Occupy Skagit

I agree. I have fished gear as long as anything, and I know lots of gear fishermen who catch and release steelhead 100% of the time. C&R is certainly not a "fly only" fishery.... Show newbs how to cast and ancourage them to contact WDFW with our (resepctful) critisim?
I don't mean to be too critical/I'm not trying to be an ass. My thoughts are:

Gear Fishing
1. If this is going to do any good, it will need to be focused, on-point and well thought out. I don't have anything against including people but if we're going to make it focused, we need a good foundation. We have an idea people will like, but we need to make sure that we have a good grasp on what we're looking for--then bring more people in. Let's take a page from Occupy's failure to actually do anything beyond raise awareness--we need clear goals, not just some vauge sense of injustice.

Claves to Recruit Members
2(a). Recruiting people will be important, but, using organization driven comments ('tell you DFW what you think!'=copy paste our letter and send it to DFW) doesn't work too well. Those comments, or the volume aren't necessarily addressed. They are, but in the "see response to WSC comment #12" sense. I'm dubious of the effectiveness.

2(b). We are good spokes-people because of our insane passion for these fish. We should use that too before we look to diffuse marginally interested parties.

We REALLY REALLY need to get people around a table to hash some of this out. Let's do this right.

Chris, since you're the keeper of occupy skagit's facebook, could you set up a facebook group so that we can make some sausage/do some planning without doing it all over the pretty Occupy Skagit wall?

I may be putting the cart before the horse but, I think we should shoot for a kick off meeting some time late next week in Sedro/Mt.Vernon/Burlington--if some people could make it. Let's get the ball rolling and start planning. I think we have the opportunity to do something cool here. I propose Dec 20th 6:30--somewhere in the lower basin.


Fuck, this thing is going to be "organized" out of exsistance....

all fisherman should be included...remember the story a very celebrated member of this site told about getting WSC going etc. He said "If you only counted on the flyguys nothing would get done...gear guys carry the load brother....exclude them and your looking up the wrong end of that high horse your riding...

just my .02

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
I hope you folks will put some of your passion into wriing a letter to your WDFW Commissioners during this WDFW Sportsfishing Rules Proposals cycle. Civil actions are great for making a splash. But we do have a process that the minority of fishermen participate in. Your representatives in state government should hear from you too. A single page, three paragraphs, clearly stating your concerns, gets more attention than an email, text or pdf. I am glad to see so much energy and passion. It is inspiring.


GMan's right. . . screw trying to control or regulate this.

State your intent, get some TShirts printed, have a few rally meetings, then get out on the river/down to the Commission meeting.

I was @ the beginning of the WSC, and what made us powerful was we had One Goal - stop harvest of Wild Steelhead. It didn't matter gear or fly fishers, we had a single purpose.

The goal of Occupy Skagit seems clear as well - open the Skagit/Sauk for C&R fishing during the traditional spring season (Feb - April).

If I'm in town I'll be there, river or Commissioner's meeting. Hell, they're opening the Thompson for C&R fishing with a projected run of just over 1000 fish. The Skagit system gets 6000+ spawners back and we don't even get a sniff of a season?

My .02,

If you're just trying to get a bunch of people to the river that's one thing. If you're actually trying to get DFW to listen to what you have to say--that will take some organizing.

I agree everyone should be included, but, there should be some thought about what we want first. That's not to say that there should be any reason to not include gear guys early on, but maybe not post it on a gear forum quite yet. That was my point.

I still think that we should attempt to get some people together. Drink some beer, do some brain storming.

Rob Allen

Active Member
If you guys feel so strongly about this ( i don't blame you if you do) I think it should be a real protest! Forget the idea of fishing hookless! if you are going to protest Pick a day maybe even a block of time say 1 hour where you all actually intend to FISH! relay that Information to WDFW.. not to the local office but to the Commission!!!! Just say something to the effect of We are a group of 200 people ( if you build it they will come) who intend to fish in the closed waters of the Skagit and Sauk rivers on Saturday April 20th from Noon until two O'clock. We will be waded into the river and will NOT come to shore when summoned by enforcement personnel but they are more than welcome to wait around for us to finish and site us at that time. However we will be spread throughout the system and may be difficult to find. Also all angling will be done with single barbless hooks and no bait to ensure that no steelhead are actually harmed. No actual angling will occur before 12 noon and none will be done after 2 pm., though some people may be practicing without a hook before and after that time frame.

If you want to make a statement.. make a statement..

I didn't read the whole thead.. maybe someone else already made that suggestion.


Active Member
If you do this the weekend of 420 that will be the same weekend that they have the Skagit Valley Tulip festival street fair in downtown Mount Vernon. Have a bunch of people occupy Youngs Bar. Lots of exposure. Only problem would be traffic. Better place but less exposure would be up at Howard Millars steelhead park, camping and more room. Rasars state park would be a good spot on the river too. If enough people show occupy the whole valley. Beats going out and looking at some dumb flowers.
I agree with Derek, some people should get around a table and cobble together some sort of framework or timeline. I am willing to be involved, but will defer to the folks who got this started, not wanting to step on any toes. I could make time next week, if that be the case.
I also want to reiterate what Mr. Triggs said, we need to apply as much pressure as we can, from as many directions as possible.


Active Member
I like Bob's idea of writing to our legislators. Are there any we know of at the state and federal level who have the potential of becoming an advocate? Mike Thompson comes to mind as an example of one who has been a strong advocate for fisheries protection in California.

Also, given that WDFW Commissioners are the ones who appoint the WDFW Director, I don't see any real movement in getting to more managed CnR fisheries until we change their mindsets. In that regard, I think we should write to Gov-elect Inslee, who is responsible for appointing WDFW Commission members.

