Treaty Fishing on the Stillaguamish

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Jason Griffith, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. Deer Creek is a classic illustration of how long salmon recovery efforts take. The USFS placed a moratorium on logging on their lands (about 1/2 of the basin total) in the Deer Creek basin in 1984. It is good to hear that the basin is in the process of healing but clearly it will process that will stretch over many decades.

    Not sure if folks have a grasp of how much sediment was finding its way into Deer Creek at the worst. In the earl/mid-1980s when the Deforest slide was most active the amount of sediment was mind boggling. It was estimate that the Deforest Creek slide was supplying 1/2 of the sediment entering Deer Creek. At the peak of the Deforest Creek slide during 1983 and 1984 it would take 100 10 yard dump trucks dumping sediment in the creek every day for nearly two years to equal the amount coming off that single slide.

    The fact that the USFS opted to discontinue its logging in the basin show that if folks get involved they can make a difference. Anglers (primarily two folks - Bob Arnold and Alec Jackson) were a major force in bring that decision about. Those kinds of efforts are very time consuming and largely go unnoticed.

    Finally I have been struck the last couple years how much of the material have moved downstream. The North Fork of the Stillaguamish downstream of Deer Creek t o my eye has more usualable spawn gravel and spawning salmon than any time since the early 1980s. Even the magnitude of excessive bed load movement see from Deer Creek has a silver lining. As that material has made its way to the Sound a surprising amount of new estuarian habitat outside bay front dikes. In the last few decades a significant poriton of the historic acreage has been created outside those dikes.

    Jason -
    Thanks for joining us in these discussions - you have brought a lot to the table.

    Patrick Gould likes this.
  2. Well, all the suitable gravel in places is great, but there are once beautiful runs between Oso and Cicero completely choked with silt. Salmon like chum can benefit from the downstream gravel, but for Deer creek fish its awful. As far as I know chum are the only mainstem spawners downstream of Deer creek, and their #s are in the toilet too. All the kings, steelhead, and Coho spawn higher in the watershed or in tributaries.
  3. I saw chinook and pinks spawning this fall well below Deer Creek. Below Cicero actually.
  4. I forgot about the pinks. Im actually very suprised that there were chinook spawning so low in the system. Most I know of in the NF venture up well above deer creek to a section of river associated with another smaller, yet equally beautiful creek.
  5. So, if a private person decided he wanted to shift some investments into riverfront property... who would that person contact on your end to have one of your people evaluate the parcels and put together a restoration plan? Or is this a "we won't touch it unless it's tribal land" sort of thing?
  6. From Rocky Creek down into the North Fork Canyon (a distance of about 2 miles) I saw a total of 11 Chinook redds this fall. Pretty decent numbers for that low in the system and easily the most I have seen that part of the river in 30 years. Also saw a handful of even year pinks. I agree that the habitat in neither the North Fork below Deer Creek nor Deer Creek itself are what we all would hope to see but the fact remains it is improving.

    Andrew -
    Talk about a "blast from the past"!

    In the mid-1980s with Deer Creek summer steelhead numbers below 100 adults and juvenile numbers dropping every generation it was generally felt that they would be extinct by the year 2000. With at least 460 adults in the creek in 1994 and more than 1,000 in 1996 (remember finding more than 350 steelhead in a single pool) the fish proved all of us wrong! A true statement to the resiliency of the spieces.

    The Deer Creek fish were on the rebound until that abrupt down turn in marine survivals in the region. With the slow improvement in basin's habitat if we ever see a rebound in the marine survival we may actually see fsihing the "old timers" talk about.

  7. Curt,

    Thanks for mentioning Bob Arnold (who is a very good friend) and Alec Jackson. The two of them, as you know, put in loads of time to get something done about Deer Creek and the DeForest Creek slide. I strongly suspect that things would have gotten even worse if not for their efforts. Bob's writing ability and Alec's knowledge of forestryalong with their knowledge of the NF and Deer Creek fish helped immensely. I didn't live in WA State when they were doing this work (I was living in Montana), nor did I know them personally (like I got to once I moved to WA State in 1991); but I knew about the two of them and the work they were doing on behalf of the Deer Creek fish from things I was reading when I was living in Montana.

    Bob told me he never expected the kind of response he got from sportsfishers when he put together his first public meeting at the Oso firehouse. Bob also credits a USGS forester, you, and a tribal biologist with getting the forest service to halt logging in the upper Deer Creek watershed.

