WDFW will not release 'early winter' hatchery steelhead this spring unless legal issues are resolved

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Andrew Lawrence, Apr 1, 2014.

  1. Rob,
    If you cast a hook into a river with wild steelhead then there is a chance you will hook one and by some means cause it harm or death. A small chance, but a chance none the less. Do you hate wild steelhead?

  2. hate implies intent for one.. but if I know the river cannot stand to lose a few fish and I go anyway because my selfish need to hook a fish is more important to me than the survival of a fish or two , well then yes that greediness is very close to hate.
    Now if i get politically involved and push for more and more opportunity to get out there and intentionally kill more than my share ( real share not legal share) for the sake of a few dollars.. yup that's 100% hate. If i exert my political will to change the game mid stream so that I can keep doing it even though the runs are declining. yup that's hate. If I go and drop my gillnet on wild steelhead while the rest of my tribe works feverishly to restore habitat and do other kinds of good works not only do I despise the fish but my tribe as well.

    The big problem with salmon and steelhead recovery is that we hit around the edges of the real issues so that we do not offend anyone or inconvenience anyone. Point blank Washington state needs to have 0 harvest of wild steelhead. There is not a single river that can support harvest and there won't be for a very long time until we ALL get serious about protecting them. you cannot protect what you actively seek to destroy by harvesting.

    wild steelhead are more important than treaty fishing rights. If tribal fishermen felt the same way we'd have a lot more fish around. and in the conducting of those fisheries they dishonor their own culture and heritage.

    ok really i'll shut up now.
  3. The same model the Skagit will employ... using a declining carrying capacity argument. But, so long as some get to fulfill their selfish need to fish, prop up the local economy, and post hero shots, it's all good. Have we decided yet who get's the honor of catching the last one?
  4. There are stakeholders who want wild fish (or fish in general) recovery for the sole purpose of harvest opportunity. I think that "we" (by this I mean stakeholders in this conversation) need to be OK with this if "we" are going to all go in the same direction, i.e. recovery.

    Other stake holders philosophically oppose the harvest of wild fish, particularly steelhead. Almost none of the governing bodies take philosophical views into consideration, and I have to say I mostly agree with that in as much that this perspective (never kill) may not really represent the views of the people who fund/populate the various fisheries organizations.

  5. What if the carry capacity is indeed declining? I'm not saying anyone is good or not good at their jobs, but if the numbers show a declining carrying capacity, and run forecast exceeds this capacity to a degree where C&R losses are not expected to reduce returns below capacity, then there is an argument to open the fishery. I'm not saying it is or is not a good one, but I think there is something to discuss.
  6. Freestoneangler -
    The situation on the Skagit and its escapement goal and associated management is much different than that on the Hoh. On the Hoh management intent is to harvest every available fish down to its escapement goal; MSY levels (likely a low estimate of MSY).

    Prior to 20101 on the Skagit the goal was 150% of MSY. In addition there was a cap on exploitation rate of 16%. That means on year like last year when the return as near the estimated carry capacity of 9000 if fishing had been allowed the escapement would have been at or above 7,500; 1.89 times the MSY level of 4,000 spawners. In the event of an exceptional return the run would be managed for even higher escapement. The largest run in the last 35 years was over 15,000. With the exploitation cap the likely escapement would have been over 12,000 or 3 times of MSY.

    I don't know of any other system (certainly not in the Boldt case area) managed as conservatively. Do you?

    Chris Johnson, _WW_ and Salmo_g like this.
  7. this is quite true and something i have thought of and read about over the years. Would you give up c&r of wild steelhead if it meant closing hatcheries which in many systems would at least allow the opportunity for the early-timed fish to recover? we seem to be fighting on the coast over a very narrow window of wild steelhead return timing wise when it comes to harvest instead of wondering what could be if we had more months of wild steelhead fishing but allowing some sport harvest to gain the political traction which would allow a better shot at a real recovery.

    of course, in washington the tribes will fight any reductions in hatchery plants so no pie in the sky thoughts of cooperation between wild fish advocates and harvest based anglers have any chance of happening.
  8. No, as I have stated in other posts, I agree the Skagit is in a better place than all other WA rivers. That still does not change my view that decisions about opening the river to steelhead fishing should not happen until habitat is stabilized and returning fish numbers reverse the trend line.

