Steelhead Meeting in Olympia

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Coach Duff, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. As many of you know, testimony to the Fish and Wildlife Commission took place Saturday in Olympia, WA . I believe it went really well and thanks to all who supported by showing up to provide testimony or by mailing in your comments. I am proud of our board, membership and supporters who participated in this important issue. Everyone who attended provided a compelling testimony and hit on the talking points that we provided earlier in the week. The board’s testimony introduced the independent science review and each Commission member and WDFW Management was provided a copy. And then fo llowed up by board members capturing the main points especially on habitat and artificial propagation. Many who testified challenged the Commission that the time is now to act on behalf wild steelhead. The Commission listened carefully, asked good questions and seemed very engaged in the issue.

    The Commission also acknowledged that they received their copy of “Wild on the Fly” magazine article titled “The Tragedy of Steelhead” by Dylan Tomine. We sent each one of the Commission members a copy of this compelling article regarding the plight of wild steelhead.

    Our hope is our testimony and our provided independent science review of the state steelhead management plan will provide an improved steelhead management plan that will be a strong guiding policy for steelhead recovery. I also want to recognize the department staff, Heather Bartlett, Sara LaBorde and Aimilee Wilson, who have been responsible for developing the plan deserve credit and thanks. It has not been an easy task, but they have taken the time to listen to our concerns, ask questions and add WSC input to the plan.

    We will post the Independent Science Review on the WSC website and our board’s testimony soon. Thanks to all who participated and I hope you will join us at the WSC Awards Banquet and Auction on March 1st at the Marriot at Redmond Town Center , contact Ryan Petzold at 425-238-4903 for details!
  2. holy crap, i had to google this to see if it was indeed true. i pinched myself repeatedly... crap, i'm awake.

    jim buck?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! this was the legislator who went balistic when yearly limits were set for the forks area rivers. he is no friend of wild fish or fisheries. i was extremely thrilled when i found out the voters finally had the sense to send this piece of #$^% politician home. this truly shows how biased wdfw is against wild steelhead recovery.

    if he is involved, the plan is doomed.
  3. Thank you to everyone who took the time to testify on this critical issue! I truly hope your input results in an improved plan.

    Rich, please tell me this was a mis-statement. I called Heather B in Dec and was told that only oral testimony would be accepted so I post-poned a business trip to ensure I could attend. Then as luck would have it, the pass closures and resultant freight issues impacted our business to the extent that I had to work all weekend to catch-up. I tossed and turned all Friday night frustrated as heck and finally I emailed the commission about 6am Saturday asking that they accept late written testimony from E Wa because of the passes...I still haven't gotten a response but I'll be pissed if it turns out I could have simply mailed in my testimony before the meeting.
  4. I would say the best way to let steelhead thrive would be to stop fishing for them? Does a wild steelhead have a better chance after it has been released or before it has even taken a hook?
  5. That is a good question Jolly.

    I hope you don't mind me replying to your question with another question.

    If we made up a number for catch and release mortality of between 2 and 5 percent (which seem inflated to me by my experience but this is just an example) and factor that into the run of returning fish fish on the Sauk winter run which is in the neighborhood of around 2000-3000 fish annually.

    That means that my made up CnR numbers would affect roughly 40 to 150 fish per year.

    40-150 fish isn't an inconcievable amount for a SINGLE PERSON, in a season of poaching, if they are able to have free access to the river. These unlawful folks will have free run of the river because the only other folks they have to worry about running into are other people who are breaking the law too and I am pretty sure they wont be calling law enforcement on each other.

    I know a lot of people assume that enforcement keeps folks off of the river and from doing stuff like this but, as a guide who usually is on the water over 200 days a year now with my current schedule, I can honestly say I have never been checked or talked to once by enforcement on a single river in my lifetime in WA.

    So after all that my question to you is this. Would you rather lose those fish to recreation, which pays money to the state general fund, through legal license sales, and also funnels tax money to the state from gear sales and guide trips, and gas, and benefits the law abiding citizens, or would you rather stay at home and just hope that the poachers have trouble catching them with no gear restrictions and no bag limit?

    I see a CnR season as a positive thing for the preservation of our fish because of this. The reason for that is simply by the fact that there are a lot more than one single poacher out on the river and they are extremely detrimental to our fish.
  6. Jeremy, not to argue with you on this but I am quoting you to bring up something that I think most do not consider when they claimed to not have been checked by enforcement.

    Most of us know what we are doing on the river and likely most of us look like we know what we are doing on the river. We have waders on that cost a couple of hundred bucks, rods that cost several hundreds, reels that could cost as much, I think you see where I am going with this. An enforcement officer sees this also and likely makes a judgment call that if someone spent that much money on their gear and appears to know how to use it, they likely purchased a license and likely know the regs. Now think about how a poacher might appear to a enforcement officer. Understand that the officer is trained and experienced in spotting illegal activity also. Who is this officer going to spend his valuable time contacting?
  7. Kerry,

    My experience is that the officers only target the easy places like boat launches and areas locally like Haller Park. The problem is that the majority of the damage being done by poaching isn't at either of those places. It is on stretches of river away from public eyes.

