CnR Wild Steelhead Mortality and NOAA 4%

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Chris DeLeone, Apr 8, 2011.

  1. and i said, 80% of how many upstream fish do the sport anglers catch. now if we have a bank to bank gillnet fishery taking what 80-90%, give me a better number if you can, than 80% of the 10-20% of fish that escape the nets does sound a bit different does it not than 'sport anglers catch 80% of the steelhead'. so there you have the 'data' i was objecting too. this is the same sort of voodoo statistical crap WDFW posts all the time and, unfortunately, no one seems inclined to question. no worries though, the adults are in charge!
  2. GT:

    Your viewpoints on WDFW and opinions about Native Americans have been well "documented" in many of your previous posts. If you would be more humble/open minded, you would have more creditability and not be so prone to hijack a thread!

  3. I still can't wrap my head around why "they" (NOAA or WDFW) can't just close selective rivers. On a rotating basis for three years each, to all fishing, the number of fish would really jump regardless of what happens in the sound.
  4. Chris, thanks for bringing this up. Interesting discussion. Curt, thank you for your perspective and professional opinion as well. GT, for the sake of being accused of jumping your shit again...well...nevermind, I thought the thread was about Catch and Release Mortality.
  5. i8
    how can you say that if we close rivers/systems on a three year cycle it would help the number of fish in that designated system? I would love to see the data to prove that statement
    The Sky has been closed to CnR fishing for 10 years now, the Stilly is in the same ball park - how have those systems rebounded.
    I want to make it clear - NOAA is no friend to the angler nor the fish. They close a system down put an escapement value on it like 4% and sit back and watch. Nothing else is done, thats it. We have not seen from any of the parties involved a study on PS - thats where are issue is, our fish don't get to the open ocean. I don't know how you study PS - close all commerical fishing, tag smolt and see what kills them, I don't know. What I do know is the marine survival excuse is BS - we have seen good returns (better than PS) from N Ca, the Columbia, the Lower mainland, the Dean and the Skeena - All better than PS. We need to know what the hell is taking our fish in PS.
  6. Once again we need to remember that the steelhead that Chris was referring to at the start of this disucssion are the ESA listed (threatened) Puget Sound fish. The majority of the folks that have looked at the available steelhead data for region agree that fishing impacts have very little to do with the current status of those fish.

    A question that has not been asked is where that 4% allowable fishing impacts comes from? It is my understanding that over the last decade the aggregrate impact from fishing on those steelhead populations has averaged 4%. Since the feds agree that recent fishing impacts are not the driver in the current status of the fish thus it was determined that such impacts are not likely to raise the likelyhood of extinction. Are there populations within the region that could safely tolerate higher impacts? Probably (the Skagit comes to mind) however as I mentioned earlier to exceed that 4% level an approved basin specific plan with justification for an elevated allowable impact level is needed. Such a plan would have to be co-manager developed and NMFS approved; while WDFW may be interested in moving such an approach forward not sure there is the same interest in the tribial community (currently steelhead fising is not a high tribial priority in the region).

    Bottomline since I'm now in my mid-60s I expect to never again cast a fly on any of the north Sound "S" rivers during the spring. Guess I have become just another old man reliving the memories from the "good ole days" - fortunately I have a memory bank crammed with some unbelievable "S" river fishing memories.

    Tight lines
  7. I find it very hard to believe that recreational fisherman could catch 50% to 80% of the total number of fish returning to any river.
  8. Chris,

    I'm curious about how well informed the bio you spoke with is regarding steelhead fishing on both the Hoh and the Skagit. As Smalma points out, a 50% sport CNR catch rate on the Skagit is possible, but I doubt it gets that high. The reason for my doubt is because of the overall run timing and the areas of the Skagit that are open to fishing. Although I'd estimate that 95% of the Skagit wild winter run have entered fresh water by March 31, a much lower percentage of the fish are in areas open to fishing at the time the fish are present. The fish tend to move steadily through the tidally influenced Skagit, so they are vulnerable to the lower river plunking fishery for only a short time. Fish between Mt. Vernon and the Dalles bridge are vulnerable to catch through March 15, but a significant % of the run isn't even in that reach until the river typically closes. I think the catch rate from the Dalles bridge upstream could easily be 50%, or more in years when water conditions stimulate the fish to move upstream early. However, on average a large % of the run holds and stages in the middle river and doesn't even migrate upstream to spawning areas above the Dalles until after the usual April 30 closure. So if the 50% catch rate is applied to only that fraction of the run that is in open fishing areas, yeah, it's highly likely. But if it is being applied to the entire run, which is how a fishery manager ought to be thinking of it IMO, then no, that isn't likely under average conditions.

