PS steelhead may be listed

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by ray helaers, Apr 5, 2005.

  1. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    I think that the reason that I've switched to just trout fishing is all of the above reasons. It seems that nobody can get along and just have a decent season of fishing. Everybody has to squabble over who gets what fish. We used to get half but now it seems like we shouldn't get any. Soon there won't be any left and then they will find something else to waste away. Where will it all end.

    Jim
     
  2. o mykiss

    o mykiss Active Member

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    Smalma, thanks for taking the time to compose these long and informative posts. You handle the heat with grace and poise. I just have two more questions if you feel comfortable answering them:

    1) Have you personally made up your mind about whether an ESA listing of some sort if not justified, or are you waiting to see what the feds come up with?

    2) Do you think we should expect WDFW to oppose a listing, or will the department wait to see what the feds come up with?
     
  3. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

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    Smalma, if I may add just one more question:

    3) If you had no constraints from federal, state or tribal law, what would you do to improve Stealhead populations? In other words, what laws need to be changed? Your vision of a perfect world.
     
  4. Morpheus

    Morpheus Ω = ρgQS

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    Hey Dolly Varden,

    A status review may indeed be timely, given that NMFS (yeah, name changed again) has largely improved their understanding of in-basin interactions (e.g., resident-anadromous), steelhead mating systems, population dynamics, and descriptive metrics of viable salmonid populations. Additionally, should listing be warranted, it may be that the recovery planning process will benefit greatly from work done under the Shared Strategy for PS chinook, and other regional ESA recovery planning efforts (e.g., Lower Columbia, and many more by 6/30/2005). True, individual watershed entities will likely develop basin-specific chapters of a PS Recovery Plan, but as I understand it, NMFS will be responsible for developing the ESU-level plan before/as the thing goes to the Federal Register as ESA Recovery Plan.

    NMFS’ regional administrator is very interested in keeping local planning in local hands. Recall in 1994-5 that they did a recovery plan for Snake River stocks that went over like a lead balloon--chiefly because the plan was written by folks in Portland w/ exceedingly little input from affected locals. Fisherman and nonfederal groups have a right to be at the table and often provide significant help and intelligent input—this is especially likely in Puget Sound where the average fish/habitat/hatchery IQ of the average citizen is much higher than other places in the Pac. NW. However, non-federal folks can only go so far, and it is up to NMFS to do the rest—recovery involves a host of actions upon which no state agency alone cannot exert equally effective influence or statutory authority (i.e, hatchery, harvest, hydropower, habitat and history [as added by Dave Montgomery of UW]). NMFS should be putting the Lower Columbia recovery plan in the FR soon, and it will be interesting to see how that goes.

    Federal protection and the threat of serious fines and/or jail time seems to make a few folks/agencies stop doing stupid things. ESA listing was intended as the last resort. It took a few years to erode population viability in PS steelhead stocks, and it will take a few years to recover them. How do you “recover” a damaged group of fish in a process free of “bureaucracy and an extremely intensive and drawn out recovery planning process” as you put it in an earlier post?
     
  5. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

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    While we argue the fish die.
     
  6. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    O mykiss -
    OK here is my shot at your questions. Please note that the following are just my personal opinions and are not intented influence other opinions. For those that have been following my postings on this site they should not be a surprise.

    1) Have I made up my mind about the potential ESA listing of Puget Sound Steelhead? Yes I have, I feel that while the decline in steelhead numbers to date likely warrant the listing of the steelhead if asked I would vote against the listing. The reasons:
    a) I feel that the listing as far as habitat protection go would be just a duplication of the "protection" currently be provided by the chinook and bull trout listings.
    b) I don't expect any fishing impacts allowed under a recovery plan will be at least as high as those that current populations (especially those in most trouble) are experiencing.
    c) A listing will result in considerable staff time for NOAA fisheries, WDFW, tribes, and local governments in the development of recovery plans. The effort will yield limited benefits (see above). Those resources would be better spend address the habitat needs all ready identified in the recovery plans for chinook and bull trout, in the collection of information that would be improve our understanding of life history and interactions of O. mykiss, and monitoring the status of our steelhead populations.

