More Quality Waters Needed

Steve Call

Active Member
Lake Whatcom is Bellingham's water supply and it is full of Jet Skis, power boats and free to fish in. Also, all the oil drippings from traffic in the whole Lake Whatcom basin runs into the lake-go figure! Rick
And those cities spend a lot more than Everett, Seattle and Tacoma to filter and purify the water before it's consumed. There's a reason those watersheds are closed.

Vladimir Steblina

Retired fishing instead of working
It is dirt cheap to treat water. Cost is not the issue.

Is drinking water cheaper in Everett, Seattle and Tacoma than Leavenworth, Cle Elum, Yakima and Chelan??

Washington has the least amount of public land of all the western states. The watersheds can be used for recreation as well as drinking water supply. 99% of the countries watersheds are managed in this manner.

Western Washington needs more recreation space and they have well over a hundred thousand acres closed to their owners in their watersheds.

Public land should be open to the public.


Indi "Ira" Jones
I'll admit I don't know anything about this subject and after reading these responses, I still don't think I do. I've read that it doesn't cost much to treat water, but what does that mean? I've read do a little research and you'll know, but what does that mean? I've read that these places pay more, how much more? Does anyone really know why some watersheds are open and others are not or are people just speculating? Heck, now I'm actually really curious.

Ok I'll take that back. I have learned something, I've just assumed that direct waters supply areas that I knew about like Champlain and Youngs were closed so all direct water supplies were closed. Now I'm hearing that some are open. Is there a difference in the types of water supplies? Maybe in how the water is filtered? Maybe Champlain water is filtered differently than say a water shed that is open and that is why it is open? I don't know. I know that Spada is open and it also is supplies the water for Everett, but that water is siphoned off into Champlain and then from Champlain it goes through something like a 5 step process before it makes it to my faucet.

If someone has hard answers to these questions that would be great. In the meantime I think I will do a little research. If I find the answers before you do (which I shouldn't because it sounds like many on here already know the answers) I'll post them.


Vladimir Steblina

Retired fishing instead of working
Vladimir, you should do alittle research on these areas and then you would know why they are closed off to the public.
I have. When I was working this I worked with this issue up close and personal. Washington has the least amount of public land of all the western states. We cannot afford to close it to public use.

There are lots of people that want to close public lands to public entry. Turn the question around. What if the city of Leavenworth wanted to close Icicle Creek to public entry? What if the city of Cle Elum wanted to close Cle Elum Lake watershed to public entry? What if the city of Yakima wanted to close Rattlesnake Creek to public entry?

Would you support it?

The cities of Walla Walla and Portland have managed to convince Congress to close Forest Service managed lands to public use. Do we do it for all municipal watersheds?

While working there was pressure to close additional areas to public use to "protect" water quality.

Protecting water quality is a given and you can do it with public recreation in the watershed. Thousands of thousands of watersheds are open to public use. get this topic back on track. Municipal watersheds in western Washington would be perfect for CATCH and RELEASE fishing regulations coupled with non-motorized trail access to the watershed. This would be a win-win for the public and access to their lands, the fishery, and even the water departments that would finally be serving the public.


Active Member
People seem to have forgotten that some (but not all) of these water supply lakes were closed post-911. My thinking would be that there is a security issue for the water supplies belonging to large municipal areas.

Relative to the question of quality stillwater fisheries, there is another WDFW methodology that will stock low numbers in lakes that are "productive" (has a good native food supply for the fish). By stocking low, there is less competition for food among the fish, so they grow larger within their life-span. Also, the fish that are planted are introduced as fry. That way, they become both potential food for the larger fish and are further limited in number. In the end, there are fewer, though significantly larger, fish. They are also spookier, having survived the gauntlet of age.

I like fishing these kinds of "quality" fisheries. You gotta have game when fishing this kind of water and a willingness to get skunked in order to learn the curve.

Tight Lines!
--Dave E.


Active Member
I'm all for opening public land to the public for recreational opportunities and providing more "quality" fisheries statewide. But I still fish put and take lakes pretty regularly because there are lots and they are close to home. I visit them after the first couple of weeks of the opener and I tend to catch more fish than the baiters. I enjoy fishing, catching, and sometimes eating fish from fly plant lakes rather than catching "catchables". I would think quality lakes are easier and cheaper to manage and I don't like putting triploids in put and take lakes because the whole purpose is to provide a fish that won't spawn but grow to large sizes. How the heck will it grow large if it is caught on a chunk of power bait and killed two days after release? The triploids sell licenses bu I would counter just plant jumbo or brooders in the put and take lakes for harvest and keep the more expensive triploids for quality waters. It would be great to manage more quality lakes on the westside to keep all you dudes over there and away from the eastside. :rofl: Problem is, as already mentioned, westside lakes are generally too acidic to grow quality trout.

Vladimir Steblina

Retired fishing instead of working
:rofl: Problem is, as already mentioned, westside lakes are generally too acidic to grow quality trout.
Not sure that statement is generally true. I have some Washington state fishing guides from the 1950's and the fishing was much better in western Washington lakes at the time.

There were mention of many lakes with fish given in the pounds rather than inches.

We accept what is NOW as normal.

Most people do not realize how much ecosystems have changed in the past 100 years or even the last 50 years. I lived in Idaho in the 1970's when they went to catch and release regulations on Kelley Creek and other streams. They quickly went from low populations of small fish to large populations of large fish. Those habitats are fairly sterile for trout streams.

Given the water chemistry in eastern Washington is more productive than western Washington. But with catch and release regulations and a close look at the genetics of the fish being stocked might change the size of fish produced. Also some of the lowland lakes with failing septic systems probably are now more fertile than in years past!!

Quality lakes are more difficult to manage because of the people that fish them!!


Active Member

I still stand by my original comment; in general westside lakes are more acidic and less productive than interior lakes. That is not to say that they can't produce nice fish. I guess we could debate what "quality trout" means but regardless, with few exceptions, westside lakes are not as productive as eastside lakes. That does not mean fishery management tools cannot be used to help increase the mean size of westside trout, which you point out.

I recall reading a study comparing Vancouver Is. lakes to those of the interior. The VI lakes with sockeye could produce relatively nice fish, without sockeye, the growth was severely restricted. So you do raise a good point about anadromous fish and their positive effects on the productivity of relatively sterile aquatic systems, which again as you point out, have changed considerably over the last few decades.

Your Kelly Creek example is relavent in that at one time, those fish had access to ocean-derived nutrients that were lost when Dworshak went up. They are also naturually spawning populations as well. Most put and take west side lakes don't have adeuqate spawning habitat hence the "catchable" management plan, and the fact that there are too many people wanting to catch too few fish for what the natural habitat can sustain, which led to the Kelly Creek problem of overfishing.

Vladimir Steblina

Retired fishing instead of working
I agree that westside lakes are less productive.

I think we are pretty much in agreement.

I was working at Kelley Creek in 1972, the first year the catch and release regulations went into effect. At that time, it was a 50 mile drive on a dirt road to get to the Ranger Station. The fishing was pretty poor given the distance from population at that time. I went back in 1980 and fished the river. The change was very dramatic. Large populations of large fish. That more than anything convinced me about catch and release.

I wonder if the genetic makeup of fish has changed. Have we removed most of the fish with genetic material to grow large??

Many people focus on preserving today, not realizing that what we have lost over the past 100 years is what we should be trying to recover.