Occupy Skagit Redux

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by _WW_, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast Active Member

    I didn't mind the Skagit/Sauk being the only system open for CnR, as it's the biggest system around. Obviously, I wish we had more fisheries around here at the time. If we are going to ask that openings happen on a river by river basis, we should think about what will happen if the Samish is the only river open, or the NF Stilly. A small stream being the only steelhead fishery in the region deserves careful thought.
    Andrew Lawrence likes this.
  2. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    I appreciate a devil's advocate, it is good practice for the commission meeting wherein I may be standing there getting grilled by the nine members...
    First of all, WDFW currently has no say on whether the river is opened or not - no matter what the reason. Second of all, the Skagit/Sauk by their very nature cannot become a 'Cowlitz' There is no 'fish congregating' location. The fish are spread out over tens and tens of miles of two fairly good sized rivers.
    Yes they are...as they should be. When people move in the animal population suffers. However, under current conditions the Skagit would appear to be at its recent historical carrying capacity.

    I have in front of me as I type this the Skagit Escapement numbers dating back to 1978. There is two years of no data '96 & '97 but counting 2011 there is 32 years worth. The average of all 32 years is 6857. Last season the number that has been reported is 6185, a difference of 672 - well within a year by year variation due to other limiting factors.

    Having typed all of the above paragraph I now have the pleasure to inform you that it is, for all intents and purposes, meaningless. There is no mechanism in the current ESA listing to provide a C&R season on the Skagit - none! The numbers on a single river mean nothing to them. Why should we have to wait for runs to improve on the Pilchuk before we can fish the Skagit? Why must we wait on the Samish, or the Green, Puyallup, and Nisqually to improve before we can fish the Skagit? Why don't we make the guys on the Hoh and Sol Duc wait for the Nooksak runs to come back before we let them fish? Let's make the guys on the Grande Ronde wait for the Sky to come back - makes sense to me! :)
    You are speaking of the fish in aggregate - same as NMFS, NOAA and a host of others. That my friend is the flaw. I do not advocate fishing over depressed or endangered stocks I advocate a well regulated C&R season on the Skagit system only! Read my lips - The Skagit, The whole Skagit, and nothing but the Skagit so help me God.

    A basin by basin determination of allowable impacts - that is the key to the goal.
    Ed Call and miyawaki like this.
  3. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

    I think the concept of a Distinct Population Segment (DPS) in the ESA context is important to our discussions here. The feds have defined that as -

    "Distinct Population Segment (DPS): A DPS, or a distinct population segment, is a vertebrate population or group of populations that is discrete from other populations of the species and significant in relation to the entire species. The ESA provides for listing species, subspecies, or distinct population segments of vertebrate species."

    For Puget Sound anadromous salmoids the typically DPS is generally considered to be all the stocks in the sound (from the Nooksack out to the Elwha). In determine a listing the status of the DPS as whole is considered and a listing would include all the stocks within the DPS. It should be expected that within a give DPS the status of individual stocks may vary quite a bit due to the variability of the factors limiting the populations. In the case of our Puget Sound rivers it has been estimated that the capcity to support anadromous populations in general has dramatically reduced from historically levels. The current capacity varies from as low as 5% to as much as 50% (average may be in the 20% range) of historic levels. This in a significant difference in the ability of a given populations to support impacts without increasing in the risk of extinction.

    It was in consideration of this variability in sensitive to risk of extinction that for some stocks in some DPS allowable fishing releate impacts for individual stocks were developed. That is the case with Puget Sound Chinook each of the major stocks have had individual allowable impacts determined and those impacts are used to develop fisheries and in some case even allow target fisheries on wild populations (Skagit ummer/fall Chinook come to mind).

    The same thing has happen with the listed bull trout of Puget Sound. Generally the take of bull trout is prohibited through out the region yet on the Skagit system an angler is allowed to take 2 bulls over 20 inches a day. In spite of that allowed harvest the ESA listed bull trout of the Skagit remains robust and has increased from 1990 levels.

    What some us are suggesting is that it would be appropriate to given some of the same considerations to Skagit steelhead and if under appropriate conditions allowable fishing impacts could be increased that a return to the spring CnR season be considered.

  4. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    I highly recommend it ;)
  5. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    This report from WSC suggests 6000 to be the "floor escapement level" (new term to me) . The 6857, 30 year avg. you state doesn't seem like a significant safety margin and why I was suggesting to just maintain the most conservative approach (no C&R). From my experiences with like issues/discussion on the Green River in the 80's, I recall there being changes over the past 30+ years in how fish numbers are derived...pretty much made a witches brew of data.


    I cannot imagine anyone on the WFF that does not want to see the Skagit and all other rivers re-opened for fishing. I think if most were asked 25+ years ago that our local rivers would be shut down to fishing, most would have said not likely...but even then, the trends were suggesting it. So here were are in the present suggesting that it won't continue to do so and move towards even more perilous conditions. Maybe it is PDO and we're turning the corner...but maybe not. It's all about accepting risk for the pleasure of sport and we must ask ourselves which is most important.
    Bob Triggs likes this.
  6. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    What would a resonable margin be to you?

    Go Sox,
  7. inland

    inland Active Member

    Funny how two bios (that fish) support this attempt to start the process to get a rule change. One of them even managed the drainage. And neither are concerned about C&R, selective gear rules being a problem.