    2) Do I expect WDFW to support the listing?
    First WDFW staff will be providing the best information available on the various factors in the review document. In addition they would review all infromation available to NOAA fisheries to insure that it is indeed reflects the current information and understanding of the animal we call steelhead. Unless the escapements this spring continue the increases seen last year I would expect the WDFW would support the listing.

    Matt -
    If I could ruled the world what would I do?
    In the habitat arena -
    Forestry - I would beef up the forest protection laws, especially the cutting rates within given basins, road densities, and ripparian leave areas. The current HCP under Forest and Fish is a nice start but I find it lacking in the above areas.

    Water -I would require more consistent and stable stream flows. Higher minimum flows and reductions of ramping rates below hydro dams.

    Stream channel complexity - Would limit bank harding (rip-rap) to the bare minimum (protection of major highways, railroads, etc). Would acquire as much land as possible in the floodway to all the rivers to do what they should - that is allow them to be dynamic systems.

    Stream blockages - Remove or provide passage at all barriers (culverts, dams, etc).

    In the fish managemet area -
    Warning - This represents my personal beliefs and clearly reflects my personal biases.

    Wild steelhead escapement levels- -

    Use MSH as the reference point for management with exploitation rate management for runs above MSH. The exploitation rate would be designed to achieve escapements that would range from a low of MSH to a high of carry capacity. Average escapement would be expected to be between MSH and carrying capacity. Exploitation rates might be in the 10 to 20% range; possibly higher on more productive systems.

    For populations expected to return at or below MSH reference point - or in those areas without an established MSH reference point.

    1) Wild steelhead release during the period that hatchery steelhead are abundant.
    2) If there are no hatchery fish or after the date that the majority of hatchery fish are no longer available (spawn outs not counted) river closed to all fishing.

    For population expected to return above MSH reference point-

    1) Retention of wild winter steelhead allowed for all or part of the period December through Febraury, (length depending on the exploitation rate).
    2) Upper half of basins closed to wild fish retention.
    3) State-wide wild fish limit of 1 per year.
    4) Traditional spring catch and release season allowed.
    5) To fish in the spring (March, April) the angler must have not used his or her wild steelhead punch.

    Steelhead hatchery program

    1) Mark all fish.
    2) Hatchery programs to be designed to provide fish for harvest; no supplementation programs.
    3) Plant only smolts only in May.
    4) Number of smolts to be planted limited so that the spawning over-lap (fish spawning at the same time and place) between hatchery and wild steelhead be limited to less than 1%. This will be influenced by spawning times, wild fish abundance, and the harvest rate on the hatchery fish.
    5) Limit smolt plants to main stem areas with good angler access.
    6) Significant portion of the basin (25%) not planted with hatchery fish.

    Additional regulations -

    1) During open seasons in the March to November period selective gear rules (artifical lures, single barbless hooks and no bait) in effect.
    2) During the March to November period catch and release for all trout and steelhead except for marked hatchery fish.

    Tight lines
    S malma
     
  7. davpot

    davpot davpot

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    :mad: Hey All: For a really good read on this kind of subject: Check out "Cod" by Kurlansky. Its basically a microhistory of the Atlantic Cod fishery from 1400-present. One sad litany after another. Money, greed, and "zip!" go the fish. The old story. bawling: I hope they dont : :thumb: take away my SRCs! Or Ill start throwing dynomite in the water! Weve just got to back off and insist on rational, sustainable resource use! :ray1:
    Lets hope its not too late! ptyd
     
  8. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

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    S malma, thank you.

    Matt
     
  9. Nailknot

    Nailknot Active Member

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    Wow. this is incredible stuff here. Morpheus, where have you been all this time ;) Please ID yourself.

    We're looking at the straight dope here. Experienced bios advocating regulations addressing the needs of specific drainages and a plea for the Feds and State to understand these specific needs via regs. If given the power to regulate specific drainages, I have full confidence in the WDFW bios to make the correct call. Just take the power away from the elected officials and listen to the folks who know.

