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#169782 - 12/23/02 02:38 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
B-RUN STEELY Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 02/08/00
Posts: 3322
Loc: IDAHO
Wrong on one account. Idaho wild steelhead are making a comeback. The numbers have been encouraging. And its a good thing.. Ctach and release of wild stocks works. In Idaho bonking a wild fish is called poaching. You guys have a nice Christmas and a best wishes for 2003.
_________________________
Clearwater/Salmon Super Freak

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#169783 - 12/23/02 03:08 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
rustyhook Offline
Parr

Registered: 11/14/99
Posts: 63
Loc: Spanaway, WA
Wild vs Brat during season on a river open to take both is what most anglers will see when they check the regs. Most anglers do not have but a few trips a year ( one or two ) and they want to maximize the opportunity. Most members of this BB will C&R nates without a thought. However, those of us who participate in this BB or clubs ( PSA -- WSC or others ) have a need to educate the newcomers to the sport. They do what they believe is right and get to take something home for the family to see. The members of this BB do not come close to the total number of anglers in search of Mr. Steelhead. Education on the river can work when done in a calm and effective manner. When a new angler is blasted because he/she did not have all the facts but was legal we are not helping anyone or most important not helping Mr. Steelhead.

C&R should be the state law however, it is not and we need to educate others of the plus side not blast them and not give them any alternatives.

Merry Christmas all and may 2003 be Great.
_________________________
28years 7 months 16 days of service as a Redleg now it is time to FISH

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#169784 - 12/23/02 09:36 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
Smalma,

You stated...."Just look at the comments rregarding Sparky's recent post "C&R fishing to 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 resource. 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."

I think that is a totally incorrect conclusion. I believe that most of us that called WDFW, and wrote letters, and sent emails....were trying to get this message across.... Lets pull our heads out before it gets to the point of needing to close these rivers to fishing! The killing of nates over the years HAS to have an impact on where we are now. To many of us, we look at the current policies of the state fish managers and think they simply dont get it.

To allow the killing of nates over the years, and then suddenly say the runs are in danger and lets close it, means that someone has been asleep at the wheel, and those policies that led to the current situation need to be addressed and changed.

I am all for shutting rivers down that need protection, but it should have never come to this, if people just did their jobs.

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#169785 - 12/23/02 10:19 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Sparkey Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 03/06/99
Posts: 1273
Loc: Western Washington
Just to clear something up...in my thread regarding my hope that are C&R fisheries would not be closed had nothing to do with that fact that I wanted them open at any cost!!

The fact that rumors have not been flying about impeding closures had me very opptimistic that we could be looking at a stronger return then expected...a return that could very possibly be above escapement levels!

The idea that we want to fish at any cost is bs...I will be the first one to ask for the closure of a system that is experiencing unhealthy returns!....in fact, I believe that the 80% of escapement goal that the Wild Salmonid Policy allows for is not conservative enough!!

Yeah we raised Hell that we lost our beloved C&R fisheries...we did not raise Hell because they were closed!!...we raised Hell because we were pissed about the management that led to the closures!!!
_________________________
Ryan S. Petzold
aka Sparkey and/or Special

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#169786 - 12/24/02 12:04 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Smalma Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/25/01
Posts: 2758
Loc: Marysville
Ryan -
I hadn't meant to imply that you were complaining about the CnR closures but to point out that a common feeling on this issue was expressed in a response to your post: "We are going to get screwed again this year".

My recollection of the early reactions to the announcement of the CnR closures in 1999 was that there was a very much of a backlass against the WDFW for daring to close those CnR fisheries. Much of those responses were all about fishing and not the fish. Certainly some were more concern about the fish and as time past more of the responses were about the fish. The fact that many now feel and response as you have that the need is to put the fish's needs first and if we must then close the fisheries just shows how much many of you have learned about fisheries management and resource needs - WSC can take some of the credit for this increased understanding.

Gusty-
Just which of WDFW's current policies do you want changed? The ones that allow some harvest of healthy stocks?

