Welcome to the BB!

If you're interested in discussions about the hatchery vs. native topic, run a search through the archives for lots of threads about it.

Your points about the bass study are interesting, and there are practical applications in some senses to steelhead and salmon fishing here.

Everyone knows that for the most part hatchery steelhead, especially winter runs) are poor biters unless very fresh and in really good river conditions. There is a genuine concern among bios that it will only continue to get worse as all the biters are harvested and the hatchery broodstock are all non-biters.

It also happens in a more obvious and faster scale for Puget Sound coho. By the time the most notoriously locklaw silvers in the state reach the Skykomish River, they have run the gauntlet from Sekiu, through the Straits, through the San Juans, past all the PS fishermen, and finally hit a river with half a million yahoos tossing buzz bombs at them down in the tidewater areas. By the time they actually get to a decent river fishing area, all the biters are gone and the rest are running scared.

That said, I think native steelhead are a bit different...they don't seem to learn. A cnr'd fish will whack the hell out of the next plug on the next day, maybe even later that day. And removing that fish via harvest won't likely change that, since they pretty much all act that way.

Their genetic makeup is so diverse compared to their hatchery cousins that I doubt that will change. When a hatchery uses 400 adult non-biters to create 2000 hatchery brats, and the first 400 non-biters of those are used for the next generation, it only gets more pronounced.

Fish on...