Steelhead fishing\conservation question?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Steelheadjunky, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. Steelheadjunky Member

    Posts: 66
    Redmond, WA.
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    These questions all revolved around the practices out of the Quinalt’s and their steelhead hatchery and a thread that got locked. I see too many fishermen just say well I am a fisherman first and then a maybe worried about conservation second, third or fourth. The majority of these guys seem to be more worried about the numbers of steelhead they put on the bank than most, not that numbers are bad but when but when it is your first second and third focus with steelhead something is wrong in my book. That makes me truly sad that others don't think that enough to realize if they support poor hatchery practices of the Quinalt’s by fishing their systems with the protection of hey I just want to catch steelhead, that they support the people that do them and the continuation of them. Don’t others see that?

    So the questions are if you fish places like this and there bad practices (not marking fish, fully netting rivers including on the wild fish that aren’t on their reservation like the quinalt’s do, whackem and stackem it doesn’t matter hatchery of wild, no worries about their hatchery practices, etc) aren’t you just supporting the continuation of these bad practices? Don’t you feel a responsible to be involved in conservation (this person admitted that he wasn’t)? Do you support places that promote these places cities, shops, guides, etc (my answer is no heck I won’t even spend the night in Forks now after what their city “leaders” did 2 years ago)? Sure asking these questions will be me banned or get this thread locked really fast.

    With that attitude then wild steelhead are doomed. What a sad day, though I will say I have seen a lot more of this lately.

    JJ
    PS: The question was asked what do you do to help be a conservationist I have served on the BOD of a conservation group, was a webmaster for a group, am members of at least 2 others, have attended meetings, written letters, made phone calls. Etc.
  2. softwaterstructure Banned or Parked

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    inside seam
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    if you would like to see the numbers, follow this link:
    http://www.wildsteelheadcoalition.com/Repository/WSC_ESU 2_Charts 2006.pdf

    take a quick peak at the tribal harvest on both the Queets and Quinault. take note that the Quinaults want the escapement sent dangerously low for the Queets and look at how low they have the escapement set for the Quinault. more fish for them ofcourse.

    anybody have the numbers of the Chehalis??

    you wanna see how many days the Quinaults are putting in on the various OP Rivers? http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/tribal/ and dont worry about the Queets, more dates will be added soon. also take note of the Grays Harbor/Humptulips schedule...those are the Quinaults as well.
  3. Salmo_g Active Member

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    You're questions are a little hard to follow. If I got it right, then,
    1. Some do; some don't.
    2. Maybe, maybe not. Exactly how the Quinaults manage their fishery isn't known to me. If they are meeting escapement goals that will sustain wild fish populations indefinitely, then I don't have much to complain about their hatchery programs. If their wild runs are simply supported by the spawning of unmarked hatchery fish, and if - this is the big if - that practice isn't sustainable, then I'm pissed because they don't own the entire resource. The off-reservation fraction belongs to all of us.
    3. I feel responsible about conservation and do what I feel I can. I also know that it's not enough. There are 6 billion people on this planet, and most of them care more about going to bed with a full belly tonight than they could ever care about wild steelhead, if they even ever knew what that was.
  4. Will Atlas Guest

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    I agree that we all need take a hard look at the way we use and advocate for the resource. I can be a bit foaming at the mouth about it at times, however I dont think someone is wrong if they arent as interested it as I am. It is true that we need a more active and involved angling community when it comes to our fisheries resources, but the trouble is I think alot of times the interests of the angling community are not the interests of the fish. Our sport is a bloodsport, and I think because of this we have a paradox. There have been a fair number of threads popping up on this subject lately, see "would you stop fishing for steelhead" and at the end of the day we have to be able to look back and know we at least havent "harmed" the resource.

    Salmo, I would also like to learn more about the hatchery practices of the quinaults since I am frequently critical of their management. The little I do know is from word of mouth, but I believe there is cause for concern. Especially because hatchery fish from the quinault hatchery end up in the Hoh, Queets, Clearwater and Upper Quinault, all outside of the reservation.
    I'm not sure what you mean by, "If their wild runs are simply supported by the spawning of unmarked hatchery fish, and if - this is a big if - that practice isnt sustainable" Maybe I'm missing something really really important here, but I dont know how that practice could ever be sustainable.

    I agree that 98% of the population are apathetic about the fate of steelhead specifically, but that doesnt mean the other 2% cant be the ones that decide their fate. I'm 20 now, and I am crazy about steelhead, and everyday I hope to god that when I die, we'll still be lucky enough to feel that electrifying tug. what kind of world is a world without steelhead?

