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#563031 - 12/10/09 12:49 AM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: OPfisher]
stlhdr42 Offline
Spawner

Registered: 10/13/08
Posts: 847
Loc: where the fish swim
How about a river like the Lyre. The bulk of the river flows through the park so the habitat has been fairly stable. I could be wrong but I don't know of any tribal netting there. Yet the steelhead have all but dissapeared there. Can the lyre river decline be put mainly on the shoulders of sporties overharvesting? There could be other factors I'am unaware of but the Lyre really stands out in my mind as a river that has declined due to nothing more than harvesting with no tribes involved.
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#563035 - 12/10/09 12:56 AM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: Carcassman]
Lucky Louie Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1937
Excellant thread and at this juncture of critical mass
EVERYBODY ON THIS THREAD IS RIGHT
This thread has gone from fish so thick on the Columbia, Lewis and Clark could walk on their backs and not get wet to present day rivers and creeks in WA and OR to extinction. Well, their is our chess game board of opening move to middle and end game.
The pieces used on this game brought up by people on this thread were: WDFW, tribes, dams, hatcheries, too many guides, over harvest,CnR,Ocean cycles,nets, habitat, hatchery fish mixed in, habitat, predation, better sport fishermen, addiction to harvest, oil, extraction of every resource, sonar of fish runs,logging, climate, cranked up Alaska harvest, By catch from Japan,Alaska, and BC,and over harvest of herring and other forage fish.
At this juncture of the game one or combination of any or all of above pieces used can go straight to the end game so everybody is right.
I know that isn't any fun because now we are all on the same side with no distractions and the powers to be wouldn't like that because together we would probably work out a solution in short order and really screw up everything--- for the good of course.
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“Luck is the residue of design.” John Milton



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#563039 - 12/10/09 01:50 AM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: stlhdr42]
stlhdr1 Offline
BUCK NASTY!!

Registered: 01/26/00
Posts: 5638
Loc: Vancouver, WA
Originally Posted By: stlhdr42
How about a river like the Lyre. The bulk of the river flows through the park so the habitat has been fairly stable. I could be wrong but I don't know of any tribal netting there. Yet the steelhead have all but dissapeared there. Can the lyre river decline be put mainly on the shoulders of sporties overharvesting? There could be other factors I'am unaware of but the Lyre really stands out in my mind as a river that has declined due to nothing more than harvesting with no tribes involved.


Uh oh.... Someone else is actually seeing what's going on... In all my years, I've wet a line in most tribs up and down the WA coast, inner Columbia tribs and Penninsula. I've seen some stellar fishing some years, other's it's sucked. Some of those rivers have had tribal harvest, some never a net in it's life... Some have had logging, some haven't in the last 30-40 years. But overall, ocean conditions have played the largest factor of all...........................

It's saddening to see everything deplete before our eyes. So many fingers pointing in so many directions. You have bio's who follow science in the best way they can telling us what direction to go. Then you have the arm-chair bio's calling for no hatchery fish, or habitat loss, predation, gillnets, overharvest, etc...

Too many groups pulling from too many directions. Too many humans and too few fish to support all the user groups. At some point it will be recognized but not before most fish nearly see extinction.... WDFW/ODFW have to supplement harvest or they don't exist and until there's another way to supplement WDFW/ODFW harvest/CnR will always be an issue....

When I "do" land a 30 pound steelhead, I'll be done with Steelhead fishing for good. That's my only goal and I will do it in the lower 48. Until then, I'll be CnR'ing and harvest all I can......

Keith thumbs

Keith
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#563046 - 12/10/09 02:36 AM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: stlhdr42]
cobble cruiser Offline
~B-F-D~

Registered: 03/27/09
Posts: 2092
Originally Posted By: stlhdr42
How about a river like the Lyre. The bulk of the river flows through the park so the habitat has been fairly stable. I could be wrong but I don't know of any tribal netting there. Yet the steelhead have all but dissapeared there. Can the lyre river decline be put mainly on the shoulders of sporties overharvesting? There could be other factors I'am unaware of but the Lyre really stands out in my mind as a river that has declined due to nothing more than harvesting with no tribes involved.


