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#1009892 - 06/05/19 09:31 AM Further thoughts on Puget Sound
Salmo g. Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 12530
At the top we have WDFW, the WDFW Commission, and the AAG opposed to open government so that the agency can negotiate and make decisions in secret, and share the outcome with the public only after it is a done deal. Is it a wise use of public funds to invest in a presumably "public" agency that does this?

Among the "after the fact" decisions that WDFW shared with us is that a well-known river basin, the Stillaguamish, instead of opening for gamefish seasons as expected on May 25, remains closed until September 16 for a fall and early winter fishing season. WDFW tells me it's "necessary" in order to protect Stillaguamish Chinook salmon. That's bullsh!t. The model claims that a normal summer fishing season, which targets summer steelhead and sea run cutthroat trout (SRC), would "take" three Stillaguamish Chinook, although that's dubious.

The preponderance of the summer fishing on the Stilly is fly fishing for steelhead and SRC, a method that doesn't often result in hooking Chinook. But since fly fishers are a bunch of elitist pricks, throwing them under the bus for imaginary Chinook conservation benefits probably seems worth it to WDFW. But if WDFW actually cared about its sportfishing constituents, it could have further modified fishing regulations to reduce the likelihood that Chinook might be taken incidentally. WDFW could have imposed the fly fishing only regulation on the entire watershed for the summer, floating lines only, and no flies larger than size 6 hooks. I know, that much creativity to protect recreational angling opportunity is way above WDFW's collective thinking.

Lest anyone think I don't care about Stilly Chinook, let me state that I do care. As has been written here and elsewhere, Stilly Chinook are in a world of hurt. But fishing, at least in WA state isn't the cause of that hurt. The Stillaguamish watershed has become so degraded that Chinook cannot reproduce effectively enough to replace themselves from one generation to the next. That is, the spawning population of about 400 Chinook cannot produce enough surviving eggs and smolt to return a subsequent run of 400 Chinook. The population is on a severe declining trend, and we could halt any and all fishing everywhere in WA state without making any difference. The population still cannot replace itself. It is on an extirpation trajectory, regardless of whether those elitist pricks or anyone else fishes the Stilly, Puget Sound, the Strait, or not.

There is one action that can save Stilly Chinook. That is to continue the efforts of the Stillaguamish Tribe and WDFW to culture Stilly Chinook in recovery hatchery programs. The existing programs need to be improved (for better survival rates) and probably expanded from their current size. That effort needs to be sustained most likely for the next 50 to 100 years. Yeah, the habitat is degraded that badly. So it's either a safety net hatchery program for Stilly Chinook, not so different than what USFWS did for the Californial condor, or Stilly Chinook will disappear. Closing the gamefish seasons for steelhead and SRC does not and will not have any effect on the outcome of sustaining Stilly Chinook into the foreseeable future.

Speaking of 50 years, considering what WDFW has done for this season, and did last season, I can only predict that WDFW will throw us under the bogus conservation bus and close the Stilly summer season every year for the next 50 years. What reason can anyone give to expect WDFW to do any differently?

And as if that isn't discouraging enough, I mean, why care if you're not one of those elitist prick fly fishers on the Stilly, project this action forward. PS Chinook have been ESA listed for 20 years now. During this time frame Chinook populations have continued their downward trend. Recovery is no where on the horizon. So after Stilly, what is the next weakest Chinook population? Probably one of the Hood Canal stocks. Green and Puyallup wild Chinook are consistently augmented by hatchery Chinook that spawn with the wilds, which themselves are the product of prior generations of hatchery fish spawning in the natural environment. The upshot is that if Stilly style conservation logic continues, then every single freshwater stream in PS will be closed to conserve, even if imaginary, the remaining wild PS Chinook. And as this declining trend continues, not only will all rivers be closed, all of PS marine waters will also have to close to prevent incidental "take" of a wild Chinook because as the stocks decline further and approach Stilly status, the allowable take levels are reduced.

This is conservation that doesn't pass the chuckle or red face test. And this is the future of fishing in the PS region, where angling for gamefish or other salmon species is foreclosed to allegedly conserve Chinook, even when it has no measurable effect on the eventual conservation outcome.

Oh, and the icing on the cake was in a memo to staff from WDFW Director Susewind last week announcing that because of agency budget woes, the "new" Skagit steelhead CNR season will be discontinued in 2020 due to the costs of ESA required monitoring.

Susewind is excited about all the things WDFW does for WA citizens. I want to make closing the state to recreational fishing more exciting than he can stand.

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#1009893 - 06/05/19 10:01 AM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
stonefish Offline
King of the Beach

Registered: 12/11/02
Posts: 4653
Loc: Carkeek Park
Amen....
SF
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Go Dawgs!
Founding Member - 2019 Pink Plague Opposition Party
#coholivesmatter
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#1009894 - 06/05/19 10:03 AM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
Myassisdragon Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 1134
Loc: The Wet Side
Bam !

Mr. G. truly hits the 10 ring with this post!
_________________________
Hmmm

- "Wild steelhead were more numerous this year than they were in the 1970s" ( ITYOOL - 2015 )

- "It's past the time to "play nice", after all, they are pooching us royally."