    There's a good read in the current issue of TU's "Trout" about fish hatcheries in general. "Walking a Trout Tightrope" (Is there a way to balance Native & Hatchery Trout in Our Nation's Waters) by Jay Cassell.

    An excerpt from the closing:
    For the ultimate word on the future of stocked trout in the grand scheme of things, I went backed to Halverson, and asked him to look into his crystal ball. His answer was pragmatic, yet cautionary.

    "When I was working on my book, I noticed that the rhetoric they were using in the 19th century, when they were eagerly introducing rainbow trout as far and wide as possible, is similar to the rhetoric that you hear today from the people who are pushing native fish restoration. Both of them are sure that they're doing the right thing. I would just be careful, because no matter what we do, there are going to be unpredictable consequences when you're trying to engineer an ecosystem. That's one of the lessons we should have learned by now. If you're trying to engineer it on behalf of this native species that we're trying to restore, or on behalf of the rainbow trout, there are going to be unpredictable consequences. Be careful and be humble when you go out there and go about doing whatever it is you're doing to restore these native trout or something else, because you never know what's going to happen."

    Anders Halverson is the author of An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World.

  9. I seriously have doubts about whether you are a real person, or a troll bot. What do stocked hatchery trout have to do with restoration of an ecosystem of anadromous fish?
    Chris Johnson likes this.
  10. I read what FSA writes and I sometimes struggle to determine what descriptor fits best. Is he stupid? Just a contrarian? A troll? Afool? An asshole? I've settled on him being a coward, who lacks the inner strength to either admit defeat or admit his own identity.

    Generally, I will give the benefit of the doubt on BB's due to their impersonal nature and the fact that they are based on written communication. In FSA's case, I can't do that. His form of logic is so flawed that it takes olympic grade mental gymnastics to even follow it. Only the weakest of people would engage in the process of forming such assinine opinions to win an argument with strangers. Add to this his (her?) reluctance to show up at OS or the commisioners meeting like a man (or woman....tranny?) would do and all I can summize is that he's too cowardly to do anything but hide behind a screen.

    If anyone (fsa?) wants to call me out on this.....feel free, I'm in the book.

    Go Sox,
    Pat Lat and Chris Johnson like this.
  11. By the way, the Skagit run sizes are pretty damn close to those 20 and 30 years ago. With the exeption of very few huge runs in the early 80's the 40 year trend line is pretty much flat. It appears to any reasonable person that the habitat is pretty mich the same and short term the run sizes trend are trending up. Why let facts get in the way though.

    Go Sox,
  12. I'm still trying to figure out how we do that without it falling under the category of "trying to engineer an ecosystem" It's just another one of those noble sounding phrases that means nothing until one can concisely define a 'stabilized habitat'. What exactly is that, and how will we know when we have one? It hasn't been stable for four billion years, what makes you think it's going to come around now?

    That quote seems to contradict everything freestoneangler has been preaching to us about. Couple that with wanting to reverse a flat line trend for the last twenty years, (can a flat line trend even be reversed? what would it look like?) and one has to search long and hard for the faintest hint of a line of logical thinking in that last post...if indeed it even exists.

    The longer it goes on, the worse it gets.
  13. Based on what we've seen, I don't think it will "come around now". How many steelhead do you suppose might have once returned to the Skagit even a few hundred years ago...before development of the basin? What I have come to understand about you and others on this forum is that your arguments and points of reference are based primarily (if not solely) around your desire to fish.

    I think you missed the point... read the article in Trout and that may help. Please share the flat trend line for 20 years that does not include continual downward adjustment of carrying capacity to account for habitat loss. Making that adjustment will indeed change the slope of the line, but it does not bode well for the future of the species if that downward adjustment keeps having to be made.
  14. So Charley, what would the "call out" look like? Apparently name calling is one of your more adept skills... a good one to have I suppose from behind a computer screen. You epitomize those who cannot stand any who disagrees with what you believe to be fact and truth. Why would I show up at OS... an event that I do not support? Why would I show up at the commissioners meeting now when I never have in all the time I've lived in WA? I do write to the commission on topics I feel strongly about... the Skagit C&R season being one of them... if you and others want to show in person, good for you.

