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#1061462 - 02/01/23 11:20 AM Re: Elwha [Re: Rivrguy]
cohoangler Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 12/29/99
Posts: 1611
Loc: Vancouver, Washington
The author of the article is being needlessly pessimistic. Taking out Elwha and Glines Canyon was never going to immediately produce 100lb Chinook. The purpose of removing the dams was for ecosystem restoration, a component of which was the return of Pacific salmon to the reaches upstream of the dams. That has been a smashing success by any measure.

Will the Elwha River ever seen really big Chinook returns, in both body size and abundance? Yes, but it's going to take time, and a significant reduction in ocean harvest. That harvest reduction may come sooner than we think.

The WFC lawsuit on the SE AK troll fishery is almost final. (See FishDoc's previous thread on Lo Holing in Alaska on this BB.) It's likely going to shut down that fishery for awhile. Not sure what the future holds but there is no reason for needless pessimism. In fact, I've never been more optimistic.

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#1061464 - 02/01/23 12:41 PM Re: Elwha [Re: Rivrguy]
Carcassman Online   content
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 7384
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
As a (Canadian) friend of mine pointed out to me just how many of those Chinook "saved" in Alaska are gonna get past BC?

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#1061466 - 02/01/23 01:23 PM Re: Elwha [Re: Rivrguy]
darth baiter Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 04/04/10
Posts: 198
Loc: United States
The lawsuit was filed in 2020 regarding a 2019 Biological Opinion. Last September, a Magistrate Judge passed on a Recommendation to a U.S. District Judge who is expected to make a decision soon. Whatever the decision, one side is expected to Appeal. The Appeal(s) will take time. I would not expect a final, final, no further appeals possible decision very soon. I also would not expect a complete closure to be enacted as the Appeals are going through. IMO, a significant reduction or closure in the SEAK troll fishery (apparently SEAK sport fishery is ok) is probably not going to happen very soon. Alaska won't go down without trying to take others with them.

And yes, at least some of the savings will get scooped up by BC and SUS marine fisheries prior to getting back to the rivers.

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#1061467 - 02/01/23 01:35 PM Re: Elwha [Re: Rivrguy]
Carcassman Online   content
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 7384
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
Just like to add to the discussion that the in-river gill net fisheries are not the primary cause of fisheries changing age at maturity. That is almost wholly on marine hook and line fisheries, whether sport or troll. Any net fishery that catches immatures is also part of the problem.

I know that gill net fisheries are an obvious occurrence and a poke in the eye to those others sitting on the back but they take mature fish. No 4 year old Chinook taken in the river was, if not caught, going to return next year as a 5 year old.

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#1061472 - 02/02/23 09:21 AM Re: Elwha [Re: Rivrguy]
cohoangler Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 12/29/99
Posts: 1611
Loc: Vancouver, Washington
Darth - This conversation is probably more appropriate under FishDoc’s thread on Lo Holin’ in Alaska, rather than under the Elwha River discussion.

Nevertheless, it’s likely the plaintiffs (WFC) will get a closure of the SE AK troll fishery, and a remand of the Bi-Op. NMFS is likely working on a replacement Bi-Op since the magistrate judge’s recommendation is likely to be the final decision. And NMFS is probably letting Alaska know the 2023 SE AK troll fishery is likely to be closed, or severely restricted, but they are focusing on 2024 since they won’t have a new Bi-Op ready this year. It will be 2024 at the earliest.

An appeal is likely moot since NMFS is actively working to correct the flaws in the current Bi-Op, which won't be done this year. And the plaintiffs can’t appeal since they won.

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#1061473 - 02/02/23 06:22 PM Re: Elwha [Re: Rivrguy]
SalishFish Offline
Alevin

Registered: 10/29/06
Posts: 10
Loc: Skagit
Been a longer journey than most recognize

https://media.oregonstate.edu/media/t/1_...lYM0k19558C4Po0

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#1061474 - 02/02/23 07:08 PM Re: Elwha [Re: Rivrguy]
Carcassman Online   content
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 7384
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
Stuff I have seen, written by non-apologists, point to declines in the 19th century from overfishing. The declines started in CA and worked their way north. Alaska is now having to deal with it.

