compliant nature of Canada’s government when it comes to disclosures related to mining practices (nearly 75% of the world’s mining companies call Canada “home”). Mining companies frequently headquarter in Canada, where it’s easy to exploit the minimal regulations in place. Once these mining companies have established headquarters in the land of maple, they are able to open mines all over the world and make incredible amounts of profit. Midas Gold follows this template to a tee. 

Midas’ current and first actual mining project, the Stibnite Mine, is located in Central Idaho near the town of Yellow Pine roughly 100 miles away from Boise. Stibnite has a complicated and storied history as a rich mining zone, with its original claims being laid in the late 1800s. Throughout the early 1900s Stibnite was mined by a few different parties, and by 1932 Bradley Mining Company had set up shop as a legitimate mining operation. Stibnite was critical to the United States’ war effort through WWII, with 90% of the antimony and 50% of the Tungsten used in the war coming from the mine. Rich with gold, silver, tungsten, and antimony, the area was actively mined all the way up until 1966. 

Stibnite is precariously located in the headwaters of the South Fork of the Salmon River drainage, with the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River flowing directly through the center of the site. The South Fork of the Salmon drainage as a whole accounts for a large chunk of Idaho’s chinook salmon and steelhead spawning habitat, and also provides critical habitat for resident bull and cutthroat trout. While the South Fork of the Salmon is often overshadowed by its neighboring river, the Middle Fork of the Salmon, the ecosystems are actually very similar. The main difference – the Middle Fork is protected by the wild and scenic rivers act and is sheltered within the Frank Church Wilderness while the South Fork is not afforded those same protections. Although the South Fork meets every criteria necessary to be listed as a wild and scenic river, there has been minimal legislative success in trying to protect it under the act. This is in part due to the monetary value found in its headwaters.

 

What was once a prolific salmon and steelhead fishery was nearly destroyed by reckless mining practices of the past. Since mining began in the 1800s, the South Fork of the Salmon drainage has been plagued with high levels of mercury, arsenic, and antimony, poisoning its many tributaries. After mining operations ceased in the ‘60s, the watershed entered a long restorative process. Aided by support from the Nez Perce Tribe and other conservation organizations, the watershed has been able to make an impressive comeback. Today, bull and cutthroat populations are some of the healthiest in the state, and portions of the critical salmonid spawning habitat found in the watershed are still in pristine condition. Midas Gold threatens to destroy all of it. 

Midas has coined the propagandistic slogan “Restore The Site” in an effective yet untransparent outreach campaign. They advertise their “environmentally-driven” staff, their desire to “leave the site better than they found it,” and how their presence in the area will actually be beneficial to the well-being of the ecosystem. What they aren’t so quick to advertise, however, is that the plans they have in place involve altering the course of a free-flowing East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River by diverting it through a mile-long tunnel in the ground, burying critical bull trout spawning habitat under 330 feet of toxic mine tailings, building a new access road that borders the Frank Church Wilderness and runs through some of Idaho’s most avalanche-prone terrain, and digging two new open-pit mines. 

The East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon flows directly through an open pit left over from previous mining, forming a huge pond. The headwaters of the East Fork, located above the pit, were once populated each year by hundreds of chinook salmon and steelhead returning to spawn. However, the stream flowing into the pit is now too steep for fish to navigate, leaving the headwaters effectively sterile. Midas’ plan to right this wrong is to divert the East Fork through a mile-long “fish tunnel,” which will, in theory, give the fish access to their historic spawning grounds during mining operations. There has been minimal if any, scientific consistency in favor of this idea actually working. It has never been tried before. If all goes according to plan, Midas claims they will be able to restore the East Fork to its historical gradient once mining operations are complete. 

Midas has also proposed a brand new access road that borders the Frank Church Wilderness (a portion of the largest area of wilderness in the lower 48). This new route cuts directly through critical elk migration paths and takes equal, if not greater, amounts of risk than the one in place. The road, which will navigate the divide between the South Fork and Middle Fork’s drainages, runs through some of Idaho’s most avalanche prone terrain. 

Midas’ current plan for tailings storage (waste rock that comes out of the mine) happens to be directly on top of Meadow Creek, a spawning stream for bull trout. Each year, resident bull trout of the South Fork watershed make their way into the small streams of the headwaters to spawn. Hundreds of fish return to the East Fork South Fork Salmon River and its tributaries each year. Midas wants to bury Meadow Creek under millions of tons of toxic mine tailings, 330 feet high. This would destroy Meadow Creek forever. 

