Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery

Posted by: RICH G

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

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

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

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

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

It dosent make much sense to me. I dont even know if I make sense.
Posted by: Fishslayer75

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/21/02 01:25 PM

Sounds about right. Sad but true.
Posted by: RICH G

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/22/02 01:26 PM


Welcome to the BB!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fish on...

Posted by: Gusty

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/22/02 01:32 PM

Here is a simple rule to follow.

Regardless of whether its legal to keep nates...

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

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

Can it be any more simple?

what what what
Posted by: RICH G

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

Wish it was that simple Gutsy,

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

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

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

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/22/02 05:36 PM

WDFW.....No Nate Bonking!

& that goes for everyone mad

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

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/22/02 06:53 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tight lines
Posted by: Bob

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

Smalma ... I think you well know that most of us that are staunch supporters of C&R on wild steelhead feel that in many cases no angling should be allowed period. Runs that are decimated need to be shut down to all fishing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pretty simple smile

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

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

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

God help the state lawyers if the Forks area rivers are ever shut down completely in light of the public cry for protection of these fish!
Posted by: Smalma

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/23/02 12:30 AM

Kind of figured that my post would get under the skin of some folks.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tight lines
Posted by: salmonbelly

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/23/02 01:13 AM

I agree with Smalma that C and R is just a managment tool -- due to hooking mortality it's still an impact like whacking a wild fish, only less of one. But releasing wild fish cannot be seen as the answer to what ails steelhead by any means. C and R does not cure trashed habitat and polluted estuaries, does not eliminate clearcutting, drought, gravel mining, dams, netting, shoreline development, du pont spinners, poaching, road sedimentation, heavy metals, mill and smelter waste, etc. Yet some preach C and R as gospel, even though it's just another impact on the fish. Note that California, Oregon and Idaho wild steehead runs are not faring any better and lots in B.C are hurting too. There is a C and R double standard re steelhead vs. coho and chinook. Many who would never kill a wild steelhead have no compunctions about whacking a king or silver. A guy who legally kills a wild steelhead now and again is not a criminal. Objectively, stopping half the poaching on every river would have a bigger impact than requiring wild release on the few rivers where it's legal. And I do believe Mr. Freymond is right about that system's status, despite the wild component in Dec.-Jan., which might never have been huge. Recall that in my old man's early days before hatchery plants, few angler's really started steelheading until Jan-Feb. You can look that up in Enos Bradner's book Fish On (1968, I believe).
Posted by: fishkisser99

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

I feel it's my duty to release natives, whether in a kill zone or not.

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

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

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/23/02 10:21 AM

I am all for a statewide c/r policy concerning our wild fish.With the Numbers of fishermen growing year after year I believe that it will be necessary for the survival of the wild gene pool.

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

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

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

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

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/23/02 11:20 AM

Good debate! thumbs

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

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

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

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

Cowlitzfisherman <img border="0" alt="[santa]" title="" src="graemlins/santa.gif" />
Posted by: Dave D

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/23/02 11:38 AM

Some of those meat fisheries are so easy to find and so well known they attract so many newbies to the river that some of those guys do not even know the differance between a nate and a hatchery brat. frown
Posted by: ltlCLEO

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/23/02 11:59 AM


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

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/23/02 01:19 PM


I agree
Posted by: RICH G

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

The WDFW dosent encourage wild release where its legal to retain natives do they?
Posted by: waker

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/23/02 02:26 PM

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

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

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/23/02 02:38 PM

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.
Posted by: rustyhook

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/23/02 03:08 PM

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.
Posted by: Gusty

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/23/02 09:36 PM


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.
Posted by: Sparkey

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/23/02 10:19 PM

Just to clear something 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! 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!!!
Posted by: Smalma

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/24/02 12:04 AM

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.

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
Posted by: Sparkey

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/24/02 12:21 AM

Thanks again for the excellent discussion!!!

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? 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!
Posted by: Smalma

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/24/02 12:49 AM

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
Posted by: ltlCLEO

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/24/02 08:16 AM

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???
Posted by: grandpa

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/24/02 09:28 AM


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
Posted by: Smalma

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/24/02 10:09 AM

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.

Posted by: RICH G

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/24/02 11:50 AM

These discussions are good... You gotta keep these issues HOT!!! smile smile smile
Posted by: Beezer

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/24/02 11:58 AM

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.
Posted by: Bob

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/24/02 01:08 PM

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 ...
Posted by: RICH G

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/24/02 02:22 PM

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.
Posted by: Gusty

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/25/02 12:31 AM


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
Posted by: Smalma

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/25/02 02:16 AM

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
Posted by: Anonymous

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

Smalma please continue to rant! Someone of us has too!
Posted by: Gusty

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/25/02 11:03 PM


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 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
Posted by: Bob

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/26/02 12:20 AM

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!
Posted by: Smalma

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/26/02 02:07 AM

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
Posted by: Gusty

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/26/02 12:41 PM

" However my question for you is what you do with a river system that consistently has runs above goals?"

