Steelhead hatcheries: good or bad?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Denny, Aug 25, 2008.

  1. AKPM,

    Hatchery steelhead technically are steelhead, but that's about it. The summer runs eat well fortunately.

  2. Sg - Yes, that's the fatal flaw that came to mind. Pity though that we can't ineffectualize them with out destroying their primal urge to return and procreate.
  3. Just say it, GENETICS!!!!... A catastroghic event?.. I will put my money on our nates.
    Hell we have done every thing in our power to kill them off and they are still hangin in. By a thread....
  4. Curt and Salmo G,

    As usual, your posts are a welcome anecdote to the ban all hatcheries that is becoming all too familiar. You two always provide good factual information, which all who read this forum ought to pay attention to.

    Like you Curt, I wonder why the Tokul hatchery is on the chopping block when there is virtually no chance of spawning interaction with wild winter runs.
  5. First, one problem not being addressed by anyone. There is a lot of money involved in the harvest of hatchery fish. If we do away with hatcheries will the tribes stop netting or will they turn thier attention to the native runs?

    Seond, if hatcheries are so bad how do you explain the rebound of our hatchery raised Salmon? Any thoughts of closing down Salmon hatcheries? If hatcheris are bad for Stealhead they also have to be bad for slamon.
  6. It can't be that bad can it? I can hardly tell the difference between a hatchery salmon and a wild salmon, same with trout stocked as fingerling (stocked as catchables... well yea...)

    I think the more steelhead the better, even if they are hatchery fish, especially in the land of dams where we can stop every hatchery fish from spawning...
  7. Why are the use of nets by native tribes not a bigger issue? Is it taboo to talk about? I know its there right, but come on this is 2008 not 1888. I am pretty sure slot machines were not part of their rituals, oh wait, I did see a mural on a rock once of something that looked like a slot machine. Its a bunch of BS, IMHO. For every one wild fish they keep what are the possibilities of that one fish? HUGE!!! What about the nets that sink to the bottom of the Columbia, full of all fish that can help the system. I haven't been down to the Columbia closer to the mouth in a long time, but I have been to the Columbia from Bigges to Portland and there are little white floats every where. How many get taken before they even get to the first dam? Are there fish counts before Bonneville? Its late hope this makes sense. Its just my take on it, which my knowledge of this is pretty small.
  8. Because that one will get sport anglers riled up the most.

    I'll keep doing my part to get hatchery fish out of the gene pool.
  9. I am sure your hatchery programs are of a higher quality up there compared to some of ours.

    Another thing that sucks about hatchery fish is they always come in together, head up river really fast, and congregate in the several holes directly downstream of the hatchery where they get pummeled by anglers.

    I fish a river a lot that has a hatchery for salmon and it never amazes me how the lower river can be good around the salt and right near the hatchery can be good but the miles and miles between them will have ZERO fish. I have walked the river the entire way and tried to spook fish out of the middle section with nothing when tons of fish were at the hatchery and in the estuary. They just aren't using that middle stretch at all and it looks like amazing habitat.

    I think from a sports fishing standpoint, spreading the fish out to take advantage of all those areas would be a good idea. It would mean a higher quality experience to all. Every access point would have fish rather than the one that everybody and their grandma knows about.

    The way it is now on this river and others, miles and miles of natural spawning areas are going to waste, and where the fish are is a total zoo.

    I would much prefer fewer hookups, but more fishing space, and more river miles to explore without it being an utter waste of time.

    I think a lot of rivers suffer from this. Think of hatcheries as taking all the fish potential of a river and focusing it in the 1/2 mile of water below the hatchery because that is basically what they do.

