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. Thank you.
  2. Curt, thanks for trying to get this mess back on track. The rest of you should follow suit. Use the conversation feature for the rest of this drivel and BS, thank you.
  3. Rob -
    I think you have missed my main point.

    While I disagree with your position of one size (very conservative) fits all management situations I do agree that there are many examples here in Washington where every last wild steelhead is important. But what I continue to struggle to understand is why we would continue to focus on that user that is "killing" those one or ten fish a year but not direct at least as much energy ranting and railing against those other users that are kills 100s or even 1000s of wild steelhead.

    I can respect your tough talk; especially if you walk that tough talk.

  4. And in those cases where there is room?

    The numbers indicate that once a river reaches a certain point in returns that more spawners does not make for more adults returning. Changes in habitat will move the "certain point" up or down a lot more effectively than a ban on C&R fishing.

    Last time I checked, this was a 'Fishing' forum. And this sub-forum is titled 'Steelhead'. Are you sure you are in the right place? Maybe you need to search for a NOT Fishing forum!
    Salmo_g likes this.
  5. because society does not care about fish they would rather have jobs, wood, cheap electricity and new dreamhomes in once beautiful places. Society will not give up those things.. sustainability looks great on paper but no one really wants to do it. If they did you wouldn't have anglers who claim to care deeply about the environment driving massive trucks burning gas as fast as the middle east can make it.,yes i know almost all our gas comes from Alaska. point being we cannot do anything about these other issues. We have to focus on the issues where we might be able to do some good.

    is it most effective to put more energy into an issue that will have the end result of saving 0 wild steelhead because society will not change. or spend that energy to possibly save a dozen if were lucky working on an issue where there is potential to make a change.

    just spoke with a Bio last week none of the OP rivers has a summer population over 100 fish anymore due in large part to hatchery practices. with populations that low why on Earth should anyone be allowed to fish for them. What conservation minded angler would want to. The answer they would not. an angler who does?? Not conservation oriented..

    I a, not suggesting a one size fits all I am only suggesting that currently we are managing the extinction of steelhead state wide. What is happening in the rest of the state is what happened here on the Washougal , Wind and East Lewis 30 years ago.. Seeing you guys up north go through it now just proves that we have not learned a thing.. I am not so much tough as I am desperately sad about the situation.

  6. this is why we have no fish...
  7. And I see you avoided my question...so I'll ask again;

    And in those cases where there is room?

  8. it's not a matter of what is going to work best to bring back more fish.. it's about doing everything we can to keep runs from going extinct.

    furthermore i think WDFW's escapement goals are completely BS.

    if a river is not meeting it's escapement goals fishing should not be allowed. just to throw out numbers.

    escapement not met 0 fishing
    escapement met .. catch and release fishing allowed
    escapement + 10% hatchery fish allowed with hatchery harvest allowed
    escapement + 50% wild harvest allowed 1 per day 5 per year.. guided anglers not allowed to harvest, guides not allowed to harvest

    one of the big things WDWF really needs to look at is each river on a sub sub sub basin level

    every little creek needs protection.. Lets take my home river the Washougal as an example.
    it has about a hundred or so little tributaries most of them used to be very productive. now each has a dozen fish or less. each one of those distinct population is what makes up the Washougal's population. as we lose those fish we lose those creeks. if a creek only has two fish returning and one of those fish is lost even as the result of hook and release mortality that is a huge blow to the entire watershed, it takes an entire creek out of production. These creeks are particularly susceptible to being destroyed by chambers creek hatchery fish which prefer small creek habitats..

    Every fish we have now, particularly in the majority of the Puget sound streams REALLY matters.. every single one.. we can do very little to stop timber harvest or development or dams that were built 70 years ago.. should energy go to those things??? YES. should all the energy go towards those things we have the least control over? NO we should put energy where we can do good immediately.
    those two things are harvest and hatcheries. those are also two areas where sport fishers can do something without being hypocrites.. if we limit our impacts that gives up a leg to stand on with other river users.
    I can certainly understand not wanting to give up your impact but that is exactly how the tribal gill netter feels too. Why should he give up his impact if you are not willing to give up yours???
    why should a logger not clear cut a piece of property that will raise water temps after all there is some guy down in the river tromping through redds and sticking hooks in fish right now..

    the impact of CnR is small i totally agree, maybe even very close to zero most of the time.. but do you really want to win the battle over who kills the last fish just so you can have a thrill???

