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#1023190 - 02/29/20 11:02 AM Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited
kalamageo Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 02/27/07
Posts: 287
Loc: Oly
So,

I'm having a debate with a buddy of mine about the viability of Chambers creek stock in various basins and I remember a thread there recently that discussed this topic. Can't find it to save my life.

He wants to dump MORE MORE MORE turds in all the basins and I'm trying to remember the details that a few of the board bio's discussed.

I would very much like to restart that discussion. I learn so much from you guys. 90 percent of you guys are very smart. The other 10 are idiots. I just skip them............. ( not everyone with a laptop should be allowed in public )

One specific point my friend made was that the state bio's want to keep planting them in all the Puget Sound rivers but the state won't let them. Of course that little thing about a lawsuit is slowing that down.

BUT

The returns sucked anyway, so why are the Chambers fish so inept?

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#1023192 - 02/29/20 11:27 AM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
Myassisdragon Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 1224
Loc: The Wet Side
Your friend wants turds in the rivers ?
_________________________
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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#1023194 - 02/29/20 11:46 AM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: Myassisdragon]
kalamageo Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 02/27/07
Posts: 287
Loc: Oly
yep!!

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#1023200 - 02/29/20 01:24 PM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
Brent K Offline
Smolt

Registered: 08/12/13
Posts: 83
Loc: Arlington, Washington
That is an interesting question about the Chambers fish. Is it something to do with the hatchery rearing/release process, the basic genetics, or decades of inbreeding?

I think someone here mentioned a while ago that WDFW may be releasing the smolt too early for money saving reasons. So many years of inbreeding can't be good either.

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#1023201 - 02/29/20 01:40 PM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
GPS Offline
Fry

Registered: 04/09/14
Posts: 38
I'll leave the deeper discussion for more expert voices, but from my understanding simple survival (or lack thereof) is really the limiting factor, particularly speaking of Puget Sound.

The stock doesn't matter much when returns of any stocks are running in the rounded to zero figures.


Edited by GPS (02/29/20 01:42 PM)

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#1023214 - 02/29/20 06:02 PM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
RUNnGUN Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 1014
I know a little and this is a huge generalization and not scientific.The Chambers Creek stock was/is considered an early component return group. End of Nov. done by around 1st of Jan. They raised and fit well not to mix with the later wilds and provided a good early harvest for recs. So well, the WDFW began to spread them all over the state. Well, research, economics, lawsuits and different ideas stepped in and pretty much eliminated them to be used the way they had been. Mix in a bunch more current environmental, economic, and predators feasting on them and you get what we have today, few fish and closed seasons. If the WDFW would get off their ass and complete some hatchery management plans for the rest of the Puget Sound rivers maybe the Chambers stock might find a place somewhere to provide that early opportunity again for us recs. I am generally a pessimist anymore because I got in on the good PS and state wide experience years ago, and today have to deal with all the closures and lack of "Opportunity". But, I do have some optimism, that in the future, before I can't physically root around on the river bank anymore, I could catch a hatchery Steelhead around Christmas time on the Puyallup or Green rivers. I'm sure the science details will follow.
_________________________
"After fishing for Steelhead for over 45 years, Steelheading as I know it is gone in Puget Sound!"
ME

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#1023217 - 02/29/20 07:31 PM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
Carcassman Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 5798
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
Originally, WDG operated on a Mother Station concept where Chambers Creek provided all the eggs/fry for western WA. There were a variety of problems with the concept. Eggs were taken and incubated in warm water; selecting for fish capable of living in such water. Same for rearing; warmer water to enhance production of yearling smolts. This made the resultant adults ill adapted to spawning, incubating, and rearing in naturally cold temperature regimes. As a consequence, they performed poorly in the wild.

Then, I believe that there were issues with Chambers Creek itself. Copper was used in Steilacoom Lake to control algae. Cu has an interesting effect on anadromous fish. It kills fish after entry into saltwater; I think that the algae treatments resulted in loss of otherwise healthy looking smolts which resulted in such poor returns that the system could not provide the eggs and they needed to scramble for local returns of CC fish.

