Whats the Deal with the resident silver fishery?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Jonathan Walkenberg, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Jonathan-
    If the forage resources are so stable how do you account for the significant variability in those resident coho numbers in recent years? Especailly since so many of those fish are of hatchery origin (more or less constant recruitment) one would think there would be relatively constant fishing year to year. The theory that I have heard most often from folks familar with that fishery (and I'm not very familar with the deep south sound portion of the fishery) is forage availability plays an important role.

    Don -
    Right on the money with your comments about the importance of regional differences.

    However regarding the status of wild coho in deep south sound. The presences of those hatchery fish (both delayed and regular release) are part of the problem. A huge portion of the problem is driven by the co-managers decisions to focus harvest management on the catching the hatchery fish without much consideration for the status of the wild fish. Essentially the goal is to catch as many as possible of the hatchery which of course means that few wild fish escape to spawn. That coupled with the fact that what natural spawning coho do occur is mixture of those shotgunning hatchery coho and the few wild fish the escape the fishery. As we have all learned when the natural spawning population is dominated by hatchery fish the population is usually not very productive. And in the case of those net pen coho the problem is even worst when the stock used is from out of the region; I believe it is still case that the coho stock used in those net pens are Wallace fish (from the Snohomish).

    I recognize the recreational contribution of the fishery on those fish when they stick around. I understand why and would expect folks to continue that fishery. However my point is that there are potential wild fish cost associated with supporting that fishery and that if society and the co-managers get serious about wild coho production in the deep south Sound one area that will be the focus are those net pen fish.

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  2. Don Freeman

    Don Freeman Free Man

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    Curt,

    I'm attending an informal meeting this morning with a group concerned with the future of this very issue. Members include former biologists and managers of the late release program. I intend to ask these very questions of them, and I'll let you know what I learn.

    Don
     
  3. MDL

    MDL We work to become, not to acquire.

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    Don,
    Looking forward to hearing from you concerning this.
     
  4. hendersonbaylocal

    hendersonbaylocal Member

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    they are freakin awesome, that's what the deal is! total two fish on one rod tripled up on gurglers anarchy!

    they are stupid, aggressive, hungry and fun to catch.
     
  5. Jonathan Tachell

    Jonathan Tachell Active Member

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    Smalma the bait is there. It moves from year to year and is not always located at the same depth or same exact location but it is in the general area and i believe these resident coho change there patterns accordingly. Also I don't know what goes on in the hatchery, as far as if they are releasing the same numbers of fish every year and if they are releasing them at the same time every year. I know that there is little known about where these fish go from february until june or july. They seem to kinda disapear for the most part during that time. Maybe they go deep or migrate north or south im not sure. I think there is far more forage out in the salt than needed to support the tiny amount of salmon in the sound. This is purley observation though from a lot of people that spend a lot of time on the water in the area. I think the reason for fewer fish is cut backs in hatchery production and changes in hatchery practices but these are just my opinion.
     
  6. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

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    you can lead them to water ,But you can't make them drink, Everybody wants the other guy to quit fishing, somebody else is always responsible for the decline of the resource
     
  7. wet line

    wet line New Member

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    This has been an interesting thread and lots of input. What it does is underscore the mentallity of fishermen as a group.

    Many if not most fishers started out fishing on put and take lakes in a very artificial situation. Where more fish were available than sustainable. It didn't take much learning to catch quite a few fish and something in that process lodged in the brain. Good fishing equates to a lot of fish caught!

    So now after studies and trial and tribulation it is pretty well determined that in many fisheries all these hatchery fish put into the system are an issue of varying degrees to native populations.

    The fishermen say I want to catch more fish and gee whiz I want a bunch of native fish too, but I want more fish to catch. Fishermen have become addicted to the numerous hatchery fish. The hypochrisy comes when those same people profess enhancing native populations but still want a lot of fish to catch and this requires hatchery augmentation which harms wild fish in numerous ways.

    So the question is: do you want to catch a lot of fish, then support hatcheries and wild fish be damned! Or support efforts to restore wild fish runs at the expense of fishing in all aspects until the runs have had a chance to rejuvenate.

    We can have one or the other but not both.

    If you want wild fish then think about other species to fish for and other places to fish. It will require a change in mindset but it is up to the individual.

    Dave
     
  8. Jonathan Tachell

    Jonathan Tachell Active Member

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    Well said wet line.
     
  9. Don Freeman

    Don Freeman Free Man

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    Yup Dave, you've described the conundrum pretty accurately. I started out our meeting today with precisely that sentiment. "how do I reconcile my desire for some kind of a sport fishery with my ethic to re-establish wild runs".

    Our group, which aside from me will remain anonymous, consists of a retired hatchery manger, a working state biologist, a fly shop owner and several senior guys who have been fishing and active in conservation for decades around here.

    Here's what I learned:

    Aside from hatchery fish, coho are very scarce in the south sound. Due to several factors, they are not eligible for ESA listing, so stocking will continue.
    In order to change policy, data is needed to provide adequate rationale.
    The number of coho released into the sound has decreased from 14M to 9M in recent years.
    A very small percentage of these fish residualize, or remain in the sound for sport fishing. Compared to the impact of marine migrating fish, the impact is inconsequential. There are several reasons, including early release due to water quality, temperature, and sufficient funds to feed the smolt until July to increase residualization.
    It appears that adequate food supply is not the limiting factor; coastal cutthroat populations have not declined.

    In order to initiate change in policy, we need to develop data that can prove that enough wild fish return to re-start self sustaining runs. We need to know more about migration patterns of the fish.

