Smalma ... I think you well know that most of us that are staunch supporters of C&R on wild steelhead feel that in many cases no angling should be allowed period. Runs that are decimated need to be shut down to all fishing.
But, we have a handful of streams that are still hanging in there. In those streams that remain relatively healthy, we feel that C&R will be an effective tool to help them stay that way.
Harvest based management on wild steelhead stocks has gotten us nowhere in the long run in this state.
The pitiful track record is there! Otherwise we wouldn't only be at 15 streams left in this state that are healthy enough to support harvest (by the state's numbers).
Wasn't that 15 in excess of 125 streams just 20 years ago?
Coincidence that the last river in the state that came off of a 3 fish limit can't ever seem to make escapement (Hump) and closes very early almost every year?
Wonder why it's big deal to catch one of the few early wild fish left in the Quillayute system? A watershed that Bill Freymund called "The Greatest Steelhead River in the World" ... yet the early portion of the run is pretty much gone! Even the old time bonkers out here admit there's very few of them left.
State policy? Koenings himself said that he felt that no one would fish for wild steelhead if they couldn't kill them ... that's a FACT!
Killing a wild steelhead is NOT the same as killing a wild humpy or coho. Steelhead obviously are not semelparous and those hens that do repeat spawn are usually carrying considerably more eggs than their first spawning run counterparts. Steelhead do not have just a small number of life history possibilities ... you're comparing apples and oranges!
Sorry if this comes off harsh, but watching fisheries decline all around this state over the past 15 years, it's a sore subject and I don't buy the justification to allow it to continue.
God help the state lawyers if the Forks area rivers are ever shut down completely in light of the public cry for protection of these fish!