Cowlitz wild fish

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Dan Page, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. FinLuver Active Member

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    Mid-Willamette Valley
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    " With each passing generation of natural reproduction, the re-introduced fish are becoming more like the endemic native wild fish that originally inhabited the upper watershed."

    Funny...those "same studies" say the contrary.

    guessitdependswholobbyingthestats:oops:
  2. PT Physhicist

    Posts: 3,544
    Edmonds, WA
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    What studies? I'd be interested to read up on that.
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  3. Dan Page Active Member

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    Yelm, Wa., USA.
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    Seems to me naturally reproducing hatchery fish in the wild would eventually develop survival traits like their wild cousins. The glitch is in the first few generations there would be low survival with these hatchery X hatchery crosses and lower survival with hatchery X wild crosses as many studies indicate. I would think after a few generations of these crosses you would begin to have some hardy wild-like fish. If a run of wild fish were in a threatened state this initial process could reduce wild #'s and hardiness significantly for a few generations or in the worst case lead to it's demise.
  4. Salmo_g Active Member

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    FinLuver,

    That part of my post that you quoted is my projection and not the product of any study. However, like PT I'm not aware of any of the hatchery/wild interaction studies saying the contrary. Only that the data say that hatchery fish reproduce less effectively in the natural environment.

    I don't know how one goes about "lobbying the stats" if you're suggesting that data and conclusions are being manipulated to conform to an agenda.

    So what do you think happens when hatchery fish are introduced to and allowed to reproduce in the natural environment for successive generations? Does their reproductive success remain static at the low level of the F1 generation that was re-introduced? If so, why? The fish in the upper Cowlitz basin are subjected to the same pressures of natural selection as wild fish in any other river. Wouldn't you expect selection for attributes that are most fit for the natural environment, and wouldn't that move each subsequent generation toward the same fitness possessed by wild populations in general? If not, why not?

    Sg
  5. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 3,967
    Edgewood, WA
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    When I was very active in NWSSC we tried the same approach to trap and move fish above Howard Hansen Dam on the Green River (late 80's through mid 90's). Like the Cowlitz, there is some absolutely great water above the dams and the hope was that the fish would survive the downstream migration and this would rally help the returns. But politics and problems with the Corp, WDFW, and tribes ensued and it never turned out as hoped.

    My largest steelhead ever was caught up near Shangrila (some of the older members may know where that is)...21 lbs weighed (legal back then)...I'll never forget it. Caught many, many on the Cowlitz in the upper teens back in that time frame as well. It really is a damn shame these once fabled rivers are in such tough shape.

    But, as you note, the mitigation from the power companies and tribes looks to be paying dividends and hopefully this can be replicated on other systems...sooner than later.
  6. FinLuver Active Member

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    Check out the studies that the Steamboaters and Mckenzie River Fly Fishers quote often in their lawsuits.

    I'm not always in agreement with "their" studies that support their case(s).

    btw...it's on the internet...if one takes the time to look.;)
  7. Chris Bellows The Thought Train

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    many of us have been following the hatchery x wild debate for some time and have read as many of the relevant studies as possible. the idea that there are studies showing positive hatchery x wild interactions comes up from time to time on this forum and it seems like the pro-hatchery folks either cannot show us a study or tell us to google it (the internet ages version of "F off!")

    if these studies actually exist it would be nice if you would post them so passionate anglers and conservationists could read them.

    if you won't post them, we'll continue to think you are not someone who is serious about honest debate.
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  8. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    Edgewood, WA
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    Interpretation; "we' are passionate anglers and conservationists... (unlike some of you). Plus, he misses the point that this is wild-hatchery stock. rofl1.gif
  9. Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

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    bellingham wa
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    Don't put words into others mouths. Let people speak for themselves. Mr. Bellows was quite clear. He did not say what you are charging that he did. Pretty fucking rude if you ask me.


    I agree with Chris. I would love to see studies that show wild X hatchery interactions being positive. If there were a plausable safe way to use hatcheries to increase runs with existing wild stocks I would be thrilled. Hell we have the hatcheries already.



    Go Sox,
    cds
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  10. Dan Page Active Member

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    Yelm, Wa., USA.
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    Seems to me it's been done and being done. How does one explain the hatchery fish in the upper Kalama with tags requesting these fish be released? Don't know what the game plan is here, but they are there for some breeding purpose.
  11. FinLuver Active Member

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    Folks...before you go to taking each others heads off...

    It's not necessarily the studies, but the use of those studies to say something that they do not say, only to convince you to move in a particular direction.

