Flawed rationale in WSC's proposed boat bans? (Part 1)

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by ChrisC, Sep 15, 2012.

  1. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

    I like that Freestone! Still, very hard to enforce, and WDFW has become pretty clear that LE is opposed to regs that are not easily enforced.


    I made up the 5% mortality number, but it's close to the average that a number of hooking mortality studies or anecdotal collections of information support. NMFS and WDFW currently use 10% as the incidental mortality figure, just to be conservative about it for ESA purposes.


    Yes, people looking for simplistic "solutions" that are not supported by data often suggest and support closing certain rivers or river systems for a period of years. People who look at evidence and let it tell its story don't support that idea however. The reason is that the several examples of such closures - some listed in BDD's post - show either no improvement in stock status or no improvement that is caused by the closure.

  2. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

    Thanks Sg! It would take Enforcement to watch but even with binos, it would be clear if the angler didn't do one or the other and that would be an automatic violation. I think not only would the angler have to record the river, date, species, they would have to record the time so there is better proof they didn't log the fish. I would think to some degree, it would make their job easier, at least in the UC. Right now, people release the brats and then say it was wild and all it accomplishes is getting the season closed early. If the penalty were high enough, it would only take a few examples before compliance improved.

    I forgot add a couple of other fine points: If you are fishing a system that allows wild harvest, when you harvest that wild fish, you are done fishing for the year on any system where you may hook a steelhead, even accidentally.

    Also, if you are a lic. guide and one of your clients doesn't log a fish, whether released or harvested, you are done for the year too, guiding and fishing, as it is your obligation to make sure your clients are following the law.
    JesseCFowl, Bob Triggs and Irafly like this.
  3. Irafly

    Irafly Active Member

    Man I like your logic Freestone. I think you are right after awhile the enforcement would be easier. I also think it would only take a couple of seasons for people to understand the guidelines as the norm. Will people continue to try to cheat? Hell yeah but how is that different then now?
  4. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    Or maybe they waited too late to close the rivers in order to protect the fish. Waiting for a run to collapse before you protect it is closing the door behind the horse when the barn is already burned down. No one knows clearly what threshold number would be te tipping point of a total collapse. And yet they wait until there are almost no fish left before they close it down, and then they have poor recovery results. What a shocker...
  5. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Tom B's post makes a whole lot of sense. Well thought out Tom.

    If we are talking about oppertunity maybe the rules make sense. As a PS angler, I understand that it is the lack of oppertunity that kills you.

    If we are looking for run size improvements, I don't think that any increased regulation of sportfishing will get us there.

    Go Sox,
  6. Tom Palmer

    Tom Palmer Active Member

    Thumbs up to Tom B's post also.

    I will add the game department is well versed in restricting activities based on success rate. Big game hunting is a popular activity where a large number of sportsman chase a limited resource. Bow hunters get longer seasons, first out in the field, etc... than rifle hunters. The hunter is forced to make a choice:
    • Go with the most efficient method (rifle) but get a shorter season
    • Go with the least efficient method (e.g. bow) and be first in the field and get a longer season
    If the game department managed steelhead the same way they manage elk, fly fisherman would get longer seasons on the river all by themselves.

    Anyone who has fished the Hoh in March can tell you the status quo is not an option. The question is not "Should we restrict anglers" the question is "How quickly can we get restrictions in place before it's too late..."
  7. Derek Young

    Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

    Tom, are you stating that hunters would be restricted to a single-mode, then? If one declared "bow hunting only" for the season, then they cannot use a rifle at all? Please clarify what you're suggesting. You seem to infer that those who hunt don't or won't change their use to whatever legal means are available, based upon the season.
  8. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    That's kind of how it's done here Derek. You choose your weapon per animal intedand that's the only way you get to hnt for that animal. Blew my mind when I first saw it too.

    Go Sox,
  9. Tom Palmer

    Tom Palmer Active Member

    Hi Derek,

    Just to be clear- I'm not advocating the EXACT regulations for Big Game be imposed on steelhead. As Charles confirms, if you want to hunt Big Game in this state you better figure out ahead of time how and where you want to hunt them. Lots of restrictions compared to what we see for steelhead.

    I am trying to push back against the position we cannot devise restrictions based on angling success rate.

    As a guy who likes to swing flies, if that means I have to give up the first week of the season to Tenkara anglers, so be it.

    Just wanted everyone to know I'm willing to make the hard sacrifices too :)
  10. Derek Young

    Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

    I think I need to restate my question, it's obvious that one cannot take an animal by rifle during bow season. Does the post indicate a position/opinion that the angler is forced to decide to use gear and have a short season, or use flies and have a longer season, and then cannot fish for that species the remainder of the year, regardless of method?
  11. Tom Palmer

    Tom Palmer Active Member

    Hi Derek, I am not pushing to force anglers to choose an angling method for steelhead and use only that method like we do for Big Game. I simply use Elk and Deer as an example that we do in fact regulate recreation in this state with regard to success rate.

