Steelhead angst

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by fishwhipped, Jan 30, 2003.

  1. fishwhipped

    fishwhipped New Member

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    I wonder why so much anxiety among flyfishers about the steelhead return this year on the North Puget Sound rivers. In years past the rule of thumb was wait until after President's Day for a decent chance to hook a native fish. The hatchery fish were not known to be as agressive to the fly, and though they could be caught they typically sprinted back to the hatcheries.

    Is it the closing of the C&R season that has so many focused now on fishing earlier and bemoaning the lack of fish? Or just so many new fishermen and women? Just wondering.

    The runs certainly wax and wane, subject to conditions we barely understand nevermind control. We may well experience a return that tells us again how precious, fragile, and threatened these fish are. Whether this year turns out to be a bust or not, I hope we all do all we can to minimize our personal impact and help preserve what's left. Above all, release native fish, everyone, everywhere, everytime.
     
  2. Nailknot

    Nailknot Active Member

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    You're right, of course, about the wild fish timing. But I think its the threat of closed rivers that has many jittery. That, and the guides/core fishers saying its the worst hatchery return, possible ever. For me, the weather has been good, the fishing good.
     
  3. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    A friend was talking to one of the biologists about the Skagit. He stated this is the worst hatchery return he has seen since working there. He started working there in 1963 I believe he said. Usually hatchery returns, good or bad, have little in common with native returns. But, it still bothers one to think about the low returns so far.
     
  4. sinktip

    sinktip Guest

    Great questions FishWhipped. I would think there are two answers particular to this year.

    First, while your description of hatchery fish and the dates for natives is right on, there are those among us that fish all year long anyway and can be reasonably assured of picking up a few hatchery fish and a couple of early wild fish. This year, though a number of my fellow addict friends and I have hit it hard, we have one wild fish to show for it.

    The other factor is there are just a large number of new people into steelheading. It is one thing to read about the "fish of a thousand casts" but it is another to live it. Some have never caught a fish and after a few trips without a pull, the angst comes out.

    Still what other fish out there would people keep going after in the winter even when they were not catching.
     
  5. Whitey

    Whitey Active Member

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    good topic, great discussion. I also have heard from a few credible sources that the nates and Clones are not tied together as far as returning adults go. Let's hope so. I also agree about the large numbers of steelheaders that fly fish for them. I would like to hope they came over from gear side in search of something new. I would bet all of us at started out with gear and progressed into chasing fish with fly's at one time or another. I see less and less gear guys this year, but maybe they just gave up with the meat holes being shut down. If this year continues on the path it's on, eastern washington trout will just see my mug that much sooner.:smokin YT
     
  6. Luv2flyfish

    Luv2flyfish Another Flyfisherman

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    I wonder if all the gear fishermen who actively partake in the catch/kill fishery will take it out on the native fish if they show as expected in the normal numbers. Hatchery fish normally take the brunt of that beating if i am not mistaken. Since everyone, not just flyfishers, are chomping at the bit, I wonder if they will just slay them on waters that still have a native kill in place???? I know some people flat dont care and will not give it second thought? Think of hunting areas where they say that, Does, for example should not be taken, there are still alot of hunters that Blast the crap out of the females, in total disregard to wildlife management guidance put out. Then, in a couple years when the total herd is suffering in the reproduction side of things, and it comes out that hunting will suck in a given area, then those same people that disregarded the guidance will be the first ones to EXPLODE about the poor hunting. Its a scary thought, to me anyways. I have a total respect for my streams, fish, wildlife, and good ol Mom Nature in general. I hope that people dont take out that frustration on the Big Boys when they come in........if they come in. Society, in the name of Wildlife Conservation, need to look / think past the end of their ......Noses!!!! If the shoe fits, wear it. I guess to most in this wonderful little On-Line community, that shoe does not apply. I am grateful to have the waters, and the fish. People in general just need to look a little farther ahead. Make a peice of water, C&R REGARDLESS for about 3 years, and then take a look at the improvements to the fishery - GEE I wonder why. Sorry Folks, I will get off the soap box. I guess I should get my rear in College and pursue my dream of Fisheries Biology......I guess I am in a good place to do it.
     

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