Not only does Midas hope to re-mine the Stibnite Pit, but they also plan on digging two new pits of similar size in other parts of the region. Historic mining has shown what these open pit mines can do to the ecosystem, and the skeptic in me is doubtful that Midas will be able to successfully mine all of their proposed pits without negatively altering the watershed and overall ecosystem for decades. Midas promises that they will “correct the damage of the past” while simultaneously tripling the mining footprint in the area—a claim that seems just too good to be true. 

The risk of disaster at the Stibnite site in particular is far too great. Not only would Midas’ best-case scenario have extreme adverse effects on the ecosystem, but when you factor in all of the risk that comes with human error or natural disasters, the probability of ecological degradation skyrockets. In the USA, 70% of all gold mines poison the area’s water supply. Midas is no exception. Between the frequent avalanches in the area every winter, the one-lane dirt roads used to move truckloads of mine tailings, and the fragility of the South Fork of the Salmon watershed, the probability of a chemical spill into the drainage isn’t just possible, it’s likely. If and when a truck does drive into the upper East Fork, or an avalanche blows out the Stibnite road, or an earthquake destroys or compromises the tailings dam, the entire South Fork of the Salmon watershed could be poisoned for decades.

 

Midas threatens to undo the hard work of so many for the profit of so few. The Nez Perce Tribe’s Department of Fisheries Resources Management spends approximately 2.5$ million a year on fisheries research, watershed restoration, and hatchery supplementation in the South Fork of the Salmon drainage. This is all on top of countless other conservation organizations dedicating time and energy to cleaning up the site. Reopening the Stibnite mine would undoubtedly negate decades of work and millions of dollars spent restoring the South Fork watershed. 

As of August 2020, Midas is in the final stages of their permitting process. Just this week, a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) was released—one of the final legal documents in Midas’ fight for permitting. In common practice, the US Forest Service authors this document weighing the possible environmental threats of mining operations on a case-to-case basis. However, in this case, Midas Gold has been granted permission to author a portion of the DEIS’ Biological Assessment. If it seems strange to allow a mining company to author a document examining the potential risk that said mining company poses to the environment, it’s because it is. Very rarely, if ever, are same party organizations allowed to compose portions of their own DEIS. Four years ago Midas had requested permission to conduct the fisheries analysis portion of their own Biological Assessment and were denied by the Forest Service. They then applied more pressure and were granted permission on their second request (2016’s change in US presidential administration certainly didn’t hurt their cause). 

Now that the DEIS has been published, a 75 day public comment period will follow. This comment period allows any members of the public to learn about the DEIS and provide feedback to the Forest Service and to Midas. For those in opposition to the mine, this comment period will be a crucial opportunity to delay— or even stop entirely—Midas’ permitting process. Once the comment period closes, the US Forest Service will work with Midas to shape a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), which will then be handed off to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for evaluation. Pending a decision from the EPA, Midas will either be granted or denied permission to begin mining operations. If they get the permitting they are after, Midas will occupy Stibnite for nearly three decades, extract 16$ billion (with a capital B) in gold, and risk destroying one of Idaho’s most pristine watersheds forever.

King Midas learned his lesson the hard way. His wish was granted—all that he touched turned to gold, but at a supreme cost. King Midas’ touch rendered everything that came into contact with it lifeless, purposeless, and completely worthless aside from its monetary value. He might as well have turned it all to dust. It is my hope that Midas Gold Incorporated won’t be allowed to follow its namesake too closely. If they are permitted to begin mining operations, they will leave the watershed lifeless, purposeless, and soulless. They will destroy a living, breathing, thriving ecosystem and leave millions of tons of toxic waste rock in its place. While an elite few profit from this exploitation, the many—salmon and steelhead, bull trout, the ecosystem as a whole, indigenous peoples, anglers, and recreationists—must pay the price of man’s undying greed for money and power. 

