Do you care enough about wild steelhead to stop fishing for them?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Jeremy Floyd, Jan 23, 2007.

  1. If they stop fishing and don't plant anymore fish the numbers will deplete so much to almost extinction at first then after a long while will it come back to normal or close to it, what they need to do is stop fishing for them but keep stocking them. The stocked fish will still spawn with the natives. Yes you will still have hatchery fish but the number of wild ones will come back faster if that happens then if it stopped all together, we have come too far to turn back now:ray1:
  2. thanks for the biology lesson rudejude- apparently all we need to do to get more wild steelhead back is dump in hatchery fish. while we are at it, i should mention another wild species restoration plan. in order to facilitate the recovery of grey wolves in washington we should all release our domestic dogs in parks. they are the same as wolves right. just like brats are the same as nates right?

    Todd makes some good points, and i have to disagree with the mentality and conjecture put forward by salmo g and smalma....while it is possible that ending fisheries would have little impact on our wild runs, it hasnt really been tested and given their current state, surely seems the prudent thing to do. as examples, the cedar is lame because of the disproportionate amount of disturbance its watershed has experienced relative to others, and the nisqually was historically wiped pretty well by fishing. Im not saying there arent other things driving the decline besides fishing, but quitting harvest certainly couldn't hurt.

    oh and btw. i believe it is the managing agency's responsibility to close fisheries if they are at risk enough, and that being said, i would happily lay my rod down if it comes to that point.
  3. The thing you are not understanding is that nature finds a way but too slowly, I would gladly lay down my rod for the rivers if it came to that. Tom B you sound like you know what you are talking about but, I have personally observed a hatchery steelhead spawning in a creek and a wild buck fertilizing those eggs, it was weird but it almost made me bawling: tears of joy, that fish at some point was on it's way back to the hatchery and NATURE kicked in and it went somewhere else and did what it was intended to do, now what do you suppose made it do that. the fact of kepping the stocking going is to just help jump start it, but I am sorry I should of said this before, not have the fish come to the hatchery but plant the fish in the creeks and have them return to there. Do you think that would work.
  4. In a

    Skamania strain summer run hatchery fish are pretty good at spawning in the wild, and that has led to the dilution of some actual wild runs of summer fish, but has also established some "wild" summer run where none existed before.

    The Chambers Creek stock winter runs are dismal at spawning success...if the fish you saw spawning included a winter run hatchery hen, then that wild buck may as well have spawned on a would have done just about as much good. The even worse situation is when wild hens spawn with the late returning hatchery waste of 4000 eggs or so.

    If there is a wild run around, then smolts should not be planted in places without collection facilities to remove as many of the returning hatchery adults from the river before they spawn as possible.

    Fish on...

  5. As much as I would like to get into a more detailed discussion of the steelhead, their biology and management to do so would result in a serious hy-jacking of this thread. If there were interest and another thread start I would contribute to the discussion though experience has shown that interest probably doesn't exist.

    Tom B./Todd -
    The fact that you both continue to target wild steelhead in various WSR or CnR fisheries would imply that at least at some level you feel comfortable with fishing induced impacts. Why do you continue to fish - It seems to be your positions that the small benefits from ending your fishing would make a difference to the resource.

    GT -
    There has been WDFW news releases as well as several posting on this and other sites with links to the steelhead plans. There has been lots of opportunity to jump into that fray.

    Todd -
    I suspect that the situation on the Nisqually is as much as the result of the South Sound malaise that has been affecting the marine survival of both steelhead and coho. Of course that by-catch situation from the winter chum fishery doesn't help the few steelhead that do survive.

    On the Hoh the problem may well be less about the management paradigm and more about the general difficulty of dealing with some tribes as well as the ugliness associated with the horse trading of fish politics.

    Back to the original question in this thread -
    I to care deeply about the wild salmonids (include steelhead) of this state. I believe strongly in releasing wild steelhead (am entering my 4th decade of doing so) and would gladly lay down my rod if I thought it would make a diffence. In fact in spite of my passion for steelhead I can count on one hand the number of times that I have actually targeted steelhead in the last decade.

    Tight lines
  6. Very informational without criticizing thank you:)
  7. yes smalma, i know there has been opportunity for input. i was one of 3 citizens to attend the steelhead planning meeting in PA, and i spoke my mind. i also followed that up with written commentary on 3 seperate occasions. do i expect any of that to make a difference??? hell no! as i have said all to often WDFW is not interested in input or preserving wild steelhead, is simply is not in the interests of the agency any more that multiple use in the best interests of the forest service.
  8. Yes, with the incidental take catch rate running at 30-40% it is time to quit fishing for endangered fish.

    What part of endangered don't you understand??

    STOP sport fishing, commercial fishing, Indian fishing.....period. If the fish are endangered quit fishing for them.......

    otherwise what's next a "incidental take" of spotted owl for timber companies, how about "incidental take" of Bald Eagles?
  9. Would you care about wild steelhead if you didn't fish for them?
  10. I stopped targeting steelhead in 1974 when I laid down my fly rod after watching northern Californina runs drop to nearly zero. I haven't found any reason to fish for them since and so target trout instead.

  11. I too gave up chasing steelhead several years ago because the "S" rivers near home kept showing ridiculously low escapement figures (and a few get shut down regularly by the WFF as a result). Not only did I feel a bit of guilt chasing after such clearly scarce fish, it just wasn't that much fun after a while. I caught a few wild fish, but just didn't get a tug that often.