My response would be to fish the he** out of it, in a catch and release manner of course! laugh

And dont allow any killing of nates in that sysem, so it STAYS that way. laugh

Happy Holidays,

<img border="0" alt="[santa]" title="" src="graemlins/santa.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[santa]" title="" src="graemlins/santa.gif" /> Gusty
Posted by: RICH G

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/27/02 12:59 AM


Do we really know how many fish it takes? Do you think we can figure somthing out in 20 years that has taken thousands to evolve, to safely take the excess for harvest. Do you think we could be wrong?

If it wasnt important to have a massive excess of fish why would nature have done it that way? Did nature manage its rivers on a fine line like MSY?
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/28/02 08:04 PM

However my question for you is what you do with a river system that consistently has runs above goals?

if it was my river i would only sell tags for the amount of fish that were available to harvest, wide open free for all fishing would be a thing of the past. i would split it 1/2 and 1/2 for cnr and cnk fisherman, it would be a mail in tag system and the cnk tags would have 1 punch, the cnr would have 10 and when your tag is full you would be done for that river.
Posted by: Bob

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/28/02 09:57 PM

Boater ... I understand your logic here. Each fisherman harvests one fish and you're done.

Okay, we have a little glitch though:

C&K is 100% mortality, no possibility of anything higher, nor anything lower.

You've suggested a rate of 10% mortality for the C&R anglers ... although there is loads of information that suggests it's more in the 3-5% range.

The guys that really take care of the fish will probably be lower yet, those than don't certainly would be higher.

How do you fairly address that issue?? laugh
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/29/02 12:07 AM

bob, awhile back i found where the state said the mortality rate for them atleast on the columbia was 10 percent, no i cant find where i found it so i e-mailed them and asked them.
Posted by: Smalma

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/29/02 01:46 AM

Looks like some folks have doing some thinking- Very Good!!

Rich G -
The huge "excessive numbers" of fish in populations is the Mother Nature's safety net so that they can survive the worst of times (low point of survival cycle) or colonize new habitats (example would be the opening of rivers as the glaciers receded). If your concern is that we need all the populations productive to survive the worst of times then we should never place any mortality on the them. However if survival trends can be monitored I don't see why most populations can't support some mortality when survival is in the up portion the cycle. How much mortality could depend on how good your information is and how risk avoidance one wants.

Is 20 years enough? I doubt we will ever understand these complex systems prefectly (actually I hope we never do as part of the mystic of steelhead is the unknown) however 20 years is better than 10 and 50 will be better. Somehow I doubt that folks would be willing to wait 50 or 100 years w/o fishing just so the managers have better info upon which to make decisions.

My real concern is that at least in Puget Sound rivers management options such as hatchery only seasons and no targeting of wild stocks (no CnR) doesn't seem to be "protecting" the fish. In the early 1980s when under-escaped rivers where managed with wild steelhead release and early closures the populations repsonded immedialely; escaped doubled. In the last 4 years on the same rivers with management under wild steelehad release and no CnR our escapements have fallen by more than 50% from when some harvest was allowed!

Like the way you have approached this problem. You clearly would be setting up a system that recognizes the impacts that catch and release has on a population. In a post last spring (Feb/March?) I suggested some guidelines for steelhead managment. It that I suggested a 1 wild fish a year limit where the fish could be taken from a river that had been met criteria that indicate a "healthy" population however I had an additional kicker that if I wished to fish those various spring CnR seasons the angler had to have an used "wild fish tag" - the angler had to choose whether use their impact by "bonk" their one fish or with hooking mortality during CnR. Those interested in such ideas may wish to visit that old disussion.

Bob -
Actually Boater's 1/10 comparison may be right on the money. Bob Hooten, fisheries biologist from BC who was the source of the 3 to 5%, has recent put forth a paper recapping hooking mortality information and fishing impact concerns recommends that because of the way that 3-5% information was collected and the differences between having highly skilled and caring anglers verus the average angler CnR fish that the 3-5% hooking mortality be doubled.

If one wishes to error on the side of the resource then it would seem that assessing a CnR hooking mortality of 10% would be appropriate.

Tight lines
Posted by: Bob

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/29/02 02:01 AM

Ahhh, do we go the direction of hunting, such as AHE hunts in special areas to provide anglers with proper training to C&R more fish?

A big can of worms here wink
Posted by: Smalma

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/29/02 02:31 AM

Bob -
I agree - a big can of worms. I have no desire to go to any form of limited entry fishery. All I proposed and what I think Boater was getting at was system that recognized that all fishing had impacts that some equitable sharing of those impacts is needed. I haven't been avocating a positon but rather providing information upon which folks can make an informed decision and encouraing everyone to do so.

