So now on to how did the Willapa NOF Adviser meeting go? Ok I think as long as one did & does not expect any definitive answers on what the 2015 seasons will look like. All the Advisers participated and outside the usual posturing provided a reasonable discussion. So high preverbal highs and lows.

THE MODEL: As one who is known to whack the heck out of staff when they mess up this is impressive. Staff pulled together and worked their collective butts off and you know what, they succeeded. The new Willapa model works and is reasonable to use once one is familiar with it. Additionally when issues such as the Rec Naselle catch appeared not to be correct rather than get defensive staff tore into the data proofed / fixed it. Kudos to staff they did it right.

COMMERCIAL SEASON: Several model runs with different seasons were presented. Ranging from complete tangle net to mix and match the results were pretty much all over the board as the 14% limiter on natural Chinook resulted in conservation driven outcomes. Tangle Chinook with release Chum in Coho season had the highest ex-vessel value ( dollar value of catch sold ) of over $900,000. While alternate model runs utilizing just release on Chinook came in at $500,00 to $600,000 ex-vessel value.

That said to say the commercials were opposed to tangle nets would be a understatement. It was bluntly pointed out if the agency and commercial fisher CHOOSE to not fish with tangle net alternate gear resulting in reduced harvest then do not bitch and wail when you have rather large hatchery surpluses. This one is interesting.

The issue of Steelhead be incidentally harvested in November was brought forward but data and observer reports said not much if any impact. Did not seem to make some folks happy but it is what it is.

RECREATIONAL SEASON: The modeled T & U fisheries looked OK with no nets to mid September in most of the model run presented. So that went OK. Now inriver was a bit different with a real dust up over the Nemah. A couple of property owners do not want it opened to Recs anymore than present. Others very strongly went the other way and this resulted in one of the few really pointed exchanges with staff. I think the following from a e mail pretty much capturing this bit. So now one Adviser is going to reach out to other property owners to seek out access for Recs.

1. If the the Piersons or anyone can dictate the closure of the entire upper section of the North Nemah for closure because they are concerned with the potential for trespassers on their private property - I can only assume that you will allow me to close down the entire lower section of the North Nemah when I get fed up with actual trespassers on my much larger section of the river regardless of who wants to keep it fishable!
2. I'm feeling this would smack of discrimination in the worst possible way if you failed to honor my request immediately if and when I chose to exercise this option.
3. By restricting the fishing opportunities to the lower part of the river you are placing the entire burden of access to the Williams, Wiss, Fleet and Crockford Families. Oh yes and the WDFW at the mouth of the river who refused to comply with signage.

3. Just checking to clarify the this issue?

Additionally below are the current proposed inriver seasons. Keep in mind this IS NOT final but a work in progress.

Enhancements to Recreational Salmon Fisheries in Willapa Bay for 2015

4 Adult bag limit in Marine Area 2.1 and freshwater areas. All areas release unmarked Chinook
2-Pole endorsement allowed in Willapa River and Naselle River Hwy 4 Bridge upstream to hatchery
Willapa River
o Open from Sept 15 instead of Oct. 1 from Hwy 6 to Forks Creek
o Open Fork Creek upstream to Hwy 6 Bridge downstream from the town of Lebam
North River
o Open through Jan. 31 instead of Dec. 31
Nemah River
o Open from hatchery intake upstream to Hancock Bridge
Palix River
o Open through Jan. 31 instead of Nov. 30
Naselle River
o Open Hwy 4 Bridge upstream to the upstream entrance of the Naselle hatchery attraction channel
Bear River
o Open through Jan. 31 instead of Nov. 30

So I have the revised Willapa harvest model if anyone wants it and Thursday is the public Willapa NOF meeting.

Tuesday April 21st, WB advisory Meeting, Raymond High School Library, 6-9pm
Thursday April 23rd, WB Public Meeting, Raymond Elks, 6-9pm
Tuesday April 28th, WB Advisory Meeting, Raymond High School Library, 6-9pm
Thursday April 30th, WB Public Meeting, Raymond Elks, 6-9pm
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in