Cowlitz wild fish

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

  1. meeting state escapement levels - simple
    You don't support OS - so you give us total run size numbers to allow a CnR fishery on the Skagit in 2020, with your philosophy of don't catch them and let them build - 2020 would be 10 years of no angler influence on them
    2006 - 7046
    2007 - 4703
    2008 - 5189
    2009 - 2629 - last year of a managed CnR fishery
    2010 - 4113
    2011 - 5655
    2012 - 6100
    2013 - 8600
    2014 -
    2015 -
    2016 -
    2017 -
    2018 -
    2020 - FSA has now allowed a CnR fishery on the Skagit River
    Charles Sullivan likes this.
  2. In the case of the Skagit, you are meeting a well buffered escapement.

    I would not fish a run of steelhead if I logically thought that it was harming the run.

    Go Sox,

  3. FSA--I haven't liked a lot of your other contributions to these discussions, but I think this is a very fair question.

    To rephrase it, I think one could ask the question--at what point (if any) does CnR mortality begin to have an impact on the viability of the runs? Is it possible for CnR to have an impact, or is that basically a non starter?

    If (and FSA, I know you don't personally agree with this idea) at certain escapement levels we can safely say that CnR mortality has no effect on the run, with habitat, marine survival, etc., being the main problems; then is there a point at which CnR mortality will begin to have a detrimental effect?

    In my simplified view of it, I imagine a graph with two lines: one is the CnR mortality (as a percentage, or something), and one is escapement or smolt numbers or something like that. I imagine that where the lines meet on the graph (if they ever do), would be the point where CnR mortality does begin to have an effect on the run.

    Now, I am no scientist and I'm just trying to understand the numbers in a very general way. And I know that I've probably used some of the terminology incorrectly here, so I apologize. Hopefully one of our experts can chime in on this idea. (Poor Salmo g--I'd like to buy the guy a beer for all the time he puts into explaining the ins and outs of this stuff).

  4. Wow, go away for a day and look at all the responses. First off, thanks to Salmo g. for the fantastic explanations of density dependence and its role in limiting production in freshwater for steelhead! Another couple points: as Salmo mentions, while habitat may limit smolt abundance to around 25,000 smolts in the Wind, this does not limit adult abundance to 500 adults. For example, with that smolt abundance and smolt to adult return rates comparable to those experienced in many regional rivers as recently as the 1980's, and currently in the northern end of their range, the return would be several thousand adults--which would still on average produce 25,000 smolts as far as anyone can tell. In fact, for what it is worth, in a couple years of the data I have seen, the well known Situk River in Alaska produced roughly 25,000 smolts--but experienced returns of 3-8 thousand. Resource managers cannot control smolt to adult survival but they can ensure that fisheries not cut into a river's ability to produce those adults given the right marine survival conditions. Hence requiring the river be seeded to open a low impact fishery on the Wind. And it's not as if the river is being managed down to the line either. In every year since the river was reopened in 2006, the minimum target has been exceeded by at least 33% and in the best year, by 200%. This year, with marine survival down throughout the Columbia, the Wind was closed before the season even opened. To anyone who doesn't think a river can sustain a low impact fishery when it is more than fully seeded, I pose the question, under what conditions should it be opened? This question, of course, does not mean that I advocate managing for that minimum abundance. Quite to the contrary in fact. A catch and release fishery, after all, is best when escapement is maximized, rather than held to minimum seeding levels. In the future, we can all hope not only for improved marine survival, but that habitat restoration and hatchery reform improve the productivity and capacity of our steelhead rivers.
  5. And here is the answer again - for the umpteenth time.

    When the projected escapement is below the level established by those that actually do the science, study the data, and set the number. Just like we have done for the last five years, and in fact were doing before the ESA listing included the Skagit unnecessarily.

    Print that out, paste it up on your wall, and read it daily so you won't have to ask it over, and over, and over, and over...

    As we have told you many times, the Skagit is the most conservatively managed system in the state, and was before the ESA listing. We have sacrificed, gladly, many seasons of not fishing to meet management goals and will do so again in the future. We are not asking for any changes in these goals or any changes in the implementation. In my discussion with NOAA, the director has indicated that all we need to provide them is a basin specific steelhead plan agreed to by all the co-managers and fishing C&R on the Skagit will be a reality.

