Hatchery strays deplete wild steelhead

TD

Active Member
#46
I don't believe anyone is saying that hatcheries are THE cause of the decline of wild fish, but they certainly are a contributing factor, done under the guise of " mitigation"
This pretty much sums it up.

I would urge anyone that is under the impression that the OP rivers are "doing good" to read Doug Rose's book The Color of Winter; Steelhead Fly Fishing on the Olympic Peninsula I would suggest SOME late runs are doing OK and that ALL are in trouble if current and past practices across the spectrum continue.

The West End OP rivers might be doing much better than the East End and mainland rivers but "good" may be a stretch.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
#47
This is sooo aggravating!!!! this issue has been studied to death.. in every single instance EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!! hatchery fish are shown to be a sever detriment to wild fish..

EVERY CASE
EVERY SINGLE TIME
WITHOUT EXCEPTION

It is no longer theory is is FACT that hatcheries are bad for Steelhead..

as far as not having any fishing without hatcheries that's a bunch of BS hundreds of anglers flock to the OP and the North Oregon coast to fish for steelhead runs that made up entirely of wild fish...


I believe that hatchery fish are the primary limiting factor of wild steelhead recovery in the Columbia basin.. as evidenced by the quick recovery of steelhead in places where plants have been reduced or eliminated...

finally i believe that wild steelhead are of such high value that if recovering them required me to stop fishing for them for the rest of my life. I would be all over that idea. Only a selfish angler puts his desire to fish over the species need to survive...
 
#48
This is sooo aggravating!!!! this issue has been studied to death.. in every single instance EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!! hatchery fish are shown to be a sever detriment to wild fish..

EVERY CASE
EVERY SINGLE TIME
WITHOUT EXCEPTION

It is no longer theory is is FACT that hatcheries are bad for Steelhead..

as far as not having any fishing without hatcheries that's a bunch of BS hundreds of anglers flock to the OP and the North Oregon coast to fish for steelhead runs that made up entirely of wild fish...


I believe that hatchery fish are the primary limiting factor of wild steelhead recovery in the Columbia basin.. as evidenced by the quick recovery of steelhead in places where plants have been reduced or eliminated...

finally i believe that wild steelhead are of such high value that if recovering them required me to stop fishing for them for the rest of my life. I would be all over that idea. Only a selfish angler puts his desire to fish over the species need to survive...
Well spoken Rob, I only wish there were more people who shared your passion and insight! If we want to save these magnificent creatures, we must put the fish first, ahead of any group or agency!
 

Smalma

Active Member
#49
Rob -
It is eqaually true that in evey single case people are bad for steelhead. It is also equally true that fishing is bad for steelhead. If there were less fishing and less people there would be more steelhead.

However it thing it is important that folks take a pause and back up a bit. While Rob tends to come from the Columbia prespective I will be coming for the North Puget Sound view. They are two different arenas and have different problems however they do illustrate that every situaion is different and should be examined separately. It is true that there are wild steelhead populations that have been significantly impacted by hatchery steelhead but it is also equally true that there are many wild steelhead populations where tyhe dominate limiting factor is something other than hatchery fish In fact there are some where the impacts form hatchery fish (and yes they do exist) is so minor when compared to the other factors to hardly be worth consideration on the list of things to do.

Some back ground -
A number of folks address the selection that goes on in the hatchery. However the other side of the coin is equally important. Our wild steelhead while in freshwater under go extreme selection. Typically it is the case that less than 1% of the eggs that a wild female steelhead place in the gravel will survive to become a smolt and successfully leave the river. That selection assures that the wild fish offspring are as productive as possible in that freshwater habitat when their parents return. It also means that as a population the fish adapt extremely quickly to changing conditions. I think we would all agree that the State's rivers today are different than they were two hundred years ago or even fifty years ago. That means any wild fish successfully leaving in those rivers have to be different to some degree than those in the same rivers years ago.