Are we speaking of wild or hatchery in this instance. If wild fish are suffering in this tiny little rivulet I'd guess a major culprit to be overplanting of hatchery fish. Just how is a wild juvenile steelhead supposed to survive to smolt stage when he has competition for food 1000 fold!

Hatchery steelhead? Maybe ocean conditions or maybe they found bypassing the straights to stray up a much more comfortable river like say the Bogie where 3 fish limits are the norm would suit them nicely. All kidding aside however it does bring up the question of smolting timing. Sometimes or correction...many times, wherever the fish was raised from egg to smolt can have an effect on where the fish decides to swim. Case in point mucho adult hatchery steelhead supposedly bound for reiter will show up on the snoqualmie or Wallace rivers instead. Haven't looked into where Lyre river steelhead are raised but it could be interesting to find out. Or not.....just an uneducated theory anyway. smile


Edited by cobble cruiser (12/10/09 02:39 AM)
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#563047 - 12/10/09 02:48 AM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: stlhdr1]
cobble cruiser Offline
~B-F-D~

Registered: 03/27/09
Posts: 2092

When I "do" land a 30 pound steelhead, I'll be done with Steelhead fishing for good. That's my only goal and I will do it in the lower 48. Until then, I'll be CnR'ing and harvest all I can......

Keith thumbs

Keith [/quote]

Do you really think you'll put the steelhead rod down? From reading your posts over the years, your just as passionate and crazy as any of us diehards. Not to be disrespectfull Keith but I don't foresee that happening! It's in our blood and represents our northwestern heritage dude!......alright I'm done. Scuse me. grin
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#563066 - 12/10/09 09:55 AM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: Lucky Louie]
Lucky Louie Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 11/30/09
Posts: 1937
Originally Posted By: Lucky Louie
Excellant thread and at this juncture of critical mass
EVERYBODY ON THIS THREAD IS RIGHT
This thread has gone from fish so thick on the Columbia, Lewis and Clark could walk on their backs and not get wet to present day rivers and creeks in WA and OR to extinction. Well, their is our chess game board of opening move to middle and end game.
The pieces used on this game brought up by people on this thread were: WDFW, tribes, dams, hatcheries, too many guides, over harvest,CnR,Ocean cycles,nets, habitat, hatchery fish mixed in, habitat, predation, better sport fishermen, addiction to harvest, oil, extraction of every resource, sonar of fish runs,logging, climate, cranked up Alaska harvest, By catch from Japan,Alaska, and BC,and over harvest of herring and other forage fish.
At this juncture of the game one or combination of any or all of above pieces used can go straight to the end game so everybody is right.
I know that isn't any fun because now we are all on the same side with no distractions and the powers to be wouldn't like that because together we would probably work out a solution in short order and really screw up everything--- for the good of course.

I still maintain that we are all on the same side. If so, who should we be concentrating are alliance against? For instance, instead of pointing fingers at each other, who should we pointing the finger at? Hint:Who are the "powers to be" elluded to in the last paragraph of quote.
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#563071 - 12/10/09 10:57 AM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: stlhdr42]
FishBear Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 11/06/05
Posts: 394
Loc: Western Washington
Originally Posted By: stlhdr42
How about a river like the Lyre. The bulk of the river flows through the park so the habitat has been fairly stable. I could be wrong but I don't know of any tribal netting there. Yet the steelhead have all but dissapeared there. Can the lyre river decline be put mainly on the shoulders of sporties overharvesting? There could be other factors I'am unaware of but the Lyre really stands out in my mind as a river that has declined due to nothing more than harvesting with no tribes involved.


I feel some relavent facts are in order in the case of the Lyre.

The Lyre is the drainage for Lake Crescent. At one time the lake was open to anadromous fish use. Historically, a blockage occurred (no "hand of man" involved) near the outlet of the lake. SInce that time anadromous species have had use of the few miles below the lake only. There is some habitat for natural production but it is not a lot.

The Lyre River steelhead fishery has been supported by hatchery plants from nearby facilities for many years. These are off-station plants of smolts... arguably the worst kind of plants due to the "extra" straying potential... on-station hatchery releases already having a pretty good stray rate.

