2017 Nof Salmon Forecasts

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Smalma, Jan 7, 2017.

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  1. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    The NOF talk and interest for the 2017 has begun and folks are getting excited that the New Year will bring us all much better salmon opportunities than the disaster that was 2016! As we all know the potential fishing for the coming year will be driven by the forecasts of the various fish; pinks, hatchery and wild coho, hatchery and wild Chinook, sockeyes, and chums.

    During coho discussions this past year it was obvious that lots of folks here and elsewhere were much more adept at this forecast business than the co-managers. I'm very interested in hearing from these "experts" as to what they expect (their forecasts) for our various fish runs across the State. This early insight ("official co-manager forecast will not be available until 2/28) will help us understand what may be ahead.

    Thanks
    Curt
     
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  2. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

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    I'll bite.
    I'd say the board "experts" based on real, on the water experience did a much better job of forecasting last year then our co-managers did sitting at boat launches or in meetings.
    From the beginning of the season, we echoed that there were a lot of coho around.....then things were closed.

    In reality, we were correct as the co-managers at least on one side decided they needed to fish based on in season evaluation of fish numbers. The other half ended up continuing to sit on the beaches in regards to saltwater opportunities that should have been available to them as well.

    I believe coho numbers this year will be similar to what we saw last year, (what showed up versus the actual 250k forecast) but you can be guaranteed the scare tactics groundwork regarding marine conditions, the blob ect have already been set. Remember, nobody was supposed to fish coho last year in the name of "conservation". Someone spoke with a fork tongue.
    As far as coho go, it seems 2018 should be the year of real concern. Hopefully improving conditions will help us avoid a real crisis, not a paper one like was forecast last year.

    I think pink numbers will be down from the historic highs we've seen lately but it will be hard not to have fisheries with a few million pinks available. One has to wonder if we will continue to have the 2+2 limit opportunity through September we've had over the past odd years.

    There has always been enough hatchery chinook in my opinion to support a month long fishery. The MA 9 & 10 quotas continue to shrink to the point of getting a two week season in MA 9 is about all one can expect based on a measly quota.

    That is my "expert" opinion based on averaging well over 100+ days per year fishing Puget Sound and Hood Canal.
    SF
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  3. Blktailhunter

    Blktailhunter Active Member

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    Last year was the epic year that could have been from my experience fishing off the beaches during the brief time we could fish. The size was outstanding, and then to see schools cruising the shorelines and crashing bait after it closed made me angry. It truly could have been a year for the ages with both size and numbers and these were hatchery fish headed to the nets. We had better not be shut out again....
     
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  4. DimeBrite

    DimeBrite MA-9 Beach Stalker

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    Curt, I thought you were going to leave the Puget Sound Sport Fishing Advisors Group that is involved in the NOF season setting process? How will you communicate our 2017 salmon forecasts?

    Before any of us make 2017 predictions for coho, pink, chinook returns to Puget Sound we will need some WDFW data on salmon smolt escapement from the critical river systems. Has the 2015 report published?

    Ocean conditions in the north Pacific are very salmon friendly with this La Nina. The Blob of warm surface water from 2014-2015 is long gone. It has been replaced by a Blob of colder than average water. NOF screwed up in early 2016 by assuming poor ocean conditions would harm the coho return and fish size (a major error).
    upload_2016-12-9_18-47-46.png

     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
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  5. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    Part of the problem is determining the influence of density dependent vs. density independent processes at all stages of the life history, including the black-box which is marine survival and growth. If a species is primarily density-independent, more adults produce more eggs which produce more juveniles which produce more smolts which produce more marine fish which produce more returning adults. Simply, more fish make more fish. But if parts of the life-history of a species are heavily influenced by density-dependent processes, the actual number of fish produced at each stage may be higher or lower depending on the density of fish.

    For example, if all the spawning gravel is already filled with redds, the spawning of any additional fish does not add any more eggs to the gravel because the newcomers kick out the eggs that were laid previously as they excavate their own redds.

    Where density dependence may play a role in marine survival is via competition for food and the role of predators. If there are more marine coho competing for food, their growth will be slower and their vulnerability to their own predators will increase, especially if their predators are size-selective (i.e., have greater success feeding on smaller fish). If there are very few coho smolts, those that do make it to the ocean may experience fabulous growth and survival in the marine environment because there are fewer competitors for food. Under these conditions, coho returns will be higher than one would expect under density independence.

    On the other hand, if there are more predators chasing after fewer coho, the individual mortality rate of those fewer coho will be higher than if there were lots of individuals to share the risk. Under these conditions, one would expect fewer coho to return than expected under density independence. The relative strength of these two density-dependent scenarios (one favorable, one unfavorable) will impact returns.

