East Fork of Lewis to lose Hatchery Fish

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

  1. Chris DeLeone

    Chris DeLeone Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    538
    Media:
    11
    Likes Received:
    99
    Location:
    Monroe, WA
    Interesting - so eliminating the hatchery stocking and stopping all angling on the EFL or any other system for that matter is "restoration"??
     
  2. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Messages:
    2,434
    Media:
    13
    Likes Received:
    619
    Location:
    bellingham wa
    Home Page:
    Math matters.

    I believe the benefits of CR outway the negatives.....even with some rather small populations.
    Catch rates will always track run sizes.
    Mortality from CnR is well studied and very low.
    The only people I have ever seen lobby for steelhed are anglers.

    I respect those who want to be conservative with the resource. I believe conservatism must include the interests of CnR angling.

    Math matters.

    Go Sox,
    cds
     
    Andrew Lawrence and Ed Call like this.
  3. Chris DeLeone

    Chris DeLeone Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    538
    Media:
    11
    Likes Received:
    99
    Location:
    Monroe, WA
    My concern is that "restoration" is a one chapter book in the sense of recovery. We have seen this on a few systems here in WA -

    Wenatchee - we can only fish this system if hatchery fish have high numbers to get them out of the system - Not because the native fish are in good numbers "to support a CnR fishery"

    Skagit and PS systems - we have had good numbers of wild steelhead returns - but the state and Fed so far have zero interest in a fishery that could and can "withstand" a CnR fishery. In most cases the state doesn't really know how many fish are in the system (see Nooksack) - if flows are too high or they are underfunded in getting boots on the ground to gain that knowledge - they don't know

    Once we lose these fisheries (or our exploitation as you put it) - its an act of God to get them back - try getting an underfunded WDFW to put together a plan/report to the Fed to allow a low mortality CnR fishery on a river that has been closed for a number of years. When you look at it - with some detail, no other restoration is being done - very little habitat will improve, nothing will address the commercial take prior to these fish entering the Columbia or in the Columbia, no studies on the true mortality of a CnR fishery. All that seems to be done in the name of "Restoration" is - Stop the Hatcheries and with that stop angling. Then they sit and watch, no investment and we hope they come back in good numbers - when they do. Try getting government to approve of your exploitation of that fishery on some Sunday afternoon.
     
    Andrew Lawrence likes this.
  4. ctcooney

    ctcooney New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2012
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    2


    I think the EFL is a unique basin, if not in the PNW generally than at least in the SW part of the state. As I see it the reason for its classification is that it has remained relatively unschathed from the problems of development and timber harvest that many other watersheds are dealing with. This is the reason that an experimental program fits the EFL but might not fit other basins. I think it's apples and oranges to compare it to the Wenatchee or PS systems.

    Personally, I would feel more connected to the resource if I were allowed to keep CNR fishing the river (despite the fact that I have yet to get even the slightest of nibbles) than if it were totally off-limits, but my view isn't what matters. As Sg said, in an ESA listed basin there can't be "take" without hatchery mitigation, and in the long run with a good deal of healthy habitat and active steps to make it better, it might be one of the first to be de-listed on the lower Columbia. Then we can all bitch about the guides clogging up the runs and puffy brim flat jackets taking over.
     
  5. Rich Simms

    Rich Simms Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Messages:
    231
    Media:
    1
    Likes Received:
    50
    Location:
    Occupy Hearings!
    "Once we lose these fisheries (or our exploitation as you put it) - its an act of God to get them back - try getting an underfunded WDFW to put together a plan/report to the Fed to allow a low mortality CnR fishery on a river that has been closed for a number of years."

    This is exactly why we need to take proactive steps now to enact changes on the Olympic Peninsula streams before we lose those as well. But CnR on those streams are not without sin by the amount of fish being handled during season. Proactive change is hard to achieve since the problem stems that everyone wants to go to heaven, but no one wants to die to get there.
     
    Rob Allen likes this.
  6. Chris DeLeone

    Chris DeLeone Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2004
    Messages:
    538
    Media:
    11
    Likes Received:
    99
    Location:
    Monroe, WA
    "Personally, I would feel more connected to the resource if I were allowed to keep CNR fishing the river (despite the fact that I have yet to get even the slightest of nibbles) than if it were totally off-limits, but my view isn't what matters. As Sg said, in an ESA listed basin there can't be "take" without hatchery mitigation, and in the long run with a good deal of healthy habitat and active steps to make it better, it might be one of the first to be de-listed on the lower Columbia. Then we can all bitch about the guides clogging up the runs and puffy brim flat jackets taking over."

    CT - I agree with you in some sense - not all systems are the same and anglers are much more connected when they care about a system or fishery.
    But with any restoration the folks restoring the "project" tell you what comes after restoration. The state and fed have not done that to my knowledge. What are the other "active steps" we should expect, what are fishable numbers (Summer and Winter), how do you measure progress, what other levels of restoration come after this, will the commercial fleets in the Columbia suffer the cost recreational anglers are giving, what is the process of opening the river back to fishing, how long will that take.

    I just see us as concerned anglers not asking the right questions or demanding the proper procedures definitions from our government on these fisheries issues. Most of us re like Rob - we want the best for the fish, think we are a major issue in recovery and give up fishing - then we hope the runs come back - when they do, we are blown away of the process it takes to get back on the water for just a simple CnR fishery on fishable numbers of a system
     
  7. aplTyler

    aplTyler Inept Steelheader

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    85
    Location:
    The Evergreen State
    A big issue that doesn't get noticed by many folks is that the EF is not prime habitat. The vast majority of rivers in the PNW are mere shadows of themselves when it comes to habitat, but the East Fork is presumed by many folks (including several out-of-towners I've run into fishing this week) to be in great shape.

