How much lass crowded is the penisula vs the S rivers?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by daveypetey, Dec 14, 2012.

  1. Cruik Active Member

    Posts: 459
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +141 / 0
    They're really not all that much higher if at all. If you're looking at the weekly hatchery returns on the WDFW website, those numbers don't actually reflect how many brats are in the river. I feel like a Reiter, Fortson, or Cascade bound fish has a higher likelihood of never making it up into the ponds. For instance, on the sky, when Hogarty Creek is low or they've shut the gate, the fish stack up and those Reiter guys are pretty efficient at hitting 'em. Tokul fish are pretty likely to just shoot up the creek. I could be wrong, though. If there was harvest data available newer than 2003, one could probably add the harvest numbers to hatchery on hand numbers to get the true hatchery escapement.
  2. skyrise Active Member

    Posts: 591
    everett, wa.
    Ratings: +51 / 0
    Cruik, you could be right. the Skagit fish have much farther to go.
    though in the sno there is more slower water, hence the shoot right thru. not to mention the water gets dirty much quicker. still numbers are numbers.
    right, guide boats on the sky. duh!
  3. PfleugerPhister Active Member

    Posts: 122
    Warshington
    Ratings: +50 / 0
    When I fish the S rivers, I usually end up getting interrupted having my midday riverside wank. When on the coast, I can usually bring myself to the edge several times before seeing a boat or other angler
  4. daveypetey Active Member

    Posts: 274
    University District, Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +39 / 0
  5. Broderick Smith SeaToTree

    Posts: 254
    SeaToTree, WA
    Ratings: +39 / 0
  6. Daryle Holmstrom retiredfishak

    Posts: 2,572
    Mount Vernon, WA
    Ratings: +105 / 0
    google judge boldt
  7. JesseC Active Member

    Posts: 1,967
    seattle, wa
    Ratings: +727 / 0
    OP rivers are a shit show on the landing zones. Have you ever been skiing? Have you noticed how the bunny slopes are an absolute mucus f*ck fest? It looks like they smeared peanut butter on the snow and let loose an amry of orangutans right? Well, the OP is similar. Although, if you're hard core you don't even call it the OP - it's the pen.... maaaaan. (no waders in the thriftymart either)

    But the more you hike, the more you bust your waders, the fewer people you find. Most of the most gorgeous storybook, old lady jaw dropping runs, (you know the ones you'll see in a thomas kincaid calendar) i've found have been within three miles of a nice hike.
    [IMG]

    Buy a good head lamp. Buy a decent map. Start hiking.

    If you pull up to a put-in and there's 20 rigs in the parking lot - and you're not missing $500 - then you're probably in the wrong place. Try hiring a guide that goes against the grain (Jim Kerr comes to mind) that'll show you how and why you'll catch fish when fishing where other people don't.

    Pretty sure it's marginally the same on the sky and snoq.
    Cruik likes this.
  8. mdjm66 Member

    Posts: 200
    Cloverdale, BC
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    During the week, usually in the spring (Feb/Mar) I dont see the pressure that you would normally see on a weekend.
    Even when I have seen pressure on the peninsula rivers, it doesnt even come close to what we see on a couple of the rivers that have steelhead runs within a couple hours of Vancouver.
  9. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,445
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,622 / 2
    The Vedder gives "shit show" a whole new definition.
  10. golfman65 Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    Vedder is the great gear river...there is a rhythem to the cast and step in a long line up of guys...just about everyone knows and uses real floats..pins are everywhere...kind of like an op bobber and bead fest!!!
    Difference is the Mighty V does get fish...
  11. Cruik Active Member

    Posts: 459
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +141 / 0
    Echoing what was said here, a good way to do it is to get a head lamp, find a popular spot and get there before anyone else. Fish it as much as you can and any other untouched water. After that, explore for new water that doesn't get pressured and hit already discovered low-pressure spots. Especially when swinging flies and in lower water, I believe water that's already been covered is not at all very productive.