As Bob lackey has noted many times, we know how we got here. We also know what we need to do to have lots of wild fish. And we're not gonna do it.

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#1061792 - 04/25/23 10:32 PM Re: Elwha [Re: Carcassman]
Rivrguy Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 4380
Loc: Somewhere on the planet,I hope
Well here is the latest on Elwha salmon restoration and fishing.


April 25, 2023

Contact: WDFW Montesano Office, Region 6, 360-249-4628
Media contacts: Mark Yuasa, WDFW, 360-902-2262
Tiffany Royal, Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, 360-621-5934
Roy Zipp, Olympic National Park, 360-565-3003
Elwha River's tribal ceremonial and subsistence fishery for coho salmon


PORT ANGELES – The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe (Tribe), Olympic National Park (ONP), and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced that the tribal ceremonial and subsistence fishery for coho salmon on the Elwha River will be open for a limited time during fall 2023. Additionally, the Tribe, ONP, and WDFW agreed to extend the closure of other recreational and commercial fisheries in the Elwha River for another year.

For more than 100 years, the Elwha River dams blocked salmon access to over 90% of the river, devastating the once abundant salmon population in this system. Since the start of dam removal in 2011, the Tribe, ONP, and WDFW voluntarily suspended all fish harvest on the Elwha River so that salmon populations could recolonize their former habitats and rebuild their populations. In the nine years since the complete removal of the Elwha River dams, multiple salmon species have shown positive signs of recovery.

Coho salmon recovery has been a success story, thanks to the Tribe's hatchery and fish relocation efforts during and after the dam removal process. The Tribe will conduct a harvest with a limited amount of adult coho salmon at the ceremonial and subsistence fishery on the lower three miles of the Elwha River in October of 2023. The timing of this fishery is designed to minimize impacts to non-target salmonid species, particularly federally listed Chinook salmon and steelhead.
The Elwha River system has been central to Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal culture and lifeways since time immemorial. Up until the early 20th century, Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal fishers relied on subsistence fishing in the Elwha River to provide a wealth for their families. This ceremonial and subsistence fishery will provide an opportunity for Tribal fishers to finally access local fish from their namesake river for the first time in over a decade.

"WDFW has been anticipating a time when the Elwha River would produce runs of salmon that could once again support treaty rights of the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe," said WDFW Regional Fish Program Manager James Losee. "Ceremonial and subsistence fisheries directed at coho salmon this year is a signal that we are headed in the right direction in the recovery of the Elwha River."

"I look forward to fishing the Elwha River. I have been on the river most of my life. It will provide food for my soul and family. It will keep the fishing culture alive not only for me, but for my 16-year-old son. So many youths and adults have given up gill net fishing as the economic value is not there. Many have turned to harvest of shellfish, which provides more value. I hope opening the river to fishing will revitalize our fishing culture and traditions," said Lower Elwha Klallam Vice Chairman Russ Hepfer.

"We join the Tribe and project partners in celebrating the renewal of Pacific Salmonids to the Elwha River and Olympic National Park. The park is truly grateful for the long-term partnership, commitment, and sacrifices made by the Tribe throughout the Elwha River Ecosystem Restoration Project. After a decade-long fishing closure, it's exciting to see a transition from dam removal to ecosystem benefits, and now a meaningful Ceremonial and Subsistence Fishery," said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sula Jacobs."The Elwha River Ecosystem Restoration project is truly a benchmark for cultural and ecological restoration, and a river of hope that grows wilder every day. We have made a significant conservation commitment to future generations of people and fish, and the park looks forward to reopening sport fishing to park visitors in the upper watershed within the next few years."

The ceremonial and subsistence fishery for coho salmon will be strictly regulated and include a mix of hand held gear and river nets. Nets will be limited to ½ the span of the river. This fishery will be intensively monitored by Tribal fisheries biologists and enforcement officers for compliance with regulations and to ensure that impacts to non-target species are minimized. The Tribe and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) will simultaneously evaluate the impacts of various fishing gear types on release survival of non-target species. The data that biologists collect from this fishery will be crucial in developing future in-river commercial and recreational fisheries for coho and other salmon species.