    Wil;
  5. Smalma Active Member

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    Marysville, Washington
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  6. Will Atlas Guest

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    Curt,
    I took a look at the data and it looks like the fish upstream of the lake are the ones doing OK. The quinault/quinault lake stock are the ones which spawn below the lake and have a downward trend in abundance. While it is difficult to isolate a single cause for the trend in abundance, I doubt the hatchery fish are helping much.
    Will
  7. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,797
    Marysville, Washington
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    Cascadekiller-
    While it may be the case that natural spawning hatchery fish are included in the lower river escapement I don't know enough of the details of the hatchery operation and the nuts and bolts of how the escapement numbers are developed to say for sure. I did notice on WDFW's hatchery escapement report -
    http://wdfw.wa.gov/hat/escape/escape.htm

    the hatchery the last couple years has completed the hatchery egg taken by mid-February.

    Tight lines
    Curt
  8. softwaterstructure Banned or Parked

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    anybody who spends anytime fishing the Upper Quinault this time of the year will mention the upstream strays from the hatchery on the Lake. the reason for the Upper Quinault being "Heathly" and the Lower being "Depressed" has to do with the fact you have a large portion of strays up their doing their thing.

    and because of the Quinaults 'wonderful fish management' which creates almost a Frankenfish like population (only spawning the big fish), a more normal size distribution through the population is lacking. the fish which are offspring of these stray spawners maybe wild but they sure as Hell aren't Native. and therefore, i do not think you can refer to the population as "Healthy". and along those lines, salmo g. said it best, "If their wild runs are simply supported by the spawning of unmarked hatchery fish, and if - this is the big if - that practice isn't sustainable, then I'm pissed because they don't own the entire resource. The off-reservation fraction belongs to all of us." i can tell you right now, those stray hatchery fish are sustaining that run.
  9. Salmo_g Active Member

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    CK,

    The Quinault hatchery program used native broodstock. They operate the system as an integrated hatchery/wild complex from what little I know. While hatchery steelhead tend to be less successful in the natural environment, if you have a lot of them, and they are from indigenous stock, maybe they can sustain. I don't think anyone knows for a fact one way or the other.

    SWS,

    I agree it looks like that, but I don't in fact know it. I wouldn't take a stronger position unless I had more information. There's a lot of things that could be going on.

    Sincerely,

    Salmo g.
  10. Will Atlas Guest

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    Salmo,
    I guess it matters how you define "sustain". Indeed if the measure of sustaining a run of steelhead is having reasonable numbers of steelhead returning and spawning every year then yes, I think the practices could fall into that category. There is not much literature on integrated stock hatcheries as they relate to wild stocks, but I know of few success stories (where an integrated stock hatchery was able to rebuild a wild stock). Even if a stock of fish is being taken from a native gene pool (at least originially) the fish will become domesticated and allowing those fish to stray and spawn in the wild would likely degrade the overall fitness of the stock. In my mind that is not truly sustainable. While I know there is not much proof this is true, I think it warrants research, particularly as more and more money is poured into rebuilding wild steelhead stocks. It seems integrated stocks are popular at this time, and I think in many cases it has yet to be seen what their true impacts will be.

    Tightlines,

    Will
  11. Salmo_g Active Member

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    CK,

    We don't know if the integrated hatchery concept will be sustainable or not. Hypothetically, it should be, but that's a far cry from it being so.

    The Quinaults appear to be managing the runs as tho it's an integrated plan. I don't know that any monitoring of adult returns is evaluating the effectiveness, however. The fact that many fish are produced and many adults return doesn't provide any information about the sustainability of the program. Shut off the money and who knows what would happen, other than a huge reduction in adult returns. Significant natural production remains, and I suspect that wild fish recovery would rapidly occur so long as fishing rates allowed it.
  12. Steelheadjunky Member

    Posts: 66
    Redmond, WA.
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    I find it funny that the only people that have responded to this thread aren't the one's that fish out there. Where are all the guys that post hero shots in the gallery from out there?

    I guess if it challenges you at all just ignore it. It is all about putting fish on the bank and not worrying about the resource. It is all about me and promoting myself. I should have known better then to ask someone and uncomfortable question and challenge people to think about the resource.

    Thanks guys who posted though we may disagree I know you all do what you think is right for the resourse in your own way.
    JJ
  13. Will Atlas Guest

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    Steelheadjunky,

    I think you will find that some of the people who catch the most fish never post photos. I myself am not one of them, as I do occasionally share photos, but some of the best fishermen/conservationists I know either dont know how to work a computer, or more likely...prefer not to talk about it.

    Tightlines,

    Will
  14. James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

    Posts: 2,787
    Tacoma
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    I do know for a fact a couple of the folks that posted do fish the Queets. The Quinault is a much tougher fishery to access, and while the upper section is beautiful, the fish density is so low that (IMO) your setting yourself up for dissappointment expecting any kind of success. Hence you're prolly right on that particular river.