I have to agree that those in charge of managing the Snohomish and Stillaguamish fisheries were late in responsing to the decline of their wild steelhead populations - the closure should have occurred a year earlier. Not sure that means those in charge weren't doing their job. The sudden decline in wild steelhead abundance didn't have much or even anything to do with past management (ie killing wild fish). For the previous 20 years the average productivity of those stocks (# of adults retruning per spawner) was something like 1.25. That means that if there were 6,000 spawners it could be expected that 7,500 adults would return. Beginning in the late 1990s that productivity fell virtually overnight to 0.5 or less, that is the same 6,000 spawners would produce 3,000 or less returning adults. This occurred over a wide area (Puget Sound, lower British Columbia mainand, and east side of Vancouver Island). It occurred even on those waters managed correctly (that is those that required the release of all wild fish).

B-Run Steely -
It certainly good news that some of those incredible Idaho fish are rebounding. However if steelhead management in Idaho was just all about the wild fish there would not have been any fishing - the best thing for the wild fish needs would have been to close the fishing. having Wild Steelhead Release is a fisheries management tool that allows folks to access the hatchery fish with low impacts on the wild fish (note I said low and not zero impacts). Those fish are bounding back in spite of not because of the wild steelhead regulations. I sincerely hope that rebound continues in even bad water years. It would have been interesting to hear the debate this past season on whether there should be fishing on the wild fish if there weren't an ESA listed stock.

I agree that CnR can produce some high quality fisheries and where anglers are willing to accept foregoing the taking of fish it may be the only way of maintianing high abundances of fish with a diverse age structure while providing a lot of fishing days - a number of trout fisheries clearly illustrate that. Here in Washington our steehead CnR season are becoming more popular and in some cases their use may rival that of the kill fisheries. However in other fisheries that story is different - for example CnR of salmon (couple of examples would the summer coho CnR fishery on the Straits or the blackmouth season in early December in area 10 in Puget Sound) don't draw anything like the interest that kill fisheries do.

Ryan -
Nearly forgot - as you may recalled at an earlier WSC meeting it was reported that this spring's wild steelhead escapements on both the Snohomish and Stillaguamish was the lowest on record. The decline in productivity continues. It would be irresponsible to allow any target fishery on those wild stocks. The answer to your earlier post.

Tight lines
Smalma

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#169787 - 12/24/02 12:21 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Sparkey Offline
Repeat Spawner

Registered: 03/06/99
Posts: 1273
Loc: Western Washington
Smalma-
Thanks again for the excellent discussion!!!

Quote:
Ryan -
Nearly forgot - as you may recalled at an earlier WSC meeting it was reported that this spring's wild steelhead escapements on both the Snohomish and Stillaguamish was the lowest on record. The decline in productivity continues. It would be irresponsible to allow any target fishery on those wild stocks. The answer to your earlier post.
So is my opptimism unwarranted?...do you believe the closures are in the works and will be coming down the pipes??

Secondly, both last year and this year hae seen good numbers of wild jacks!...I have a good freind who has landed 4-6 of these buggers a day for a couple weeks now...does this bode well for next year? Thanks again!
_________________________
Ryan S. Petzold
aka Sparkey and/or Special

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#169788 - 12/24/02 12:49 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Smalma Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/25/01
Posts: 2758
Loc: Marysville
Ryan-
Because of the time limitations of emergency regulations you will not seen the actual regulation change until February but unforatunately there will not be any spring fisheries this year on the Snohomish and Stillaguamish.

It would be unusual to see wild steelhead jacks this early in the season. There run timing tends to be a little later than the adults so generally don't see many until March. It is likely that one folks are catching are resident rainbows. (Even I have caught a couple in the limited amount of fishing that I've done) With all the chum spawning the egg eating trout are much more accessible than normal.

Tight lines
Smalma

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#169789 - 12/24/02 08:16 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 was wondering the same thing?I have a spot that last year this time was kicking out what I would almost call jacks.But after running into them again at the spring opener and talking to you decided that thy were residents spawning.When I catch them this time of the year i figure{now}that they are feeding on somebodys roe.It is the only spot whithin several miles of this river that offers spawning habitat.I also ran into alot of dollys in this section last year that finally left and blasted up river at the end of febuary.Are dolly fall spawners???

