SRC Fishing Slowing Down

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Roger Stephens, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    At a risk of further hi-jacking this thread from the original topic -

    I have to call BS on the claims of State mis-mangement of the sea-run cutthroat.

    This past summer the State went through a process looking for suggestions to modify the current regulations/management. Know how many proposals addressed sea-run cutthroat? Just 2.

    one stated that the sea-run cutthroat are not endangered and he is seeing more than any time in his life - had no proposal.

    The other proposal was to allow the retention of sea-run cutthroat between 11 and 13 inches on most estuaries and rivers.

    Where the heck were you nay-sayers? Saw nothing about ending harvest of sea-runs, saw nothing of gear restrictions, etc. Every major change in the management of our anadromous resources save the wild steelhead release issue has been accomplished by just a small handful of folks (general WDFW bios) with virtual no support from the angler community. Just the most recent example was the Stillaguamish and North Fork Stillaguamish where 5 or 6 years ago there was a regulation proposal to end the harvest of all trout and steelhead except hatchery steelhead all summer and go to selective gear regulations - now that sounds like something some here might support yet at the time the commission recieved only 4 comments (2 for and 2 against).

    Continually hear how various resources are mis-managed yet when it comes time to suggest changes or lobby for good ideas virtually the entire angling community remains silent.

    Various folks have spend considerable time and effort to let you folks know of the various process, how to make a difference, to supply you with basic biological information so that intelligent proposal could be made and yet no has the time to get involved. As far as I'm concern the angling population in general and the fly fishing community in particular are probably getting better management than you deserve given the demostrated committed that folks have made to the resource. If you are not attempting to be part of the solution and working towards "better management" then you are part of the problem.

    Two years from now we'll still be hearing the same compliants without any actions from the whiners.

    my 2 cents
    Curt
     
  2. King Wind Knot

    King Wind Knot Rebel, Truth Seeker

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    I guess this isn't in the spirit of where this thread has gone, but I'll post an SRC fishing report anyways.

    I went out on the key pennisula on Sunday with another guy and I hooked and lost right at my boots a 14" SRC and landed and taped a 17" fish. My buddy landed and taped another 14" SRC. We were both using a bunny leach pattern.

    As a general note, I love winter fishing. In most of the spots that I fish during the summer I catch less but bigger fish. I have one spot on a private beach that my boss owns (also out on the key pennisula) and it fished just plain awful this past summer, but I was never skunked once last winter. I've been out there a couple times recently and I saw a big school of SRC's while we were out on a boat, but we couldn't get any to take a fly, but I hooked and lost one that felt like it was good sized. All last winter and so far this winter, I've had good luck w/ larger sculpiny flies and a sink tip line as opposed to my floater or clear intermediate.
     
  3. o mykiss

    o mykiss Active Member

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    Okay, I'll bite. First of all, while it's probably true that most anglers (including fly fishers) do not get very involved in trying to influence management decisions, there are some who are very involved (including some who actively participate in this site). Second of all, it's kind of twisted to say that anglers (and fly fishers in particular) should be ashamed of themselves for not being more involved in shaping resource management policies. Most of us don't really know enough to have any in-depth, well-reasoned input into alot of different management issues. We do observe with our own eyes the declining state of fisheries but most of us are in a position to only postulate why they may be declining and what should be done to solve the problem. We should all do what we can to let our voices be heard on conservation issues, but I'm sorry to have to tell you that WDFW and its staff gets paid to come up with the policies. It's completely proper for us to expect the agency in charge to do a better job, to show some leadership and not blame the angling community for failing to come up with ideas on how to recover declining fisheries. I can't imagine my elected representatives lashing out at me when I tell them they ought to do a better job balancing the budget just because I didn't submit a specific proposal for how to do that. Don't pass the buck. If there are good, internally generated, conservation oriented proposals that come up and you want us to support them, post them on this web site. Many people will be all over getting letters and e-mails into the WDFW. If that is something you can't do, then whisper in the ear of someone at Wild Steelhead Coalition, TU, etc. so they can get the word out to their membership.
     
