Skagit River Steehead

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Andrew Lawrence, Nov 27, 2012.

  1. Rob, that's exactly why OUR (PNW) steelhead management is the antithesis of economics!!! I agree, a steelhead that never sees a fly is just as valuable as the one that takes a fly but the one that takes a fly adds alot of value ($$$), dollars to the equation.

    As Inland demonstrated! Make the fish more valuable and you'll get more of them, simple economics. A fish with no economic value has no voice because it has no value...a closed river means no added value and no attraction for a fisherman who wants to go fishing, regardless of gear.

    The fish that never sees a fly or lure cannot contribute to the local interest in keeping it going. Humans manage fisheries around the world, only the highly valued fisheries survive. The Canadians have learned this and therefore have fish to fish for. Decentralized rule making is the key. Closing steelhead fisheries de-values steelhead.
  2. Simple- WDFW's mission is to provide harvest. Not just fishing. There are hatchery fish around. It is the ultimate stupidity IMO. Put hatchery fish in the river, doesn't matter how shitty the wild run is, pound away. It is no different then having a season right now on the Skagit. The most depressed wild stock is the early portion. All but destroyed. Yet that is when the factory fish are in, so you fish away to your hearts content.
  3. I think this is on the right track. Another important aspect of this issue is the role that the Puget Sound Partnership and the Salmon Recovery Council are going to play in writing the Steelhead Recovery Plan. If you take a look at the membership on the Salmon recovery council--you'll see that we're probably going to get the shaft. I think that there will be room for us to put pressure on PSP to get better representation in regional and local planning processes. Right now you have buisness and agriculture (MBA, WWAAG) and environmental (Washington environmental council, Futurewise and Long live the Kings)--who the hell thought WEC and FW would be a good fit? We have a strong interest in seeing other buisness interests--guides, local CoC etc, and more environmental groups that actually do work in salmon recovery.

    In the salmon recovery plan that PSP is writing, they will be "Assuring integration of harvest practices", I'm not even sure what they mean by this, but it sounds like promising place to slip our agenda into the fray( it could just be carving out space for the tribes though). Furthermore they plan to set up 3 wild steelhead management zones with no hatchery releases and no rec fisheries. Not the Sol Duc model that allows for recreational fisheries. This is something we should really put up a stink over. I'm not sure who will actually be implementing these different aspects of the plan/planning process, but I'll ask around/do some sleuthing and see what I can find out.

    If we pulled off the occupy skagit, we could make a strong case/provide some political cover for DFW to ask the legislature for money to do better mortality monitoring, which the agency will be looking for funding for in the next few leg sessions.

    I would love to meet up with people and do some thinking. I'll be in the Valley the 19th-24th and would love to get together, on the river or over beers. I would also be willing to make a trip up from Olympia if a broader meeting were scheduled for the 4th, 5th or 6th of next month. Either way, count me in.
  4. Just tell me that all this crazy talk isn't happening just because pot became legal in Washington. UP THE REVOLUTION!!

    Following on Inland's posts, maybe we need legislation to create ZEC Skagit, something we pay for (and fund some part time effort at WDFW - it then makes the agency "invested" in the scheme) that manages and monitors steelhead fishing on the Skagit. Maybe via a "classified waters" license like on the BC blue ribbon rivers. $20 a day to fish the Skagit?

  5. I keep reading through this thread and the Occupy thread and I keep coming back to this post by Salmo.
    Especially this comment:

    "virtually 100% of the fisheries biologists knowledgeable about WA state steelhead agree that harvest is not the limiting factor for PS steelhead"

    Is there any chance that this type of statement is in any official document that has one of these biologist's name attached to it?
    Is there any chance we could have one by April?
  6. WW-

    In the May 2007 Feds ESA listing decision for PS steelhead in the Federal Registor -

    they said -

    "We observed that previous harvest management practices likely contributed tothe historical decline of Puget Sound steelhead, but concluded that the elimination of direct harvest of wild steelhead in the mid 1990s has largely addressed this threat."

    Andrew Lawrence likes this.
  7. Thanks Curt...That's going to be quite a read!
  8. and to throw another poker in the fire.
    there is the Elwha river. boy the future looked bright on that one for awhile.
    are they still going to plant hatch turds in there ?
  9. The law suit filed by Wild Fish Conservancy et al to prevent the stocking of Chambers Creek steelhead in the Elwha is still proceeding. Preliminary injunction to prevent release of steeelhead in 2013 has been filed and should be before the courts any day now, as is the request for summary judgement regarding violation of ESA. See final.pdf?auth=co&loc=en_US&id=263020&part=2
  11. one thing that i don't get. why do they put 116,000 winter & 74,000 summer steelhead in the green river? the numbers that are reported for smolt plants are crazy. the Walla walla system gets 255,000 planted ?
    but if there were no plants as said before, no p/s rivers would be open.
  12. So...there are several threads going on and I'm trying to keep up. As a part of that I tried to get a handle on all the players. I'm sure that I have missed some of them but here is the list I have so far:

