I hadn't meant to imply that you were complaining about the CnR closures but to point out that a common feeling on this issue was expressed in a response to your post: "We are going to get screwed again this year".
My recollection of the early reactions to the announcement of the CnR closures in 1999 was that there was a very much of a backlass against the WDFW for daring to close those CnR fisheries. Much of those responses were all about fishing and not the fish. Certainly some were more concern about the fish and as time past more of the responses were about the fish. The fact that many now feel and response as you have that the need is to put the fish's needs first and if we must then close the fisheries just shows how much many of you have learned about fisheries management and resource needs - WSC can take some of the credit for this increased understanding.
Just which of WDFW's current policies do you want changed? The ones that allow some harvest of healthy stocks?
I have to agree that those in charge of managing the Snohomish and Stillaguamish fisheries were late in responsing to the decline of their wild steelhead populations - the closure should have occurred a year earlier. Not sure that means those in charge weren't doing their job. The sudden decline in wild steelhead abundance didn't have much or even anything to do with past management (ie killing wild fish). For the previous 20 years the average productivity of those stocks (# of adults retruning per spawner) was something like 1.25. That means that if there were 6,000 spawners it could be expected that 7,500 adults would return. Beginning in the late 1990s that productivity fell virtually overnight to 0.5 or less, that is the same 6,000 spawners would produce 3,000 or less returning adults. This occurred over a wide area (Puget Sound, lower British Columbia mainand, and east side of Vancouver Island). It occurred even on those waters managed correctly (that is those that required the release of all wild fish).
B-Run Steely -
It certainly good news that some of those incredible Idaho fish are rebounding. However if steelhead management in Idaho was just all about the wild fish there would not have been any fishing - the best thing for the wild fish needs would have been to close the fishing. having Wild Steelhead Release is a fisheries management tool that allows folks to access the hatchery fish with low impacts on the wild fish (note I said low and not zero impacts). Those fish are bounding back in spite of not because of the wild steelhead regulations. I sincerely hope that rebound continues in even bad water years. It would have been interesting to hear the debate this past season on whether there should be fishing on the wild fish if there weren't an ESA listed stock.
I agree that CnR can produce some high quality fisheries and where anglers are willing to accept foregoing the taking of fish it may be the only way of maintianing high abundances of fish with a diverse age structure while providing a lot of fishing days - a number of trout fisheries clearly illustrate that. Here in Washington our steehead CnR season are becoming more popular and in some cases their use may rival that of the kill fisheries. However in other fisheries that story is different - for example CnR of salmon (couple of examples would the summer coho CnR fishery on the Straits or the blackmouth season in early December in area 10 in Puget Sound) don't draw anything like the interest that kill fisheries do.
Nearly forgot - as you may recalled at an earlier WSC meeting it was reported that this spring's wild steelhead escapements on both the Snohomish and Stillaguamish was the lowest on record. The decline in productivity continues. It would be irresponsible to allow any target fishery on those wild stocks. The answer to your earlier post.