    As a side note; Other than Hazel, and Haller park I have yet to see enforcement on the Stilly outside of their vehicle and the ongoing joke among my friends and I who fish together is that we have yet to see one of them not talking on their telephone when they are patrolling the roadways of 530 looking for fish violations. Unfortunately there aren't many people fishing from the road.

    Also, if WDFW has figured out a way to spot a barb or an illegal fish stashed in a cooler or boat without actually leaving 530 or their vehicle, then they are way ahead (technology wise) of the rest of the world.

    That leaves Dickson guides and their phones to be the eyes on the water for local enforcement. Because of that I carry Wildlife Officer Maurstad's card which I laminated and tucked into my wader bib on the river at all times.

    I have called in some folks in the last year wearing two grand worth of gore-tex after just politely mentioning that what they were doing was highly illegal (yes, Deer Creek even just a couple hundred yards above the confluence and underneath the 530 bridge is actually closed) and I didnt want to see them get ticketed. That conversation resulted in being told to make passionate love to myself which prompted me to make the call.

  8. Jeremy,

    Just because you don't see the enforcement doesn't mean it is happening but as I said I am not trying to argue with you merely pointing out the fact that they are not going to waste time with people that are not breaking the law.

    As far as your 2 guys fishing in Deer Creek I didn't mean to imply that just owning good fishing gear meant that you understood the regs completely. I said if you appear to know what you are doing chances are you do. Fishing in closed waters is a pretty good give away that you don't have a good understanding of the regs or you don't care. Either way I am sure if an enforcement officer would have seen this they would have been ticketed. Just guessing.

    I am surprised that you and the other Dickson guides are the only enforcement on the Stilly and thanks for supporting the regulations. Up here on the Skagit I run into a couple of gamies quite regularly and have witnessed them issuing citations on several occasions. We must have better officers up here. Although it seems you were telling me of one officer that seemed to have your respect. I think you mentioned she explained the incidental catch thing to you and at the time you seemed to approve of her explanations and even encouraged me to contact her if I needed further explanations of by catch and the regulations surrounding it. Thanks for her contact information by the way.

    Some years ago there was a guy on the Skagit that was known to do a bit of poaching. He was also known to stash his illegal catch in a cooler. For a time a game of cat and mouse was played by the game warden up here and the poacher where the warden would ask if he could take a look at the guy’s cooler when he came in. Unfortunately the warden never caught the guy with any fish but at least annoyed him to the point he felt he needed to do something. On one of his fishing trips he came across a couple of coots frozen in the water along side the river. He managed to free the live birds from the entrapping ice and imprisoned them n his cooler. When he got back to the ramp sure enough the warden was waiting for him and asked to check his cooler. When the cooler was opened two very pissed off birds came flying out which I was told scared the living shit out of the gamie. True story although I may not have told it correctly.

    Don’t know what this has to do with our other discussion other then it is funny and shows that the wardens do check but they don’t always win.
  9. Awesome story man! That is funny.
  10. Freestone, Personally I was not made aware of that detail, I would be really surprised if they snubbed your email testimony. I appreciate your passion and trying to do what you can, good job no matter what the outcome was, your heart was in the right place.

  11. I saw a pattern of this kind of obstruction to our public testimony emerge when Jim Buck was appointed SEPA NEPA Coordinator for WDFW. Politicians are very good at obfuscating things.

    I think we should inundate the Governor's office with complaints about how this jackass- JIM BUCK - after getting voted out of office by the people, was then shoe-horned into wild fish management by WDFW as a hired gun.
  12. Bob -
    I certainly agree with you regarding Jim Buck and his lame attempt at the SSMP.

    However I think the obstacles to commenting on that document has more to do with the whole EIS process rather than an issue with WDFW. As I recall State law requires that comments on an EIS must be written - no emails. (of course Mr. Buck as a legislator may have had something to do with those rules - I don't know or care).

    That is contrasted with the "normal" procedure with WDFW and the Commission. For example at Saturdays meeting the public was invited to comment to the Commission to provide input to them to aid in their decision whether to have the agency. Since those comments were just to them emails, written and oral testimony was taken and considered.

    Tight lines
  13. Did we waste our time in testify to the Commission?

    REcieved a post card from WDFW that said:
    On February 29, 2008 The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) issued a Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the WDFW Statewide Steelhead Management Plan (SSMP).

    This is in spite of what we were told at the Commission meeting or in the this recent news release -

    That is the agency was waiting for Commission approval at its March 8/9 meeting. Looks like the FEIS was released without Commission action - so why did the agaency ask for public comments and Commission approval?

    Did I miss something?

    Tight lines
  14. Curt, it's still on the March agenda so let's hope it means they incorporated some of the public testimony from Olympia and issued/completed the (final draft) of the FEIS for the Commission’s approval on March 8th and not that it was released without the Commission’s approval. The Commission had a conference call meeting I think around the 15th but this wasn't on the agenda and is still scheduled for the March meeting. If the FEIS was released, I hope it wasn't rushed through just to get a permit for the Skagit/Suak or to not get in trouble for opening it without a plan in place...:rolleyes:

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