I've had it!!!!!

Rob Blomquist

Formerly Tight Loops
I was just hanging in my local flyshop, when some pipsqeak told me his dad caught 40 steelies while fishing for whitefish, but he only caught one whitefish while fishing on a river that just closed recently. He wished it was still open to fishing for "whitefish".

A little over a week ago, I was in another nameless shop when a guy announced loudly that he was about to go fishing for "whitefish" on the Methow. His buddy assured him that there were plenty of steelhead to be caught incidentally to the whitefish.

These two are the sort of folks that caused the Methow to close to all fishing not long ago. I really don't care what any fisherman thinks of how many fish are in the river, and what that means to the viability of the run. I care only what fisheries biologists think about the run, and what WDFW cares to do to protect those fish.

I have my beefs with WDFW, but it is about not being protective enough of our native fish not about being over protective. When a river is closed to fishing, its closed to fishing by all of us. I really don't care to hear from the braggarts about illegally fishing, and I don't care to see anyone fishing in closed waters. If you don't respect the fish, I don't respect you.

If you are fishing a river or lake when its closed, I will report you either through your boat registration, car license or your name if I see it, and I will take a picture if I have a camera. If you are standing behind a counter in a store, I will tell the state what store, and who you are. If you post a note on the net about fishing illegally, I will report your email address and where the post was made. And if its here, I hope that Chris throws you off the board.

I'm tired of all the crap from so called "concerned fly fishers". I don't care what club you are a member of, or what article you wrote. If you are fishing for a closed species, or fishing in closed waters, you are hypocritical, and I think of you as I think of pond scum.

Beware, and hope I don't catch you fishing illegally.

And I hope that there are others out there that will do the same.

Amen. I'm on the lookout too. I hear a lot of folks use "whitefish" or "dollies" as an excuse to fish for other species (primarily steelhead or chinook) and at the same time talk about how "interested" they are in the resource. What hypocrites.
Next time you hear someone bragging about catching fish illegally on a river that's closes try and get their license plate number off their car (without them knowing what you're doing) and turn that info (river and plate #) over to the WDF&W. Hopefully they would then patrol that particular river more often to try and catch these offenders.

I agree with you and hope that they smarten up!

I understand your concern but...

I doubt his dad really caught 40 steelhead while fishing the Methow with a size 14 (3/16" gap). In fact if he was using the right size hook, I doubt he caught any. If these guys are poaching by using illegal gear than they ought to throw the book at them. If they are using legal gear in legal water than the problem is regulations and closing the river is a valid option anytime.

If they should accidentally hook AND land a steelhead and then release it, the damage would be negligible so I doubt they are hurting the fishery. Again, assuming they are using legal tackle.

I specifically target dollies for catch and release in the Skagit and Sauk (it is legal where I fish and when I fish)and I incidentally catch steelhead, salmon, whitefish, rainbows and cutthroat. Sometimes I go up to specifically fish for white fish with a beadhead nymph of my design and incidentally catch the other species. I fish strictly from the bank and rarely see other fishermen unless I'm low on the river.

There are a lot of factors and politics in what is open when and why and regulations should be rigorously enforced. But I wouldn't lose sleep over anything I heard in a flyshop. "They fish, therefore they lie!"

Just my two cents and I live in Seattle which is a winter and spring away from the Methow.

TightLoops-- ABSOLUTELY!

The local PUD up on the Methow did a radio-tagging study on steelhead to see how many were winding up trapped in irrigation ditches. 25% of the tags they retrieved were in peoples' freezers! Such is the world we live in.

The Methow Steehead are ENDANGERED. Intentionally catching and releasing them is a federal crime. If you kill one while intentionally trying to catch and release it, you're guilty of a "take" under the ESA, and potentially liable to fines in the tens of thousands of dollars range. You'll deserve it.

The "whitefish" fishery on the Methow is a crime, but I also have a huge problem with the C&R "trout" fishery during the summer. The potential take on adult steelhead is more remote (though still significant, considering the state of the resource, and the published regs potentially allow a big impact on spring chinook, also Endangered), but the potential impacts on juvenile steelhead is high, and in some ways worse, because a lot of people will be doing it unknowingly, thinking they're catching small rainbows. There's evidence of juvenile steelhead in the Methow spending 4 years and more in the river before smolting. At least in the winter, it's only the minority of jerks willing to poach we have to worry about.

Politics can certainly be a factor in WDFW management decisions, but NO river ever gets closed for "political" reasons. When they finally do get closed, it's almost always way too late. Go ahead and be pissed when your favorite river gets closed, but don't take it out on the fish.


That almost sounds like the Tye River. It's open for whitefish from Nov 1 to Feb 28 from the Foss river to Alpine Falls. But it is/has alot fo Steelhead in it.I've seen some big summer runs in there when I used to fish it in the summer. I guess I just had to bring this up. I can't see opening any river up for one kind of fish and close it for another.Jim S.

Richard E

Active Member
Though I generally agree with you, I suspect some of those folks would be there legitimately fishing there for whitefish even if there steelies weren't there.

And, by the way, folks who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, and you shouldn't be tossing any rocks. When you (and I mean "you" specifically, not "you" rhetorically) cease to "fish for searuns", and instead coho, from beaches that are closed to fishing for salmon, then you can get on your stump. Until then, you are not different than some of those Methow folks.

Richard :TSKTSK
Fish till ya drop.
Then suck it up
and fish the evening hatch.

