Steelhead fishing\conservation question?

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

  1. Will Atlas

    Will Atlas Guest

    While I agree that the steelhead flyfishing community is more diverse than ever, I dont think your characterization is necessarily accurate. I dont think the way people present a fly to the fish is necessarily an accurate gauge of how someone conducts themselves in terms of conservation. My time in the sport is admittedly short as I am a young man just getting started, however I have observed what I would characterize as a prevailing trend of short cut taking. It seems to me our society is full of short cuts and how your average angler approaches fishing is simply a relfection of that.

    One last point. While I was not fishing for steelhead in the "good old days" when men were men and steelheaders were steelheaders in the truest sense of the word, I cant be sure. But is it possible that the present state of the steelhead flyfishing community is simply a relfection of a shift in popular angling culture? So while 20 years ago many anglers had the same values/priorities as now, most of them were gear anglers, so flyfishermen could feel superior. Look I love flyfishing for steelhead as much as the next guy, and while I tend to put the past on a pedestal, I dont think its always warranted. Besides, on the bright side, we all know flyfishermen catch less steelhead than gear more fish for you right?:beer2:



    Gt- check out the there is a ton of information on there regarding hatchery v. wild and even some info on integrated stock management.
  2. ibn

    ibn Moderator Staff Member

    Thanks for re-phrasing this.

    1. Yes. Let me explain. I fish with a quinalt native out there who is working to pay for the college tuition of himself and his girlfriend. He used to be a gill netter in the chehalis system. Now he only guides fly fishermen and he no longer keeps wild steelhead or even wild salmon. I understand your passion and concern for Steelhead as a whole, really I do, and I'm torn about how I feel. Here I have a friend of mine working for a living, doing something he has done for years, and to him, the program is working. I love to fish with him, and I love the area we fish, and I feel good supporting him. The way the Quinalt Nation measures success is likely much different then how you and I do.

    I don't support the netting of fish, especially on waters that don't reside on tribal land. At the same time, I can't ignore the fact that we made a deal with them. As I've said before I can't speak for the Quinalt tribe, but I suspect they consider their program a success, I don't feel like it's our place to tell them what they're doing is wrong. Perhaps a dumb question, have you, or do you know if they have been approached and presented with information about steelhead production plan and their impact on wild fish?

    2. I would say no to this as well, while I have not been to forks in years, if I had to stay the night there, I would get a hotel and go out to eat. While I don't support killing of any wild fish, let alone wild steelhead, I am still human, and don't have a problem supporting other humans who happen to live in a town that supports killing steelhead. Can you expand on what places, cities, and shops support the killing of wild steelhead? The only one I am aware of is Forks.

    3. Any fishery we indulge in we should help support.
  3. softwaterstructure

    softwaterstructure Banned or Parked

    please then, let us know who this man is. it sounds like this could be a guide worth supporting out there.
  4. ibn

    ibn Moderator Staff Member

    He's not a site sponsor, so I am not going to post his information publicly. I have passed his information on privatley to some members of this site in the past.

    Another interesting and perhaps ironic point about him, he's going to school with the intent of getting involved with fisheries managment, and he's worked in their hatcheries in highschool.
  5. Will Atlas

    Will Atlas Guest

    he could probably fill in alot of the gaps about exactly what goes on. I've got to say, having lived out there, the natives dont like being lectured about how bad their fisheries management is, and rightfully so. While I dont agree with all of what they do, I think finger pointing is a common symptom in white anglers, and any criticism should be tactful and well thought out. remember, to them, we're new on the scene, and it didnt get f'ed up until we came.
  6. softwaterstructure

    softwaterstructure Banned or Parked

    i see references made to, links posted of guides, shops etc. that are not site sponsors. it has not stopped anybody in the past. or do we have to be 'invited' just to get his name and number?????
  7. ibn

    ibn Moderator Staff Member

    Given the tone of your posts, I certainly would not give it to you.
  8. Nailknot

    Nailknot Active Member

    Everybody laughs at WA.
  9. Steelie Mike

    Steelie Mike Active Member

    This is the tone that Ibn was referring to that indicates why people that fish the Quinalt fisheries do not want to speak up knowing it will start out in an argument. If you look back on the history of steelheading and examined some of the greatest steelheaders of this decade you would notice that there are a lot of great steelheaders that used their own variety of nymphs to fish for these magical fish that we are having this debate about. Kauffman, Wickwire, Garrett, Hall, and Jackson to name a few.

