WDFW adjusts recreational steelhead fisheries in Skagit River basin

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Skagit Angler, Feb 13, 2008.

  1. Skagit Angler I miss Ed's Sports

    Posts: 51
    North Puget Sound
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Didn't see this posted yet..

    WDFW NEWS RELEASE

    Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
    600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
    http://wdfw.wa.gov/

    February 13, 2008

    Contact: Bob Leland, (360) 902-2817


    WDFW adjusts recreational steelhead fisheries in Skagit River basin

    OLYMPIA - With low returns of steelhead expected this year to the Skagit River basin, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is adjusting recreational fishing seasons on the Cascade, Sauk and Skagit rivers and Fisher Slough to protect wild steelhead.

    Beginning Feb. 16, anglers fishing the Cascade, Sauk and Skagit rivers and Fisher Slough must follow selective gear rules. Those rules require anglers to use unscented artificial flies or lures with single-point barbless hooks and knotless nets.

    Those and other selective gear rules scheduled to take effect on those waters are listed on page 26 of WDFW's Fishing in Washington regulation pamphlet, which is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm . There will be some exceptions, however, for the use of motorized vessels on the Skagit River.

    On all three rivers and the slough, anglers will have a daily limit of two hatchery steelhead.

    "We're expecting a down year for wild steelhead to the Skagit River basin," said Bob Leland, WDFW's steelhead program manager. "These emergency changes will allow anglers to continue to harvest hatchery fish, while reducing impacts to this spring's wild steelhead return."

    Only about 5,100 wild steelhead are expected to return to the Skagit River basin this year, about 900 fish below the spawning escapement goal. The low steelhead returns are likely due to poor ocean survival, impacts of flooding in 2005 and several other factors, Leland said.

    Puget Sound wild steelhead, which are identified by an intact adipose fin, were listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act last year. Anglers fishing the Cascade, Sauk and Skagit, as well as Fisher Slough must release any wild steelhead they intercept.

    "By moving to selective gear requirements, and closing portions of the Skagit and Sauk rivers early, more wild steelhead should have an opportunity to reach the spawning grounds this spring," Leland said.

    More information on the Skagit River basin emergency rule changes can be found on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm .

    New rules for the Skagit River:

    From mouth upstream to the Memorial Highway Bridge (Highway 536 at Mt. Vernon) effective February 16 until May 31. Selective gear rules apply, internal combustion motors allowed. Release all fish except up to two hatchery steelhead may be retained per day.
    From Memorial Highway Bridge (Highway 536 at Mt. Vernon) upstream to Gilligan Creek effective February 16 until March 15 (closed March 16 through May 31). Selective gear rules apply, internal combustion motors allowed. Release all fish, except up to two hatchery steelhead may be retained per day.
    From Gilligan Creek to Dalles Bridge at Concrete effective February 16 until March 15 (closed March 16 through May 31). Selective gear rules apply, internal combustion motors allowed. Release all fish, except up to two hatchery steelhead may be retained per day.
    From the Dalles Bridge at Concrete to the Highway 530 Bridge at Rockport effective February 16 until March 31 (closed April 1 through May 31). Selective gear rules apply, internal combustion motors allowed. Release all fish, except up to two hatchery steelhead may be retained per day.
    From the Highway 530 Bridge at Rockport to the Cascade River effective February 16 until March 31 (closed April 1 through May 31). Selective gear rules apply, internal combustion motors allowed. Unlawful to fish from a floating device while under power. Release all fish except up to two hatchery steelhead may be retained per day.
    From Cascade River to Gorge Powerhouse (Dam) effective February 16 until March 15 (closed March 16 through May 31). Selective gear rules apply, internal combustion motors allowed. Unlawful to fish from a floating device while under power. Release all fish except up to two hatchery steelhead may be retained per day.

    New rules for the Sauk River:

    From mouth to the Darrington Bridge effective February 16 until March 31 (closed April 1 through May 31). Selective gear rules apply. Release all fish except up to two hatchery steelhead may be retained per day.
    From the Darrington Bridge to Whitechuck River effective February 16 until February 29 (closed March 1 through May 31). Selective gear rules apply. Release all fish except up to two hatchery steelhead may be retained per day.

    New rules for the Cascade River:

    From mouth upstream (entire river) effective February 16 until February 29 (closed March 1 through May 31). Selective gear rules apply. Release all fish except up to two hatchery steelhead may be retained per day.

    New rules for Fisher Slough:

    From mouth to Highway 530 Bridge effective February 16 until May 31. Selective gear rules apply. Release all fish except up to two hatchery steelhead may be retained per day.
  2. Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Posts: 2,575
    Quesnel, BC
    Ratings: +323 / 0
    Shh,

    You hear that? That is the sound of everyone headed to the Peninsula.
  3. Must have been a serious brain fart somewhere when they came up with the rules for Fisher Slough below 530. Crap that must be all of 100 yards of ditch that's mostly overgrown with willows and alder. I doubt if a steelhead has been there since Teddy Rosevelt was in office. :(
  4. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,751
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +105 / 0
    That isn't THAT bad.

    At least March 1st the end of my steelhead year on the Skagit.
  5. Up to the end of March isn't bad, leave April for the fish to dig redds. Still scratching my head over the Fisher Slough thing though.
  6. AnglerontheFly row cast swing dangle strip drink

    Posts: 27
    Blaine, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I think it's awesome that selective gear rules are starting earlier. Someone's wheels are spinning out there!:thumb:

    Now we just need need barbless hooks year round!

    Yes, an extra month.:beer2:
  7. Ringlee Doesn't care how you fish Moderator

    Posts: 1,858
    Somewhere you don't know about, WA
    Ratings: +52 / 1
    I am pleased with the new regs up there. It is not as bad as people were saying it would be...
  8. Nailknot Active Member

    Posts: 1,907
    Cascadia
    Ratings: +11 / 0
    Did WDFW open some waters under selective rules that would have been closed? (Cascade until end of Feb, Skagit above Cascade until March 15?) Or maybe I missed other recent changes.

    I'd vote for selective rules ongoing June 1-March 31 on Skagit above Rockport, and the entire Sauk system.
  9. ChrisW AKA Beadhead

    Posts: 493
    Seattle, WA.
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Yes, plus they actually extended the Kill season for hatchery fish - not that many are found in March, but switched to Selective Gear Rules 1 month early (2 weeks early on the Sauk).

    This was a good compromise, in my (non scientific) opinion.
    It looks like they took everyone's interest in mind. (Hopefully the fish too) I do think having anglers on the river in March will discourage poaching.

    CW
  10. BDD Active Member

    Posts: 2,239
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +223 / 2
    Likely part of the rational for extending the season was to eliminate additional hatchery fish on the spawning grounds. Of course, this may equal additional tribal fishing effort as well. Be interesting to see catch record harvest for the month of March. Of course many anglers fail to punch their cards and even more fail to turn them in.
  11. Ringlee Doesn't care how you fish Moderator

    Posts: 1,858
    Somewhere you don't know about, WA
    Ratings: +52 / 1
    I have caught quite a few hatchery fish in early march. With 2 being chrome bright hens. One in the Sauk and one in the Lower Skagit. At the same time, I have caught downstream Hatchery fish as well. Skinny, beat up fish. Which leads me to believe they didn't spawn at the hatchery.