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#817632 - 01/24/13 02:35 PM Re: Occupy Skagit ***** [Re: Salmo g.]
FishPrince Offline
Al Bundy meets Duck Dynasty

Registered: 02/11/09
Posts: 3827
Originally Posted By: Salmo g.
I've never seen a WDFW document where high angler density is described in other than positive terms.


High angler density is the single biggest thing that is killing fishing as a sport. It doesn't surprise me that the WDFW is as azz-backwards on this as it is on everything else.
_________________________
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#817708 - 01/24/13 05:53 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: FishPrince]
steeliedrew Offline
SRC Poser

Registered: 11/04/10
Posts: 2061
Loc: Ballard
Angler pressure is rediculous. The way I see it, it needs to be spread out. Look at the Nooch this year. It's been a complete Sh!t show. Now wait til next year when there is no more early winter run fishery on the cowlitz. Where do you think all those people will go? I'm guessing the Nooch. if the bankies want to get to the other side of the river they'll be able to walk across the boats to get there. Haha.
And we're just talking hatchery fish there.

I feel that if some of the puget sound rivers and creeks had the C&R season reinstated it would really help spread pressure out. With the OP streams having a bonk a' Nate season it doesn't help that they are the only place to go either.

Can someone enlighten me on how the biologists get their numbers for wild fish on our puget sound rivers? I bet they would rethink their numbers if they went out with guides during peak run timing and fished bait for a day or pulled plugs. Being the only boat on the river I'd imagine they would hook quite a few.

These are just some thoughts from someone who doesn't yet know much about fisheries science (me). Just trying to fish and learn about the resource. Fishing the Sky in the spring is much more affordable for me than dragging the boat to the OP. If the C&R season was open on the Sky I feel like the amount of OP trips I personally take would be cut by 50% at least.
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#817715 - 01/24/13 06:15 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Salmo g.]
Krummy Offline
Fry

Registered: 09/22/11
Posts: 26
Loc: Ferndale, WA
A chance to gain back a C&R season, Hell ya im in and i will have 5 or 6 more boats in on the action. I'm willing to stick up for whats right and for my childrens ability to enjoy what I have over the years.
As for mortality it is a case by case situation, if we as fisherman teach and educate each other and our youth on the way these fish should be handled (or lack there of) the mortality rate would not even exist.

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#817783 - 01/25/13 05:13 AM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Krummy]
Jerry Garcia Offline

River Nutrients

Registered: 10/13/00
Posts: 8249
Loc: everett
I find it somewhat amusing that the people out fishing complain about all the people out fishing.
_________________________
would the boy you were be proud of the man you are

Growing old ain't for wimps
Lonnie Gane

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#818039 - 01/26/13 12:06 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Jerry Garcia]
Superfishial Offline
Fry

Registered: 10/05/09
Posts: 38
Originally Posted By: Jerry Garcia
I find it somewhat amusing that the people out fishing complain about all the people out fishing.


Agree 100%

I'm part of the problem and I try not to complain but it's so gut-wrenching sometimes that I almost feel like hanging up the rods for good, so I complain. A Skagit C&R season would be a nightmarish zoo this day in age but I would fish it for sure.

Seems to be a lot of hate toward WDFW when they are the ones in fact trying to get the feds to adopt a steelhead harvest management plan and change the 4.2% harvest rate. Without a steelhead harvest management plan in place, the only way to have a C&R fishery is to reduce take elsewhere, mostly from the tribes, and we should know by now that it is NOT an option.

from what I can tell, it all seems like a waste of good energy...

Steeliedrew- For steelhead, Bios count redds in the gravel throughout historical indexed stretches of river by foot, boat, and helicopter. For the areas outside of these indexes they use expansion equations and that right there is where the numbers get foggy. In an attempt to clear things up in the case of PS steelhead, WDFW has been looking at these outer areas (basin-wide) basin by basin, for the past 4 years. Steelhead tend to get caught multiple times which makes a strong case against your survey method ; )


Edited by Superfishial (01/26/13 12:13 PM)

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#818956 - 01/30/13 02:51 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Superfishial]
JustBecause Offline
Fry

Registered: 07/18/08
Posts: 22
So, can someone please tell me how WDFW could allow a C&R fishery on Skagit wild steelhead, or any other PS stock fro that matter?