    1.) The fact of the matter is the Quinalt Nation is not doing anything with there fisheries that is not practiced throughout the Pacific Northwest. Yes they commercially fish there waters in their native range, but there is also a commercial fishing fleet out there that fish for these same fish before they get to tribal waters. Native fish are getting killed by them too.

    If there is a failure of the Quinalt Nation to enforce the proper clipping of adipose fins on their fish then it is also the fault of the Fisheries Management Council and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife for enforcing these rules. It was my understanding that in accordance to the Boldt Decision the State of Washington has a co-equal regulatory management of propagation of the fishery.

    So YES, I support the Quinalt fishery. Do I agree with all the facets of the management of the fishery? NO, but I also do not agree with the management and enforcement of a lot of fisheries in the state. Due to budget cuts on all end of the management of out native recourses we are seeing a failure in the system to protect out native resources.

    2.) Again I do not support the killing of our natural resources. However it is a failure in the system and not a failure for the city of Forks, Amanda Park, etc for this. If the Fish and Wildlife Commission took a stronger stance on saving our precious native steelhead with the support of the Endangered Species Act then we would not be discussion this portion of your argument. Also the native tribes were not for this discussion thinking that it would bring more resentment of their fisheries management.

    3.) Yes I feel a responsibly to get involved and yes I have written letters in the past to fish and wildlife and tried to get involved in organizations. I love steelheading and I find it more and more a passion outside of my family and work life. In my spare time I try to educate myself about out native species, range, management, etc so that I can become more of a conservationist, steward of the land and fisherman.

    As much as I would like to get involved in the Native Fish Society and more conservation efforts I find myself torn between family, work and releasing my stress in life by yes fishing. These days I get involved by being a steward of the land, treating native fish with respect and dignity, picking up trash and gear on the side of the river as well as trying to educate others of the importance of the same.
  10. ibn,

    I only have a minute this morning and will try to post more later this afternoon. But I Fly Fishing only guide that won't kill wild fish (assuming he makes it clear and won't guide anyone that wants to kill wild fish) this is definately something we should support and I know SWS had a bad tone (the one I was trying to change) and is a bit of off base. But at least the first part of his statement was true. There are lots of non site sponsor that get mentioned all the time shops and guides. I really think that you should post his name and information so if people are going out there that they can support someone that has these values. I am sure Chris wouldn't mind.

  11. Steelie Mike,

    Just a quick one. Can you tell me of where else there is a commericial fishery on Steelhead? I am just wondering as you said others are commercial fishing these same fish. I love to learn about issues would like to be educated.

  12. gt

    gt Active Member

    ironically, if anyone really feels that they can only support, by spending their dollars and time, fishing in and around areas where sound fish management practices are in place, you had best leave washington state.
  13. Les Johnson

    Les Johnson Les Johnson

    I know several people who pay to fish the Quinault pay-to-play fishery. They admittedly are out to catch a lot of steelhead, not looking for an inspiring fishing experience (camping, sitting under a tarp during an Olympic Peninsula rain, or having a dram of bourbon in the evening around the campfire). I believe that more people today are out to catch steelhead with far less importance placed on the entire experience. I'm sure that this phenomanon is in part due to a lack to time for recreation in today's fast-paced society. In part is is certainly industry and media driven.
    I am not so naive to believe that everyone should leap into and wallow around in the works of Roderick Haig-Brown or Steve Raymond to get a feel for the steelhead fishing experience. I do sense that there is an overriding umbrella of desparation casting a shadow over today's steelheader, particularly those who have taken up the sport within the last decade or so. This is due in some measure at least, to the fact that we have the same number, or possibly more steelheaders in Washington and a declining steelhead population. Anyone on this thread who wants to look at numbers can check out the Wild Steelhead Coalition website and look at the charts on the population trends and losses in some of our Washington rivers. It is pretty grim.
    Perhaps the proposed hatchery reform will help the steelhead. I certainly hope so. In my opinion, increasinlgy stringent regulations (for instance, a 10-fish annual punch card) and a more realistic price for a steelhead tag would help; including a significant fee for killing a wild fish. Increasing good outreach/education programs for young, upcoming fly-fishers might help bring us back to the importance of the entire fishing experience. This would be a long-term endeavor.
    However, I read years ago, a line by a writer whose name has slipped my aging memory; "It used to be about the fishing. Now its just about catching fish." I expect steelhead fishing to fit into this quote for some years to come.
    Just my 2-cents.
    Good Fishing,
    Les Johnson
  14. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

    Another thing to tack onto that question would be the percentage (estimated?) of bycatch by other fisheries?

