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#1022594 - 02/20/20 07:36 PM Smelt, another Day.....
DrifterWA Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 04/25/00
Posts: 4664
Loc: East of Aberdeen, West of Mont...
WDFW NEWS RELEASE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
http://wdfw.wa.gov/


February 20, 2020

Contact: Laura Heironimus, 360-906-6716

Public Affairs contact: Ben Anderson, 360-902-0045
WDFW announces additional one-day smelt opening for Cowlitz River
OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has approved another one-day recreational smelt fishery for Wednesday, Feb. 26.

The portion of the Cowlitz River from the Highway 432 Bridge upstream to the Al Helenberg Memorial Boat Ramp, located approximately 1,300 feet upstream from the Highway 411/A Street Bridge in Castle Rock, will be open to recreational dip netting along the shore from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 26.

This is the second smelt opening on the river in 2020, the first year since 2017 that returns could support a recreational dip net fishery.
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"Worse day sport fishing, still better than the best day working"

"I thought growing older would take longer"

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#1022596 - 02/20/20 08:19 PM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: DrifterWA]
fish4brains Offline
Dah Rivah Stinkah Pink Mastah

Registered: 08/23/06
Posts: 6351
Loc: zipper
I have a distant memory of smelt in the Nooch
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Propping up an obsolete fishing industry at the expense of sound fisheries management is irresponsible. -Sg





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#1022602 - 02/21/20 08:24 AM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: fish4brains]
DrifterWA Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 04/25/00
Posts: 4664
Loc: East of Aberdeen, West of Mont...
Originally Posted By: fish4brains
I have a distant memory of smelt in the Nooch


I remember well.....Had a student tell me that she had caught 2 fish while fishing with her dad.......it was winter steelhead season so I asked how big were they, she laughed and told me about 7" and they were smelt,

Bottom line, I don't remember a "limit" but there were millions of them, while I son't remember the exact year, I do know I've been retired since 1997 and it was many years before that...so I'm guessing in the late 80;s...... Fried, smoked, they are good eating, IMO......

I missed out on 1st opening....won't miss 2nd chance....


Edited by DrifterWA (02/21/20 08:33 AM)
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"Worse day sport fishing, still better than the best day working"

"I thought growing older would take longer"

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#1022609 - 02/21/20 10:12 AM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: DrifterWA]
SpoonFed Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 01/29/19
Posts: 1062
Originally Posted By: DrifterWA
Originally Posted By: fish4brains
I have a distant memory of smelt in the Nooch


I remember well.....Had a student tell me that she had caught 2 fish while fishing with her dad.......it was winter steelhead season so I asked how big were they, she laughed and told me about 7" and they were smelt,

Bottom line, I don't remember a "limit" but there were millions of them, while I son't remember the exact year, I do know I've been retired since 1997 and it was many years before that...so I'm guessing in the late 80;s...... Fried, smoked, they are good eating, IMO......

I missed out on 1st opening....won't miss 2nd chance....


Me either. I'm Digging the ol dipnet out as we speak.

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#1022613 - 02/21/20 11:34 AM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: DrifterWA]
WDFW X 1 = 0 Offline
My Area code makes me cooler than you

Registered: 01/27/15
Posts: 3359
Birds and mammals a plenty in the river around Lexington.

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#1022634 - 02/21/20 06:05 PM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: SpoonFed]
Tug 3 Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 03/06/14
Posts: 138
In the early to mid 1970's the commercial dip netters harvested them by the hundreds of tons with no season and no limit. Gee, I wonder what happened to them all?

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#1022652 - 02/21/20 08:00 PM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: DrifterWA]
Krijack Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 06/03/06
Posts: 1202
Loc: Tacoma
I heard that one explanation is the shrimp harvest is one possible explanation. These numbers should have raised some significant concern. I found these passages in two articles interesting.

First,>>>

"The shrimp fishery off Oregon and California pulled in an incidental catch of some 800,000 smelt in 2009, the last year of available data.....

Direct fishing for smelt has dropped substantially. Smelt caught by commercial fishermen in the Columbia and its tributaries hit a high of roughly 62 million in 1945, NOAA estimates. The 2009 count was about 200,000 fish.

So, not counting any by catch by Canada, Washington or Alaska, the by catch was 4X the commercial in river take.
Not sure what the current numbers look like.

Got to wonder if this could be why numbers are going up.

"Even complicated problems can have simple answers. Fishermen prove that in the Pacific Northwest, where shrimp nets accidentally snare tons of threatened little fish, called eulachon, every season. The strikingly straightforward solution to this mistaken catch: exit lights on nets.

Bright LEDs, zip tied to shrimping nets, guide the fish out of danger. Shrimp aren’t strong enough swimmers to make the same escape. It’s an inexpensive fix that’s slashed the unintended eulachon catch, says Oceana scientist Geoff Shester. That’s good for fish and fishermen."


Then in a more recent article, this statement*****

In Oregon’s case, the shrimp fishery historically killed a lot of eulachon, a federally threatened species. Tons of the small, silvery smelt have perished in pink shrimp nets from the dawn of the commercial fishery in the 1950s until now."