The problem with any hatchery program for steelhead in wild fish. Wild fish used to, and should, be returning in December and January in some numbers. This would conflict with an early return of hatchery fish destined for harvest unless fisheries were mark selective. My personal opinion is that we can have a strong fishery on hatchery fish if and only if one is willing to write off the wild fish. So, a river with a dam that blocks the majority of the rearing area would be an option. Or, a system like the Lyre that is short.

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#1023233 - 03/01/20 08:52 AM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
Myassisdragon Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 1224
Loc: The Wet Side
And then there is/was the Cu anti fouling paint on the bottoms of all the pleasure boats. Painted on, stripped off, and left on the bottom of nearly every marina from the narrows to Everett for nearly fifty years.

Not to mention the turd holding tanks and turd wipe paper flushed into every marina basin in the same locations.

Just saying.
_________________________
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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#1023235 - 03/01/20 08:59 AM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
stonefish Offline
King of the Beach

Registered: 12/11/02
Posts: 4775
Loc: Carkeek Park
Wasn’t the Chambers Creek steelhead stock originally Green River fish?
Turds or not, they provided a lot of angling opportunities.
SF
_________________________
Go Dawgs!
Founding Member - 2021 Pink Plague Opposition Party
#coholivesmatter
762

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#1023269 - 03/01/20 11:26 AM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: stonefish]
OncyT Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 02/06/08
Posts: 470
Originally Posted By: stonefish
Wasn’t the Chambers Creek steelhead stock originally Green River fish?
Turds or not, they provided a lot of angling opportunities.
SF

I wasn't around then, but my understanding from WDG and NOAA documents is that they were derived from native steelhead returning to Chambers Creek in the 1920's.

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#1023277 - 03/01/20 01:25 PM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
Smalma Online   content
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/25/01
Posts: 2783
Loc: Marysville
My understanding is that the Chambers Creek winter stock is a composite stock with something like 8 different rivers contributing to the gene pool. Early in the hatchery program (late 1940s through 1980s) the use of the Chambers Creek hatchery and its warm water was key to the success of the hatchery fish. At least through the early 1980s the PS Chambers Creek fish typically spawned from late December to late March/Early April. That warmer water was key in accelerating the egg incubation and juvenile rearing to successfully produce yearling smolts that would be of sufficient size to assure decent smolt to adult survivals.

While like all hatchery stocks the Chambers Creek survived at lower rates than typical wild stocks. However at least through the 1980s in Puget Sound those hatchery fish were the backbone of the fishery. In the Quileute monitoring showed that the Chambers Creek survived at significantly higher rates than the wild brood stock Snider Creek steelhead.

Like all of Puget Sound steelhead stocks (hatchery and wild) beginning in the late 1980s the survival of those PS Chambers Creek stocks dropped dramatically. I suspect the issue was more with the Puget Sound ecosystem survival conditions than problems with the brood stock. In the last 40 years the data I have looked at shows that steelhead, coho and Chinook PS smolt to adult survivals have declined 80 to 90%.

Curt

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#1023279 - 03/01/20 02:48 PM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
OncyT Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 02/06/08
Posts: 470
Here is a little section about the history of Chambers Creek Hatchery that I cut and pasted from Bruce Crawford's 1979 report:


