Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Zen Piscator, Nov 14, 2007.
Chris has a point there Joe, with regards to forum rule. Thus far the discussion topic has been steelhead angler pointed, but factual. IMO, props for Mark for coming on to discuss it, and to those that have participated with a educational approach. Moving forward, keep it civil. If nothing else can be offered beyond attacks I'll lock the topic and toss anyone who doesn't get the message.
With that said I'll provide my opinion. Yes, I do agree about the moral aspects of what transpired in the video(s) but in my opinion, the guide gets paid to bring people to the river to catch fish and most likely retain them. In this case the angler chooses to C&R if he pleases. The only law I see broken here is the removing of the fish out of the water. However, I think it was said before, didn't the video(s) happen previous to the rule regarding the removal of the fish out of the water? If so, there were no rules broken.
Mozart I think that you are maybe IMHO, most people that have a problem with the actions being discussed really see legality as secondary to ethics. Questions have been raised concerning the legality of what transpired, but I beleive that is secondary to the nature of what people have a problem with. Rather, I believe that the feeling is that it is wrong for a anyone to keep a native steelhead. YOu raise an issue of the nature of Marks profession, however, people feel that because this person is a guide it is especially wrong. He sets a precedent and should (in peoples opinions) 'know better'. Additionally, livlihood is not an excuse because the are a number of well-known (better-known) steelhead guides in the area that would never keep a native fish unless they were sure mortality was 100%.
I believe that anyone that kept an endangered wild fish would hear about it regardless of their stature and standing in the community. In my recollection there have been several posts regarding content found on the web that would indicate disagreablee fishing ethics in either pics or video. THe only reason that Mark himself got dragged into this thread is because his website is posted at the end of the video. So I don't believe he has been excessively picked on as far as this thread goes.
One new issue I would be inerested in for discussion is related to reporting guide behavior. Like this thread does. In a number of forums I have viewed, if a guide conducts himself in such a way that other people do not agree and a thread is posted it follows a certain life-cycle. First it is posted then people chime in that they agree x is wrong. Then the person in question or his friends jump in and say that the person is being picked on and says it's part of their job. It goes back and forth then someone screams "libel" (though it really isn't libel because there weren't any lies). The thread gets shut down. I, however, feel that these threads are EXTEMELY important. THis is because it affects how I will spend my money. If I decide on taking a guided trip, I don't want a guide whose fishing ethics differ vastly from mine. It's my money and I don't want to give it to certain people PERIOD. Why is it we can have rod reviews, line reviews, equipment reviews, but when a 'flaw' in an independent guide service pops up it's somehow different?
Mark, yes, we were wrong to assume the video was taken before the law went into effect, for the board I apologize. But I think you are being a bit naive if you think that because a politician made it ok to keep a fish that is on the endangered species act, it is ok. Do you know who our president appointed Mark Rutzick as special council for the NOAA fisheries. Was Mr Rutzick's background in Biology? Nope. Fish and Game? Nope. It was working for the forest industry thinking of ways to clear cut land and get around the endangered species act. He was the one who came up with the idea of treating hatchery salmon and steelhead as wild.
You have done nothing legally wrong, and I apologize for the boards behaviour, but please do not lift a single wild steelhead out of the water ever ever again.
Stan, while I agree with some of what you said, don't apologize yourself on the boards behalf. You really don't speak for anyone on this board but yourself. I don't apologize for sending a report to the WDFW, I'd do it again. Mark has made contradicting statements in the couple posts he's made on this board so I'm not going to automatically assume when he says that the video was made before the law change that it really was. I don't care if it was, it's careless for anyone, especially a guide to post a video showing that behaviour when there is a current law banning it.
All RIver Guide Vigilante justice, MURDER, KILL , RAPE!!!
Dude, get a sense of sarcasm!! People were reporting this guy to the Fish and Game and the video was 5 years old.
In this particular case I think your line of reasoning is very correct, but still is missing a few points.
As a basis, let's assume the following:
1) In the current time it is legal to retain 1 wild steelhead on OP streams.
2) Escapement has been on a downward trend for a significant period of time on OP streams
3) The guide in question has still continued to harvest additional wild steelhead since the moratorium.
