wenatchee river steelhead:(

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by bhudda, Sep 29, 2006.

  1. ive been hearing from a few clients of mine, non fisherman, they just like to tell me anything fishing related they come across because i enjoy hearing it and they know im a nut. so they say that while heading east for whatever, that they have been seeing some people walking on or across hwy 2 with some big fish! have to be steelhead? do they even patrol closed waters during peak summertime? i am sad to hear of this and wonder if anyone else out there has heard of the same...
    and before anyone asks- yes they were talking about the wenatchee river not the sf sky.
  2. I havent seen it first hand but my ex-roomate at EOU was from cashmere and said that he and his friends used to fish that river for steelies in the summer; it wasnt until recently that I looked it up and its closed. Its a bummer but I have never ever seen a gamey in that area so everyone just does as they please I guess.
  3. I thought that was opening this year
  4. Just the annual recycling of rumor.
  5. There are chinook salmon in the Wenatchee, and some are spawning right about now. Of course, it's not open to fishing for salmon or steelhead, either one.
  6. you thought the cedar river had an onslaught of people the first year they opened back up, the wenatchee would crush all records for sure .
  7. Ive worked two years over there as a fishereies biologist, and right now the summer chinook are spawning. The river is closed to fishing (and by the way its probably not going to open for a while), but there are studies being done on the carcasses right now. While WDFW does not take any carcasses from the river, they sample them near the river. Is it possible that they maybe saw some plastic bags with heads in them? They do take the heads from some of the hatchery fish to extract the CWT's. However, we have seen carcasses filleted out on the side of the river, and it wouldn't surprise me if people were bold enough to take them back to their car to fillet them. Anyways, the fish are chinook, and people shouldn't be taking them from the river unless they are WDFW. Someone should call if they see someone actually taking a fish back to their car that is not wearing any WDFW logo clothing or life vests.
  8. People poach it like mad. I can't tally all the people I've either yelled at or reported. My experience is that they were mostly tourists (Leavenworth) rather than locals. They see a beautiful river, look down and see fish roll, then they get the rod out of their car. The one step they're missing there is to check the regs. One guy last summer pretended not to hear me as he dragged hardware across a big pool with his son. So, I swam across and opened a can.
  9. of worms or WHOOPASS!!!!

    i know that everyone thinks salmon, but ive seen some big steelhead in there and im sure that alot of them are steelies thats being removed.
  10. headstrong1,
    While I happen to be one of those tourists (my wife wanted to come to October fest) and agree with you that is a beautiful river and I did bring my rod (however to hopefully fish the Methow) I am thankful that I looked up the river on the web and found your site that people post on. Having fished the Lochsa and St. Joe many years now it eats me up when I drive by and see people from out of state and in state pulling fish out of CnR sections of the river. So I understand how you feel. That being said I saw where the Methow was closed the 18 of Sept. Does anyone know if it is currently open for steelhead? Any help or ideas to go while my wife hits the shops on sunday and monday would be appreciated.
  11. Methow opened this morning. Check WDFW regs carfully, as sections are closed to fishing, and hatchery fish need to be kept, and unclipped fish released without being taken from the water. Enjoy, bring a rain coat.
  12. I work along the river regularly. Like headstrong said, seems most are tourists out of Leavenworth. I have notified many this summer who were fishing in Tumwater Canyon. I do believe that there is probably some poaching that goes on in the low light hours lower in the river (Wenatchee to Peshastin), but can't say how prevalent it is.
    I know that WDFW is "sampling" the river and tribs (right now...I believe). They did this last year, as well. They have several people fishing the river...trying to cover it well. I volunteered...but when they told me they had to tote four gallons of water with them to keep fish in, I withdrew. Actually, not sure they could have accepted my offer, anyway. Possible that somebody saw one of them with rod and reel and bucket...and assumed they were poachers?
  13. thanks for posting that link. very informative about the state and feds decision making process regarding opening upper columbia fisheries.

