Loc: Somewhere on the planet,I hope
After researching the hatchery production for the Chehalis I was taken back a bit on several things but the most obvious one being the falsification of the preseason forecast. Simply put the NOF harvest model utilized ends on Dec 1st but staff are including the late Coho which return after Dec 1 in the fall harvest model which inflates and distorts the actual number of adults available for harvest. So all understand I asked staff if the late Coho where in the fall model and they confirmed it. I used smolt releases for the hatcheries to use as a tool to track just how this effects fisheries. Keep in mind after Nov 15th it is the very start of the late Coho run and very few of these fish are present and the vast majority of the normal timed Coho are past areas available for fishing. The T day Coho which are the remaining Satsop natural timed are present in numbers, sometimes.
So far in the NOF meetings, both Adviser and public, I have been surprised by the lack of understanding of just what and how our salmon runs are comprised of and the timing of those runs.
So I have requested that staff provide the complete model be projected on the wall to fully utilize it. Additionally in the model is a tab that has not been shared with the public or Advisers and it is labeled Total Exploitation Summary. Many of the questions regarding Chinook harvest and conservation are easily understood if discussed while viewing this tab. In my opinion the criticism of the Johns River catch and release and inriver REC fisheries are misguided. Catch and Release is a primary tool utilized by WDF&W for conservation based harvest. Yes fish die but the thought that by restricting these fisheries would affect the health of the Chehalis Chinook run is simply a fantasy.
While I have voiced concern about the Johns River fishery limiting the REC opportunity in the North channel which violates Item 7 of Guiding Principles it should not be taken as a rejection of the Johns River South Channel fishery but rather a failure by staff to recognize some simple facts. The Johns River South Channel fishery is in relatively shallow water and Chinook for whatever tend to hold creating excellent opportunity while Coho is much more limited. The North Channel is a deep channel and Chinook present are moving and the ability to catch Chinook is drastically reduced but Coho opportunity is dramatically enhanced.
Terminal it is the QIN that have total control of our Chinook escapement, period. WDF&W fisheries are restricted by the 3/5 clause of the GHMP and I doubt that non treaty fisheries will have any directed Chinook in the foreseeable future. The true damage to our Chinook stock is marine from Alaska all the way to the Washington coast. To advocate that we give up the paltry 5% impact after the returning adult Chinook are mauled in the marine fisheries all the way up to the Grays Harbor bar at Westport will help with escapement is frankly as I said a fantasy. Viewing The Total Exploitation Summary tab will make this abundantly clear.
Coho behavior is reasonably consistent year to year staging above South Monte Bridge to above the Nuke site intakes and then slowly but steadily work their way upstream with this rather large variable, rain. In a normal year the normal timed Coho stage as I said above Friends Landing and below Fuller Hill but if it rains not so. Take last year it rained early and bounced the river. By bounced I mean the Satsop and Upper Chehalis received enough rain to rapidly raise flows to well above normal flows and Coho have a direct response of moving upstream to where ever they feel like. This past year they moved up to the area around Fuller Hill and staged up but the Satsop normal timed hatchery release turned into the Satsop and continued up to near and above Schafer State Park. This resulted in the Chehalis River below the South Elma Bridge to South Monte having primarily the hatchery returns of what remained of the two hatchery releases on the Satsop ( not much ) and the Skookumchuck & Onalaska combined 100K normal timed Coho hatchery adults available for harvest.
This event coupled with the hatchery returns underperforming in my view resulted in a mix of wild out numbering hatchery fish in the range of 20 to 1. With a conservation restricted season this resulted in a full blown catch and release Coho fishery. It is doubtful that the total REC impact exceeded expectations as once it rained the Bay and tide water fisheries drastically underperformed and Coho impacts were simply taken upstream.
