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#169762 - 12/21/02 01:17 PM Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery

On my last trip out on the Bogie I saw an angler guttting about a 15 pound native. He also had another fish that was hatchery.

My point is that in these "Brat Fisheries", where wild retention is legal, I rarely see anglers even look to see if the fish has an adipose before they drag it up on the bank or smack it on the head. Or nett it for that matter.
It almost seems like most people dont make a distinction between the two where its legal to bonk Nates.

Our early component of wild fish are the ones in need of protection but it seems that more of them are killed than the more abundant later component. You get the types of fishers that line up at the meat holes to fill the freezers and many of these guys dont care if its wild or hatchery. During the months of Nov through Jan When a more agressive but far less abundant wild fish swims into the hole it is quickly caught and bonked on the head.

Later in the year when its a wild fish show it seems that the CnR fishers are the majority and far more fish are released than retained even where it is legal to kill wild fish.

It dosent make much sense to me. I dont even know if I make sense.

#169763 - 12/21/02 01:25 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Fishslayer75 Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 11/20/01
Posts: 397
Loc: Auburn
Sounds about right. Sad but true.
You don't catch fish, fishing catches you.

#169764 - 12/21/02 01:41 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery

Heres an example of how much more agressive the less abundant early wild fish are verses hatchery.

Last year about this time the bogie was loaded with brats, it was a normal day to bring 20 brats to hand in the dimmel drift.

I was fishing with a freind and I hooked about a 14# wild buck. We got it to the boat and just as we were gonna cut the leader the line broke and the fish took my whole rig from rag to lead.

Well the next day my friend went back to the dimmel drift and caught the same fish on a plug. He knew it for sure because my pink rag was still in his mouth.

Out of the literally thousands of hatchery fish in the hole his boat catches the same wild fish for the second day in a row. Luckly he caught it and the fish was released for the second time. Who knows if the fish stuck around and was caught agian or not.

How many of these early wild fish make it through the gauntlet without biteing or are caught by the greatly outnumbered guys who will CNR them.

#169765 - 12/21/02 02:19 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Woodchuck Offline

Registered: 12/11/02
Posts: 13
Loc: Tacoma
I find the clip vs. wild very interesting. I have been guilty of bonkin a few non clipped salmon. But what I am wondering is if it is not legal to keep fin clips, is it then that big of a deal to let them go? I was reading an article a few years back about a study on fish habits. They used Bass for the study, but said the basic trends could cross over to many other types of fish (assuming salmon bite Bass plugs and ironheads bite worms, lets go a step further). In the study they found that family groups, or genetics, dictated what "type" of biter the fish was. One group within the pond would be agressive towards a type of lure and when all that family was gone, that lure did not work at all on the remaining fish that were of a different "family". Think about it. If that is true, and we catch and bonk all the fish that bite on spinners, then spinners won't work any longer. Then we catch and bonk all the fish that bite on a fly, then flies won't work any longer. And so on and so on. I don't know about any of you guys, but I do enjoy catching a fish or two when I go out. If we bonk all the fish that bite, things get difficult. Is it that big of a deal to let some fish go? I think that is difficult to let a good fish go for some (including me if I'm not catching a bunch of fish) if it is LEGAL to keep them. If its not legal to keep them, then I think my "ego" allows me to release the fish without any harm to my tough guy fisherman attitude. Do we really go out just to bring some fish home to eat??? Thats some pretty expensive fish. Must we bring home fish every time? I'd like to see all non-clipped fish released by law statewide, all areas, salmon and stealhead. The issue of netting is a totally different subject, cause the fish usually don't bite the nets. Bonk the clips, thats what they are there for. Let the wild ones go. They are there for recreation. And is that not why we are out there.. recreation?

#169766 - 12/22/02 01:26 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Todd Offline
Dick Nipples

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 27640
Loc: Seattle, Washington USA

Welcome to the BB!

If you're interested in discussions about the hatchery vs. native topic, run a search through the archives for lots of threads about it.

Your points about the bass study are interesting, and there are practical applications in some senses to steelhead and salmon fishing here.