  14. You're welcome. I was kinda surprised too...thought it was just a "total fish count" (Rock Island minus Rocky Reach) calculation they used to make their Wenatchee River decision.
    BTW...there was another very interesting piece in the paper the same night. Probably will clear up any question anyone has as to why the Wenatchee is just a notch above "difficult" to wade due to slickness. Here is the piece: http://wenatcheeworld.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081003/NEWS04/710031507
  15. Perhaps I am missing something, but...

    If the fishing season on the wenatchee river is open only to strip the river of hatchery fish in order for the wild fish to spawn, why are there hatchery fish still being produced? Why is this river not shut down compeletly for the recovery of wild steelhead, and no hatchery steelhead released at all? It doesn't make sense to me why there would be any hatchery production at all unless it was done to provide fish for a sport season. But the article said the sport season was only opened based on how many hatchery fish returned, meaning that it is really the other way around. Am I missing the bigger picture? Please explain.

  16. you hit the nail right on the head. it doesn't make any sense, but if this is the game they want to play, you might as well do your part to bonk those pesky hatchery fish. which reminds me, its dinner time!
  17. Tyler, good question. The wild fish have a "moderate to high risk of extinction in the next 25 years" according to NOAA. When I add up the various 'take' (kill) permits, people are allowed to kill up to 15% of them per year (and maybe more as I'm not sure I've found all the permits). I scratch my head wondering how something can be endangered if it can handle us killing 15% of them for fun or conversely, how we can be allowed to kill 15% of the steelhead when they are at a moderate to high rate of extinction...

    Numerous publications write about how great the runs are but they are talking about the hatchery fish. Wild runs still suck. In order for the Wenatchee steelhead to be considered 'recovered', about 2500 steelhead per year for 12 years in a row need to return to the Wenatchee and they have to be replacing themselves naturally at a rate greater than 1.0* (I'm no biologist but I think it means this: husband & wife have 2 kids = replacement rate of 1.0, 3 kids = 1.5) Around 1000+ fish have been coming back - a long way from 2500 fish/year for 12 straight years and they are a long way from natural replacement - the last number I saw published was 0.3.

    Enter the hatcheries: Some will say the hatchery fish are planted to help recover the wild fish but many studies have shown that hatchery fish may well have the opposite effect, at least in high numbers - which is why a sport season is opened. If there were no excess hatchery fish, there would be no reason at all to open the river since we can't intentionally target an endangered species. So why plant them to begin with? It depends on who you talk to: Some would argue that it is because the wild stocks are so depleted that the hatchery fish may be a necessary evil, others would argue it's so we can appease commercials, tribes and sportsfishers all of whom want/demand fish while others would argue there is a bit of CYA involved: if there are lots of hatchery fish and a fishing season, no one will notice how badly the wild fish have been managed....it's probably some of all of these reasons and more. A lot of money is spent on the hatcheries by various agencies and utilities, but I'd like to see some of that money put into habitat and marine survival. The trade-off is there probably wouldn't be much/any steelheading in the Upper Columbia Basin for a while and that is unexceptable to lots of people so the stocking continues...

    *I'm writing this from memory as I'm at work
  18. This has been covered before in detail, might try a search to see if you can pull up some old threads.

    The short answer: Without hatchery fish (remember these are native stocks that are hatchery reared) there probably wouldn't be any real number of steelhead up there anymore. The hatchery fish appear to be part of the recovery- to supplement the fish numbers and compensate for the low survival. A certain number of them are allowed to spawn in the wild, but if too many hatchery fish come back, they want them removed.

    Probably also political considerations play a role too, though seems to be not acknowledged so much.

  19. "The tribal fisheries are also being managed for a 20 percent harvest rate on the combined hatchery and wild B-Index steelhead run size. The tribes project that they will have caught 12,850 B steelhead through next week. That would be 14.3 percent of B run. The forecast for the total B steelhead run as counted at Bonneville is 90,000 fish. The B run --steelhead bound mostly for Idaho rivers -- is also ESA listed."

    as quoted from the Columbia Basin Bulletin

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