For the Chehalis River the available hatchery fish for harvest is dominated by two things, the weather ( rain ) be it lack of slowing down the fish movement upstream or a river flow bounce which puts the fish into a rather rapid movement upstream before they stop and stage up. The other is hatchery production which provides opportunity but it is not a uniform thing for all fishers. First we have two distinctly different stocks with two different run timings. Normal timed with show in August and increase in numbers to mid November and lates which start showing in the last two weeks of November through December. Then the location of the hatchery releases which do not generate the same opportunity for all users. Rather than use adult returns for the hatchery returns I am listing the numbers by release and give or take a bit on smolt survival the normal timed Coho are similar. Two variables are upper basin Coho smolt releases have a lower smolt survival than lower basin releases and Normal timed a Coho smolts have a higher survival than late Coho smolts. Also the mix in streams of hatchery & wild can vary wildly. A example to use is the Wishkah and Satsop sub basins which are very different and the wild production can limit access to the hatchery production on the Wishkah even if you have substantial hatchery production present. The same applies to the Satsop sub basins in some years but hatchery production is on the East fork only with the Middle and West Forks free of hatchery influence.
Chehalis Hatchery Coho Releases Normal Timed Westport net pens is 100k Mayr is 300k Friends Landing is 25k Satsop Springs is 450k Bingham is 150k Onalaska is 50k Skookumchuck is 50K
Total 1,125,000 K Normal Timed Coho Releases
Late Timed Bingham is 150K Skookumchuck is 50k Onalaska is 50k Eight Cr is 100K
350K Late Timed Coho Releases
Total Chehalis Hatchery Coho Releases 1,475,000
The hatchery releases are of two stocks that overlap. Normal timed arrive at the hatchery prior to December 1st and Lates after December 1st. Simply put a percentage of normal timed Coho will return with the lates and a percentage of lates will return early with the normal timed Coho.
How this relates to the availability hatchery origin adults for summer fishing seasons before November 1 put forth below:
BAY: If you are fishing below the 101 bridge in Aberdeen you are fishing on the adult returns off of 1,025,000 normal timed Coho. You must subtract the Late Coho releases and the Westport Boat Basin net pen fish. The net pen fish are Bingham Satsop origin conditioned to return to the boat basin but it is doubtful that only a marginal amount of adults will be available to fisheries other than the boat basin. This number of hatchery and wild Coho available to the Rec fisher is at its greatest in the North Channel of the bay. ABOVE WISHKAH RIVER: If you are fishing above the Wishkah River you must subtract the Mayr Hatchery releases and are fishing on 750,000 normal timed Coho smolt releases. WISHKAH RIVER: If you fish the Wishkah River you are fishing on the release of 300,000 normal timed hatchery Coho. BELOW SOUTH MONTE BRIDGE: If you are fishing below the South Monte Bridge you are fishing on releases of 750,000 normal timed Coho releases. BELOW FULLER HILL: If you are fishing below Fuller Hill you are fishing on the returns from 725,000 normal timed Coho smolt releases. As with the Westport Boat Basin fish you must subtract the smolt releases from Friends Landing but it is my thought that a few will make it into the upriver catch as stated SATSOP RIVER: You are fishing off the Bingham & Satsop Springs Hatcheries releases of 600,000 normal time Coho smolt releases. ABOVE FULLER HILL: If you are fishing above Fuller Hill Bridge you are fishing on 100,000 normal timed Coho smolt releases from the Onalaska program and Eight Cr. site.
AFTER NOVEMBER 15th: BAY AND BELOW SOUTH MONTE BRIDGE: It almost always rains around the first week of November and the river tribs plus mainstem rise sharply and brown up. This is the end of nearly all REC Coho opportunity for this reach of the basin. ABOVE THE SOUTH MONTE BRIDGE: You are fishing on 350,000 late timed hatchery Coho smolt releases. SATSOP RIVER: You are fishing on 150,000 late timed hatchery Coho smolt releases. ABOVE FULLER HILL: You are fishing on 200,000 late timed hatchery Coho smolt releases.
I hope this helps all in understanding some of the conflicts clearly visible between the public & some Advisers in the NOF process.
Edited by Rivrguy (04/07/1905:21 AM)
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in