    The integration of interaction of density-dependent and density-independent factors across all life-history stages (as well as the natural variability in all the other things that influence a fish's growth and survival, such as temperature, oxygen, food abundance/quality, and predator numbers / types) is one reason why predicting salmonid returns is soooo difficult with large uncertainties. Good to an order of magnitude (factor of 10) may be a reasonable expectation or consult a Ouija board.... Frankly, I wouldn't do that job.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2017
  6. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Well-Known Member

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    Cabezon, I think you mean density independent in your paragraph one, sentence 2, above.

    Sg
     
  7. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Well-Known Member

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    In my comments to the Commission I recommended, nearly demanded, that game fish seasons not be held hostage to salmon conservation in 2017. Non-retention of salmon has been the norm whenever and wherever required during gamefish seasons for decades, and it still works.

    Sg
     
  8. redlodge

    redlodge Member

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    Just saw an application on Piscatorial pursuits stating the muckleshoots are going to do warm water test fishing starting Jan 9 thru friday and continue each week from there. 4 1/2 inch mesh. With NOF coming up and trying for an open meeting I do not think any of us will fish this year. I think the Indians are going to tell the WDFW to stuff it.
     
  9. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    Thank you Sg. I have fixed the error.
    Steve
     
  10. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

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    From what I've heard, I wouldn't expect much in the way of a pink run, in the N. sound at least. It sounds like they had poor out migration numbers for the four basins in the north. So it will all hinge on the coho numbers.
     
  11. XP

    XP Active Member

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    Don't bring that negativity to pink a pulousa
     
  12. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Dimebrite-

    Yes I have resigned as Puget Sound Sport fishing advisor. However I remain interested in things that affect the future the fish resource and what may shape our collective opportunities at that resource. I have no intention of taking folks thoughts on potential forecasts to the state but rather I sensed that folks are interested what 2017 will bring us for fishing opportunities.

    I have long believed that increasing the understanding of things that shape our fisheries is never a bad thing and one method that accomplishes that goal is having honest and open discussions. In the case of forecasts that often serve as the foundation of the coming season understanding the pieces that go into those forecast might help folks prepare for the upcoming season. Have been a fan of being proactive in the season setting process so that folks can be fully prepared to articulate how their opportunities might be "shaped" within the confines of the forecasts. We all saw how not being prepared played out in 2016.

    And yes you are correct that mine and the co-managers forecast missed the mark big time on the 2016 coho while you and others seemed to have been accurate in the expectations for 2016. Thought sharing some of thinking as to way the "official" forecasts was so far off might be helpful. Your posting of the current ocean conditions are an example of information that can be very informative on survival of the fish while in the salt. I do have a question for you; "Do you expect the current ocean conditions to continue through the spring and summer of 2017, improve or deteriorate during that period?"

    In an earlier post you suggested that it "might be time to back off a bit on the negative salmon projections". In that light I try to refrain from talking about the 2017 projections.

    Still interested in other folks thoughts.

    Curt
     
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  13. Dizane

    Dizane Coast to Coast

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    I could make a prediction as to 2017 numbers, but it would be based mostly on conjecture and would for all intents and purposes be worthless. Maybe I'd get lucky and guess right, but what's the point? 2014-16 were odd years weather-wise and we'll see how long their impact is felt going forward. I'm encouraged by the weak La Nina this winter and hope that it is the start of a new trend going forward.

    As far as how negotiations will go, I expect the same as 2016 so long as federal approval is dependent on tribal agreement. I don't see that changing until WDFW obtains an independent approval path.
     
  14. DimeBrite

    DimeBrite MA-9 Beach Stalker

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    Hi Curt,

    Thanks for the clarification. I've attached a couple documents from WDFW and NOAA that may be relevant to our collective salmon forecast discussion. NOAA predicts our weak La Nina will soon transition to Neutral sea surface temperatures spring through summer. That typically is seen as producing positive ocean conditions for salmon, but that is a very general statement for such a huge area as the north Pacific. The WDFW document is the 2012 wild coho forecast report as a starting template. Curt, we will need your help in obtaining recent (2014-2015) salmon smolt out migration data for major Puget Sound river systems. Maybe @Don Freeman can help with this too? This could be a fun exercise if we can access some fundamental data.

    In the meantime, I will soon be sampling the effect of La Nina on Christmas Island fisheries with my fly rods. It looks like the weather will be much drier and sunnier than the severe El Nino last January. Will the GT be as plentiful as in 2016? Only one way to find out!

     

    Attached Files:

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  15. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

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    To add to my earlier post, there seems to be a good number of resident coho around again this fall and winter.
    Based on what I'm seeing along with others, it is encouraging to see good numbers of resident coho in the 12-14" range at this time of the year.
    I'm hoping this translates into more excellent early July coho fishing like what we had last year. The numbers and size of fish we encountered last July was much better then the previous five years or so.

    I spoke with WDFW staff several times last spring while out fishing in the north sound. They didn't seem overly optimistic in regards to the number of pink fry they were sampling, thus my prediction there willl be less pinks this year then in years past.
    SF