What happend to the steelhead in Washington?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by IHV2FSH, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. gt Active Member

    Posts: 2,616
    sequim, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    i would certainly vote in favor of closing down ALL steelhead hatcheries followed by closing down steelhead fishing statewide. we are past the time of self sustaining stocks of wild steelhead. all harvest of steelhead needs to be stopped, commercial as well as sport.
  2. Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

    Posts: 2,051
    Washington
    Ratings: +53 / 0
    Yeah, but we have some nice fat rezzie coho and blackmouth to show for it. :rofl:
  3. Lugan Joe Streamer

    Posts: 2,383
    Beautiful View, WA
    Ratings: +763 / 2
    Thanks Curt, as usual, for your complete and science-based explanation. I'm with GT: Close the hatcheries, close commercial fishing and close sport fishing until we see if they can recover. I for one have stopped fishing for them.
  4. Loren Jensen Active Member

    Posts: 1,013
    Sedro-Woolley, Washington
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    What a great point.

    OMJ pulls through again. Bitching about the weather is great, you can never bitch enough.

    Fishing with people who only want a meal, get on my nerves. Go to Mcdonalds and get some McDoubles. I'm more C&R than ever, but I also believe in keeping a trout every now and then, or a female humpy to smoke and give the roe to my bait fishing buddies.

    People put too much money into fishing. Almost like they think it's upping their chances. This is not the case. I am living proof that you can fish, and even fly fish, on a dime. When people put all these hordes of money into fishing, they get that much more pissed off when they get skunked. I caught my first fish since November last week. And I've been fishing ever since. Guess it's just luck, and my luck should be raising soon.

    There's a reason it's called fishing and not catching!!

    Edit: Yes, I know this it totallly irrelavent to the subject at hand.
  5. Drifter Active Member

    Posts: 1,630
    Ratings: +638 / 2
    I fished in the 70's and 80's for steel and saw the decline of fish when "elninyo" sorry for the spelling - moved in and warm waters moved clear up to alaska whipping out most of the food source for steelhead that migrated north , the winter runs declined so bad during this time i quit fishing for them in the late 80's . now the summer runs that migrated south to the california coast line were fine , and just got better !

    In the 90's there were some press releases of canadian netters taking up to 70 to 90 percent of the migrating fish from the northern usa ! we signed some treaties with them to stop netting of our fish and this worked for awhile . a lot of the time i think we are doing everything we can to help with waters and fish inland in both oregon and washington , in the early 80's it was common to see schools of fish in 50 to 100 fish , but we planted 275 thousand fish a year in my local river in oregon , in which now we only plant 100,00 brood stock fish so returns have gone down . we have taken rivers in oregon and stopped planting them for over 10 to 15 years and their NATIVE runs have not rebounded any ! the trask -n- mollala rivers to name a couple !

    in those days there were not that many good fly fisherman or regular gear fisherman , now with the internet people learn very fast how to take fish . now give that technology to the netters in the ocean and columbia and you have the same .

    I feel if we hand put 1,000,000,000 smolt in the ocean and they are not allowed to return then we have no fish . i believe we are funding the world with food for all our efforts and getting nothing for it !
    i only fish over the columbia steelhead now , hard not to with returns of 600 thousand a year returning over the first dam on the columbia , then i targeted the silvers this last year over the dam and we were getting 20 a day untill the small mess nets went in and it was whipped out in one day !!! and just kept netting untill nothing was left going over ! ive come to think - why do we put some much into fish we have so little control over and so little into trophy trout in both oregon and washington ? we have control over what happens with these fish and could have awesome fishing for these fish with very little effort or money compared to the billions being spent feeding the world ! just my two cents !!!
  6. Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

    Posts: 2,288
    bellingham wa
    Ratings: +542 / 0
    While it's true that most in-river interactions between wild and hatchery steelhead have been dealt with, the salt water interactions are unknown.

    Go Sox,
    cds
  7. Chris Bellows The Thought Train

    Posts: 1,628
    The Salt
    Ratings: +754 / 0
    Molalla Final Report

    "The Molalla wild winter steelhead run is part of the Upper Willamette Evolutionary Significant Unit,
    which was federally listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1999. The Molalla
    River population is in full recovery and is now considered a stronghold population.

    Before 1997, the Molalla River was stocked for decades with out-of-basin summer steelhead,
    winter steelhead, Coho salmon and catchable trout. These stockings along with the massive
    timber harvest in the mid-Century led to the massive decline of this population. Those stockings
    stopped with the listing of native winter steelhead and spring Chinook. Only a decade ago, Molalla
    River wild winter steelhead were estimated to be less than 200 fish, but in 2007 and 2008, the
    estimate was more than 1,500 fish, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)
    and NFS reports."
  8. Davy Active Member

    Posts: 2,021
    SIlverton, OR
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    did we figure out where they went?
  9. Davy Active Member

    Posts: 2,021
    SIlverton, OR
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    And they even let us fish for them, C&R, my house is about 5 minutes from the ramp, last year was awesome.
  10. gt Active Member

    Posts: 2,616
    sequim, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    very interesting topwater. so a low gradient river flowing through mile after mile of agricultural land, with all that implies, stops stocking hatchery fish, stands back and watches as wild fish return. that might just be classified as fisheries managment! its ashame that WDFW can't understand just how all of this can work.