"The Chambers Creek Hatchery was built in 1915 with $5,500 received from the City of Tacoma in lieu of a fishway around their dam on the Nisqually River. Chambers Creek was chosen because it had an excellent salmon run (WDFG, 1917). In its first year of operation Chambers Creek reared chinook, chum, and coho salmon. By 1917, Lake Crescent cutthroat, Lake Chelan cutthroat, and Kokanee were being reared in addition to salmon. This continued as both a salmon and trout facility until 1921 when the Department of Fisheries and Game was separated into the Division of Fisheries and the Division of Game and Game Fish. At that time, Chambers Creek was assigned to the Division of Game and Game Fish and thereby became a trout hatchery (WDFG, 1923). In 1921, Chambers Creek hatched eggs from Chelan cutthroat, eastern brooktrout, Kokanee, and rainbow trout. Rainbow trout were obtained from Packwood Lake and this remained the chief source of eggs until 1935. In 1934, the Department built a new hatchery building and raceways at a large spring located at the Steilacoom State Game Farm about one mile from Chambers Creek. This spring provided 6,000 gallons per minute at a temperature of 56° F. The Steilacoom Game Farm was obtained in 1921 by the Division of Game and Game Fish. The new buildings were renamed the South Tacoma Hatchery, and the old Chambers Creek Hatchery was sold. However, a trap continued to be used in Chambers Creek for the capture of winter steelhead."

According to Crawford's report the "origin" of the hatchery stock would have been from Chambers Creek unless of course managers later decided to stop taking any eggs from fish returning to the hatchery. I doubt that they would have done that, simply because they were there and available. If you look at the history of most hatcheries in the US, it was common practice to ship in eggs or fish from other places so I suspect that Curt is right about it becoming a composite of a number of different populations.

I didn't know until reading this that the hatchery was built as mitigation for a Tacoma City Light dam on the Nisqually River.


Citation: Crawford, B. A. 1979. The origin and history of the trout brood stocks of the Washington Department of Game. Washington State Game Dep., Fishery Research Report, 76 p. (Available from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capital Way N., Olympia, WA 98501.)

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#1023284 - 03/01/20 04:15 PM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: OncyT]
RUNnGUN Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 1014
Originally Posted By: OncyT
Here is a little section about the history of Chambers Creek Hatchery that I cut and pasted from Bruce Crawford's 1979 report:


"The Chambers Creek Hatchery was built in 1915 with $5,500 received from the City of Tacoma in lieu of a fishway around their dam on the Nisqually River. Chambers Creek was chosen because it had an excellent salmon run (WDFG, 1917). In its first year of operation Chambers Creek reared chinook, chum, and coho salmon. By 1917, Lake Crescent cutthroat, Lake Chelan cutthroat, and Kokanee were being reared in addition to salmon. This continued as both a salmon and trout facility until 1921 when the Department of Fisheries and Game was separated into the Division of Fisheries and the Division of Game and Game Fish. At that time, Chambers Creek was assigned to the Division of Game and Game Fish and thereby became a trout hatchery (WDFG, 1923). In 1921, Chambers Creek hatched eggs from Chelan cutthroat, eastern brooktrout, Kokanee, and rainbow trout. Rainbow trout were obtained from Packwood Lake and this remained the chief source of eggs until 1935. In 1934, the Department built a new hatchery building and raceways at a large spring located at the Steilacoom State Game Farm about one mile from Chambers Creek. This spring provided 6,000 gallons per minute at a temperature of 56° F. The Steilacoom Game Farm was obtained in 1921 by the Division of Game and Game Fish. The new buildings were renamed the South Tacoma Hatchery, and the old Chambers Creek Hatchery was sold. However, a trap continued to be used in Chambers Creek for the capture of winter steelhead."

According to Crawford's report the "origin" of the hatchery stock would have been from Chambers Creek unless of course managers later decided to stop taking any eggs from fish returning to the hatchery. I doubt that they would have done that, simply because they were there and available. If you look at the history of most hatcheries in the US, it was common practice to ship in eggs or fish from other places so I suspect that Curt is right about it becoming a composite of a number of different populations.

I didn't know until reading this that the hatchery was built as mitigation for a Tacoma City Light dam on the Nisqually River.


Citation: Crawford, B. A. 1979. The origin and history of the trout brood stocks of the Washington Department of Game. Washington State Game Dep., Fishery Research Report, 76 p. (Available from Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capital Way N., Olympia, WA 98501.)