Elwha River fish recovery monitoring is a long-term, cooperative effort involving the Tribe, ONP, WDFW, NOAA Fisheries, USFWS, and U.S. Geological Survey. Each year, project partners evaluate spawner abundance, distribution, and juvenile production throughout the river system using a variety of tools including sonar, redd surveys, snorkel surveys, tangle net surveys, and smolt trapping.

The Tribe, ONP, and WDFW continue to evaluate Elwha River coho salmon population data and to refine long-term management objectives for their recovery. This includes Elwha River coho salmon escapement goals that will provide for future commercial and recreational harvest opportunities. Recreational and commercial fishing will resume when there is broad distribution of spawning adults above the former dam sites, spawning rates allow for population growth and diversity, and a harvestable surplus of fish are returning to the Elwha River. Mountain lakes in the Elwha basin within ONP and Lake Sutherland will remain open to sport fishing from the fourth Saturday in April through Oct. 31.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities.

Engage with WDFW






________________________________________
_________________________
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in

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#1061793 - 04/26/23 10:02 AM Re: Elwha [Re: Rivrguy]
RUNnGUN Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 12/06/07
Posts: 1374
Seems like I recently heard of some kind of new blockage at one of the demolished dam sites, preventing fish migration. Could'nt find any updated reports? Anyone hear the same thing?
_________________________
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller.
Don't let the old man in!

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#1061794 - 04/27/23 03:19 PM Re: Elwha [Re: Rivrguy]
GodLovesUgly Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 04/20/09
Posts: 1269
Loc: WaRshington
Gillnets are going in. Shoot those runs should be rebuilt in no time.
_________________________
When I grow up I want to be,
One of the harvesters of the sea.
I think before my days are done,
I want to be a fisherman.

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#1061795 - 04/28/23 08:01 AM Re: Elwha [Re: Rivrguy]
20 Gage Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 02/15/21
Posts: 303
“some kind of new blockage “ ?

Nawwww, just the old kinda “Gill Net “ blockages we’ve all seen before.

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#1061796 - 04/28/23 10:45 AM Re: Elwha [Re: Rivrguy]
Carcassman Online   content
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 7384
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
I think the actual passage at the lower dam was always narrow and rather high velocity. If memory serves there were issues with old rebar still in the river. I suspect that even when it is cleaned out that the action will be a velocity barrier at some flows, especially for smaller fish.

This pinch point os likely one of the reasons that Elwha Chinook were so large. Arriving during the higher flows of the snowmelt season required brute strength to pass.

Further, when the lower dam was first installed it blew out at the bottom. The hole was filled with logs and other material. Which suggests that there is a lot of junk remaining there. Plus, all the accumulated sediment from above has to pass through on its way to the Straits. Some may decide to sit a spell.

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#1061839 - 05/05/23 08:47 AM Re: Elwha [Re: Carcassman]
Rivrguy Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 4380
Loc: Somewhere on the planet,I hope

This article is from the Daily World.

Good news and bad news

The tribes have been cheated out of their legacy and the rest of us will not be fishing the Elwha any time soon

Pat Neal

The Daily World

Who says there’s no good news? The Lower Elwha Klallam Ceremonial and Subsistence Fishery will open for coho salmon on the Elwha this October. It’s been a long time coming.

The first reference to Elwha salmon occurred in 1790, when the Spanish Captain Manuel Quimper purchased salmon, “of a hundred pounds,” from the Klallam off the mouth of the river.

Within a few years of this purchase, Spain retreated south.

In 1846, President Polk used the slogan, “Manifest Destiny,” to bluff the British North, while luring hordes of European invaders into Oregon Territory with the Donation Land Act of 1850. This gave a white male citizen 320 acres of Native American land. Native Americans were ineligible since they were not American Citizens until 1924.