    I don't typically fish for spawning salmon but I do fish the steelhead, srcs, and dollies around them and they also suffer at those zoo holes when they are accidental catches by people who don't know or don't care how special they are. They are only there because that is where their forage is, if there was forage in many different areas they may be doing better as well.
  10. Maybe this will help the topic:


    Fish propagated in a Hatchery system from native or non native stocks

    Wild Fish
    Gravel born of Hatchery decent

    A cross breed from Hatchery and native stock or a transplanted stock

    Genetically pure from that water shed and has evolved to survive there

    My thoughts are the only good hatchery system collects native eggs propgates them to the eyed stage then returns them to there natal gravel via a Whitlock box type sytem just to give them a jump start :thumb:
  11. The way I see it is that with the Snocrummy no longer having hatchery steelhead and sports anglers not being allowed to fish on the nates when there are nates in the river, the sports effort will switch to the Sky. This increased effort will grind the Sky fishery into oblivion. Of course the states answer to this will be shut down the hatcheries that put fish into the Sky. Effort will then move to the Green. See where I'm going here? The state will initially save money by not having to fund the hatcheries but long term will see revenues from lic sales drop. We need to face the fact that without a viable hatchery system we will have no sport steelhead fisheries. Will the tribes stop netting? Of course not as there's money to be made. We better hope that the tribes, feds, and state figure out a way to make hatchery systems viable. If not there's going to be a lot of fishing gear being dumped for pennies on the dollar at garage sales.
  12. I agree totally Tom, and the Whitlock approach has been tried here (in the late 60’s early 70’s) and was successful I might add but was stopped by WDFW for reasons that are unknown to me.
  13. Tom/Double-D -
    As Double-D alluded to Vibert boxes have been used with steelhead in this area. My recollection is that those attempts were in the 1970s and early 1980s. The boxes were successful in hatching the eyed eggs. However there was little or no evident that they were successful in producing additional adults back to the rivers. The reason of course it that the use of egg boxes ignores the biological needs of steelhead.

    Except in very rare cases the production bottlenecks of steelhead production is not getting eggs out of the gravel but the amount and quality of habitat for juvenile rearing. With the extended freshwater rearing the juvenile steelhead need specific summer and winter rearing habitats that fits the needs of both young fry as well as parr.

    In short generally the best thing for the wild populations is to allow the wild fish to do their own thing in the waters of their choice.

    Double-D -
    I remember quite clearly why the egg box program was ended on the North Fork of the Stillaguamish. There were summer eggs planted in several of the NF tribs. It was soon discovered that a number of wild winter fish were using the same habitats. It did not (and still does not) make sense to plant exotics on top of existing wild populations.
    However the local fly club was offered the opportunity that if they could find streams that were not being adequately seeded with steelhead that an box program would be considered. After some survey work by club member a list of potential candidtates was developed. The local bio aided by club members visited each potential site with an electro fisher to see if there many juvenile steelhead in the candidate streams. In each and every case the streams were found to loaded with young steelhead. That effectively ended the egg box program - It seemed that the State placed a higher value on the native winters rather than the local fly fisher's desire for more summer fish.

    Tight lines
  14. That's it.
    I'm packing my shit and moving to Kamchatka.
  15. Wild fish (see definitions) do not use the system as well and do not respond to habitat changes as well as natives i.e.: temp and water fluctuations. They tend to use lower tribbs which are more likely subjected to degradation and not get as high up in the systems i.e.: more main stream breeders than the true native stocks this has been proved in So Cal. Were native still exist. Verberts used in years past were only using hatchery eggs to my understanding and there in lies the problem.
  16. iagree

    Very well put. My personal experience is that hatcheries concentrate fish and fishermen.

  17. Read the actual text of the Boldt decision sometime. While you may not agree with the ruling, you'll begin to understand that the 50% decision was more due to a misguided attempt by the state to have control over a federal treaty. Either way, since it's federal, we don't have a whole lot of recourse. Besides, the tribes didn't build the dams, and opposed them at most turns.

  18. From a sport fishing experience, that is true. Having more fish more spread out would be great. But unfortunately unmanaged fish without a collection facility has proven to encourage straying which in turn is bad for wild fish. It's an evil catch 22, and I frankly would want to be the person having to make those management decisions.

    -- Cheers
    -- James
  19. corysean99,
    This has been pointed out many times in the past, but someone always fails to get the message. Tribal fishing is protected by treaty right. Treaty rights are protected by FEDERAL law. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that can be done at the state level to alter the terms of the Boldt decision without the cooperation and agreement of the tribes (who are officially co-managers of the resource). The state of Washington has taken the issue all the way to the US Supreme Court on two occasions, and lost.

  20. Good point here!! How about triploid steelhead??

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