Giving them a break.

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Bob Triggs, Mar 15, 2006.

  1. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    While I think giving Searuns a break is a sensible idea, be careful what you wish for. I think this is an issue where individuals need to make the call on whether to fish searuns or not during the post spawn period. I don't think you want the WDFW involved with this. When things get closed, there is no guarantee they will open back up. You may also lose the opportunity to fish other species in the salt due to closures, those being resident silvers, blackmouth and steelies. Once WDFW gets involved, it is a whole new ballgame.
    I've always had my best luck on searuns in the late summer, early fall. It is tough to put in much time fishing for them then. While Searuns are great fish, I'd rather fish for the 5-10 lb silvers that are available at that time. Besides, those hatchery silvers taste great on the BBQ.
  2. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    I can't speak for other guides, how they work or how they fish etc. But I do know that the average person who seeks a guide's services is usually not from the area and needs some help. Of my guests, only a small percentage are skilled enough to just go out and catch fish here on their own the first time out. And even they know that hiring a guide for a few days in a new area can be beneficial. But most of my guests have quite a lot to learn and do not present an immediate threat to the fish, especially on their own.

    Additionally I support only fair-chase fly fishing, which I define with a single barbless hook only, all catch and release. We try not to handle the fish at all. And my days on the water are as much about environmental education as they are about actually catching fish.

    I know quite a few anglers who are very good at catching these fish. They fish often and hard and they catch and release a lot of fish. In my busiest week of guiding I wont expect my guests to have a catch rate like some of these people have in a day or two of fishing out here on the salt for Cutthroat. These better, more experienced fishermen are incessant, obsessional and compulsive in their quest for the next best or better fish. They are rarely sated by catching a few nice ones.

    In my own fishing, my personal recreation, I have backed way off of these fish. Since I am guiding for them I dont feel it is right for me to be chasing them hard myself too. It's not fair to the fish and it is not fair to the guests who come to fish with me. If all I did was fish for fun, and didnt guide for a living, I might go back to fishing hard for them myself again and my catch rate would expand rapidly from there.

    You can slam guides all you like but there are a few of us who have opted for conservation and preservation of our wild fisheries resources, and our work, lifestyle and wallets reflect that choice. I could sell out the fish and whore it to death for money if I wanted to do that. I dont want to live that way.

    None of that has anything to do with what I proposed here. But it is interesting to see people begin to accuse and blame (guides) instead of accepting responsibility and thinking about the longer term picture.
  3. D3Smartie

    D3Smartie Active Member

    100% correct. Very few people who want to fish the salt for cuts are going to be able to go out and catch SRCs with any consistancy.
    This is a very well intentioned post and i tend to feel the same as Bob does about SRCs. They are a great fish and one i have grown up fishing for. Countless hours of my summers have been devoted to catching cutties. I really used to have it dialed in and could go catch 10+ in an evening a short distance from my house. But i have seen the cuts come back from a very small local population and the rebound they have made is amazing... I really dont want to see them head into the gutter again. For that reason i havent fished that bunch of cuts for quite awhile... I would like to think they will be there for me when i only have an hour :)

    People who post about SRCs on here do more damage than the few guides that do take trips out on the salt.
  4. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

    "You can slam guides all you like"

    Did someone slam guides??
  5. Porter

    Porter Active Member

    No...but I think when someone got outside the box they got in the guides' grills...and was swaying a big bootie. But that's not really slamming...anytime you get out of the box you are going to upset those that like closed boxes...???

    Keep the damn box open jump in and out as you feel :)
  6. chadk

    chadk Be the guide...

    Porter - I'm afraid I'm going to have to call in a full on emergency MTV intervention.... I think were losing you buddy....
  7. Porter

    Porter Active Member

    :rofl: :rofl: Got Me! :thumb: ......
  8. Kyle Smith

    Kyle Smith Active Member

    Sorry guys, but I'm not worried so much about the threat of respectful, enlightened people such as yourselves pursuing an elusive fish with barbless hooks. While I agree that fishing pressure is in no way good for fish, fly fishing has to account for the tiniest fraction of the dangers a searun faces today. How about habitat destruction! How about the huge amount of raw sewage in Lincoln Park and Lake Union, along with the associated bacteria that has got to be sucking tons of oxygen out of the Sound's water. Maybe the Puget Sound region should come up with a new sewage outfall system involving a massive tube under the Olympic Mountains. Though practically impossible, it would send a lot of our problems to open water and do a lot less damage, proportionately. Warm water from industry has got to suffocate hundreds of pre/post-spawn, PCB mercurythroats in the Duwamish. If kids in a South Seattle elementary school have toxins in their water fountains, just imagine what the untreated water's like.
  9. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

    Interesting discussion -
    Let me review -
    1) a couple months ago there was discussion that centered around the potential higher hooking mortality on our sea-runs in the salt over that seen in freshwater with most suggesting that anglers limit their catch out of concern for the fish.

    2) Now many are suggesting that we limit our catch out of concern that the fish during the winter/early spring are in spawning condition. During that period the fish don't need the added stress of having to fighting for the lives.