  4. gt

    gt Active Member

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    if the science is determining policy, more power to science. unfortunately that is rarely the case any longer. political expediency determines policy. that is why groups such a PEER (public employees for environmental responsibility) have formed.

    if you don't know, then find out how, to contact your elected representatives locally as well as nationally. you, that is, each of you reading this thread, need to constantly, that's at least every month, email each of these folks with your concerns.

    why do you think NOAA is getting away without regard to the science of fish recovery? beause there is no voice from all of us united with a single front, use the science involved with fishery management. pretty simple actually and all it takes is a few minutes a month to beat the drum. will they listen? lets find out by starting to do this in earnest.

    how about it?
     
  5. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    O mykiss -
    I agree it is the management agency's job to develop and provide the basic biological frame work that is compatible to maintaining healthy resources. However it is the angler's job to provide the managers their preference on how to use the productivity of the population in question. Should the potential fishing impacts be used in hooking mortality to provide the maximum number of fishing days that could be provided in a CnR fishery? or should those impacts be used to provide the maximum number of harvested fish? or so combination of the two? The answer of course depends on the species in question and the interests of the total angler community. One would get different answer in a halibut fishery than say the Yakima trout fishery.

    Sticking with the sea-run cutthroat case -
    Twenty years ago the State (then the department of wildlife) came up with a policy for managing resident trout, bull trout and sea-run cutthroat. It was called the stream management strategy. That policy called for the management of the resource based on the biology of the animal; primarily through the use of minimum size limits that insured that the majority of the females in the population would be protected through their first spawning. This was the origin of the 14 minimum size limit one finds on many Western Washington rivers. In those basin with reasonable habitats that approach seemed to be reasonable successful. Here in the north Puget Sound region in less than a decade the cutthroat populations rebounded to levels not since since WWII.

    That policy has been successful in providing the biological protection they needed. This business about whether there should be any harvest or not is less about the biological needs of the resource and more about how we the anglers want to use the productivity of the resource. Given the diversity of the angler interest it is for the anglers themselves to supply their desires on how they wish the resource to be managed within the biological constraints.

    My point unless anglers are willing to provide their desires to the managers it is unlikley that their desires will be met. Why would a manager be inclined to change the status quo if their biological info is that the resource is doing OK and their appears to be no major interest in the angling population for change?

    Resource allocation in fisheries management is typcial of the great American tradition of special interest that lobbies the hardest gets the largest pieces of the pie. I'm suggesting that if you want a bigger piece you need to get into the game. Sitting on the side lines and making vague claims of mis-management is not going to get you what you want. Believe it or not there are others on the other side of the harvest equation that feel that the resource is being mis-managed because their harvest is being limited.

    I also expressed surprised given the professed passion for our sea-run cutthroat I hear here that no one had the interest to suggest some change in the status quo management of the resource. I had attempted to provide the members here the information regarding the process in which to institude change as well as my assessment of the biological constraints of our cutthroat population. At some point we the anglers have to step up and asssume some responibility for achieving our desires.

    It is really up to us

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  6. Roger Stephens

    Roger Stephens Active Member

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    Wow! Some threads get side-tracked and go down the wrong path but this thread has taken the path of constructive "give and take" enlightenment:thumb: .

    Bob Triggs and Salt Dog make good points that sea-run cutthroat need more protection in freshwater. Then Smalma challenges us to get involved to make changesiagree.