The reason why I think the line of reasoning is a bit thin is that the moratorium allowing 1 fish was a concession to a party that was (in the opinion of many) not negotiating in good faith. Prior to the final judgement the original proposal was for 0 retention. With that in mind I think the intent of the law was polluted by implementation.
This law was put into effect to deal with the consistent downward trend of escapement numbers. I am not up on whether this has had a reasonable effect on reversing the trend, mostly cause I don't have the data.
Finally, Mark has admitted to keeping fish (3 out of 200). Totally legal, and well within his right. But based on the spirit of what the moritorium was about, definately toeing the line on what is ethical. Also, keeping a video of this behavior available online while not "unethical" can be viewed as completely opposite of what Mark has presented himself as.
As a side note, I think that you are correct that if any fly fishermen were looking down on tackle guys that is a baaadddddd error. Some of the most fervent supporters of wild steelhead release are excellent bait/tackle fishermen. Seperating the actions of the indivudual versus the style of fishing is extremely important in this case.
One other thought on this topic - the fishery you mention (the San Jaun) exists below a dam, ie, from what I understand, it is an an artificial fishery. I don't know enough about the San Juan to know if it ever held native trout prior to the dams. If it did, it wouldn't have been rainbow trout - they're indiginous to the Pacific Northwest.
I do know that below Glen Canyon dam on the Colorado is another river that would not have held trout were it not for the dam - I'm not sure if those two fisheries are comparable but I'm guessing so. As such, they try to manage what trout populations they're able, but they're artificial fisheries. The Green River below Flaming Gorge Dam is another example, and they too allow an angler to keep 1 fish over 20", but seldom if ever does that happen with the fly crowd because it's accepted that it's really a catch and release fishery.
The fish that we're discussing are the very last of the wild fish that live in the State of Washington. Washington remains the only place in the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, Brittish Columbia) where one can still legally harvest wild steelhead - and sadly, with 6 million inhabitants, every fish that makes it past the nets only to end up in the cooler is one less opportunity those fish have for survival. And as metioned earlier, the number of returning adults has been on a steady decline for many years. It has taken millenia for those genetics to refine themselves to those specific rivers and once they're gone, we will lose an immeasurable resource. As the saying goes, "extinction is forever" .
As James pointed out, the issue of killing wild steelhead is not a"fly anglers vs. gear anglers" issue, it's the act of harvesting wild steelhead and/or promoting the idealogy that killing wild steelhead is acceptable - and most serious steelhead anglers/guides agree that the time is well past for that.
Occasionally, on a related topic, there are restuarants that offer wild steelhead on their menus - another item that we as steelhead anglers are against because it too promotes that their are enough wild steelhead left to harvest.
The mind set here the pacific northwest is somewhat slow to come around to the idea of C&R because many generations of anglers have been used to keeping what was caught. And as such, it may be take some time before that idealogy dies - hopefully long before the last of the native steelhead.
Perhaps Lee Wulf said it best when he wrote "Game fish are too valuable to be caught only once." And in the case of what's left of our wild steelhead, if they're killed prior to propagation, that's one last chance for survival. The last of the wild steelhead are facing the same challenge of the atlantic salmon - they've been virtually wiped out in Europe, the same for the east coast of America, and now we're watching it play out here with our wild steelhead - one fish at a time.
Steve – Thanks for your reply. I realize that I live in the dry desert southwest and have to fish in the artificial San Juan trout waters, for artificial trout with my artificial friends. However, I do fully understand the issue – last of the wild steelhead. I just find most of the post to be emotional responses and some not very well thought out. I was only attempting to point out that there is a huge difference between opinions, feelings, legalities and how they combine to shape our personal ethics.
Opinions & feelings (May not even be factual.) can be:
No one should ever kill a wild steelhead. (I agree, unless damaged & also legal)
The steelhead are endangered & need help.
The game and fish managers know what they are doing.
The game and fish managers are clueless.
Legality is secondary to ethics.
No one should fish in any wild steelhead waters - ever.
We should go and tangle their lines and bust their rods.
The folks who lawfully keep one wild steelhead are lower than pond scum.
C&R of wild fish stresses the fish and can even, in some cases, lead to death.
A person is so enlightened that only they can fully understand the problem.
