WDFW Announces Puget Sound river closures for 2012

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Wild Steelhead Coalition, Jan 6, 2012.

  1. Wild Steelhead Coalition

    Wild Steelhead Coalition wild steelhead for the future

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    These emergency closures will be the permanent regulations for Puget Sound rivers starting next year and the WDFW is receiving comments on this tomorrow at the the Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting.

    This is your opportunity to speak up...

    Fishing in rivers around Puget Sound to close due to low wild steelhead returns

    OLYMPIA – Fishing for steelhead and other game fish will close early in several river systems in Puget Sound and along the Strait of Juan de Fuca to protect wild steelhead, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.

    The early closures will affect the Nooksack, Skagit, Stillaguamish, Snohomish and Puyallup river systems, along with several streams along the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

    Most river systems will close Feb. 1. However, the Puyallup River system will close Jan. 16, and some waters near WDFW fish hatcheries are scheduled to close Feb. 16.

    Pre-season estimates developed by WDFW last fall indicate that wild steelhead will return to those watersheds in numbers far short of target levels, said Bob Leland, WDFW’s steelhead program manager.

    “By taking this action, we can protect wild steelhead that do make it back to these river systems,” he said.

    The early closures are timed in each watershed to coincide with the traditional dates wild steelhead return to those Washington rivers, Leland said.

    Wild steelhead returning to most of the rivers scheduled to close are listed as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA). Although anglers are required to release any wild steelhead they catch in these rivers, some of those fish inevitably die from the experience, Leland said.

    The closures are necessary to meet the conservation objectives of WDFW’s statewide steelhead management plan and comply with provisions of the ESA, he said.

    Meanwhile, WDFW is proposing to make these early closure dates permanent to help protect future runs of wild steelhead, Leland said. The deadline for submitting written comments to the department on that and other proposed sportfishing rules was Dec. 30, but the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will accept both written and verbal comments at its Jan. 6-7 meeting in Olympia. For contact information, see http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/.

    The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, is scheduled to vote on the final sportfishing rules package during a meeting Feb. 3-4. For more information on the proposed rules, visit the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/.

    Waters closing to fishing Jan. 16, 2012, by emergency rule include:

    Puyallup River System

    White River from the mouth to the R Street Bridge in Auburn.
    Carbon River from the mouth to the Highway 162 Bridge.
    Upper Puyallup River from the mouth of the Carbon River upstream.
    Waters closing to fishing Feb. 1, 2012, by emergency rule include:

    Nooksack River System

    Nooksack River mainstem from the Lummi Indian Reservation boundary to the confluence of North and South forks.
    North Fork Nooksack River from Maple Creek to Nooksack Falls.
    Middle Fork Nooksack River from the mouth to the City of Bellingham diversion Dam.
    South Fork Nooksack River from the mouth to Skookum Creek.
    Skagit River System

    Skagit River mainstem from the mouth to the Highway 530 Bridge at Rockport.
    Skagit River from the mouth of the Cascade River to the Gorge powerhouse at Newhalem.
    Sauk River from the mouth to the Whitechuck River.
    Cascade River from the Rockport-Cascade Road Bridge upstream to headwaters.
    Snohomish River System

    Snohomish River from the mouth (Burlington Northern railroad bridge) upstream to the confluence of the Skykomish and Snoqualmie rivers.
    Skykomish River from the mouth to the Highway 2 Bridge at the Big Eddy Access.
    Pilchuck River from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Snohomish city diversion dam.
    Sultan River from the mouth to 400 feet downstream of diversion dam (river mile 9.7).
    Wallace River from 200 feet upstream of water intake of salmon hatchery to Wallace Falls.
    North Fork Skykomish River from the mouth to 1,000 feet downstream of Bear Creek Falls.
    South Fork Skykomish River from the mouth to 600 feet downstream of Sunset Falls fishway.
    Snoqualmie River from the mouth to the boat ramp at Plum access.
    Tolt River from the mouth to the USGS trolley cable near confluence of North and South forks.
    Raging River from the mouth to Highway 18 Bridge.
    Stillaguamish River System

