Steelhead mortality

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Kaiserman, Nov 24, 2011.

  1. I am asking this sincerely. I don't understand the C&R mortality rate. I am not disputing that it does not happen...just that it's hard to wrap my head around. A salmon, yes. They are dieing as soon as they enter the fresh water system. Steelhead seem to be much more resilient.

    After catching steelies last year, I'd throw them up on the bank in the weeds, and keep fishing. The fish flopped around a while, then seemed to stop. Several minutes later when it was time to move down river, I'd grab the fish, put them on a stringer and tie it off. The fish were in the water, but I wasn't worried about it. Three hours later I'd come back, and I thought my fish were gone. Turns out, they were very much alive and swimming comfortably behind a big rock, still tied off with plenty of spunk left.

    This happened so many times, that I had to start taking the time to bonk them on the head.

    So you see, I just have a hard time understanding how these very tough fish, die from being caught. Over here on the eastside, the fish have to swim farther, yada, yada, yada.
    Is it because they are caught several times in a short amount of time, or too close to spawning time?

  2. The vedder study is the best I've seen. There is one on Vancouver island, I have heard. 2-3% seems like the actual mortality rate. I am not sure if that is above the baseline (non-caught) mortality rate.

    IMO It's a red herring with regard to recovery. Angling just doesn't push the needle so to speak.

    I would also expect a lower mortality rate on the East side fish because their scales have hardened and they are summer runs with high fat reserves.

    These are likely the reason's that the fed's use a 5% mortality on the East side rather that the 10% used on hte west side. Of couse all the stdies pointing that show the mortality rates are west side winter studies.

    I have to be honest with everyone, I've made this same post abut 9 billion times. The average angler doesn't pay attention or read the studies. The studies may be in opposiion to their opinions. The same question is asked over and over, and then we blame the state for closures that the fed's are responsable for and get together and support hatcheries that do no help wild fish. All the while we get pissed at other anglers over the methods they fish under the delusion that C&R mortality makes a difference. It does not. Rant over.

    Go Sox,
  3. Well, I almost posted this:
    But decided to do a little research first, namely because I am rather skeptical of C&R mortality.

    This is what I found.

    Makes even the skeptic consider the possibility that C&R mortality is a serious issue...
  4. Apples and oranges. See the steelhead studies.

    When do we fish 57 degree water?

    Go Sox,

  5. Catch and release is not all happy release unfortunately.
    I had a fish die in my hands last yearbawling:
  6. Though that article was a good read, I didn't find that link helpful. It seemed to read as an opinion. Also he speaks of trout, which I believe (can't prove) to be more fragile. Again, I'm not saying it isn't harmful, just that steelies seem much stronger than that. I do believe it's a good reminder to get the fish back in the water ASAP.

    Thanks for the info Charles. After all these years, I had no idea how different east vs west steelies are from each other. Well that, and the fish on the west side seem to be a little bit brighter....just a little though. :rolleyes:
  7. Was that a trout or stealhead?
  8. Steelhead,a wild one at that.

    I've had two or three trout croak on me also.
  9. I think the humane thing to do for a steelhead your gonna hill its beat them over the head with one solid blow from your favorite device. I know alot of people cherish there bonk sticks.
  10. I8abug,

    The Tufts report is one piece of information, but I wouldn't take it to the bank as the final word, especially as it relates to steelhead CNR mortality. Charles is roughly right; the best information suggests that steelhead CNR mortality is around 2-4%, and that is generally with experienced anglers handling the fish. A lot of anglers who catch and release steelhead are not so experienced. As a result, 5% seems pretty reasonable to most biologists, and the 10% applied to some of the ESA fisheries provides a reasonable buffer.

    I don't doubt the experience you report, but will share my opinion that that's pretty crass handling of a fish, even one you intend to kill, keep, and eat. I think even a hatchery fish deserves the respect of being whacked on the head, well enough to stun it if not kill it, and then cut the gills and bleed it. The quality of the meat will be improved by that simple act. Keep the meat cool in the river - if the river is cool - or in an ice chest if you want the fish to be worth cooking and eating when you get it home.

  11. Roughly right? I'm completely right!!!! God damn it!!! Wolves are killing children!! Oh wait, it's thanksgiving, I've been drinking.

    Inexperienced anglers don't cach enough fish to make them matter. Tht is unless a aguide rows hem into a fish. In that case the guide should know how to release a fish.

    Go Sox,
  12. not everybody uses barbless flies now do they... a lot use bait.
  13. Charles, Not sure what your referring to?
  14. Huh? I'd hope so, unless it was an accident. Didn't know you could fish a fly with a barb anywhere. <- where wild fish had to be released.
  15. How many of the skagit fish thatwere caught in the genetic study last year died before spawning? When I was at the presentation last year, I remember that it was 1or 2 fish. Of course my memory has been diminished by my lifestyle.

    Go Sox,
  16. The 10% hooking mortality for released steelhead used on the wet side of the State is just another example of how assuring that any errors in the management of steelhead populations was on the side of the fish can significantly limit fishing opportuntiies.

    Does any one else see the irony of the same folks demanding conservative management crying about lost opportuntiies as the result of that conservative management.

    Tight lines
  17. I believe that 1 died while it was being handled. Otherwise, 1 other did not reappear after it was last recorded in the area around the mouth of the Suiattle River.
  18. I understand your point. However, my point is that no other action has been taken except to limit sporties.


    For this reason, I think that the listing was a mistake on the part of sporties. In particular flyfishermen have been most effected, because its our season that was cut. The hatcheries remain. The old ass bio.'s and their underlings will continue to see the situation through the old perspective but the reality remains that if the grand total of 300 fish (5% of 6000 skagit fish) are killed by a C%R season is too much then the unknown impact of the hatchery must be far too much. What about the native net fishery for the hatch. fish? Why do we fund hatcheries on the Nook and Skagit that requires a restriction on sport fishing, although not on native netting, to exist?
    In the end sport fishemen and flyfishermen in particular are the only user groups restricted. Oddly, we are the only ones who care. Honestly do the others care? Tribes? by their actions the answer is no. Developers? Gravel and gold Miners on the Samish, S.Fork nooksack etc?...clearly no.
    Although I understand the reason why we have no seasons, I gotta tell you, I am pissed off by the lack of action by the state and fed.'s regarding the listing. They didn't even stop the rediculous gold miners on the S.Fork Nooksack. Public apathy does not detract from the lack of care demonstrated by both the state and the Fed's.

    So what else have either the fed.'s or state done, other that restrice the very user goup who cares?

    Go Sox,

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