Hooten's recommendation (as I recall) was based concerns that during brood stock captures all the "bleeders" were inlcuded in the collection (for example to give the fish the best chance of survival they were immediately release) those the mortalities were artifically low and some the problems associated with using bait.

If folks think that 10% is too high then perhaps folks might want to consider recommending gear restricitions. Examples might include bait bans or use of circle hooks with bait. That would certainly be giving the wild fish the benefit of doubt. One of Hooten's interesting points was that while using bait/scent anglers were much more effective per hour fo fishingthus the encounter rates were up (more fish caught more mortality).

Tight lines
Posted by: $$B-MONEY$$

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/29/02 10:50 PM

Amen Rich! Mother-nature is not an exact science. Personally I feel biologist can't accuratly know what a river is caplable of. Once again too many is fine, too little we're hurtin'. Its beyond me why we would want to jeopardize the few "healthy" native runs we have.
Posted by: grandpa

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/30/02 11:13 AM

Lots of good ideas here. I just have onequestion though. If the noble talk here is sincere about being really concerned for the fish and not the fishing then why not just accept the best way to care for the fish and that would be not fishing for them at all? Afterall Washington is one of the few states that sanctions the capturing and killing of endangered species. How about catch and release on bald eagles? Hell we might only kill 5% of them.
Posted by: Anonymous

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/30/02 05:37 PM

You don't know whether an unclipped fish is wild or not because the hatcheries only clip about 1 out of every four fish. Besides there is no genetic difference between a "wild" fish and a hatchery fish. Where did the hatcheries get fish in the beginning?? I keep every fish I catch hatchery or not, you just have to make sure no one is watching. They all end up being eaten gladly.
Posted by: Woodchuck

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/31/02 12:54 AM

Well Grandpa, I think we agree on this. How can anybody think that killing fish is not contributing to the problem? Yes,we have some runs that are in O.K. shape. But, would it hurt to shut EVERYTHING down for a full cycle? I know the guides would hate it, but maybe something could be worked out. I know I'm not on the "subsistance" wagon or whatever some guys think their on. I jsut enjoy the sport and think we would be much better off giving up a few years to gain a whole bunch. Letting fish spawn is the best thing we can do for them. This should get some of the bonkers going nuts! laugh
Posted by: grandpa

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/31/02 08:14 AM

I don't think it should be a "badge of honor" to practice catch and release nor should it be something to apologize for to keep a fish. There seems to be a little "one-upsmanship" going on here. I'm smarter than you because I fly fish....I'm smarter than you because I practice catch and release...I'm against hatcheries so that proves I really care only for the fish...I am much more informed than you because I REALLY understand the issues better than you so therefore my way of doing things is best...The bottom line is that discussing the issues is helpful and spending time learning about fishing issues is valuable..A real important part of all of this is the end result which is the outdoor experience which we all continue to enjoy in our own special ways. Happy New Year!! cool
Posted by: Todd

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/31/02 02:13 PM


While I think it is important to point out that Oregon and B.C. do indeed have limited kill fisheries over wild fish, and I understand your point in expressing that here and on the other BB's over the last week, here's why most of us refer to them as being more progressive than Washington's kill fisheries.

"Even a dog knows the difference between being stepped on and being kicked."

On the surface, one a day and five a year on a few streams does look the same in the regulations. However, there is a very big difference.

In Washington, we have limited kill fisheries on a few streams as a reaction to reduced runs, some reduced to the point that it's unlikely that direct harvest will ever be justified in our lifetimes. If we had a couple hundred "healthy" rivers, we'd have kill on a couple of hundred streams, as we did just a few years ago.

Selling that as progressive regulation is the "kick" in the above cliche.

Other jurisdictions have implemented the exact same regulations, but for very different reasons. Those regs were implemented to protect existing healthy wild runs, to stop killing the fish before it became a survival necessity to do so.

Some rivers are still open in those places to satisfy trophy or meat fishermen. While I still feel that that's a bad idea, it's merely being "stepped on" rather than being "kicked".

It's not the similar looking regulation, it's the very dissimilar reason for the regulation.

It's the same as characterizing wild steelhead release advocates as folks who don't care about the fish, but as folks who want only to have catch and release fisheries.

WSR advocates, in the main, aren't arguing that CNR seasons need to be opened because we want to fish. We're arguing that the reason CNR seasons are closed is due to poor management decisions. Closed seasons are the symptom of the problem, not the problem themselves.

Other than those two things, you and I have agreed on pretty much every other aspect of these issues, both here on the BB's and in our personal conversations. I have a great respect for you and the job you have done...and i view you as a strong ally in the battle to protect and preserve wild fish runs in our state.

Fish on...


