WDFW Announces Puget Sound river closures for 2012

Smalma

Active Member
#31
I understand that many folks here are anti hatchery and want to see the end of releasing them. However using this list of PS river closures to make your case is a huge reach. Of course every river on the "list" has a hatchery on it. Under currernt WDFW policies and NMFS ESA guidelines if the river did not have hatchery steelhead retruning to them they were all ready closed - no need for an emergency closure as we aren't fishing.

Examples of PS rivers without returning hatchery steelhead that were all ready closed but hsitorically supported winer steelhead fisheries include included the Samish, Nisqually, Cedar, Skokomish, Hamma Hamma, Dosewallips, and Duckabush. With the exception of the Samish the status of the winter steelhead on the rest of the those streams is at least as depressed as those on the "list". More to the point the steelhead populations on the north half of the Salish seas (BC) are doing as poorly the PS populations and most of them are also without hatchery fish.

I mentioned the Samish which is an interesting exception to what is going on with PS steelhead that begs for more study. While returns to the Samish have been up and down over this period of low PS steelhead survival its wild steelhead escapement goal has been met a number of times and the average escapement for the period is near the goal. This even though until the last couple years there were hatchery steelhead returning. BTW last year its escapement exceeded the goal by 1/3 and it is likely it will do so again this year. Is anyone fishing? - No; there aren't any hatchery fish.

Tight lines
Curt
 

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
#32
Systems with Hatcheries also tend to have a lot of development or some type of impoundment that the hatchery was installed to mitigate in the first place.

OP rivers also have hatcheries yet no closures.

I think what you are finally seeing is what logging, rip-wrapping and overfishing have done to the species.

It just takes this long before you really start to see the negative impacts of those activities. Each little hit over the years takes away a little bit more.

Elwell is a good example. That stream used to be fairly pristine but one blowout over 12 years ago completely killed that stream. All the holding water filled in which sped up streamflow which means less little creatures, less small gravels (that aren't constantly shifting).

An example of a piece of water relatively unimpacted by logging (simply because it has a large swamp to help average flows) is Griffin Creek.
Checkthisout -- Good point about the effects of what happened to rivers in Puget Sound just taking more years to reach the OP and rivers not smack in the middle of 3 million people.
 

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
#33
well said, and remember this thread when bitching about how wdfw isn't managing for wild fish. the vast majority of anglers that wdfw contacts just wants the rivers planted with a ton of fish and couldn't give a rip about the difference between wild and hatchery fish.

when we wonder why wdfw makes certain decisions we need to take a hard look in the mirror.
Topwater & Omykiss - I take it you would both be OK with simply casting for steelhead/salmon or not fishing for them at all?
 

skyrise

Active Member
#37
Smalma, good point on hatchery vs no fishing at ALL. thanks for the info on the Samish. very interesting that some small streams like that can be doing well at the same time the big river to the north of it with hundreds of miles of river, side streams and creeks is not getting any better.
and why isnt the Sauk much better with Salmon? with all the miles and miles of good spawning water it seems that salmon runs just never have been very good for a long time.
is it the nets?
 

Matt Burke

Active Member
#38
Hey Curt,
Glad to see you in on this thread. Several years ago you stated that Steelhead and Salmon returns cycle up and down where as Steelhead might be up then Salmon later on. Did that ever happen because my direct experience on the rivers tells me they all have been just fizzling out since then? The Samish is interesting. Do those fish return via the straight or inland channel? The OP fish, do they return via open water too? Are the water temps in their feeding grounds causing fish to swim farther north? Can you give me any guidence here on what's going on or am I making this too complex? Is it just that simple that any of the rivers close to Seattle are going to die out? S river actually stands for (S)eattle and it was the kiss of death? Cheer me up Curt, please.
 

Charles Sullivan

ignoring Rob Allen and Generic
#39
I understand that many folks here are anti hatchery and want to see the end of releasing them. However using this list of PS river closures to make your case is a huge reach. Of course every river on the "list" has a hatchery on it. Under currernt WDFW policies and NMFS ESA guidelines if the river did not have hatchery steelhead retruning to them they were all ready closed - no need for an emergency closure as we aren't fishing.

