FYI: Boat-ban suggested for Klickitat, Hoh, other rivers

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Dan Nelson, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. Spot on. Closing hatcheries would do more good for wild populations than all the regulations Fish and Game can dream up, because without enforcement regulations are pretty worthless anyway. They can take the money they save by closing the hatcheries and hire more game wardens to enforce the regs they already have. From what I've seen, following the regs here is a matter of personal integrity, and unfortunately not everyone has integrity.

    I use to live in Alaska, and you could be in the deep woods, and not think there was another human for 50 miles and look up and there would be a game warden watching you and if you were at any of the popular spots you could just about count on getting checked, license and gear at a minimum. I don't know if I'm the exception or the norm, but I've lived and fished here for 4 years and I don't fish as much as I want to, but I do get out. I've never once been asked for my license or had an enforcment officer approach me in any way.

    Yes I know this is not Alaska and the population here is very different, and I'm not saying enforcement here is not doing their job, maybe they're not properly resourced, maybe because they are spending way too much money on hatcheries, which IMO it has been proven (and I know there are those that will disagree; and some of you probably don't believe shit stinks until someone sticks your nose in it) that hatcheries have a detrimental impact on wild fish populations. (and don't ask me what proof, google it, or search previous threads you'll find a plethoria of information).

    If Fish and game wants to get serious about improving wild fish polulations

    Tear down more damns.
    Close more hatcheries
    Stop Gill netting
    Increase enforcment
    Make all Hatcheries mark fish
    Make all Wild Fish C&R
    Make it illegal to sell possess wild steelhead
    Require single barbless hooks everywhere (fly and gear)

    If they do this maybe they wouldn't have to worry about a guy floatin' down the river watching a bobber. Though I have no real understanding why anyone would want to do that in the first place, I think, with maybe a very few well justified exceptions, they should have the right to.
  2. We should do nothing at all until we see unicorns flying over Seattle.
    Bob Triggs likes this.
  3. Painting the living room while the kitchen is on fire, doesn't make alot of sense to me.
    Bob Triggs likes this.
  4. Playing a fish back up to your perch may have an impact that is being overlooked.
    Bob Triggs likes this.
  5. These types of regs are more for social reasons than biological. I don't see too many volunteering to take their impacts off the fishery...and why should they?

    I go fishing to recreate. Not to be in an even bigger competitive rat race then regular life. I also go to catch fish. That is a conflict with today's incredibly overhyped steelhead fisheries.

    After 20 years of chasing steelhead with a fly I can see my future days are numbered. Not entirely because there are no fish/going to be no fish. In fact it is the opposite on many fisheries. Too many fish = too much hype = too many anglers all vying for theirs, doing whatever they deem neccessary at the time to ensure they get theirs at your expense. The skagit and sauk are done. Gone with them is my desire to winter steelhead. The once peaceful time on many summer steelhead rivers (all steelhead rivers really), well it isn't so peaceful anymore. I have already cut my steelhead time in half from what it was a decade ago. Down the road as long as my son enjoys it I will keep going with him for a summer steelhead trip. And a week or so in the fall to meet up with friends. The rest of my 'anadromous' time will be spent fishing elsewhere for other species on controlled waters that are nearly 100% wild and native fisheries. Hell I had a blast a week or so ago going trout fishing with my son on a small high elevation tailwater with plenty of beaver ponds. A little over an hour from 2 million people. Nice fat browns that required finesse and patience in the flat water. Once a 1/4 mile away from the parking area...not another angler. Just mule deer, re-established native cutts and naturalized browns with a sweet evening spinner fall. No sleds. No highway. Mile after mile of very lightly fished water.