What can be done to protect the South Fork of the Salmon? The public comment period will be the most efficient way to generate momentum in favor of protecting the ecosystem. If you are interested in taking action, please consider asking for an extension of the public comment period by emailing Forest Supervisor Linda Jackson (linda.l.jackson@usda.gov) and requesting a 120 day comment period. This extension is more than reasonable as the DEIS is thousands of pages long. In order to allow all members of the public to digest and formulate opinions on the DEIS, a comment period of only 75 days is insufficient. Now that the comment period is open, the best way to take action for the South Fork watershed will be to submit a comment. It is imperative that conservationists and anglers generate as much momentum as possible in opposition with Midas Gold, and there is no better time than right now. Written comments can be submitted online via the US Forest Service Website, or by mail. Due to current circumstances regarding Covid-19, it is unlikely that the option to comment at a public hearing will be available, though there may be monthly conferences by phone. Comments must be submitted no later than October 28th. To learn more about how to write effective comments for conservation, please visit www.idahoconservation.orgwww.idahorivers.org, www.digforthetruth.org, or www.savethesouthforksalmon.com

The 2020 Fly Fishing Film Tour Goes Digital

Get your ticket today for the Special Virtual Release!

That’s right folks, the greatest selection of fly fishing films is about to go live online. For one week only, starting on August 27th the good people over at the F3T have decided to release a special edition of the 2020 Fly Fishing Film Tour, available to stream entirely online! While we can’t all get together in a theater to cheer, raise a beer with friends and enjoy epic fishing footage, we can still gather from afar.  The online version will include special content, more prizes than you can shake your phone at, and stoke- lots and lots of stoke. This is going to be just like your usual F3T event, just from your couch. So join us for the first-ever Virtual Fly Fishing Film Tour between August 27th to September 2nd!

Featuring exclusive shorts from our friends coast to coast, and beyond, the 2020 F3T will tell the stories of everything from fishing guide fairytales, to serial steelhead semantics, canyon conservation in Colorado, mountain biking for marlin, jumping jaguars and jungle fish in whitewater rapids and the audacious Aussies who explore the largest coastline in the world. From saltwater to fresh, this year’s film will undoubtedly get you fired up to grab a rod and get out on the water!!!

The Details:

This is for one week only! From August 27th through September 2nd, you will be able to purchase a digital ticket, which will allow you to watch the 2020 F3T for one week after purchase. Once you have purchased your ticket you will have access to a special 10 minute waiting room video before the event begins! If you watch the entire wading room video, you will have an opportunity to put your name into the raffle prize drawing twice. This is a special offer.

As far as prizes are concerned, there are more than ever before! Because this is such a special occasion, the team at F3T wants to hook you up. With your ticket purchase, you will be entered to win over 50 different sponsor items, totaling to upwards of $50,000! There will be 8 Dry Creek Z Backpacks given away, a Men’s G4/Womens G3 prize package raffled off, as well as prizes from Yeti, Costa, Thomas & Thomas Rods, Scientific Anglers, Ross Reels, Oscar Blues Brewing Company; you will even have a chance to win a trip to the Seychelles courtesy of Yellowdog Fly Fishing Company & Alphonse Fishing Company. Everyone that wins a prize will also receive a free membership to Trout Unlimited.

In addition to the 2020 films, F3T will also be announcing some free content that comes along with your purchase. You won’t be disappointed.

If you choose to purchase your ticket to a national tour event, a limited number of F3T hats and buffs will be available for you to pick up from the fly shops listed on the event page. You can also find links on these pages to support raffles or donate to local conservation and non-profit groups.

To learn more, make sure you head over to the Fly Fishing Film Tour website to learn more about this one-time virtual event. There, you can see all of the film trailers, find out more about how to access the films, and see all the other great prizes on offer. Also, make sure to follow along with their social channel for updates throughout the virtual week- @flyfishingfilmtour.

Simms Signs the Outdoor CEO Pledge

Simms is proud to announce that our CEO, Casey Sheahan, has signed the Outdoor CEO Pledge – an initiative launched through the In Solidarity Project. The Pledge’s goal is to bring the outdoor industry together to help improve representation and access for underrepresented communities across the country, an initiative Simms is firmly invested in. 

As a company committed to conservation, clean water and equal representation, having diversity in our sport is essential for creating more advocates for our natural resources. Let’s move the industry forward collectively.

To better understand what the Outdoor CEO Pledge is all about and what is expected from Simms, check out the interview below with Teresa Baker, the Founder of the In Solidarity Project and the Outdoor CEO Pledge. She sheds light on the origins of the movement, what brands are expected to do after signing, and so much more.

SIMMS: Why don’t we start at the beginning. Can you please tell us who you are what you do?

