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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: 11115
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: 2809
Loc: Talkeetna, AK
Good one Salmo.

Thanks.
_________________________
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
Carcass

Registered: 11/11/05
Posts: 2039
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: 160
Loc: mukilteo
Knowledge is power-thx for the boost SG, OS is lookin good on facts...we just need to be present!!
_________________________
salmonsteelsox. com
check it before you wreck it!

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

Registered: 01/30/13
Posts: 23
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

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: 236
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: 582
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: 8430
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
Fry

Registered: 01/30/13
Posts: 23
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

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: 179
Well put.

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#827816 - 03/08/13 06:06 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: WaFlyCaster]
Saundu Offline
Spawner

Registered: 03/24/08
Posts: 582
doubt it...if you let a catch and release season occur it opens it up to natives and their gill nets.

good luck....you and all ur pals will most likely get a ticket. And it will remain closed...despite your efforts.

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#829187 - 03/16/13 05:53 AM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Saundu]
_WW_ Offline
Fry

Registered: 01/30/13
Posts: 23
Loc: Skagit
ANOTHER WAY TO HELP!

One of the things we'd like to do on April 6th is collect names of those who support the movement to regain our C&R season on the Skagit. It will be something akin to a petition, but not binding, and will be carried to Olympia to help in illustrating how broad the support for this season is. For those of you unable to attend the Occupy or the Olympia meeting this is how you can still represent your support.

For this purpose we would like to get your name and home town we do NOT need your full address.

To avoid duplicates, we ask you to reply by email and not to this thread. That way all the info is in one spot.

The email is: cr_skagit@yahoo.com
_________________________
Occupy Skagit

Catch & Release Is Not A Crime

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#829992 - 03/19/13 07:34 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: _WW_]
BassMaster2000 Offline
Alevin

Registered: 03/19/13
Posts: 14
Loc: Bellingham
How can your bassin cousins help the cause?
_________________________
"There is no animal in this world quite like the largemouth bass."

- Me

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#830104 - 03/20/13 06:16 AM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: BassMaster2000]
_WW_ Offline
Fry

Registered: 01/30/13
Posts: 23
Loc: Skagit
There are three ways to get involved.

1. Show up in Rockport at The Howard Miller Steelhead Park the morning of April 6th and join us in some faux fishing.

2. Show up the following weekend in Olympia at the Commissioner's meeting and voice/show your support.

3. Send us an email with your name and hometown and we'll carry them to Olympia for you. cr_skagit@yahoo.com

Show up in Rockport and I will make sure you get a spey lesson from someone, even if I have to do it myself! smile
_________________________
Occupy Skagit

Catch & Release Is Not A Crime

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#830135 - 03/20/13 08:59 AM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: _WW_]
Coho Offline
River Nutrients

Registered: 03/09/99
Posts: 2541
Loc: Muk
email sent

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#830298 - 03/20/13 05:10 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Coho]
_WW_ Offline
Fry

Registered: 01/30/13
Posts: 23
Loc: Skagit
Thanks for the emails!
Keep 'em coming!!
_________________________
Occupy Skagit

Catch & Release Is Not A Crime

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#831223 - 03/25/13 09:51 AM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: _WW_]
_WW_ Offline
Fry

Registered: 01/30/13
Posts: 23
Loc: Skagit
For those of you who have expressed concern about the legalities of "Faux Fishing"

I talked with our local enforcement officer. They will be there and will probably check a few outfits before they go in to water. As long as there are no hooks everything will be fine. He respects our right to freedom of speech and wishes us the best of luck.

One concern they have is that folks who are not associated with us, will try to take advantage of the situation. I've known this particular agent for over twenty years - He plays no favorites. I feel sorry for the fool that gets caught actually fishing the Skagit on April 6th!

I look forward to seeing you all there!
_________________________
Occupy Skagit

Catch & Release Is Not A Crime

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#831938 - 03/28/13 09:25 AM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Salmo g.]
chasbo Offline
Spawner

Registered: 10/09/07
Posts: 769
Loc: oly
Probably wouldn't need to renew my license, since we are just pretending to fish.

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#832025 - 03/28/13 07:10 PM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: chasbo]
Fear_no_fish Offline
Returning Adult

Registered: 09/25/10
Posts: 262
Loc: Lake Stevens
The lower river is open for trout now?
Is this so indians can net the river for their share? Seems a little weird to me.
Do you think this will take away from a catch and release season up stream??
_________________________
My rod and reel, they comfort me

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#832253 - 03/30/13 07:18 AM Re: Occupy Skagit [Re: Fear_no_fish]
_WW_ Offline
Fry

Registered: 01/30/13
Posts: 23
Loc: Skagit
Originally Posted By: Fear_no_fish
The lower river is open for trout now?
Is this so indians can net the river for their share? Seems a little weird to me.
Do you think this will take away from a catch and release season up stream??

It's open to fishing for cutthroat trout. Historically the river was open year-round below Mount Vernon. This is a return to that scenario. It is believed that ESA listed fish do not linger in this stretch making themselves vulnerable to capture.

This has nothing to do with tribal fishing.
I see no way that it can impact a C&R season upriver. That season is currently non-existent and prohibited by federal law.

Hopefully we can change that! smile


Quote:
Probably wouldn't need to renew my license, since we are just pretending to fish.

If you want to push your luck, that is your business...
_________________________
Occupy Skagit

Catch & Release Is Not A Crime

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