Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by eJohn, Sep 12, 2005.

  1. Curtis Williams Wandering but not lost

    Posts: 31
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Email I received from WDFW:

    Thank you for your email correspondence to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Fish Program.

    Unfortunately the number counts over the dam did not prove to be enough to open a fishery on the Methow. However, we will continue to monitor them, and hopefully we will have an opening in other area rivers in October. These of course are also subject to meeting the criteria. Keep watching!

    Please make sure you check for emergency rule changes before you harvest as follows:

    Fishing Rule Change Hotline at (360) 902-2500 Shellfish Rule Change Hotline at 1-866-880-5431 Or, try our new searchable emergency rule link off our website at:

    Additionally, for shellfish, make sure to call the Dept. of Health Marine Toxins PSP Hotline at 1-800-562-5632.

    If you have further questions, please email again or call (360) 902-2700. Our Customer Service hours are 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

    Fish Program
  2. FT Active Member

    Posts: 1,242
    Burlington, WA
    Ratings: +102 / 0

    It seems to me that the fish numbers are down this year, not just slow to move upriver. The Puget Sound and OP rivers salmon and steelhead runs have been down all summer, as have the Vancouver Island BC mainland runs. And the Clearwater/Snake/Grand Rhonde and Salmon River fish numbers are down too.
  3. flyfis4fun New Member

    Posts: 133
    Spangle, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    That is really too bad. I don't know if you guys on the wet side really understand the impact of this to us dry side guys. We wait all year long to get a crack at steelhead in the fall so to not have this season is hard. You guys are fortunate in that you get to chase steelhead and salmon all summer and the Methow is your dessert. We just get one season and to take full advantage of it requires fishing in the cold and snow.

    In NCW, this river is literally the only real opportunity. I am sure that if the Methow isn't opening then the Okanogan and its tributaries are also going to stay closed. My brother is going to be without any steelhead options which won't make him very happy. I am lucky in that I live near Spokane now so I do have some opportunities down south but I consider the Methow my home river. I will keep hoping for a late season influx of fish but it doesn't look very promising.

  4. salt dog card shark

    Posts: 2,306
    Edmonds WA / Mazama
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    Does any one know how many steelhead need to pass over Wells dam before a season opener on the Methow is allowed?
  5. alpinetrout Banned or Parked

    Posts: 3,891
    Hiding in your closet
    Ratings: +68 / 0
    No more need for speculation:

    Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
    600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091

    October 5, 2005
    Contacts: Bob Jateff, Omak, (509) 826-7341
    Joe Miller, Ephrata, (509) 754-6066

    Upper Columbia, Okanogan, Methow rivers
    will open Saturday for steelhead fishing

    OLYMPIA - Fishing for hatchery steelhead is scheduled to open Oct. 8 in the upper Columbia, Okanogan and Methow rivers under special rules designed to protect wild fish, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

    Starting Nov.15, anglers will also be allowed to fish for hatchery steelhead on the Similkameen River, when most wild chinook will have finished spawning.

    The daily catch limit on all four rivers is two adipose-fin-clipped hatchery steelhead of at least 20 inches in length. All steelhead with an intact adipose fin - the small, fatty fin on the back near the tail - and those bearing a disk tag must immediately be released unharmed.

    Both wild and hatchery-origin steelhead in the region are listed as "endangered" under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), which required WDFW to obtain a permit from NOAA-Fisheries before opening the fisheries.

    A key objective of steelhead fisheries in the region is to reduce the proportion of hatchery-origin steelhead contributing to the adult spawning escapement next spring, said WDFW Director Jeff Koenings.

    "Removing hatchery-origin fish will increase the proportion of wild steelhead on the spawning grounds and improve the natural production potential in the upper Columbia River basin," he said. "Of course, we also recognize the enormous value of this fishery for anglers and local communities."

    Consistent with its federal permit, WDFW will closely monitor the fishery to ensure that enough wild steelhead reach area rivers to spawn, Koenings said.

    "If we need to modify the fishery to meet ESA escapement goals for wild steelhead, we will," Koenings said. "But I am confident we will meet those goals, as we have in previous years."

    Barring any changes necessary to meet ESA goals, the following waters are scheduled to open for hatchery steelhead fishing Oct. 8 through March 31:

    The Columbia River from Rocky Reach Dam to the Highway 17 bridge at Bridgeport. Standard gear rules will be in effect.
    The Okanogan River from the mouth upstream to one-quarter mile below the railroad trestle below Zosel Dam. However, the section of river from the Highway 155 bridge in Omak to a line across the river 500 feet above the mouth of Omak Creek will close March 1. Selective gear rules, including a prohibition on bait and barbed hooks, will be in effect.
    The Methow River from the mouth (Highway 97 Bridge) upstream to the second power line crossing, and from the first Highway 153 bridge north of Pateros to the confluence with the Chewuch River. Selective gear rules will be in effect.
    In addition, the Similkameen River will open to fishing for hatchery steelhead from Nov. 15 through March 31 from the mouth upstream to 400 feet below Enloe Dam. Selective gear rules will be in effect.

    Anglers will be allowed to use boats with motors on the Okanogan and Methow rivers, but night closures will be in effect on all four rivers.

    Additional regulations, including a full description of open and closed areas, are available on WDFW's website at .
  6. jabseattle jabs

    Posts: 1,122
    Desert Dweller
    Ratings: +3 / 0
    love those mails
  7. Big Tuna Member

    Posts: 1,958
    Wenatchee, Washington
    Ratings: +39 / 0
    Pray for rain 'cause there's not much more than rocks at 320cfs. :(
  8. salt dog card shark

    Posts: 2,306
    Edmonds WA / Mazama
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    I hear what you're saying Tuna, and its true enough. But the 16 year average at Winthrop this time of year is only about 250 cfs.