I often talk about the productivity of the wild salmonid populations and what that means for their survival. We as a society I have opted to use most of the historic productivity of our anadromous salmonids for other use other than producing more fish in future generations. Across that State that reduction in productivity has ranged from a loss of 50% to more than 95% depending on the basin with most basins falling in that 80 to 90% loss range. As result we will never see that abundance once possible and to see any long term average increase in abundances we have to return some of that historic production back to producting fish.

As Rob points out hatchery steelhead do have some impact on the productivity of wild populations. The question folks have to answer for themselves is that cost worth the benefits (increased fishihg opportunities). As with most things "fishy" is suspect that answer will vary with each individual and the situation in each basin.

After decades of being in involved in these kinds of issue a couple of things I'm sure of.

1) There is no magic bullet to reverse things and folks are left with difficult decisions.

2) We will be better off looking for solutions locally rather an globally. Every situation is different.

3) The "correctness" of any answers or action really depends on the individuals priorities and it should be clear to all by now that society as a whole has not put a high priority on wild fish and even a lower priority on fishing for wild fish.

4) And finally from the wild fish view continuing the status quo is a lost.

The only real value in discussions such as these is what ever limited information folks glean from them so they are in a position to make more informed decisions.

Now off to fight another battle.

Tight lines
Curt
 

Charles Sullivan

ignoring Rob Allen and Generic
#50
Smalma,

Thanks for posting. I have a couple questions if you would be kind enough to give your best proffestional judgement.

1.) What positive effects do hatcheries have on wild steelhead populations?
2.) What effects/ interactions are seen between the 2 in the salt?

A-Gon, CC,
cds
 

dryflylarry

"Chasing Riseforms"
#51
I didn't take the time to read all of these posts, however, are the Whitlock Vibert Boxes considered a viable way to raise steelhead in a stream (or something similar), or is this considered "not native" way to enhance steelhead? (I mean using eggs from steelhead from that particular stream). Years ago I helped placing Chum salmon eggs in a local stream by using a can, digging out some gravel, place the can in the stream, put in some eggs, gravel, and remove the can. Can this be done, or is this the same as "hatchery raised". Ok, a little off the subject from the original thread. I'm no biologist, but why can't this work with mass volunteers to enhance the native runs? Thanks pals.
 

James Mello

Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"
#52
Then another question begs to be asked............Why do the hatchery dogs appear to be populating the rivers of Chile and creating runs that never existed? Can hatchery fish clean up the genes and revert back to wild if left alone by man over a period of time?
Invasive species with no adapted preditors either in fresh or salt water. And yes, if given even a few generations, wild fish traits will be selected for.
 

James Mello

Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"
#53
I don't agree with this statement. I've read many reports and literature regarding this specifically and they all come to the same conclusion. The chambers fish were introduced into systems where the early Wild return (Nov - Dec) was in decline and struggling. The chamber fish were introduced specifically to maintain regulations for early retention of fish. This resulted in an increase in fishing pressure on these systems during the early run. The downside was the added pressure on these systems also adversly affected the already struggling early native runs. From everything I've read the WDFW admits this fully and makes the simple statement that the early runs will continue to receive the Chambers Creek fish so that the sport fishing community can have a kill season. This is mainly focused on West OP rivers.

I have to admit, my opinions I've developed are solely from the information that I've dug out and read. I don't claim to know these things first hand. Still, every piece of literature I've come across on this specific item has made the same conclusion. If there are other more convincing reports/studies then I'd be interested in reading them.