    The Achilles heel of WSC movement for wild steelhead release statewide is the potential precedent for management going forward- taking away the potential of *any* watershed for the perceived belief in a common savior for *all* watersheds. We should all understand the complexities and challenges to each and every watershed in question. There are no simple solutions, and a multiple factor problem to solve. ESA listing won't do us any favors- not that I don't enjoy the idea of our elected politicians suffering yet another beat down. But how beat down do they need to be? The electorate is in total denial, both east and west side. We have retards in charge! Just look around!!! Despite the retarded elected leadership, we do have fish advocates in the WDFW pushing for positive change, despite the handcuffs of Boldt.
     
  10. Jumbo

    Jumbo Member

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    Nice to know where you stand Smalma...
    it puts your informative and data driven points in perspective.
    As i understand it, the flawed MSH doctrine is at the core of "what you want"...

    I heartily and repectfully disagree.

    Statistics and data are the best way to obfuscate an unpopular position, make a case for one that is really not viable in the long term or justify one that is morally reprehensible.

    Killing Wild Steelhead is an antiquated idea...

    I'd love to see our rivers at "carrying capacity" - yeah right...

    I hope everyone can remember that biology is NOT management.
     
  11. Jeremy Husby

    Jeremy Husby Is there a Vahalla for fishermen?

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    Traditional rights should be spears and scoop nets, not the "white mans" gill nets. I have only seen gluttony from nets, not tradition . . . . It’s like taking a SPAS-12 shotgun pheasant hunting . . . . Once someone has seen piles of chum rotting because only their eggs have value or a pickup truck w/ a couple hundred lbs. of King in the back taking it to dump some where . . . wouldn’t you think twice about tradition, at one time these fish were sacred. . . . . . What would be wrong w/ taking what is needed and leaving it at that? And couldn’t that be done without nets?

    There is no for sight for this issue of recovery for steelhead, what every one seems to forget is that mother nature is "chaotic" and we can never guess her next move. I do not think that man is smart enough to figure this problem out, but we would take the credit, but we should be smart enough to realize when we have destroyed a resource. And now that it is on it last leg it's time to pull the nets and hooks out of the water for these species and let nature take it's course, cause we(everyone) have screwed up. . . .
     
  12. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Jumbo -
    It is obvious that we have different understandings of what managing for MSH means. I think a careful read of the guidelines I proposed would reveal a management scheme different from both the status quo and MSH management. After much thought in the development of these guidelines I thought they addressed at least partially (and maybe imperfectly) most issues folks have had with past management preactices. As a avid angler and one concern with the conservation of the wild resource my attempt was to balance wild fish protection with fishing opportunities, clearly a risk assessment game.

    One point of clarification - when I talk of exploitation rates I include all fishing related mortalities - a 10% rate would include hooking mortality in Wild steelhead release fisheries and Catch and Release, as well as that from bonking.

    Matt had asked that I post my ideas and I did so. Unlike many here I risked attempting to contribute some specific ideas and approaches. I was prepared to discuss those ideas in more detail if there had been an interest.

    By the way managing for steelhead populations at carrying capacity is a management paradigm that would not allow for any fishing (CnR or otherwise).

    Tight lines
    S malma
     
  13. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

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    "BTW"...maybe that would be a good place to begin.
     
  14. BOBLAWLESS

    BOBLAWLESS New Member

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    You know, I am just a simple fisherman in this state and I don't count for much of course. But at least the media could be made aware of the problems facing our fish. "Good News For Fishermen" where the media states that I and my colleagues will be happy because a longer season or a larger kill limit is going into effect is just plain bunk. Actually, just the reverse is true.

    I may be simple but I'm not so stupid as not know that the fish are in real trouble. Longer seasons and larger limits sicken me because I know there will be even fewer fish as a result. So no, I don't think the WDFW should take a bow when they do this. They should be ashamed of themselves.

    Bring on the Feds! List the fish. All of them. And put in jail anyone, including WDFW fish managers, who committ acts against the fish. It's time to get down and dirty. No, that's not true. It has been YEARS since we should have been down and dirty.

    It hurts when you think that the very people we are relying on to save our resource are actively working to destroy it.

