Cowlitz wild fish

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Dan Page, Dec 24, 2013.

  1. FinLuver

    FinLuver Active Member

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    Folks...before you go to taking each others heads off...

    It's not necessarily the studies, but the use of those studies to say something that they do not say, only to convince you to move in a particular direction.

    Kinda like statistics...it's only has meaning to ones interpretation and the point that you want to convey.
     
  2. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    There are at least attempts to use hatcheries to increase the numbers of wild produced fish. One example I am aware of is the Tucannon River. Wild Tucannon fish are captured and spawned. The offspring are not clipped before being released. I think the logic is that the numbers of wild fish are so low some years, there is concern about them winking out of existence. Also, the Tucannon steelhead program is going to all endemic stock. My understanding is once the program is producing 150,000 smolt a year, they will begin clipping them again. I'm not sure if they will get all brood stock from the resulting clipped fish, or still dip into the wild reared pool.

    These are not "native" fish, and I don't think I have heard anyone call them that. But the endemic/wild producing fish do seem to come home (hatchery stray rate with Lyons Ferry stocks is sometimes 80%), and succeed in reproducing.

    The end result should be wild producing steelhead, and hatchery stocks that actually come back to place they were planted and hatchery fish that IF they spawn with wild reproducing fish, should not be all that dissimilar.
     
  3. jwg

    jwg Active Member

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    Correct me if I am wrong here.
    It was my understanding that hatchery raised fish were disruptive to all the fish in the stream.
    In this case couldn't hatchery raised fish, even if from the endemic genetic stock, have a negative impact on wild-reared stocks?
    Jay
     
  4. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    That's the way it came across to me and my interpretation of what he meant... not the first post from him I've read on the subject of the great hatchery vs. wild debate. I left out the (the internet ages version of "F off!") part. If I got it wrong, let him speak for himself. There is a core of anti-hatchery folks on the forum that come across as both arrogant and dismissive.

    The OP is about getting returning un-clipped fish into parts of the various watersheds long ago made inaccessible to them. We all rail about habitat, habitat, habitat...well, they are making attempts to use what remains of the best parts which are conducive to natural reproduction. Makes sense to many of us who are also passionate about various fish species and conservationists.
     
  5. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    I think hatchery stocks certainly could be a negative influencer. However if a system has fewer fish than it has habitat and forage to support, I am guessing it is less of a problem. Using my example from above, it appears to me that much of the spawning and rearing habitat in the Tucannon is in pretty good shape and underutilized.

    I think given the issues with downstream migration, predation, etc, that boosting the wild spawn population with artificial propagation is not only a good idea in the Tucannon, I think it is essential. I have little to base this on, but I suspect the Snake river dams had a huge deleterious effect on the Tucannon fish (which, FWIW includes spawners in the Tucannon, Palouse, and a few other small streams).

    To paraphrase what others have said, things really have to be evaluated on a river-by-river basis. Without help, I think the Tuc fish are screwed.
     
  6. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

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    I don't know much about the Cowlitz river, but if the steelhead have been blocked from reaching the upper river for years and what they are doing is having some good results that is great. Hatcheries have their place no doubt, and I'm sure that as Salmo-G suggested the fish through natural selection will go native sooner or later.

    Here is an interesting study, that I have posted before: http://nativefishsociety.org/wp-content/uploads/Chilcote-et-al-2011-h-w-reduced-recruitment.pdf

    P.S. to save yourself some time, read the abstract, then the discussion and you'll get the gist.
     
  7. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

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  8. jwg

    jwg Active Member

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    What I noticed about this was that once the wild producing steelhead populations are improved, they still plan to run the hatcheries. That's where I thought continued hatchery production might be counterproductive. I am not opposed to spawning endemic fish to improve populations and use of existing habitat.
    J
     
  9. Chris Johnson

    Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

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    There has been a wild brood stock program for spring chinook on the N. fork Nooksack for 25+ years and it has done near nothing to improve wild spawning and contribute significant stray rates to the S. fork spring chinook, which are just hanging on. Does not make much sense since there has been no fishery for these fish ( sport, commercial or Tribal), for 35+ years.
     
  10. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    I agree, if wild fish are paramount importance, continued hatchery supplementation (especially of marked/harvestable fish) seems like a bad call.

    I suspect part of this stems from differing priorities, the Federal agencies want to protect the naturally producing fish in the basin, and they ultimately issue the permit to allow a fishery over listed stocks. WDFW (as an agency, not particular staff) is likely concerned about both compliance with ESA listing/protecting natural producers AND providing a recreational fishery.

    Personally I think they should continue to supplement until (IF) the wild producing population stabilizes, but never mark any of the fish or allow harvest of unclipped fish. They would need to produce far fewer fish and those fish would not be subject to harvest except as bycatch. If they wanted to sort adults for hatchery brood, they could clip an other fin (Ringold did this for a while I think).
     
  11. jwg

    jwg Active Member

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    From the two articles Chris cited, and the observation about the Nooksack, it appears the conclusion would be that the largest number of fish in the river will result from no hatchery, as opposed to some mix of hatchery raised and wild-spawned fish, and thus the no hatchery option would provide the greatest recreational opportunity as well, so long as there was not a listing to prevent such recreational fishery.

    Seems like these same issues will apply to Olympic Penninsula rivers where they have taken dams down but plan to operate hatcheries as well.
     
  12. FinLuver

    FinLuver Active Member

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    "Recreational" fishery needs to be defined!!

    C&R or Limited Harvest??

    If it's just a C&R fishery, we can just drop the discussion (per se) here and now. The support of this approach is very limited.

    I for one support a Limited Harvest approach.... 1 summer steelhead, 1 winter steelhead, 1 spring chinook, 1 fall chinook, and 15 trout. btw...I'm no "real" threat to the anadromous finned folks - limited opportunities for me are keeping them safe.

    I would like to see runs that are healthy enough to support this opportunity.

    I would also like to see a reduced ocean catch/harvest to take place.
     
  13. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    FinLuver,

    Recreational fishing almost always includes a limit on harvest. It can range from zero to 10 or 20, depending on species and geographic location or water body. Albacore are the only finfish I know of that has no limit on sport harvest at this time. Recreational fishing is always limited in terms of gear or tackle (dupont spinners prohibited, etc.), manner of fishing (bait, artificial lures, fly only, boats with and without motors, etc.), time, and location.

    Harvest limits are a product of fish abundance, recreational fishing efficiency, and social values. What you would like to see is one opinion among many. We are a pluralistic society, and fishing regulations are a product of that. I don't get to have it my way either.

    With regard to the Cowlitz wild steelhead whose picture caused this thread, directed wild steelhead harvest in sport fisheries is waning in WA, limited only to a few rivers on the Olympic peninsula. The number of rivers where wild steelhead sport harvest is only likely to decrease, and not increase any time in the foreseeable future in this state with 6 million humans, and increasing. Wild steelhead release and CNR fishing for wild steelhead is the future unless the human population decreases by over 50%.

    Sg
     
  14. FinLuver

    FinLuver Active Member

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    "Wild steelhead release and CNR fishing for wild steelhead is the future unless the human population decreases by over 50%."

    This may happen...this may happen

    nofactstosupport...justanopinion
     
  15. Rob Allen

    Rob Allen Active Member

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    I wish that they would do genetic testing on fish like that.. I'd be interested to know how much the natural rainbow trout population above the dams plays a role. I would suspect it's significant.