    Banning fishing from boats will do nothing to biologically help the fish. It might result in fewer fish being hooked, which could result in a few more to those that like fishing from the shore...which is really what is behind this proposal. However it does nothing to establish 'rules of the road' so we can equally share the water we equally own. Which IS the problem.
  6. serious reply. ;)

    dams - WDFW has little to no power over removing dams
    close hatcheries - WDFW can do it... but they face incredible public and political pressure when they do. look at the process in closing snyder creek and honestly answer if you think we could politically close hatcheries like on the bogachiel.
    stop gill netting - WDFW can not stop tribal gill netting.
    increase enforcement - with what money?
    mark hatchery fish - what state run hatcheries are not marking their steelhead?
    c&r wild fish - proposed with the boat fishing ban - likely not going to happen
    sell, possess wild steelhead - hard to enforce with treaty rights and legal kill fisheries
    require barbless hooks - WDFW could enact this along with a bait ban

    we fish on rivers where many of the impacts are not fixable in the short term. there has been a major pressure shift with closures elsewhere. much of what we would like to see done either cannot or would take a significant amount of time. the question i ask is what should we do in the short term to ensure that those longer term fixes have fish to work with?

    the better analogy is stopping the bleeding on an arm to save a cancer patient, knowing the patient may end up dead anyways.

    we need to take a look in the mirror and be honest about our own impacts. people saying this will have no biological impact are fooling themselves. less fish caught equals more fish spawning.

    it aint perfect, but making small changes is better than nothing. remember, if small changes weren't good enough we'd still have a 30 fish wild steelhead yearly limit. small, incremental changes brought us to 1 per year. small changes got us selective fisheries in the upper watersheds. small changes get us closer and closer to the regulations many of us think would have larger biological impacts. aim high but take what is given.
  7. Chris,
    I think you and I probably agree on more than we disagree on.

    I know these are complex problems with lots of players and everyone looking out for their own interest and I agree that very little of what I proposed is a quick fix. We didn’t get in this situation over night and we’re not going to get out of it over night. I also know that WDFW doesn’t have unilateral control over all these issues. If we are going to correct this course we’re on, they are going to have to find their voice and start standing up to the public and political pressures. It’s going to take lots of negotiations with tribes and energy companies, and politicians and god knows who else. And I couldn’t agree more, we need to look in the mirror and be honest about our impacts.

    And if I could see more being done towards a long-term solution some of the band-aid fixes might make more sense. But my fear is they’ll place the band-aid and say let’s wait and see if the bleeding stops and never get at the root of the problems.

    To answer your question about short term; the below are things that IMO could happen almost immediately.

    C&R all wild fish
    Barbless hooks (and the Bait Ban you mentioned)
    Cut hatchery funding by 20% across the board, and use that money to fund more enforcement.
  8. Jumping in here rather late.

    For decades there have been Wildlife Refuge Areas that provide protected resting/feeding locations for migratory birds. These areas allow no hunting, no dogs, no guns, etc. Anyone who hunts birds can attest to the effectiveness of these areas. Most everyone has spent at least one evening watching thousands of birds frolicking in the Refuge Area while the sun sets and not a single bird flies 50 yards off the protect course.

    Translate that to the river system. Fish seek out protected lies in which to rest as they migrate upstream. They naturally move to areas that protect them from current flows, predators, etc. If eliminating fishing from a floating device results in a similar effect as the Wildlife Refuge does for migratory birds then this could have a significant impact in the quality of the migration routes of anadromous fish.
  9. The only creatures that would get refuge under these proposals are fisherman that don't fish from boats. There's already miles of "refuge" water on the sol duc and calawah i.e. CLOSED TO FISHING

  10. and, these rivers form the quillayute, a short run river that is heavily netted, bank to bank. so the upriver sanctuaries are hardly the issue when the fish can't reach them. last time i checked, there was a net actually deployed blocking the channel just below the mouth of the Duc.

    has the Duc ever made escapement goals?
  11. "has the Duc ever made escapement goals?"

    Routinely. It's about the only river that does.
    Bob Triggs likes this.
  12. Having guided Montana for years(long ago)the Madison had special regs. From access point to access point was broken into different sections. Floating,wading and no fishing.Everyone had their space including the fish and I have to say it worked great.I know they were resident fish but just saying. If I had clients who couldn't wade I had a section and for those who were more skilled I had a section with fewer boats.We can't just do nothing as that is the exactly what we'll have left!
    TribalDragon911 likes this.
  13. "We can't just do nothing as that is the exactly what we'll have left!"