But three years ago, fishermen and ODFW biologists added LED lights to the mouths of shrimp nets. Lighting guides fish out of the net or helps them avoid it altogether. It cut eulachon bycatch by 90 percent, without affecting the pink shrimp haul.

“Basically, lights lit up where the exit is,” Shester says. “The fish go to it and the shrimp don’t.”

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#1022678 - 02/22/20 05:42 PM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: DrifterWA]
NickD90 Offline
Shooting Instructor for hire

Registered: 10/26/10
Posts: 6176
Loc: Snohomish, WA
That's really interesting Krijack - thanks for posting.
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#1022928 - 02/26/20 11:50 AM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: DrifterWA]
DrifterWA Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 04/25/00
Posts: 4664
Loc: East of Aberdeen, West of Mont...



Well, I didn't go.....just had some negative vibs, so I stayed home. Call a couple of guys that went.......NO SMELT !!!!!

Did anyone go that got smelt????? or was it another bust fishery for sports people?????
_________________________

"Worse day sport fishing, still better than the best day working"

"I thought growing older would take longer"

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#1022947 - 02/26/20 02:13 PM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: DrifterWA]
Take-Down Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 02/29/08
Posts: 114
We did so well on the opener that we decided to drive down for the bonus day this morning. Not a good decision. Next time someone posts that there are 'birds and mammals a plenty' at my intended fishing hole, I will know to skip it. There were a dozen or more pinnipeds at Lexington, and no smelt. I mean, none. There was actually a traffic jam around 8:20 as everyone piled back into their vehicles with empty buckets to leave. We went north and checked a couple other spots. Saw one bucket with about 10, and another with maybe two dozen and that was it. Didn't see a single fish caught. Asked the fishing police up by Castle Rock and they said no one was catching anything. Interestingly, the mood didn't seem all that bad on the shores. It wasn't raining. Quite a few kids playing hooky. And maybe smelt, as a fish, just isn't worth getting too riled up about.

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#1023218 - 02/29/20 11:03 PM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: Take-Down]
Steelheadman Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/15/99
Posts: 3726
Loc: Poulsbo, WA,USA
My fishing buddy from Junior High was from Olympia. One day back in the mid 70s I was at his house and they had a couple hundred smelt being prepared for the smoker. His dad got them from the Cowlitz.

I think they are called Eulachoen. Talking with the bios the other day at work. I don't think they are native to too many rivers in Puget Sound.

We used to net the salt water smelt in fall around the bay. Used to spawn all around the beaches.
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I'd Rather Be Fishing for Summer Steelhead!

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#1023223 - 03/01/20 07:28 AM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: DrifterWA]
bobrr Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 08/21/18
Posts: 114
I used to get them off of Cooper Point in Olympia, the salt water smelt were firmer (and tastier) then the river smelt. Actually saw an old man wading in the surf about 40 years ago on the O.P. with a piece of net between a forked stick, his wife kept a fire going on the beach for him to warm up at. I was impressed although I never tried it. He used birds and seals as indicators that the smelt were at that spot.


Edited by bobrr (03/01/20 07:28 AM)

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#1023230 - 03/01/20 08:27 AM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: DrifterWA]
Carcassman Online   content
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 5833
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
Prof I had in college went to Cornell, which is near some NY lake. Anyway, a group would go out to a local tributary creek during the spawning run (for the smelt), catch a limit, cook em up over a campfire, and drink beer. After midnight, with the beginnings of a new day, they would get a new limit, cook 'em up, and drink more beer.

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#1023236 - 03/01/20 09:01 AM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: DrifterWA]
DrifterWA Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 04/25/00
Posts: 4664
Loc: East of Aberdeen, West of Mont...

The Washington coast, around Kalaloch, can be good for smelt. We trailered, 45+ years ago, Spring vacation we did the "loop" Aberdeen to Forks, down the Hood canal side to home.

1 year family went to Ruby Beach area, someone was dipping smelt in the surf, we watched him and he was doing good, wave would come in....he'd walk out and dip, and always got some. He shared with my family.....mmmmm good. I agree with Bobrr, ocean/canal caught are firmer and cook better than river smelt.........but both are good.
_________________________

"Worse day sport fishing, still better than the best day working"

"I thought growing older would take longer"

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#1023240 - 03/01/20 09:30 AM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: DrifterWA]
Carcassman Online   content
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 5833
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
Didn't there used to be a "Smelt Derby" in LaConner?

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#1023257 - 03/01/20 10:53 AM Re: Smelt, another Day..... [Re: Carcassman]
Larry B Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 10/22/09
Posts: 2831
Loc: University Place and Whidbey I...
Originally Posted By: Carcassman
Didn't there used to be a "Smelt Derby" in LaConner?



Darn, looks like you just missed the 54th Derby as sponsored by the Rotary club: https://lovelaconner.com/54th-annual-smelt-derby-family-festival-feb-23/.

Put it on your calendar for next year.

Target is not eulchalon - think it is surf smelt (and other forage types).
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It's the person who has done nothing who is sure nothing can be done. (Ewing)

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