    3) It has been stated that at least in the past the anglers could not trust the bios at the old Dept. of Game to take care of the fish (no one there cared about them) so the anglers needed to do so themselves and must continue to do so now. Though I must say I had the chance to hoist an adult beverage or two with a number of the younger new bios from WDFW at the coastal cutthroat symposium and was very impressed with their interest and enthusiasm for the sea-runs.

    4) It is clear that with the exploding human population grow and our development in the small watersheds that support our cutthroat that their habitat is under considerable pressure from degrading habitat(s) which is certain to increase. Those in the fish conservation business are clear that the first step in protecting fish that are experiencing habitat problems is to put to end population impacts from fishing.

    5) The sea-run fisheries in the marine waters are clearly an example of a mixed stock fishery. The stream of origin of those fish being caught are unknown so there is no certainity whether the fish being harassed are from populations in trouble or not.

    Given all the above it should be clear that any angler concerned about the cuttroat and their future should not be fishing the salt beaches under any condition. Further I would expect at there will be a spate of proposals from ethical anglers demanding the end to marine "trout" fisheries in the very near future.

    Tight lines
  10. crazysalmon

    crazysalmon New Member

    Life is too short! I know a family that lost their mother while she was talking to her sister on the phone. Leaving a husband of 16 years and four children between the ages of 7 and 15. My point is buy your license, go barbless, release all coastal cutts, have fun, and enjoy this beautiful state we live in. I'm off my soap box, and heading for the boat with my son for some afternoon blackmouth fishing.:ray1: Tight lines
  11. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Bob, I did not mean to sound like I was slamming guides like yourself and Steve Buckner and a few others I am aware of that set a high bar for teaching conservation, C&R, and other ethical concerns.

    It is people who go beyond enlightened guiding to making a living mass-producing more fishers that I have a problem with. I'll bet Ron (whatever his last name is) did not take his class to HIS favorite "secret spot."

    And D3Smartie, I agree about not posting any more reports, something you and I (as well as others) have been guilty of doing in the past. It doesn't do anything to help the fishery. It is better that anyone wanting to fish for searun cutthroat off the beaches do their own homework and footwork...(or hire an ethical guide like Bob Triggs, if that is too much for them).
    I would not want to deny the feelings of joy that accompany going out and finding a good spot on one's own to anyone. If something is too easy, it becomes too cheap. And it is too easy for someone to read a report of some spot off the internet and then go there, when they most likely would not have had that idea to go to that spot if they had not read it. This is NOT selfishness per se, but enlightened self-interest, at least for all those concerned about not overfishing this sensitive fisherey.

    Thanks Smalma for your commentary!

    Coolkyle and Crazysalmon, I agree.

    There's just too many already, moving here, and on the planet as a whole. The spawning habitats are getting decimated daily by continued development, and there really is no hope for it stopping anytime soon, as people continue to move into this state and continue to have kids. Who can blame them? This is the Tragedy of the Commons, a never-ending one-act play. Go out and enjoy what you can now, but tread lightly and let your
    conscience be your guide.

    By the way, we can go back in the archives and erase all or parts of any previous posts we have made that give away spots. I have been doing that!

  12. D3Smartie

    D3Smartie Active Member

    believe me... i wish i could go back and delete a lot of that stuff. The footprint of the net, is much bigger than most realize.
  13. Kyle Smith

    Kyle Smith Active Member

    One other thing: In order to give them the kind of protection they deserve, shouldn't we be trying to get SRC's all the attention they can get? The more people who care about the Sound, the more clout folks like us have. Perhaps a four-month offseason for targeting these fish could be good for them, but do you really want to close the silver+blackmouth fishery?
  14. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Good point, Coolkyle and Stonefish. I think that we can voluntarily back off a little during the peak spawning/post-spawning period to "give 'em a break," without having to over-regulate fishing in Puget Sound.
    Informative posts, such as those by R.Stephens, Smalma, Bob Triggs, Searun, and all the other knowledgeable members of this site about the habits, life history, and fishing techniques for searun cutts are great, and lead to a better educated fishing public.
    Just be carefull not to post the locales of your walk-in beach-fishing access spots, or you might find them literally "booked" the next time you go there.
    Fishing from a boat really frees you up to hit alot of spots that you can't access by foot, but some (not all) walk-in places I have fished seem to have a relatively small area or "sweet spot" where the cutties like to hold that is the prime place to cast to, and have room for only a very few fishers before they seem crowded. Other places have a bigger zone where the cutties move around more and can handle more people fishing at once.
    I actually got a couple of other fly fishers, whom I had never met before, to cooperate and rotate positions one morning in a place where only one or two can stand and cast to the prime spot where the rip moves away from the point. We all had a good morning.

  15. One problem with establishing a season for a fishery is that there then becomes an "opening day" for the season. One aspect of a year round fishery is the absence of any opening day and the intense fishing pressure that it brings. We've all seen on lakes as well as in the salt water fisheries such as ling cod. In that case, opening day brings out scores of fishers who might otherwise spread their fishing attention over a longer span of time with less trauma to the fishery.

