hatchery steelhead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by rockfish, Nov 24, 2001.

  1. rockfish Member

    Posts: 730
    Manchester, Wa
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    is there a website that shows how many steelhead are expected to return back to the hatheries or how many in past years. much thanks Ben
  2. Greg Moore New Member

    Posts: 315
    Ellicott City (Baltimore), Md.
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  3. Hey Ben,
    I had a simmilar question not too long ago.
    To date, the only thing I've found is on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website. (www.wa.gov/wdfw)
    Go to Fishing/Shellfish, then scroll down to "Steelhead Harvest Reports", where you'll find harvest and smolt planting information dating back to 95/96.
    And if I'm not mistaken, you'll be able to find tribal gill netting numbers also.
    Hopes this helps,
  4. Chris Scoones Administrator

    Posts: 3,590
    North Bend
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    Additionally in http://www.wa.gov/wdfw/recovery.htm they have a link to escapement reports. I'll keep looking around though Ben, there should be an area where this information is consolidated.

  5. rockfish Member

    Posts: 730
    Manchester, Wa
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    yeah i was looking at the catch records and i noticed a few local creeks where they said they caught marked fish. i dont know what that is about cause there is no hatchery on these small creeks. if possible could someone enlighten me on how 15 to 20 marked fish were caught on such a small creeks. thanks ben
  6. guest Guest

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    I was fishing the W/fork of the Foss river about 2yrs ago and caught a hatchery fish. Try to guess how far that that river is from a hatchery. I guess they plant hatchery fish in hard to reach places just for people like you and me. Jim S.:TT
  7. gators101 New Member

    Posts: 10
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    What they do is dump stellhead smolts into the creeks when they are ready to return to the ocean and in 2to3 years there they are ready for you to catch.
  8. scottr Active Member

    Posts: 450
    Chasing trout and birds
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    I have three ideas why a hatchery fish may be in a small creek with no hatchery.

    1)Often hatchery fish will go up the wrong creek and hang out till the first big rain when they figure out they are in the wrong river and go back down to the main stem.

    2) as mentioned here WDFW may plant fish in these creeks to broaden the run. A bad idea usnless they are using a native stock because if the stream does not have a native run fish that take a hold in that system will compete with other native fish like, resident trout, SRC's, salmon etc.

    3) hatchery fish are stupid and never had a strong impression made from the hatchery when they were smolt. A skamania steelhead raised at the Tokul hatchery may be so genetically confused from being in the wrong river in the first place and then raised in a dirty tank that it will swin up the Tolt or some other river on it's way back to the hatchery
  9. guest Guest

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    The fish that they stock in the N/Fork of the Stilly. Will swim/go up the South Fork until it's time for them to spawn or what ever they do since hatchery fish don't spawn. They then swim down the S/fork and then back up the N/fork to the Fortson ponds area. Jim S. :OO
  10. ray helaers New Member

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    OK, here I go again.

    Unfortunately, hatchery fish do spawn in the wild; that's why it's ALWAYS a bad idea to plant hatchery fish, whether they're native stock or not. Hatchery fish don't spawn very well. Their "reproductive success" rate is a little better than half that of wild fish (even when they're from local brood stock). The rub is that when they spawn with wild fish, they compromise the wild fish's reproductive success as well. In other words, a wild fish will produce fewer progeny if it spawns with a hatchery fish than if it spawns with another wild fish. Essentially, the hatchery fish whittle down the wild population's ability to reproduce, until it's gone, requiring more and more hatchery fish. Makes sense, huh? That's what's happened to the early-returning component of the wild winter steelhead; they're gone now, thanks largely to 40+ years of massive plants of chambers creek steelhead throughout the state.

    You'll find hatchery fish in lots of tribs far away from hatcheries because they stray farther and at a much higher rate than wild fish, and becaouse they are planted in streams throughout the state by WDFW, tribes, and FISHING CLUBS.:AA
  11. ChrisW AKA Beadhead

    Posts: 493
    Seattle, WA.
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    Knowing this would you always harvest hatchery steelhead? I've heard people who advocate their release- of course, we should all release all wild steelhead. This is an easy question for me to ponder because I've never caught a steelhead.

  12. ray helaers New Member

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    Actually, I'm not very far ahead of you so it's largely an academic question for me too, but yes, you should bonk every hatchery fish you encounter (or any non-native), within the regulations of course. It makes things a little more complicated than standard c&r orthodoxy, but it's the right thing to do from a management standpoint, and I'm told the hatchery steelhead smoke up nicely.
  13. scottr Active Member

    Posts: 450
    Chasing trout and birds
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    Unfortunatly hatchery fish may be the only way to save of some of our runs, if they can successfully use native stocks to get the returns up high enough. Washington Trout Unlimited is proposing a reform to the states fishery management that would include new catch regulations (C&R for all wild steelhead for at least 8 years where runs are low), habitat preservation, hatchery reform and increased enforcement of rivers. Part of their hatchery plan include the elimination of using non-native fish (ie chambers creek stock) in rivers with existing wild runs.

    I have read a draft of the proposal and it looks very good so far. Hopefully it can be put into action.

    As for hatchery fish, they taste great no matter how you eat them. You be hard pressed to diferentiate the taste with a wild fish. Farmed fish well that's another story.
  14. Rob Blomquist Formerly Tight Loops

    Posts: 1,343
    Mountlake Terrace, WA, USA.
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    Bonk all the hatchery mutants and non-native fish that you encounter, release all the wild native fish that you catch. And don't harrass natives by fishing over them when they are dominant in an area.

    This is the creed that we use here at work. I have the luck to work with fisheries biologists that are fly fishers. But seriously, we are probably more attuned to fisheries issues than most, but WDFW could close all the wild runs leaving us to catch (and kill) all the hatchery fish, returning all the wild fish that we incidentally catch. As far as I see WDFW is doing a miserable job of managing the anadromous resources of this state.
  15. johnm New Member

    Posts: 11
    Seattle, WA, US.
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    Looks like the WDFW listened, at least in part, to your proposal. This just out:

    OLYMPIA – Anticipated poor returns of wild steelhead to the Skagit, Snohomish and Stillaguamish river
    systems has prompted the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to require release of all wild
    steelhead caught beginning Dec. 1.

    The ban isn't slated to last eight years, however. Here's the link to the full story:


    The counts don't bode well for my first metalhead landing this winter, but let's chalk one up for C&R!

  16. Hey all,
    Just thought I'd put my two cents worth into the subject of bonking hatchery fish.
    Having just recently(about a year) entered the world of steelheading myself, I can testify to the strength and sheer determination of these fish. Read,study,and practice as you will, but there is nothing that can prepare you for your first hook up.
    If you "bonk" every hatchery fish you catch when you're first starting, your C&R skills will be in some sorry shape when you tangle with your first wild fish.(which I've yet to do)
    I bonked my first Steelie simply for lack of knowing how to land her gentley enough for a safe release. My next fish (a fine buck of about 6 lbs-ish) had a rather awkward and unpleasant experience once in the hands of this oafish begginer.
    By my 4th fish,(a 10 lbs-ish summer buck- I was rather proud :jj )I was able to hook,play,land,and release my fish, and though not all too graceful, did so without harming the fish or my pride.(the latter taking quite a beating during the first three :AA)
    So in conclusion, my opinion is, the targeting and releasing of hatchery steelhead is the best thing a novice steelheader can do for our wild steelhead stocks.
    Once proficient in landing and releasing under various conditions, then, and only then do I support hatchery fish bonking.
    Take care,