Elwha River

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Olive bugger, Aug 28, 2014.

  1. Guess you didn't here about the brand new hatchery already built. And of course, Chambers creek on the menu.
     
  2. If everybody is so set against hatcheries, why do they keep building them ??
     
  3. I had heard rumors of one, Jeff. But I didn't realize that it was already a done deal. Bummer. Maybe Mother Nature will intercede and find a way around it.
     
  4. Built as part of a deal with the tribe if they would not fish for five years. Allow the natives first shot at spawn. Finished before the dams were taken out. Tribe was all set to start planting C.C. fish the next year. Took the threat of a law suit to get them to see reason.
     
    jwg likes this.
  5. Would love to see some big native kingss come cruising up stream with sex on their mind.
     
    stilly stalker likes this.
  6. Elwha kings used to be the biggest anywhere- up to a 9 year ocean life cycle. I'd LOVE to see some big ass kings ascending the falls/ rapids to spawn
     
    Ed Call and Olive bugger like this.
  7. My daughter has spent a couple weeks up there this summer on an internship with the NOAA fisheries science lab. Seined up some wild kings below Glines and recorded all sorts of fishies and invertebrates moving around.
     
    Ed Call and Matt Baerwalde like this.
  8. So what is the "benefit" that these species get by laying their eggs so far up the intertidal? Refuge from mechanical disturbance from waves and refuge from predation? Something must be worth the trade off.
     
  9. In my little dream world, I believe that it would be nice to have one (1) wild river, where man's interface with nature is limited so that we could leave some of nature for the next generations. No fishing, No rafting, no mining, not even camping. No hiking trails for folks to litter with their modern day junk. Just keep you sorry arse out!

    I know that greed and immediate gratification will not allow this, but it would be nice......
     
  10. i would love to see it become a catch and release only fishery for trout. and keep the targeting of salmon and steelhead closed through the next 10 years. let the strains come back and try to keep the hatchery fish to the least possible. it would be cool to see if there kings can get back to their historical size. just let nature do its thing.
     
    FinLuver likes this.
  11. Large chinook salmon size is a function of a long life, that is, more years of ocean feeding. Elwha chinook will come back all right, but don't expect many large ones. The main reason for the reduced average size of chinook all over the west coast is that ocean fisheries prevent very many chinook from living long enough to achieve great size. We'd have to shut down ocean salmon fishing from OR to AK, including BC, to allow chinook to live longer and grow larger. Ain't gonna' happen.

    It was exciting and gratifying to see the final blast removing the last of Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha.

    Sg
     
  12. That's what I was saying. Up to 9 year ocean cycle.

    Can you imagine a chinook that size?! Like a seal swimming up river
     
  13. Question for Sg.

    I had heard a hypothesis that one of the drivers of the large size of the Elwha chinook historically (and comparatively) was that the large size allowed these fish to access the upper Elwha watershed, migrating past the challenges provided by long Rica Canyon and the Grand Canyon of the Elwha. Now that the dams are gone, that selective pressure is back in play. And larger females carry far more eggs and males are more dominant.

    I am a bit unclear about fishing mortality in the open ocean. Presumably, the Elwha juveniles migrate into the Gulf of Alaska after they leave the Strait of Juan de Fuca like chinook from north of the Columbia. Their size when they are ready to migrate back to the Elwha depends on how many years they stay in the Gulf. Whether they return after two, three, or four years, they only have to run the coastal fishery gauntlet once. How much open ocean harvest pressure is there? How much extra mortality does an extra year entail? Certainly, until a few years ago the Kenai was still returning huge chinooks in the face of whatever open ocean commercial mortality existed; of course, those fish have been hammered but much of the blame for that has been laid at excessive trophy harvest and plain incompetence by ADFG in the river.

    Steve
     
    Beachmen likes this.
  14. I've been wondering what the status is since the lawsuit, and you have obviously kept up better than I .

    Will there now be zero steelhead hatchery fish and some chinook hatchery, or what? Hoping you or. Someone knows the current facts on the ground and plans.

    Jay
     
  15. Cabezon,

    I've heard many times that the driver of large fish in rivers is some geomorphic feature of that river, i.e., Dean, Kispiox, Thompson, Rivers Inlet, Clearwater, etc., supposedly have large spawning substrate, steep canyons with waterfalls and cascades that can only be overcome by large fish. Then you go look at the stream and learn that it is also inhabited by 3 pound pink salmon, or 20" coho, or 4 pound steelhead. I agree that there are factors that select for large body size, but these stories, including the Elwha, I ain't buyin'.

    I should have been more careful about the term "open ocean." We're still talking about WCVI and Gulf of AK within the continental shelf. Some chinook cycle around the Gulf or hang off the coast of VI until they begin to sexually mature. Beginning at age 2 chinook are vulnerable to fishing gear, so their vulnerability is equal to days/yr in the fishing zone X f(units of gear) X number of years until maturity. Fishing pressure varies some year to year, but a fish that spends 4 years in the zone is twice as likely to be hooked as a fish that spends 2 years in the zone.

    Kenai and other trophy chinook rivers like the Nushagak are outliers in that those chinook apparently don't migrate to the same ocean area where the troll and sport fleets fish. They end up as bycatch in the pollack harvest, like Yukon chinook. And Kenai have the special position of being over-harvested in the terminal area sockeye fishery, a different management issue.

    JWG,

    The new Elwha hatchery will basically produce the same fish as the old Elwha hatchery, consisting of native chinook and coho. It would have also cultured Chambers Ck steelhead, but the Tribe agreed not to as a result of the lawsuit. Instead they will only produce native stock steelhead, which was planned anyway to jumpstart recovery of all fish upstream of the dams. So no instead of having a treaty gillnet fishery that targeted early timed Chambers Ck steelhead, there will be a treaty gillnet fishery that will target the combined later returning wild steelhead and hatchery steelhead derived from wild broodstock. Hope WFC and its allies are happy with the choices they made. Remember, tribes have made a policy decision that hatchery and wild fish are the same, irrespective of actual biological differences. Careful what you wish for.

    Sg
     
    jwg likes this.
  16. "In my little dream world, I believe that it would be nice to have one (1) wild river, where man's interface with nature is limited so that we could leave some of nature for the next generations. No fishing, No rafting, no mining, not even camping. No hiking trails for folks to litter with their modern day junk. Just keep you sorry arse out!"

    What are you leaving if they can't enter to enjoy?
     
  17. "We'd have to shut down ocean salmon fishing from OR to AK, including BC, to allow chinook to live longer and grow larger"

    Would love to see THAT happen!!!
     
  18. except the elwha historically had large runs of early timed winter runs, so removing chambers creek fish actually allows the natural run timing to actually happen without excess harvest pressure on the largest segment of the run historically.

    there is no recovery of olympic peninsula steelhead with chambers creek fish and the associated high gillnet harvest rates. it may be impossible with tribal netting regardless, but early timed hatchery fish only make that impossibility inevitable.
     
    stilly stalker likes this.

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