Worst Returns on Record for Puget Sound Winter Steelhead?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Courtesy Flush, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. Courtesy Flush aka Sean

    Posts: 96
    West Seattle
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    It's been a weird summer where I've fished fewer days than in the winter. And I was just starting to get excited with the change in seasons (back to winter) until I read this blog post today.

    Osprey Steelhead News

    ~ CF
  2. doublespey Steelhead-a-holic

    Posts: 596
    Bothell, WA
    Ratings: +22 / 0
    That's not news to anyone that fished the Skagit last spring. I've been doing it for quite a few years and the lack of steelhead this last season was very sobering to us all.

    Brian
  3. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,714
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,754 / 0
    I didn't find anything in the article but speculation and opinion.

    The steelhead numbers in the Skagit this past season certainly appeared to be low but I have only personal experience to judge this with. I did see fish in the system and there very well could have been more arrive after the river closed.

    I would like to see what the "official" response is as far as returning numbers of wild steelhead were to the Skagit.
  4. byrdland New Member

    Posts: 14
    Louisville, KY
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    I read recently that Whole Foods Market has sold wild steelhead. They're one of my favorite stores. I'm boycotting them. I live a long way from Puget Sound.
  5. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,631
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,659 / 0
    Just because they are selling wild fish, if doesn't mean they are from Washington. This seems to be the only state that none return to.

    Being that you are in Kentucky, they could be Great Lakes fish.

    Jim
  6. Bob Triggs Your Preferred Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide

    Posts: 3,986
    Olympic Peninsula
    Ratings: +654 / 0
    In all liklihood the Steelhead being sold in Washington regional markets are coming from the coastal rivers and tribal fisheries like the Hoh, Quinault and Quillayute and others.
  7. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,801
    Marysville, Washington
    Ratings: +657 / 0
    Depressing news indeed!

    Kerry -
    While I have not seen the official escapement estimates word has it that the Skagit and many other Puget Sound systems saw modern day low escapements this past spring. The 2009 Skagit escapement will almost certainly be less than 3,000.

    Doublespey -
    A quote from the article -

    "...the magnitude of the failure is startling and should have managers raising serious questions about how to save Puget Sound wild steelhead before its too late."

    What do you think the State should going about saving those wild steelhead?

    A decade ago the "silver bullet" to say wild steelhead was advertized as wild fish release and now it seems it end hatchery programs. Harvest management issues have been aggressively addressed over the last 25 years and the state is well into hatchery reform yet the fish continue to slide towards the edge. At some point folks may have to face the fact that other factors are in play.

    Tight lines
    Curt
  8. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,748
    Bellingham
    Ratings: +104 / 0
    My season was startling shite on the Skagit/Sauk this spring despite a lot of time on the water, more than ever before for me..................:(
  9. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,483
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,621 / 0
    Smalma,

    Brett said 2,000 + or -, probably - for the Skagit. Lowest escapement ever recorded for what is supposed Puget Sound's strongest steelhead population.

    Other factors are at play, but what the heck are they? By the best accounts, it isn't in freshwater in recent years.

    Sg
  10. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,714
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,754 / 0
    Close the river to all steelhead fishing; wild, hatchery, sport and tribal.
  11. Daniel Nelson BAMF

    Posts: 375
    Minnesota
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    coming from an outisders prosepective.....I totally agree with this. shut em down for 10 or 20 years. The only problem i see with this is that some other species will be thrown into the fire and would eventually face the same fate.
  12. Old Man Just an Old Man

    Posts: 21,631
    Dillon, Mt
    Ratings: +1,659 / 0
    Go ahead and close it all and then you all will be fishing in small ponds for planted fish
  13. John Hicks Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits

    Posts: 2,130
    Olympia
    Ratings: +180 / 1
    Just a thought. If they are surviving when they hit the fresh water, and one of the theories is that thier demise is in the salt. I think that closing the rivers for 10-15 years will just divert people attention from the real problem. It will give people and the state an excuse to not look into the problem further. That being said, I would support closing the rivers, if the state was going to look further into why ocean survival is so poor.
  14. fredaevans Active Member

