Upper Skagit, Stetattle

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Paul Huffman, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

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    I'm heading up to Newhalem this weekend to get together with old friends. I lived up there in 1976-78 working for UW Fisheries Research Institute. What was the issue that closed the lower 1.5 miles of the Stetattle. I used to fish caddis dry flies around the mouth of the creek in the fall for trout from the lake that push up into the creek in the evening to feed. Was there too much impact on bull trout in that reach?

    I didn't pack my spey rod because I usually didn't fish for steelhead up there this early in the fall. But maybe I should have considered the Cascade. Or pinks. There used to be lots of pinks that would get up to Talc Mine. Is it too early for pinks? Is there an E-reg concerning pinks that I missed?
  2. cuponoodle breakfast Active Member

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    Nothing above the bridge in Marblemount is open to the targeting of salmon.
  3. Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

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    The mouth to the Rockport-Cascade Rd Bridge on the Cascade is closed until 9/16. What's the issue there? Escapement to the hatchery?
  4. cuponoodle breakfast Active Member

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    The whole system opens incrementally from low to high. Might be to limit impacts on kings. It's still open for trout up to marblemount, which is mostly a bull trout fishery with a rare chance at stray summer runs from other systems.
  5. cuponoodle breakfast Active Member

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    Just to clarify, I meant the Skagit system opens from low to high for salmon, with the lower Cascade usually following the same dates as the Rockport to Marblemount section of the Skagit.
    Like the upper Skagit, the Cascade is open for trout fishing (bulls mostly) right now. Humpies that reach the Cascade are gonna be pretty skanky and the silvers won't be around in good numbers until it opens for salmon anyway.
    The Skagit above Marblemount is never open for salmon as far as I can remember, but it is open for trout fishing.
  6. Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

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    I didn't ever find out what issue has closed the lower 1.5 miles of Stetattle, but the Gorge Reservoir is drawn down really low. You can see the Skagit flowing in her original banks up to Diablo Dam.

    Seattle City Light is busy demolishing houses in Diablo before any become designated historic.

    I checked out County Line Ponds. It looks like it's been a long time since anyone used the ponds for rearing.

    It was strange that I couldn't find the Talc Mine which was an important land mark along the road and river when I worked up there. It was at RM 84.3, upstream of Bacon Creek, near Copper Creek, so downstream of the S -turns or as we called it, Shovel Spur.

    White water rafters like to run the S turns and take out at a FS road a few miles above Bacon Creek. The lower Bacon Creek road is gated. There is little left of the Bacon Creek campground. The Upper Bacon Creek road is now positioned farther from the creek, and inhabited by hostile locals.

    Cascade River was running a little milky but fishable. Gates low down on the private forest lands makes it much more difficult to get into Granite and Jordon Lakes from the Cascade River side.
  7. BDD Active Member

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    Ellensburg, WA
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    Paul, I'll send you a PM but I fished that creek years ago (above Bucket Creek, the boundary) and found brilliantly colored mountain stream trout. I don't think they were from the lake as the spotting and coloration just didn't seem right for lake fish. Not exactly sure why the reg is in place.
  8. Salmo_g Active Member

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    Paul,

    My guess is that lower Stetattle is closed for bull trout protection. While bull trout are open game in the anadromous reach of the Skagit basin, the bull trout populations in reservoirs above the dams are protected, even though they are doing quite well by all anecdotal accounts.

    County Line ponds are now all natural production habitat. Rearing hatchery steelhead was discontinued quite a few years ago to minimize straying of adult returns, and the wild mark group summer chinook that were reared there have also been moved to the Clark Ck hatchery.

    The closed section of the Skagit is to protect wild summer chinook. Most will be finished spawning when the silvers begin to show in good numbers.

    Bacon Ck road was moved to prevent further erosion damage to the creek. Welcome to eastern Skagit Co., were some of the locals aren't real open to out-siders. Hope you enjoyed your reunion weekend.

