Steelhead mortality

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

  1. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Sean -
    The summer steelhead of Puget sound while much less numerous than the winter races they do have something important to contribute to this discussion. With the exception of the naturalized hatchery summers of the Green River summer steelhead of Puget Sound have been under wild steelhead regulations (WSR) for at least 25 years. And the regions largest population -Deer Creek of the North Fork Stillaguamiush - has been under WSR even longer and Deer Creek itself has been closed to all fishing for nearly 75 years. In addition genetic sampling as well as adult surveys and sampling have found no evidence of hatchery fish interaction with its wild steelhead. Yet in spite of very limiting fishing impacts and virtually no hatchery interactions the wild Deer Creek summer fish have shown similar population trends as the wild winter fish. Again reinforcing the fact that the majopr limiting factors of our steelhead are dramatic reduced survival conditions; brought about by the degrade freshwaer habitats and low marine survival.

    In addition to the Deer Creek fish wild summer steelhead were historically found in several other basins. In addition to the previously mention South Fork Nooksack they were found in the North Fork Skykomish above Bear Creek Falls and the Forks of the Tolt (mostly in 5 or 6 miles of the South Fork). While the Deer Creek population was the largest (with as many as a couple thousand fish) the other populations shared some common traits. They were mostly smaller fish returning as one salt fish to spawn as 4 years old the following spring, returned from late June to into September, spawn the following spring from mid-March to mid-May. In each case those summer populations wre spearated from the large winter populations by seasonal migration barriers.

    Regarding the wild summer fish in the Skagit - There are a handful of those fish return every year to the basin and can consistently be found in several areas o fthe basin. Though unlike the other PS summer populations they aren't separated from the winter population by seasonal migration barriers. Aduolt surveys in the upper areas were those summer fish are found complete over lap with winter fish. Further genetically sampling of fry found in those area do not show the expect winter/summer separation one would expect if they were descrete populations. Istead the genetic profiles of those fry were very similar to the winter fish found elsewhere in the basin. Leaving open the question - where did they come from? Are they out basin strays? Are they adults that were produced by smolts from upstream resident rainbows? Questions that to date don't have defined answers - just another example of the mysteries surround the fish that inspire so much passion in many of us.

    Kerry-
    There are wild steelhead in the Skagit 12 months of the year. I have been fortunate enough to have caught wild winters in the basin every month of year -unspawned fish every month ovember through July and kelts from April to October. In addition have caught unspawned summer runs st week of June through December and summer kelts in April. None of this says much about my angling skills other than I fish teh system a lot for a lot of years. However I think it says alot about the diversity that still exists in the basin.

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  2. Sean Beauchamp

    Sean Beauchamp Hot and Heavy at yer 6

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    Nevermind thanks smalma!
     
  3. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Cascade River summer steelhead and spring chinook historically occurred upstream of a seasonal barrier on that river. It was blown and made more easily passable by the old WDF in the 1950s, partly to facilitate upstream migration and to stop the poaching that occurred below the falls is what I heard.

    Sg
     
  4. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

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    Great thread guys, some very valuable info. It goes to show the value of this board and what it can be.

    With all that has been said it begs the question, Where do we go from here? Do we concentrate on habitat, do we change regs to no bait single barbless in all PS streams? Do we eliminate hatcheries all together or only have them were they can be effectively segregated from wild stocks? This all seems to bring up more questions than answers for me. Any thoughts?

    Chris
     
  5. Derek Young

    Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

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    Great place to start, Chris. NFS will continue to get financial support from me as we work to figure these issues out.
     
  6. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

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    thanks for the support Derek.
     
  7. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

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  8. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

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  9. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

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    AMEN!!!!
     

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