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#169790 - 12/24/02 09:28 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
grandpa Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 08/18/02
Posts: 1843
Loc: brier,wa
hello

Interesting discussion. I read all of the responses and didn't see one comment on the netting that robs our rivers of more wild fish than any other method. The take of wild steelhead on the Columbia this year was something like 27,000. Nets do not practice catch and release. The new scam, tangle nets, with their revival tanks on board the boats is mostly a PR stunt...wild fish are being netted and killed in overwhelming numbers across our state and the rest of the Western states. Don't just sit there and say there is nothing we can do about that...we can only control catch and release..I don't buy that one. We can work to stop the netting of steelhead.

A recent court decision by the 9th circuit court ruled against the Makah's whaling. This is a treaty right just like fishing. The ruling may have implications for stopping fishing for conservation reasons. In other words the tribes may be subject to the fishing rules the rest of us are subject to. We saw what can happen when people like Bob get involved ..the netting was stopped on the OP even if it was a temporary thing. Wild steelhead are being sold right now.

At a recent WDFW commission meeting there was a discussion of the C&R practices for Sturgeon on the Columbia. The dept brought samples of hooks and fishing line retrived from the stomachs of dead sturgeon to show how much harm was being done to the fish that were repeatedly caught and released. There was pretty much unanimous agreement that the C&R fishery for the big spawners should be terminated. Now that is a big deal to the guides. And to future decisions on whether to allow C&R at all.

What I think this boils down to is that if a system or a run is in trouble fishing should stop..period. But it should stop for EVERYONE. And remember that not 100% of hatchery fish are clipped. Some tribal hatcheries like the Tulalips for example do not clip but use tags. I think they mostly oppose clipping because it would be difficult to gill net and only keep the clipped fish.

Where is TU on the netting issue???? sleep
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#169791 - 12/24/02 10:09 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Smalma Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/25/01
Posts: 2758
Loc: Marysville
LtlCLEO-
Yes Dolly Varden/bull trout are fall spawners (typically spawning from mid-September into Novembre) in this part of the world. Exact timing is dependent on stream temepratures. You fish probably disappeared becasue they moved downstream -not upstream. Many of our char are anadromous with them moving downstream and into the salt in late winter and early spring. The adult and sub adult fish (those over 14 inches) can enter the salt shortly after spawn or as late as mid-spring.

Smalma

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#169792 - 12/24/02 11:50 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
RICH G Offline
PP Resident Nostradamus

Registered: 11/05/00
Posts: 2902
Loc: Land of the Lost
These discussions are good... You gotta keep these issues HOT!!! smile smile smile
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www.olympicproject.com

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#169793 - 12/24/02 11:58 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Beezer Offline
Spawner

Registered: 06/09/99
Posts: 855
Loc: Monroe WA
Grandpa, the WA Council of TU Steelhead and Salmon Committee, especally the members from the Olympia Chapter, have been at all the meetings concerning the tangle net issue in the Columbia striving for a 3-1/2 inch mesh. I don't want to stray from the purpose of this thread, but TU is not asleep in the pursuit of successful selective fisheries or successful selective fishing methods.

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#169794 - 12/24/02 01:08 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 ...

Sorry for the delay in my response to your post. Was fishing yesterday, and we even had the pleasure to C&R one of these non-existant December wild fish smile

Yes, C&R in the northern sound watersheds has been utilized for a while; however, only through a portion of the season for most of that time. In many instances, harvest was allowed through a magic cut-off date and then followed by a C&R season. Only when populations were on the bubble was there a total ban on intentional harvest. Too little, too late.

State management has ALWAYS been on a kill 'em all until they're gone basis, and not just for steelhead. For over a decade, many anglers have discussed decreased king salmon limits with regional bios on the coastal streams, yet the limit remains two daily and no annual limit on streams that have seen pretty severe declines in king salmon production. Where is the middle ground?

