Puget Sound Tracking...

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by FinLuver, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. OPINION ONLY: No real evidence to the contrary at this time. Keep in mind that this is only an observation so don't flame me! Help me wrap my head around this.

    There are varying opinions on the subject. What I think it means and I am no expert by any means, is that we will have fewer steelhead to fish for in the future. The recovery of wild fish is such a slow process that rivers that could support say, 7000 wild fish, may be at less than 1000 (only an example). That means the wild fish have plenty of habitat but have not recovered. The hatchery fish have been added for sporting purposes and others but the science behind it has changed the release dates so as not to compete wholely with the native fish. The rivers can support both up to that 7000 fish as long as we remove the hatchery fish through sport fishing. What happens now is that there will be more pressure on the OP rivers and the Southwest rivers by steelhead fishermen and that's not good either. It also has an economic impact on the businesses that support the area.

    I would hope that the WDFW and the Wild Fish Conservancy can come to an agreement that will allow the release as scheduled but in reality that may not happen. The state has dragged its collective feet at completing the necessary plans as well as not having the existing plans approved by the National Marine Fisheries Agency, and it appears that the law suit is designed to force the completion. It's ill-advised on both sides and as a result, the steelhead fishermen get caught in the middle.

    I have no idea if this is the correct take but at the outset, this is what appears to be happening, IMHO. I need someone with some real smarts to help me get this into proper perspective.
  2. I don't think the lawsuit or the decision to not plant will have any effect on the tracking project. The project will acoustically tag 300 steelhead smolts from two rivers. That's a tiny % of the 900,000 hatchery smolts that were scheduled to be planted, and the 300 could be all wild smolts. No hatchery steelhead are stocked in the Nisqually, one of the two rivers where smolts will be tagged. Hatchery smolts are released in the Green River, but a smolt trap is operated there, so it's possible to just tag wild smolts in the Green as well. I will be very interested in the results of this project, and with all that tracking equipment in the Sound, I think it would make a lot of economy of scale sense to have a lot more than 300 tags going out.

    Chris Johnson and Stonefish like this.
  3. Recovery isn't necessarily slow, see the Skagit for example. If you think about it, these fish have dealt with natural disasters and blockages to their natal spawning grounds. As such, they've evolved to fill whatever niche suites them, and to do it quickly.
  4. Perhaps more then two rivers as well. They should at least add the Puyallup to the list.

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