    I look at the WSC proposal and what I see are MODEST changes. The boat crowd can still use live bait on the Hoh below 101 and "release" as many wild steelhead as they want. Mortality rate is sky high but the mayor of Forks is happy.

    My personal opinion is to outlaw bait and retention of wild steelhead as a first step. I do not think anyone can be serious about protecting steelhead without agreeing with this basic position.

    If a gear fisherman won't agree to this obvious step, it is not the method I am against rather the mentality.
    Bert and Derek Young like this.
  12. Derek Young

    Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

    Thanks for taking the time to respond, Tom.
  13. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Do you really think the knuckle draggers who whack wild fish are marking their cards, or even stopping at their one fish? I've seen a few things on the river that make me think they're not doing those things as often as we'd like to think.
  14. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    Fiddling while Rome burned.
    fifafu likes this.
  15. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    First things first: ban bait and treble hooks. The fact that these are allowed on any steelhead streams in the lower 48 borders on criminal. 60% CnR mortality is not an option.

    Second: Stop stocking rivers with wild runs period, find some rivers that don't have wild runs or are unnatural and stock the shit out of them. Concentrate people who want to kill steelhead, and concentrate the gill nets that catch them.

    Untill those things happen banning fishing from boats seems rediculous.
    fifafu and kamishak steve like this.
  16. kamishak steve

    kamishak steve Active Member

    I agree with the above. From what I have read, bait and treble hooks (even barbed treble hooks) do not increase mortality rates for steelhead as much as one would expect. However, the mortality rate of by-catch (trout, bull trout, salmon smolt, etc) is very high, and is reason enough to justify the banning of barbed/baited/treble hooks.

    While I am generally opposed to hatchery fish, I am in support of watersheds otherwise empty being stocked heavily with hatchery fish to draw pressure away from the wild fisheries (ie cowlitz). I realize that as someone who prefers to catch and release wild steelhead in an area that sees minimal pressure, that I am looking for a different angling experience than someone who wants to bonk a steelie on the head. I am not saying better or worse, but it is definitely different. If there are enough whack-a-brat fisheries available, I don't understand the need for a kill fishery on wild steel on the peninsula, or anywhere else.

    I am also more than willing to quit fishing for the day if i catch a wild steelhead. Multiple fish days are a thing of the past for me now. If I land a single wild steelhead, I usually put my rod away and just row the boat, watch my friends fish, or just sit on the bank & enjoy the incredible scenery of where I caught it. I realize this would be nearly impossible to enforce, but if you are required to mark fish caught on your catch record card immediately after having caught one and before engaging in fishing afterwards (a rule that is enforced pretty seriously for some fisheries), and you are limited to one fish a day, it could be enforced. Difficult, but not impossible.
    David Dalan and Ed Call like this.
  17. Jim Kerr

    Jim Kerr Active Member


    I actually proposed some no floating zones here on the Penninsula myself, I do not totally agree with WSC on the locations they picked, but hey, we are making sausage here, no one is going to like everything that goes in it. In my conversations with state managers about this issue they constantly returned to one single point..."If we are meeting escapement there is no way we can reduce harvest" So that is one solid reality we have to face, We operate under a msy system, with ridiculously low escapement goals, and no real way of keeping track of harvest or escapement. Its like managing a bank account without knowing how much you started with, how much is being deposited, how much interest is being earned, or how much is being withdrawn..If the checks don't bounce you must be doing ok.
    I think its important to work on proposals like these, and to see we get some in. But the picture above is of the Hoh river completly blocked by gill nets, for three days a week, all fall. Nothing makes it by here..The winter isn't any better, and the Quilayute system is much worse.
    Lets continue to improve both sport fishing regulations and ethics ( I think ethics have more impact) but lets at the same time face facts, MSY is wrong for Washington and co-management has failed.
    How do we fix it? I really don't know. But I am sure we can do it, and that communities like this one will play a part.
  18. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast Active Member

    For deer and elk, you have to choose modern, archery, or muzzleloader for your one tag and that is the season you hunt.
  19. Upton O

    Upton O Blind hog fisherman

    One aspect that needs to be included in the discussion: not everyone who wields a fishing rod can physically make the walk on the paths down to the rivers to fish. I'm not talking about the obese (or the lazy) who have put themselves to that point, I'm thinking about the elderly or disabled who've been fishing the rivers for 50-60 years and need a boat with a guide to take them to the fish.

    And what would you say to the Healing Waters fisherman or other wounded warriors? "Sorry, you lost your legs in service of your country, we can't take you down the river to fish for those great fish you love. You have to just wait here in camp and we'll come back and tell you all of our stories about the great fishing"?
  20. Derek Day

    Derek Day Rockyday

    A lot of ADA access sites are "handicapped only", it would be easy to write something into the regs that would allow for people who wouldn't be able to wade fish to fish from boats. Also, if I recall correctly, there are other exceptions that level the playing field for the less physically able. It's a concern, but not insurmountable for those with good policy sense (oh wait--we're talking WDFW--damn it).

    However, I don't think a fishing from the boat ban is a significant conservation measure. It makes a better distribution tool for resources that are in higher demand and lower supply.

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