About keeping Methow River hatchery steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Don Barton, Sep 19, 2009.

  1. What's wrong with trying to provide for a fishery...when that's part of the legislative mandate of the agency? Otherwise, they could just pay a handful of techs to work in the dam, bonking fish as they swim through the ladders. How much fun would that be?
  2. Brazda, I am really surprised you say "we are lucky that the FED"S have done what they have to restore what they can". In my opinion the Feds have come up with half-assed restoration plans that continue to rely on hatchery plants even though it has been shown that hatchery fish negatively impact wild steelhead. This allows for business as usual. Dams stay in place, shipping stays open and we pay millions upon millions to pump smolts into the system that die in huge proportions. Just look at the new BioOP from the Obama administration that is based off the Bush administration BioOP... It fails to use sound science to protect these ESA listed animals. Steelhead are at less than 5% historical abundance! For Christ sake how much further are we going to let it slide?

    Klickman and CLO: I stand by my statement. For clarification I would not feel so strongly about this if we were talking about a strong wild run that was intelligently co-managed with a hatchery for sport, but that is not what we have. They are opening the Methow to get rid of the hatchery fish. That is the point. You can argue about length of season or whatever but the point is every hatchery fish you remove from that river is a gift you are giving to the wild steelhead that remain.
  3. Lifted from the closing paragraph of a wild salmon center paper:

    "The Columbia River may singularly be the greatest, and certainly the most
    expensive, failure in the history of fish and wildlife restoration that has ever occurred."

    Yeah I am not as appreciative as some about what the feds have succeeded with in this case.
  4. Ryan
    Sorry to sound like a sell out, but things could be worse,,,,,much worse!!!

    I do agree that there are other solutions, and I reiterate the Tribal issue that we are bound by, I grew up watching the outcome of such a social and personal issue, I have seen the habitat issue get better, I have seen the catch and release issue get accepted, if I see the UC issue get resolved it may be the greatest fishery action known in the history of the US.
    I also like the fact that there are people such as yourself to carry a very heavy torch, one that I carried for a very long time and have no more energy to do so. There are younger more educated idividuals possably such as yourself. Keep the passion you are the future of making a difference! For now I wish to rest on my experiences and catch as many damn steelhead as possable wile we can.

    By the way in my experience the best way for steelhead runs to survive is to allow them to!
    They will take care of themselves if they survive the treck to and from the ocean,,,period!

    Fight the wars we could possably win: gill nets, predation,(bass, walley, overpopulated birds),common sense,,well,,, that may be the toughest of them all.

    Thanks Ryan and send me that Bio-OP.
  5. Of course we need to harvest all the hatchery fish but why waste them. To waste a fish is really low. Might as well snag it too.

  6. There is a school of thought that feels wild fish are more aggressive and therefore more apt to take a fly than hatchery fish. Therefore its best to fish barbless. But I agree with the idea of killing all hatchery fish landed. I would assume the limit is so that more anglers are able to enjoy taking a steelhead home for the barby or the smoker as it still some of the best table fare I know. I've not fished the Methow for steelies but I would thing most of the fish landed are fairly dark by then but still need to be harvested.
  7. Well, according to the announcement the release of hatchery fish is not optional this year. 100% retention of clipped hatchery fish, 4 hatchery fish limit. Better buy a big cooler if you come over to fish.
  8. So you can be cited (probably a hefty fine, given how our beauracracy works) for c&r? C&R has been made illegal? At least for hatchery fish, and it is not like you can control what you catch. (as far as a single species is concerned)
  9. Yes, as I understand it, you can/will be cited for C&R clipped hatchery fish. The situation on these rives is not the same as other rivers*. As these rivers have ESA listed steelhead, the only reason NOAA allows them to be open is to remove the excess hatchery fish. The permit that WDFW has from NOAA is for removal of hatchery steelhead and does not allow them to operate a C&R steelhead fishery. In past years on the Methow, WDFW asked/begged anglers to voluntarily harvest hatchery fish but too many anglers ignored them and released hatchery steelhead. NOAA kept warning that if they did not improve the retention rate to at least 90%, they would deny a permit and we wouldn't have any steelheading at all. Anglers proved that they would not voluntarily comply with the conditions of the permit, so now we don't have a chioce. I applaud WDFW for doing what it takes to allow us to have a steelhead season; we're darned lucky we have one at all on these rivers. Bottom line: bring a cooler or fish elsewhere. This is not a C&R fishery.