Examples of PS rivers without returning hatchery steelhead that were all ready closed but hsitorically supported winer steelhead fisheries include included the Samish, Nisqually, Cedar, Skokomish, Hamma Hamma, Dosewallips, and Duckabush. With the exception of the Samish the status of the winter steelhead on the rest of the those streams is at least as depressed as those on the "list". More to the point the steelhead populations on the north half of the Salish seas (BC) are doing as poorly the PS populations and most of them are also without hatchery fish.

I mentioned the Samish which is an interesting exception to what is going on with PS steelhead that begs for more study. While returns to the Samish have been up and down over this period of low PS steelhead survival its wild steelhead escapement goal has been met a number of times and the average escapement for the period is near the goal. This even though until the last couple years there were hatchery steelhead returning. BTW last year its escapement exceeded the goal by 1/3 and it is likely it will do so again this year. Is anyone fishing? - No; there aren't any hatchery fish.

Tight lines
Curt
Those of use who believe that hatcheries may be a large part of the problems realize that in-river impacts (at least at smolt stage) are low. Puget sound interactions are unknown. The point that rivers without hatcheries are doing as poorly as those with have nothing to do with PS interaction issues. Hatchery effects may also take place in the sound. Skagit hatchery fish can have a negative impact on Green River wild fish in the PS. Especially since the Hatch fish spend 2X the amount of time the wild fish do in the PS. They are also released to smolt at the same exact time the wild fish are leavin the Skagit. Of course we don't know what's going on in PS, but if we are gonna be conservative in our approach (Ie. 10% C&R mortality) then let's be conservative.



Regarding the Samish: As I see it 3 things need to be looked at.
1.) How many Samish Fish are Skagit strays?
2.) Do the fish smolt at the same time as the Skagit wild/hatch fish?
3.) Do they travel in a different manner than the Skagit fish?

Go Sox,
cds
 

Wild Steelhead Coalition

wild steelhead for the future
#40
Great discussion, everyone. So quick question, though: how many of you either...

1. attended the WDFW's Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting on Saturday to testify on behalf of the Sport Fishing Rules Proposal for 2012-13

OR

2. submitted requested comments on the Rules Proposal to WDFW ?
 

Charles Sullivan

ignoring Rob Allen and Generic
#41
Great discussion, everyone. So quick question, though: how many of you either...

1. attended the WDFW's Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting on Saturday to testify on behalf of the Sport Fishing Rules Proposal for 2012-13

OR

2. submitted requested comments on the Rules Proposal to WDFW ?
With all due resect, the WDFW sportfishing rules have little to do with either the decline or the restoration of these fish. Although I generally agree with WSC on all the issues WSC commented on, none of them really make a difference.
Go Sox,
cds
 

KerryS

Ignored Member
#42
No comments from me. I have given up. I am the complete definition of apathy and I firmly believe WDFW is a completely disfunctional organization. No comment I make will do any good. To much money and politics involved for the average guy to overcome. We will be limited to plunking from the bank for humpies in a few more years.
 

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
#43
I think the WSC is well intended and I too love the noble idea of returning things to the golden years. However, I really think their quest is at the expense of the community at large not having a sport fishery. Hatchery fish, while not the "pure quarry" some feel are the only fish worthy of pursuing, can continue to provide a sport fishery that offers a reasonable opportunity to catch fish.

WSC is basically asking this and, very likely the next 2-3 generations, to give up fishing for steelhead. And with all of the other related factors we know influence the long term survivability also not being curtailed, there is no assurance it will yield any different end game.
 

Jonathan Stumpf

I don't care how you fish
#44
With all due resect, the WDFW sportfishing rules have little to do with either the decline or the restoration of these fish. Although I generally agree with WSC on all the issues WSC commented on, none of them really make a difference.
Go Sox,
cds
Charles, you are absolutely wrong. They are mandated by the state to conserve our fisheries. Read the state legislative mandate, specifically paragraph two that states:

The department shall conserve the wildlife and food fish, game fish, and shellfish resources in a manner that does not impair the resource.

Here's the full mandate: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/RCW/default.aspx?cite=77.04.012

Whether or not they fulfill that and what their definition of 'conserve' may be in an entirely different story...

Curious to know if all individuals that have given up on trying to make a change to enhance our steelhead fisheries, are you all out still using the resource?
 

Charles Sullivan

ignoring Rob Allen and Generic
#45
What sportfishing rules change would make a difference for Pget Sound Steelhead?

Mandate or not, it's not in any way a sportfishing rule issue. Sportfishermen are not and never have been the reason for the decline of PS steelhead stocks.

Go Sox,
cds