    Stillaguamish River from Marine Drive upstream to forks.
    Pilchuck Creek from the mouth to Highway 9 Bridge.
    North Fork Stillaguamish River from the mouth to the mouth of French Creek.
    South Fork Stillaguamish River from the mouth to 400 feet below the Granite Falls fishway outlet.
    Canyon Creek from the mouth upstream.
    Strait of Juan de Fuca

    Dungeness River from the mouth upstream to the forks at Dungeness Forks Campground.
    Morse Creek from the mouth to the Port Angeles Dam.
    Salt Creek from the mouth to the bridge on Highway 112.
    Deep Creek from the mouth upstream.
    Pysht River from the mouth upstream.
    Clallam River from the mouth upstream.
    Sekiu River from the mouth to forks.
    Waters closing to fishing Feb. 16, 2012, by emergency rule include:

    North Fork Nooksack River from the mouth to Maple Creek.
    Skykomish River from the Highway 2 Bridge at the Big Eddy Access to the confluence of North and South forks.
    Wallace River from the mouth (farthest downstream railroad bridge) to 200 feet upstream of the water intake of salmon hatchery.
    Snoqualmie River from the boat ramp at Plum access to Snoqualmie Falls.
    Tokul Creek from the mouth to the posted cable boundary marker.
    North Fork Stillaguamish River from the mouth of French Creek to the Swede Heaven Bridge.
    Skagit River from the Highway 530 Bridge at Rockport to the mouth of the Cascade River.
    Cascade River from the mouth to Rockport-Cascade Road Bridge.
    Leland reminds anglers that the Samish River, from the I-5 Bridge to the Hickson Bridge, closed to fishing Dec. 1. The stretch of the Samish River, from the mouth to the I-5 Bridge closed Jan.1.

    For more information on the closures, check the emergency rule changes on WDFW’s website at http://1.usa.gov/hfDjYl.
     
  2. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!

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    And would the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife please pay attention to the fact that the Olympic Peninsula rivers and Wild Steelhead are once again going to be pounded to death by redirected anglers this coming winter season; and that their creel census is a travesty as far as any formally worthwhile or scientifically qualified sampling method is concerned; and that they have NO CLUE as to the REAL numbers of Wild Steelhead being illegally harvested every year!!! :beathead:
     
  3. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

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    No clue, or perhaps "don't care"?
     
  4. Brookie_Hunter

    Brookie_Hunter aka Dave Hoover

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    Just swell....
     
  5. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Bummer for sure but hardly unexpected.

    Bob -
    By your statement "...the Olympic Peninsula rivers and Wild Steelhead are once again going to be pounded to death by redirected anglers..." are you saying that all those "redirected" Puget Sound anglers are poachers or that CnR anglers is bad for the fish?

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  6. 1morecast

    1morecast Active Member

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    I agree!
     
  7. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    I have to chuckle seeing the Puyallup on the list... nothing like being last on the scene to the 4 alarm fire!!!

    Simply too much politics and opportunity for profit in the way of sound scientific data driving decisions. Add to that years of domestic and international commercial open ocean fishing fleets, Puget Sound purse seiner fleets, tribal netting in the rivers and run-a-muck logging and the perfect storm was inevitable.

    Once all the wild fish are gone and the species declared officially extinct, we can then turn up the gain on the hatchery stock and fill the rivers to the brim with them so everyone gets a limit :thumb:
     
  8. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    They've been closing these early under emergency closures for years; it's about time they formalized it so people won't be thinking they are open, if they haven't seen the listing.
    D
     
  9. bhudda

    bhudda heffe'

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    So Matt, we gonna fish this or what...
     
  10. FT

    FT Active Member

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    I noticed the WSC is in favor of closing all these Puget Sound rivers early as a permanent rule. Does this mean the WSC and its membership think that Catch & Release is bad for the fish?
     
  11. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

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    C&R fishing implies there is harvestable surplus

    Natives are entitled to 50% of the harvestable surplus...
     