    And one anti-angler continues to parrot the PETA company line...If you don't like fishing and fisherman, feel free to start your own de-occupy movement.
  8. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

    Freestoneangler -
    The Skagit wild steelhead escapement goal maybe one of most conservative in the State. Many folks have questioned managing for MSY escapments. The best information from specific from the Skagit since 1978 indicates that an MSY escapement goal would be approximately 3,800 steelhead. Therefore the so-called escapement floor of 6,000 is more than 150% of the best estimate of MSY. BTW from the 1986 brood year to today the spawner/recruit date would indicate that MSY levels for the period would be even lower at 3,200.

    In relation to MSY levels do you know of any other system in the State with a such a conservative goal? Of course managing for such goals are a bit of a double edge sword. On the plus side such goals provide a significant buffer to cover management errors. On the negative side such goals assure that there will be years or even a period of years when that goal will not be met (see recent years) due to the fact that during periods of low survivals th carrying capacity may well be below the goal. Such low escapements may not be fisheries management failures; rather an indication of the state of fresh and marine water survivals.

    By allowing CnR fisheries and the associated low impacts at such a buffer goal would represent little risk to the long term viability of the steelhead resoruce. For folks concern about the risk from such a fisherI would suggest that your concerns are miss placed. The resource would be better served if those concerns were direct at the factors that are truly limited that steelhead population. Rather than suggesting that there be no CnR fishing those of us living in Seattle area or those served by Puget Power could do more for the resource by turning off our computers and lights - the generation of that electricity is responsible to more impacts than that from any CnR fishing.

  9. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

    This thread has really drawn the fishy geek out of W_W. Impressive!
  10. ChrisC

    ChrisC Member

    Great to see the momentum and enthusiasm building. Beyond the symbolic day on the water and our testimony before the commission, it would be great to generate broader awareness of this issue among the public, local government and businesses that will help move the Commission and govt agencies to consider and act. In that regard, any thoughts on how difficult is it to have an opinion piece published in the Seattle Times, The Olympian, etc.?
  11. jeff bandy

    jeff bandy Make my day

    Anybody thinking we can't make a difference on this issue should take a look at the Methow. It can be done.
    Chris DeLeone likes this.
  12. bhudda

    bhudda heffe'

    Jason,good to see ya back yo,I hope to,and will do all I can ,to swing flies in the spring a couple years from now to the offspring of the steelhead ive tailed in the last week and coming week before the closure. See ya out there....
  13. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    I think we need to be concentrated on one area to meet up. IF we are scattered all up and down the river in different spots, it will just look like an opening day of fishing on most of our rivers.
  14. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Ideally the best thing would be to singularly pluck the Skagit out of the ESA Puget Sound Listing. I'm pretty sure it would set some kind of a precedent and because of that it is highly unlikely to be done. However, the logic of it keeps the idea in the tackle box.

    A basin by basin evaluation is something that has already been done for Chinook so there is no need to 'invent' anything. Remember, WDFW still retains the emergency closure power. Closure that is not inconsistent with recovery goals creates no conflict with the ESA listing and gets done at the drop of a hat.

    I don't have the time or energy to do a basin by basin analysis. There may be other basins in as good a shape as the Skagit but I wouldn't bet on it - most of them are closer to major urban areas.
  15. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Curt has already explained the "floor escapement level" concept better than I ever could.

    What you linked to is not a report, but an article that is now over a year old. It mentions 'concerns' about a draft management plan for the 2011-2012 Skagit fishing season. I'm having a hard time figuring out what their concerns are but did note a few things.
    The actual escapement numbers are this:
    2001 - 4584
    2002 - 5394
    2003 - 6818
    2004 - 7332
    2005 - 6382
    2006 - 6757
    2007 - 4242
    2008 - 4887
    2009 - 2502
    2010 - 3981
    2011 - 5462
    If you study these numbers you will see that only three times in the previous ten years did the run actually decline from the previous year. 70% of the time the numbers increased! Is this how you would descibe "experiencing significant declines of wild steelhead numbers"?

    I also noted that the forecast for the 2010 season was 4,136...actual escapement was 5,739.
    A difference of 1,603 fish!

    I also noted that this graph fails to show the actual after season return estimate of 6,185

    The goal of Occupy Skagit is different than that of the WSC.
    Their mission statement:
    The Wild Steelhead Coalition was founded in 2000 with the mission of increasing the return of wild steelhead to the rivers and streams of the Pacific Northwest.
    A very noble and worthwhile goal. I'm a little fuzzy on why they want to increase the return, (I suspect it's so they can go fishing) and I'm even more puzzled as to how anyone will know when their mission is complete, (I suspect never)

    Our goal:
    To restore the catch and release season on the healthy run of Skagit wild steelhead.

    There it is; a reachable, well defined finish line.
  16. chodder

    chodder Member

    This is a tremendous idea! It would make my spring to be able to spend it on the Skagit and the Sauk, the OP is a long haul for us Snohomish county folk. I will have to mark the calendar for April 6th.
  17. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

    There it is; a reachable, well defined finish line.[/quote]WW

    so simple a caveman can grasp it!!!!
  18. Davy

    Davy Active Member

    makin the drive up from down here, gonna be cool to be up there again
  19. TallFlyGuy

    TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    Great attitude.....Good on you _WW_
  20. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    So I went up to the Grass Roots thing - There's a new rod in my future! :)

    When I returned a package was waiting for me...bumperstickers!


    Davy, flybill, Bob Triggs and 3 others like this.