    Roger
     
  7. Les Johnson

    Les Johnson Les Johnson

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    Actually, in 1975 at the Mork Hotel in Aberdeen it was sportsman's groups, led by the Washington Fly Fishing Club and Fourth Corner Flyfishers when the slot limits were imposed to protect coastal cutthroat in Washington streams. Later, in 1997 it was again the sportsmans groups that led the charge to have coastal cutthroat made catch and release in marine waters. I was involved in both hearings.
    I have never counted on the Fish and Wildlife Commission to always do the right thing since it has a history of giving in to harvest in the face of evidence for needed reductions in harvest limits. Even faced with its own records showing declines in steelhead on the OP and with only a handful of runs remaining "healthy", they did not want the wild steelhead catch curtailed. Wild Steelhead Coalition did the job with its white paper;based on WDFW information. It is our responsibility to change surface these problems.
    Curt is right in asking "where were you......?" The WSC beat the drum to bring out sport anglers to all of these hearings but not all that many showed up.
    As for a stamp to fund a cutthroat program for scientific studies, habitat restoration and enforcement, I am going to bring it up to the WSC. If we don't place a high enough value on our sport fish they will go the way of the passenger pigeon. The WDFW, Washington Sportfishing Assoc (?) and the charter boat association have for instance always been fearful that a higher price for on residents to fish for salmon would cause people not to fish when they visit Washington.
    This is a grassroots issue and Washington is a grassroots state. I'm going to bring it up to WSC. Airing issues on this, or any other web site is a good way to vent, but it won't change anything. We have to get the train moving. Stay tuned.
    Good Fishing,
    Les Johnson
     
  8. gt

    gt Active Member

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    another example of science being thrown out the window appeared in print today. senator larry craig, R-ID, has led the drive to kill the 'fish passage center.' this is a 20 year old agency charged with data collection regarding fish passage all along the bonneville network of dams. they are funded by BPA as a part of the negotiated licensing contracts.

    would appear that judge redden used these data to base his decisions regarding the lack of movement by a host of federal agencies to fix failing runs.

    the senators solution is to simply eliminate science which opposes his constituent bases needs, more water and cheap electricity. simple and efficient means of hiding what is really going on. please don't continue to assume that science trumps politics. in our current political environment planet earth is on the very short end of multiple bad deals.

    get involved!
     
  9. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

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    There has been more comments on this site regarding our fisheries management than have ever been given, sent or emailed to the WDFW. This is not a criticism but I sense a general frustration with their so-called "public" process.

    I have been frustrated with my being on the Steelhead Cutthroat Policy Advisory Group ever since the Director scoffed at my notion that we are losing money by not charging enough for non-resident licenses. The idea that non-residents can come fish for wild steelhead and salmon for two days for only $6.57 is beyond comprehension, especially since we are sorely in need of funding. I had a friend from Japan, who fishes for Atlantic salmon in Scotland and steelhead in BC, ask me why this state thinks so lowly of their grand fish?

    I believe the only way to achieve any meaningful change is through the grassroots. That is how the we were able to get the kill limit down on wild streelhead. I will join Les in getting the WSC to focus on wild coastal cutthroat
     
  10. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

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    Sorry, this last portion of my comments were not sent.

    Leland.

    I believe the only way to achieve any meaningful change is through the grassroots. That is how the we were able to get the kill limit down on wild streelhead. I will join Les in getting the WSC to focus on wild coastal cutthroat
     
  11. miyawaki

    miyawaki Active Member

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    Let's try this:

    I believe the only way to achieve any meaningful change is through the grassroots. That is how the we were able to get the kill limit down on wild streelhead. I will join Les in getting the WSC to focus on wild coastal cutthroat – the wild steelhead's brother.

    I would also like to see the fly fishing clubs ban together to get an initiative passed by the public that would overturn the state law that prevents any law being passed that prohibits a statewide bait ban.

    It's about time we find out who's running this state.

    Leland.
     
  12. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

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    Smalma, I have to agree with you in part- not enough participation when it counts. But it is changing. I have written many letters to wdfw about the fishery, testified at meetings etc. It is a long-haul involvement. You cant expect change without getting involved. I heard a great line about mobilizing anglers to get involved, to write, vote or testify etc; "It's like herding cats".
    I dont know why that is true, but I know it is true.
     
  13. gt

    gt Active Member

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    part of the problem may be that many of us to not hear about upcoming meeting or understand who and where we should submit our comments.

    perhaps as those of you who are more 'connected' learn of these events or opportunities, you could start a thread calling attention as well as posting links to those who should be contacted.
     