    So I too chase trout and other fish instead. Frankly, I can't wait to fish for carp this summer. It seems a bit sacrilegious to replace steelhead with carp, but when in Rome...
  12. I would stop fishing for them (even though i am steelhead challenged and can't catch one). But would'nt it put more more pressure on the salt?
  13. Hey I have the answer. I want you all to know that I have written my govenor and state rep. I propose we stop with the steelhead nonsense and replace them all with Brown trout. Then you guys can stop fishing and I won't have to drive east to catch them !! It's a win win FOR ME !!!!
  14. kevin,
    keep the brown trout in germany as far as I'm concerned ;D. We're talking about real fish here. Although I'm usually a flaming at the mouth liberal, I have strict anit-immigration sentiments when it comes to non-native species. Although they may seem to have more merit than other non-natives because our interest in catching, the fact is brown trout have just as many negative impacts as other non-natives. Just ask the cutthroat in montana...
  15. East Fork,

    Yes, that’s about right. Even with ESA listed stocks, some level of incidental take (harvest) is permissible without jeopardizing the recovery of a fish population. If that were not the case, NMFS would be required to foreclose all treaty, non-treaty, commercial, recreational, ceremonial, and subsistence fishing on the Columbia River, and the Pacific Ocean in US waters and advise the President to launch a fish war with Canada, because that is where they are being harvested. Salmonids are quite fecund and highly resilient, and very able to rebound from depressed population levels.


    I’ll echo Smalma’s comments. Similarly, while the Nisqually was over-harvested, it wasn’t harvested below any threshold of no return when compared to itself and other Puget Sound tributaries. It too should be able to recover. If not, then we haven’t identified its limiting factor. Your points about the Hoh and Grays Harbor are valid, and everyone knows those were policy decisions, not technical ones.

    Cascade Killer,

    I agree that hatchery steelhead don’t do wild populations any favors. To the extent that the hatchery fish don’t appear to spawn with wild fish, the adverse effect seems pretty limited. We could certainly eliminate that risk by discontinuing the hatchery programs, but that means foregoing the benefits of the hatchery programs. Since fishery managers are obligated to try to serve diverse interests, not only the most conservative ones, they cannot recommend closing all the hatchery programs when the data appear to indicate that the adverse effects can be held to a low level. As the larger hatchery program becomes a consistent presence on the Skagit, perhaps we’ll obtain new information that indicates a hatchery cutback. Time will tell; meanwhile, freshwater survival does not appear to be limiting productivity.


    Smalma is being too kind. MSH steelhead management is not a myth. It is a falsehood circulated and perpetuated by folks like yourself who keep bringing it up even after being informed that it is not the management model used for steelhead in WA. This indicates you’re not paying attention, don’t understand what you’re being told, or are deliberately trying to mislead others by using emotion over logic. Fishery agencies make enough real mistakes for which they earn legitimate criticism. It’s only your own credibility that suffers when you make up stuff or attempt to perpetuate attacks that are untrue.

    Steelhead spawning escapement goals were set based on a model intended to seed available habitat to capacity. MSH/MSY is the statistical opposite; it doesn’t care how much or how little of the available habitat is used, only what the theoretical sustainable harvest is – which we have observed hasn’t worked out apparently for any fish population in the world.


    Your hypothesis is not supported by any extant evidence, so you may not find many fishery biologists willing to go along with your recommendation. All evidence to date suggests that when Chambers Ck hatchery steelhead spawn naturally in the environment, few or no adult fish return subsequently from that effort. So the hatchery fish you saw spawning with a wild fish essentially wasted the viable gametes of the wild fish. Bad idea.


    You’re right in that quitting fishing wouldn’t hurt wild steelhead. Unfortunately, the social and political realities don’t allow us this option just because it wouldn’t hurt. We’re only permitted to use that alternative if we can provide evidence that it is also necessary. We don’t have that evidence. The Skagit and Snohomish basin are pretty strong examples of that.


    Salmo g.
  16. Foregive me for being dense on this subject, but how so?
  17. We should stop fishing for them, but as far as I am concerned, EVERYONE OF THOSE STEELHEAD BELONG TO THE NATIVE AMERICANS AND THEY SHOULD BE THE ONLY ONES TO BE ABLE TO FISH FOR THEM PERIOD. Those fish are caught using nets like they did back in the day, slightly updated and are distributed throughout the tribe to feed them. so besides them we are all poachers in my eyes:mad:
  18. That's one way to look at it.:rolleyes:
  19. O mykiss,

    Genetic evidence has found no Chambers Ck specific genetic make up in the wild steelhead populations in spite of decades of stocking the Chambers Ck fish. Additionally, those populations were experiencing even lower spawning escapements in the mid to late 1970s, and they rebounded in the 1980s because fishing mortality was reduced, and marine survival conditions were better. Fishing mortality is presently very low, and given improved marine surival rates, I'd expect to see the populations increase again.


    Salmo g.

  20. Now that makes sense. So how about that land your house is on? I guess we need to go ahead and give them everything they are "entitled" to due to the fact that this great thread got a little too scientific for you and now you want to throw the over-emotional liberal curveball to the plate. Nice try. Thanks to Salmo and really all of you for participating in one hell of a discussion. Coach:beer2:

Share This Page