    -- Cheers
    -- James
  15. Will Atlas

    Will Atlas Guest

    certainly bycatch is a huge problem. And since retaining wild steelhead in marine waters off washington is illegal most of it goes unreported. Up north the Thompson is plauged with bycatch problems from chum fisheries, and alot of those fish are actually being caught stateside in the striait of J de fuca. Also, as I understand it, many years up to 3/4s of the run no the Dean is caught as bycatch in the dean channel....thats just obscene. I realize sport fishermen arent the only user group, but honestly. Thats scientficially and biologically inexcusable.
  16. espja

    espja New Member

    1. I’m with Steelie Mike. While I do not agree with some of the Quinault fisheries management practices, I also don’t agree with some of Washington State’s fisheries management practices.
    Since I have fished Quinault Tribal waters and have hired their now famous flyfishing guide… I guess it’s yes on supporting the Quinault fishery

    Then again, I buy a Washington State fishing license, I fish state water, I catch their hatchery fish. Does that mean I support what the Washington State fishery does and continues to do? Yes, I guess it does.

    2. I don’t know what this question actually mean??? Urban growth, strip malls, bad logging practices, and dams will contribute to the decline of the native steelhead population, just as well as commercial fishing, bad hatchery programs, gill nets and legal retention of the species. I guess I better move to another state.

    3. Yes, I do. Actually I work for a county agency mapping and locating the storm-water drainage systems and their outfalls in compliance with the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES), which is a part of The Clean Water Act. We also regulate and implement Better Management Practices for roadside construction, public and private in compliance with the Endangered Species Act. I have helped with fish exclusion with the restoration of Hylebos Creek and tributaries of the Sammamish River blah, blah, blah,… you get my point. But yes I could do more….everyone can.

    There are many interest groups that have a stake in this battle and with comments from Softwaterstucture that alienates a large portion within the flyfishing community …it divides us and becomes counter productive to what he probably wants to achieve.

    We bicker about swinging vs. nymphing, gear vs. fly fishing, point fingers at this group and that group. Pointless. We as a sports fishing community need to come together and unite. We need get our own house in order before we start criticizing others.

    Lastly, I fish to have fun…..if it isn’t fun, why would I do it. Catching is not my priority but I like to catch fish. Pretty simple.
    Do you all remember why you go fishing?
  17. Steelie Mike

    Steelie Mike Active Member

    Can you honestly tell me that that fleet of boats that fish the mouth of the Columbia River does not catch and kill steelhead while they stage for their migration up the Columbia and Snake Rivers? Weather it be a bycatch or not, the these same commericial fishing vessels are increasing fish mortality. Cascade mentioned another example of the once great summer run on the Thompson in BC. The run has bas been desimated over the years due to the commerical fishing of salmon. Are these fish for propogation, no but they are caught, killed and sold in markets throughout the Pacific Northwest?
  18. gt

    gt Active Member

    didn't the mesh size get changed to bigger on the columbia R. fishery to combat this exact issue??? just askin.
  19. Todd Ripley

    Todd Ripley New Member

    The net size on the Columbia River is an interesting topic...

    At first, the nets were of sufficient size to allow smaller fish, i.e., steelhead, to get through...those, however, were deadly on the unclipped Spring Chinook, which were really limiting the commercial fishery.

    So...they came up with the "tangle net"...and don't let the name fool you, it is not some super new is merely a net of the mesh size designed to gill and kill coho and steelhead...but when used for larger fish like Chinook, many, but by no means all of them are "tangled"...the mesh gets wrapped around their snout, but does not gill and kill them.

    These small mesh gillnets...misnamed "tangle nets" by the commercial fishing industry and their lackeys at WDFW and ODFW, and at NOAA-F for that matter, too...are absolutely deadly on the steelhead.

    They end up swapping back and forth throughout the Columbia River fishery, alternating between killing ESA springers and ESA steelhead, just so that they can access a handful of clipped hatchery springers.

    Overall the fishery catches about 2 non-target ESA listed fish for every target fish...yet, the fishery remains.

    Ain't politics grand?

    Sorry for the thread hijack, but that's the deal with the mesh size on Columbia River nets...oh, and there are no directed commercial fisheries for steelhead outside of tribal fishing, and except for the Columbia River spring Chinook fishery, there is very little commercial interception of steelhead as bycatch in Washington.

    Fish on...

  20. Steelie Mike

    Steelie Mike Active Member

    Todd thanks for that insightful piece of information.