Now that's cool! Thanks for sharing!
_________________________
"After fishing for Steelhead for over 45 years, Steelheading as I know it is gone in Puget Sound!"
ME

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#1023291 - 03/01/20 05:09 PM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
Smalma Online   content
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/25/01
Posts: 2783
Loc: Marysville
OncyT-
Well I dug into my old files and dusted off my Copy of the Crawford, 1979 report. The history of steelhead culture in Washington begins on page 9 and with the Chambers Creek winter steelhead discussion starting on the bottom of page 10.

As you mention in 1921 the newly created Division of game and game fish with 73 winter steelhead spawned. By 1922 in addition to Chambers Creek steelhead being spawned at the Green River hatchery, Pateros-Methow hatchery, Pilchuck, Tilton, at Maschell trap, Union trap, and Brinnion eyeing station with 1,706 steelhead spawned taking 6,265,500 eggs. At that time the eggs were hatchery at the egg taking stations as well a number of salmon hatcheries with the fish being released as fry.

By 1936 studies found that steelhead returns improved if the fish were released as larger fingerlings. A whole series of studies in the 1940s to early 1950s established the best release time and size at release for better returns. it was determined that releasing the fish in the spring at least 5 inches long produced the better results. The challenge was to get the fish to that size in a year. The holding the captured adults in the warm water accelerated the maturation of the fish allowing an early egg take that coupled with the accelerated growth rates in that warm water and improving fish foods the late 1948s allowed steelhead program to produce true smolts. Besides Chamber's creek among the first hatcheries to obtain and release Chambers Creek steelhead were the Green river hatchery at the headwaters, Tokul Creek on the Snoqualmie, and Puyallup hatchery.

The report also mentions that smolts from Samish, Soos Creek, and Nemah were introduced into the Chambers Creek.

A couple other tidbits from the history section. The then Washington Department of Fisheries and Game EDFG) built its first 2 hatcheries in 1895. By 1903 4,298,740 winter steelhead fry were being produced from the Dungeness, White River, Snohomish, Nisqually, Willapa, and Chehalis hatcheries. In 1905 the Dungeness was considered the "best steelhead hatchery".

"Early steelhead runs in the Sauk river were spawned at the Sauk River hatchery from the first week of February until the 15th of June (WDFG 1907)."

By 1920 winter steelhead were being spawned at 11 Puget Sound site and 4 coastal sites with summer steelhead being taken at 2 sites on the Columbia.

Curt


Edited by Smalma (03/01/20 05:18 PM)

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#1023294 - 03/01/20 05:25 PM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
stonefish Offline
King of the Beach

Registered: 12/11/02
Posts: 4775
Loc: Carkeek Park
Thanks Curt and Oxcy.
SF
_________________________
Go Dawgs!
Founding Member - 2021 Pink Plague Opposition Party
#coholivesmatter
762

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#1023302 - 03/01/20 06:46 PM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
OncyT Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 02/06/08
Posts: 470

Thanks Curt. I looked for my old paper copy of the report too, but couldn't find it (Over several years I have finally reduced the space required for my old reference material down to about 3 feet of shelf space, so I guess I threw it away). Anyway, I had to rely on a part of the report that I found on-line.

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#1023335 - 03/02/20 10:13 AM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
Salmo g. Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 12800
In response to Kalamageo's question, I think that more likely than not, Chambers Creek steelhead are not inept, except when referring to their ability to reproduce in the natural environment. The demise of the stock seems likely due to multiple factors.

I haven't read the Crawford report in probably 10 years or more, and it sure helps set the stage for any discussion. Given that so many of the fish releases in the early years were fry and sometimes fingerlings, and that we have learned that the survival to returning adult of fry and fingerling releases is very, very low, it appears that the endemic Chambers Creek fish formed the bulk of the hatchery stock, with some contributions from other PS and HC hatcheries. Reports I read suggest it was Pautzke and Meigs who pieced together the sequence to make the Chambers Creek hatchery steelhead program successful. Producing viable smolts in one year was key, and that meant selecting for early return and spawn timing, the latest and best in trout hatchery feed rations, and the warm spring water supply available at the S. Tacoma Hatchery. The resulting fish became known to many fishermen as "Pautzke's Pets." Pautzke may have had a larger than average ego, but he did rise to become the Director at WDG in the 1950s, I think it was.

