Kind of figured that my post would get under the skin of some folks.
Rich had stated "The problem is that our WDFW is pro catch and kill. If they wernt pro catch and kill of Wild Steelhead they wouldnt alow them to be harvested period". As you well know WDFW has been providing diverse recreational opportunities, including catch and release steelhead fishing. The first catch and release steelhead seasons were put inplace in the late 1970s (North Fork Nooksack), followed by the Sauk, Skagit, and Skykomish. This was at a time when there was virtually no interest in CnR of steelhead fishing; in fact I would say that it would be fair to stated that much of support the for wild steelhead that exist today is an outgrowth of those early seasons.
Wild steelhead release regulations were first used as management tool in 1983; again there was virtual no support from anglers for the regulation or the management agency. IN fact the "word" from the river was such regulations would fail and DFG didn't know what it was doing. The fact of the matter is that the State's fishery managers drug anglers kicking and screaming into wild fish management not the other way around. I refuse to stand aside and allow those without and historical knowledge paint a picture that it is otherwise.
Bob; you and I both agree that many of our steelhead resources are in trouble and concervative management is needed for those fish. I'm attempting to get folks to outside of there own personal needs and to look at the larger picture. I only wish that your statement "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." were true. Just look at the comments rregarding Sparky's recent post "C&R fishing tto remain open". Sure sounds to me that folks are more concern with their need to catch a fish rather than what is needed for the rresource. Recall the tremdous backash against the State when managers dared to close the North Puget CnR seasons a couple years ago -certainly sounded to me that many folks were more concern with the loss fishing opportunities than the fishes good.
My point in bring forth the potential take (kill)of wild fish if we each only caught and released a couple wild fish a year is to show what our collective impacts maybe. If anglers truly cared about impacts on the wild resource they would recognize that those anglers that catch and release dozens of fish a year have just as great of impact as the angler that catches only one a year and kills it - dead fish don't spawn and it doesn't make any difference to the resource whether it died from hooking mortality on my fly or some plunker took it home to eat.
Coho and steelhead are only marginally diferent. Yes they have different biology and different productives. Coho are more productive and can generally support higher fishing rates than steelhead. That doesn't mean that steelhead can't be killed but just not as heavily as coho or other salmon. CnR fans often argue that steelhead can't support harvest but then turn around and say that low mortality from CnR is OK. If 5% mortality from CnR is OK why wouldn't 5% mortality in a kill fishery be OK. Now if you wish to argue that by allocating all the mortality to a CnR fishery may produce more fishing then you might have something to stand on - depending on what the collective angling community will accept. However if ones position is that steelhead can't take any harvest then we have no business fishing at all.
Even if you will not accept that steelhead are just another salmonid because they don't all die after spawning and salmon do how to justify not apply the same protection to cutthroat, resident rainbows, Dolly Varden/bull trout and/or whitefish. The crux of your argue about the difference between salmon and steelhead mangement is that steelhead are different because they can survive to spawn again. Typcially in Western Washington the survival rate of steelhead from one spawning to the next is in the 10 to 20% range. The survival of cutthroat, rainbows, and bull trout is typically much higher than that (typical value would be about 50%). Using your logic they would deserve twice the protection that steelhead get. If the state were to attempt to ban bait year-round on our streams to protect the various trout (as well as steelhead parr) the howls from many on this board would soon reach a cresendo yet your arguement would demand that the do just that.
I have ranted for far too long- my intent was to try to get folks to think objectively about some of these issues rather than respond with the same old knee-jerk reaction.