    But of already know all of this...and just enjoy arguing.

    Another question for you.
    Does it seem right to you that basins less healthy than the Skagit are allowed to "borrow" impacts from the Skagit in order to support the limited fisheries that they still have over 'actual' depressed stocks? Does that seem right to you? Because that is what is happening and will continue to happen until there is a basin by basin determination in place.

    That is the main push of OS - basin by basin management. When that happens, the fish will determine when it is safe to fish for them, stream by stream, as it should be.

    Print all of that out and stick it up on your wall. Read through it carefully before you ask any more pointless questions.
  6. Lot's of real good information here in this thread. I appreciate it.

    Go Sox,
    Chris Johnson likes this.
  7. I found some interesting "quick" reference guides for minimum capacity and habitat capacity to compare the SW. Washington river to a couple of the NW Oregon rivers in the region. The numbers are staggering! These are quick hatchery reform write-up's compared to pages and pages of data to read through. I was just trying to see figures and differences in the run differences between rivers right across the Columbia from each other for our two states.

    The habitat carrying capacity of the Sandy river and Clackamas rivers triple that of the Washington rivers = quite shocking to me and further explains the difference in Oregon and Washington rivers in the same region being so different! I never would of thought there would be this huge of a difference for these rivers. anyway here are the studies which I'm sure is probably nothing new to most on here but comparing the rivers was a shock!

    First the Cowlitz upper and lower sections

    now The Kalama

    Washougal river

    Wind river

    Eastfork lewis

    Sandy river Oregon

    Clackamas river

    If this is not a good quick reference to these rivers please let me know! I know the information is out-dated but I just wanted a quick reference to the difference in the numbers from our area rivers since 15 to 20 years ago numbers I looked at were good for Oregon. If I am reading these study numbers all wrong also please let me know.

    But it seems there is a very good reason our rivers have more fish right now! Like I state, correct me if I'm wrong!

    The difference was quite shocking to me!!! And my god the Sandy is one hell of a river system - I would of never known without looking at these numbers and comparisons.
  8. Perhaps this is a little off topic. But how do the interested parties get the ball rollling in putting together a basin specific steelhead plan for the Skagit River that both the tribes and the WDFW will sign off on? What is required?
  9. Thanks Salmo_g and _WW_ for all the info along with FSA for pissing them off enough to share all of this with us.

    Now back to the Cowletz
    Do either of you guys know what the Minimum Steelhead capacity of the NF Toutle/Green river or the Coweeman rivers would be
  10. Carrying capacity of smolts (outmigrants) must be the key but I don't think anyone knows how many smolts outmigrate a given watershed. Smolt traps, if they catch all would give the number but if they don't catch all they will estimate less. Suspect carrying capacity on most PNW rivers is very pooriy defined and biased toward smaller numbers.
  11. Couple points:
    1) Mark, those HSRG reports you linked to are based on modeling, which in many cases involved little real data from which to estimate population parameters--the group was tasked with evaluating every watershed and population so they had to come up with a method they could use everywhere, and they did a good job, but that doesn't mean those numbers are very reliable
    2) Klickrolf is right that outmigrants is the key--and in most places we have no idea how many there are or what the relationship between that number and adult abundance is. These are KEYS to proper management. Fortunately, we are beginning to collect this kind of data in more places. Yes, smolt traps don't catch most of the fish, but that is why you develop fancy statistical models to estimate the abundance including those that go uncaught. This can be a difficult undertaking, and in some places is done well, and in others....well....not so much.
    Salmo_g and Chris Johnson like this.
  12. Yeah TomB I was reading through huge, long, "PDF" documents for a couple hours before I found these for just some quick reference! I wanted to compare the rivers in the region and kinda knew the numbers would be off. Most other studies I read were full of words like = no data - inconclusive - rough estimate - not finished - and many more doubting words. most studies dating back being done in 1998 or early 2000'S.

    It did show me the difference in systems and why I was shocked at the numbers posted for the Washington numbers! I'm just used to much higher numbers in my area and this kinda proved it for me I guess. Seems there is a lot of guessing with every study and very little "EXACT SCIENCE" so we make it exactly the way we want it! Or settle for the rough estimates. I settled for the very rough estimates!
  13. Extrapolation methods = Fisheries science's reasons for doing "what they do" - it's all a "good guess" at best.

