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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
October 17, 2012     Feather River Bulletin
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October 17, 2012

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Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2012 1B, Geoff Foss, owner of Feather River Trapping, believes in "conservation and promoting success for the animal population." Foss was born and raised in Chester, He grew up hunting and fishing with his dad. Now 24 years old, Foss holds true to his beliefs by maintaining a sustainable lifestyle and having a no-waste attitude. Photos by Samantha P. Hawthorn'e Step Two: To form the tail, pinch the teal flank between your thumb and forefinger and position materials on the hook-shank. Wrap thread around materials and hook several times until secure. Step Three: To start the body, tie a strand of moose hair onto the shank. Step Four: To form the wings, fold a goose feather lengthwise and measure against hook-shank to ensure they are equal length. Positioning feather at midpoint of shank with tips extending past the length of it, wrap thread around until secure. Trim excess feather from hook side. Set wings upright and wrap thread around front of wings, then divide fibers into two parts and wrap thread between wings. Step Six: To help keep the fly afloat, use hackle to create the neck by tying it around the hook. Hackle pliers can be used to grip the hackle if needed. II Samantha P. Hawthorne Staff Writer Being raised in a rural area surrounded by wildlife and lacking the luxuries of a big city comes with its chal- lenges. 'For Chester resident Geoff Foss, however, these challenges are more like blessings. Foss, 24, was born and raised in Chester. He spent his youth outdoors, and was taught at a very young age how to huntand fish. The older Foss got, the more intrigued he became with hunting, fishing and the outdoors in general. Throughout the years, those skills have shaped Foss in- to a serf-sufficient young man who strives to live off the land. "It is nice to know that ff the market goes dry, I would have no problem surviving. I could make myself survive if I had to," said Foss. Sustainable living When Foss was a teenager, he decided he wanted to live a more sustainable lifestyle, so he started teaching himself how to tie a fly, to use when fly-fishing. Learning this skill meant he no longer had to purchase pre-made flies from the store. He was 14 when he first learned the art of fly-tying. He said it took him about four years until he considered himself"a good fly-tier." When he was 20, he started using the pelts of animals caught during his hunting trips to create the flies. He said the oils in the animal fur help flies float more natu- rally. He took notice that many hunters only used the animal meat and threw out the pelts. "I thought it was a Waste," he said, "but I learned the only way to make the most of the entire animal is to obtain a trapping license." With the idea of being able to avoid waste while mak- ing some extra money, Foss obtained his trapping license through the California Department of Fish and Game and started his own trapping business, called Feather River Trapping. Some other uses Foss has found for the pelts include creating wall art and pillows. By coming up with differ- ent purposes for the animal fur, he has been able to take another step toward sustainable and conservative living. "I would love to be completely sustainable, but I'm not," said Foss. His degree of sustainable living depends on how much the fish are biting and what season it is. Foss has found that winter in the Lake Almanor Basin is the perfect time for sustainable llVlllg. He avoids winter struggles by putting aside money he makes throughout the year and hunting for his food in- stead of buying it in the market. Doing this has saved him "tons of money." "In the winter, when people are barely surviving off of unemployment, I can go out and catch my food," he said. Foss said that he enjoys wild game "more than any oth- er food on the planet." Being able to fish year-round has also proved advanta- geous for Foss. "After years of learning and studying I have figured out where the fish are swimming, and when. I usually can go out any time of the year and catch fish," he said. One of the best times to fish on Lake Almanor is after July 4 when the Hexagenia fly (the Hex fly) starts to hatch. Once hatched, they attract big trout and bass, and make for easy fishing. According to Foss, Lake Almanor is famous for these flies. When out on the lake, he carries a notepad with him so he can record the patterns of the fish. He currently has three years of documentation on his fishing trips. "You never give up and you never stop learning, espe- cially in an area like Lake Almanor where there are so many different types of species," said Foss. Aside from reducing the strain on his wallet, living Off the land has also helped reduce the size of his waist. While he was living in Chico attending college, Foss gained 75 pounds by eating out at fast food restaurants. After moving back home and returning to a more nat- ural diet, he lost all the excess weight caused by his col- lege binge. "There are all sorts of medical issues going on with people who are eating all this hormone adjusted food. The meat I eat is all natural," Foss commented. when changing your habits, there will always be chal- lenges and struggles. "It was a learning process," said Foss. He had to learn to adapt to a healthy lifestyle. "Over the years, I have faced less and less challenges, and I feel that my life is a lot easier having gone through struggles." Respect for the land Foss does not believe in fishing and hunting simply for the sport of it. When he fishes, he keeps only enough so he can "eat and be happy about it." He pointed out that when people go out just to catch fish, and not to eat it, they ruin the fish population. "I believe in conservation, and promoting success for the animal population," he said. "It is not about who can catch the most fish, it's about respecting your surround- ings. "Everything around here is yours. If you do not take care of it and work to promote the success of the popula- tion, things will just dwindle to nothing. "If you're going to get into sustainable living, get into it to conserve life, not to exploit it. "Do it because it is something you want to do and want your kids to do, because you enjoy it. "The only way to really enjoy living off the land is if you take care of the land. Have a conscious thought of what is going on in your nature, your woods,' said Foss. Growing up in the Basin has given Foss an apprecia- tion of his surroundings that someone from out of the area would be unlikely to have. "I can take someone who is just visiting and show them exactly what I am doing and they will never catch a fish. It takes more than knowing what to do; it is the experi- ence of getting out there and doing it." See Foss, page 5B Chester resident Geoff Foss demonstrates how to tie basic flies. To follow this "simple" method, you will need a fly-tying vice, bobbin and bobbin threader, one pair of scissors depending on thickness of your material, and hackle pliers. This mosquito fly is made using moose hair, teal fla'nk feathers, goose feathers and hackle but other material can work as well. The first step to tying a fly is to create a base by attaching a hook to the vice and then securely wrapping thread from the bobbin around the hook. "If you're going to get into sustainabte fiving, : get into it to conserve life, not to exploit it." Geoff Foss, Owner, Feather River Trapping Step Five: Using the moose hair already secured to the hook-shank, create the body by wrapping it around the entire shank and tying it off with the thread. Clip excess hair out of the way. Step Seven: Tie a knot around the eye of the hook to secure the fly and cut thread to reveal complete fly. For more detailed instruction visit