Do you like catching Wild Coho?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by d. rose, Mar 9, 2009.

  1. d. rose

    d. rose Live to fish, fish to live.

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    Hello,

    Hello,

    I recently attended the first of several North of Falcon meetings in Olympia. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife holds these meetings to report and discuss forecasts for Salmon fisheries in the marine areas between the North Coast of Washington, and Cape Falcon on the coast of northern California. Another important component of the meeting is to allow the public a forum to voice their opinion regarding the upcoming retention and selective gear rules set forth for the upcoming Puget Sound season. Through the course of this meeting the convoluted and bureaucratic process by which decisions are made regarding our fisheries in Washington State were made self evident.

    Keith Robbins of A Spot Tail Salmon Guide Service has been but one of a very small lineage of Puget Sound fly anglers to regularly attend these meetings. For many years he has waded upstream against forces in this state that have very little interest in promoting the Puget Sound angling opportunities that are near and dear to fly fisher’s hearts. Among those, are the plight of wild Puget Sound Coho stocks. Currently, between 90% - 100% of resident hatchery reared Coho in the Sound are now marked. The days when an angler was unsure if they had caught a non fin-clipped hatchery fish are long gone. This means that if you kill an unmarked Coho it is almost assuredly a wild fish. There are no inclusions in the current rules to protect wild Coho as they fall under the general daily retention of 2 salmon. You’ll also notice that throughout the entire regulations pamphlet the words “Chinook” repeat itself over and over and over. Where is the Coho love you might ask yourself?

    The short answer is, it doesn’t exist in this state. Wild Chinook are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA), and therefore receive the majority of federal money, local fishing interest, and media coverage . It is common at these meetings for the mere mention of protecting wild Puget Sound Coho to be met with sharp criticism, and be swiftly dismissed. Behind closed doors the purveying sentiment is that only elitist fly fisherman constitute a population of anglers that would bother with wild Coho when clearly the ESA listed Chinook deserve the most attention. This is hardly a new paradigm as the fly fishing pioneers who fought for catch and release regulations on Sea Run Cutthroat sat in these meetings and likely heard the very same thing. Rules to protect these fish is more important than ever as the 2009 forecast is extremely bleak to say the least. While I am all for continuing protection for Chinook stocks, as a fly angler, Coho are very important as they are much more readily accesible from the beach and in shallow water. It would be nice to know that the wild fish that spawn in large river systems as well as small creeks will be there just as the Sea-Runs.

    It was clarifying to see that the state actually did take into account suggestions made by ordinary anglers and citizens concerned about angling opportunities. Rules are truly influenced, created, modified, and adapted at this meeting. It was at the same time disturbing to see that fly anglers and their interests are not represented in the slightest. The squeeky wheel does in fact get the grease. Unfortunately for us, the squeeky wheel are a small population of gear anglers that fish from boats, are between the ages of 65 and 75, like to run their downriggers at about 65 feet, and have the time to show up at these meetings. Believe me, they don’t care about the lonely fly guy on the beach just hoping for a Sea-Run Cutthroat or wild Coho to eat their fly. As Keith put it, “It all comes down to butts in the seats”, and butts are consistently not there in our interests.

    This process is slow and painful, and the politics involved are vast. Clearly, a loud forceful fly angler standing up at this meeting would likely only serve to hamper our cause. However, a mere consistent presence of 10 fly anglers at this meeting would send ripples through the crowd of good ‘ole boys, and possibly move us forward from the stale reductive policies of this state and into a more inclusive environment for fly fishers, beach bound and by watercraft.

    The next and ultimately the most important meeting is set for March 17th, between 9 a.m.- 3 p.m., at the Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Ave., Lacey, WA. Discussion of management objectives and preliminary fishery proposals for Puget Sound, and coastal Washington areas will be discussed.

    Please let myself or Keith Robbins know if you have any questions and feel free to distribute this note freely.