It is not legal for them to do so. A C&R fishery is a "Direct Take" of an ESA-listed animal, you are targeting the wild fish. For those of you who are arguing that it's only catch and release, it doesn't matter much what the hooking mortality estimate is, if it's not 0% it's a direct take take under the ESA and it's currently not permissible. Right now all allowable impacts (4%) are used up to get at the early-winter hatchery fish from Marblemount. Those hatchery fish are the only reason anyone is fishing at all for steelhead in Puget Sound rivers. WDFW can get these "Indirect" fisheries permitted, because they are targeting the hatchery fish and are still managed to not exceed the 4% total impact on the wild fish.

Not trying to dismiss people's desire for the return of these fisheries, just trying to add some context to the discussion.

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#819010 - 01/30/13 06:06 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: JustBecause]
Smalma Online   content
Carcass

Registered: 11/25/01
Posts: 2361
Loc: Marysville
Just on the Skagit a few years ago there was a directed fishery on adult summer Chinook without a problem. What it took was federal approval of fishing plans that allowed such fisheries under very specific conditions that had been predetermined and approved as not representing a significant increase in risk of extinction of the population.

Then again on the Skagit the killing ESA listed bull trout (two a day over 20 inches) is allowed. Again this is federally approved and in the case of the bull trout (aka Dollies) the spawning abundances have increased rather dramatically under that regulation.

As always fisheries management can be complex and the devil is in the details. However I see no reasons that if the necessary was done and a plan approved that such a fishery could not occur under the approved conditions (for example on run sizes expected to exceed 6,000 spawners). The point in calling attention to the Skagit CnR via Occupy the Skagit is get the ball rolling on the development of such a plan in proactive matter so that when the populations rebounds things would be inplace for a fishery. Without that advance work any potential fishery will be even further in the future.

BTW -
Power companies, loggers, developers, etc are killing ESA listed fish each and every day via habitat impacts.

Curt


Edited by Smalma (01/30/13 06:07 PM)

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#819140 - 01/31/13 08:39 AM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Smalma]
JustBecause Offline
Fry

Registered: 07/18/08
Posts: 22
Curt,

Thanks for your answer. I was going to go on and detail the differences between the current STHD fishery situation, compared to the other listed species, but I felt I was already getting too "weedy" and boring for folks. I can't speak to a future Skagit fishery, I was mainly pointing out the current landscape and the current lack of options for WDFW.

Thanks

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#820892 - 02/06/13 08:13 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: JustBecause]
eyeFISH Offline
Ornamental Rice Bowl

Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 10266
Originally Posted By: JustBecause
So, can someone please tell me how WDFW could allow a C&R fishery on Skagit wild steelhead, or any other PS stock fro that matter?

It is not legal for them to do so. A C&R fishery is a "Direct Take" of an ESA-listed animal, you are targeting the wild fish. For those of you who are arguing that it's only catch and release, it doesn't matter much what the hooking mortality estimate is, if it's not 0% it's a direct take take under the ESA and it's currently not permissible. Right now all allowable impacts (4%) are used up to get at the early-winter hatchery fish from Marblemount. Those hatchery fish are the only reason anyone is fishing at all for steelhead in Puget Sound rivers. WDFW can get these "Indirect" fisheries permitted, because they are targeting the hatchery fish and are still managed to not exceed the 4% total impact on the wild fish.

Not trying to dismiss people's desire for the return of these fisheries, just trying to add some context to the discussion.


That says it all. Thanks for the articulate synopsis.

Seems the only way to save the wild fish is to STOP all hatchery plants of steelhead. At that point, there would be no fishery to incidentally take any wild fish.

Maybe give them a chance to recover?
_________________________
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." (Zane Grey)

"If you don't kill them, they will spawn." (Carcassman)


The Keen Eye MD
Long Live the Kings!

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#820895 - 02/06/13 08:19 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: eyeFISH]
eyeFISH Offline
Ornamental Rice Bowl

Registered: 11/24/03
Posts: 10266
OTOH, the greedy side would say plant a token run of late hatch fish to target.... and C&R the "incidental" wild bycatch.

JFC.... did I really just type that?

Must be the Sig's NW Ale talkin'
_________________________
"Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." (Zane Grey)

"If you don't kill them, they will spawn." (Carcassman)


The Keen Eye MD
Long Live the Kings!

