Where Are the Rezzies? 2010

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Rich Schager, Jul 11, 2010.

  1. Rich Schager

    Rich Schager You should have been here yesterday...

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    2009's early smolt release (May and June) from the Squaxin Island Net Pens left their whereabouts a mystey.

    2010's release was not done as predicted in June and July, but even earilier and completed in May :

    May 28th, 2010 • Category: NWIFC Blog |
    Over at the Squaxin Island Tribe’s natural resources blog, they have a post on the recent release of 1.8 million coho into the South Sound. After 18 months, these fish will return, contributing to fisheries throughout Puget Sound.

    From the blog:

    Over the last couple of weeks Squaxin Island Natural Resources have released approximately 1.8 million coho smolt from the Net Pen facility located in Peale Passage. “Our hope is these coho live a healthy life through out their journey through the Puget Sound into the ocean and return back as 8 lbs adults for the 2011 Washington Sport and Tribal Fisheries,” said Will Henderson Enhancement Manager for Squaxin NR.
     
  2. Roger Stephens

    Roger Stephens Active Member

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    Rich:

    It is disappointing to hear that the Squaxin Island net pen resident coho were released earlier that planned(June/July). Hopefully this year's early release will not result in a poor resident coho fisheries this coming Winter/Spring as was the case last Winter/Spring.

    Roger
     
  3. Rich Schager

    Rich Schager You should have been here yesterday...

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    Roger,

    I live on Harstine Island, across from the salmon pens. After not seeing a single fish of any size, nor any seals all through winter and spring, all the sudden the seals showed up in May. And then I started seeing some smolts dippling the water, followed by seals on wild feeding sprees... Seals are mostly gone now, but I'm still seeing a few smolts whenever the wind calms down. But that's better than last year, when the smolts dispersed and cleared the area within a week - so maybe there is hope for a better year. This new pattern of earlier releases sure seems to go against the delayed release philosophy.

    Rich.
     
  4. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Somehow I would be surprised if the Tribe was really interested in enhancing the resident coho fishery. I would think that from their prespecitive getting coho out to the ocean and back would be the priority. What changes have occured in the State coho resleases in the area recently? both numbers and timing.

    Wonder if the Tribe had finally changed thecoho brood stock used; maybe to something more local.

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  5. Jeff Hale

    Jeff Hale B.I.G.F.F.

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    Well, today I went out to an Area 10 beach that was red hot for rezzies this time last year, and not a fish was to be found. The tide, weather, and water were perfect. I fished poppers and clousers and didn't get a single tug nor did I see any sign of coho. Hmmmm.
     
  6. Rich Schager

    Rich Schager You should have been here yesterday...

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    Broodstock are still from the Skykomish River (Wallace). Projected broodstock for 2011 ansd 2012 continues to be the Sky.
    http://wdfw.wa.gov/hat/reports/brood/2010/coastal_2010_1st_draft.pdf

    Which brings up another issue. Doesn't the WDFW have to agree to these 'early' releases?

    Rich.
     
  7. stilly stalker

    stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

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    Not really. They can do pretty much what they want. WDFW has to answer to the tribes, but it doesn't really go the other way. Thanks Boldt decision
     
  8. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Rich -
    May releases are the "norm" for hatchery coho releases (matches up with the "wild" timing). I see the state's Hatchery genetic management plan (HGMP) for the south sound net pens calls for May/June releases so it would appear that the state has all ready "agreed".

    I suspect (though not very familar with the south sound programs) that the timing of the net pen releases within the general release period is influenced by when the smolts reach "size".

    Again I find it hard to believe that the tribe would be involved in a rearing program that was specifically designed to produce resident fish. Wold think that from a harvest prespective a program would be judge on how well the smolts produced left the sound to feed and grow (larger fish) and return. Resident fish would generally not met those objectives.

    Has there been other state sponsored coho programs that were designed to produced "delayed" releases to specifically feed that resident fishery? If so what is the status of it?

    tight lines
    Curt
     
  9. stilly stalker

    stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

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    Not really. There have bee many rearing programs that have failed to produce the way they want, both net pen and rearing pond programs in salt water. On several occasions they have been breached or failed in some way, releasing fish that turn into 3 lb resident coho, but the purpose has not been to create resident fish. In my expeience working with the hatcheries as a WDFW employee in Whatcom county, many hatcheries rlease their fish too late. Steelhead especially. We werent allowed to release fish till may, but they would go through their smolting process as early as early april. Its kind o neat to see. One day, they are all swimming against the current and eating well, the next, they are swimming with the current and are not eating and start tuning silver.
     