Everyone knows that for the most part hatchery steelhead, especially winter runs) are poor biters unless very fresh and in really good river conditions. There is a genuine concern among bios that it will only continue to get worse as all the biters are harvested and the hatchery broodstock are all non-biters.

It also happens in a more obvious and faster scale for Puget Sound coho. By the time the most notoriously locklaw silvers in the state reach the Skykomish River, they have run the gauntlet from Sekiu, through the Straits, through the San Juans, past all the PS fishermen, and finally hit a river with half a million yahoos tossing buzz bombs at them down in the tidewater areas. By the time they actually get to a decent river fishing area, all the biters are gone and the rest are running scared.

That said, I think native steelhead are a bit different...they don't seem to learn. A cnr'd fish will whack the hell out of the next plug on the next day, maybe even later that day. And removing that fish via harvest won't likely change that, since they pretty much all act that way.

Their genetic makeup is so diverse compared to their hatchery cousins that I doubt that will change. When a hatchery uses 400 adult non-biters to create 2000 hatchery brats, and the first 400 non-biters of those are used for the next generation, it only gets more pronounced.

Fish on...


#169767 - 12/22/02 01:32 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Gusty Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 04/27/99
Posts: 372
Loc: Everett, WA. USA
Here is a simple rule to follow.

Regardless of whether its legal to keep nates...

Look first before you net it to see if its a nate, if it is (if it has an adipose fin)......dont net it and release it as gently as you can

if it has no fin, and you want it, bonk it

Can it be any more simple?

what what what

#169768 - 12/22/02 02:23 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery

Wish it was that simple Gutsy,

The problem is that our WDFW is pro catch and kill. If they wernt pro catch and kill of Wild Steelhead they wouldnt alow them to be harvested period. The Majority of anglers out there are out there to catch a fish and bring it home they dont care if its wild or hatchery and if its legal to keep one they will bonk it.

The problem is only groups like the WSC and Truot Unlimited and other "special interest groups out there" as the WDFW puts it, are the only ones that are trying to stop harvest of wild steelhead. The everyday Joe is listening to the WDFW and not these groups and whatever the regs say must be the truth in their eyes. Meaning if the regs say you can harvest wild fish there must ample of them to go around and sport harvest has no impact so they dont feel the least bit guilty of killing a wild fish. Most people just dont think its a big deal to kill wild fish if the WDFW says its OK in any particular system. It almost seems like it is encouraged to do so where its legal.

The WDFW isnt all bad they are just trying to please everyone and the truth is you cant. Im no Biologist or expert but I can even tell you that.

#169769 - 12/22/02 05:36 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Gusty Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 04/27/99
Posts: 372
Loc: Everett, WA. USA
WDFW.....No Nate Bonking!

& that goes for everyone mad

I realize its not that simple, I just wish more people would get educated on the subject and release all wild steelies. beer

#169770 - 12/22/02 06:53 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Smalma Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/25/01
Posts: 2790
Loc: Marysville
Rich G -
I'm not sure that the available information supports your position the WDFW is only interested in bonking wild fish. A quick review of this year's regs showed that one river in the state (King county's Green River) allows the taking of wild summer steelhead. No where in Eastern Washington is it legal to kill a wild steelhead. In Western Washington I found 135 streams that were open for steelhead fishing during the winter and on only 15 (11%) were open to the taking of wild steelhead (1 per day).

Typically about 80,000 anglers in this state fish steelhead. On the 15 streams open for the taking it would be a big year if the total number of wild fish killed would be 5,000 fish or about 1 fish for every 16 anglers. If you truly believe that the 5,000 fish is excessive you would never target any wild steelhead and quite fishing once the brats are done!

If everyone of us caught and release just 1 or 2 wild steelhead a year collectively we would kill more than 5,000 fish due to hooking mortality. If an angler is releasing more than a fish or 2 a year he or she is responsible killing more than their share of the resource and from your comments more than the resource can support.

Arguably Washington's management of wild steehead is the most conservative all wild salmonid management (possible exception would be bull trout). While I hear and read of much teeth gnashing about bonking wild steelhead I hear very little regarding wild coho, humpies, resident trout or even whitefish all of which are fished much harder than steelhead.