    And like you, I've noticed the NF having improved instream habitat with some of the sand, clay, and gravel getting moved with each flood or near flood. I also remember George McLeod telling me 15 years ago of the changes he has witnessed in the NF since he started fishing it with his father Ken as a youngster. I also remember having decent fishing in the 90's before the general steelhead crash occured.

    I look forward to imroved ocean conditions because when they do, I foresee a large increase in the number of Deer Creek fish.
    stilly stalker likes this.
  8. BTW how much of that 6000' of shorline is going to be posted private property - no trespassing? How much of the funding for the purchase came from federal and state money going to the tribes? Who's name is on the deed?

    All I hear is more bullshit lip service. You've already had guys here volunteer to work or put together significant muscled work parties. Some of them I know and they come with heavy machinery and/or bankrolls. Some are just regular guys ready to put in some hard work days. You said you're always working on restoration projects to improve habitat as you said in one of your first posts..and when people say "hey, we'll help!" you come up with the same bullshit we hear from WDFW and the rest of the tribes. I admire you for jumping on the PR bandwagon and I would advise people in my network to do the same, but all I've heard so far is nothing but the same krap we've heard from other tribal and wdfw PR trolls here. I would love to believe you guys are ready to drop the BS and actually get to work on solving problems. Sounds like your upper management is as useless as a limp dick in a whorehouse just like ours and the rest of the tribes.

    And don't give me the boilerplate "it's very complicated" shit you guys like to spit out. It's not. It may be to you, but to some of us it's not. You'd be suprised at the brainpower with problem solving abilities floating around here. Larger problems have been solved by a less intelligent and motivated audience than you are talking to.
  9. Just out of curiosity, BJG, what larger problems have been solved by a less intelligent and motivated audience than us?
  10. Hopefully ALL of Deer creek waterfront will be no tresspassing. The whole creek has been closed to fishing for a long time, and the bikini/tube hatch that Arlington experiences has no business migrating east on the 530 to more secluded haunts
    The lower creek is already pretty well molested
  11. Just when I was thinking that this thread had elevated the level of discourse on this forum!

    I guess it had to happen sooner or later.

    Thanks to those who maintained such an informative thread for the length of time they did.

  12. I dunno, running water and sewage, electricity, the atom bomb, the internal combustion motor, walking upright... WTF have you done? NOTHING! That's right, you have contributed nothing to anyting in your life. When you die, there will be nothing on your toombstone worthwhile other than that you sucked in some oxygen for a few decades.. The only thing you have going for you is that there might be a few posts on the internent left in cache that verify that you are nothing but bullshit. I was hoping that the stilliguamish tribe actually had the balls to stand up and work with the rest of the sport angling community to acomplish something. Weak minded bitches like yourself apparently feed off of that and get their internet boner off by people who actually do something. I'm looking for someone to actually have the balls to step up, get their hands dirty and do something to solve real problems. GFY
  13. Is this some kind of internal monologue you're posting for us all to see?
  14. If you guys are gonna make wild passionate zugzug, do it behind closed doors. We don't need to see that shit. Keep it on point and make a point, or point your web browser to some light reading where you can keep yourself composed.
    bennysbuddy likes this.
    Steffan Brown likes this.
  16. bennysbuddy and Patrick Gould like this.
  17. Got any links to forums for anger managment issues ??
  18. Hold on a second....send me a an email ( and we can put you to work planting trees. We use inmates on a daily basis, I think you'd get along well with them. ;)

    Seriously though, drop me a line and we can set something up for you to get your hands dirty.

    The land on the NF we are purchasing will be open to the public as long as they call ahead and get permission to walk in. You are welcome to walk down thru the property if you are already in the channel. It is upstream of Hazel, on the left bank, and was purchased mostly with federal and state grants (some tribal money as well). The Stillaguamish Tribe will be on the deed. We are in the midst of purchasing 83 acres near Leque that will be 100% with tribal money (though the restoration will likely take place with federal and state money). Not really sure why this is BS, but hey.

    Curt- Thanks for the history and the kind words, I'm glad we haven't totally lost you to the water! We still talk about your contributions to our local knowledge, this morning in fact at a meeting with WDFW and Tulalip.
  19. Send me an email and we can get the conversation started. We work with lots of private landowners and encourage folks like yourself to take the initiative. We can provide technical advice on design and permitting and may be able to help with funding as well.

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