It appears that there is a strong requirement put on the WDFW to have regulations that allow retention of salmon/steelhead. The dept uses the Hatchery fish as a means to provide this. The problem is that the result is added pressure on the struggling native population. Setting CNR seasons increases illegal retention which is not easily enforced. I don't envy the WDFW commission with the conflicting constraints that they are tasked with. Baiscally, protect the fish and maintain retention regulations so people will buy licenses.
Perhaps "savior" was the wrong word. This is best labeled as "segregated hatcheries had an unintended, but less evil, modifying effect on the genetics of the fish that most other hatchery options". In particular a poorly run integrated program can cause the most damage both very quickly and long term.
 

gt

Active Member
#54
lets add another question to the mix: how many billions of dollars have been spent on hatcheries on the columbia r. and how well have the 'fish come back'???

it is pretty obvious that we can no longer afford hatchery programs in support of the commercial fishing industry. raising the question with regard to the sport angler is a red herring designed to provide emotional justificaiton for continuing on with hatcheries. just as WDFW choose to make public hatchery closures in this time of budget crunch while keeping all upper and mid level management positions, so is the arguement raised above regarding hatchery continuation.

i also think this is one of the biggest fears with the elwha restoration. just imagine, no hatcery suplementation and the anadramous species find the 'new' river and go to work. WDFW can not afford to have that happen simply because it would be a huge nail in the coffin regarding shutting down ALL hatcheries. gentlemen, this is politics at work.
 

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
#55
lets add another question to the mix: how many billions of dollars have been spent on hatcheries on the columbia r. and how well have the 'fish come back'???

it is pretty obvious that we can no longer afford hatchery programs in support of the commercial fishing industry. raising the question with regard to the sport angler is a red herring designed to provide emotional justificaiton for continuing on with hatcheries. just as WDFW choose to make public hatchery closures in this time of budget crunch while keeping all upper and mid level management positions, so is the arguement raised above regarding hatchery continuation.

i also think this is one of the biggest fears with the elwha restoration. just imagine, no hatcery suplementation and the anadramous species find the 'new' river and go to work. WDFW can not afford to have that happen simply because it would be a huge nail in the coffin regarding shutting down ALL hatcheries. gentlemen, this is politics at work.
(Italics mine)

This is utterly true. Another way in which we humans "are bad for fish."
 
#56
I read a recent report that the cost to get a SINGLE fish back to the hatchery in Washington ranges from $85 to $1700. Squaxin beach seiners were getting $1.50/lb in the south sound this year, and not harvesting enough numbers to meet expenses.

A 10 lb fish is then worth $15 to the blue collar guy, and the cost to taxpayers and sport anglers is a loss of from ($70) to ($1685). PER FISH!

I'll spare you my vitriolic opinions about this subsidy, you've heard it all.

I say close the hatcheries, assign lottery quotas to each river capable of tolerating C&R pressure to sustain a semblance of recreational fisheries;to support enforcement and scientific oversight for the potential recovery.

I know this is not a popular prospect, but hell, I hardly go anymore since the anglers out number the fish, a quality experience is getting pretty scarce.

The handwriting is on the wall, we just don't like the message.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
#57
Curt

that is exactly why i said nothing specific about Puget Sound rivers.. I know very little about those rivers and they in particular seem to have something going on that is beyond what is happening in the rest of the state.. my uneducated guess would be that something is going on in the Sound.
 

gt

Active Member
#59
i would suggest a partial solution is as simple/complex as requiring all folks fisihng for anadramous fish to use selective fishing methods. for the tribal folks this could amount to fish weirs in their usual and accustomed fishing grounds. all wild fish could easily be released, unharmed from these weirs while they harvest their quota. non tribal commercials would have to resort to the time tested troll fishing methodologies with pretty close to equal results. sport anglers should have their seasons designed to fit each drainages returns which are judged as still healthy. any clipped fish could be harvested with all unclipped required to be released. now couple that with only artifical lures, single barbless hooks, no indicators, side planers or other assorted hardware, and we just might be putting togther a bit of quality fishing.
 

TD

Active Member
#60
Perhaps "savior" was the wrong word. This is best labeled as "segregated hatcheries had an unintended, but less evil, modifying effect on the genetics of the fish that most other hatchery options". In particular a poorly run integrated program can cause the most damage both very quickly and long term.
I get what you were saying now.