If all of us "wild steelhead nuts" truly feel that there are no harvestable wild steelhead we should not be targeting them.

Just something to think about will waiting for the next "brat" to bite.

Tight lines

#169771 - 12/22/02 10:37 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Bob Offline

Dazed and Confused

Registered: 03/05/99
Posts: 6480
Loc: Forks, WA & Soldotna, AK
Smalma ... I think you well know that most of us that are staunch supporters of C&R on wild steelhead feel that in many cases no angling should be allowed period. Runs that are decimated need to be shut down to all fishing.

But, we have a handful of streams that are still hanging in there. In those streams that remain relatively healthy, we feel that C&R will be an effective tool to help them stay that way.

Harvest based management on wild steelhead stocks has gotten us nowhere in the long run in this state.

The pitiful track record is there! Otherwise we wouldn't only be at 15 streams left in this state that are healthy enough to support harvest (by the state's numbers).

Wasn't that 15 in excess of 125 streams just 20 years ago?

Coincidence that the last river in the state that came off of a 3 fish limit can't ever seem to make escapement (Hump) and closes very early almost every year?

Wonder why it's big deal to catch one of the few early wild fish left in the Quillayute system? A watershed that Bill Freymund called "The Greatest Steelhead River in the World" ... yet the early portion of the run is pretty much gone! Even the old time bonkers out here admit there's very few of them left.

Pretty simple smile

State policy? Koenings himself said that he felt that no one would fish for wild steelhead if they couldn't kill them ... that's a FACT!

Killing a wild steelhead is NOT the same as killing a wild humpy or coho. Steelhead obviously are not semelparous and those hens that do repeat spawn are usually carrying considerably more eggs than their first spawning run counterparts. Steelhead do not have just a small number of life history possibilities ... you're comparing apples and oranges!

Sorry if this comes off harsh, but watching fisheries decline all around this state over the past 15 years, it's a sore subject and I don't buy the justification to allow it to continue.

God help the state lawyers if the Forks area rivers are ever shut down completely in light of the public cry for protection of these fish!
Seen ... on a drive to Stam's house:

"You CANNOT fix stupid!"

#169772 - 12/23/02 12:30 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Smalma Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/25/01
Posts: 2790
Loc: Marysville
Kind of figured that my post would get under the skin of some folks.

Rich had stated "The problem is that our WDFW is pro catch and kill. If they wernt pro catch and kill of Wild Steelhead they wouldnt alow them to be harvested period". As you well know WDFW has been providing diverse recreational opportunities, including catch and release steelhead fishing. The first catch and release steelhead seasons were put inplace in the late 1970s (North Fork Nooksack), followed by the Sauk, Skagit, and Skykomish. This was at a time when there was virtually no interest in CnR of steelhead fishing; in fact I would say that it would be fair to stated that much of support the for wild steelhead that exist today is an outgrowth of those early seasons.

Wild steelhead release regulations were first used as management tool in 1983; again there was virtual no support from anglers for the regulation or the management agency. IN fact the "word" from the river was such regulations would fail and DFG didn't know what it was doing. The fact of the matter is that the State's fishery managers drug anglers kicking and screaming into wild fish management not the other way around. I refuse to stand aside and allow those without and historical knowledge paint a picture that it is otherwise.

Bob; you and I both agree that many of our steelhead resources are in trouble and concervative management is needed for those fish. I'm attempting to get folks to outside of there own personal needs and to look at the larger picture. I only wish that your statement "I think you well know that most of us that are staunch supporters of C&R on wild steelhead feel that in many cases no angling should be allowed period. Runs that are decimated need to be shut down to all fishing." were true. Just look at the comments rregarding Sparky's recent post "C&R fishing tto remain open". Sure sounds to me that folks are more concern with their need to catch a fish rather than what is needed for the rresource. Recall the tremdous backash against the State when managers dared to close the North Puget CnR seasons a couple years ago -certainly sounded to me that many folks were more concern with the loss fishing opportunities than the fishes good.