Teresa: I’m Teresa Baker, and I founded the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge back in January of 2018, and launched it at the summer OR show that very same year. The purpose of the pledge is to simply engage with outdoor brands and help them with the work of inclusion in their marketing and social media campaigns as well as their hiring practices. 

SIMMS: What was the inspiration back in 2018 to launch the CEO Diversity Pledge? Were you working in the space prior to launching the pledge? How did this all begin for you?

Teresa: Most things that I do are prompted by me being pissed off and angry. I don’t try and hide that from people. So this initiative was born out of frustration. I was taking to social media, especially Instagram, and not seeing anyone that looked like me on the various outdoor brands’ platforms. I wasn’t seeing people of color, and that was frustrating. I thought, ‘let me start reaching out to some of these brands and make them aware that they need to do better.’ That was the purpose behind me creating the pledge. 

I felt like that we could give a space for brands and retailers to do better. Once we started having those conversations, it became clear that yeah, there’s an issue. It’s not to say that things have changed dramatically over 2 years because they haven’t, but things have started to change and that’s good. People are having these conversations, I’m seeing more representation across social media platforms, and that’s awesome to see. 

SIMMS: We are roughly 2 years in the lifespan of the pledge- how’s it been going so far?

Teresa: Busy as hell lately. I would say for the first year of the pledge, it was us reaching out to everyone, making sure they were aware of the pledge. We spent lots of time walking the floor of the retailer shows, speaking to heads of marketing and doing a bunch of outreach on our behalf. It was challenging in the beginning. In saying that, 2020 has been amazing. People have continuously reached out to us and asked for help with their attempt of taking on this work of DEI. In the past 2 months alone, I think we’ve signed on 85 new brands, so its super busy at the moment. 

Some of the industries like cycling and fishing were the hardest to reach. Cycling is still hard. I believe angling is starting to come around, and that’s a good sign. 

SIMMS: If cycling and fishing were two of the hardest industries to break into, what were some of the easier activities to break into?

Teresa: The hiking and the climbing community were definitely the easiest. The misconception out there is that people of color “don’t.” They don’t hike, don’t climb, don’t ski, don’t cycle, or are not fishing. It’s easy to do away with those perceptions when brands show us doing those things. 

As you can imagine, it’s easy to show people hiking. Even if it was just down a straight trail, that’s easy to find. Wherever you go, there’s a hiking trail. Fishing on the other hand, there has to be water around. You have to actually get out and seek those images. So, it’s a matter of getting out there and reaching out to these underrepresented communities and saying ‘hey we want to work with you on some of these campaigns, can we tag along on your next outing.’ For me it has always been that simple. But that message wasn’t getting to marketing directors like it is now. 

SIMMS: What are your thoughts about the fishing community in regard to taking on inclusion and diversity? 

Teresa: You know it’s funny, growing up, fishing is all my dad did. He had a boat and he would go fishing almost every weekend. Fishing was never uncommon to me, I just don’t like it. My point is that it’s not a matter of people of color not being out there fishing- we always been fishing. I think the difference now is that we see the importance of sharing these stories and sharing these images of us doing that so that it does become common place. 

For those of us that work on matters of diversity and inclusion, getting the word out to other people saying ‘hey show us your photos, share them on social media, tag this brand, you know include this hashtag so that we become more visible.’ So I think it’s a matter of us making ourselves more visible.

SIMMS: Sitting here today, it is an absolute no brainer to get on board and support the In Solidarity initiative. Was there any push back from brands when you first started? Were people saying no to you?

Teresa: It wasn’t a matter of people saying no, it was just a matter of people not returning my emails or calls. I guess in a way that’s a no, but I think people see this. I have way too much faith in humanity to say they don’t see the problem. People see the problem. I think the concern is that brands want to be certain in how they address the problem. They don’t want to make mistakes, they want to get it right. What I try and get across to people is to not let that be your focus- you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to get it wrong. What we need to do is give people the opportunity to try, fail, then try again. And that is the message we have and are still trying to get out into the industry so that people don’t feel so pressured to get it right all the time. 

SIMMS: As far as the pledge itself is concerned, what does the relationship look like after a brand signs. What are brands expected to do once they sign? Can you give us a quick rundown of what happens once someone signs?

Teresa: Sure. What we want to get across to people is that we can give you the tools, but you must do the work. We can’t do the work for you. We can’t write out a game plan and say ‘here follow these steps and you’ll be successful.’ Brands have to have skin in the game from the CEO, which is why its called the CEO pledge. The CEO does not need to take the lead but he or she must be involved in this work. Once they sign the pledge, we say ‘okay- ready, set, go!’ Get out there and talk to your marketing director, come up with a game plan and look at how other signatorees are going about doing this work. follow their lead, follow their example. You don’t have to recreate the wheel. 