    I am NOT talking about a CnR ban... I am talking about people choosing to moderate their own behavior... go target hatchery fish or fish where wild fish are meeting escapement. The Hoh for instance is not meeting escapement, maybe we should lay off.
    Chris Johnson likes this.
  9. I agree with you Curt on the fact that habitat restoration would be a much more effective course of action. But it is a long and difficult struggle that requires constant attention and a lot of money, and we as a society more often than not take the path of least resistance, it's human nature. If we love these fish as much as we say we do then we will keep at it, if not we won't. I agree with much of what Rob says as well, but don't share his seeming fatalistic attitude. I don't know how to answer Wayne's question, except to say that I believe the Skagit could with stand a limited C&R season right now.
  10. Rob, we have limited our harvest to the point where almost every Salish Sea river is closed for the better part of the year. It isn't working. The hatcheries are being stopped as we speak which should close the rivers for the rest of the year. The jury is still out as to how much impact this will have (I feel little to none). The Skagit has been over escapement for the last 3 out of 4 years but, according to you the escapement numbers are bull. Timber, hydro, development, and farming are all that is left. You say there is nothing we can do that will have any lasting effect on timber, hydro, development, and farming because society will not give anything up. I guess it is time to stick a fork in it. We are done here. Bobber fishing at Pass Lake anyone?
  11. Rob -
    regarding your comment -

    " What is happening in the rest of the state is what happened here on the Washougal , Wind and East Lewis 30 years ago.. Seeing you guys up north go through it now just proves that we have not learned a thing."

    35 years ago the exactly same situation was seen on the Puget Sound rivers. The major difference was by 1984 the managers had completely revamped steelhead management in the region. Mark selective fisheries had become the norm. Escapement goals (based on wild spawners - not naturally spawning hatchery fish) had been established. Annual fishing plans established and generally the highest priority given to achieving the desired wild escapements. The managers were aware of the early results of Kalama hatchery/wild interaction studies and had begun modifying the hatchery protocols to address those emerging concerns. Also by that time specific CnR seasons targeting wild steelhead had been establishing. All this was cutting edge stuff that had received very support for anyone in the steelhead angling community.

    The result of that aggressive wild fish was the kinds of wild runs seen in the region during the mid-1980s to mid-1990s. In many of the basin wild escapements were such that the capacity of the river to produce steelhead smolts were being consistently challenged. The end result were relatively healthy runs and fisheries dependent on those runs. The major err that the managers made was not being prepared to the sudden collapse of marine survivals (an event that was outside of the experience of those involved). It is interesting that when it became obvious that marine survival had gone south once again when managers took actions to protect those wild fish there was a major backlash from the angling community. In fact it is safe to say the wild steelhead coalition was formed in large part due to the closure of the Skykomish CnR fishery to protect under escaped wild runs.

    I'm confident that when marine survivals improve the existing management paradigms in the region will be more than adequate to see near immediate responses from the wild populations. With the lower marine survivals the one glaring management piece that is missing is the protection of the resident life histories in the region's anadromous rivers. Having a wild resident rainbow populations that are both more robust and wide spread would provide a much needed population safety net and more stable smolt production. Even without a serious directed effort on the part of the agency or even the angling community for that sort of management actions there are several examples of successful management actions in the region that have result in significant increases in wild resident rainbows. It is too bad that much of the energy directed at eliminating hatchery fish could not have been matched in efforts to restore those resident rainbows. Actions that actually may have made a long term difference to the wild O. mykiss populations in PS rivers.

    Bottom line much has been learned about what is required to successfully manage the wild steelhead of Puget Sound. I do agree that WDFW has failed in taking what has been learned and providing and effective leadership in what is needed for the wild steelhead. The State wide steelhead plan was an attempt in that direction but it has been lacking. What remains unknown is how best to cope with declining marine survivals and how to elevate the priority to protect and restore the habitat base needed for long term viability of PS steelhead.


  12. so what you are saying is that we are doing everything we can and we are still losing the runs?? in that case yup stick a fork in it it's done.... sad ain't it?? like i said that's what happened down here 30 years ago I know EXACTLY how you feel and completely sympathize with you.. I have no problem with CnR seasons with rivers meeting escapement but as you say that's a rare case. In rivers that are not meeting escapement do you want to be the one to cause the last fish to die? I know I don't.

  13. I do not really think wild fish management from 1984 was really all that cutting edge..

    back in the 60's the Madison started to become manage for wild fish production and modified harvest regimes, albeit non-native fish.

    point being is that we knew long before 1984 that our wild runs were in the crapper and we knew what to do to fix the problem. The problem is that those fixes required human beings to modify their behavior. Those same fixes are still needed today. we need to do everything in our power to make sure that the next time the ocean conditions go south that we get everything we can out of our freshwater habitat..

    furthermore it was not ocean conditions that caused the collapse of our wild runs in SW Washington. they were devastated during the 60's and 70's Long before the collapse of the 90's.
    The only reason we had fish to fish for during the 80's was the Skamania hatchery masking the problem and making it worse. harvest and hatchery issues devastated the Washougal and the surrounding rivers NOT ocean conditions.. funny thing is as harvest and hatcheries have been eliminated/reduced the fish have rebounded, in spite of poor ocean conditions....
  14. Rob -
    You have proposed the following -

