Why no fish in Hood Canal?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Flyfishsteel, Sep 23, 2005.

  1. Flyfishsteel New Member

    Posts: 565
    GH,WA
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    Fished it for a couple hours and talked to a few fisherman saying zero for the day? What kind of fish should be in it?
  2. Les Johnson Les Johnson

    Posts: 1,590
    .Redmond, WA
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    Hood Canal has been in a deteriorating conditinon for years. It is suffering from pollution from all of the old septic tanks positioned years ago along the shoreline; from the increase of seals that leave probably tons of excrement along the estuaries and oxygen depletion. We must also remember that the runs of fish going into Hood Canal are hit hard in the Strait of Juan de Fuca by the commercial fishery and by the tribes inside of the Canal. Combine this with reduced and degraded habitat and you have a snapshot of what is happening on Hood Canal.
    There is still a population of cutthroat throughout Hood Canal and it will receive a run of fall chum salmon beginning about mid-October. There is usually a run of hatchery coho that go in to the Quilcene facility but I'm not sure how good that has been this season.
    A lot of chum salmon are taken in beach seines by the tribes and all too often only the roe is retained for sale to Asian buyers. If there is not an on-the-spot buyer for the chum carcasses (for which they are paid a pittance), the fishermen will simply take them out and pitch them into the canal where they sink to the bottom and rot; although some are certainly eaten by crabs, etc.
    Like most of our other Washington marine waters, Hood Canal has been degraded primarily by us and in some ways by the successs of the Marine Mammal Act. This has helped to reduce migratory fish populations.
    There are programs in place however that are looking into improving the fishery in Hood Canal but I'm not up to speed on them. There are other folks who post this site that can probably add a lot of better information than I just have. Please consider this an overview.
    Good Fishing,
    Les Johnson
  3. Flyfishsteel New Member

    Posts: 565
    GH,WA
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    What you have just stated makes alot of sense. Also the Quicene is being bombarded by grandmas and alike due to the big number of Silvers in it right now.

    Thanks for the info.
  4. Dale Dennis Formally Double-D

    Posts: 527
    Arlington, WA
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    Your right Les, the Canal is suffering and something needs to be done soon. It's a very complicated issue with the failing and leaching septic systems.
    They (WDFW) closed the Canal to crabbing because of alarming low numbers and the evident harvesting by some locals of immature crab. My brother and sister inlaw have live on the lower Canal for 40 + years and have not seen this before.
    I fished the Canal yesterday and found it difficult to find the cutts. Several cutts in the 13" range and somewhat skinny for this time of year, with one approximately 16" with a 6' realease. But that was it. Silvers are just starting to show but not in the numbers we would normally see this time of year.
    After a $110 ferry ride (not including gas) with the boat in tow I don't know if I would go back again this year. I love the Canal and have fished it sence the 60's, it's depressing to me to see it dyeing the way it is.
    As you pointed out there are groups working to turn it around but it is a huge undertaking and I can see there is a future need to get involved in some way.
  5. Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    Posts: 3,978
    Olympic Peninsula
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    I dont suppose that it helps that there are commercial salmon netters working in Hood Canal too? :confused:
  6. Jim Kerr Active Member

    Posts: 693
    Forks Wa
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    Another few thoughts on the canal. I fish the north end generaly 35 or so days a year and the south end about a dozen. I have noticed a generally declining population of cutts evenly distributed up and down the canal for the last several years, which makes me wonder about the "bad water" issue everyone is looking at. The water problems are a very serious issue, but cuthroat were allready declining in the north end long before the oxygen depletion began to effect it. The creeks that run off the Toandos peninsula, and dabob bay, as far south as triton cove, have traditionaly had some of the strongest populations of sea runs anywhere. Many of these creeks are tiny, but very produtive. In recent years the beaver eradication program undertaken by some of the local timber companies seems to really have taken its tole. Almost all the beaver ponds are gone from these sytems, and there is no new beaver activity to speak of. This has left virtualy no summer rearing water for juvinile cutts. The ponds also seemed to have a somewhat moderating effect on stream flow. Keeping a little extra water in the creeks in the summer, and moderating scouring during the heavy rains of winter. These ponds are almost ALL GONE, and there are no sighns of new ones in progress. This is causing many of the smaller creeks to dry up in the summer. I am sure this is not entirly to blame for the weakened cuthroat stocks. But I'd bet its a big factor.
    Jim
  7. TomB Active Member

    Posts: 1,620
    seattle,wa
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    Uncle Jimmy- This is the first I have heard of timber companies removing beaver ponds in this area ( i may be naive). That would certainly have a negative impact on cutts as well as coho and smaller effects on other species. How do they get permits to do that?...which companies?...where?. That's BS that they can get away with taking out beaver.
    -Thomas
  8. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,797
    Marysville, Washington
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    Moderate day timber practices are enough to eliminate much of the needed habitat for beavers without directed actions towards to these valuable animals. These mono-culture stands of Douglas fir are biological deserts for species such as beavers.