In 1855, Washington Territory’s Gov. Isaac Stevens, who was also the Indian Agent and Northern Pacific Railroad surveyor, negotiated the Point No Point Treaty. The Klallam surrendered 438,430 acres of their land in exchange for, among other considerations, the right to fish in their accustomed places.

The Klallam were accustomed to fishing the Elwha. It was dammed in 1913, six miles from the mouth of the river with no provision for fish passage. The dam blocked access to 90% of the salmon spawning and rearing habitat in the Elwha.

In 1974, the Boldt Decision affirmed the Tribe’s right to catch half of the harvestable salmon. By the new millenia, there were so few fish in the Elwha that giving the tribes half the harvestable salmon was like giving them half the harvestable buffalo on the Great Plains.

In 2011, the Elwha River Ecosystem Restoration Project began removing the Aldwell and Glines Canyon dams.

The Klallam Tribe, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and Olympic National Park suspended all fishing on the Elwha. In addition, NOAA and the National Marine Fisheries Service approved a massive salmon restoration plan that involved a “life boat hatchery” on nearby Morse Creek to ensure the Elwha Chinook survival in case they were endangered by the dam removal.

The cooperative plan would have jump-started salmon recovery efforts by airlifting adult chinook, fingerlings, fry and fertilized eggs into the pristine habitat above the dam removal project until the salmon could return on their own.

In addition, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe built a hatchery to enhance coho, chum, pink salmon and steelhead runs.

Pink salmon were estimated to comprise a majority of the historic run of 400,000 salmon predicted to return to the restored Elwha after dam removal — ignoring the fact that not one other undammed river anywhere in the Pacific Northwest has restored its historic salmon run numbers.

Now the bad news

The Elwha Restoration Plan was not followed. Antifish hatchery extremists claimed these hatchery fish were “domesticated,” ignoring the fact that these fish survived the same migration to the ocean and back as their so-called “native” cohorts — which aren’t “native” at all since salmon production on the Elwha has been dominated by hatcheries since 1914.

The Morse Creek chinook hatchery was eliminated.

The Lower Elwha hatchery is operating at a fraction of its potential, despite the fact that both pink and chum salmon are missing from the Elwha.

Then came the more recent news that two rockslides have blocked the upper Elwha from salmon migration for five of the last 10 years since dam removal. After $350 million was spent removing the dams, the National Park Service is “monitoring” the situation instead of doing anything about it.

Once again, the tribes have been cheated out of their legacy and the rest of us will not be fishing the Elwha any time soon.

Pat Neal is a Hoh River fishing and rafting guide and “wilderness gossip columnist” whose column appears here every Thursday. He can be reached at 360-683-9867 or by email via patnealproductions@gmail.com
_________________________
Dazed and confused.............the fog is closing in

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#1061845 - 05/05/23 01:06 PM Re: Elwha [Re: Rivrguy]
Carcassman Online   content
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/21/07
Posts: 7384
Loc: Olema,California,Planet Earth
I just want to add, in response to Mr. Neal, that the landslides and other perturbations in the watershed may be natural. The Elwha is supposed to be, especially in a National Park, a naturally functioning ecosystem. Fire, flood, slides, and whatnot are part and parcel of the equation.

Now, if those slides are directly man-caused (road grades, for example) then I can support fixing them. But I believe we should live with what nature provides.
'

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#1061846 - 05/05/23 07:19 PM Re: Elwha [Re: Rivrguy]
darth baiter Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 04/04/10
Posts: 198
Loc: United States
Shutting down the Morse Creek Hatchery may not have been such a blow to the rebuilding/recovery/rescue program. It may have been the prudent thing to do given the lousy survival of the Morse Creek releases. 2013 was the last brood released from Morse Creek. There were 8 CWT releases of yearlings starting w 2008 brood and ending with 2013 brood. A total of 1.2M CWT fish were released from these broods. The estimated total number of recoveries in all fisheries and escapement was 592 for a smolt to adult survival rate of 0.047%. One tag group of 199K yearlings (2008 brood) had 5 estimated recoveries. At least based on the tag data, the loss was in terms of time, money and egg-take that yielded almost nothing.

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