Finally, it may be worth teeing up to our government officials the possibility of merging WDFW into DNR - the idea has been tossed around several times in the not too recent past - by Gov. Gregoire as well as by legislators. In reference to what inland has mentioned in the Skagit thread, we currently have a commission and agency that is focused on harvest and is not predisposed to allowing CnR fishing for the recreational and economic benefits. And given that the WDFW (and the Commission) have had a long track record of tone deafness to the sport fishing community, coupled with little capability to manage beyond making regulations and enforcement, I'm willing to take the risk to have the agency integrated into the DNR, particularly if will result in new fresh new thinking on how we manage rivers like the Skagit and Sauk.


Geriatric Skagit Swinger
I've read several times that “we” need a clear goal and “lazer-like focus”.

Well...here it is: Restore the catch and release season in March and April on the Skagit/ Sauk systems and quit using the season as a management tool.

Lately WDFW has been using this season as their (one and only?)management tool in years of suspected low returns.
They have installed a literal On/Off switch and at the first sign of trouble flip the switch. They can then report to the guy (who is that guy???) at the Federal level that something has been done and move on to planting trout in the lakes.

The reality is that they have possibly saved the lives of a handful of 'Mortality Fish' but in exchange for that 'feel good' action, the river is unpatrolled, unenforced, and there are no “eyes” on what is going on. Yes I'm talking about poaching. And I can guarantee that the poaching numbers are higher than the mortality rate by a large margin. Thanks WDFW...thanks for helping out.

Gear fisherman. All are welcome to Occupy Skagit. Just remember; No Hooks.

Someone mentioned actually fishing for a couple of hours with advance notice to WDFW.
That would be illegal and provable in court. My recommendation is NOT doing that. You could lose your car, boat, rod, reel, etc. Another reason is this; it gives folks, (media) something to focus on other than the message.

Organization. Best used for the meeting of the Commissioners. They have a specific process (this in itself may be part of the problem – 'doing things as we always have') that they want people to follow so it should be used to get our foot in the door. Once in, we need to be armed with some science...and a plan to motivate them. I don't know any of these guys, but I do know something that motivates almost everybody. Embarrass them. Don't believe me? Just watch the next politico that gets caught doing the hanky-panky. Embarrass them and do it with facts. “We pay you how much? And flipping the switch on the C&R season is all you can do? Really! How long did it take you to come up with that?”

Inland has a great post in the parallel thread 'Skagit River Steelhead'
This is the kind of information and facts we need to be armed with. WDFW, look at what others are doing that works. They've invented the wheel, no need for you to invent one too.

I've got more to say, but right now I need to get dressed and try out my new rod.


Active Member
WW -
I agree that we need to stay legal to have creditibility.

I understand your frustration with the lost of the CnR seasons and how they have been used as a lever against we need to be careful on how we use terms. CnR seasons (as well as harvest seasons, closed seasons, bag limits, season length, wild steelhead release, etc) will always be a management tools. While CnR seasons may be "religon" to some of us I don't think we want to defuse our efforts by claiming it is something it is not. Know of no better way to get dismissed by decision makers than give them grounds to think we don't know what we are talking about.

I do agree that we need to be narrowly focused. As I see it getting to fish the Skagit again is going to depend on establishing a 3 legged stool.

1) The frist leg would be to highlight the plight of PS steelhead as well as what the lost of the CnR seasons (and other opportunities) mean to the local businesses and the regional economy. Folks stopping for the a day for meals, rooms, buying psuedo gear (even boats), etc will serve as a reminder of what has been lost.

2) Putting ESA aside for now it is time to re-visit WDFW's statewide steelhead management plan. It was obvious from the get go that it is least than angler friendly, not very responsive to changing conditions or adaptable.

3) Demand that WDFW move forward with developing basin specific guidelines for allowable ESA impacts. Such guidelines probably would best serve our interest if it was abundanced based. However the key here is to have the tools in place so that managers can move quickly to re-establish fishing opportunities as runs improve.

Obviously the above would need to be fleshed out considerably. It is offered as a "straw horse" to serve as a discussion starting point though I do feel that it would not be a bad foundation.

With the holiday season in full swing it might be difficult to get folks together until the New Year.

Just to be clear, i was not advocating illegal activity. Just pointing out that it would make it a serious protest if it was that important of an issue for you. Unless you can draw a huge turn out, which i do advocate, i tend to think it will be largely ignored by the folks that matter.... Now if you bring in a couple hundred people, all buying gas and food and motel rooms, then people will start to take notice....
IT appears Chris D. has taken the bull by the horns and is leading this. Let him take in the input along with the suggestions on this thread, and come back with a game plan and or an agenda. I offered my help to him if he wants to delegate any research or tasks. Perhaps those that want to help with some of the tedious calls etc can speak up as well to him via the facebook page.

Meeting: We all have computers and hopefully webcams. Why not have a virtual meeting via a webinar to throw down some brainstorming ideas etc.

Message: How do we communicate and show our message to the non-fishing/voting community that will hopefully see us via the news? I don’t think we want to appear like a bunch of greedy fishing guys demanding to let us fish for endangered fish. Show and communicate the non impact and benefit we have to the community and to the fish as being “river stewards” who are fed up with the inconsistent management by the wdfw.

On the day of the event: The first step should possibly be a friendly peaceful gathering on the Skagit itself. In order to get out as many as possible, perhaps we have free casting lessons. Perhaps we invite some vendors/rod companies to see if they want to participate. The whole goal will be to bring awareness to the inconsistent management in the PS area.

After the event: Soon after the event then we might want to get more aggressive and protest/picket WDFW or some other sort of protest to “turn up the heat”.

Again just my thoughts and suggestions.