This a letter forwarded to me that is interesting in two ways. First the lady owns property on the Nemah. Second is she darn near had to claw her way on to the Willapa Advisers and has been fighting for the Recs. Her efforts to fully open up the Nemah & Naselle for all to fish is one of the best stands on Rec opportunity I have bumped into.

Hi Steve,

Sorry to hear you were under the weather for the last meeting.

The out look for the commercial fishing opportunity in the Willapa appears very grim. I'm not sure how you can justify much of a season " if any" with the conservative options put forth by the PFMC and current Willapa restraints in place.

No one could have anticipated the Coho population would drop off the face of the earth, placing the mainstay of commercial fishery in peril. I try to be compassionate about their declining fishery. However, when one door closes another often opens. Their misfortune should be recreational's opportunity.

For too many years the fresh water fishing opportunities were slowly bled dry as the nets choked off the supply. It warms my heart to see " even if by default" a reverse in this trend.

I've been reviewing the 2014 freshwater CRC data for the Naselle, The Willapa and the N. Nemah. It's interesting to note that although the Naselle is only releasing 800,000 Chinook in comparrison to the 3.3 million releases both the N. Nemah and the Willapa are fishing on . The Naselle's Hatchery surplus is disproportionately higher. This must largely be a result of the closed areas on the river during the Chinook run.

Hatchery Chinook Release CRC 2014 Hatchery Surplus

Nemah 3.3 mil 2,751 72

Willapa 3.3 950 1,476

Naselle 800,000 535 3,494

While the Naselle hatchery surplus is much higher than it should be. It's important to note: SXXX GXXX had petitioned the WDFW and the commission to keep much of the Naselle river closed for Chinook opportunity- thus limiting recreational participation and increasing the hatchery surplus. It is entirely possible that faced with a possible decline in hatchery Chinook production to reduce surplus and disease there, opening the closed area's of the river to freshwater opportunity may now be more appealing! I propose:
1. Temporary openings in the closed areas of the Naselle and the Willapa to reduce hatchery surplus and additional recreation fishing opportunities.
2. A recreational dip net fishery similar to Alaskan rivers- on appropriate selected days
3. Create a handicapped fishing weekend, below the hatcheries
These options may be more acceptable to the local landowners than simply throwing the season wide open. We need creative recreational options to manage hatchery harvest and reduce pre-spawning mortality. These recreational opportunities may not last long and should not be wasted.

Furthermore, their should be no retention of wild Coho in the Nemah until after November 1st because the entire early Sept/Oct run is simply gone. Let's replace the missing portion of Nemah's Coho run with some early run hatchery Coho stock from the Naselle, let them naturalize and call it good.

Review of the Coho CRC data for 2014 shows a whopping 14 Coho were caught in the N. Nemah in September.

Hatchery Coho 2014 CRC Freshwater Data 2014 hatchery Coho surplus

N. Nemah 14 0
Naselle 6,471 6,284
Willapa 3,104 2,454

Clearly the Naselle Coho recreational fishery is very robust. But with so many surplus hatchery Coho and the issue over pHos continuing to be a problem- additional creative recreational opportunities should be considered

Edited by Rivrguy (03/17/16 05:50 AM)
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in