CnR Wild Steelhead Mortality and NOAA 4%

I was talking to a Bio yesterday and we discussed wild steelhead mortality on catch and release systems. I asked him what percentage of caught fish by the CnR angler the state uses as a guideline. To my surprise he told me 50% - So I said that you guys think that the CnR angler hooks 50% on the Skagit, Nooksack and if ever opened the Sky and Stilly? He said yep.

He also told me that the state did a study on the Hoh and they came up with 80% of fish caught in that system.

I am no gear or bead guy and don’t fish the OP at all, but my question is – Should we as anglers support a No fishing from a boat ban on rivers that have threatened runs like the OP and Skagit (Listed) to limit our CnR mortality on wild steelhead. Say from February 1 to the end of April no fishing from a boat – only boat use for travel?

This person also told me that NOAA is looking for a total 4% mortality on PS wild steelhead – So if the Skagit can only open with a 6000 escapement goal and 50% of those fish are hooked by the CnR angler – we have a 10% state guideline of CnR mortality that’s 300 fish dead through CnR. That exceeds the 4% NOAA guideline – well ………….do the math.

I’m wondering what your thoughts are on these subjects?



Ignored Member
Where did the 10% mortality rate come from? The state? If so how did they arrive at 10%?

If the numbers you provided are correct then the river(s) should remain closed to all fishing.
Kerry - the state has always had the 10% CnR mortality rate as a guide - I don't know how they came up with 10% - from my discussions with area Bio's they would like to see the total mortality somewhere in the area of 10 to 15% for many of the states river systems

What is the run size of the Hoh and if 80% of the run is caught and have a 10% CnR mortality - What number is that total mortality? I don't know much about those systems -


Active Member
On the Skagit the last couple years it was open the fishermen outnumbered the fish, so I would say it was probable that >50% of the run was caught at some point. Some fish get caught multiple times too. Probably not the best thing for a fish run thats so depressed. These fish need all the help they can get right now.


Active Member
what did this genius have to say regarding wild steelhead mortality from gill nets set bank to bank???


Ignored Member
I would like to read the study that says 80% or more of the run are caught by anglers on the Hoh. Also, how did they arrive at 50% for the Skagit? Not disputing it but I would like to read it and then decide.
I would like to read the study that says 80% or more of the run are caught by anglers on the Hoh. Also, how did they arrive at 50% for the Skagit? Not disputing it but I would like to read it and then decide.
I would like to see that study as well.


Active Member
sure thing chris, so just how do 80% of the steelhead on the hoh get caught by sport anglers when bank to bank gillnets are in the river 6 days/week?? this just sounds like another voodoo statistical study by another group.
gt - I can't get into a pissing match with you today - its been raining alot these past few weeks and I need to mow the lawn.
But my suggestion would be to call the Bio from the Hoh and ask that person if they have done an angler study in the past couple of years and see what that person says. I agree it could be a voodoo statistical study with no written documentation and not for public use just internal - but I think they did somekind of angler informational gathering in the past couple of years.
Ask them some of these questions -
What percentage of the Hoh wild run do they think get caught from anglers?
What do they think their CnR mortality is from CnR anglers?
Would they propose a reg that limits CnR anglers fishing from a boat to ensure a fishing season?

From my understanding those runs are threatened so NOAA has limited involvement - Ask them if NOAA was involved what restrictions do they think NOAA would want.

Have a good one


Active Member
Chris -
REgarding the Hoh Study - I think you will find that the recreational fishery handled (encountered) 80% of the run that escaped the nets. It also probably is the case that 80% of the individual fish were not handled but rather adding up the total numbers of releases and the total harvest would equal 80% of the run (recreational catch plus escapement); of course some of the fish released would likely be caught one or more additional times.

I recall during the 1980s and early 1990s when the State had a winter steelhead creel census on the Snohomish system that it was the norm for a little more than 20% of the in-river run (again not including the tribal catch) of wild steelhead were harvested by the recreational fishery by the end of February. For the Skykomish once one considered the wild fish released during the keep season as well as those caught in March and April CnR season it is pretty easy to see that the total wild encounters would approach 1/2 of the run.

Regarding the 10% hooking mortality - that figure has been around for at least 25 years. At that time as was the normal the managers opted to use a high value that was expected to be above the actual mortality (assuring that any errors would be on the side of the wild fish). I believe on the coast 5% has been used but the more conservative value has continued to be used in Puget Sound and it appears that the feds have adopted it as well.

The feds have adpoted a allowable impact on those ESA listed Puget Sound steelhead of 4%. It is my understanding that is an aggregrate impact for all of Puget Sound and yes for released wild steelhead they continue to use that 10% release mortality. That aggregrate 4% is the place holder until river/stock specific allowable impacts (ala the PS Chinook). Who knows when those river/stock specific impacts will developed and agree to. Until that time I fully expect that regardless of wild run sizes we will see seasons exactly like we have this past year.

Even if the expected Skagit wild winter forecast was 10,000 or more the managers would still be held to that 4% value so there is not much room for a season much differnt than this past one.

Tight lines

Chris Bellows

Your Preferred WFF Poster
we should support rules limiting our impact if the studies are correct that 80% of the fish (that get past the nets) are hooked and released (or harvested) by the sport fishing fleet.

especially on rivers that have not been meeting escapement on a regular basis.
Thanks Curt -
So the OP is not listed and NOAA really can't put the hammer down on the fishing regs as hard as they have on PS - Correct?
If the state regulated a "No fishing out of a boat" for some if these systems - would it help in the management of these systems and give the fish a haven from angler impact and lower that 80% from the Hoh study.


Active Member
no pissin' match from my end, grass is way out of control! simply pointing out that the reported %ages leave lots of explain' to do. so in the mean time, voodoo statistics rule the day and screw the resources.
gt - only on non listed systems. If your in the camp of anglers are bad for the fish, you have the cheer on NOAA - that 4% value would get anglers off the river by the end of January.

Maybe our methods are just too productive