I've had it too. I see too many cases of hungry illegal and legal immigrants loading up buckets of "overkill in their vans". I see Seattle people on Jameson and other Seattle hangouts limiting in the morning and then going our for their "afternoon" limits too.
I see overzealous fisherman practicing "illegal" catch and release with powerbait or other bait. You are killing your sport as most of these fish will die.
And I see every "power baiter" fisherman littering the shores with their stinking garbage, beer cans, and snarls of line from spinning reels they don't know how to use.
The only way to stop some of the abuse I guess is to start filing "Citizens Arrest" cases in our courts.
The only thing I haven't seen lately is a law enforcement officer or game warden out working. Do we still have these critters?? :REALLYMAD
richard who are you talkin about? you aint flappin your jaw about south sound resident coho are ya? because the damage to a fishery is far more great in rivers catching smolts and snaggin fish an all, and I believe the wdfw was or still is experimenting with the release of coho from the net pens because all the delayed releases in the 80's put a crux on the fishery, it basically hit the skids. to much fish for to little food. but there were or still are trying to put the fishery back how it was when I was a youngin. you have next to zero scum fly fishin the salt and doing damage as you have 95% scum in the rivers snagging and takin fish. think about it. well buzz bombers and spinner freaks are the killer in the salt water. unless single hook.but I think there is gonna be a mandatory single hook rule for all fishin in the salt for hook mortality, but the amount of people fly fishin salt water and the impact on the fishery is a far less damaging to the system then releasing tired spawning fish who end up dying, trampling over eggs/redds, snagging fish when there not even feeding but lived there life and doing there deed to be harassed by a bunch of snaggers. from what I have seen here on the penninsula I have no problem what so ever closing down hurting rivers during spawning time. unless its a hatchery run it shoulb be closed anyway. Ben
We all have similar problems. Trout and salmenoids cannot sustain themselves under the pressure from a degraded environment and intense fishing pressure. (That includes commercial fishing in Washington state). We have made some progress in this regard in Colorado as I relate in a recent post about the South Platte. I would think that a similar approach would work in Washington. How many of you are members of TU? Every time I visit Washington, I am struck by how casually people seem to regard the wonderful resources they have. I think that it's been there and been so plentiful for so long that some people feel entitled to it. I didn't really understand that until I moved away. Pushing for C&R waters is a wonderful idea, but it takes organization and commitment. Everyone has to turn out when the opportunity presents itself for public comment. You have a great resource in this BB and if you focus all that energy I think that you could make progress!


Paul Huffman

Driven by irrational exuberance.
WDFW is on to the whitefish scam. I was checked twice last month. I can't remember ever being checked
anywhere before. But they were quick and friendly, just verifying that I knew it was closed for trout and
steelhead. But you can see the pain in the ass it must be for the enforcement section to check on bozos like me
who happen to be checking out pools that everyone else knows are the wrong place for whitefish. Also, check
out the proposed 2002-03 reg package. On a bunch of east side rivers, you'll have to be fishing a #14 hook or
smaller in whitefish season. Which is fine with me. When I was checked, the officers didn't even bother
looking at my terminal gear. With this reg change, now they'll have an effective rule to determine intent.

But really! I was fishing for whitefish, because they were easy to catch on artificials and yummy on the
barbecue. But lately my mojo's gone. All I hook up is big trout on little black nymphs. Am I going to have to
start raising maggots?

On a somewhat related note, I was thinking about trying out a new bonefish rod by annoying some Columbia
River carp this spring. But in reading the regs, some of the riverside sloughs are "lakes" that don't open until
June 1 in the reg package which further states "Fishing for COMMON CARP is open only during open game
fish or salmon seasons." Even though I may sarcastically quip that I'm glad we're preserving our carp for
posterity or that I solemnly pledge to release all unclipped wild carp, especially those of "evolutionarily
significant populations", I understand the enforcement headache there'd be if they had to determine intent by
extra angler checks and rule making. Even though I might be flailing shallow muddy water, they don't need to
be writing a reg that determines how shallow and how muddy you have to be to actually be targeting carp.
And there's other sloughs that appear not to be "lakes" so I'll take it to the judge that they're open for carp, just
like the rest of the Columbia Bonneville Pool.

It's kind of like that old joke where the guy walks into a bar with a crocodile on a leash. The bartender says
"you can't bring that crocodile in here!" But the guy says "But he's a trained crocodile and he's very well
behaved". The bartender has to admit that the crocodile is very well behaved but says "if I let you bring your
crocodile in here, then I'll have to let everybody bring their crocodile in!" I've always been trying nutty new
ideas and attracting unwanted attention.

Richard E

Active Member
Ben, philosophically I agree with you about not harassing the steelhead. Bottom line is, though, the rules are the rules, and bending them or justifying them for your instance, in the case of the coho, but then complaining about another person who is doing the same thing, in the case of the steelhead, isn't correct.

For example, robbing stores is illegal, last time I checked. Using your logic, what you are trying to say is, to draw an analogy, it's not right to rob Mom and Pop wee little grocery store (the steelhead in our analogy) because they are a small resource, but it's ok to rob Wal Mart because Wal Mart has so much money and is a big resource (the coho in our analogy). It's the same act, robbery, and it's still illegal, no matter what the size of the resource.

Same thing for our this fishing discussion. Rob B. shouldn't be complaining about the guys targeting steelhead when they are 'catching whitefish', when on the other hand he targets coho when he's actually 'fishing for searuns'. It's called being a hypocrite.


P.S. How come you don't use the shift key to capitalize letters?