    The recent climate conditions are also taking a toll on the small streams and the critters they support. Small streams are beoming smaller and annual streams have become ones with interim flows. This is compounded in our small direct tribs to the salt. The fry/parr have no where to go when the flows disappear. In such tribs that are part of a larger freshwater system at least some of the juveniles are able to find refugia downstream.

    Tight lines
    Curt
  9. TomB Active Member

    Posts: 1,620
    seattle,wa
    Ratings: +58 / 0
    Smalma- I concurr on all fronts...the evils of monculture, climate change and its effects on streams and rivers, etc. But for the life of me, I cannot believe that timber companies are actually allowed to eradicate beaver intentionally. Do you know anything about this practice. It would seem to me that removing beaver has the potential to have equivalent damage as leaving no buffer strips of trees when logging.
    -Tom
  10. Jim Kerr Active Member

    Posts: 693
    Forks Wa
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    No dude,
    Here is how they get rid of beaver. They trap them. Most folks realize that timber companies trap mountain beaver as nusance animals, but permits are also issued for the buck toothed flat tailed variety ( as well as black bear). I used to work with a bounty trapper for a local timber company, he got payed for each animal he trapped, problem is in recent years he has put himself out of business, can't find anymore beaver to trap.
  11. Dale Dennis Formally Double-D

    Posts: 527
    Arlington, WA
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    I am also noticing a decline of searuns in the Canal and I fish mainly in the south. I was hoping it was just a cycle or maybe my timing sence I only fish there a couple times a year now. I don't see the numbers of larger fish (16" and up) that I have experienced in the past, as recent as 3-4 years ago.

    You can look at the rivers and creeks of the Canal as its veins which gives it it's life blood, if these are not healthy then then the Canal will surely suffer. The tributaries of the Canal do not get the attention our tribbs do here on the metropolitan side and it looks like its time they did.
  12. TomB Active Member

    Posts: 1,620
    seattle,wa
    Ratings: +58 / 0
    Uncle Jimmy- Thanks for the clarification. It is ridiculous that companies are allowed to have them trapped like that.
    -Tom
  13. Piscivorous New Member

    Posts: 46
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    For those who know our forests:
    About 30 years ago our state passed the Forest Practices Act, which, among other things, restricts harvest in the riparian zone. The philosophy of this regulation was to allow the area of our forests most vital to the survival of our wild salmonids an opportunity to grow as it once did and provide important habitat. Certainly, most riparian zones in unprotected areas across the state (including hood canal) have been harvested (pre-FPA). So, even though the riparian zones on DNR and private lands are off-limits to harvest they still mirror the monoculture stands that are open to harvest. However, as time passes I suspect that forests under the protection of the FPA will grow to be far more diverse stands and offer improved habitat for our salmonids--whether it be better habitat for beavers or LWD recruitment. Do others share this optimism with the long-term prospects of the relationship between our forests and fish? Personally, I feel that 'long term' may be several hundred years because, as we are learning, it took thousands of years for the diversity of old-growth forests to develop.
  14. gigharborflyfisher Native Trout Hunter

    Posts: 741
    Gig Harbor, Wa, USA.
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    The oxygen depletion in the canal is and alway has been a big problem even before we added to it. The problem lies in the fact to the Hood Canal as it does not flush very readily, primarly due to a sill (basically like an underwater mound or hill of glacially deposited sediment) located in the area around to hood canal bridge. Only allows a small bit of outside water enter the canal leaving the rest of the water stagnant. The fresh incoming water usually hangs on the surface, while the stagant water fill the depths, and to two only really mix during the winter when we get some good storms. With the addition of extra nitrogen and phophorus from sources such as leaky septic tanks, fertilizer runoff from lawns, decaying salmon ect... this problem has gotten even worst. The easiest solution to the problem which has been suggest is to remove or lower the sill, although it will probably never happen due to the cost involved. Once you put this together with all of the other habitat distruction on the streams, netting, and competition from hatchery fish it is easy to see what is wrong to the hood canal's fish populations.