    but as we know, MSY is the only real goal for WDFW.
  11. Davy Active Member

    Posts: 2,021
    SIlverton, OR
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    Indeed. The Molalla is a very small river similar to the Stilly. It has two forks the upper of which supports a small trout fishery much like the Middle fork Snoqualmie. It begins on the west slope Cascade range dropping thru farm and livestock country. The native fish runs have responded to being left alone very nicely. We were able to see many fish below Abiqua Falls last year( a stream I fished as a boy for steelhead) and a friends property on Butte Crk had fish spawning near his place as well . The MO is floatable with a driftboat in the winter . Infact, they keep a gate open to allow access to a key launching area only during the steelhead fishery. All other times the gate is kept closed to keep the tweakers out, atleast somewhat.
  12. Drifter Active Member

    Posts: 1,630
    Ratings: +638 / 2
    i floated the river from the 70's to 2000 then just quit because of no fish ! so i'm glad to here its rebounded the way it has , even if it took ten years . i will have to watch what happens the next ten years as the columbia runs are boomning right now also for the upper river fish , who knows what will happen next ? a few good years might not mean to much but glad to see it has changed some !
  13. gt Active Member

    Posts: 2,616
    sequim, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    the columbia is recieving 200,000,000 smolts a year, the only reason there are fish there. how many billions more do we intend to spend on this failed 'recovery'???
  14. bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

    Posts: 2,269
    m-ville
    Ratings: +680 / 0
    That has yet to be determined !!!!!!!
  15. Kaiserman content

    Posts: 2,612
    Ratings: +420 / 0
    You quit right at the wrong time unfortunately. 2001 was a record year all across the board. I'm with you though, let's hope that things get better. The more we get involved, the better it will be for the next generation.
  16. Don Barton Member

    Posts: 215
    Seattle
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    This has been a very interesting and enlightening thread. I thank all of the members who have taken the time to provide thoughtful and detailed posts relating to answering the original question. Threads like this are one of the reasons the WFF is a great site.
  17. IHV2FSH Member

    Posts: 69
    Northern California
    Ratings: +21 / 0
    Not fact, just my opinion, but I think it's a lousy, losing management strategy for the fish and for the fishermen.

    Mandated by law to release 500,000 steelhead yearlings every single year into the American River, not fry or fingerlings mind you, yearlings, the average return is less than 2% over the last 40 years or so. Less than 1% in recent times. The dam has been up since '55. What other "investor" would continue this type of "investment" with such a dismal long term track record?

    The presence of hatchery fish is a false indication of the state of our fisheries. I hasn't worked, won't work, and simply can't work.

    All any wild fish or animal needs to survive and flourish on this planet is suitable habitat and food source to live and reproduce on their own without constant interruption and the freedom to seek it out.
  18. Scottpuck Member

    Posts: 178
    North Bend, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    With your implication that the hatcheries are the obvious culprit, I'd like to point out the following article published very recently relating to the Molalla:

    While out of basin hatchery practices are certainly not good for wild steelhead populations, you are dismissing many years of stream rehab work that has been underway on the Molalla. It is quite obvious that you have an agenda here, and to your credit you do not hide it. However, you dismiss the work of a lot of hard working people which have set out to contribute to the positive outcomes of a rehabilitation effort – not just the elimination of its hatchery.

    Salmo_g provides a lot of very good information in this thread that can be applied along the entire west coast. Hatcheries are not your silver bullet, and in a lot of cases they spread angler pressure out easing pressure on certain wild habitats.

    The runs are not going to improve if water quality is not addressed, if water quality is good and your predation is high, then you are still fighting an uphill battle. We can remove every dam on the west coast, but if our fish are swimming in a poisonous environment, they stand no chance. We can remove every hatchery in Washington, reduce the steelhead populations within a few years to fractions of what exist today, and turn every angler in the state of Washington loose on the Queets and Ho.

    Fisheries recovery is a multi-headed monster, and in my humble opinion you are going after the most complicated issue with the most far reaching social, economic, and political implications of any of the subjects.

    I understand you are passionate about hatchery removal, but you and everyone that has this mind set need to understand that if you do nothing but remove hatcheries all you are accomplishing is a coup de grâce on the fishing opportunies we have today, with little impact to the end goal.
  19. gt Active Member

    Posts: 2,616
    sequim, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    even more interesting. i used to live about 1/2 mile from the molalla and understand the flow as well as the land it flows through. it is good news that some interested folks set out to do some improvements but you seem to imply that this eco system has had a complete makeover. what is more probably the case is the worse of the pollutants have been reduced and in combination with hatchery fish removal the wild fish are returning.

    you also are a part of the overall problem with wild fish recovery as you point out: '... understand that if you do nothing but remove hatcheries all you are accomplishing is a coup de grâce on the fishing opportunies we have today, with little impact to the end goal...' which is the worn out arguement for continuing to raise zombie fish.

    while some would want to point to the ubiquitious 'ocean conditions' all that means is they have no clue what is going on with the fish, but that sounds better than we are clueless. i have no problem with closing all steelhead hatcheries and shutting down harvest of steelhead by all concerned parties. afterall, fishing opportunities should be reserved for healthy populations of fish. and since the dams are a part of the anadramous problem, join my nephew and start bassin'!!!
  20. stewart dee Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Its these things. Salmon Sharks (this one fell to a secret rig)