Having said all that, we won't have hatchery fish plants to kick around in the Lyre anymore... these were a victim of WDFW budget cuts last spring. Now, we may get a chance to see what the natural production in a non-fished Olympic Peninsula stream will be.
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#563073 - 12/10/09 11:04 AM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: OPfisher]
custombuilt Offline
Egg

Registered: 12/10/09
Posts: 2
Well Bob, I would say nets are a major issue, but I would also say is that YOU and your GUIDE buddies are another major issue. There are a enough of you guys out there now too really make yor voice be heard, but as soon as the state tells you "no" you run back home and cry in your beer. How about this, all you guides quit pounding the [censored] out of our wild fish eight days a week. You cant tell me all you guides catching the same fish over and over again is good for mortality. Get your asses down to Olympia, and don't leave till you get what you want, or just quit your BITCHIN. You guys had your chance 20 years ago to end all this crap, but anybody who has been around hear long enough and done enough reasearch knows that all you guides back at that time were to worried about loosing your "kick back money" from the tribes, so you chose to keep your mouth shut. One more thing and I'm done. You have a real problem with people keeping wild fish. Can you honestly tell me that you have'nt? I would be willing to bet you have, and more than just a few. Quit Bitchin at these guys. It is there right to keep one WILD fish a year, It's what You and your guild buddies settled on with the state.

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#563077 - 12/10/09 11:24 AM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: NW Steel]
FLEX Offline
Egg

Registered: 12/09/09
Posts: 2
I AGREE WHOLE HEARTEDLY... LET THEM ALL GO!!!!!!!!!!!.. People would rather come to catch and release 10 fish a day as apposed to 1 to eat.... Lots more $ in sportsfishing than there ever thought about being in commercial fishing...Living here on the OP I see things that you may not and may never... there are Still guys that are killing these fish... they do need to figure it out!!! You have to remember 1 Indian fisherman can catch and kill in 1 day more than 50 of the best guides in the area.... Water conditions do not matter to a drift net!!!!.. and have 30 guys doing that everyday..... that is the spotscatch and native catch difference!!!.. Numbers are fudged badly to make it all look good on paper.. Proven Fact!!! the 4700 ecscapement... You should prob cut that in half.... the tribe made those numbers as THEY are the ones doing all of the spawner surveys... THey cant tell the difference between a RED or an Elk track!!! You talk about the Random guy buying it off the beach.. well try again!!! A red Ford Pickup with 2 totes in the back sitting at Richwine bar every day!!!! those fish are not taken to the fish house.... He trucks them himself avoiding the middle man... 4 or 5 tribal guys catch them and load them there,hundreds of fish a week... everybody sees it and knows about it!!!! the plunkers that are fishing all day for 1 bite!!! get smoked by a 20 driftnets coming by them all day long....it is like that for 3 miles of river.... As far as the whiteman being to blame, yeah !!!! the percentage is really minimal....remember 50-50%...well 90-10% is more like it... again, water conditions are the big thing here... So many unfishable days for the whiteman.... NONE for the tribes!!!!. the tribes have a right to fish( it is their heritage). BS!!. Not pillage the resource and blame it on the state for the lack of fish!!! It used to be a food source!! that has been gone for over 30 years now!!! its all about the $$$$$.. the only people in this state that have any money are the tribes if you havent noticed!!!!.. SO QUIT PROTECTING THEM!!!!

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#563078 - 12/10/09 11:33 AM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: custombuilt]
kevin lund Offline
Spawner

Registered: 12/23/01
Posts: 932
Loc: gales creek, or
These numbers are not just disturbing for the Quillayute system. They are transparent accross the PNW in streams with and without hatchery influence and tribal netting.
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#563086 - 12/10/09 12:03 PM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: kevin lund]
OPfisher Offline
The Golden Boy

Registered: 12/12/04
Posts: 1506
Loc: wa/ak
One thing with the lyre and any other closer to puget sound is if they migrate up the inside of vancouver island they could be falling to the same problem the friasier fish are, death by sealice from the fish that are raised in net pens out there.