    Bob, the ordinary fly fisherman, a most endangered species. :(
     
  15. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Bob -
    Are you moving to a cave with no running water, no electricity, quit using our road systems, growing all your own food, selling your rods and reels, etc? or you joining the rest of us in jail for comitting acts against the fish?

    The reality is that it is society's lack of value of our wild resources - everything is for our own benefit that is the driver in the decline of our fish resources. Unless society (that is all of us!) is will to change at least some of our behaviors (in most cases fishing is only a small part of the changes needed) the fish are doomed.

    Tight lines
    S malma
     
  16. Davy

    Davy Active Member

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    If fishing is the least of the problems facing the fish.Then let us fish ! Even fish with gluttany if you will, because the rest of the issues mentioned are "never" going away,infact they will get worse, and the fish are doomed anyway. Our kids and grand kids and they're kids can go play soccer , let us fish if this is the case.

    However, if fishing restrictions and closures in threatened areas will bring the fish back then thats another story. Personally, I believe in C&R fisheries.I do not believe mortality rates in C&R fisheries ,when enforced, impact runs of fish enough to ban C&R. Unless your talking about rivers with single or double digit returns of fish like the Idaho Sockeye or other "extreme" cases. This all just personal opinion ofcourse.

    If we gave up our road system how would our people get back from Dry Falls this weekend ? Canoe down the Columbia?

    If we gave up electricity how could we continue to post on here? Chalkboard?
     
  17. ray helaers

    ray helaers New Member

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    I for one reject the proposition that we are faced with a choice between the status quo and living in caves, that there is no position between those poles where salmon and humans can coexist.

    There are of course many choices available to us short of burning our furniture for fuel that would lighten our collective footprint on the land and the wildlife it supports, that might give wild salmon and steelhead a chance. It seems to me changing the way we harvest or play with them might be the first choices we would naturally consider.
     
  18. Nailknot

    Nailknot Active Member

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    A salute of Here here! to you Ray. Perfection is the enemy of progress. There is no perfect solution. We need wise decisions, small steps in the direction of our shared goals. The idea we will continue as is until a magic bullet shows up, well, that dream is for the uninformed and lazy. Let's get to work, keep on working, and make incremental change happen.
     
  19. Jim Kerr

    Jim Kerr Active Member

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    Smalma,
    Thanks for great comments. Question, It seems that smolt leaving the Puget sound rivers are two or three times less likely to manage to return than smolt in some of the coastal rivers.
    Does this lack of ocean success indicate a need for higher escapment goals?
    ie smaller return per redd = greater number of redds needed. Is this somthing that is built into curent managment ?
    Also, I was speaking with a guy yesterday who was talking about a grid system to track the movements of salmon all over the pacific that is in the works, this could end alot of mysterys, Heard anything?
     
  20. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

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    Smalma, I am a little confused by what you last said there; your parenthetical statement that:

    "(in most cases fishing is only a small part of the changes needed.)"

    Can you elaborate on that idea please? :confused:

    The way I see it is that "fishing", in all of it's forms and practices, is a direct and very focused, specific impact on the fish, frequently at the most vulnerable points in their life history.

    Certainly we can recognize that the act of fishing is a tremendous impact on fish, a very direct one. Of all the factors related to fish survival, fishing- how, where, and when we do it- is the MOST immediate behavior / impact that we can modify.

    This is not to deny all of the rest, and obviously so much more that we still do not understand, and the need for change as far as habitat, pollution etc.

    But dont tell me that fishing, especially harvest fishing, is only a "small part of what needs changing". That makes no sense at all.

    The one thing we have direct and immediate control over- our fishing activities- should be something we modify very heavily rather than dismiss it as relatively insignificant. I dont see this as an "allotment issue" amongst user groups-We ALL have to change our ways. And this includes fishing less intently, less frequently, and with less mortality across the board.

    The way that WDFW manages our fish, with "Harvest" as a benchmark for management success, only works to winnow the fish,( and the fishing ), to an ultimate loss on all fronts, and often ends with total closures, when much more moderate impacts would have prevented that. And once we do see a small, localized gain in biomass; we reopen it for harvest and winnow it down again- with fishing. That is the pattern here.
     

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