15 years ago, if you floated the lower end of the Bogachiel for hatchery fish in early December, there would be an explosion of water in many of the lower end riffles as kings moved away from passing boats in a number of areas. Now, you rarely ever see a redd in these areas ... yet, the limits remain the same despite the decline of fish and the increase of pressure that appeared on the heels of closures to some of the busiest fall salmon fisheries in the state such as the Humptulips that forced anglers elsewhere.

Sure there was an outcry following the sound steelhead closures. There's going to be outcires when an anglers local stream gets closed. And I'm sure it won't be the last time either. But far and away the biggest cry was "How did this happen?"

Frankly, for one reason or another, WDFW has failed in their mission statement of "Maximum fishing, hunting and non-consumptive recreational opportunities compatible with healthy, diverse fish and wildlife populations."

For years and years, we hear that things are okay, things are okay. Then, presto, no fish!

The models don't work, period. Bios can give all the data they want when it comes to the public call for more conservative harvest regulations. The bottom line is this: steelhead stocks are failing and we always wait until it is too late to help matters much. One by one, another stream falls victim to poor returns.

Naysayers will point to the fact that many populations don't show significant increases when fishing is closed. Is there any possibility that these stocks will not show a immediate rebound becasue they've been pushed past the brink of repair that would be visiable in a few short years? Sure, harvesting only big fish, taking repeat spawners out at a higher rate than others, messing with natural run timing due to "seasons". By all accounts, steelhead stocks are pretty fragile populations, and in many cases I think we've messed them up pretty well.

Why is it that the repeat spawner rates for short Washington streams (where one would expect to see higher repeat counts) are lower than similar streams in other parts of their distribution?

What is it that makes WDFW right and management officals in so many other areas wrong in their decision to decrease our impact on their stocks? We sure don't have the track record of maintaining healthy populations to back anything up!

Even with the state's numbers in relation to the established goals set by Gibbons in 1985. We're still allowing harvest on streams that obviously are having trouble:

The state's goal for the Hoh was set at 2800 fish. This number was lowered to 2400 after a squabble with the tribe.

Going back to to 1978 through 1998-99, the Hoh did not meet Gibbon's goal in the following years: 79-80, 80-81, 89-90, 90-91, 91-92, 92-93, 93-94, 94-95, and 95-96.

The goals were just barely exceed in 86-87, and 87-88. 1988-89 saw the goal met by just 8 fish.

Only in the last few few years have we seen any sort of significant escapement over the goal in the last 15 years.

Escapement was met in the late 90's by a few hundred fish in most cases. It's interesting to note that thse years where escapement was finally met again followed a change in regulations that made over 2/3 of the fishable water C&R only with selective fishery rules. Fortunately, that remaining third is the dirtiest part of the system and often unfishable. It's also important to note that on average, the tribal harvest there decreased substantially in the last ten years. Had they maintained their harvest rates, the river would likely not had made escapement at all! Hmmmm???????

What makes this situation even more grave, is the faith that some people give the established goal. Again, the track record of management under the WDFW goal's is terrible.

And what about the Queets? Oh my, the poor Queets. It didn't make escapement once after 1994 through 1999 and yet, there is still a kill fishery in place currently beathead

Salmonbelly, while it's certainly true that in some instances, many other factors have hurt the returns, note that the two streams listed above have perhaps some of the most pristine watershed habitat in the state ... especially in the case of the Queets. And if you feel that the Quillayute system is the healthiest in the world, I'd suggest spending some time traveling around to see what a 'truly' healthy fishery looks like.

Smalma, you argue that: "If 5% mortality from CnR is OK why wouldn't 5% mortality in a kill fishery be OK" I understand your logic, the problem is, the harvest rate doesn't fall into the 5% range.

From 1991-92 through 98-99, the estimated total return of steelhead to the Quillayute system was 121,860 fish. The tribal harvest was reported as 25,303 fish in that period (if you believe that the reported harvest from either group is fairly accurate, I'm sure I can find a bridge to sell you). That leaves 96,557 fish that were available to anglers.

The reported sport harvest in the same timeframe (see note above) was 17,233 fish.