Custom- mind ellaborating on the kick abck money? I guide out there and was wondering where to pick up mine smile
Also I have NEVER killed a wild fish, No client ever has or will, nor will I ever book a trip or fishing anyone that wants to.
The way I understand the 1 wild retention out there was because at a meeting when someone pushed for all wild release, a tribe member stood up and said if they arent going to kill their's we'll take them. That would boil back to one of the original problems; the deffinition of harvistable fish.
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#563089 - 12/10/09 12:08 PM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: custombuilt]
sykofish Offline
I'm not short, I'm 'fun size'

Registered: 12/25/07
Posts: 1508
Loc: Mulletville
Originally Posted By: custombuilt
Well Bob, I would say nets are a major issue, but I would also say is that YOU and your GUIDE buddies are another major issue. There are a enough of you guys out there now too really make yor voice be heard, but as soon as the state tells you "no" you run back home and cry in your beer. How about this, all you guides quit pounding the [censored] out of our wild fish eight days a week. You cant tell me all you guides catching the same fish over and over again is good for mortality. Get your asses down to Olympia, and don't leave till you get what you want, or just quit your BITCHIN. You guys had your chance 20 years ago to end all this crap, but anybody who has been around hear long enough and done enough reasearch knows that all you guides back at that time were to worried about loosing your "kick back money" from the tribes, so you chose to keep your mouth shut. One more thing and I'm done. You have a real problem with people keeping wild fish. Can you honestly tell me that you have'nt? I would be willing to bet you have, and more than just a few. Quit Bitchin at these guys. It is there right to keep one WILD fish a year, It's what You and your guild buddies settled on with the state.


Had to make sure this didnt get deleted.

Hell of a first post.

Incredibly ignorant, but one hell of a first post.
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#563091 - 12/10/09 12:15 PM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: Wild Chrome]
WN1A Offline
Spawner

Registered: 09/17/04
Posts: 570
Loc: Seattle
Originally Posted By: Wild Chrome
Thanks for that UW link, NW Steel. Intersting study, if a little dated and low-tech by today's standards.

I'm not sure what to make of ocean steelhead harvest, in part because I was taught that steelhead school only very loosely in the ocean and therefore are difficult for commercials to target. True? False? Unknown?



For anybody that is interested The NPAFC link below has documents outlining all current known information about ocean distribution of salmon. A lot more is known than land based managers would admit or like to know. For specific steelhead information look at 1996 document #192. It is more than 200 pages but figures 121 -132, 150-155, and A-52 to A-60 are steelhead distributions. An interesting PIT tag recovery is reported in 2008 document #1106. For a paper looking at the potential effects of climate change on ocean migration and distribution of salmon look at Bulletins, #4 Topic 2-2A. There are several interesting papers in that bulletin related to ocean salmon ecology. I know all of the authors of these various papers (and the first one linked above), talked to several of them at the UW SAFS holiday party yesterday, and talk about this subject almost every morning over coffee at breakfast. Take a look at the second link, the UW highseas research program has been going on for more than 50 years. It is a science program without political agendas and a good starting point for information on salmon ocean ecology. If you want to understand salmon and steelhead you cannot ignore the majority of their life history.

NPAFC

Highseas

There is no ocean harvest of steelhead though a few are intercepted in coastal fisheries. Alaska fisheries may intercept local steelhead (often kelts), in the Yakutat area fisheries are periodically closed when kelts are expected to leave the Situk. North American steelhead are caught in small numbers in the Russian EEZ coastal fisheries.

One more comment pertinent to this discussion, wild steelhead release and CNR are different management tools. CNR is harvest and is treated as such. Wild steelhead release is a program to reduce bycatch impacts. To assume the two are anything else is a common mistake. CNR will not stop the loss of a declining stock, it will only slow the rate of decline.