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#821663 - 02/09/13 11:24 AM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: eyeFISH]
Salmo g. Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/08/99
Posts: 10827
It's pretty clear to those of us who fish that no fish ever benefited by being hooked and caught by an angler. Complete preservation, of fish and their habitat, is the perfect solution from a fish's point of view. But OS is not about the fish's point of view.

OS is about steelheaders who would rather fish than see their favorite river closed to fishing forevermore. Realistically, that is the present outlook simply because there is no plan, and only a vague intent to plan, to ever open the Skagit to fishing for wild steelhead again. OS is about developing such a plan, as soon as possible, so that anglers may fish the Skagit again in their lifetimes.

The talk about recovery and letting the fish recover before fishing again is a discussion based on false assumptions and unrealistic expectations. Wild Skagit steelhead are a population in no particular need of recovery. What, you say, it's consistently produced runsizes lower than the escapement goal. Therefore that must mean the population needs to recover to a higher level, and must do so before any fishing can resume. Enter the false assumptions and unrealistic expectations.

Wild Skagit steelhead are the most abundant in Puget Sound. Since 1978 the runsize has averaged 7,822 fish, ranging from a low of around 2,600 to a high of 16,000. The spawning escapement has averaged 6,857 steelhead after harvest, both incidental and directed. As far as anyone can know for certain, this variation in population size is completely normal. There are good years, and there are bad years. Freshwater floods and droughts limit the outmigrating smolt population from year to year. The freshwater habitat has not really changed much in the last 30 years. Some parts have degraded further, and some parts have improved. On balance it would be hard to quantify any significant change. And marine survival factors limit the percent of smolts that survive to adulthood and return from the ocean each year. Given what we know about run sizes and escapement over a more than 30 year period, there is no logical reason to believe that wild Skagit steelhead runs will ever in the future consistently average above the present spawning escapement floor value.

The escapement goal is an artifact of uncertainty. The aggregate model that escapement goals were developed from in the 1980s calculated a Skagit spawning escapement goal far above 20,000. Since that seemed impractable and unrealistic, so biologists rather arbitrarily picked 10,000 as an escapement guideline. In the 1980s when marine survival was higher than it is now, that value appeared realistic. As more data were collected and analyzed, it was apparent from spawner - recruit analysis that the MSY/MSH escapement goal would be much lower, slightly less than 4,000. That seems low for such a large river basin, so the co-managers settled on 6,000 as a buffered escapement floor for some interim period. The take home message in this paragraph is that no relationship exists between the Skagit wild steelhead spawning escapment goal and the actual productivity and capacity of the Skagit River basin to produce steelhead. Please re-read the last sentence and be certain that you understand it.

The last paragraph means that the Skagit wild steelhead spawning escapement goal is arbitrary, and possibly capricious. It's meaning is primarily make believe then. This leads me to the question of for what purpose are Skagit steelhead managed? Is it strictly species preservation, like a petting zoo, except you can't actually pet the animals? Or is the purpose to conserve the population for the mutual long-term benefit of the species as well as human social and economic benefits. If the purpose is the former, then the present course is the one to stay on. If the latter, then a change is required.

OS is an evidence-based approach to steelhead management. Studies show that incidental mortality is significantly lower than the 10% value presently used by WDFW and NMFS. Skagit steelhead productivity shows that CNR seasons from 1981 through 2009 have no measurable effect on population size. Even the combination of CNR incidental mortality and the limited directed harvest indicate that fishing mortality has had no measurable effect on wild steelheaad population abundance over the past 30 years.

OS does not propose CNR fishing the Skagit run into extinction. The evidence strongly suggests that isn't possible. OS is simply pointing out that, above some arbitrarily selected threshold runsize, mangement regulations could permit CNR steelhead seasons to be implemented with no measurable risk to future population abundance. And during that period, anglers can obtain the social benefits associated with CNR fishing, and the local economy can benefit from added fishing activity. These benefits can be enjoyed while simultaneously conserving wild Skagit steelhead for as long as steelhead habitat is also conserved. It's just about that simple, but for the way the PS steelhead ESA listing aggregates Skagit steelhead. Just because change is hard does not mean change is not possible.

Sg

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#821671 - 02/09/13 12:01 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Salmo g.]
ColeyG Online   content
Ranger Danger

Registered: 02/08/07
Posts: 2770
Loc: Talkeetna, AK
Good one Salmo.