    Google satellite images are a huge resource and have changed the fishing game for me, better or worse. For hatchery fish, I like to look for out of the way, but accessible pocket water within a mile or two of a hatchery. You'd be surprised at what you can find along the side of rapids.
    JesseCFowl likes this.
  12. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,445
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,622 / 2
    The Vedder really showed me that angling pressure does not seem to affect run size as much as our managers in Washington would like us to believe.
  13. Plecoptera Active Member

    Posts: 622
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +28 / 0
    Not necessarily disagreeing, but isn't the bulk of the angling pressure on the Vedder focused on the hatchery fish? I understand the wild run is also very robust in that system, so I assume it also gets a fair amount of pressure too.

    I live an hour away and have driven over it multiple times on my way to other waters, but have never been tempted to fish it. I've heard a lot about the numbers of fish and fishermen it produces though
  14. Chris Bellows The Thought Train

    Posts: 1,628
    The Salt
    Ratings: +754 / 0
    you should see the splendor when you walk past five miles. it's like taking the red pill.
    Ed Call and JesseCFowl like this.
  15. Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Posts: 2,288
    bellingham wa
    Ratings: +542 / 0
    The pressure is on both stocks. They have late returning hatchery fish and early returning hatchery fish. The pressure is remarkable. The numbers of fish are too.

    Evan is right. Angling pressure has nothing to do with fish decline provided the wild fish aren't being bonked. The Vedder is a great example of this. In fact there was a C&R mortality study that can be easily googled that shows it clearly. It's also a unique river draining to the Salish sea with regards to the size of it's runs.

    Go Sox,
    cds
  16. Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    Posts: 3,980
    Olympic Peninsula
    Ratings: +648 / 0
    During the early winter steelhead season here, from around November through December, ostensibly the hatchery runs, you will have room to fish most of the rivers, especially if you are on foot. It can get a little busy on the weekends, but during the week you might have some spots all to yourself. If you fish closer to the hatcheries you will be in closer company. During this time there are a very unique few early winter run wild steelhead around. And in town you can usually get a room, a parking place and a dinner etc., with little difficulty. And during the early season there can be a lot of fish around. But during the Olympic Peninsula wild winter steelhead run, from late January through April, things out here change significantly. Ever since the Puget Sound regional rivers have closed for the catch and release seasons, the anglers and guides have shifted their efforts to the Olympic Peninsula wild steelhead, both for harvest and catch and release. This has resulted in an increase in pressure on the wild steelhead here. So during this period of time you will see noticeably more boats, guides and anglers everywhere, and fewer available lodging options without a reservation, crowded camp sites, and very busy diners and shops etc., even on many weekdays. If you are using a boat you will find the early season a little easier to get into. And if you are on foot you will learn how to avoid the boats and get around quite well, with many options depending upon flows, conditions, changes through the day etc. Any one of our rivers could take you years to learn. During the later season you will find that sometimes it is hard to go anywhere without running into to other anglers, on foot or in boats, though wading anglers are still fewer here. And some people can be very rude. I would encourage you to come out, explore, pick a river and work it in earnest, and don't spend all of your time driving from one spot to another all day. Yes, it can be crowded. But there are some sublime days for anyone who is willing to do the work of getting out here onto the water. Doug Rose has written extensively on the Olympic Peninsula wild steelhead, and on winter steelhead in particular: "The Color Of Winter- Olympic Peninsula Wild Steelhead Flyfishing" is probably his best work on the subject. (See my Book Review here). Regards. http://olympicpeninsulaflyfishing.blogspot.com
    Ed Call, JesseCFowl and Jim Wallace like this.
  17. BDD Active Member

    Posts: 2,227
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +216 / 2
    Thanks for your comments Bob. In the WDFW steelhead committee that I sit on, there has been increased discussion on this topic (OP crowded conditions and the impact of more guides, out of state and/or illegal).

    In your opinion, is the increased pressure more from the fact that it is the last place in WA to kill a wild steelhead or because the PS rivers are closed at that time? Though I don't fish out there as much as I would like, I was under the impression that the spring season pressure was due to more fly and conservative-minded gear anglers (no kill) but based on our committee discussions, it sounds like there are still many anglers, including guides, that are killing their one fish because they still can. Our next meeting in March we will continue discussing what can be done to address the pressure/guiding/sport harvest issue.