D'uh!

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#1009896 - 06/05/19 10:24 AM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
Beezer Offline
Spawner

Registered: 06/09/99
Posts: 855
Loc: Monroe WA
Sad but oh so true…
Time to move west or is it too late for that too.

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#1009899 - 06/05/19 10:38 AM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
Spoonfedhead Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 01/29/19
Posts: 372
I am really fired up and want to rant. But I won't.
I will leave you with this. Sueswind is a "Yes" man and probably couldn't talk or fight his way out of a paper bag. Therefore he feels the need for assistant directors to help aid him cover up the truth.

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#1009900 - 06/05/19 10:43 AM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
blenny Offline
Fry

Registered: 12/19/18
Posts: 23
i think it all comes down to money. The WDFW has published information about the success of integrated hatchery programs (ie some form of broodstock) and these cost a lot of money to make new ones. the okanagan river has an extremely successful chinook hatchery despite poor river conditions because the tribes collect broodstock in the lower river and raise up to 8 million fry in a state of the art facility. integrated hatcheries take a while to get up in running and require state of the art equipment to bring wdfw aquaculture to modernity. the wdfw would rather put its money in production in established hatcheries than start one anew on the Stilly. Many of the hatcheries in the state are older and could be more productive with significant upgrades but again, money. The okanagan/sylix tribes understand that a significant investment would need to be made to make a productive hatchery on the Okanagan river but I don't think rural Washingtonians and the general taxpayer base truly understands the magnitude of costs associated with both habitat repair and new hatchery programs.

Development and land use that impacts watersheds directly and indirectly could be taxed BUT a good portion of the sport fishing crowd and rural Washington (where a lot of our favorite rivers flow through) tends to be conservative. I'm not sure how you modernize hatchery production and undergo the large scale habitat rehabilitation without a LOT of money. So in the end the population, industry and development surrounding a lot of these watersheds doesn't really want to pay more in taxes to repair the watersheds and the WDFW doesn't necessarily want to increase its budget as its already under a lot of scrutiny from the legislature and general public. The cheapest solution is "conservation" for the WDFW but lets not also pretend that the populace as a whole isn't necessarily in agreement about who is paying to save these watersheds and increase their productivity. I agree the WDFW is a joke but I hear a lot of people complain about the abundance of fisheries and in the same breath complain about the price of their fishing license or are vehemently opposed to paying more taxes.

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#1009902 - 06/05/19 10:50 AM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
wsu Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 06/23/04
Posts: 399
Amen. What else is in the memo to be cut?

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#1009905 - 06/05/19 10:56 AM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
FleaFlickr02 Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 10/28/09
Posts: 2873
Great post, Sg. I'm energized to do something, even if I'm not sure what.

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#1009931 - 06/05/19 12:02 PM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
elparquito Offline
The Chosen One

Registered: 02/09/00
Posts: 13539
Loc: Margaritaville
Will the last Pugest Sound chinook please turn off the lights and close the door on your way out of existence?

Thank you.

The Management

Originally Posted By: Salmo g.
since fly fishers are a bunch of elitist pricks, throwing them under the bus probably seems worth it.


Probably.

rofl
_________________________

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#1009936 - 06/05/19 12:41 PM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: elparquito]
NOFISH Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/15/00
Posts: 2961
Loc: Olalla, WA
Thanks for your time and words SG, all great points.
_________________________
Does anyone know where the love of God goes when the waves turn the minutes to hours......Gordon Lightfoot

Damn Stam!
Remember, Ask yourself "What would Stam do?" smile

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#1009948 - 06/05/19 01:38 PM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
Brent K Offline
Parr

Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 55
Loc: Arlington, Washington
Thank you Salmo G for explaining what is and will happen. I started teaching my 11 year old nephew how to fly fish last summer on the lower Stilly after it finally opened. He caught several cutthroat and even caught his first steelhead late last fall. He has been asking me when I can take him down there again ever since. I was extremely dissapointed when I had to tell him it was closed all summer. Hopefully the weather and water conditions will allow me to get him on the water when, or if, it does finally open.

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#1009949 - 06/05/19 02:10 PM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Brent K]
FleaFlickr02 Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 10/28/09
Posts: 2873
Originally Posted By: Brent K
Thank you Salmo G for explaining what is and will happen. I started teaching my 11 year old nephew how to fly fish last summer on the lower Stilly after it finally opened. He caught several cutthroat and even caught his first steelhead late last fall. He has been asking me when I can take him down there again ever since. I was extremely dissapointed when I had to tell him it was closed all summer. Hopefully the weather and water conditions will allow me to get him on the water when, or if, it does finally open.


PLEASE send that note to Director Susewind (director@dfw.wa.gov). Maybe CC the regional manager. You might want to mention you encountered ZERO Chinook while teaching the next generation how to ethically fish for stuff other than salmon.

And for the love of God, keep that boy fishing.

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#1009970 - 06/05/19 03:56 PM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
snit Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 1563
Loc: Wenatchee, WA
SG, outta the park!! Very sad but true!

