The E mail below is notification of a " research " fishery in Willapa along with the attachment which is the flyer for commercials. Do I see anything wrong with it? Not really except for this itty bitty thing. This was the same thing Ron Warren & Kirt Hughes did a bit back in 2T with five or so boats and then wella next year the entire commercial fleet was put in to 2T. So take it with a grain of salt as not being honest is a long standing tradition with WDF&W staff. Oh yes almost forgot. WDF&W staff DO NOT regard the withholding of information that would lead one to the correct impression rather than the one they would like you to have as being dishonest so your choice here. From my seat I think Steve is being forthright but remember he is only a phone call or e mail from a superior and wella everything put out is BS. So I will run with it but with this disclaimer. What is written below IS NOT the whole story and let us wait and see how long it takes for them to put out the whole story.

The Department of Fish and Wildlife has been interested in advancing the use of alternative, selective commercial fishery gear throughout the state. During this year’s North of Falcon meetings, we received 2 requests for the ability to fish with traps in Willapa Bay. Under current state law, the agency cannot issue permits for traps except under an “experimental” or “emerging” fishery. There is a fair bit of work to implement these types of fisheries and I have been unable to complete that work this summer.

However, we still have an opportunity to gather some useful information from this year. One piece of information that would be helpful to collect for moving forward with selective gear, is the wild to hatchery ratio and stock composition in the area with the highest production of hatchery Chinook, the Nemah River. To that end, the Department is seeking to collect that data from Chinook around the mouth of the Nemah River. This research project is certainly a small step towards understanding how alternative gear could fish in Willapa Bay. But it is a positive step.

The Department will be seeking interest from commercial fishers to collect Chinook in the area east of a line from Needle Point to Ramsey Point, very near the mouth of the Nemah River. We will be conducting this project on Friday, September 12th from 5 am to 5 pm. The project will be conducted by one boat only. That boat will utilize small mesh gill net gear to collect Chinook. All unmarked Chinook will be placed in a recovery box and released. The project will cease if 20 unmarked Chinook are captured (and released). A WDFW employee will be on board as an observer.

We are seeking interest from commercial fishers and will randomly select one fisher from qualified fishers that express interest. Please see the attached document for more details. Interested fishers should contact myself or Ron Warren ((360) 902-2799) by noon on Thursday, September 11.

I realize that this is very short notice and that most of the commercial fleet is on the water as I type this. I apologize for the rush. Feel free to share among the interested parties. I look forward to folks support as we move forward and make at least a small step towards selective gears. We did have an opportunity to discuss this proposal with the Willapa Bay Salmon Advisors and received the support of those that were part of the discussion.

Please call if you have any questions.

Steve Thiesfeld


Nemah Research Project

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking a commercial gillnet fisher to take part in a research project for salmon at the mouth of the Nemah River in a limited portion of Willapa Bay.

Due to the number of fish returning to the Nemah River, the department can conduct this research project in waters that historically have been closed to fishing.

WDFW is using this opportunity to better understand the salmon stock composition for the area east of a line from Needle Point to Ramsey Point. A portion of this area has been closed to commercial fishing for an extended period.

A WDFW observer, who will accompany the commercial fisher, will note whether each fish caught is a hatchery or wild salmon, take scale samples to determine age, and collect coded wire tags.

Commercial fishers will need to use shorter and shallower gill nets suitable for fishing in shallow waters. This may include shallower draft boats.

The research project will be conducted up to 12 hours, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, September 12 or until a maximum of 20 wild fish are encountered. Interested fishers should contact Ron Warren at with their proposals by September 11, noon 12 p.m., or if fishers have questions you can contact Ron at (360) 902-2799.
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in