P.S. Luke, your comments here are almost as ignorant as the ones you made in the "punchcard" thread. In a case like yours, a little education can go a long way. When you're starting at ground zero, the learning curve is very rapid. This BB is a great place to start learning about the truths behind the science, politics, law, and sociology involved in steelhead management. I'd recommend using the search function and doing a little reading.
Posted by: skyrise

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/31/02 03:05 PM

Could it be any easier to understand!
Native fish have been selected over thousands of years to their river of origin.
Hatchery fish came from who knows where?
Just release all natives or be stupid and let the fishery go to hell.
How hard is that one to figure out.
Or ask any B.C. fisherman if they would trade native stock Dean river fish (insert any B.C. river) for some stupid, return all at once to the same spot, hatchery idiot fish.
Posted by: RRR

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/31/02 03:36 PM

Amen!, Granpa. Agree w/yer post 100%!

Happy New Year

Posted by: FASTWATER

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/31/02 08:04 PM

Well since this debate comes up sprt of regular I guess I will put my two cents worth in. I can remember the last time the bogey and sol duc were shut down to catch and kill fishing for a couple of years and not to long ago as the run predictions were not sustainable so it was c&r!!! All I can say is unbelievable on a weekend you might see two or three boats just sweet, and talk abouy fish on I remember one weekend four of us in two boats landing over a hundred fish serious!!! All I can say is tell me it doesn't make a difference? True data since I have continued to keep fishing these systems since then what I have seen is some decent years after it went back to catch and kill to just a struggle to boat a couple of fish a day, yeah lets wait to it is to late then we can just wish we were fishing!!! PEACE!!!
Posted by: Smalma

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 12/31/02 10:29 PM

Guess I see Washington's management differently than you do. My understanding of WDFW policies is that wild fish harvest is to be allowed only when the expectation is that run size will be above estalished escapement goals (no goals no wild fish harvest - for example many of Puget Sound's summer steelhead). The amount of harvest (usually based on adjusting season length) to limited so that expected escapement (run size minus harvest) is at or above the goal. Clearly such an approach places the priority in achieving escapements over providing harvest.

When I compare the details of Washington's approach to that of Oregon (I only looked closely at the North Umpqua - the only readily available plan electronically) I found significant differences. Based on my read of the informatin I found Oregon allows wild fish harvest under the following conditions (of course I could have mis-read the Oregon information in which case I'm sure that some of our Southern friends will correct me)

On the North Umpqua wild fish harvest is dependent on the dam counts at Winchester Dam. As far as I can tell harvest is allowed based on total run size and not the expected escapement after harvest. Harvest is allowed only on healthy populations which in turn is defined as one at equilibrium abundance without fishing which is further defined as where the spawner/recruit line intersects the replacement line - in other words carrying capacity.

I can hear you all now - aha!! managing for carrying capacity - exactly what we want. However the plot thickens a tad as what was used on the North Umpqua was the lower end of the 95% confindence limit of the point estmate of the carrying capacity.

What does that mean?
For the N.Umpqua the estimated equilibrium abundance was:
Wild summer steelhead = 3,900
wild winter steelhead = 7,800
or a total wild population of 11,700.

The lower limit was 1,700 summer steelhead and 3,400 winters or a total of 44% of the point estimate.

Fishing would be allowed if the running six year average is above that threshold. When fishing is allowed the limits are 1 wild fish a day and 5 per year with a season length that runs from the first of January through the end of April.

The recent Oregon news release on the emergency opening of wild fish harvest on the Chetco and elk rivers (as well as 4 smaller streams) that started some of this discussion seem to indicate that the decision to allow harvest was based on high abundance of steelhead parr - not expected run size or escapements.

Just for fun I used the estimated redd density (redds/mile of habitat) from the North Umpqua at carrying capacity and applied that to the Snohomish system - Now I full realize that kind of comparison is very much like comparing apples and bananas but is interesting never-the-less.

When I did that comparison I got an estimate of carrying capacity of 6,324 wild winter steelhead for the Snohomish with a harvest run size threshold of 2,783 (lower end of the 95% confidence interval). For comparison the established escapement goal for the Snohomish is 6,500 and last year is the only year in the data base that the wild run size was below 2,783.

Perhaps because I'm more familar with the Washington approach I'm more comfortable with it than Oregon's.

For any who may still be with me - Wish you a happy New Year and may it bring you clear rivers and willing fish.

Tight lines
Posted by: RICH G

Re: Do people realy care if its wild or hatchery - 01/01/03 12:50 AM


Happy new year to you too!! laugh

I enjoy reading what you have to say.

Im a bit extreme sometimes and not real open minded towards parts of your science but I do enjoy reading and respect what you have to say.

These types of debates and question answer sessions such as this are important for our wild fish and are nothing but benificial.

Thanks for your posts.