    "if a river is not meeting it's escapement goals fishing should not be allowed. just to throw out numbers.

    escapement not met 0 fishing
    escapement met .. catch and release fishing allowed
    escapement + 10% hatchery fish allowed with hatchery harvest allowed
    escapement + 50% wild harvest allowed 1 per day 5 per year.. guided anglers not allowed to harvest, guides not allowed to harvest"

    I find that sort of approach very interesting and it may surprise you that while the details may vary some that is exactly the sort of approach that the co-managers submitted to the feds in 2010 in an effort to establish a Puget Sound steelhead fishing plan. It is also the sort of thing that "Occupy Skagit" has been pushing for. While the co-manager plan did not include your hatchery piece abundance based thresholds for increasing allowing impacts were a central component.

    Across the State the standard for setting anadromous escapement goals continues to be MSY. An glaring exception has been Skagit wild winter steelhead where the goal is 150% of MSY. It is interesting if the co-manager in the basin had used MSY as the goal (4,000) then under your example targeted wild harvest would be allowed in the recreational fishery when the run was expected to be above 6,000 adults yet when they opted for a more conservative goal folks take exception with even a CnR fishery.

    As an aside if the current goals are completely BS what would your recommend?

  15. So, after reading this thread, it should be safe to assume that Mr. Allen either already has his doctorate and works for WDFW, is in a postdoc position en route to WDFW, or is currently enrolled in an accredited university attaining his PhD and you really have to give him his due for walking the talk. If not the case, well it sure seems to take a lot away from what he has had to say.


  16. first of all my wild fish harvest was a compromise a reasonable one however i feel that no one should ever kill another wild steelhead ever even if we hit 1000% of the escapement goal..

    MSY should be thrown entirely out the window we should not expect our rivers to yield anything at all. we should adopt a new management strategy for Maximum Potential Spawning.

    the hatchery steelhead thing was also a compromise I do not believe that we should allow the state or any other agency to be involved in raising hatchery steelhead for planting within our state.

    use all that money and energy to raise salmon for harvest and use steelhead for conservation or northwest heritage. hatchery steelhead are a complete waste of time and resources.. I'd rather have double the hatchery coho.

    my point is that steelhead are not a prolific species like salmon species are so lets put our hatchery harvest efforts where it'll have the highest yield...

    as for escapement goals I think if we doubled them all we'd have a good starting point...
    Bob Triggs likes this.

  17. no just 30 years of listening to Biologists and kicking around the block and being acquainted with the history of the northwest and what it used to produce. and I have high expectations of what our rivers are still capable if they were allowed to.

    also education gives you knowledge.. it doesn't make you smart or able to think.. Now i don't claim to be smart but i can usually see through governmental BS.

    that is why i suggest that people wanting to make a difference get the education they say you have to have then get inside WDFW and work your way up.. I can think of one such individual right now. Who i think is on the right track...
  18. Curt, I proposed special regs (no bait barbless hook), in the north fork Nooksack above Welcome bridge for that very reason, to protect the resident trout population and steelhead and salmon pre migrants. The WDFW told me they were already doing enough to protect those fish and did not want to limit harvest opportunity.
  19. There really should be no harvest of native trout or char anywhere on the continent as far as I am concerned, at least in areas that receive any degree of fishing pressure, and particularly in the case of resident fish. Political and social pressures aside, we really need to rethink these harvest fisheries and focus on the selective harvest of salmon as a regional resource, a resource that effectively harnesses the productivity of the ocean and brings it to us. Trout and char should be categorized as non-harvestable sport fish for the simple reason that sustainable healthy populations are more valuable from an economic stand point in this capacity. Not to mention the importance that they hold in any healthy functioning watershed, probably some of which we still don’t fully understand. To me this seems to be one of the rare instances where Lichatowich’s natural economy and our economy might find some common ground.
    sopflyfisher and Chris Johnson like this.
  20. Fascinating... this forum is a lot like watching a dog chase its tail. One statement I've made before that cannot be disputed is; choosing not to fish over threatened stock introduces no risk whatsoever...and that is a personal choice each of us can make. Those that try and split hairs making arguments to the contrary are simply trying to justify the internal guilt they have knowing they are putting personal gratification in the wrong priority.

    We can argue the hypotheses, mounds of conflicting data, suppositions, theories, opinions, and what ifs till the rivers run dry -- but nothing changes the fact that fishing them introduces risk. And, just because this is a fishing forum, does not mean the position not to fish them (threatened stock) should be disregarded.

    And I still think steelhead are overrated ;).

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