For me, the easiest part of the pledge is the visibility part of it. Show more images of color across your social media platforms. Chris Perkins, who works with me on the pledge, thought that putting up a pretty picture was way too easy and we needed to add other elements. So we also look at the hiring process. I believe companies need to advertise in spaces that reach a wider range of candidates and not continue to post in your usual places because you’re constantly reaching the same candidates over and over again. Next, we look at the ambassador team. We want to make sure that your ambassadors are from diverse backgrounds. The fourth component is simply working with other pledge signatorees. To show that as a collective, you’re doing this work. Work with one another to come up with a plan. So those are basically the 4 elements.

SIMMS: You mentioned the job board, which we think is an extremely valuable component of your initiative. Could you give us a bit of background on the start of the job board and how its speaking to a different audience base than your typical job boards?

Teresa: The Insolidarity website is where the pledge and the job board are housed. When we first started in 2018, the pledge was housed on the website of diversify outdoors because we didn’t know how well the pledge was going to do so we didn’t really see a need to create a webpage behind it. Brands started to constantly reach out saying where can we post about jobs. So, 3 months ago Brian from the outbound collective reached out and said let me build a website for the pledge and the job board, so we created the In Solidarity website. That way they can reach communities of color, communities with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, so it’s a wider range, a wider reach that this job board provides. 

SIMMS: Have people been finding jobs through it?

Teresa: Yes. I get emails all the time from people thanking us for providing this service to them. And that’s basically what it is- its providing a service so that people will know, if we post here we will have a better chance of reaching a more diverse pool of candidates if that is indeed what they are looking to do. We’ve gotten tons from people that have applied for those jobs, so yeah, its definitely working. 

SIMMS: Where do you see this going in a year from now? How about 3 years from now? What’s your outlook on this whole situation?

Teresa: Over the next year or two I want to pledge to continue to grow. I want people to see how positive of a resource it is. It can connect so many companies with DEI agents across the country. Under our community tab were building a database of DEI agents and creatives across all of outdoors- be it hiking, skiing, whatever it is. These are all amazing people who can help do this work of DEI. 

In 3 years I hope to do away with the pledge. I don’t want the pledge to be around forever. When they look for ambassadors, they automatically include people from underrepresented communities. When they hire, they automatically seek out diverse candidates. Whatever aspects of business they’re in, I want the role of the pledge to just be automatic and there not need for a pledge or to sign onto a pledge. In 3 years I’d like to do away with the pledge.

SIMMS: We’ve spent a lot of time talking about what is being done on a brand level. As Simms, we signed the pledge and are taking steps to make changes in our organization. What do you think the average outdoorsmen can do to help with the diversity issue? It’s all well and good for a company to say and do something, but for the millions of individual recreationalists out there, what do they do?

Teresa: As a consumer, if I see a certain brand and I’ve grown accustomed to using, and at some point I start to notice something that could possibly help them, I am going to reach out to that brand. For someone who enjoys fishing and understands the importance of conservation or the protection of outdoors spaces- if they see that certain individuals are not represented equally- I would certainly reach out and say hey this work can definitely use more X, Y, Z. You fill in the blank. More women, more people of color, more people with disabilities. So that would be my ask of the public. These are some issues that we are facing around environmental protection and in order to bring more people to the table, look at who you are missing from the conversation. And when you see who’s missing encourage these brands that you use to be more inclusive of them. 

SIMMS: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the Simms audience?

Teresa: I think what’s important is that you guys use your voice. You know, we get reached out to all the time from publications and what not asking for interviews and I’m like sure, but what say you? What do you all think? The brands, the marketing directors, the CEOs, what do you all think? Because your voice matters, too. I would encourage brands, their marketing teams, their ambassadors, to speak out and speak up and share with the public what your thoughts are on diversity and inclusion. The public hears from loud mouths like me all the time, but we don’t hear from marketing directors or CEOs directly. Signing the pledge is a public announcement, yes, but put some words behind that. Why? Why are you doing this?  Why is it important to you? That’s what I would encourage you all to do. 