  12. pirate

    pirate Member

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    you know while we are on this thread, i saw something today that made my heart sink...

    [​IMG]

    does WA really not want to save their steelhead?
     
  13. Steve Call

    Steve Call Active Member

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    tribal gillnetters.
     
  14. nomlasder

    nomlasder Active Member

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    Bob, I agree with you, that closing fishing opportunities in several systems will shift fishing pressure for closed to open rivers. It is for this reason only, I believe, this is the role of a hatchery. Pick a couple of rivers, preferably with a dam, and create a place for the average fisherman to have a resonable expectation of harvesting steelhead. This will help take the pressure off native systems. I am not advocating augmentation of native populations with hatchery fish.
    We are a lazy-opportunistic species. If we want fish, most of us will go where it's easy to catch fish.

    Now, Im sure there will be a ton of negative remarks about my opinion, and I will likely ignor them because I am a self confessed ignoramus. I'm good with that.
    In order to protect what we want- the solution is somewhere in the middle. (Hatchery - Native Debate)
    Besides reel counts- I think the current escapement goals are far below sustainable levels. If the state says 200 for a system, it should be more like 2000. If that means closing rivers completly, so be it. Man up and accept the truth that spawning populations are far below historic levels. Let mother nature determine spawing saturation.
     
  15. Jerry Daschofsky

    Jerry Daschofsky Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm a Puyallup regular. I grew up on its banks in Fife and have been fishing it since the early 70's. I know all the regulars at one time. Using the "they will all run to the OP" isn't correct. Most of us stopped fishing the Puke on a regular basis and have been fishing the OP since the 80's. Those runs on the Puke, Nasty, and Green tanked fast and most who are considered "regulars" on the OP are transplants from Puget Sound rivers. I don't fish the OP as much as I'd like anymore only because my kids are at an age they have a lot going on during the weekends. So have scrubbed a lot of regular trips.

    But its well overdue. Especially the Puyallup. I know one thing my Dad talked about that last week he was alive was how good the fishing was when we fished it and how sad he was his grandkids will probably never see the runs we did. My Dad will forever be a part of th at river. I'd love to see the fish come back to fishable levels.
     
  16. Brian Miller

    Brian Miller Be vewy vewy qwiet, I'm hunting Cutthwoat Twout

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    I got the email notice yesterday. It was inevitable
     
  17. Phil Fravel

    Phil Fravel Friendly

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    I believe they call it the cowlets??? Even though I cant seem to catch a fish there
     
  18. Nailknot

    Nailknot Active Member

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    I'm not sure why this is so hard for people to understand. Hatcheries don't work. Every one of the listed closed rivers has a hatchery on it. There is absolutely zero correlation between hatcheries and open rivers to fish. But, there is a direct correlation, scientifically proven, between hatcheries and closed rivers.

    Hatcheries = closed rivers. It's right there in front of us. How could any sane person argue otherwise?
     
  19. Jonathan Tachell

    Jonathan Tachell Active Member

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    Over fishing and habitat degradation for the past 80 years have and continue to cause the demise of our native steelhead and salmon. Without hatcheries there would be no fishing at this point or in the future. Close down all of the hatcheries and that will be the end of steelhead fishing in most if not all washington rivers and streams.

    Unless watersheds can be returned to the way they were decades ago, all users groups agree to stop fishing for steelhead including recreational, commercial and native american fisherman and the human population decreases rapidly, wild steelhead will never return in any numbers remotely close to historic levels or even levels high enough to sustain a viable fishery for all user groups. Which is why we have hatcheries to subsidize the fisheries that we f***ed up.

    Trust me I would love to see our rivers full of big strong native steelhead but there are to many obsticales to overcome and some that can not be undone. I hope I am wrong but I am a realist and I don't see it happening.
     
  20. Nailknot

    Nailknot Active Member

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    You are watching the end of fishing now and in the future. These rivers, which all have hatcheries, are closed. What about this reality is so difficult to understand?
     

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