  10. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Stilly Stalker-
    You are correct in that some steelhead smolts want to leave the river systems in early April or even late March. However it is good to remember that like many things in nature the timing of steelhead smolt out migration is a bell shape curve. Smollt trap information in western Washington has consistently shown that curve while starting in early April extends into June with the peak movement from the system being durign the second or third week of May. The variation in the timing of the smolt migration appears to be influenced by tempertaures and flows.

    It has been found that tpically trying to minic the wild fish is a good strategy for hatchery fish. When steelhead smolts are allowed to voluntary leave rearing ponds say starting in mid-April there is early push of fish but as with the wild fish most do not leave the hatchery until May. Another important consideration is impacts of the hatchery smoilts on wild populations. When the hatchery smolts are released as true smolts they typically immediately migrate downstream leaving the system within days. By holding the smolt release until May helps to insure that most of the smolts being released are ready to go reducing the time they spend the time in the system.

    In the artificial situation found in a hatchery it has been consistently found that following the wild fish lead and releasing the hatchery steelhead smolts in the first half of May is the strategy that most consistently produces the best returns while reducing hatchery/wild intereactions. This is backed up by a number of scientific papers which I'm sure you can find with a little searching.

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  11. stilly stalker

    stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

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    Ive read many of the papers, and I understand the reasoning behind itfor the most part. One of my observations, however, is that holding them past their attempts to smot out and migrate downstream creates a higher number of "trout" tht never leave the river system,and instead remain in the area of the river near the hatchery. Since my experience is mostly in Whatcom county, Ill use th area of the Nooksack near the Kendall ceek hatchery as an example: fishing the area up or downsream of ther in the summer, you will catch a LARGE amount of fin clipped rinbow trout in the 12" range, much larger than the release size, obviously residualized hatchey steelhead that never went downstream.
    I know that there are may issues relating to the state mandated release dates, and hatcheries in general. What I would like to see is releases based on a waterhed to watershed basis, with release dates for fish tailored to those watersheds, not a state wide generalized release date based on what works in one watershed. We all know that our native fish are highly specialized to their own systems,and I thnk that for hatcheries to be more efficient, they need to be managed on this basis
     
  12. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Stilly stalker -
    While it is probably pointless to continue this discussion here ( a topioc for another discussion - doesn't seem to be of much interest to any one else). I do have couple comments to some of the issues your last post touched one.

    I agree whole heartlty that there is sigfnificant basin to basin variation/adaption of our wild steelhead populations and that local adaption needs to be maintained and considered in any management actions. That said when one looks across western Washington one finds remarkable consistency in the timing of the wild steelhead smolt out migration. Within some year to year variation the general smolt timing pattern that I referred to early holds through out Puget Sound, Hood Canal, the straits and coast. I suspect we would some variationon the upper Columbia tribs but for western Washington (which I limited my comments) the general guidelines discussed would be basin specific.

    I also agree that the residualization of hatchery smolts can be significant problem and every effort should be made to keep their numbers at the lowest numbers possible. Rearding those 12 inch fish you are reporting in the Kendall Creek area. Those would be expectionally large fish from residualizes from that spring release. As I recall state hatchery release guidelines calls for size at release target of about 6/# which as you know is aobut 8 inches. It is hard to imagine 8 inch fish growing to 12 inches in just a few months. Sounds as if some of the hatchery "smolts" being released are too large.

    Regarding the LARGE amount of those fish; I'm not sure how many fish that really is however even if there were hundreds or even a couple thousand of them the residual rate given the number of fish released would be very low. It has been clear that following release guidelines - size, condition, timing, etc are good hatchery practices to reduce residualism. However in basin like the Nooksack I would suggest that delaying the release of smolts until the spring melt/run-off has begun makes sense. Typically the run-off on north sound trivers begn arond mid-May. Releasing at those flushing flows would help speed those fish that are willing to head to the ocean on their way while at the same time putting those non smolts in an environment that selects against residualism (washes them out of the basin).

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  13. stilly stalker

    stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

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    I like a good educated back and forth, it makes things interesting, ad we aren't really disagreeing on the issue, although we did get off topic from the original posters question. Definitely a topic for a new thread

    Usually, the smolts released are UNDERIZED in that basin actually, as the 47 deree water from the well at Kendall creek makes growth slower than at some other locations. I believe it is a 7 fish per pound size goal and they usually are released at 9 ffp
     

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