    Posts: 3,116
    White City, Oregon, USA.
    Ratings: +118 / 0
  15. ChrisC Member

    Posts: 639
    .
    Ratings: +24 / 0
    While I don't disagree with the harmful impacts of hatcheries, the posting implies that hatcheries are the primary factor behind the reduced returns. As Curt mentions, there are other factors at play that should at least be mentioned.
  16. Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

    Posts: 1,787
    Bellingham Wa.
    Ratings: +316 / 1
    If you go to nativefishsociety.org there is some pretty interesting reading. As for ocean survival, all we can do is reduce our carbon foot print and try to stop polluting the ocean.
  17. byrdland New Member

    Posts: 14
    Louisville, KY
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Regarding my earlier post about Whole Foods Market. I recently spent a week in Seattle. This was the Whole Foods Market in Seattle that was reported selling wild Steelhead. My main impression from my visit to the Puget Sound area was that it's a very complex environment with lots of interest groups competing for a resource (wild fish). I have been aware of conservation policies in other States, primarily the Gulf Coast. Some states are much better than others. Louisiana is pretty lame. This was the first time I've been in an environment with Wild Salmon. It seems as if each group of fish that goes up a particular river is sort of it's own sub-group or strain. They don't just wander into any river to spawn, Right? Recently, there have been people netting wild fish that are endangered in specific rivers (Hoh?) Once that group of fish collapses, they are gone forever right?. If I were the "Grand Puba" for the fisheries in Washington, I would spend very little time listening to arguments. That has been going on for a long time I would guess. My approach would be lean severly to the preservation of wild game fish. Those people pooping in the Skokomish would be in jail. You can buy farm raised Salmon from Norway. A Puget Sound full of wild fish might increase the property values of all those houses people are trying to sell on Bainbridge Island. Would you rather live in " the home of Wild Salmon and Steelhead" or the fish farm Capitol of The USA? This Forum is really the only resource I found that had up to date, honest information from people that are actually out there daily. I initially came here to try to find some good places to wade fish from the beach. There are intelligent, educated sportsman that frequent this forum with a great deal more information and experience than I that are obviously monitoring the health of the area closely. I find the entire situation distressing. I am boycotting Whole Foods Market. I don't care if they bought the Wild Salmon from Chief Seattle's descendants or from the Russian Black Market. They're not getting any more of my money. A Salmon that has been eaten has a lesser tendency to bite a fly again than one that has been released without being touched. Someone might take some flies and wave them around some of the tourists coming out of Pike's Market to see if they get a rise, but I wouldn't bet any money on it.
  18. Bruce Davidson formerly hatman

    Posts: 221
    SeaTac, WA
    Ratings: +14 / 0
    Curt,
    Regarding your last statement: Is that an open-ended question or do you know, or suspect what those other factors may be? I respect your opinion.
  19. Lugan Joe Streamer

    Posts: 2,384
    Beautiful View, WA
    Ratings: +765 / 2
    It's primarily ocean conditions according to my good friend at WDFW who studies this steelhead in our "S" rivers and other Puget Sound waters (he's a fish biologist).

    Of course we in WA State can't immediately impact that primary cause. But his strong personal opinion is that we should alleviate all secondary pressures on these steelhead populations such as shutting down all fishing (sport and commercial) and ceasing all hatchery activity.

    He also thinks a few of the smaller runs of wild fish are now either newly extinct or will be soon. He's very pessimistic about on this point.
  20. Runejl Josh

    Posts: 390
    Bellingham, Washington
    Ratings: +6 / 0
    What do you guys think about fish farms?

    I don't know the route our salmon and steelhead travel when they leave the river for the salt, but I do know that there are alot of net pen fish farms on the inside of Vancouver Island and the islands that surround it. These fish farms also tend to be tied up in and around kelp beds and bays, where I would think our young fish would be hanging out and feeding.

    Does anyone know how much this industry has grown over the last 15 years?