East Fork of Lewis to lose Hatchery Fish

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by VancouverFisher, Nov 1, 2013.

  1. VancouverFisher Lucky if I get out anymore!

    Posts: 87
    Vancouver, WA
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    Anyone hear the latest on this yet? I know the work group was supposed to meet again today at the WDFW to discuss proposals. Is there anything definitive? I know it sounds like a forgone conclusion that the summer hatchery fish will be removed, but has there been any talk that the winter plants will stop as well?

    Also, does anyone have any thoughts on this? I'm not sure what to think about it yet. I like the idea of having a strong wild gene pool somewhere, but it saddens me to consider that fishing this water (which is great fly water by the way) could be a thing of the past. I've been hoping that my son would catch his first steelhead on a fly rod on the East Fork, but he's still only 10. I guess he'll have to learn quick!
  2. Flyborg Active Member

    Posts: 2,313
    Kalama, WA
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    It's one of the few rivers in the area with a distinct and viable native run. Perfect candidate to cut out hatchery fish.

    Now if they were to try it on the North Fork--that wouldn't make any sense.
  3. Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

    Posts: 1,796
    Bellingham Wa.
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    I believe that would be all hatchery Steelhead, if the East fork is chosen
  4. Rob Allen Active Member

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    Vancouver WA
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    when was the last time you got a hatchery fish on a fly out of the EFL??? let alone a hatchery winter run?
  5. Salmo_g Active Member

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    Hatchery smolt to adult return rates are way down. Hatchery plants are way down. Not hard to see where this is going. Not much point in stocking hatchery smolts when it doesn't support a robust fishery, AND is detrimental to the native fish as well.

    Sg
  6. ctcooney New Member

    Posts: 12
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    Not sure if everyone has already checked out the latest on this, but here is the link: http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01559/

    The only things that jump out to me are that it's implied that C&R fishing would only be allowed when the numbers could support it and that some surrounding rivers are going to get increased hatchery plants. My folks live in BG near the river and I'm happy to see that the runs are getting some serious protection and recognition but I'm also curious about how the local gear guys are taking the news.
  7. underachiever !

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    suburban hell
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    I'm sure you'll find them bellyaching on cryFish
  8. Salmo_g Active Member

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    That's the problem with no hatchery stocking. No hatchery fish, and no directed, targeted fishing is allowed on ESA listed fish unless they are making escapement and healthy enough to support a harvest, at least the incidental mortality rate of CNR fishing.

    Sg
  9. Cruik Active Member

    Posts: 468
    Seattle, WA
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    That oughtta teach those Vancouver residents not to cheat on their sales tax!

    But seriously, it's not like there aren't other hatchery games in town. Elochoman, Cowlitz, Kalama, and the Washougal Rivers are all within an hour and receive pretty healty planting.
  10. Jim Riggins Member

    Posts: 561
    Battle Ground, Wa.
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    I grew up on the EF and have watched it go from a great producing river with that state record caught there to the mere shadow of itself. We all live near a river we like to claim as our home river which is what I call this one and it breaks my heart to see what has become of it. I'm pretty sure its all about the money and that's a whole other post but I am glad theyhave decided to finally stop dumping hatchery fish into it as the damage has already been done with the crossbreeding and all. I will never see strong returns that I was fortunate to witness in the 60's and can only imagine the runs in the early 1900's and before but I do hope the river repairs itself in time for mygrand kids to enjoy the Riggins tradition of getting up early on Thanksgiving to put the turkey in the oven and go up to Dole Valley and start fishing at the meat hole and work their way down to Lewisville Park or down to Daybreak and end up at the Arab hole or the cliffs and know the joy of bringing something home to share with on Christmas. Just sayin don't give up on her yet!
  11. Rob Allen Active Member

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    Vancouver WA
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    Umm rivers that aren't meeting their wild escapement goals shouldn't be open to targeting of listed species and no conservation minded angler would want to fish them anyway.. We HAVE to stop thinking that we have some sort or God given right to ruin things further.. As long as we view it as a resource to exploit no restoration will take place..
    Sure we can do habitat work sure we can alter hatchery programs but those are symptoms of our lack of commitment. We don't need a change of behavior we need a change of mindset that leads to a changed way of living.
    Catch and release fishing is the benefit we get AFTER we do the hard work of restoration not a right we should exercise whether restoration takes place or not.
  12. Rob Allen Active Member

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  13. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

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    Kitsap Peninsula
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    Lecturing Salmo_G? He's one of the guys that gets it and you're lecturing?
  14. Rob Allen Active Member

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    Vancouver WA
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    maybe i misunderstood. i thought he was suggesting that removing the
    hatchery fish was a bad idea because it would eliminate cnr.
  15. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Posts: 1,997
    Walla Walla, WA
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    Not sure I agree that is a problem.
  16. ctcooney New Member

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    I think you guys are reacting to Sg's response to my post about CNR being off the table. I didn't say it was a problem or that we have a right to CNR wild fish and the comment I sent to WDFW reflects this. I was merely reflecting on some changes to the only river I've had a chance to fish when I'm in town, changes that I fully support and that I hope set a new example for recovery efforts.
  17. Salmo_g Active Member

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    My comments were intended to point out that hatchery stocking programs that don't return enough adult fish to support a decent fishery are not worth the expense. And then, considering that we know hatchery programs don't benefit wild fish, even though they may also not do nearly so much harm as alleged by some, there is no ecological justification and really no social or economic justification either.

    The downside, from a recreational angling point of view - and I try to consider as many reasonable points of view as I can, unlike Rob - is that when a stream has no hatchery run, and the wild run is depressed below minimum spawning escapement levels, then that stream is removed from the list of streams available for fishing. Ecologically this should be good. From a social and economic perspective, having fewer places available for fishing is never good.

    I said that this should be good ecologically because I can't document any benefit a hatchery program provides to a wild fish population. And it normally causes some harm simply because there is more fishing going on, and it's impossible to say that fishing is good for fish, when one considers the fish's point of view. However, much of anti-hatchery effort that is going on is poorly supported, or unsupported by evidence, while there is much evidence where wild stocks have done well in the same systems where hatchery programs existed. This ain't an easy nut to crack, and simple black and white answers tend to be more simple than accurate.

    Sg
    aplTyler likes this.
  18. Rob Allen Active Member

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    Vancouver WA
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    I just do not agree that in light of all we have done to our rivers and our fish that resource exploiters have a reasonable point of view. That's probably not a feasible political view it is none the less the truth. With all the destruction we have caused it is unreasonable to expect to be able to do more exploitation.
  19. Chris DeLeone Active Member

    Posts: 526
    Monroe, WA
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    I just do not agree that in light of all we have done to our rivers and our fish that resource exploiters have a reasonable point of view. That's probably not a feasible political view it is none the less the truth. With all the destruction we have caused it is unreasonable to expect to be able to do more exploitation.

    Rob can define how a CnR angler exploits a resource?
  20. Rob Allen Active Member

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    Vancouver WA
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    As Salmo G pointed out in no way could angling be considered good for our wild stocks. I have nothing against catch and release fishing at all but we need to approach situations like this with the mindset that restoration needs to take place first. We are talking about small populations of fish. Like it or not even with our best efforts there is some mortality associated with catch and release fishing even with single barbless hooks and artificial lures.

    The Wind river is a perfect example the last few seasons it has been open for a short fall season with all the standard precautions. This year it had to be closed because the population of fish did not return sufficiently. I only suggest that until The EFL is deemed to be able to withstand a catch and release season there is no reason for it to be open to fishing. Even if that means it is never open again. That goes for every river with small populations of fish.
    Jim Riggins likes this.