You must retain your first two hatchery fish on the Methow

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Lex, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. It was four fish a couple of years ago. My guess is that the numbers of projected hatchery fish were down, and wanted to give more folks a shot at the fish - all while accomplishing the goal of removing the hatchery fish from the river.
  2. Dave hit it on the head. The goal is two fold, remove the excess hatchery fish while providing fishing opportunity. Once enough brats are removed and/or wild fish landed, they'd have to shut it down so they set a harvest number that best accomplishes these goals.

    What many people don't know is that the NOAA Permit that makes any steelhead fishing possible is mainly about the removal of the excess hatchery fish by culling them at the dams. Only when certain conditions are met can WDFW even ask NOAA for permission to take out the excess hatchery fish through a recreational fishery instead. This approval hinges on anglers actually removing the brats and NOAA has repeatedly threatened to not allow fishing if anglers keep releasing brats.

    I am sorry if my posts have been a little blunt, maybe even over the top, but it was intentional as this is a problem every year because some people just don't get it - or care and threaten the very existence of this fishery. If it changed even one person's behavior, it will have been worth it to me.
  3. When I first fished it, I was surprised at what good shape the fish were in for being so far from salt. There's no good reason NOT to keep them. Whack 'em and stack 'em. Just keep your expectations realistic--like any other steelhead river, 10% will catch 90%. If I can end my deer season early I'll be over for a day or two.
  4. Freestone you make a good point. I've purposefully avoided this fishery every year its' been open specifically because I was not interested in participating in a meat fishery. I'm not certain why my thoughts have changed but at one point last year I noticed I was disappointed that I hadn't taken the opportunity to experience it while I could. So, this year, I didn't even think about it. When I bought my license in march I paid the extra money for the Columbia Endorsement and when I saw it was opening, I booked a room. Once I booked the room and started planning for the weekend, I noticed I was genuinely excited about it. I'm not really expecting to catch anything, its' steelhead fishing for crying out loud, but just the fact that if I do manage to hook into a hatchery fish and bring it to hand, then I can lay it in the cooler and bring it home and share it in a meal with family and friends, has added a certain level of fun to it all. I can remember your posts last season on this subject and I honestly think that you played part in my mind changing about this fishery.

    I must admit I'm bothered by the posts that express little to no respect for the hatchery fish. I am glad that we have the opportunity to go fish for steelhead with the possibility of bringing one home to smoke for the holiday table or bbq with friends and family. To me, this is something to be thankful for, not disrespectful toward. I think if more people approached it with more maturity, then it could become a yearly fishery that we could all look forward to instead of constantly wondering if it will be open and if it does, feel the need to rush out and hit it before it gets shut down. I think your posts have brought this to light and played a least some part in changing my mind. Now, you may not have intended to turn someone that wasn't interested it participating into yet another body on the water, but the point is, I feel I'm approaching it in a thoughtful manner that you are trying to instill in folks.
    Lex likes this.
  5. On the other hand, if someone sees you and drops a dime, you'll end up like Bobby Valentine (Sox ers) and find yourself kicked right out of town.
  6. Always rubbing it in aren't you Josh.

    Go Sox,
  7. Don't worry, at least we can both enjoy A-Rod and the Yankees death spiral.
    Charles Sullivan likes this.
    Ringlee and TROUTsniffer like this.
  9. If they need this regulation they are clearly planting far too many hatchery steelhead...
  10. Exactly
  11. Went yesterday and my low expectations were a reality. On top of the issues I foresaw, it didn't cross my mind that there was such a huge run of kings up there this year. The river is just full of moldy, spawning kings. The spots where the steelhead usually sit are full of salmon. Made for a pretty frustrating day, especially since they weren't shy about eating a swung fly. Reeling in a moldy king = not epic.
  12. Evan,

    Good seeing and talking with you yesterday on the Met.

    I was in the area working and fished four straight days, never more than an hour or two at a time and always at either at first or last light. Primarily swinging, I had two grabs in those four days, though I did (cough) throw a bobber on a Spey rod one of the days, mostly out of frustration and didn't do any better with that method either. Long gone are the days of making a couple casts and catching a couple of hatchery fish.

    My complaint is why folks don't identify the origin of the fish before netting it? There is no reason to net a fish that is planned to be released. I guess it wouldn't bother me much except you never see knotless nets used (or large enough) to properly land steelhead. Wearing waders and using barbless hooks should allow the natural origin fish to be quickly and carefully released in the water, without netting or banging on the rocks.
  13. I net wilds to keep from prolonging the fight. I can have one in the net before it runs off again. I'd rather do that than wait til it's too tired to keep fighting.
  14. You nailed it on the head.
  15. Nothing wrong with that approach but I saw fish caught by bank anglers without waders who once they get them in the net (not knotless) take an inordinate amount of time to determine whether it was a "keeper" or not, all the while, having the fish thrash about on the rocks, half in and half out of the water. The scene, repeated over several times didn't sit well with me.
  16. Yeah, that's completely stupid. I use the net to prevent bringing them to the shallows.
  17. I agree with his fudgeness. Knot less net quick, not in shallow and release or bonk as appropriate.
  18. I thought it was a regulation that if you use a net it must be of the knotless type on the methow & lake pateros..
  19. Not sure as I didn't read the regs carefully (since I don't use a net steelhead fishing) but I do know that statewide, knotless nets are required for all selective gear fisheries, which would include the Methow but apparently not Lake Pateros as I saw a ton of guys using shrimp in the Columbia.
  20. Once I started fishing areas needing knotless I went all knotless.
    The Duke likes this.

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