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#563104 - 12/10/09 12:50 PM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: custombuilt]
Bob Offline

Dazed and Confused

Registered: 03/05/99
Posts: 6480
Loc: Forks, WA & Soldotna, AK
Originally Posted By: custombuilt
Well Bob, I would say nets are a major issue, but I would also say is that YOU and your GUIDE buddies are another major issue. There are a enough of you guys out there now too really make yor voice be heard, but as soon as the state tells you "no" you run back home and cry in your beer. How about this, all you guides quit pounding the [censored] out of our wild fish eight days a week. You cant tell me all you guides catching the same fish over and over again is good for mortality. Get your asses down to Olympia, and don't leave till you get what you want, or just quit your BITCHIN. You guys had your chance 20 years ago to end all this crap, but anybody who has been around hear long enough and done enough reasearch knows that all you guides back at that time were to worried about loosing your "kick back money" from the tribes, so you chose to keep your mouth shut. One more thing and I'm done. You have a real problem with people keeping wild fish. Can you honestly tell me that you have'nt? I would be willing to bet you have, and more than just a few. Quit Bitchin at these guys. It is there right to keep one WILD fish a year, It's what You and your guild buddies settled on with the state.



Hmm, someone who thinks he "knows" me, but obviously doesn't.

Custombuilt, I'll agree with you one one point: the guides are a problem. Dozens of guides that take, take, take and don't ever put back in one form or another. There are far too many during the peak of it and that isn't good for the fish.

But, you're way off base in some of your your other remarks. I'll bitch, but I've also put 1000's of hours in to get things changed ... whether you like the final results or not.

Haven't had a drink in 20 years as of Nov., so it's kinda hard to cry in my beer by the way smile

I sure wish I got some "Kickback" money. Maybe if I did, I wouldn't have to put the hours in that I do do make a decent wage. You're flat full of crap.

The Guides' Assoc. did back the wild fish release (by a slim margin) that went through 7-8 years agao that was repealed and changed to one fish annually. It's not what we "settled" on. It's what the brilliant city leaders pushed for.

Lots of the guide crowd still kill way too many of these these intentionally ... it all comes down to the mighty buck.

You're smokin' some wacky tobacky if you think I'm lumped into that group - I've harvested one wild fish in my lifetime, that was in the early 90's and it it still resides on my wall.

Over all the trips I've made down these rivers, my boat has come in with a wild fish on two occasions: both fish that bled out during the battle. In neither case was the fish "intentionally" killed.

I have always had a zero kill policy, and years agao, it cost me some trips. I didn't budge even though it cost me trips when I still only had a few ... unfortunately, most don't have the kahunas and willingness to make a stand.

You can disagree with my reasoning and beliefs all you like ... but U can't call me a liar or a cheat smile


Edited by Bob (12/10/09 12:53 PM)
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#563114 - 12/10/09 01:09 PM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: FLEX]
cobble cruiser Offline
~B-F-D~

Registered: 03/27/09
Posts: 2092
Originally Posted By: FLEX
I AGREE WHOLE HEARTEDLY... LET THEM ALL GO!!!!!!!!!!!.. People would rather come to catch and release 10 fish a day as apposed to 1 to eat.... Lots more $ in sportsfishing than there ever thought about being in commercial fishing...Living here on the OP I see things that you may not and may never... there are Still guys that are killing these fish... they do need to figure it out!!! You have to remember 1 Indian fisherman can catch and kill in 1 day more than 50 of the best guides in the area.... Water conditions do not matter to a drift net!!!!.. and have 30 guys doing that everyday..... that is the spotscatch and native catch difference!!!.. Numbers are fudged badly to make it all look good on paper.. Proven Fact!!! the 4700 ecscapement... You should prob cut that in half.... the tribe made those numbers as THEY are the ones doing all of the spawner surveys... THey cant tell the difference between a RED or an Elk track!!! You talk about the Random guy buying it off the beach.. well try again!!! A red Ford Pickup with 2 totes in the back sitting at Richwine bar every day!!!! those fish are not taken to the fish house.... He trucks them himself avoiding the middle man... 4 or 5 tribal guys catch them and load them there,hundreds of fish a week... everybody sees it and knows about it!!!! the plunkers that are fishing all day for 1 bite!!! get smoked by a 20 driftnets coming by them all day long....it is like that for 3 miles of river.... As far as the whiteman being to blame, yeah !!!! the percentage is really minimal....remember 50-50%...well 90-10% is more like it... again, water conditions are the big thing here... So many unfishable days for the whiteman.... NONE for the tribes!!!!. the tribes have a right to fish( it is their heritage). BS!!. Not pillage the resource and blame it on the state for the lack of fish!!! It used to be a food source!! that has been gone for over 30 years now!!! its all about the $$$$$.. the only people in this state that have any money are the tribes if you havent noticed!!!!.. SO QUIT PROTECTING THEM!!!!


