"Why aren't Olympic Peninsula Steelhead . . .

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by miyawaki, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. underachiever

    underachiever !

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    The way a lot of folks (not necessarily you) frame their standpoint on the matter, I think that's the primary thing they're concerned about.
     
  2. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

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    No, you can certainly pin that on me. The more I step away and look at this issue and start really looking at the data (thanks a bunch salmo g) I think the fishing pressure leads to blog rants like the original post more than what the numbers are showing.

    Most of us can agree that fishing pressure makes finding unmolested and aggressive fish more difficult. Plus, dealing with people with poor etiquette on the river does not usually lead to a relaxing experience for most personality types.

    - From 2003-2013 the Hoh missed escapement 5 out of 10 times
    - The previous 10 years the Hoh missed escapement 4 out of 10 times
    - The prior 10 years to that the Hoh missed escapement 2 out of 10 times
    - The prior 7 years to that (records end) the Hoh missed escapement 3 out of those 7 years.

    Besides one ten year stretch the Hoh seems to miss about half the time. I am not suggesting that this is good or we cannot do better, but looking back to 1976 things look much the same, except massive pressure and competition. I want to see larger run sizes on all of the coastal streams, but I also want to see some sanity to the pressure. The pressure is the reason I haven't fished the Hoh in the winter since 2009, not the run sizes. It sounds better to do it for the fish, but I'm not buying it if you fished 2001-2013 with no issues.

    Ask yourself an honest question. Would you feel the same way about the increased pressure and fishing experience if the Hoh met escapement every year for the last thirty years?

    There is hope. I think if Occupy Skagit is successful in getting fishing reopened when escapements are high that will release the pressure cooker. I also think the internet is changing in the way people react to hot-spotting. New technologies mature and I think you have already seen many guides back off the hype machine that they were a part of less than five years ago. People are starting to become more aware that internet conversations are not like those on the river or at the shop and are making changes in the way they report on their fishing. The reaction to old style reports isn't always pretty. I also think the internet will move towards more private groups like on Facebook or other new social sites than open access sites.

    We shall see....
     
  3. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

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    I think that what we see with the coastal streams is that the run sizes are fine, actually. Escapements tend to be what the co-managers allow them to be, if they even get around to agreeing on something.

    I tend to fish elsewhere. This is not because I feel my effort will limit populations in any way, but because of the experience. This years spring trip should be a good adventure.

    Go Red Sox,
    cds
     
  4. jwg

    jwg Active Member

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    I appreciate that Sg and Curt continue to have the patience and passion to educate the rest of us.
    Jay
     
  5. Runejl

    Runejl Josh

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    Hey Chris Bellows,

    I am curious about what the escapement level was set at? Was escapement a benchmark that stayed steady over 37 years or did the state adjust it lower and lower as the runs diminished?
     
  6. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    I think I meant to imply the same thing in regards to logging that you are saying. Just didn't come out that way.

    Your statements regarding capacity make sense. Philosophically I think I'm still averse to the harvest of wild steelhead, but in this context I suppose I see some rationale. If the escapement is above capacity, then the extra fish "do no good" for the population. I mean one could argue ancillary benefits of the extra carcasses, baby fish, etc. but maybe not a direct benefit to overall abundance. I get that.

    As for the early components, if no harvest was allowed, the only mortality should be incidental regardless of the run timing of the brats. I'm not trying to crack the can of worms that is an argument about mortality from C&R, but I'm pretty sure more early returning wild fish would survive, if nobody could bonk them (and I know I am assuming people adhere to the rules....not always a fair assumption I know).

    I also realize this ship has probably sailed as most of the early returners seem toast at this point.
     
  7. troutdopemagic

    troutdopemagic Active Member

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    If memory serves, escapement for the Hoh has recently been 2000-2500 fish.
     
  8. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

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    I used the same number throughout... so if it has been lowered the Hoh missed even worse 20-35 years ago. The number is approx. 2400.
     
  9. o mykiss

    o mykiss Active Member

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    Yeah, nature did such a shitty job of keeping things in balance before we came along.;)
     
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  10. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    Just to be clear, just because I can see where someone is coming from, does not mean I agree. Those "forgone opportunities" are still best left in the stream. IMO of course :)
     
  11. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    David,

    At this time I'm opposed to the targeted harvest of wild steelhead simply because the most notable thing about them - statewide - is their relative scarcity. Allowing the continued harvest of wild steelhead just because a very few rivers appear to still be producing them in excess of escapement needs is a fool's errand IMO. We have gone from relative abundance in the late 1960s, where angling was only beginning to have the potential to affect abundance, to the present where the preponderance of populations statewide are ESA listed, and the few that aren't, are just a short matter of time from the same peril.