My point in bring forth the potential take (kill)of wild fish if we each only caught and released a couple wild fish a year is to show what our collective impacts maybe. If anglers truly cared about impacts on the wild resource they would recognize that those anglers that catch and release dozens of fish a year have just as great of impact as the angler that catches only one a year and kills it - dead fish don't spawn and it doesn't make any difference to the resource whether it died from hooking mortality on my fly or some plunker took it home to eat.

Coho and steelhead are only marginally diferent. Yes they have different biology and different productives. Coho are more productive and can generally support higher fishing rates than steelhead. That doesn't mean that steelhead can't be killed but just not as heavily as coho or other salmon. CnR fans often argue that steelhead can't support harvest but then turn around and say that low mortality from CnR is OK. If 5% mortality from CnR is OK why wouldn't 5% mortality in a kill fishery be OK. Now if you wish to argue that by allocating all the mortality to a CnR fishery may produce more fishing then you might have something to stand on - depending on what the collective angling community will accept. However if ones position is that steelhead can't take any harvest then we have no business fishing at all.

Even if you will not accept that steelhead are just another salmonid because they don't all die after spawning and salmon do how to justify not apply the same protection to cutthroat, resident rainbows, Dolly Varden/bull trout and/or whitefish. The crux of your argue about the difference between salmon and steelhead mangement is that steelhead are different because they can survive to spawn again. Typcially in Western Washington the survival rate of steelhead from one spawning to the next is in the 10 to 20% range. The survival of cutthroat, rainbows, and bull trout is typically much higher than that (typical value would be about 50%). Using your logic they would deserve twice the protection that steelhead get. If the state were to attempt to ban bait year-round on our streams to protect the various trout (as well as steelhead parr) the howls from many on this board would soon reach a cresendo yet your arguement would demand that the do just that.

I have ranted for far too long- my intent was to try to get folks to think objectively about some of these issues rather than respond with the same old knee-jerk reaction.

tight lines

#169773 - 12/23/02 01:13 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
salmonbelly Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 03/12/01
Posts: 359
Loc: Kirkland, Wa USA
I agree with Smalma that C and R is just a managment tool -- due to hooking mortality it's still an impact like whacking a wild fish, only less of one. But releasing wild fish cannot be seen as the answer to what ails steelhead by any means. C and R does not cure trashed habitat and polluted estuaries, does not eliminate clearcutting, drought, gravel mining, dams, netting, shoreline development, du pont spinners, poaching, road sedimentation, heavy metals, mill and smelter waste, etc. Yet some preach C and R as gospel, even though it's just another impact on the fish. Note that California, Oregon and Idaho wild steehead runs are not faring any better and lots in B.C are hurting too. There is a C and R double standard re steelhead vs. coho and chinook. Many who would never kill a wild steelhead have no compunctions about whacking a king or silver. A guy who legally kills a wild steelhead now and again is not a criminal. Objectively, stopping half the poaching on every river would have a bigger impact than requiring wild release on the few rivers where it's legal. And I do believe Mr. Freymond is right about that system's status, despite the wild component in Dec.-Jan., which might never have been huge. Recall that in my old man's early days before hatchery plants, few angler's really started steelheading until Jan-Feb. You can look that up in Enos Bradner's book Fish On (1968, I believe).

#169774 - 12/23/02 01:31 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
fishkisser99 Offline

Registered: 12/12/99
Posts: 520
Loc: Eastsound, WA, USA
I feel it's my duty to release natives, whether in a kill zone or not.

Swung a spoon for eight hours yesterday and landed only one fish, an 8 or 9 lb native, and released it. Tried again today and landed the same fish, this time on a float and eggs. Released it. I hope I taught her a lesson, so she avoids anyone who would pull a priest on her.

They're a heckuva lot more fun in the river than they are on the plate.

#169775 - 12/23/02 10:21 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
ltlCLEO Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 1119
Loc: brownsville wa.
I am all for a statewide c/r policy concerning our wild fish.With the Numbers of fishermen growing year after year I believe that it will be necessary for the survival of the wild gene pool.

I am also afraid of c/r policy being missed used.If a system is ailling it needs to be closed.I could care less who WANTS to go fishing.That is all it is a want.Itis not a need.Selfishness does not justify killing of the wild fish.

