Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Bob Triggs, Oct 2, 2013.
Fishing elsewhere will never be a solution to poor management. Never...
Fishing from a boat is a method last I checked. And even with this method and a highly cushioned CNR mortality placed on sporties during the boat parade along with legal wild retention a couple hundred fish MAY die by way of sporties in a season. The tribe fishes when they want and kill what they want and refuses to take any measure of conservation. One look at the spring chinook and it's plain to see. Instead they demand more and more. And when they don't get it... They take it. Over harvest and a dwindling escapement goal will kill the hoh river. Not any sort of boat parade. Sorry boss!
No fishing from boats would be sweet but that's easy for me to say since I would rather swing flies. Angling experience has little to do with protecting the fish when it comes down to it. IMO. I shared your belief until I saw the ugly reality.
Dick's article has been out for a number of years now and paints the picture. I encourage folks to read it and use the information.
Changes in how we approach our fisheries need to change soon, the sooner we are willing to take proactive measures now, even if it infringes on our various techniques, the better. It was disappointing to not see some of the regulation changes moved forward and wished more folks could of taken on the long view of the situation to support them. A closed river with low returns is not easy to reverse and I am sure the regression models currently being developed for the Hoh as well as other OP streams are mapping the future for this scenario unless we are willing to make some changes as a collective.
At the very minimum what currently needs to be advocated is the concept that the fish allocated to us "50%", if chosen not to directly harvest, should not be viewed as wasted, but viewed as a further allocation to the spawning gravel.
"Why the Hoh?" Well, it still is open, has good habitat, which is also protected and it has wild steelhead. We as anglers are crowded in one area in the Spring, due to closures elsewhere and ubiquitous media and advertisement, if we can't see beyond ourselves it will be gone...
There isn't much else to say that hasn't been said. It comes up every year, and it gets beat to death. All we can do is keep up the pressure on the folks that can do something. It's over fished, there is so much animosity between the tribe and state, there is a lot of money at stake. It's political suicide to take a strong stand. I don't fish it, there are too many people. I'd rather fish on the late run hatchery fish GH systems, and then switch straight to springers.
Maybe my quick calculations (prior post) are off, but even if so by 100% that's not a lot of money considering what is at stake. For tribal leaders to say on one hand they are long time stewards of their historical resources and also continue allowing this activity (for what appears to be peanuts), is double-speak.
What troubles me is that we are now looking at something on the order of less than 10% of of the known historic abundance, (within the last 100 years),of Hoh River wild steelhead. And this is well less than some of the 19th century observations made and recorded of winter run fish. The winter runs again failed 2012/2013. Additionally the Hoh River summer Chinook salmon and fall Coho and Chinook salmon spawning numbers are down again this year, even the Bull Trout spawner numbers are down again. Despite the National Park Service and Olympic National Park fishing closures on park owned waters this summer, WDF&W, in it's inestimable wisdom, chose to continue to allow bait and lure fishing and harvest on the same diminished runs of Hoh River salmon. And with the low water autumn and winter that we have had so far out here, the hatchery runs are not showing up as expected either. There are ocean conditions to consider in all of this, I know. But seriously, the nets are scheduled for five days a week anyway. And the sports fishing rules are still unchanged. How can we continue to fish for these last wild fish, under these circumstances, with any integrity or good conscience at all?
It takes years & spawning cycles to to overcome poor harvest management, by willingly not being part of the problem you can be part of the solution. Fishing a river to death solves nothing!!
That's a good point. The money I'm talking about is WDFW, lawyers and politicians, not the tribe. They get barely anything from what, 1500 fish? That many fish goes through Pike Place Market in a day. If it were about money for the tribe, we should just pay them to leave their nets out. If we all paid ten bucks, we could buy every single fish that went through that system at market value twice over. It's a shame. I'm too young to remember the good old days, but in the past ten years, I've watch what were my own "good old days" turn into something that doesn't even resemble what it once was.