    Apologies are in order to the fish now.
  14. So hypothetically, if a river like the Wind gets to say 50 returning adult spawners, would you still fish them if the WDFW said it was OK?

    No personal knock against those folks but, as has been pointed out my myself in prior related threads and now others in responses below, there is quite a bit of uncertainty in the science...hence projected escapement. It's a bit hard to place all one's faith in predictive models that have shown inaccurate. Yes, we've had the discussion before that expecting absolute accuracy is unrealistic. I agree, except when making decisions when the margins are thin; which they are on most of our rivers and why fishing has been severely restricted or closed.

    The Skagit is in the best shape of the PS rivers -- that I will concede. If the discussion here is what's best for the fish and not about whether we get to fish for them (hope that's the majority), then not introducing any risk from a C&R (or tribal) fishery is best. I simply fail to see how anyone can argue otherwise. If WDFW does decide to allow a C&R fishery, particularly with a trend line continuing downward, then I would hope it will come with special, very restrictive regulations to include a special permit or lottery system.

    No, it doesn't seem right (fair). A basin specific plan does seem more appropriate.
  15. Eliminating all sportfishing, everywhere, would be best for "the fish". Next question.
  16. FSA,

    There are rivers in BC that have runs that are in the neighborhood of 200 returning adult fish. They have been open to CNR since the late 1970s with no affect on population status. There is no doubt that not fishing is always better for fish, but you should realize that your personal hang up is your own. Why should the rest of us go down your path when the data say that the effect on populations is the same, whether they are fished on (CNR) or not? Society derives social and economic benefits from having fisheries, even small and marginal ones. If there were some clear, cogent, and convincing benefit of denying ourselves of those benefits, you might win an ally or two in this discussion.

    aplTyler, jwg, PT and 1 other person like this.
  17. The only people who lobby for the fish are anglers. Freestones argument makes me think of the Thompson up north.

    The Thompson has a run of wild fish that is a fraction of what it was. The major reasons are dewatering of the it's spawning tribs for agriculture and a moronic Fraser river chum net fishery. These fish are taken for their Roe.

    Recently there have been many proposed rule changes that I suspect Freestone would not agree with based on his argument above. The real neat thing is that anglers and the defacto mayor of Spences Bridge are also fightin to push back the opener of the Fraser Chum net season. There have been recent funfraisers for habitat projects on the Nicola.

    In short there is one group that has attempted meaningful changes for the benefit of the fish: Fishermen and those who provide services to them. That's it. Every other group you can imagine pays no attention.

    I'd say it's awful for the future of steelhead poulations to futher limit anglers. No golfing clubs raise money for the T fish. No church groups are lobbying for changes to assinine roe fisheries. Anglers are though.

    Go Sox,
    jwg and Andrew Lawrence like this.
  18. This is a key point
    There has to be a constituency to influence the politics

    Same goes for wilderness. Gotta have people using it and caring about it if we want to keep it.

  19. In the early 20th century it was the hunters who organized to stop market hunting that decimated some species and came close to the same for others. As stated, the only ones who care or even know are the ones involved.
    A problem here is the division amongst those who consider themselves involved and caring. Until those divisions are somehow melted away I can't see great strides happening.
    Jerry Daschofsky likes this.
  20. As we have been trying to tell you for months and months now, WDFW doesn't get to decide. There is no mechanism currently in place for them to decide. If five million steelhead showed up tomorrow there would still be no season.


    For over a year you have asked me and others the same questions over and over. I was more than happy to answer them the first time, Even the second time I answered them, assuming that perhaps I had not made myself clear the first time. In the ensuing months it became quite clear to me that for you it is more about arguing that it is about anything else. In essence, you have become nothing more than a heckler from beyond the stage lights.

    It's a pity that the effort you apply to this venture cannot be put to better use by adopting a stream that needs some energetic individual to champion it's fish that you profess to care so much about.

    I have a couple of busy months ahead of me and don't have time to fritter away with the repetitive distraction that you have chosen to be. So for me, I'm going to end it right now by putting you on my ignore list. I will notate it in my signature line for as long as it is in effect just so there will be no confusion as to why I don't reply to any more of your comments.
    KerryS, Jason Rolfe and Salmo_g like this.

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