It amazes me how most sport fishermen refuse to admit there impact on the fisheries.If you do the math sport fishermen have taken a huge amount of fish out of the systems.It was the biggest impact the hood canal trib steelhead fisheries have faced.Plain and simple.They dumped huge amounts of hatchery fish in th e rivers and allowed too much retention.Wild stocks were all but wiped out in a short order and the sportsmen adhearing to state law were the culprits.

The state has deemed the canal tribs to not be healthy enough for retention of anything but hatchery steelhead.So the regs read c/r exept for hatchery steelhead.That means I can go fish the system with whatever method I want but have to release everything I catch.I believe this to be a large factor in the slow recovery of these systems.Way to many juveniles are being killed.You canot pull aworm hook out of a smolt and expect it to survive.This is a prime example of c/r fishing being miss used.The system needs to be closed but instead the state Dumps 10,000 smolt in the system pretends like it is all good.I wonder what the return expectancy of 10,000 smolt is??This kind of c/r policy scares me.

I took a godd friend of mine steelhead fishing for the first time this week end.Lucky son of biath got a trophy buck for his first fish.I had let him know that fishing with me was a c/r expieriance and he was unsure about that.He has teased me for years about fishing all the time but not keeping any.Well after fighting that trophy buck for a half an hour and realising the pure power and beauty of that fish he gladly released it and told me later around the fire that he was very glad that he released such a beautiful fish back to the gene pool.

#169776 - 12/23/02 11:20 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
cowlitzfisherman Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 06/14/00
Posts: 1866
Loc: Toledo, Washington
Good debate! thumbs

But when it comes to the actual facts about this issue, Smalma's logic far out ways all the others by two fold! thumbs

He seems to be able to deal with the facts of this issue without allowing himself to get so emotionally involved in the "cause". Emotion will not win the day for those that truly believe that c&r is the only way to manage our fisheriers in every river system of our state. Everybody on this board should already know how I feel about c&r, so their is no point for me to restate my opinion on that one. laugh Even those I have teeth marks all over my tongue, sometimes it's just better to bit it and let others jump in (almost imposible for me to do).

If this was a televised debate, I have to vote that Samlma has made his point far better then anyone else has (sorry Bob) wink

Good job of debating the facts and not the emotion Samlma!! It seems that the guys that always does his "homework" almost always gets the best grades. thumbs

Cowlitzfisherman <img border="0" alt="[santa]" title="" src="graemlins/santa.gif" />

Is the taste of the bait worth the sting of the hook????

#169777 - 12/23/02 11:38 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Dave D Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 10/04/01
Posts: 3640
Loc: Gold Bar
Some of those meat fisheries are so easy to find and so well known they attract so many newbies to the river that some of those guys do not even know the differance between a nate and a hatchery brat. frown
Lead Thrower

#169778 - 12/23/02 11:59 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
ltlCLEO Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 1119
Loc: brownsville wa.

That is my problem wiht the state all but condoning these snagfest every fall.It becomes alot of peoples introduction to fishing and the esense of the sport is never captured.

#169779 - 12/23/02 01:19 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Dave D Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 10/04/01
Posts: 3640
Loc: Gold Bar

I agree
Lead Thrower

#169780 - 12/23/02 01:22 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery

The WDFW dosent encourage wild release where its legal to retain natives do they?

#169781 - 12/23/02 02:26 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
waker Offline
Eyed Egg

Registered: 12/17/02
Posts: 5
Loc: Puget Sound
Something that hasn't been mentioned yet but is obvious to everyone, is that with catch and kill of nates, mortality is %100. If 5000 fish from the 15 kill rivers were taken each year this is about 4750 (5%mortality) fish that probaly would have suvived. Of the 80000 steelhead anglers in Wa, many of these only fish for brats, or only during the kill season.

If the kill seson was eliminated the fishing pressure after brat season would be lower and the total number of wild fish lost could be around 4000. Add a kill season to this and the total number of natives killed is 9000-1000. All these fish are taken early in the season which is where are native runs need the most help.

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