  14. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    Great thread.

    My thoughts about the Coastal Cutthroat fishery in the Willapa Bay streams is that, since the regs there currently are C&R, the only change that is needed to further protect the fish would be more enforcement of the existing regs. There seems to be only one Game Warden for all of Pacific County, as as soon as he disappears around the bend, people do whatever they think they can get away with.

    I occasionally run into people when fishing Pacific County streams (usually bait fishers) who feel that the population of coastal cutthroat is healthy enough to harvest a few anyway, regardless of the regs. They don't measure the fish and keep the first-time spawners in the 11"-13" size and everything bigger, since they are breaking the regs, anyway. They claim that WDFW is wrong. One guy told me that he thinks there's plenty of fish since he "took home a whole bucket of bluebacks one day" last Fall.

    I run into fathers who are still taking their young kids bait-fishing for cutthroat, initiating them to the fishing life, like their fathers and uncles took them out. The main thing is to catch some trout, and probably eat them. If it is on a Grays Harbor or Oly Pen stream, it is usually legal to keep them (two over 14"). In Pacific County/Willapa Bay streams, it is all C&R.
    I have mentioned to a couple of these guys in Pacific Co that they might want to head north a little and fish where it is legal to keep cutthroat, if they want to kill and eat one, and they returned the favor and told me where to go (south, where its very hot...and no cutthroat!)
    If I see someone using bait with trout-sized gear and size 8 worm hooks in a stream where the regs are C&R for wild Coastal Cutthroat, I assume that they must be keeping them. I assume that bait is allowed so that steelhead, salmon, and sturgeon anglers can continue to use bait. Cutthroat often get hooked very deeply on bait, in the tongue, gills or gullet. So I also assume that a certain amount of cutthroat are being sacrificed as an incidental kill.

    I wonder if there isn't a certain minimum hook size, when using bait, that might prevent a cutthroat from taking the hook so deeply, maybe size 4 or size 2? Size 4 might still be a little small, as cutthroat have big mouths. Maybe bait anglers should be required to use a hook at least size 2 in streams where there are Coastal Cutthroat, and any smaller hooks must be on an artifical lure or fly. I don't know if this will do any good to protect the fish, as I am not a biologist and don't target cutthroat with bait. But I have caught cutthroat when steelhead fishing using corky/yarn/sandshrimp on size 2 or size 1 hooks, and rarely hooked the smaller trout deeply. That might also be a function of quick response in setting the hook.

    I would support a cutthroat stamp, and maybe even a punch-card with a maximum number allowed for harvest(say 10 or 20, and not more than 5 from any one stream) per year. I say this because I know of some young fishers who have claimed harvesting upwards of 50 legal sized cutthroat from just ONE river in a season.

    I know that most of us fly fishers would love for all wild coastal cutthroat to be protected with C&R in all waters. I know I would. Mortality due to their incidental catch while baitfishing for steelhead/salmon might be dealt with by allowing only hooks a certain size or larger, Anybody know if that would keep those voracious cutties from taking bait too deep? I don't necessarily want to take the bait away from the bait fishers legally going after hatchery steelhead/salmon. So how do you resolve this dilemma?

    Jimbo
     
  15. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Jimbo -
    The hooking mortality studies that I'm familar with did not demostrate any benefit from hook size restrictions in reducing the hooking mortality. In one study they looked at hook sizes ranging from size 10 to 2/0 as I recalled. The larger cutthroat were able to ingest the bait regardless of the hook size. While the smaller fish were not able to get the larger hooks in their mouths this was countered the "spearing effect" of the larger hooks. With the large hooks many fish were gaffed or speared in the gills, eye and brains.

    The surest way to reduce hooking mortality is the prohibition of the use of bait - not very popular with the non-fly anglers.