    The hatcheries have begun to differentially mark fish released. In addition to adipose fin clipping, right/left ventral and pectoral fins may be removed. This enables samplers to identify the hatchery of origin.
    To aid the state in tracking this data, our group intends to mobilize volunteers on dates chosen for optimal catch in the various areas where resident coho are found. We will also raise money to pay for feed to increase retention time of smolt to enhance resident population.

    I'm sure that the contributors to this forum will respond across the usual spectrum of support and vilification. It goes with the territory. Many will critique that studies take time, and it's time for drastic action, etc. Maybe, but the system is what it is, and we hope to expedite the process through wide volunteer participation, rather than waiting for it to be done for us. You may not like the process, any more than the way a air bag slaps you in the face, but it's a better alternative.

    This is a condensed version of the issue, and of our proposals. I gotta go cook dinner, and not many read these wordy posts. We welcome constructive criticism and suggestions. We will be developing catch diaries and "Fish Ins" to start an expanded data base beginning in February. I'll contact clubs, shops and individual who can assist in this effort, but please, if you have something to contribute contact me.
     
  10. Bob Jones

    Bob Jones Still truckless now farther away

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    Don thanks so much for the care that you have that keeps you working to get us the information that we have to make our choices from. Thanks for your effort again.Yes it's tempting not to read the whole thing but when we need to know we have to read it again.
     
  11. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Don -
    Thanks for the report back. Your group is correct it will that data to lever changes in the current management paradigm..

    I too was a meeting yesterday and had the chance to ask a question or two. Found that those Wallace coho (out of "basin" fish from the Snohomish) are still used as the brood source used for those net pens. The good news (which you probably know) is that the State has been collecting spawning ground information on some of the streams in the area including looking at the clip status of the carcasses.

    Please note that I posted on this thread not to take pot shots at those that enjoy fishing for those coho or to suggest that they should not continue to do so, Rather it was an attempt to provide some background information about those fish and to suggest that it is not wild fish impact free. This resident coho "program" is tangled up in management decisions go back nearly 50 years ago that have lead to the south Sound region being managed as a "hatchery management zone" which leaves wild coho to essentially left alone to fend for themselves in face of hatchery harvest rates. Those decisions were largely made to drive commercial fisheries. Not sure that there is much the local recareation community to change the situation however I'm equally sure the foundation for any potential changes will be based on good information and not wishful thinking.

    In meantime I would recommend that folks enjoy their fishing, if so inclined attempt to become better informed about that resource, consider release any unclipped fish, and consider what your priorities may be if the opportunities for change come all.

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  12. wet line

    wet line New Member

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    Curt,

    For as long as I have been here I have never seen you take pot shots at anyone!

    Your posts are consistently informative and have a sound basis. Sometimes facts are pretty hard to swallow and myths are more pleasant. However, there are things we as fisher folk need to know in order to shape our thoughts. Dispelling myths and adding facts is a darned good place to start.

    Regardless of how long someone has fished there is always more to learn. And unfortunately the longer some people have fished the more they subscribe to certain false "information".

    Personally I have reshaped a lot of my thinking as a result of your valuable information and for that I am grateful. This forum is a far richer place because of you and some others with a broad background in fisheries.

    Dave
     
  13. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

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    Thanks for your posts Curt they are very thoughtful and informative. I've often thought that this program must have some impact on puget sound basin fisheries, not just coho but all anadromous fish in trhe basin, ie: competition for food and predation.

    Thanks, Chris
     
  14. Don Freeman

    Don Freeman Free Man

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    Curt,

    I'm with Dave, I really appreciate your fairness and candor. I trust you'll continue to share your experience with us as we continue to work for a hatchery free future.

    (That sounded a little like AA, didn't it)?
     
  15. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

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    Don,

    That is actually a good analogy, we do seem to be hooked on hatcheries. You have to admit you have a problem before you can deal with it
     
  16. kelvin

    kelvin Active Member

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    Here's the deal for me
    They move in pods up and down the beach jumping
    hunting the beach for the school
    finding a pod and hooking up every cast
    being out on the salt on a cold overcast day a light drizzel
    or rain strom passing by
    the drops pounding on your jacket and the water sound like a steak grilling on the BBQ
    the water clear and smooth as glass
    the current pushing against you swinging the line
    a nice cigar
    casting to rising fish in the salt
    watching as they torpedo toward your fly
    or stripping your line in and feeling the hit
    slowing down your strip
    and then the tug
    the tug ...
    there is just something about the tug from those fish
    the first time they jump
    the thrid time
    hooking up with a 2lb rezzy on a three weight
    (they get bigger later in the winter )
    trying to bring them to hand
    and having them tear off line from the reel... again
    unhooking them and watching them shoot away like a bullet

    it is nothing like catching a smolt
     
  17. Don Freeman

    Don Freeman Free Man

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    And I thought thatI enjoyed it!
     
  18. Roger Stephens

    Roger Stephens Active Member

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    :thumb:
    Kevin:

    Well said:thumb:

    It is an enjoyable hunt and seek game that is ever changing due to tides, weather, and food sources.

    Roger
     
  19. Saltman

    Saltman "Just Fish!"

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    Jonathan is obviously a gear guy who "has no life". Well said Kelvin!!!
     
  20. Griswald

    Griswald a.k.a. Griswald

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    As I have said before, I have been an advocate for a 2 life cycle closure of the entire puget sound for all 4 salmon species, to commercial and also sports...I love to fish but really, the science is too difficult to prove or deny without a closure.
    It is tragic, but there is too much money at stake to ever allow this to happen. Everyone "wants their fair share..." so really it is all going away within the next 20 years. If it makes you feel better, about half the time I goto the beach, I don't even take the fly rod, I just go watch, I love fishing more than anything, but really I love being on the water and outside, more than anything.
    Griswald
     

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