    Sg
  9. Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

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    I wasn't aware there were summer chinook on the upper Skagit. Is what we used to call fall chinook, or just chinook, now categoried as summer chinook? I thought all those chinook were ocean type.

    County Line Ponds were only natural rearing when I was up there, heavily used my juvenile coho. It was rather pretty area for an abandoned gravel pit, used by locals for mushroom hunting and used by tourists for overflow camping. But NPS tank trapped the road in about 1977. I had heard that it was used for hatchery rearing. When I visited, the road was reestablished but gated. There were two feeding piers in one pond. Didn't look like anyone had driven in there for a long time. I didn't see any utilization by wild coho. Are there still screens and head control structures that are preventing wild fish from getting into the ponds?
  10. Salmo_g Active Member

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    Main Skagit chinook are summers (peak entry July 20 - Aug. 20), with small spring and fall runs on either side. All are mostly ocean type.

    No obstacles; wild fish have unfettered access. Sockeye, chum, and coho use them.
  11. Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

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    How do the springs, summers and falls maintain genetic distinctness if they all spawn in the same areas, all are ocean types, and their spawning timing overlaps?

    If the summers need protection, the springs and falls must also need protection, because there are so few of them. Falls might have a hard time finding any place to spawn, with all those chum around at the time, but I guess most of the chum spawn in some slower sites.

    Hey, I just found the 2005 Skagit Chinook Recovery Plan. This is answering all my questions.
  12. Salmo_g Active Member

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    Looks like you're discovering that they are genetically distinct due to separation in time and space. There is some overlap, more in timing than in spawning location however.

    Lots of fall chinook spawning habitat in the Hamilton-Lyman area well before the chum arrive. When the chum get there, flows are higher, and the chum spawn higher on the bars than the chinook. Again, separation in time and space.

    Sg
  13. Preston Active Member

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    Paul,
    That's the first mention of the Talc Mine I've heard in years. I used to stop there occasionally to scrounge chunks of soapstone for small sculptures. That must have been sometime in the mid-/late-sixties and I was surprised, some years later, to drive up that way and find no sign of it. I assume the road must have been relocated.
  14. Smalma Active Member

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    Assume that we are talking about the talc mine below Devil's peak. If so the old bridge abutments can be seen from the river a little below the shovel spur. It can also be seen from the road by the far side abutment is obscured by trees so need to know where it is exactly to see it.


    Since the mine was no longer active I assume that the road and bridge was removed. Since the mine site is in the recreation area I assume that like a old cabin along the river the bridge and road were removed to return the area to a more natural state. Decades ago was able to find some soap stone on the highway side of the river in the same general area but suspect that easy to find material has been pretty well picked over.

    Curt
  15. jwg Active Member

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    i'm fascinated to hear that there is any soapstone in Washington state.
    What color/
    I bought some soapstone at a rock shop in Cle Elum years ago. I wonder, idly, if any was from Washington state.

    Mostly I've used blocks of soapstone to create bases for small bronze sculptures, rather than carving the soapstone itself.

    Jay
  16. Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

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    Yes, there were two talc mines. The one on the north side of the river was worked out, but it was a big enough cut that it was used as a turn around on the highway and a landmark. Then between the road and the river rock tailings had been pushed out into the river so it tumbled some 40 ft. down to the river. That made Talc Mine a landmark on the river as well. You could poke around in the quarry or in the slope down to the river and sometimes find a good piece, but it was mainly crumbly junk. But the seam continued straight across the river and there was another quarry up in the trees on the south side of the river. Two guys ferried a couple three wheelers over to the south side and were hauling out some pretty good pieces, until one of the partners disappeared with all the assets, abandoning his partner. This must have been 1977. The was an Alaskan Native in Marblemount that was making a living carving the soapstone. I think is name was Leon and he's still at it.

    This account of the Rainbow Mine is the location I'm talking about.