Couldn't have said it better!
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#563120 - 12/10/09 01:20 PM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: Bob]
browndog Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 10/09/09
Posts: 184
Loc: Coast Range OR.
Although I have never fished with Bob or even crossed path's with him on the rivers I have followed this site for many,many years'(just recently joined the fray)

I would like to THANK HIM for what he does. I have crossed path's with many guides who were less than respectfull.And probably do nothing to enhance or protect our fisheries.

There are good and bad apples in my opinion Bob is a good one.

P.S. My sister "Big fish Tami" doe's fish with bob in AK and say's A++++++++++++++

Happy Holiday's
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#563121 - 12/10/09 01:21 PM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: Bob]
Salmo g. Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 12026
Kevin,

Hate to burst your bubble about the Raft, but according to a QIN bio, it's been stocked with hatchery fish and is gillnetted by the Tribe. And its watershed has been logged just like all the others. Nothing pure about it.

NW Steel,

Ocean distribution of steelhead is better understood than your post assumes. Steelhead are caught on the high seas, but they are not targeted because they are not a schooling fish. Steelhead do not have the same ocean migration path as salmon, and different steelhead stocks have differing migrations. At that point our understanding of steelhead ocean migrations becomes sparse. The best estimate of high seas steelhead catch that I've seen produced a "high" estimate of 3% of North American steelhead, and that was when the high seas drift nets - which have mostly disappeared now - were considered a serious problem.

Sg

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#563123 - 12/10/09 01:27 PM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: browndog]
Driftfishnw Offline
Steelhead Hitman

Registered: 02/10/09
Posts: 2021
Originally Posted By: browndog
There are good and bad apples


I have had the priviledge of witnessing some of the bad apple guides on the Hoh, using erasable pens on thier clients catch tags. All for repeat business, I guess.

I'm not going to name names, but I'll tell you it def wasn't Bob.

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#563126 - 12/10/09 01:33 PM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: Lucky Louie]
FleaFlickr02 Offline
Carcass

Registered: 10/28/09
Posts: 2451
I will preface this post with a statement that I am as dedicated a fisherman as you will meet. I have other priorities in my life these days that often limit with my opportunities to get out, but that doesn't mean I wouldn't be out there every day if I could. Fishing is an important part of who I am, and it is one of a few things that make a life of mostly work and little play worth living. There. Now, on to the soapbox....

It seems clear to me that harvest is far from the only factor in the steady decline of wild steelhead populations. We are all sport fishers, and I think the majority of us believe that sport fishing has probably played only a small part in the presumed myriad of issues that have led to the critical state of wild steelhead stocks TO THIS POINT. Now, however, with numbers of returning adults as low as they are, whatever impact the sport fishing community does represent is amplified significantly, so it seems to me that we have gone from having an almost negligible impact to posing a significant (if still not the greatest) threat to the survival of the species. As long as we can be regarded as part of the problem, we cannot expect other interested parties to respond to our claims that they need to change their ways.

I think it would strengthen our position a great deal if we could clearly and honestly demonstrate that we are not actively contributing to the decline. The only indisputable way to do that, in reality, would be for us all to hang up our rods and reels for a few seasons, sit back, watch the numbers continue to decline, and say "We told you so." As Cobble Cruiser wisely noted, most of us aren't willing, if we're being honest, to do that, so something less extreme, but almost as effective, would probably be a more realistic proposal.

At minimum, I think we need to stop sport harvest on the OP rivers. At some point (and I believe we have arrived), this just becomes common sense in my mind. When populations are healthy (in the tens of thousands, at least), harvesting a few fish for food and trophies should pose no real threat to the species. On the other hand, with fewer than 5,000 fish returning to the most productive system, it seems nothing less than foolish to argue that killing even so much as one wild steelhead won't have a real impact. Realistically, we should probably close those rivers at the end of December and keep them closed until at least mid-April, but that prospect is likely too much for most of us to bear, so I favor designating those rivers as strictly catch and release on all species other than fall salmon.