Under the Hood of the All-New Pro Dry Jacket and Bib

Simms Releases the Next Evolution of the Ultimate Foul Weather Fortress

Simms Pro, Brent Ehrler Takes the New Pro Dry Jacket and Bib for a Test Drive.

After its initial release, Simms’ Pro Dry Jacket and Bib (Pro Dry Suit) quickly earned the reputation as the ultimate foul weather suit. So much so, serious anglers began looking at the suit less and less like clothing and more and more like mission critical gear they wouldn’t leave the dock without. But Simms does not rest on our laurels. Since technology and performance are part of the Simms DNA, the product team spared little to no time thinking about how the Prodry should evolve and become even better. So, after countless hours of design, development, and field testing in torrential downpours, choppy open water crossings, rough seas, and high winds — the all-new Pro Dry Jacket and Bib were born. 

Meet Camo Connoisseur, Joe Skinner

In Depth with the Creator of Simms All-New Riparian Camo, a Pattern Designed to Up Your Odds Against Distinguishing Trout.

Ask any angler who chases spooky fish what their favorite aspect of the game is and you’ll get the same response:  It’s like hunting. And they’re right. Hunting and this type of fishing are nearly one in the same. Whether it’s sneaking around in the mountains for elk, or getting into to the perfect casting position to present a dry fly to a sipping brown trout — both types of stalks place the utmost importance on stealth. Hunters have been wearing camouflage to blend in to their surroundings since the beginning of time, so doesn’t it make sense to do the same when hunting fish? We certainly think so, which is why we partnered with the best in the concealment business, Veil Camo. Since this partnership started, Veil has cranked out a handful of fish focused camouflage patterns. Check out our conversation below with Veil’s founder, Joe Skinner and learn a little bit more about his obsession, his company, and the design and development process of Simms’ brand new pattern, Riparian Camo.

Thinking Outside the Boat

Time to Hit the Trail and Find the Fish of a Lifetime

Finally — prime hike/wade season is here. Before you ditch the oars, take a tour of some of our favorite footwear options tailor made for hike/wade enthusiasts.

With steady flows, clean water, and most importantly, good company — floating down your favorite river comes with advantages aplenty. From a tactical standpoint, fishing from a boat allows you to cover tons of water, which almost always enhances the catching aspect of your day. On the social side, floating is a great time to fish in close proximity with your best buds and of course, razz them when they miss a fish. Not to mention, even for anglers who seemingly bring every piece of tackle and equipment they own — in a boat, there’s always ample room to conveniently stash a day’s worth of gear and a cooler full of cold beers — always. On the flip-side, there’s something to be said about leaving the boat at home, throwing all your gear on your back, and bushwhacking your way into spots that would otherwise be inaccessible. Yes, hike/wade fishing comes with a bit of labor but the rewards of connecting with a fish of a lifetime with your feet planted in the riverbed tip the scale in every possible way.

So let’s discuss the main engine that powers anglers who choose to use their own two feet instead or oars to find a piece of untapped water that’s all their own — hike/wade footwear.

Trump Jr. says what anglers and hunters have been saying all along

The President’s son tweets in opposition to Pebble Mine, noting the headwaters of Bristol Bay are too fragile to risk.

On Tuesday, the president signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law. This law, widely supported and celebrated by anglers and hunters across the country, will provide important funding for stewardship projects on public lands and will help tackle the maintenance backlog on trails, roads and buildings in our national parks and other public facilities. 

While the passage of the Great American Outdoors Act doesn’t have a direct impact on Bristol Bay and the Pebble mine, it’s important to note that sportsmen and women were instrumental in speaking up to see this bipartisan bill become law. Now, it’s time to channel this energy to see that denying the permit for Pebble Mine is next on the President’s agenda. 

Just after the signing of the Great American Outdoors Act, Donald Trump Jr. retweeted former Chief of Staff to the Vice President, Nick Ayers. In the tweet, Ayers opposed the Pebble mine and called on mine’s key permit to be denied. The president’s son, an avid hunter and angler tweeted: As a sportsman who has spent plenty of time in the area I agree 100%. The headwaters of Bristol Bay and the surrounding fishery are too unique and fragile to take any chances with. #PebbleMine” 

Sportsmen and women have been saying what Trump Jr. said today for the better part of two decades. As Bristol Bay sits atop the bucket list of hunters and anglers from across the country and around the world, the region is too unique to risk by building a massive open-pit mine in the headwaters of the planet’s most important salmon-producing region. In May, over 250 fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation businesses, alongside 31,000 individual sportsmen and women signed and delivered a letter to the President calling on him to deny Pebble’s permit.  