    • WDFW – Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
    • NOAA – National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
    • NMFS – National Marine Fisheries Service
    • WSC – Wild Steelhead Coalition
    • HSRG – Hatchery Scientific Review Group
    • WT - Washington Trout
    • SCAPG – (WDFW) Steelhead and Cutthroat Avisory Policy Group
    • PSHAAC – Puget Sound Hatchery Action Advisory Committee
    • PSP – Puget Sound Partnership
    • PSSRC – Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council
    • PSMFC – Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission
    That is quite the list of acronyms...astonishing really!
    I hate to do this but I have to foist one more on you guys:
    • BB - Bureaucratic Bloat
    If I had to list, in order of importance, the number of obstacles to a C&R season on the Skagit I would put BB at the top.
    I have no idea how many people are associated with those agencies and in positions within their respective agency to actually be a part of, or influence a decision, but I suspect it may be in the hundreds.

    What we need is a Fish Czar.
    Or overwhelming numbers.
  13. WW,

    I don't share your opinion on the difficulty. What is needed more than anything is for the run sizes on the Skagit to exceed 6,000 for a few years consecutively. Bob Leland told me that it did last year. The number he gave was 6,4000. Admittedly, is was the 1st time I'd heard that estimate.

    After that it really comes down to WDFW and NOAA/NMFS agreeing that there are fish above the goal and that a season can take place. The mechaism for that is an approved steelhead recovery plan that allows for the season. MAny of the other groups you list are advisory in nature or really have no say at all.

    Overwhelming numbers of anglers will certainly help in pushing WDFW to advocate for a season provided run sizes allow for it.

    Remember to that the pre-season run size estimates are based on previous returns. They don't take a number of factors into account. So this years will be below 6,000 for sure . However, given last years numbers, if we have another above estimated count this spring we may start to see the preseason forecasts exceed the estimate.

    Go Sox,
    Nooksack Mac and inland like this.
  14. I understand how that works Charles and the process which involves shutting down what has the least amount of impact is flawed. In fact an argument can be made that C&R fishing has none or negligble impact at worst.
    I know you are a recent arrival here but I would like to mention the Deer Creek fish as a shining example of what I mean. These fish were at one time almost to the point of being functionally extinct...down to just a few hundred adults. And yet fishing continued on a C&R basis every summer and still does to this day.

    It is the process that I am most interested in changing. I can understand that it is a management tool, but why does it seem to be the first tool to come out of the shed? Especially on the Skagit!
    Nooksack Mac likes this.
  15. To be more specific, tying the season to escapement is what needs to be done away with. In the case of Deer Creek the fish responded to their habitat destruction with reduced numbers. This is of course to be expected; habitat, habitat, habitat, that is the mantra. The Deer creek watershed is now carrying as many steelhead as it can support.

    The Skagit is in a similar state. We are seeing the new normal carring capacity of the system and it's not likely to change much. Will it fluctuate? Yes, just like any other system whether it has been impacted by man or not. Chasing arbitrary escapement numbers to establish a C&R season is the part that is flawed. First, the escapement isn't figured until after we would like to have our season. Our season is currently tied to 'projections'. How ludicrous is that? Incidental mortality of a C&R season has never been proven to be a limiting factor in the viability of the entire run. NMFS made their decision because the numbers were in decline. WTF did they expect? More people and their accompanying activity means less animals - it always has. That's all they got? Thanks for coming...
    inland likes this.
  16. WW,

    I agree with many of your points. However, there is always a difference between what is and what you think should be. If you always act based on the world being what you think it should be rather than what it is, your gonna be disappointed.

    The structure is what it is. We can make the best of it. I appreciate your passion.

    Go Sox,
  17. Or change the structure. Nothing is for ever.
  18. That's a decidedly tougher task.

    I think it would be easier to lower the goal than to get away from using a goal a la most of BC. I am having a hard time understanding how you could go to a premanent season without delisting.

    I wonder if the listing cold be amended and move to a watershed by watershed listing.

    Go Sox,
  19. As I see it today, that is our play.

    Here is another acronym.
    DPS - Distinct Population Segment

    Currently all of Puget Sound steelhead from the Elwah to the Nooksac, both rivers inclusive, are considered as a single DPS. We're talking more than 50 different stocks of summer and winter-run fish as per NMFS. Remove the Skagit basin from this DPS and we have more than a fighting chance.

    The ESA defines an endangered species as one that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, and a threatened species as one that is likely to become endangered in the forseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range.

    Do either of these scenarios apply to the Skagit winter runs? Especially if you consider that the basin may full well be at its carrying capacity?
  20. Good questions there WW. Hold those thoughts for inclusion in a request/proposal to the Commission just before OS.


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