  16. Tony

    Tony Tony

    I believe that this is one time where the web when used in an intellegent and thoughtful way is a benefit, this discussion has brought up a few issues both positive and of course the other, we really need to strive to stay away from blaming any one group we are humans its our fault as a species not just any one group. I for one must admit to my part of the problem, I found a spot and went on to catch more than I should have one morning, in defense I really didn't understand the whole spawning thing, but now I have a few spots where I know there will probably be fish but I don't hit them every week, I spend time out looking for other spots, walking the beaches or fishing lakes now that things seem to heating up there. At my favorite spots when I do fish them I've started limiting myself there also, as stated in another reply, I switch flys if the one I'm using seems hot and I find I've started using the beach popper alot more not as many hookups and I find just having the fish try to grab it to be almost as cool as actually catching them. Maybe thanks to BT who by starting this discussion, has opened alot of eyes to the problem and we'll handle the issue ourselves so that this fishery can be enjoyed without outside intervention
  17. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    My suggestion to reduce pressure on these fish does not imply that I am not concerned with habitat degredation issues as well. My only point was to suggest a beginning of protecting these fish further as the direct fishing pressures on them increases with the coming years. All that I mentioned was fishing pressures, and the possibility of limiting that activity for a time each year. Many states have closed seasons for fisheries that span well beyond spawning weeks. The point is to allow the fish to survive well, not just minimally. The focus is the health of the fishery first, and our exploitation of the fish secondly. None of this means or implies that we should not be looking at other factors, like habitat issues. Indeed that is critical. But our behavior as fishermen, regarding all fish, is a huge factor as well. And it is one that we can have an immediate and decisive choice on.

    We have been conditioned in this region to think along the lines of the management of fish species, especially Salmonids, on a river-by-river and run-by-run basis, a very localized approach. And also under the "Maximum Sustained Yeild" ethic. This is the same thinking that has paralelled the decline of most of the significant freshwater and saltwater fisheries of our continent. Not just in this region. Can anyone sincerely deny that something is terribly wrong, when we keep on doing the same things every year, on a river-by-river and run-by-run-basis, to manage our wild fish, even though many of those runs have declined or disappeared? Can we continue our previouis behavior in this regard and reasonably expect things to come out any differently? How long can we blame "Ocean Conditions" and "other factors", while we continue to winnow our wild anadromous fisheries resources down to the very last rivers and last runs with continued harvest goals?

    And now that the Wild Sea Run Cutthroat Trout has fallen beneath the sites of so many fisherman in the region, can it be far behind the fate of the rest of them?

    As time goes by a valuable lesson is lost with the death of preceeding generations of our elders. Between vast habitat degredation and the decline of our fisheries we have lost more than we have preserved, some say as much as ninety percent, especially regarding the freshwater commercial fisheries. But almost no one alive today can remember those days.

    R Stephens made a good point about "Opening days". A result of the hype from the industry side of sportfishing, for tackle and boat sales, and an effort by Fish and Game Agencies to boost lisence purchases. In the case of Sea Run Cutthroat I doubt we would see quite the Opening Day fiasco that we see in some other fisheries that have an Opening Day, especially since many of them are traditionally hatchery based, put-and-take blood feasts. And we have been conditioned to take those fish for granted too.

    Really, you would think that I was suggesting that some of you throw your infant children into vats of boiling oil, to take a seasonal break from hooking and playing these, or any wild fish. Believe it or not you would be better off for it too. Can the idea of year round non stop fishing be honestly reconciled with any serious committment to a long term restoration of our wild fisheries? If the definition of "Restoration" is to return to "harvestable goals"- so that we can then return to our previous behaviors that got us here to begin with- how can we ever assume that it could turn out any better than it is right now?

    The goal is self-defeating. And the harvest goal presumes- erroneously- that we can manage species of apex predators on the basis of sheer numbers alone, from the top down, when the fact is that we need to manage the entire biota of the ecosystems that they live in and spawn in, on a biological basis, from the bottom species on up the food chain to the top. And if we did that well enough, maybe there would be room for a very little harvest and some sports fishing pressure. In the end our bahavior is all that we can control in an immediate sense.

    The definition of true restoration will only be meaningful when it is done on the basis of acheiving the best overall biological health of the ecosystem as a whole, rather than pursuing our vain hobby as though it were a God-given right.
  18. cascade kid

    cascade kid New Member

    I think that as modern fisheries go, the status of the searun cutthroat at least in the south of Puget Sound is stable. Fact is, in the winter there aren't many cutthroat around anyway, so in that sense the fishery is self-regulating, as most of the larger fish are tucked away into the fresh water during this time.

    Should we close fishing to searuns in the post-spawn spring for a time? That could be debated, but my feeling is that they recover very quickly once they are back in the marine environment.

    The fact that we can leave our silly modern lives and go to the water at any time of year is to me a huge gift, even if there arent a lot of fish around. Relinquishing this "endless season" would be regrettable in my opinion, and if it was done, the 'genie' that you've let out would be very hard to put back in.

    I personally feel that the few people that go out to fish "their water" day after day for whatever motivation financial or otherwise and stilleto the same fish over and over are the most destructive to this fishery. I say catch a fish and move to another place, or do something else than trying to "put up numbers" so all your internet buddies can be impressed.