The Hoh is "the canary in the mine shaft". Some rivers have exceeded escapement; others have not but if we don't attempt to protect each river system then we will lose in the end. We're losing now. I haven't fished the Hoh for years but remember it as a beautiful river, with catchable steelhead and little pressure. Things are pretty much different now. All you have to do is look at the Alaska mainland. The places you can drive to are all fished out save the sockeye run on the Kenai/Russian rivers. You can't even catch a King Salmon on most of those rivers anymore because of poor management and heavy pressure.
Interesting parallel with Alaska...still thought by many as virtually untouched by man. No one here in WA 100 years ago would have thought our rivers and fish runs would be what they are now. Unfortunately this model/system, once the key variables go beyond a certain point, appears to go asymptotic.
We trash the riparian in which they live then create a new cool term, MSH, to associate the new reduced conditions with fish counts we expect to see.
We start hatcheries to offset the reduced numbers whilst we scratch our heads as to why the science project is not going as it should.
Think of the steelhead and salmon as the buffalo of our time. It really pisses me off that the tribes continue to fish these systems when they are in such bad shape, but it is not them who got us here...just as it was not them who crashed the American Bison herds. That happened when commercial value was placed on their heads and non-Indians began cashing in. The world commercial fleets have been hammering these stocks for decades... only as recent as the 90's was pressure brought to bear on them -- every one recall the mile long nets?
Sadly, lost in this never ending pissing match is that, eliminating that bounty, requires no scientific guesses or complex statistics... dead fish do not swim or reproduce.
The bottom line is the Hoh is being loved to death, by Fly Fishers, Bait throwers and the tribes. Don Henley says it best, "You can call a place paradise, then kiss it good bye".
They are not being lusted or loved to death. That's actually just silly. Sportfishers are doing nothing to harm the run. Nothing, nada, zilch. In fact, the managers have managed it perfectly according to their goal. They nearly hit the escapement goal on the dot. The issue here is not about sport fishing pressure, CNR mortality, fishing methods, poor fish handling or anything else that deals with sport fishing. I think we need to be clear here, the managers managed it perfectly.
Now no one here thinks it was managed perfectly. WDFW and the tribes hit their mark though, and that is the problem. What we see as an obvious failure is the stated goal of the co-managers.
If sportfishing was eliminated all together on the HOH, No retention, no C&R etc. The river would still be managed the same with the tribes taking every possible fish they can. If, under this scenario, the escapement came it within 5% of the goal, the managers would still call it a huge success.
Due to the management goals now in effect, if there was 0 mortality from sportfishers we could expect prcisely 0 more wild fish escaping. Eliminating all sport fishing would put 0 more fish on the gravel on the Hoh.
The very thought that there would be any positive outcome by increased sportfishing regulation is moronic. The issue is the managemnt goal. It is the one and only issue to tackle.
Thank you Charles I owe you a beer
I prefer american style pale ales, and porters.
Usually, I try to avoid the steelhead threads, but Charles Sullivan just hit a home run. At Fenway.
I always think of this topic in pictures, so let me paint one.
Picture a beautiful run, on one side of the river is the traditional Spey angler. On the other bank is a dirty bobber fisherman. They both have abandoned fishing and are in a furious screaming match. They fucking hate each over.
Meanwhile, 10 miles downstream at the mouth, the netters are setting up a slalom course of nets giving the fish very few opportunity to swim past.
Now, out in the bay, just past the river mouth, the commercial boys are running a zig zag pattern for maximum effect.
Past the bay, out in the sound, the fish farmers are pouring chemicals in the form of antibiotics into the water to keep the fake fish just healthy enough for humans to eat.
So, the question is........
What are the anglers fighting about?
If I remember right, Doug rose has a chapter about this very problem in The Color of Winter. He explains it very well, and that was the first time I ever really understood the issue properly.
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angling experience does matter. imagine how good the fishing on the hoh was from 1976-1981....
Angling experience does matter. It is not a conservation issue though.
I spend a lot of time, money and vacation accruals to fish places where angling experience is better than OP. I personaly enjoy no fishing from boat reg's and not fishing any peice of water someone else is on, riffle to tail. I don't think it's a conservation tool though.