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  16. Teeg Stouffer

    Teeg Stouffer Fish Recycler

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    Not to get off topic, but this is the funniest line I've read on WFF in months. :beer2:
     
  17. Les Johnson

    Les Johnson Les Johnson

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    A summer bait-ban is on my list of issues to take on. It would help a lot if there was not bait fishing from say June through November. However, to make this happen on other than an emergency basis I beleive that we'll have to introduce an initiative as there is a law somewhere on the books that we cannot simply impose a bait ban. I believe that it was passed years ago by Clarence Postkey of "Potskey Fireball" salmon egg fame. Correct me if I'm wrong. However, laws are made to be turned over. Now there is a project!
    Good Fishing,
    Les
     
  18. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    The bait ban law was a blacklash from the State's attempt to prohibit the use of bait during the summer. That attempt was part of its "Stream management strategy" - to provide stable trout populations the strategy was to protect the majority of the females through their first spawning with approapriate minimum size limits as well a summer bait ban to reduce hooking mortality on the sub-adult resident trout and anadromous parr/presmolts. Got the minimum size limits in most areas.

    One of the major organized leaders against the bait ban was the State's Trout Unlimited clubs. Their reason - it would limit their access to summer steelhead (the majority of which were hatchry fish). The fly type and wild fish advocates were largely silent - another opportunity missed.

    The bait ban law prohibits widesprread bait bans without specific information on the biological/conservation need for that prohibition. That is why I thought that the lack of support 5 or so years ago on the CnR and Selective fishing regulations on the Stillaguamish and North Fork Stillaguamish was so important. It was the first time that bait bans were attempted on a major anadromous stream since the bait ban. As mentioned before the support was virtually non-existence. There remains strong interest in the angler community to reverse that change.

    The change was achieved thanks to good support data but the question remains how much longer can we expect anyone at WDFW to remain on the point of the spear without support?

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  19. Jim Wallace

    Jim Wallace Smells like low tide

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    Thanks Smalma and searun. It helps to have some historical perspective and know whats been attempted in the past. I would definitely support a summer-long bait ban in most rivers and creeks.
    The idea sounds like it ran into alot of opposition the last time it was proposed, and I'm sure the opposition will be huge to any future attempts. And if a bait ban ever gets implemented, I'm sure that the resistance to it will be strong. But I would support one, for sure.

    Back to the original thread, the searun cutts here in a couple of the streams I fish all ran upstream out of tidewater three or four weeks ago. The last one I caught in an upper tidewater pool was on 10/27, a colored-up 14-15" male with large yellow oval-shaped blotches on the forward part of his belly. Haven't seen a one since then in three trips back to the same stream and a couple trips to another stream where they were found earlier.
    I'll probably find some when I go fish upstream for steelhead later, in Dec. Jan and Feb.

    Jimbo
     
  20. salt dog

    salt dog card shark

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    Having support, and mobilizing it are obviously two different things. I would think that this web site would be a good start in mobilizing support, if there were leaders committed to take the time and effort to take the lead.

    Meanwhile, back to the original thread.
    I went down to a Sno County beach this weekend for grins just to see if anything was still around, or if all the Coastal Cutts had all gone up the Snohomish river. Actually, I felt the need to do some casting, and didn't want to drive a long way to hit the river. I worked the beach with a surface popper without a boil, but was surprised to get some good pokes with my sink tip. I took three nice SeaRuns, up to 17". I was quite surprised to find mature fish that had not yet migrated up river. Since this beach has a small 'jump over' stream, they might be waiting for more water before going up that stream.

    On Saturday I had missed a particularly nice take that came unbuttoned, and returned early Sunday to the same spot. I threw a Johnson Beach Fly (thanks for the pattern Les) to what I presumed had been a large SeaRun, and after about 20 minutes of casting the area was rewarded with a nice leaping resident silver of about 3 lbs. On a 6 wt. rod that's a fun fish. Also picked up a brace of SeaRun Cutthroat. Strange year, but pleasantly surprised to have my casting exercises interrupted by taking quality fish. You never know until you try.
     

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