Cowlitz wild fish

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

  1. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    Are you saying un-clipped fish realize they're wild don't return to the hatcheries?
     
  2. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    Similar situation on the Green and why we tried to set-up the trap and truck above HH dam in the early 90's. Awesome sections of water for them, but the return trip not so good. As pointed out, it does sound like the out-migration through PS is the primary difference.

    Agree that w/o hatchery stock, we'd just be talking about steelhead fishing and the classifieds section will have some killer deals on swing rods.

    What is the current status on the proposed dam on the Skykomish? Latest info I could find was from November.
     
  3. Phil Fravel

    Phil Fravel Friendly

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    Salmo-g

    Is there any data on timing from when Farm raised fish pens were introduced in British Columbia and the decline in Puget Sound Steelhead
     
  4. TomB

    TomB Active Member

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    I don't chime in much anymore but I did want to chime in to address the idea that steelhead fishing must be closed in Washington if no hatchery fish are planted. While this has been the case de facto in Puget Sound and the east side, it does not have to be the case. The statewide steelhead management plan clearly states that fisheries may be permitted in wild steelhead gene banks when those wild stocks are meeting management objectives. Obviously where fish are listed, it also requires a NOAA permit. In the lower columbia region, the Wind River has been open to a catch and release fishery for summer steelhead despite an ESA listing and no hatchery plants since the late 90's, but only in years when it exceeds 500 fish. This was enabled by WDFW seeking and receiving from NOAA a permit to conduct that fishery based on high quality population monitoring data that suggested such a fishery would not have significant adverse impacts on the stock. The SF Toutle has no winter hatchery plants but it remains open until March 15 providing a winter fishery for wild winter steelhead, and historically, when abundance was greater, was open later. As genebanks are rolled out in the Lower Columbia, it has been publicly stated by the department that they plan to keep those rivers open with at least the current seasons, subject to the recommendations of their steelhead workgroups, and provided wild populations are meeting management goals. The keys to having such fisheries are 1) the wild population is meeting management goals--either historic escapement goals, or goals based on high quality defensible current data; 2) WDFW realizes there is interest in a watershed in a fishery targeting wild fish, with or without retention opportunity; 3) WDFW has sought and received permits to conduct such a fishery.
     
  5. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    Wow, we all should stop and listen to ourselves... it's simply amazing that decisions about whether fisheries are open or closed are being made based on numbers like these.

    (no offense intended Tom... the example you gave just makes the point).
     
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  6. TomB

    TomB Active Member

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    The fishery is opened when 500 or more fish are present because 20 years of high quality adult and smolt monitoring data has shown that once adult abundance reaches 500 fish, smolt production stops increasing more than negligibly. This suggests that with the current habitat conditions and fitness of the population, 500 fish fully seed the watershed. Because there is uncertainty in abundance estimates, spawner-recruit analysis, and fishery impacts, the fishery is managed to be very low impact (c&r and selective gear and open for only a couple months in the fall). There have been some years where abundance was high enough that the population could have withstood greater impacts. The Wind research has been very instructive because what it suggests is that if we want more adult fish, we need better smolt to adult survival--better ocean survival, less loss of steelhead to direct and indirect mortality in mainstem fisheries (treaty, sport and commercial), and better survival in their short stint in the hydrosystem as smolts. Given current habitat, increasing adult escapement will not, on average, have any effect on subsequent returns once you are above 500 fish plus or minus some buffer for uncertainty and random chance.
     
  7. Phil Fravel

    Phil Fravel Friendly

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    500 sounds real small.

    Question Tom. If more fish were aloud to spawn then perhaps more smolt would reside in the smaller creeks and streams perhaps for a year or two before going to sea. Allowing a broader period of time for outward migration. Then likewise for a broader period of time for return.
     
  8. Phil Fravel

    Phil Fravel Friendly

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    Was that 500 only for the Green River section of the NF Toutle?
     
  9. TomB

    TomB Active Member

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    500 was in reference to the Wind, not the NF Toutle/Green.
     
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  10. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

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    I think Tom answered this question before you asked it.

    " because 20 years of high quality adult and smolt monitoring data has shown that once adult abundance reaches 500 fish, smolt production stops increasing more than negligibly. This suggests that with the current habitat conditions and fitness of the population, 500 fish fully seed the watershed."

    A hard concept to wrap your head around, but more fish does not always equal more fish. At some point there will be a saturation point, or what is called "carrying capacity" is reached. And, despite our wishes that this be a constant number year after year it will never be. Watersheds are dynamic systems, ever more so with man's involvement and presence.
     
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  11. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

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    No, that is not what I said.

    You asked "Why only the Cowlitz...why not the S rivers as well?"

    There is no dam on the Sauk, NF Stilly, Sky, etc. for hatchery fish or wild fish to try and navigate through on their way to where they are going. Hence, no collection point to separate marked and unmarked fish for 'trucking'.
     
  12. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    So steelhead watershed's are dynamic systems with both habitat and carrying capacity trending downwards... why then do you support fishing over conditions like these? When the example given get's to say 250 fish, to fully seed the (further deteriorated) watershed, is that the new acceptable number? How about 100 or 50?