    If that is the case, my question is, if a regular angler can only kill one fish a year, why would a guide be allowed to have dozens or more clients kill a fish a year each?
  18. Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    Posts: 3,980
    Olympic Peninsula
    Ratings: +648 / 0
    BDD,

    Each angler who is fishing has a license and catch record card, and each angler is regulated by seasonal limits on wild steelhead, as well as other species limits. The guide is also required to have a fishing license, in addition to his or her guide's license, and the guide is limited by the same regulations in that; if a guide were fishing at any time, they would not be allowed any more fish than the guests who he is guiding, for the season etc. The problem in this regard is not the guides themselves, but the fact that any harvest is allowed on wild steelhead at all here. I see that as a significant aspect of the problem. A great many people want to come out here specifically to kill wild steelhead, and they hire guides to take them down the rivers to do it, and there are guides who specialize in this. There have been many examples of people flaunting this law, and killing multiple wild steelhead without referring to the catch record card at all. Allowing the one fish limit on these rivers opened the door to illegal harvest as people assume that they will get away with it, and many of them do. While it is true that some people will break laws no matter what the consequences, the fact that any harvest is allowed on these wild fish has created the opportunity to cheat the system. And I am not pointing at boats or boat guides here in particular, as it is all to easy for an individual angler to walk in to any stretch of a river here, any river, and slip away with your illegally harvested fish, undetected, unobserved. This is way more common than people know. If we went to catch and release here there would be fewer anglers, boats and guides etc. That is a fact. I see this as an urgent issue. Catch and release is a good management tool. It is not a good recovery tool. The thuggish cult of politics in sport fishing rule making is very much to blame for the way it has gone out here. And I have to blame the WDFW managers and Commissioners for not having the spine or brains to see that, after closing so many steelhead rivers and seasons around the state elsewhere, thousands of people would end up coming out here to kill their wild steelhead, and some guides would show up too. And some, if not many of them, would stretch the rules. Under this regime it is likely that we will see outright closures on these waters too one day. If we went to strictly no kill, catch and release, on all wild steelhead here, if we stopped actually fishing from boats or floating devices, and if we enforced that strictly too, we could make a positive change toward further protections on wild steelhead. A lack of enforcement presence on the water is a huge aspect of this issue too. Just my opinion. http://olympicpeninsulaflyfishing.blogspot.com
    Derek Day, Ed Call and JesseCFowl like this.
  19. Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

    Posts: 5,653
    Somewhere on the Coast
    Ratings: +540 / 0
    Bob, you make a good case here. This "unintended consequence" has gotten out of control. I don't think that anyone could "repudiate" your comments without looking like they are just trying to defend their own (indefensible as they are) commercial or selfish position in regards to harvest.
    The poaching is an ongoing concern, and happens nearly everywhere. We should have ten times the number of game wardens in the field!
    I buy my annual Discover Pass without whining, and I don't mind paying the extra $5 that's tacked on to my vehicle registration fees and is supposed to go to keeping our state parks open. I would be willing to fork over an additional amount if it were used to hire and train more game wardens.

    How about no killing of any wild steelhead by any angler fishing from any boat, guided or not. In other words, guides won't be able to take guests on floats who want to keep a wild steelhead. Individual fishing from their own boats won't be able to kill one either. If you want to kill one, you have to walk in without a guide and do it on your own. Hell, you'd think any concerned guides would jump on this and just make it happen. Blacklist and ostracize the non-compliant ones.

    I mean, come on! Anybody who can afford a guided fishing trip absolutely does not have to kill a fish in order to eat. Fishers taking guided float trips are not poor! There is absolutely no excuse for anyone who takes a guided fishing trip to kill a wild steelhead! None whatsoever. That game is over, as far as any logical rationalizations go.
  20. JesseC Active Member

    Posts: 1,967
    seattle, wa
    Ratings: +727 / 0
    A lot of sense in the last couple of posts.

    How do we make it happen?