The Native Fish Society under attack

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by GAT, Jun 23, 2013.

  1. Here's an interesting one. It is originating in Oregon but many of you fish for steelhead in the state so you should be aware of what is going on.

    Most fly anglers lean toward native and wild steelhead. The Native Fish Society (NFS) is not necessarily made up exclusively of fly anglers but is certainly dedicated to the survival of wild steelhead. This means they are not too keen on the hatchery system and push to stop the planting of hatchery fish.

    We as fly anglers are a minority. We are vastly outnumbered by gear anglers. iFish is a site is made up primarily of spin anglers and their membership is very large (is in over 51K members). I've noticed flyfishing web sites are generally pro wild steelhead and general angling sites are pro hatchery steelhead.

    From what I've heard, the NW Steelheaders started the idea of boycotting anyone who donates money to the NFS. It has spread to iFish. They are promoting the idea of boycotting any angling company who donates funds to the NFS. This could seriously undermine the efforts of the NFS in saving the wild salmon/steelhead.

    As a result, some members of the Steelheaders are dropping their membership.

    I don't know where you stand on wild steelhead vs hatchery clones but science has indicated that hatchery steelhead seriously impact the survival of wild steelhead. Thus, the NFS would just as soon the hatchery steelhead went away. Some are organizing a boycott to do damage to the NFS so the hatchery steelhead program remains intact. If the boycott gains legs and angling companies, and others, who donate to the NFS stop donating, this can mean a boost in hatchery steelhead and the ultimate end to the wild fish. If you're in favor of the hatchery system, this would be a good thing for you. If not, well, things may not bode well for wild steelhead and salmon in Oregon.
    So.... FYI
    Bert likes this.
  2. I quit visiting ifish a long time ago; it is a worthless site and its membership supporting this so called boycott proves it.


  3. Hmmmmmmmmm..... they sure wouldn't see that coming.

    The NW Steelheaders use one of my cartoons as part of their events display booth. I'm thinking about contacting their president and demanding they remove my cartoon from their display.
  4. Interesting, and wide topic. I read most of the thread and some it is very interesting. I also read quite a bit of the information on the NFS website. I confess I am not a member of anything (NFS, WSC, Costal Cons, Tri-State Steel, etc.).

    Speaking with your $ is a good way to do it, very grass roots.

    I'm not speaking for or against anyones motive, goals, etc. It is kind of inspiring to see that the conversations are happening and passionately at that. I think the greatest enemy of wild places and wild things is indifference.

    It does seem to me that doing a cost versus benefit analysis of hatchery use could be a good idea, and to some degree (I don't know what) I assume it is actually going on now. I think what is terrifying to some (many?) is that what NFS proposes would inevitably be a political process and much of the analysis would end up being quite subjective. Any attempt at agreeing to rigid objective criteria would probably never get off the ground, because those criterial would be influenced by various participants subjective views of benefits of hatchery use. Each stake holder is likely to try gaming the "objective" criteria. I admit it, I am a cynical person in this context.

    In any event, this sure is interesting stuff, thanks for sharing!
  5. By the way I can't get to the link you provided. In fact, I can't get iFish to open at all. Wonder if I got banned somehow. Oh, the horror.
  6. I quit visiting westfly for similar reasons. But I did read the replies there. A lot of hot gas flowing around in there. A couple of decent word smiths plying their trade sharing a large number of words when a few sentences would have sufficed. It would seem the NWS is seeing some backlash which doesn't surprise me any. I feel their pitch for a boycott will gather a little momentum then flounder but it is worth keeping an eye on.
    bjornjon likes this.
  7. I never heard of iFish.
  8. I checked it out once, didn't like it, and never went back.
    I also quit going to the NW kayak angers site since many of the more vocal members there seem to be against anything that might restrict their fishing, no matter how important a conservation measure it is. They seem most interested in fishing for points in their online fishing derby. That just ain't my style.
    I acquired all the kayaking and kayak fishing info I needed mainly elsewhere, anyway.

    I also do not like the site admin on WA Lakes dot conn, and never go there, either, since they want to charge for "premium" ccontent.
  9. Sounds like this is the year to make a donation to NFS.
  10. This is, in part, a perfect example of why the steelhead and salmon fisheries in WA are such a mess. Hard lines drawn, little or no compromise, tons of verbal rattling, and the fisheries continue to suffer.
    Bill Aubrey and Randru like this.
  11. Over 50 thousand members... kind'a a large fishing site. It is ran with a heavy hand by the owner of the site and her moderators. It pretty much reflects the ideals of the general angler. Their sponsors are primarily gear folks and guides. Because of the huge membership and sponsors, the site does have some clout. This is the disturbing part. The NW Steelheaders is also a large group. Between the two of them, they could mount a significant anti NFS campaign to boycott those who help fund the NFS. ...meaning, pro hatchery, anti wild steelhead.

    I don't know if the plan to save the wild steelhead will work. Sometimes I think it's like trying to regrow an old growth forest. It may not be possible. But I think it is at least worth a try. Some of the finest fisheries in the world consist of wild fish and do not rely on hatcheries. I'd much rather catch wild fish than hatchery fish but the deck is stacked against them as long as the hatchery programs are in place.
  12. The Ifish hatchery bonkers can rail all they want against NFS, but ultimately the law is not on their side. Changes to hatchery production have come about because of ESA requirements to attempt recovery of listed salmon and steelhead. They may succeed in putting NFS out of business, but they aren't likely to change the ESA anytime soon. Most Americans still want to save native species.

  13. Don't take this the wrong way Sg, but I think just the opposite is true. I think most people don't give a rats ass about native species, they just want their fish, hatchery or wild. That's why we're in this mess.

    That being said, all of us who know what's at stake, do want to save the native species.
  14. Perfect time to renew my membership!
  15. I think what Salmo_g was saying is that most people like the ESA and want to support preservation of native species, NOT that most fishermen support it. Bear in mind that most Americans are not fishermen.
  16. numbers don't matter if the members are apathetic... NFS has nothing to worry about.
    Randru likes this.
  17. That makes sense... thanks
  18. After getting sucked into the ifish for an hour or so I got thinking.What would the Madison or Henry's Fork or many other rivers be like if they planted a few million hatchery brats every year and the C&R ideal was changed to kill all you can.What would those fisheries be like now? Would there be any native fish left after a few years. Would people from all over the world continue to have those rivers on their bucket list? I still consider those rivers as home although I haven't guided there for years. I could feel the hair standing up on my neck. I guided many veteran flyfishers over the years but I also guided hundreds of folks from all over the world on their first trip.The outcome was always the same. JOY and an appreciation for nature and wild fish! I realized I still feel very protective of those places. The general mentallity in those areas has changed since I was there but I wouldn't want to be the one suggesting making those changes. It seems the attitude of washington and oregon "sportsman" has been deteriorating for a long time and the entitlment attitude may be beyond repair. I wasn't here when things were great but in 25 years I've seen a major collapse in NW fisheries! I also got thinking about what Salmo g said about hatchery bonkers and the law not on their side. Maybe the average american is the only hope as fisherman (especially bonkers) will never make the necessary sacrifices even if it benefits them and the fish in the long run.Sorry for the long rant but I feel better now. No, I don't! I feel helpless!
    Bill Aubrey likes this.
  19. Here's an interesting synopsis of the Nez Perce Tribe's research on Wild/Hatchery interbreeding. I'd love to see more studies of this nature to see if they corroborate the information found at Johnson Creek. If so, then maybe we can utilize that information to resore wild populations of both salmon and steelhead.

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