    Early timed components of the runs can be re-established. The only requirement is that we stop killing them. As wild populations recover, the margins, early and late, expand in proportion if they are not cropped off. Because the tribes won't selectively harvest, and the hatchery fish return early, early timed wild fish will continue to be heavily selected against. Sport fishing regulations now prohibit retention of wild steelhead until Feb. 15, but since the tribes take the greater portion of the harvest, I doubt this regulation will have much effect.

    Sg
     
  12. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    And a light goes on in my head. Sounds like the tribes should just install a weir and sort out the brats, and distribute them to the members that want them. Would probably make harvest cheaper, and completely discriminatory. I hear tell that "tribes" (not sure who it applies to and to whom it does not...if at all) tend not to see much difference, if any, between wild reared and factory reared fish are concerned.

    In your experience, is this true?
     
  13. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

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    just pray for lots of rain in december and january to let those fish get upstream of the nets.... sucks for fishing though.
     
  14. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    David,

    There are significant objections to selective fishing that I've heard tribal representatives express. First, selective methods are more expensive. A short gillnet, either drift or set, and a small skiff and outboard are the cheapest commercial fishing gear on the planet based on unit income and expense. The second problem is "who gets the money?" With the extant gillnet fishery the money goes to the fisherman who catches the fish. If a tribe were to install a weir and operate a complex fish trapping system, it would have to decide who gets the money and divide it among several fishermen who each believes they are the high liner under current conditions. Third, if you keep only the hatchery fish and release the wild ones, you forego the revenue of the released fish. A commercial fisherman's job is to catch fish, not let them go. The concept is anti-thetical. And last, certain tribes have made a policy decision that hatchery and wild fish are the same, in lieu of science to the contrary.

    Sg
     
  15. golfman44

    golfman44 Active Member

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    Great read, thanks Leland.

    Few people here actually practice what they preach, including some people who have posted in this very thread (a particular 17 fish day on the Methow by someone here comes to mind). Bob is one of the few that actually walks the walk. I asked him about potential guide days on the OP and he was quick to turn down my $$ for the sake of the fish.

    Forum posts are one thing, actually acting on them is another. Whether you agree with his specific points or not is irrelevant, hats off to the man. Hopefully one day when I learn how to catch fish consistently I can have some self control, but who knows.


    [​IMG]
     
  16. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    But if the fishers would be payed far more for the released wild fish (via a scheme where recreational anglers would pay the tribes for their "rights" to harvest wild fish), wouldn't the conflict be less acrimonious and the fishers (via the tribal administration) would still receive value for these fish? It is always easier to divide up a generous pie.
    Steve
     
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  17. bhudda

    bhudda heffe'

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  18. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Cabezon,

    Yes, that's possible. However, depending on who you ask, the money is only the first or second reason for fishing. Some just like to fish, and they want to fish in the way that most satisfies them, and they'd rather do that for less money than release a wild fish so that it might be caught and released by a non-treaty sport fisherman. I think there's a huge trust and respect chasm that has to be crossed for that to happen.

    Sg
     
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  19. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    I see your point; when one reads about other over-exploited fisheries around the world, similar attitudes are present even if it appears to be against their economic self interest in the long run. A key is to not totally suspend fishing, just reduce the effort but improve the economic return. For some things, some individuals would never sell at any price; however, you doesn't know that (or what the price is) until you ask. And it wouldn't be necessary to convince all the treaty tribes to try this approach, just one. If it proved successful, others will join in.

    Steve
     
  20. Rob Allen

    Rob Allen Active Member

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    time for ESA listings anyone intentionally killing wild steelhead from the OP proves by their actions that they do not care about the resource regardless of the equipment they use ti harvest them.


    Also if you love wild steelhead and want them to persist practice self restraint. fish where runs are at least stable or don't fish at all. just because you love catch and release fly fishing for steelhead doesn't mean you should spend every moment out there doing it. sometimes the only conservation move is to stay home.
     

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