With the July 23 release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement for Pebble, the Army Corps of Engineers could now issue a record of decision to grant or deny Pebble’s permit in the next 3 to 6 weeks. The president talked a lot about being the “conservation president” when he signed the Great American Outdoors Act into law this week. If that’s a legacy he wishes to craft, there’s no better way to do so than to deny a foreign mining company a permit to trash one America’s greatest landscapes.

In the final stages of the permitting process, the sporting community must once again call on the President to safeguard this national treasure by denying Pebble’s permit. 

It’s critical that the roar of the sporting community comes out loud and clear once again for Bristol Bay.

Tell the President and Congress to deny Pebble’s Permit.

Simms Pros Take Over the Podiums


Last week was a big week in the tournament circuit for the Simms Professional Anglers. Multiple events, multiple trophies.

It’s been a big few weeks for the professional angler circuits. Because of the crazy start to 2020, fishing tours across the country are in full swing due to the delayed starts. From Walleye to Bass, professional anglers have been grinding away the summer doldrums, chasing trophies across the nation. For a few individuals, the chase was fruitful in the form of huge cash prizes and hoisting trophies on the big stage.

Bassmaster Elite is Back in NY, and Simms Pros take the top two spots

Entering the final day at Lake Champlain, the field was insanely tight. The top 10 anglers were separated by a meer 2lbs 12 oz., and the weather pattern that held for the first 3 days was finally breaking. Enter, Brandon Palaniuk.

Palaniuk went into the final day sitting in 5th, 1lb 1oz off the leader Jamie Hartman, but he was feeling good. A lot of Palaniuks practice fishing was done under similar windy, overcast conditions, so he knew leaving the dock he stood a chance, a real one.

“I had a really good practice and I felt like I could literally drive around, look at my (Humminbird) LakeMaster charts, pull up on a spot and catch big ones. I think the wind this morning helped push those baitfish up and it moved a lot of those fish up. Those fish aren’t resident fish; they chase schools of bait,” recounts Brandon after the final weigh in.

And boy did he catch the big ones- lots of them. Palaniuk finished the final day with the biggest bag of the entire tournament at 21lbs 6oz, earning him his first Bassmaster Elite Series trophy in over 3 years. When he went up on stage to collect his cup, he also collected a total prize purse of $100,000 dollars. I’m not a betting man, but I have a feeling that trophy felt priceless…

Not to be outdone, fellow simms pro Seth Feider put up a stellar performance at Lake Champlain, falling short of Palaniuks mark by 1lb 3ozs to claim the second spot. Feiders approach to the tournament was far more centered around flipping docks chasing largemouth in the early stages of the event until Sunday when he shifted his whole focus towards smallmouth. Feider kept himself in the running by scoring some monster fish, stating “I got really lucky and caught two great big ones that gave me a chance. It just wasn’t enough.”

While Feider couldn’t close the gap on the last day, he did go home with the Phoenix Boats Big Bass title, scoring a 6lb 6oz largemouth on day 2. Two anglers, two trophies, and a one, two finish- not a bad showing for the boys up in Champlain. Onto the next one.

Sprengel crushes the competition on Green Bay

Just like everything else in 2020, the start of the National Walleye Tour was off to a rocky. Originally scheduled for mid April, the anglers waited patiently for the revised start date- July 23rd. No one was more excited for the opener than Simms pro walleye angler Korey Sprengel, perennial Walleye champion. Since the National Walleye Tour’s inception, Sprengel has won 5 of 29 events, and has been in all of the top 10s of the Angler of the Year since 2013. 2019 was still a stellar year with a 4th place AOY finish, but his season’s success was overshadowed by a few other story lines, namely fellow Simms pro John Hoyer’s three tournament run of two first place and one second place finish.

As you could imagine, redemption was on Korey’s mind. And when he saw that the opening event was to be hosted on Green Bay, he knew only he could beat himself. Time to reclaim the unofficial title of the greatest walleye fisherman the tour has ever known.

And wouldn’t you know it, that is exactly what he did. Korey had a good grip on what to do in Green Bay, and his plan played out perfectly. “The whole key this week was my first bite on day one,” recalled Sprengel. “With the northeast wind, I knew it was going to be a needle in the haystack. But I also knew the recipe. I just needed to know if the recipe was going to work. That first fish bit twice, if not three times. It was only like a 20-incher, but I knew if they were going to bite multiple times, there was something to be had. From there, it was all about fine tuning it.”