    If you feel that other folks that uploading the hero shots aren't posting, perhaps it's because they admitted they don't know a whole lot about the fishery?

    While we are all fishermen, not every single one of us has an academic background related to resource managment. That's why you'll see lots of us hit up the folks with those backgrounds (Smalama, TomB, Cascadekiller, Todd Ripley, Salmo_g, et al.) They have the knowledge and to an extent are liasons to the political and environmental impacts we have on a fisheries.

    -- Cheers
    -- James

    PS, I don't want to be a net nanny, but expecting to "prove" something about someone, or "call them out" kind of degrades us all. If you have specific info that hasn't been added to this discussion about the hatchery process with the Quinaults, let's here about it. I myself would rather have the info than not. And I'm sure you'll find the other folks out there aren't "mean", "dumb", or "assholes", but rather uninformed about the issues.
  15. ibn Moderator

    Posts: 1,885
    Federal Way
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    I think it's funny to, for a different reason then you though. I think it's amusing how very few uninformed folks want to post in this thread when presented information in a hostile and arrogant way. Maybe if you alter your approach you would bend a few more ears in your direction.

    The "you suck, I am better" approach never seems to work.

    I have a hard time listening to someone when they're telling me what my fishing experience should be like.
  16. TomB Active Member

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    seattle,wa
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    Salmo- you stated

    "We don't know if the integrated hatchery concept will be sustainable or not. Hypothetically, it should be..."

    according to an article in Conservation Genetics published a few years back, precisely the opposite of what you said was shown theoretically...that is to say, on a per generation basis, while egg to fry/smolt survival is theoretically much higher in a hatchery environment, overall stock productivity is lower. The paper essentially supported through mathematical theory, the argument that nature can produce greater overall survival/fitness than any hatchery can. The only exception was in cases where captive brood stock could be used for a small number of generations while habitat was repaired.

    The integrated hatchery idea has been put forward (like regular hatcheries were in the past) with virtually zero empirical support for their viability. While there is much that is still unknown about this subject, to me, the safe gamble is to rely on the evolutionary processes which have allowed our native salmonids to survive for millenia rather than on our artificial production programs.

    I can provide a .pdf of the article if you are interested.
    tight lines.
    -Thomas
  17. TomB Active Member

    Posts: 1,620
    seattle,wa
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    Ibn- While i can't speak for JJ, i think his point may be that he is merely frustrated with what he percieves to be a large body of passionate steelheaders who seem to be equally dispassionate about the conservation and science. I doubt his intention was to intimidate or antagonize anyone.

    On this topic, for those that have read Dec Hogan's new book, I can't help but admire Bill McMillan's opening essay. He describes how his passion for steelhead has evolved into an equal if not bigger passion for their conservation. To me, this is the essence of what steelheading should be. Obviously everyone has to define the experience for themselves, but on the same token, without conservation, there will be no steelhead for us to fish for in the future.

    I am rambling now, but this is all food for thought. Indulge me.

    -Thomas
  18. Steelheadjunky Member

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    Redmond, WA.
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    Ok my tone was probably bad and it came out of frustration. I apologize for that. Lets see if I can ask this in a better way that some that can get productive conversation going.

    1) Do people feel, that use this fishery, that they are supporting what the quinalts are doing and continuation?
    2) Do people continue to support places, cities, and shops that support the kill of wild fisheries or that support others that support the kill of wild fishery?
    3) Do people that fish for steelhead feel a responsibility to get involved.

    Tom hit the nail on the head.

    I hope that I was able to be none threatening way as I would like good conversation on this topic.

    JJ
  19. softwaterstructure Banned or Parked

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    because steelhead have been declining and facing so many perils for as long as fishermen have pursued them, steelheaders are very passionate fishermen who are just as passionate about the conversation of the fish they love.

    however many a modern day steelheader is not a steelheader in the truest sense of the word. they are trout fishermen who grabbed a handful of glo-bugs, beads and prince nymphs and started catching fish without any regard to the responsibilities that come with territory of being a steelheader.
  20. gt Active Member

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    sequim, WA
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    i have no idea about what the quinalt's do or don't do so i have choosen to remain silent on this specific issue.

    i can say that i use techniques that are pleasing to me and at the same time raise the odds in favor of the fishes. i have no need to try and modify my techniques in order to cover ever inch of water, after all the fish need some resting places. i don't kill any longer, safeway is right down the road. i choose to fish and spend time with those who think, believe and act in similar fashion to myself. by doing that, i don't have to throw rocks at the others.

    if anyone has specific data on the quinalt hatchery practices, it would be enlightening to read about what they are attempting to accomplish, or not. as many of you already know from past posts, however, i really don't support hatchery frankenfish of any flavor as a general 'management' philosophy, WDFW, the quinalts or whomever.