    Well stated!
  14. Well stated riverking!
  15. See yah next winter!
    Derek Young likes this.
  16. I heard it was 80%
  17. "Others":rolleyes:
  18. This site is the absolute worst case of fisherman cannibalizing other fisherman I have ever seen. The answer to better fishing is not to regulate practices you disagree with out of existence.Just because somebody catches more fish than you does not mean they are damaging a fishery. What damage is done when a fish sees a bajillion flies and actually stops attacking artificials altogether? The only thing that needs to be banned is gillnetting, but that really isnt sport fishing anyways, and would require all the haters to actually stand together for once. And the knee jerk reaction "i disagree with this, so i suggest we just ban fishing altogether" is really getting old...
  19. Management of these wild rivers and fish is so far behind the times, so far behind the realities of the status of the fish, their relative lack of abundance compared to the watersheds that could host them. Each new management step seems so meager in relationship to the need for more protections for these wild fish. And yet as Chris has said, we have covered a lot of ground in regulations since the days of "30 wild steelhead per season, five wild steelhead harvested per day" etc. But always there is the sense of bargaining over the last fish. Isnt that what happened on the rivers that have been closed? The fact that the "stakeholders" are deeply involved and invested in the regulatory process may be the worst aspect and the weakest link in resolving the the problem of diminishing wild runs. Everyone has a goal; Some want more regulations, Some want less, More harvest, Less harvest, More access, Stop the other guy...

    But we can all agree that things are not getting better for the fish or the fishing out here on the Olympic Peninsula. There is plenty of blame to be passed around, and each major faction amongst the "stakeholders" easily points to the others as the reason for decline. So the arguements continue, as they have for decades, and little is resolved. And what little we do is ever enough, soon enough. There is a sense that we will fish and bargain and wring our hands until the last one comes home, alone and bewildered, like "Lonesome Larry", the Redfish Lake Sockeye, who was hand spawned to the very last drop of milt and is the only reason that they have any historic genetics in Redfish Lake sockeye now at all.The truth is that fishing in all of it's forms is having a tragic impact on these wild steelhead. And the less we fish the better off they will be. So why not limit it to: Catch & Release, 1 Single Barbless Hook, Artificial Only, (scentless), No fishing from boats or floating devices in any waters, and limit fishing to three days a week.

    But dont worry because the same stupid management methods and decisions that got us here, winnowing down each run of wild steelhead on a river-by-river basis, until fishing is finally closed, are heavily entrenched and jealously protected. And it is very likely indeed that what has happened to all of the other rivers will occur out here on the Olympic Peninsula as well. Does anyone really believe that stopping the Puget Sound ESA Listings on Wild Steelhead at the Elwah was truly a scientifically driven decision? Couldn't WDFW see that as each Puget Sound river was closed the displaced anglers would come out to the Olympic Peninsula steelhead rivers to fish for and harvcest the last open runs? Why didnt they anticipate that guides too would come here for the last runs of wild $teelhead?

    As sports fishers we can scream all we like about all of the other "stakeholders", and we can even split off into factions amongst ourselves, and none of it will really change. Let's get real. We have to change. We have to fish less impactfully and we have to fish less overall.

    Some of you call yourselves "fly fishermen" but I have watched as the obtuse trend toward "gear bobber and drift fishing with a flyrod" has become the norm, and boatload after boatload of duffers come numbly slogging along downriver, dragging their rigs across holding fish, boasting and hooting over their "prowess" as fly fishers. It's is all about the numbers and the ego and the money. I never see the slinkeys and weights in the pictures. Truth be told some of the most ethical fishermen out here- that I have seen in my 12+ years of fishing these waters- have been the local gear and bait fishermen and their local guides. At least they know who they are, and they dont pretend to be something that they aren't.
  20. sorry, I couldn't name every one of you at a moment's notice.

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