I know this seems like pointing the finger at the wrong factor, but I honestly think that eliminating sport harvest is the only thing we can do in the short term that will produce undeniable, measurable results. I imagine those results would be less than dramatic (again, I don't think sport fishing has been a significant factor), but that could be a good thing. Demonstrating, through the only practical means available, that sport fishing does not make a significant contribution to the overall decline should make it clear that other factors are the greater problems and lend a lot of much-needed validation to our claims to that effect.

Truthfully, I think the only way to absolutely measure our impact would be to close sport fishing altogether for a few seasons and show that the trend has not changed as a result. Catch and release, of which I am a practicing advocate, does have its flaws (some of which have been addressed in this thread). Recognizing that, I would propose trying that out first, as a measure of avoiding complete closure, but if that doesn't prove anything in the eyes of the other groups with a stake in fisheries, I, for one, would be willing to hang it up for a few years. Sadly, I think this may be the only way to truly vindicate ourselves as an equal contributor to the trend.

The main thrust of my argument is that all this finger pointing among the interested parties produces what are probably a lot of valid points, but until SOME action is taken, things will only continue to get worse. Most of the alleged issues are highly complex, and testing them would require complicated implementations of actions that would directly or indirectly affect large numbers of people (and/or large industries with powerful lobbies) adversely. As long as other parties still have sport fishing impacts to cite as a factor, none of those actions will ever make it past the fish and wildlife governing bodies, let alone the state and federal legislatures. I would hate to see it happen, but closing sport fishing for threatened species would serve two key functions to bolster our position:

1. It would (assuming we are right, of course) produce data that strongly suggest sport fishing plays a minor, if not negligible role in the downward trend.
2. It would let the legislature see, firsthand, how much revenue would be lost without viable sport fishing opportunities.

While number 1 would make it much more difficult for the other parties to convince lawmakers that their practices are still viable, number 2 is probably the one that would motivate the State to make changes. As we all should realize, money is what drives every major decision made in our society. Commercial interests have a lot of money, and as long as we continue buying fishing licenses despite their repeated failure to improve (or even stabilize) the quality of fishing, lawmakers will not have any compelling reason not to let that money do the talking. Only when people stop paying into the same, non-functioning system will the significance of sport fishing revenue become fully apparent. Until those holding the trump cards realize why they need to focus on improving things for sport fishers (and fish, of course), we will continue to be no more than a reliable source of ongoing revenue, and our pleas will continue to fall on deaf ears.

I know, I know, if we stop fishing, we are basically surrendering. I would argue, however, and at least half seriously, that we may need to lose the short term battle to eventually win the war.

Sorry for posting yet another novel to make my point. Perhaps someday I will learn to be concise, but I doubt it.

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#563129 - 12/10/09 01:40 PM Re: Some disturbing numbers for the Quillayute sys [Re: Salmo g.]
Bob Offline

Dazed and Confused

Registered: 03/05/99
Posts: 6480
Loc: Forks, WA & Soldotna, AK
Basically Kev, what this boils down to was we missed our bottom number by 1200 fish. IF the sporties had let a greater share of those go AND if the tribe had even cut back a day or two a week ... we would have met it.

It didn't take millions of dollars to replace a culvert or study the sunlight intrusion on the summer waters ... let 'em get on the gravel and let Ma Nature do the rest.

I have one more question for you since you seemed to quickly point the finger for last year to marine survival ... why was survival so string on the Snider brood fish???

Before you try to say that they competed with the wild fish, remember that the Dickey, Bogachiel, and Calawah do not good brood plants, so they did not create any competition with their wild brethren.

Timing is also more stringent on these fish as when "they want to go" rather than a state-mandated date so their time in the river is likely more limited to create any issues there. In addition, the available forage in that time frame is way beyond plenty.

Funny that this latest downturn and utter failure last year follows the increase in net effort at the mouth in the brood years for these returns???

All the more reason for us to do our part ...
_________________________
Seen ... on a drive to Stam's house:



"You CANNOT fix stupid!"

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