After putting up a huge bag the first day with 5 fish to 42.13lbs and his closest competitor scoring 36.03lbs, he was in great standing for day 2. Come weigh in time on the last day, the victory was nothing short of comprehensive. Sprengel finished the tournament with 77.48 pounds, obliterating the rest of the field. His margin of victory was 17.17 pounds, the biggest margin in the tours history. With that win, Sprengel took home a purse of over 92K dollars. Not bad a few days work.

Welcome back to the top, Korey. Go get that throne.

A Win For All Things Wild

In a great showing of bipartisanship for the sake of our national parks, equal outdoor access, and preserving the wild places that we hold dear, the Great American Outdoors Act cleared its final hurdle. Let’s all raise a glass and celebrate this monumental win for conservation.

A signature from the president putting the Great American Outdoors Act into legislation — for all outdoor enthusiasts, is a big deal. In fact, some are calling it the biggest win in conservation since the days of Theodore Roosevelt.

After passing through the Senate in mid-June and through the House of Representatives at the end of July, POTUS made the legislation official today by signing the historic bill into law. The bill, which has been in contention for years, can be thought of in two major parts. On one side, the bill will provide permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and at the same time, the bill will also create a separate fund to improve a drastically underfunded national parks system.

The goal for the national park fund is to make sure that parks have adequate support, ranging from fixing access roads to maintaining trails, all the way to bathroom access. With the LWCF, this will be the second time since its inception in 1965 that it is fully funded. It will help ensure access to public lands for recreation- including fishing, while protecting and expanding the public playground from the most remote wilderness areas to local municipal parks. This is helping access and usage for all, no matter where you live, using zero taxpayer dollars.

The LWCF has been a highly contested fund for years, and Simms has been on the front lines in support of full and permanent funding of LWCF for decades. Since his earliest days at Simms, K.C Walsh, Simms’ Principal Owner and Executive Chairman, recognized the significance of conservationism and the importance of working towards maintaining clean air, clean water, and protecting wildlife habitat for all to enjoy. During his tenure as Board Chair for the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, Walsh became intimately familiar with LWCF and its significance to the fishing industry from longtime conservation lobbyist and founder of Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), Jim Range. From that point forward, Walsh and other leaders of the Simms team have leaned into the conversation wherever and whenever possible.

This is a step in the right direction. The world is a crazy place these days, and nothing is going to get fixed overnight. This, however, is a huge win that warrants celebration. It’s a win for public land access, a win for bipartisanship, and most importantly, its a win for natural resources.

The administration feels it is such significant news that from here on out, August 4th will be known as the “Great American Outdoors Day.” That means that entrance fees will be waived on public lands managed by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As a special bonus, Wednesday, August 5th will also be a fee-free day on all the aforementioned public lands.

So remember- the next time you’re on the water or recreating on public land, give toast to the Great American Outdoor Act and be grateful it passed.

For information on this historic milestone for the outdoors, click here.

The Next Step in the Fight for Bristol Bay

The fight against the proposed Pebble mine has reached another critical milestone with the release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (Final EIS) on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

Produced by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Final EIS is the risk analysis document that should review all the potential impacts the project could bring to the people, fish, and fish-based economies in southwest Alaska. More importantly, the Final EIS serves as the basis for the record of decision, which will grant or deny Pebble its most important federal permit. This decision could come as soon as August 19, 2020.

In 2019, Trout Unlimited, multiple federal and state agencies, and 685,000 individuals submitted comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement, all noting the inadequacies in the Corps’ initial document. Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan even weighed in, saying that if the Corps doesn’t address all the issues raised in agency comments in the Final EIS, they should not issue the permit.

Even from reading the executive summary, it is clear that the Corps has not evaluated Pebble beyond a conceptual level plan, and hasn’t fully accounted for every way Pebble would impact Bristol Bay, which is a failure of their duties under the Clean Water Act.

See the FEIS here and TU’s analysis here.

With a record of decision issued as early as next month, we are nearly at the end of the permitting process. We’ve called on the Army Corps, our Senators, and even the President to stop Pebble, and now they need to hear from people from across the country again. Head over to www.savebristolbay.org/ to send a note to the White House -yes, again- asking them to do all they can to stop Pebble in the permitting process.