Methow Shutdown

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by jason.allen, Oct 23, 2013.

  1. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,288
    Duvall, wa
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    Isn't it more that the carcasses help increase the biomass of microbes, insects, bugs, etc. that the salmon fry eventually eat? I never understood it as the juvenile salmon feeding on the carcasses directly.
  2. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,750
    Marysville, Washington
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    Evan -
    Yes for those nutrients to become available to the juveniles it would have to be converted into the food web and be available the next spring. My point is that most of those carcasses are washed out to the salt with are fall floods before that can happen. That has always been a significant factor here in the PNW that has been compounded by simplification of our river system's and the over lost of complex habitat features.

    On the Skagit for example once in the last 30 years (2001) have a significant portion of the chum carcasses persisted in the aquatic system for a prolong period. 2001 was year without floods and exceptionally low flows. It was during that season that fish like bull trout were feeding on carcass pieces through at least the end of February (the river closed then).

    Curt
  3. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,288
    Duvall, wa
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    I doubt that would be as much the case in E. Wa as those rivers typically don't raise up in flows at all in the winter. I've seen salmon carcasses on the Methow in March that had been there since the previous November.
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  4. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,750
    Marysville, Washington
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    Evan -
    An excellent point regarding the flow patterns on those upper Columbia tributaries, in that regard they are more like Alaskan streams than those on the coast. As such there would be a much better chance to incorporate those nutrients into the food web. The irony of course is that we can get significant numbers fish (pinks, chums, coho) back to the coastal streams but it is much more difficult on those upper Columbia streams that are now mostly Chinook and steelhead systems.

    With that in mind Priest Rapid carcass would help contribute to the productivity of those system they were added to. With the unbelievable returns of fall Chinook to the mid/upper Columbia this year is an opportunity missed. For the last decade the average total returns to the Priest Rapid dam has been less than the 40,000 collected at the hatchery this year - the count to the dam this is at 230,000 and continuing. If something close to the astounding record run seen this year were to become the norm there would be an opportunity for some NE, but even then with the needed to spread the fish out between the Wentachee, Entiat, Methow and Okanogan the contribution to each system would not be as great as one would hope.

    Curt
    Evan Burck likes this.
  5. BDD Active Member

    Posts: 2,182
    Ellensburg, WA
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    Curt, I agree with everything you are saying and my point was specifically for east side streams since that is where I live and fish (mostly). The return to PRH is certainly an anomaly this year but on any given year, there are still several thousand carcasses that would be available for NE. I still maintain that from a fisheries perspective, those carcasses would be better off being turned in to analogs and returned to the streams for NE rather than converted into pet food. Again, I have no qualms about providing the food grade surplus for human consumption but when it comes down to feeding fish or domestic pets, well that is a no brainer.
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  6. Stonefish Triploid and Humpy Hater

    Posts: 3,781
    Pipers Creek
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    Besides helping the fish, those carcasses help the entire ecosystem regardless of being on the east or westside.
    Wildlife eat them, vegetation gets nutrients from them. Hell even crabs get in on the feast.
    I'm with BDD. I'd rather see them in the rivers then in a cat food plant.
    SF
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  7. Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

    Posts: 2,218
    .
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    Ditto!
  8. Ryan Higgins Active Member

    Posts: 289
    East Wenatchee, WA
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    As for enforcement, I saw a rig drive by floating the Wenatchee last Saturday. We seem to see an enforcement officer almost every trip. He doesnt usually check us as we're always there and legal. The presence is there.
  9. Kaiserman content

    Posts: 2,506
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    Geez!

    7 pages on the Methow since Wednesday! No wonder you west side guys are having problems catching steelies.

    Got to love the interwebs!
  10. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,288
    Duvall, wa
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    In the past 2wks, I've caught many, many steelies on both sides of the mountains in 3 different rivers and have managed to contribute jibber jabber to this thread. There goes that theory :cool:
  11. orangeradish Bobo approved

    Posts: 2,448
    Capital City
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    Seems to me that this is one of the best exchanges of ideas, and most respectful sharing of opinions I've seen on here in a long time.
  12. Ryan Higgins Active Member

    Posts: 289
    East Wenatchee, WA
    Ratings: +31 / 0
    Checked by a creel survey worker on Saturday. He was saying he saw only one keeper all day off the Wenatchee, lots of people seeing fish, not a lot of catching. We tagged a sucker.
  13. Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Posts: 6,288
    Duvall, wa
    Ratings: +1,497 / 2
    I have two friends that fished the Methow Thurs/Fri/Sat/Sun, and between the two of them, only one wild fish landed. Sounds like pressure has been very above average.
  14. Chris Bellows aka. topwater

    Posts: 1,519
    The Salt
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    enforcement is being checked, not driving around. one of my pet peeves of wdfw enforcement. i see them in their trucks and boats, and sometimes at launches.... but never on the river.

    maybe shoe polish is really expensive.
  15. PT Physhicist

    Posts: 3,498
    Edmonds, WA
    Ratings: +653 / 1
    I've fished the Methow and Wenatchee more than a few times each and have never talked to a fish cop. Last time I was checked on a westside river was '92 or so. Over the past 20 years I've averaged 100 days or so on a river somewhere.
  16. Kim McDonald member

    Posts: 274
    Seattle, WA
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    I probably talked with the same creel counter on the Wenatchee on Saturday...lots of Chinooks, but only one steelies (I thought he said it was a wild but I may be wrong).

    Gorgeous day to be out on the river, though.

    Kim
  17. PT Physhicist

    Posts: 3,498
    Edmonds, WA
    Ratings: +653 / 1
    Actually, I'm pretty sure most of those guys are still hammering away on the really nice size chrome silvers pushing into the rivers.
  18. CLO #FlyFishingWithSasquatch

    Posts: 594
    Seattle
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    I think you mean fire trucks.
  19. PT Physhicist

    Posts: 3,498
    Edmonds, WA
    Ratings: +653 / 1
    Not too many fire trucks in this recent batch. And, we're still catching silvers in the salt.

    firetruck1.JPG
  20. CLO #FlyFishingWithSasquatch

    Posts: 594
    Seattle
    Ratings: +166 / 0

    cool