    * I know the status changed in June but I understand the permit hasn't been modified. Anyone know if EarthJustice is appealing?
  10. unless you catch a native steelhead
    unless you catch a hatchery fish under 20"
    unless you catch a bulltrout, westslope, cutbow, chinook, or whitefish
  11. If the gamie has a tape on him you may get busted, these things are small this year, barely 20 on a few!
    Could be Jefferson fish that followed me all the damn way from MT!
  12. Thank you for clarifying CLO. You are right; one must release all those other fish that you have listed if there is no current fishery (no open season) for these fish on these rivers. I was referring to the clipped hatchery steelhead fishery (read season) that has just opened and that was under discussion. With regard to the recently opened adipose-clipped hatchery steelhead (clipped rainbow over 20") fishery on the UC and tribs, it is a kill fishery, not a C&R fishery (except as noted in the rule change).

    All other fish fall under the rules pamphlet; if there is no open fishery for them, of course they must be released if hooked accidentally and I wouldn’t suggest targeting them. I believe one must stop fishing altogether once the limit of 4 hatchery steelhead is retained if there is no other open fishery on those waters. Make sure you are clear on the rules (both the pamphlet and emergency opening) before you go as the rules may be different on different rivers.
  13. Well years ago we humans messed with the ecosystem. Now we get to be the "stewards". There just isn't anything quite like an oxymoronic situation for humor and reflection. "C & R" is possibly illegal if you choose to fish these waters. Face it we disturb the fish just by fishing. That's just the way it is.

    I'll enjoy some excellent fish fare in this case if all goes as planned.
  14. I saw a program on Seasons on the Fly over the weekend. It was on the Methow and featured Mark Few, Gonzaga basketball coach and one of his former players. They spoke directly to the point of taking out the hatchery fish. Let's not get too hasty about upping the limit or that beautiful river will look some of our westside ones after a hard day of pink salmon fishing by anyone who can afford a Zebco combo at WalMart. Though I have never fished it, it looks like a truly beautiful river and I'd hate to see it trashed like the Skokomoish this year.
  15. God damn, they even played that episode of seasons this week! Don't expect your favorite hole to be open for the next couple of weeks.
  16. I had the same thought CLO. Bad timing in my opinion.
  17. Of all things to happen here is an interesting dilema. A willing fish came to hand that had a mostly missing/healed adipose and damaged/healed dorsal. Hatchery damage or natural damage? It fought and jumped "like" a wild fish. So if you are on the specified water which would you rather face, a fine for taking a wild fish or releasing a hatchery fish mandated for harvest. Personally I have no problems releasing a fish but I understand the intent of the policy. Like the regulations, it isn't completely clear at a glance. Like life, unplanned situations occur and you have to make decisions based on the best available information.

    FYI, It was busy. Almost everyone we encountered was pleasant or gave a 100 yd berth. Biologists/WDFW were racing up and down the highway trying to get a handle on harvest by asking "have any luck?" Water temps were good and it was crystal clear. Most people attempt to color between the lines and there was evidence others were not. There seems to be a fair amount of wild fish (but my experience is usually 50/50 on rivers I fish). We picked up garbage. It was a beautiful day on a pretty river that is getting crowded just like everywhere else. If you go may you find some room to remember...it isn't really about the fish.

  18. Regardless of where you stand on the whole "Native vs Hatchery" ordeal, let's agree on this - we all love the Great Steelie. However, if we don't play by their rules on this, our days fishing for steelies on the Methow will be shortened. How? Say one of those "purists" releases a hatchery fish and later is questioned by an official about the fish they released, what do you think the reply will be? Yep! "Oh, that was a native." Unless that official is right there, I can all but guarantee you that's what will be said! That little white lie will only add to the tally of natives allowed to be caught. Though it may be an estimate, once that number is reached (whatever it may be) the river will be closed. Look it up, it's true.

    Please, please swallow your pride on this matter, look the other way and bonk it on the head. Put it in a black bag so you don't have to look at it, then give it to that Zebco carring Wal-Mart guy. I know it's hard...
  19. Klickman, I am not trying to advocate wasting fish. I LOVE smoked steelhead, some of the best tasting stuff on earth, BUT if I caught a real boot of a HATCHERY fish and I knew I would not enjoy eating it, then YES I may consider bonking it and donating it to the fingerling salmonids in the river.

    Taking it home and not consuming it would be wasteful, returning precious nutrients to a river, not so much in my opinion.

    But then again, I dont often catch boots because I dont fish for summer-runs in the winter and early spring.

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