    Kinda like statistics...it's only has meaning to ones interpretation and the point that you want to convey.
  12. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    There are at least attempts to use hatcheries to increase the numbers of wild produced fish. One example I am aware of is the Tucannon River. Wild Tucannon fish are captured and spawned. The offspring are not clipped before being released. I think the logic is that the numbers of wild fish are so low some years, there is concern about them winking out of existence. Also, the Tucannon steelhead program is going to all endemic stock. My understanding is once the program is producing 150,000 smolt a year, they will begin clipping them again. I'm not sure if they will get all brood stock from the resulting clipped fish, or still dip into the wild reared pool.

    These are not "native" fish, and I don't think I have heard anyone call them that. But the endemic/wild producing fish do seem to come home (hatchery stray rate with Lyons Ferry stocks is sometimes 80%), and succeed in reproducing.

    The end result should be wild producing steelhead, and hatchery stocks that actually come back to place they were planted and hatchery fish that IF they spawn with wild reproducing fish, should not be all that dissimilar.
  13. jwg Active Member

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    West Richland, WA
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    Correct me if I am wrong here.
    It was my understanding that hatchery raised fish were disruptive to all the fish in the stream.
    In this case couldn't hatchery raised fish, even if from the endemic genetic stock, have a negative impact on wild-reared stocks?
    Jay
  14. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    That's the way it came across to me and my interpretation of what he meant... not the first post from him I've read on the subject of the great hatchery vs. wild debate. I left out the (the internet ages version of "F off!") part. If I got it wrong, let him speak for himself. There is a core of anti-hatchery folks on the forum that come across as both arrogant and dismissive.

    The OP is about getting returning un-clipped fish into parts of the various watersheds long ago made inaccessible to them. We all rail about habitat, habitat, habitat...well, they are making attempts to use what remains of the best parts which are conducive to natural reproduction. Makes sense to many of us who are also passionate about various fish species and conservationists.
  15. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    I think hatchery stocks certainly could be a negative influencer. However if a system has fewer fish than it has habitat and forage to support, I am guessing it is less of a problem. Using my example from above, it appears to me that much of the spawning and rearing habitat in the Tucannon is in pretty good shape and underutilized.

    I think given the issues with downstream migration, predation, etc, that boosting the wild spawn population with artificial propagation is not only a good idea in the Tucannon, I think it is essential. I have little to base this on, but I suspect the Snake river dams had a huge deleterious effect on the Tucannon fish (which, FWIW includes spawners in the Tucannon, Palouse, and a few other small streams).

    To paraphrase what others have said, things really have to be evaluated on a river-by-river basis. Without help, I think the Tuc fish are screwed.
  16. Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

    Posts: 1,786
    Bellingham Wa.
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    I don't know much about the Cowlitz river, but if the steelhead have been blocked from reaching the upper river for years and what they are doing is having some good results that is great. Hatcheries have their place no doubt, and I'm sure that as Salmo-G suggested the fish through natural selection will go native sooner or later.

    Here is an interesting study, that I have posted before: http://nativefishsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/Chilcote-et-al-2011-h-w-reduced-recruitment.pdf

    P.S. to save yourself some time, read the abstract, then the discussion and you'll get the gist.
  17. Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

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    Bellingham Wa.
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  18. jwg Active Member

    Posts: 537
    West Richland, WA
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    What I noticed about this was that once the wild producing steelhead populations are improved, they still plan to run the hatcheries. That's where I thought continued hatchery production might be counterproductive. I am not opposed to spawning endemic fish to improve populations and use of existing habitat.
    J
  19. Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

    Posts: 1,786
    Bellingham Wa.
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    There has been a wild brood stock program for spring chinook on the N. fork Nooksack for 25+ years and it has done near nothing to improve wild spawning and contribute significant stray rates to the S. fork spring chinook, which are just hanging on. Does not make much sense since there has been no fishery for these fish ( sport, commercial or Tribal), for 35+ years.
  20. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    I agree, if wild fish are paramount importance, continued hatchery supplementation (especially of marked/harvestable fish) seems like a bad call.

    I suspect part of this stems from differing priorities, the Federal agencies want to protect the naturally producing fish in the basin, and they ultimately issue the permit to allow a fishery over listed stocks. WDFW (as an agency, not particular staff) is likely concerned about both compliance with ESA listing/protecting natural producers AND providing a recreational fishery.

    Personally I think they should continue to supplement until (IF) the wild producing population stabilizes, but never mark any of the fish or allow harvest of unclipped fish. They would need to produce far fewer fish and those fish would not be subject to harvest except as bycatch. If they wanted to sort adults for hatchery brood, they could clip an other fin (Ringold did this for a while I think).