That means under the catch and kill fishery, 17.8% of the potentional spawners were harvested. Far higher than a 5% mortality rate from a C&R only fishery.

But we far exceeded escapement! Yes, we did. IF you feel that the numbers & data are accurate. And we come right back to the big question of whether or not that is the case and the track record of MSY in steelhead fisheries across Washington state.

A year-round bait ban? Sure there are going to be howls. But if that is what it takes, so be it. I do roughly 2/3 of my steelhead fishing in selective waters and don't mind it a bit.

That's kind of my whole point ... doing what is best for the long-term health of the fish, the continued viability of sport OPPORTUNITES down the road, even if it isn't the most popular thing to do and we grumble some smile

I guess my faith is WDFW is not the best wink Smalma implies that one of the best things for the health of some stocks would be a year-round bait ban but suggests that it won't happen because of public opinion. Then, we see a reversal of this in light of the public opinion (2/3) favoring statewide C&R, but the refusal to implement it because the state says it isn't necessary.

Doesn't seem to make much sense ...
_________________________
Seen ... on a drive to Stam's house:



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#169795 - 12/24/02 02:22 PM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
RICH G Offline
PP Resident Nostradamus

Registered: 11/05/00
Posts: 2902
Loc: Land of the Lost
Looks like somebody hit a nerve......

The Quileute issue just dosent make sense? High numbers of reds are counted in the lower sections... rediculas amounts of fish are counted in March and april. Total run size has been upwards or near of 20,000 fish in the system each year in the last decade. There is enough Wild Steelhead in that system to rival or surpass any in the world according to the counts.

Funny thing is the upper portions of those rivers, (accept for the Sol Duc some years), are nearly void of fish even during peak periods? Wasnt the case not so long ago.

The early element is nearly gone in the entire system, (agian some years on the Sol Duc there are good numbers).

And last but not least the most important evidence that dosent make sense; when ever in my lifetime has the steelhead fishing on the Quileute system lived up to the number of fish "the numbers say there have been". When have I ever witnessed seeing thousands or even hundreds of steelhead spawning or in the river for that matter. Its been many off times when the flows are low and clear when every fish or rock is visible and I have fished the Sol Duc from a boat 3 or 4 times a week throught the peak periods and not seen more than a few dozen fish scattered throughout the river from Maxfield to Lyndecker. Yet the numbers say there were thousands.
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#169796 - 12/25/02 12:31 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Gusty Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 04/27/99
Posts: 372
Loc: Everett, WA. USA
Smalma,

I too want to thank you for your excellent discussion and for adding data to the discussion that most of us do not have.

You asked....."Gusty-
Just which of WDFW's current policies do you want changed? The ones that allow some harvest of healthy stocks?"

To answer that directly I want the state to adobt a no kill nate policy, statewide, all the time. As a second wish, call it my pie in the sky...would be to eliminate netting in the rivers alltogether. But that is another battle for another day.

What does a statewide/year-round cnr policy on native steelhead do?

1. It helps with the number of wild fish that will return each year.

2. It helps in educating, and getting the word out to everyone that wild steelhead should and need to be conserved. Having some rivers open and some shut sends mixed messages.

Bob stated something that made me look at the big picture. You say currently just 15 rivers in the sate allow for the killing of native steelhead. Bob added that twenty years ago the numbers of rivers that allowed that were drastically higher. So cant it be concluded, as at least a minor factor in the stock decline, that killing of native steelhead in our rivers has helped in the problems we now face?

Rather than try to get it to levels that barely allow for a cnr fishery, why dont we raise the bar higher?

Why shouldnt we expect that the state of Washington have WORLD CLASS steelhead fishing?

Lets ban the nets, lets release all native fish, and also address, where necessary, habitat degradation.

Yeah, its a radical approach (too me its just logical) but lets start being proactive, lets do something......the fact that the state still has catch and kill policies in place on rivers that are not meeting escapement tells me that they have other factors influencing their decisions...which is sad and a gross mismanagement of our resources.

I dont think at any level, anywhere, a case can be made for killing native steelhead. I certainly have not heard one yet.