    When you walk through Lewisville Park or check out the series of waterfalls, the habitat looks beautiful, but it's a mirage of sorts. Gravel mining operations still ongoing (thanks Storedahl), logging, and development have resulted in a river with extreme temperature issues. In the summer, the river regularly rises over 74 degrees with 80 degree water temps not unheard of... Needless to say, many of the EFL fish will hang in the North Fork to cool off for large chunks of the summer. These temps also greatly affect juvenile fish. Check out Friends of the East Fork for more info on the issues facing the watershed.

    I love fishing this river more than my "home" river, the Washougal (which also is a habitat nightmare overall... thanks logging, 43 previous channel spanning splash dams, etc), and I'll miss fishing it dearly. I want to see more wild fish in the EFL, but I suspect it'll take much more than just removing hatchery fish. As Salmo said, there is no simple answer to salmon recovery...
     
    Jim Riggins likes this.
  8. Rob Allen

    Rob Allen Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1,212
    Likes Received:
    517
    Location:
    Vancouver WA

    Some things you might find interesting. The Washougal was clearcut completely! 3 permanent dams plus splash dams, forest fires, mining and a paper mill pumping toxins straight into the river.
    during the time all that was going on the river was estimated to have had 2500 wild summer steelhead. The habitat now is vastly improved now when compared to what it was and still no fish.
     
  9. ctcooney

    ctcooney New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2012
    Messages:
    12
    Likes Received:
    2
    Well, at the risk of being naive I do think that the upper river can nurture some strong populations in the long run if the lower river can be helped out. Fuck storedahl's all day long. I think you're selling what's upriver short though, lot of habitat and there really isn't much human interference aside from no trespassing signs.
     
  10. aplTyler

    aplTyler Inept Steelheader

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Messages:
    525
    Likes Received:
    85
    Location:
    The Evergreen State
    True... very similar to the EFL minus the mill. You are right about the great habitat improvements on the Shoug... Wild Summer populations are on an upward trend on the river (nearing the 1,000 fish mark), and the work that LCFEG has done in the watershed is fantastic. I know Friends of the East Fork and Fish First are doing lots of projects on the EFL and once again, I hope to see the fish come back there.

    Found some EFL Stock info if you'd like...

    https://fortress.wa.gov/score/species/population_details.jsp?stockId=6763 (Summers)
    https://fortress.wa.gov/score/species/population_details.jsp?stockId=6770 (Winters)

    Summers looking to be doing much better than the Winter fish... credence to the idea of the upper watershed being in better shape than the lower. I hope the Yacolt Mt. Mine expansion doesn't happen up there. Interesting stuff.
     
  11. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Messages:
    2,434
    Media:
    13
    Likes Received:
    619
    Location:
    bellingham wa
    Home Page:
    There is a big difference between without sin and without blame. CnR deserves no blame with regard to th OP. This is a super important point. This game is not one of who sin the least but rather what is done to correct problems. CnR is not a problem, at all. Attacking it does not work to fix the problem. It does divert attention from real issues and fracture potential alliances.

    Go Sox,
    cds
     
    Salmo_g and Chris DeLeone like this.
  12. Rob Allen

    Rob Allen Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1,212
    Likes Received:
    517
    Location:
    Vancouver WA

    I don't think anyone is attacking catch and release. Saying however that catch and release is not a problem is the same excuse every other resource user uses. It's not us gill netters it's the dams. It's not the dams it's ocean conditions , it's not ocean conditions it's the loggers. and on and on it goes and thus it becomes impossible to accomplish even the smallest good thing for wild fish.
     
    Chris Johnson likes this.
  13. Rob Allen

    Rob Allen Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2007
    Messages:
    1,212
    Likes Received:
    517
    Location:
    Vancouver WA

    Also i am not saying that the EFLs wild steelhead could not withstand a CNR fishery just saying we should for once in all of steelhead conservation history take a conservative approach.

    fact is that the summers blow through the lower river because the habitat is nuked and spend all summer pooled up in the upper river where they should be left alone. So the summers provide very little opportunity for sport fishing anyway. and our rivers all close on March 15 so you get a couple months of winter fishing. it is my opinion that no fishing should occur for winter steelhead after late March anyway. Yes people should be leaving winter steelhead alone in April! Just like they should leave summer steelhead alone after November!
     
  14. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2005
    Messages:
    2,434
    Media:
    13
    Likes Received:
    619
    Location:
    bellingham wa
    Home Page:
    The difference is that logging, ocean conditions (and polutants) and gillnetting are actual problems depending on the basin. CnR is not a problem. It's shown over and over not to be a problem but we refuse to acknowledge it.

    Due to the false belief that it is a problem, we have conservation minded group propose rule changes that do nothing to aid fish like boat fishing restrictions, lessening season lengths etc. They do fracture the fishing community against one another so we do not take on actual problems.

    I wish that we could aid in fish recovery by using the sportfshing guidelines. It would be easier than find solutions to the actual issues.

    Go Red Sox,
    cds
     
  15. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,769
    Likes Received:
    127
    Location:
    Bellingham
    This is honestly why I find it so hard to join many organizations. It is always about taking sides amongst sporties. Reality is for the making.
     

Share This Page