    Similarly, in regards to the Hoh, the sport catch of 80% of the steelhead (minus the tribal net catch obviously) does not represent average conditions. That estimate is specific to 2010, when there was an unusually high percentage of sport fishable days in terms of water height and clarity. Above average fishing conditions existed in 2010, exactly the opposite of the below average conditions in 2011. Also, the Hoh Tribe significantly reduced the number of gillnet fishing days in 2010 (also 2011). The above average steelhead abundance, coupled with the above average sport fishing conditions led to an unprecedented number of angler days fishing, all of which led to an above average catch rate on Hoh River steelhead in 2010.

    Details matter when making estimates of total catch and catch rates.

    As for your question about angling restrictions like no fishing from a boat, this is really a social issue more than a biological one. Conservation needs can be met through a variety of management measures, the simplest one being to close a river to any fishing. The moment one considers allowing some kind of fishing, whether it's a limited entry limited time period harvest fishery, or a longer season CNR fishery with certain gear or fishing style restrictions, one opens the door to the nuances of social preference, a veritable sh!tstorm for sure! My suggestion of fly fishing only, swung fly of course, never enjoys much popularity among my conventional gear-addicted friends and acquaintances.

  9. I had a bit of a eureka moments this morning in Costco regarding this discussion

    Let's take a run size of 100 fish (for ease of math) If 50% are expected to be caught, that is 50 fish. Wit ha 10% mortality that is 5 fish or 5% of the run. Now that's awful close to the 4% figure that could theoretically be killed under the current system.

    By eliminating fishing out of a boat, I believe that you could justify the 50% number be reduced (especially on the huge skagit) with this restriction. Another way to tip the numbers would be to eliminate the hatchery fish all together. That would lead to far fewer encounters with wild fish. Additionally, it would not effect the flyfishing at all. SOB's don't bite worth a shit anyhow. As a tactic it has the potential to help the runs rebound where as eliminating the C&R season does nothing towards recovery.

    I understand that any of these plans are a bit self serving in that my method of fishing (flyfishing) is done from the bank and all but requires wild fish in the winter. Maybe it's time to be a bit self serving though. Up until this point we flyfishermen are the most effected.

    2-1 (4th),
  10. SG - the 50% catchrate is a guideline for CnR mortality with the co-managers and NOAA I think - So they say that the run size is 6000, 3000 of those fish get hooked and the CnR mortality is 300 fish (really about what the tibes on the Skagit take in a season - see the logic). This would also be on run timing - some years the bulk of the Skagit run was in late Feb thru mid March and the later run was very weak (Like last year) - so you very well could get more angler contact in the Skagit prior to the mid March Close. I have always wondered how many Skagit fish get hooked in a season and estimated it at about 1500 - the 50% was a shock to me for that system.

    I don't know much about the Hoh and I heard that more info in on Bob Balls site somewhere but I could not find it.
    Thanks again to both you and Curt for your input on this topic
  11. is there are report somewhwere?
  12. Chris,

    Agreed that it could occur when the late component of the Skagit run doesn't materialize, but that IMO is an anomoly unlikely to occur except under some kind of extreme condition. A run as low as 2010 is an extreme condition that could explain most to all of the exception. I think you shed the light on the principle logic at work in this estimation: treaty and non-treaty take are equal, which is the best possible outcome for the co-managers without having to take a serious look at what's going on.

  13. Kelvin,

    If you go where GT's comments lead, it just makes you appear as ignorant as him. Just sayin'.

  14. If NOAA has a study it should be public.

    I have a client that was very high up in NOAA fact the director at one time for many years, we speak of these issues every time we fish.
    There is a percentage of NOAA that is against fishing,,, period, being a government agency there apt to be ran as government in some areas of operation, hence the rediculouse red tape.
    There are officers in that organization that until a few years ago never herd of a C/R guide service, no,,, really,,, never herd of the concept. I would bet your guy is an anti angler and is filling you with BS. If not he can and should produce the study.
    Also it is totally like any agency to react too late to an issue then over react when they get around to it, exactly why WDFW should have NEVER let the steelhead issue go FEDERAL!