    Do you think that this same discussion, held 20 to 30 years ago, would be anticipating numbers like 500? Will the discussion 20 years from now be using 200 as fully seeded... let's fish them? Seems to me if one truly cares about the species survival, they make the ultimate sacrifice and stop fishing them all together...and devote their time and energy to getting that done as opposed to pushing for ways to fish them.
     
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  13. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

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    Define survival. At what point can we consider them "survived"?
     
  14. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    How about you answer my question first. If 500 is the carry capacity for this example as of today, but that changes to 200 in say 2020, is that the new acceptable number? How about if that number goes to 100? It appears to me that you think it's fine to simply re-stripe the reference line for the period in which you want to have the discussion.

    It also seems to me that your want to fish outweighs your intrinsic sense not too. I say that because I honestly don't think anyone on this forum wants to be the one saying "I caught the last one". I like to have my cake and eat it too... just haven't quite figured out how to make that reality.
     
  15. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

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    They did a twenty year study and 500 is the number they came up with. I don't know what the number will be in the future - it might be 200 or with the results of this study, stream restoration, responsible fishing, it might very well be 10,000! I don't know and neither do you

    Where is your study and the number you came up with?

    I want to fish responsibly and you want all of us to stop fishing entirely. Feel free to follow your knee jerk reaction. No one is stopping you...No one is forcing you or anyone else to fish where they don't feel that it is prudent. Follow your 'feelings' where ever they take you. But if you want others to hop on the bus you'd better have a destination.

    So again, define survival. When can we determine that they have survived?
     
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  16. Phil Fravel

    Phil Fravel Friendly

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    I don't believe that was Ferrstonanglers point.

    Most likely a reference as to how the state manages its escapement goals. They are not meet year after year until a river is toast. One would have to wonder why only 500 fish enough. Ok so the science says so. Are we still challenging that science to make sure it is true? You cant help but to look at the Pink runs of the past 10 years "I know its a different fish". Plenty of fish, and plenty returning, no escapement goals Same dams same habitat same global conditions.
     
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  17. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    Don't try and change the point here with your silly question. Steelhead stocks are declining and the trend is downward as a whole...some DPS already earning places on the ESA. When the long term trend lines are reversed, then well know the factors causing the declines are being resolved and that should be the point at which we discuss opening a river system for fishing.

    In the case of the Skagit, I'm saying not to fish it -- because that, for sure, will not be a contributor to any further damage and is within each of ours immediate control. Yes, I will definitely take the bus with a known destination... can only hope others will choose to do the same.
     
  18. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

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    Silly question! Just because you have no answer doesn't make it silly.

    Show me, hell, show all of us the PROOF that C&R fishing is a contributor to decline. There are several scientists on this forum that have explained things to you over and over and yet you refuse to believe them because you "think" you know better than those that actually do the hands on science! Your main purpose is to spend your time at the keyboard arguing trying to get a reaction out of me and others.

    Fine. I will take one for the team.

    You are a pathetic example of the blind wanting to lead the blind, have no credibility, and what I'm sure you perceive as your "cuteness" is nothing but a irritant to the rest of us. Please, for the sake of the fish, pack up your belongings and remove them and your carbon footprint from the area!

    Exactly when will steelhead be "saved" or "survived" or whatever other sensational phrase you want to use?
    When? How many? Give us the answer!

    Please! Somebody fucking ban me from this site so he doesn't involve himself in anymore of my discussions.
     
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  19. Drifter

    Drifter Active Member

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    So after following this thread and others of this nature about wild steelhead what everyone wants on this site is a petting zoo?

    I thought the main goal was to get wild fish numbers back to good enough returns to have take fisheries in most river systems throughout the northwest. It seems by reading this it's just like the anti hunters (tree hugger) not wanting people to kill deer and elk. If the main goal is a petting zoo I want nothing to do with it! If the goal is to get wild runs back to good enough numbers to have take fisheries than I'm all in.

    Managing for 500 fish and catch and release being the goal seems like a horrible Idea to me. Managing for 500 fish and keeping it that way for the few that want catch and release seems very "PLEASE THE FEW" and fuck the rest of the people to me! The truth is there are thousands if not a million people to think about on this subject not just fly fisherman. Fly fisherman only make up about what? 10% of the fishing community. which means 10% of the money from lic. sales. I agree with freestone if you want them back quit fishing over them and let them come back! to make some petting zoo for the few is insane!!! let the numbers come back to harvest levels and than start fishing again! But of coarse I'm a simpleton!

    So what is "THE MAIN GOAL" for the future??????
     
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  20. Jason Rolfe

    Jason Rolfe Wanderer

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    I think it would be awesome to have fish in harvestable numbers. I'd love to be able to go fishing, catch and kill a fish, and bring it home to feed me and my friends and my eventual family. That is certainly part of the reason I volunteer for different conservation organizations, donate money to them, write letters to my legislators and others, and support movements like Occupy Skagit.

    I see creating a "petting zoo," as you put it, as a step in the process. As has been noted over and over again in these threads--CnR fishing does not have an impact on fish abundance. There are several other factors that do, and I personally am doing what I can to change those factors. Will it work? Who knows?!

    I think it should be less a question of what is the main goal for the future, but more what is YOUR main goal for the future. I think your goal is a good one, and I hope you are doing whatever you can to make it happen!
     

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