    Shoot me a PM if you want to continue your little, childish temper tantrum.

  15. FSA posted, ". . . your arguments and points of reference are based primarily (if not solely) around your desire to fish."

    Well of course it is! I'm not sure where you've been the last century or so, but the sole purpose of fishery management is conservation of the resource that includes fishing. Have you ever noticed the catch limit on sculpins and 3-spine sticklebacks? If people were interested in fishing for them, thereby making them economically important species, you can bet there would be catch limits if it were necessary to conserve those species.

    "Please share the flat trend line for 20 years that does not include continual downward adjustment of carrying capacity to account for habitat loss. Making that adjustment will indeed change the slope of the line, but it does not bode well for the future of the species if that downward adjustment keeps having to be made."

    Consider for a moment that the first estimate of carrying capacity wasn't made until AFTER the preponderance of habitat degradation had already occurred. And that data did not include any spawner recruit information because none existed. It's only logical to adjust the carrying capacity, either upward or downward, according to what the data reveal about it over time, and as the database grows as more data are collected over time. In the case of Skagit wild steelhead, we have more than enough data to know that the estimate of carrying capacity is a factor independent of fishing, and that fishing has not been a factor affecting abundance in well over 30 years. And from FSA's posts we have more than enough data to know that at least one forum member is dense enough to believe in non-existent relationships between unrelated factors, fishing and population abundance. Are you really this dim? Or do you just enjoy beating dead horses?

    BTW, thanks for your letter to the WDFW Commission. Apparently your reasoning is less persuasive than OS'. A clear majority of the Commissioners, the Director, the Assistant Director of the Fish Program are all on board and assure us that the Department and the Tribal co-managers are working toward developing a Skagit basin steelhead management plan. You might next take your case to the steelhead technical recovery team. You'll find some sympathy there, as they are supposed to be very conservative (like OS). However, since their recommendations have to be technically based, you might find it to be a bit of an uphill challenge.

    cuponoodle breakfast, KerryS and _WW_ like this.
  16. FSA,

    Projection is a bitch.

    Go Sox,
  17. FSA-
    I feel strongly that fishing is an appropriate use of steelhead (and other species) overall productivity. Society has clearly established priorities for other uses; water, power, logging, agriculture, development, etc. . If we as anglers do not stand up for that use fishing will disappear as society uses whatever available productivity may remain for those other uses. I'm in the effort to restore angling opportunities on the Skagit not for myself (have not targeted wild Skagit steelhead in more than 15 years) but that my grandkids might be able to enjoy some of what I have. History has clearly demonstrated that your approach all but guarantees that they will not.

    Regarding the recent trend (post 1990) of wild Skagit steelhead. I believe if one includes the 8,700 wild spawners in 2013 that trend is either flat or increasing. The historic low escapement (in 35 year data base) in 2009 drives the perception of a declining trend. I do find it interesting that low escapement followed the decision to decrease the number of hatchery smolts released in the basin. The first year of lower numbers was 2007 and two years later we have historic lows. Any one think that there is a correlation between reducing hatchery releases and the poor wild returns?

  18. I'm all in for a Skagit River basin steelhead plan.

    Not that the fish much care when their living room got trashed or when we started collecting data. So then you are saying the trend line, which you argue as flat, is being influenced by carrying capacity estimates?

    No argument that fishing is not a significant factor in loss of habitat and carrying capacity. 30 years may seem like half a lifetime to you, but is many places to the right side of the decimal point when we're talking about the history of steelhead. Arguably more important than the past is what we do not know about what's to come. But, by the sound of it, you and some others know all you need to know... I'll bet your predecessors did as well (which was Halverson's point).
  19. Good grief.

    You can basically tell when a conversation on the internet has run its course and no longer serves any purpose for anybody when it turns into name calling and personal attacks. It seems in this case both sides have reached that point and this thing needs to be shelved.
    Kent Lufkin likes this.
  20. Gee, thanks Dad. And it's quite clear who was doing all the name calling and personal attacks from behind his computer screen. Agree that the thread has seen its day.

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