Being a "Eastsider" I've been exposed to long term river closures on my "home" rivers lasting over a decade. I remember sitting in a meeting in '96 or '97 hosted by WDFW explaining how/why these closures to the "Upper C and tribs" were mandated by NMFS for steelhead. I sat dumbfounded back then listening to some of the ideas WDFW had implemented to start satisfying NMFS in regards to the seriousness of the potential labeling of the Upper C steelhead as "endangered species ".

When Heather Bartlett stated that the first 250,000 steelhead smolts raised/released at Wells Dam were NOT to be fin clipped, I was flabbergasted! I thought to myself, "now we're raising FAKE" wild steelhead"..[Bleeeeep!]! In hindsight, did it work..IDK, about 8-10 years later there was a season for steelhead and it mainly continued for several more years. But, IMO it was a slippery slope...
_________________________
..."the clock looked at me just like the devil in disguise"...

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#1009973 - 06/05/19 04:49 PM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
RUNnGUN Offline
Spawner

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 914
WOW! Nerve struck! Thank You!
_________________________
"After fishing for Steelhead for over 40 years, Steelheading as I know it is gone in Puget Sound!"
ME

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#1009974 - 06/05/19 04:54 PM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
RUNnGUN Offline
Spawner

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 914
On another note. Where does the increase in PS Hatchery Chinook production for the SRKW's come in conflict with this scenario and all the other PS ESA listed Chinook?


Edited by RUNnGUN (06/05/19 04:55 PM)
_________________________
"After fishing for Steelhead for over 40 years, Steelheading as I know it is gone in Puget Sound!"
ME

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#1009975 - 06/05/19 05:03 PM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
Salmo g. Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 12530
Run n Gun,

I'm not sure which PS facilities are going to produce these extra Chinook for the SRKWs. I thought PS hatchery Chinook production was already limited by NMFS ESA constraints. But yeah, it seems like increasing hatchery Chinook production conflicts with the intent for wild Chinook recovery. Maybe Susewind will use the money to fund the two new upper management positions he just proposed. Sorry for the sarcasm, but WDFW has a long reputation of diverting funds across purposes.

Sg

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#1009983 - 06/05/19 06:54 PM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
Tug 3 Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 03/06/14
Posts: 114
I think your sarcasm is right on!

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#1009984 - 06/05/19 07:29 PM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
cobble cruiser Offline
~B-F-D~

Registered: 03/27/09
Posts: 2192
OMG Salmo! That was a heck of a post man! Your passion of disgust is certainly resonated with me and alot of other folks. Whether its the fisheries that are close to you in your post or others, we are all having these same feelings man. My beloved Skeena River was my heaven for almost two decades now and i am having the same angst with their asshat rule processes. Really its going on accross the board and ive all but given up on most Wa fisheries, besides a few lesser known small trout locales.


Edited by cobble cruiser (06/05/19 07:32 PM)
_________________________
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#1009986 - 06/05/19 07:40 PM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: FleaFlickr02]
Brent K Offline
Parr

Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 55
Loc: Arlington, Washington
Originally Posted By: FleaFlickr02
PLEASE send that note to Director Susewind (director@dfw.wa.gov). Maybe CC the regional manager. You might want to mention you encountered ZERO Chinook while teaching the next generation how to ethically fish for stuff other than salmon.

And for the love of God, keep that boy fishing.


E-mail sent.

I have plans in the works for a few fishing trips with both of my nephews this year. I might even stray from the elitist fly fishing and put a spinning rod in their hands for coho and humpies. Fortunately I have small boat so I can take them out on the lower Skagit for cutthroat and salmon. I love taking those kids fishing! Not even the WDFW will stop me.


Edited by Brent K (06/05/19 09:27 PM)

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#1010000 - 06/06/19 07:36 AM Re: Further thoughts on Puget Sound [Re: Salmo g.]
JustBecause Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 07/18/08
Posts: 197
Pretty darn good rant Salmo.

Easy to blame the department that has to try and muddle through the mess (status of these animals) that the State's citizenry has handed it.
Btw, if you want to know why you couldn't have your three fish impact for your Stilly gamefish fishery, ask your saltwater fishing brethren, who were actually at the meetings and helping set priorities for the available impacts. I don't recall hearing one person at the public NOF meetings talk about non-salmon fishing- Orcas yes, gamefish no.

It's also supremely easy to post-hoc argue from a unrealistic standpoint - that we could have better fishery outcomes if we were to just ignore the conservation limits for the weak ESA stocks, cause they are not going to make a difference anyway.

I'm not at all saying that people should not be upset about the way that the seasons shaped up. But, pretending it could have been a lot different if only we suspend reality, is not helpful.

Get involved, more than just bemoaning fishery decisions after the fact, get involved at the municipal and county levels where the land-use decisions, the ones that even Salmo G would agree are the real culprit, are made. Make sure that they know that every bit of new land that gets turned under the plow for houses and strip malls and whatever else, in the name of short-term economic gain, is another nail in the coffin for these animals and will result in further restrictions on all fisheries.

I guess that is my counter-rant. (Let the flames begin...)



















Edited by JustBecause (06/06/19 07:49 AM)

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