    Thanks for the thread Chris it is the next issue at hand and if we do not demand an exact study on the mortality rate we may loose fishing for steelhead all togeather by federal over reaction and poor timing.
    I personally feel 10% is a LIBERAL number when bait and barbs are NOT used. Not to stir the pot but there is some difference in mortality between angling styles and its not allways going to be higher the more you catch.
  15. OMG! My head hurts just reading some of this crap. Do you suggest they close selective rivers or selected rivers? And what's that going to do? Bug, not picking on you but put some thought into your suggestions and maybe do some homework before typing crap on a keyboard.

    The answers seem very simple until you take all variables into account. I say close the rivers down to all user groups other than me.
  16. I'm not sure what you are getting at PT. It's been suggested before, and has been done in other states including Montana for cutties with great success. Please enlighten us. You seem to be so smart, give some reasons why this will not work rather than just bash my suggestion.

    I'm not sure that you have done your homework. I don't remember you trashing the idea when it was brought up before a while back. Again, please do enlighten us oh wise one.
  17. I8abug,

    Excuse me for butting in, but I couldn't help but notice you are lacking in the homework department. I thought about commenting earlier, but thought your suggestion might just disappear, which is where it belongs. If you read the many threads (you'd have to search given your join date) about steelhead management and conservation, you would be aware that any detailed analysis of the steelhead data on any WA river shows that present harvest levels has little or no effect on the run sizes, meaning the proximate cause of steelhead run sizes is one or more factors other than harvest. That being the case, closing selective or selected rivers on any three year rotating basis would have no measurable effect on any of those rivers' productivity of steelhead. That being the case, what would be the point in executing your suggestion?

    If it was done for cutthroat in MT and was successful, that means that harvest was a proximate cause or influence on population size. However, that doesn't mean that the same condition or situation is applicable to WA steelhead runs. Or as they say, what's that got to do with the price of milk in Chicago? Not really trying to be a smart ass; just trying to mix some up to date fish management sense with your suggestion.

  18. Thanks for the reply Sg, at least someone is willing to enlighten me. However, I would like to see the data but I have a hard time navigating through the links to know what to find. Maybe you could point the way for me. I'm very interested in seeing the data on rivers that have been closed for three years, or even two, if it's been done.

    I was not aware that this has even been attempted before. If the mortality rate is as high as they claim from CnR, then I don't know how it couldn't help. Still would like to know where this has been done before in WA.

    Thanks again for replying! :thumb:
  19. I forgot to mention that there is a river in Eastern Washington that was closed, reopened, then shortened the season by two weeks just for the sake of spawning steelhead. This closure was to support the returning numbers of fish.

    So, if by closing a river for just two weeks can make a could it not help for a few years? If I'm missing something please help. If you going to respond like PT, never mind. An adult response would be appreciated.
  20. i8abug -
    It would be wonderful if your theory of closing rivers leading to recoveried stocks actually worked. The current management trend will assure that we will see more and more closures (one of the few actions available WDFW) that however that does not address the dominate factors limiting steelhead populations in areas like Puget Sound.

    Not sure what sort of report you are looking for but here is a link that might get you started.

    The lit cite section should give you lots of references. Of even more interest may be the appendices for the various ESUs where the available run reconstruction for various rivers is given - just click on the region (ESU) of interest. Unfortunately in most cases the data ends with 2005.

    In the Puget Sound region there are several rivers that hvae been closed (at least for the winter seasons) for some time - of the top of my head that list includes the Cedar, Nisqually, Hamma Hamma, Duckabush, Dosewwallips, and Skokomish. The above referenced data as well as a call or email to the local or headquarters WDFW office requesting the lates (through 2010?) on steelhead escapements might prove interesting. Again off the top of my head (I'm too lazy to go pull the data together) the escapements in all but one of the "D" rivers have not impoved (some actually declined). The one case where there was an improvement there has been enchancement studies using some new wild brood stock techniques however it remains unclear what will happen if those enhancement efforts end.

    BTW -
    Via the link provided above I see there was a year on the Hoh where the recreational harvest was 38% of the sport harvest plus escapement. Since I have not fished the Hoh is it possible that under good conditions that the numbers of steelhead CnR released match or exceed the number harvested?

    Tight lines

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