Sunday, March 23, 2014

Doctor, you did it, we have a pulse!

OK- I realize it doesn't look like much, but the North Shore finally has a heartbeat after a looooong winter.

It has been a little frustrating watching conditions: Lots of fits and starts due to the crazy weather patterns, snow, ice dams and the like; but we're starting to see definite signs that things are moving.

It's likely going to be a long road yet, so we'll just have to keep an eye on things, but at least the first signs are there. What it's going to take now is a good week to ten days of stable weather with lots of sun to get things really moving.

And you don't necessarily need all of that time to be above freezing (although that certainly helps). What really helps during the early stages is something we have a lot of: Pine and fir trees. Yes, you read that right... I know, there are a lot of you out there that think we're nuts already with all the seemingly oddball stuff we post, but it's true. Well, not that we're nuts - mostly... but we do post some seemingly strange stuff that doesn't seem to connect to steelheading at all.

The reason we mention the pine and fir tree connection is that where you have heavy concentrations of this type of ground cover along the streams, they help absorb and re-radiate lots of solar horsepower simply because they are much darker than the snow-covered ground. This actually promotes melting, even when air temps are still below freezing. Melt water getting into the streams on a daily basis is what causes that heartbeat-like signature you are seeing in the graphic, and lots of melt water is what helps open up streams with heavy ice-cover through the simple process of erosion.

As more snow melts around the dark tree cover, it also exposes the darker underlying ground which absorbs sunlight instead of reflecting it like snow. This accelerates warming which accelerates melting which accelerates the process that opens up the streams. Get enough open water and the stream beds absorb solar radiation which causes stream temps to rise; ultimately triggering the steelhead to begin their upstream migration.

So yes, expressed as a simple mathematical equation: (Solar Radiation + Pine Tree) x Time = Steelhead.

Monday, March 03, 2014

HWY 61 Steelhead window decals

Our "steelhead 61" stickers are hot off the press and ready for your windows.

 Click here to purchase.

These are sized at 3.5" x 3.5" and have an easy split-back liner for quick application.  One thing to note, try to apply on a warmed surface if you want to increase the adhesive life.  40°f is an ideal minimum application temperature.  This time of year it can be tough to find 40°f, but  nothing a hair dryer or heat gun can't take care of.

A bit on the decal, it is an original © copyrighted design created for us and donated by our friends at Big Idea.  Thanks guys!  All the profits from the sale of these window decals, and everything at our online shop as well, go right back into supporting our mission.

For those not aware, Minnesota Steelheader is a registered non-profit MN organization.  We do not have the "501c charitable classification" that many larger non-profit organizations have and at this point don't care to have the classification.   What this means is that we are required by the state of MN to collect a sales tax from all of our sales and file a report and payment to the State.

Why not seek 501c status you ask?  Simple, steep administrative costs.  I won't bore you with tax codes, but a 501c classified non-profit has a much, much heavier tax and administrative burden than a standard non-profit.  This often results in a portion of collected dollars going towards administration, accounting, payroll, and tax preparation costs.  For us, we have Zero administrative costs and zero tax preparation costs. The accounting that we do have is nominal and provided by one of our volunteer board members.  The dollars you donate, or use to purchase items, go right back into funding MS.  None of the dollars collect are used for salaries, tax accountants, or Lawyers (yet), we are all volunteers.

So what does the money collected go towards?

Though much of what you see is donated, including all the web design to date (9 years worth), our adopt-a-river signs, Rodrules sold on our website (thanks Ninemile Fishing co.), clinic handouts, maps, all millage and gas from volunteers, etc.  What we do have to pay for are annual website domain hosting, printed marketing items, publication costs, food and drinks for our streamside clinics and river clean ups to name a few.

We plan to use future resources to help fund habitat restoration projects, education tools both on and off the water, and fisheries research to name a few.  To do this means we need help from anglers like you.

So, when you are pondering about whether to support Minnesota Steelheader by purchasing some cool window decals or by making a generous donation, know that all your dollars are being used for what you see, hear, and read about.  We are anglers like you with a passion to help our fishery grow.

If you would like to learn more about what we have done and what we are doing, check out the links, or shoot us an email.  We also encourage you to join us for our annual spring Meet & Greet, a casual gather of like-minded anglers.

Click here to make to purchase a decal or 3, or to make a Donation to Minnesota Steelheader

    ~ DB