Thanks.
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I am still not a cop.

EZ Thread Yarn Balls

"I don't care how you catch them, as long as you treat them well and with respect." Lani Waller in "A Steelheader's Way."

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#821742 - 02/09/13 07:14 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Salmo g.]
Steelspanker Offline
Three Time Spawner

Registered: 11/11/05
Posts: 1829
Loc: Snoho county
Gawd dang Salmo, this is a fine piece of writing. (No surprise there I guess.)

Will that be posted on the OS facebook too?

Thanks.
_________________________


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#821875 - 02/10/13 02:00 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Steelspanker]
bhudda Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 04/06/11
Posts: 137
Loc: mukilteo
Knowledge is power-thx for the boost SG, OS is lookin good on facts...we just need to be present!!
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hatchery fish have no spirit name

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#821886 - 02/10/13 03:33 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: bhudda]
_WW_ Offline
Alevin

Registered: 01/30/13
Posts: 18
Loc: Skagit
Steve,
Thanks for the excellent speech. It not only helps to understand the relationship between C&R fishing and returns, but also provides the historical context for how we arrived at such a situation as exists today.

Hopefully you don't mind if I copy it and spread it around where needed. (with full credit)

_________________________
Occupy Skagit
4/6/13
Catch & Release Is Not A Crime

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#824476 - 02/21/13 09:37 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: _WW_]
jam session Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 01/08/02
Posts: 235
Loc: Lake Goodwin
Salmo, thanks for your efforts and rationale on this. I responded on the other board cause I couldn't believe the Cowlitz BS that it turned into. I will be there and probably will use my 6wt with a skater. After all the purpose is to not catch fish! Not likely to get April steelhead but suspect the dollies will be all over that and if the surface take is all I get, that will still be fun. Considering camping at Rockport and would love to share a brew and meet fellow CR proponents.

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#826734 - 03/03/13 10:48 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: steeliedrew]
Saundu Offline
Spawner

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 572
HONESTLY...to a person that is in the know about what sometimes happens on this river...during catch and release season...or during the December/January open period.

It is best kept CLOSED...
how many times do you hear about someone getting nailed on the mighty Skagit poaching a steelhead. NOT VERY OFTEN ..if ever.

Honestly..... I routinely (this past winter) "more than once" sat a bar with other fishermen bragging about native steelhead meeting their ends at the hands of "sportfishermen" whom rationalize their behaviors with the 1974 bodt decision and the natives gillnet practices.

KEEP IT CLOSED.. PERIOD or there wont be any more.

I would love to see it open for a C&R, but it lets in the greedy white fishermen whom have to have it "now" even tho they can wait till the fall and have their fill of all the salmon they should need.

With this being said...i am caucasion.

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#826749 - 03/04/13 05:12 AM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Saundu]
Jerry Garcia Offline

River Nutrients

Registered: 10/13/00
Posts: 8249
Loc: everett
It is best kept CLOSED...
how many times do you hear about someone getting nailed on the mighty Skagit poaching a steelhead. NOT VERY OFTEN ..if ever.

If the river is closed there aren't any law abiding fishermen on the river to report poachers.
_________________________
would the boy you were be proud of the man you are

Growing old ain't for wimps
Lonnie Gane

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#826906 - 03/04/13 06:32 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Jerry Garcia]
_WW_ Offline
Alevin

Registered: 01/30/13
Posts: 18
Loc: Skagit
Poaching will happen no matter what the regulations are. Always has and always will.

In spite of the years of poaching, the years of wild fish retention, the years of netting salmon, the years of C&R angling, the bountiful years and the very poor years, the last three decades of ever increasing human encroachment, the ever more efficient angling methods, the numerous floods and a host of other things - the Skagit population of wild steelhead is right on par with where it was 34 years ago.

The main thing we are not doing now that has been done for the past several decades is C&R fishing. Of all the things I listed above, C&R fishing is the least impactful to the future viability of the run. But other than wild fish retention, C&R angling is the only activity that has been shut down. In fact, every year it is the FIRST thing to get shut down.

OCCUPY SKAGIT!
_________________________
Occupy Skagit
4/6/13
Catch & Release Is Not A Crime

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#827787 - 03/08/13 01:18 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Salmo g.]
WaFlyCaster Offline
Juvenile at Sea

Registered: 02/25/09
Posts: 160
Well put.

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