Thanks for the discussion, Gusty

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#169797 - 12/25/02 02:16 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Smalma Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/25/01
Posts: 2758
Loc: Marysville
Bob -
I don;t know much about salmon management or the particulars of steelhead management on the coast so I'll confine my comments to those areas that I have some knowledge.

I have to agree that many of the models used by fisheries managers are far from prefect. It is easy to poke holes in the various models but it is much more difficult to find better models or even develop stratgies to improve them without major expenditures of money and time. However the managers are forced to make decisions based on the best information at hand. Hopeful as the various models are used the results are closely monitored so that the models can be "tweaked" so they will preform better the next time.

You mentioned the repeat spawner rate with the implication that the Western Washington rate should be similar to that seen in remote areas; for Alaska (50 to 60%rate) and Russia (75% rate). It is my belief that the lower rate here in Washington (10 to 20%) is due to more moderate conditions that the fish experience. In the harsh out limits of the anadromus forms range high repeat spawning rates are needed for the populations survival. As you move south of one finds progressively lower repeat spawning rates. An interesting side note is that if that is true that those high rates are needed then one would have to wonder if the Russian fish can survive even a catch and release fishery. A spawning population with a repeat spawning rate of 75% means that every 4 spawning fish only one adult is being produced.

You have provided some interesting numbers for the Quillayute system. As I recall the escapement goal for the system is 5,900 adults. That would mean that cumulative escapement over the 8 years would have to be at least 47,200 (8x5,900). According to your figures the 8 year cumulative escapement was 79,324 fish or 32,000 over the minimum (4,000 a year). The average sport catch was only 2,154 fish. If the goal was truly to catch ever last harvestable fish it would appear that the State is doing a poor job.

You referred to the 2001 Steehead Angler Preference Survey (2/3 prefer CnR). In the same survey the last two question dealt with the issue of bag limits for wild steelhead. Question # 39 asked what the anglers preference was for the daily bag limit of wild steelhead. 21.1% preferred a bag limit of zero, 39.9% preferred one, 32.9% preferred 2, 3.2% preferred more than 2 and 2.9% gave unuseable answers.

Question #40 asked what they preferred for an annual limit on wild steelhead. 23.3% preferred an annual limit of zero, 8% a limit of 1 to 5, 33% a limit of 6 to 10, 9% a limit of 11 to 15, 2% 16 to 20, and 17% wanted a limit of 30 or more. 8% gave answers that were unuseable.

Bottom line less than 25% of the anglers thought the daily limit and annual bag limit should be zero. Doesn't sound like a majority to me. Are sure you what to use that survey to guide steelhead management?

Rich G-
You spoke of not seeing many steelhead in the river during the spring. Are you implyng that the escapement estimates may be too high?

Lets look at that for a moment. Generally it has been my experience that while fishing folks see primarily the spawning fish and not the holding fish. In clear water conditions the holding fish are often tucked up under the fast water, in log jams, etc. I have snorkeled streams were anglers report few fish but when we start look under bubble currents, log jams and other cover we often found a lot more fish. So how many spawning fish would you expect to see in a day?

Let's take your 20,000 adults. It is my understanding that spawning on the Quillayute begins in early to mid-February and continues through May; lets call it a 100 days just make the math easy for me. That would mean i would expect to see 200 fish a day spawning (from my observations it appears to take only a day or so for the female to spawn). Again I'm not familar with the Quillayute but let's assume that there are 200 miles of spawning habitat (might be more or less I don't know). However, at those figures we have about 1 spawning fish per mile per day. You float what in a day - 8 or 10 miles? At peak spawning seeing a few dozen fish in a day sounds about right to me! To see that many you need to be looking at near peak spawning under good conditions and be fairly observant.

Gusty -
I can understand you desire for wild steelhead release. I would like to be independently wealthy so I could fish whenever and where-ever I wished however that isn't the case.