    Down River, it runs a lot more water than up at Winthrop from all the tribs that come into it. Granted though, some of the major tribs shut down early this year due to low water. Temps were in the low 30's last weekend, and forecast is cool with showers in the area. Come onnnn rain baby rain.
  9. Roper Idiot Savant

    Posts: 4,287
    Glenraven Ranch
    Ratings: +771 / 1
    How many of you can say "Similkameen"? Thought so...:clown:

    Seriously (ha!) Thanks for the heads up Brendan...:thumb:
  10. flyfis4fun New Member

    Posts: 133
    Spangle, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    You made my year!! Thanks for the update.
  11. flyfis4fun New Member

    Posts: 133
    Spangle, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Got so excited I double posted.
  12. flyfis4fun New Member

    Posts: 133
    Spangle, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I can...pick me! Pick me! (I can also Sinlahekin.)

  13. luv2fly2 Active Member

    Posts: 1,568
    Ratings: +28 / 0
    why not have everything c&r for steelhead if they are in short supply? mike w the elk slayer.
  14. flyfis4fun New Member

    Posts: 133
    Spangle, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Mike, the issue really isn't numbers of steelhead. The issue is numbers of "wild" steelhead. When the National Marine Fisheries took over the river they declared the run in such bad shape that tagged both the wild and the hatchery fish as endangered. Since that time, they have back tracked and decided hatchery fish are evil and they don't want them spawning with the wild stock so they open a season to let people keep hatchery fish (But the WDFW later disclosed that they didn't clip the adipose fins of hatchery fish for several years to boost "wild" fish numbers so who knows if there are truly any wild fish left in the river.).

    They base the season on the number of wild fish in the river combined with stats on C&R mortality rates times the results of creel surveys. When the numbers reach a point that they feel enough wild steelhead have been killed by C&R mortality, they close the season. So basically that is a long winded answer to say that enough wild steelhead have to go over Wells Dam to meet the quota for the river. Once that happens then they open the season to get the hatchery brats out of the river.
  15. TomB Active Member

    Posts: 1,620
    Ratings: +58 / 0
    bonk the brats.
  16. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,614
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,656 / 0
    I have to ask this question. What is the difference between the hatchery fish and the wild fish? To me the tame fish is born and raised in a clean enviroment but only until they are about 6" or smaller, then they are released into their home stream to live like a regular fish. They all go out to sea and then come back as an adult after about two years. One would think that these fish still have the ability to spawn even if their first year was different that the wild one.

    This is something that I just don't understand. Maybe I need a truck to fall on me so I can understand what is the difference.

  17. o mykiss Active Member

    Posts: 1,303
    Ratings: +176 / 0
    They can and do spawn. There is some evidence that they don't spawn as successfully as wild fish. Also, since I imagine they imprint on the hatchery facility itself, I presume some go back to the hatchery before they get around to spawning. It is thought by some (and I personally am a believer, but what do I know) that over time hatchery fish will weaken the overall genetic diversity of a particular distinct population segment if there is significant interbreeding with wild fish. Which is why lots of people say bonk the hatchery fish any chance you get. (It's not always legal to, so make sure you know the regs for the water you are fishing before you do bonk one.)
  18. salt dog card shark

    Posts: 2,306
    Edmonds WA / Mazama
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    Jim, believe me you're not the only one to be confused on this, but I believe the difference is supposed to be in the genetic stock of the naturally breeding fish that they are trying to preserve, vs. the hatchery fish.

    The genetic stock of the “wild” fish is deemed to have a higher propensity to continue to successfully spawn in the wild under the specific conditions found in that river system.

    However, given that the placement of dams entirely killed out the entire original genetic stock, the discussion of "wild" fish should not lead you to believe that they are "native" fish stock, only that they are reproducing successfully in the river and not in a hatchery, and have done so for several generations.
  19. Tom H saltchuck

    Posts: 158
    North Seattle
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    OM - Not exactly sure what your question is but I believe you are trying to assess why hatchery fish can be a bad thing? Am I on the right track? If so, it basically boils down to the fact that most (not all) hatcheries use a different stock/strain of fish for their hatcheries than is naturally occuring in the system into which they are introduced.

    Why is this a bad thing? Well for one thing as you stated, the brats still can and do breed. When they breed with the natives they thin out the native gene pool. This can be an important factor for future generations of native fish in that their genetic code may include special adaptations (i.e., the ability to tolerate higher temps or maybe lower oxygen levels, etc.) that over generations have allowed them to survive better in their native habitats than other similar strains. By diluting these adaptations, the hatchery fish may be potentially adding traits to the gene pool that will decrease the survival rate of native fish and in the event of a natural catastrophe the natives may not be able to bounce back.

    In addition, the introduced strain may bring with them a disease that they are resistant to but the natives are not. As a an example think of whirling disease. This may not be the best example because it deals with distinct species but you'll get my drift. Brown trout originated in Europe and in doing so, developed a resistance to whirling disease which is also native to Europe. Somewhere along the line, browns brought over here from Europe took a little bit of whirling disease with them. Eventually as I'm sure you know, this disease made it's way into some of the blue ribbon waters of the west and that resulted in the subsequent decline of native rainbow trout in several river systems.

    There's more but I figure that should be a good start for you.

    Lesson to be learned: Don't f#^k with mother nature unless you know the ramifications.
  20. TomB Active Member

    Posts: 1,620
    Ratings: +58 / 0
    1. Competition with native fish
    2. Predation of native fish
    3. Reduction of genetic fitness of native fish, thereby reducing survival of future generations