As Carcassman posted above, Chambers Creek was the Mother Station for all of PS and I think the coast as well. I'm not sure about lower Columbia. So the broodstock collection, spawning, incubation, and early rearing occurred at S. Tacoma. Advanced fingerlings were then transferred to all the other rearing stations for final rearing and eventual release come the following spring. Combined with favorable marine survival conditions, the resulting adult returns were surely outstanding by today's measure.

Sometime in the mid to late 80s - Smalma might remember this better than I - the decision was made for each station to begin collecting its own broodstock and do the entire freshwater life cycle in the basins where the fish were going to be released. This was supposed to be an improvement. But most, maybe none, of the other stations had as warm a water supply as S. Tacoma. And this change is correlated with what appears to be declining smolt to adult return rates. However it is also correlated with the increasing number of harbor seals and other pinnipeds and cormorants in the PS region.

Gradually Chambers Creek itself couldn't get enough spawners returning to maintain the program. Use of copper in the lake probably didn't help. The Puyallup Tribe's decision to net Chambers Creek certainly reduced the escapement, and maybe that contributed to the decision to move away from the Mother Station operation concept to every hatchery doing its own broodstock collection; I don't know.

The combination of factors have led to the situation whereby it is all most stations can do to collect sufficient broodstock to keep programs going. A lot of hatcheries have been at less than full production because of lack of returning broodstock. Consequently, no matter how badly anglers and even managers want to produce and stock more hatchery steelhead, it is a physical and biological impossibility under current survival condtions. The egg supply might possibly be augmented if one or more of the hatcheries were to try a captive broodstock strategy. This is an extreme measure usually used when we are trying to prevent a population from going extinct. I haven't tried to think through or do the math to estimate whether this would be a viable approach to increasing the hatchery steelhead supply.

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#1023823 - 03/06/20 11:01 AM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: Salmo g.]
kalamageo Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 02/27/07
Posts: 287
Loc: Oly
Thanks guys.


This is the kind of information that I was looking for. I was trying to explain to my friend why his thoughts on "just plant more fish" were not sound from a biological perspective. He has many friends at hatcheries and told me they were pissed because they "wanted to plant a bunch more fish" and "the state wouldn't let them".


Given current management of our fisheries and the problems getting tribes to cooperate and issues with ESA listed fish, I don't see a good path forward for Puget Sound rivers. Especially where steelhead are concerned. You can't plant fish if you don't have enough returning fish to supply eggs. Seems like the Chambers origins are done and the PS rivers can't support its hatchery needs with returning adults.

We're kinda F'd.

I'd say the future looks bleak. More people being shoved out of the PS rivers to our SW rivers and OP rivers. Then you get a shut down based on this shuffle of pressure. ie; the Willapa shutdown.

This may be the new norm.


I will concentrate on the rivers available to me and local lakes for now. I have a lower expectation for success on any given trip. My 50 years on the water has seen a drop in quality of experience that is truly depressing.



Thanks again for the discussion

kg




Edited by kalamageo (03/06/20 11:06 AM)

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#1023978 - 03/07/20 12:01 PM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
WDFW X 1 = 0 Offline
Official Darkside Fucktard Whisperer

Registered: 01/27/15
Posts: 3166
Meanwhile the Cowlitz is having a great run run of hatchery fish returning and every boat in the state is fishing on them.
I call BS on the science and BULLCHIT.
PLANT FISH NOT EXCUSES!!!!!

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#1023989 - 03/07/20 01:45 PM Re: Chanmbers Creek brats...revisited [Re: kalamageo]
OncyT Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 02/06/08
Posts: 470

As an aside, I believe that WDFW stopped planting Chambers Creek origin fish in the Cowlitz in 2012. Their last release of Chambers origin fish in the Washougal, Kalama and Coweeman rivers and Salmon and Rock creeks was in the spring of 2017. Pretty sure that all have been (or are going to be) replaced by Columbia River stocks.

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