Upon what information would you base the change in wild steelhead management to wild steelhead release? I'm sorry but someone's wishful think doesn't quite cut it when dealing with a very diverse user group that has conflicting desires. What is different about steelhead that demands such a change that would not apply to other species? Do you have compelling biological, social, or economic arguments upon which to base the change? Lacking that Im afraid the best the state can do is to spread fishing impacts between the conflicting users in a more or less equitable fashion. While doing so hopefully they will built into their models (there is that issue again Bob) a margin of error on the side of the fish.

Again I have rambled far too long.

Tight lines
Smalma

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#169798 - 12/25/02 03:03 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Anonymous
Unregistered


Smalma please continue to rant! Someone of us has too!

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#169799 - 12/25/02 11:03 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
Smalma,

I would base my wish of releasing all native steelhead on the fact that it appears we have declining stocks, so why not be pro active and at the very least stop killing those that are left. For some reason that simple thought does not seem to be being recognized.

As I mentioned in my last post, as well as Bob has, the WDFW is allowing a catch and kill season in rivers that are not meeting escapement...am I wrong? If not, then how could that be argued as a responsible management position? and another ball of wax is who sets the escapement numbers, maybe they should be higher? Are they set at a level that meets the WDFW's current management policies or are they what they were 10 years ago, 20 years ago?

In terms of an economic issue. Why not ask Mike at Ted's how his business suffered when the Snohomish area rivers were closed to catch and release. He is still in business, but if other systems follow, and we dont have a season to fish in March, April, May anywhere... will he be in business for long? Most likely he would, but he would buy less, employ less...etc. the infamous trickle down theory... And of course there are many other tackle related business that will suffer. Thats an economic issue.

Cant it be seen that we seem to be on a very dangerous downward cycle? With more rivers having to be closed, after time, who is going to buy a license? At some point, maybe its far in the future, people are going to just say the heck with it. Would that be an economic issue?

You bring a lot of statistical data to the discussion, which is fine to a point, but all I see is less numbers of fish, and more restrictions having to be put in place. I dont see that as positive managment by our state officials.

I'm not going to pile on anymore, I appreciate your imput and it has added to my understanding of the issue. We all seem to want to fish, and lets hope things will get better.

Thanks, Gusty

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#169800 - 12/26/02 12:20 AM 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
Merry Christmas Smalma ...

No, I wouldn't expect western Washington fish to have as high a repeat as areas like Kodiak or Kamchatka where many of the fish rarely even leave the estuary. But our coastal rates for these short run streams aren't much higher than what you see out of fish making long runs to the grounds, and from what I understand, that shouldn't be the case.

I know it's easy for us to shoot loads of arrows at the state's models. But it stems from returns that have disappeared acorss the state by the hundreds.

For years, according to the state's numbers, these were healthy runs that could support harvest ... then one day, the fish were all but gone.

The sole argument with any "merit" that the state has put forth is the number of fish returning to the Quillayute system. According to the numbers, it's healthy. BUT ... what makes it such a special place that it won't fall victim to what over 90% of the state's streams have ... a basic collapse of the population.

Those in support of C&R are looking to help provide a "saftey-harness" if you will to keep this from happening.

Why have these models failed us over 90% of the time? I don't know, certainly the biologists don't know either as we would have made some adjustments that made them work.

Maybe it's a byproduct of messing with genetics (losing repeats, larger fish, harvest targeted in certain stretches of river, certain timeframes) could it be part of our problem?

It's hard to say, but obviously something is wrong. I know those of you in the state are likely hard-pressed to admit that there was a goof somewhere, but obviously there has been. I say it's time to play it safe until we figure the whole mess out!

All this talk about these big numbers brings up another issue: how much credence can we give these numbers? These spawner surveys are conducted (via US dollars) by the Quileute Tribe. Talking about having a wolf (beyond fox) guard the henhouse! Perhaps the most notoriously non-conservative managment group in the state provide the numbers. The fiasco this fall and the fact that they took many thousands of pounds of wild steelhead they couldn't sell and used them as BAIT illustrates this point. They have everything to gain in the short term by keeping numbers high and clearly their interests appear to be in short term gains rather than long term.

If there are so many more fish in the system compared to the past, why haven't we seen drastic increases in catch rates?? Doesn't make sense.