The legal issues (Just the facts man – nothing but the facts!) are:
You can legally fish for wild steelhead.
You can legally harvest one wild steelhead per year.
You can legally harvest one bleeding wild steelhead & stop fishing.
You can’t interfere with another fisherman legality harvesting one wild steelhead.
The ethical issues are:
For every fisherman to obey all Game & Fish laws.
Protect the resource and lobby Game & Fish for a change in current laws.
Try to educate the uninformed on the importance of C&R on the resource.
Speak with your dollars to support guides that support C&R.
Have local clubs recommend only the guides who share your exact views.
You can’t impose your ethics on another person.
Have you (not you directly Steve) ever taken the time to visit with an uninformed fisherman about the importance of the wild steelhead fishery? Went into a classroom and instructed the kids on the history of the wild steelhead resource? If so thank you, if not shame, shame!
So I hope that – the folks posting on this thread “Keep the faith!” and spend as much energy changing the existing laws (constructive) - as they do bashing law abiding fishermen (not so good).
Your mileage may vary! Best of luck and good fishing.
Dan Bromley, The Strawstalker, NM
So at this point, can you concisely explain how you know about the steelhead issue? I personally find it hard to believe that a person living in NM with a cavalier attitude and feeling that the San Juan river is in any way equivalent to wild runs of indigenous fish can possible even fathom the issue at hand. The San Juan *is* an artificial system, and while it's nice and provides great habitat for fishing, it is exactly what Steve said it was artificial, and frankly an apples and oranges example.
Atlantic salmon definately are more of a reasonable comparison, and as has been stated before are only *starting* to be fishable again in Maine after decades of rehabilitation. Unfortunately the original genetics are all but gone, so their starting with some hatchery stock that will take generations to even come close to what was there before.
Also, as I said in a prior post, the ethics behind the law were clear, the implementation of the law on the other hand ended up giving people a legal "out" in respect to the "ethical" goal. I highly suggest you sit down and either write an email to Todd Ripley of the Wild Steelhead Coalition, or perhaps Smalma or Salmo_g on the board.
As much as you might not like it, peer pressure is a completely valid way of getting laws changed. As was stated before, the complaining about a video that's 5 years old probably wasn't the best. But at the very least keeping it up as an advertising video from a guide that professed a view orthoginal to wild fish harvest is hypocritical. This is precisely the crux of the matter, and is what most folks are honing in on. Granted some of this thread was misdirected, but as a whole the thread was one voicing displeasure of keeping a wild steelhead.
Finally, I really think you may want to learn more about the people that are speaking out on this issue. I *know* for a fact that Steve has turned down business from folks expressing any interest in wild steelhead harvest (Triggs, Bob Ball, etc too).
How do we go about trying to get the regulations changed? Can someone in the 'know' provide an email address or form or something? Lets harness this energy!
there is a major cycle and a minor cycle. this year was a major cycle (as in major changes). next year will be a minor cycle (housekeeping issues so to speak). during major cycle years EVERYONE has the opportunity to submit as many proposals as they would like. some will make the cut, some will not.
for more inforation on this year's proposals. however it is too late to submit comments.
people need to join a worthy conservation organization who are in touch with what the WDFW is up to and people also need to take an initiative to figure out what is going on at the WDFW. just keep an eye on the site and send emails if you have questions. you may not always agree with their management practices but they will always answer your questions and most of the information that you will need will be on the site. dont rely on anyone else.
WOW, now about the "Deer Creek 7/8" rod........
WOW, now about the "Deer Creek 7/8" rod........
I thought the same exact thing. There are some here that are very passionate about the Wild Steelhead (or Wild fish in general). I have harvested Wild fish in the past but do not anymore... heck I even release most of the hatchery fish I catch as well. Depends if I want fish for dinner that night.
Sometimes the "passion" can cloud the thinking sometimes and have people taking an "all or nothing" stance on things.
I don't harvest Wild fish anymore... but am I going to email a guy after I watch a You-tube vid? No... am I going to walk up to a guy on the bank and tell him to make sure he releases a fish, or doesn't hold it out of the water? No... that could get a guy punched in the nose.
I am not promoting C&K... nor am I promoting C&R...
I'm just not gonna be a busybody about it.
Dunno... the debate will rage on I'm sure...