You mention snorkeling. I know there are plans for the entire system to snorkeled by an outside agency this year, so it will be very interesting to see what they find!

I suppose you can look at the survey numbers a number of different ways, but you can't change the fact that to the question of favoring statewide release that the result was 61%, another steady increase over past surveys. Perhaps we'd like to go the public testimony that was presented at the rules meetings ... over 90% in favor of statewide release with no exceptions!

The public is asking for more conservative management policies, yet it appears that the state won't listen. Perhaps it's time to have a public board have the final say on these decisions as they do in Alaska!
_________________________
Seen ... on a drive to Stam's house:



"You CANNOT fix stupid!"

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#169801 - 12/26/02 02:07 AM Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery
Smalma Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 11/25/01
Posts: 2758
Loc: Marysville
Merry X-mas to all!

Bob -
While our steelhead return to short rivers the real arduous part of the post spawn steelhead's migration is in the marine waters. Our fish return to the North Pacific making a complete circuit; going west of the international date line. It is my understanding that those northern fish don't migrate as far. Could that play a role?

The sudden collapse of Puget Sound wild winter steelhead is a real head scratcher. It has occurred over a wide area (all of Puget Sound, lower main land of BC and the east side of Vancouver Island). Populations have crashed on rivers that have had kill fisheries, have been management with CnR or wild steelhead release, and those that have closed to fishing. It affected both the hatchery and wild fish. The same system's summer steelhead (both hatchery and wild) have maintianed or even increased in numbers. The only thing that seems to make much sense is that the winter fish are experiencing extremely poor marine survival (the only common factor).

I agree whole heartly that the number of anglers interested in CnR management has increased substantially over the last 20 years. I continue to believe that mcuh of that interest is the result of the diverse fishing opportunities that state has provided. When I look at where and when most of our anglers are fishing today I still see more anglers on the water during kill season (whether hatchery or wild) than during CnR seasons. This even though I would consider the CnR providing superior fishing.

Gusty -
Prior to the late 1970s or early 1980s most of our river system had no escapement goals for steelhead. The ideal way to set goals is to use river specific information however in the early 1980s that kind of information was not generally available. What the state did was use a compsosite model to develop those goals. When the goals for most of our systems were set in 1983 most were substantially higher the recent historic escapement.

As I stated earlier I'm not up to speed on the details of the various coast rivers so I'll use the Snohomish as an example. Prior to 1984 the wild steelhead escapements were in the 3,000 to 4,000. The Snohomish goal was set at 6,500 wild steelhead (note that it was for wild fish - not hatchery fish spawning the wild -quite different from salmon). The 1983/84 season was the first management with the goal as a factor. The expected run size was such that there were harvestable fish. As a consequence wild steelhead release was used (anyone remember the fin cards). All the returning hatchery weren't adipose clipped unitl the 1985/86 season. The escapement in 1984 was 6,450. Between then and the late 1990s the management allowed the taking of wild fish when the run was expected to be above the goal (season length varied depending on run strength) and wild steelhead release when it was expected to be at or below the goal. The average escapement between 1984 and 1996 was about 7,100.

With nearly 20 years of information it is now possible to look at river specific information. Where that has been done in most case the river specific information at hand indicates the goals set in 1983 were to high. In most cases
there hasn't been changes in the goals.

I agree with you that we need to be conservative with steelhead management and clearly if runs are below goals we need to manage conservatively with either Wild Steelhead Release or closures depending on run strength. However my question for you is what you do with a river system that consistently has runs above goals?

Do we use the survey that Bob has referred to all allocate fishing impacts to various interest groups. For ease lets assume that 60% want Wild steelhead release and 40% want to kept a fish. For a simple example - river has a goal of 5,000 (and we all agree that it is an OK goal) and a run size of 7,000. That means that there is 2,000 fish to fight over. Would you would allow anglers to kept 800 and reserve the rest for CnR? or would you make it all CnR? What you would do if the 60% want to kept fish and 40% CnR?

Any others have an opinion?

Tight Lines
Smalma

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