    Go Fish,

    Dylan Rose
     
  2. Milt Roe

    Milt Roe Active Member

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    Not sure what regs you are talking about, but wild coho release is already required in most areas. Also not sure why the fly anglers necessarily need a voice separate from other sport fishermen in the allocation process, as I know all coho anglers want to see the wild fish do well. What do the gear guys want that you object to? What specifically are you wanting from the process for fly fishermen? I'm all for maintaining healthy wild coho runs, but I guess I'm not getting your point here.
     
  3. Ed Call

    Ed Call Mumbling Moderator Staff Member

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    Fly fishing gear, drift fishing gear, bait casting gear, spin casting gear, cane pole fishing gear, ice fishing gear, bait fishing gear, troll fishing gear, centerpin fishing gear...It is all fishing and it is all fishing with some kind of gear. Voice unification is the only effective way to ensure that legislation about fishing allows us to protect what we fish for so we can keep fishing our preferred gear. Fragmented voices is also effective, but only effective that we all compete at fishing until all the fish are gone and we have to turn to something else not to be unified about. My best friend taught me to fish, drift fishing gear on bait casting gear or spinning gear. I now fish only fly fishing gear. He is still my best friend and he can fish his gear and I'll fish mine.
     
  4. Bugthrower

    Bugthrower Willits

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  5. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

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    Huh??? Not the short answer, the wrong answer! :beathead:

    Area 13:

    July 1-Sept. 30 CHINOOK - min. size 22". Other SALMON species - no min. size. Daily limit 2
    (combined). Release wild CHINOOK and wild COHO. Handling Rule in effect for wild
    CHINOOK and wild COHO. See closures and marine preserves on previous page
    and below.
    Oct. 1-Oct. 31 CHINOOK - min. size 22". Other SALMON species - no min. size. Daily limit 2
    (combined). Release wild COHO. Handling Rule in effect for wild COHO. See closures
    and marine preserves on previous page and below.

    etc etc...

    Area 9 Mark Selective Coho Fishery - Due to conservation
    concerns for Hood Canal coho, anglers will be required to release
    wild coho from July 16 through September 15 in Marine Area 9.

    Grays Harbor Wild Coho Release Requirements - Anglers are
    required to release wild coho in Marine Area 2.2 and numerous
    Grays Harbor tributaries.

    Area 5 Late Season “Hooknose” Coho Opportunity - Again this
    year wild Coho may be retained from September 16 through 30.

    and "Release wild COHO" sprinkled all thru the rivers and marine section
     
  6. DimeBrite

    DimeBrite MA-9 Beach Stalker

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    Some here are missing the point of Dylan's post (badly), and need to rethink. We the flyfishing community must represent our desires at policy meetings such as North of Falcon. The fact that Dylan has spent his precious time trying to represent us should be saluted and not picked apart. I would urge those who are able to attend this and other such meetings to attend and follow his lead. Dylan is an expert local saltwater angler and helped to get many of us get started with fly fishing the salt, now he's trying to protect the resource. The fishery policy makers do not read your posts on this website but they will hear your opinion when you attend these meetings.

    There have recently been improved protection for unmarked silver salmon in Puget Sound but more can and should be done. I have one major concern about these new regulations however. To reach the daily quota of hatchery silvers while fishing Neah Bay, Seiku or the Sound many more wild coho are caught (hooked deeply with bait) and released to certain death. In the Straits, dead wild coho can often be seen floating belly up on the surface after a harsh release from disappointed fishermen. The result of these well intentioned regulations is the killing of more wild coho (they simply are not kept and eaten). Perhaps we should rally for retention of the first 2 silvers caught (wild or hatchery) and not allow further fishing until the next day. This may prevent collateral damage to our wild coho stocks.

    Other topics to bring up at these policy meetings?
     
  7. Jim Speaker

    Jim Speaker Active Member

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    C'mon Dime, I wasn't disrespecting his efforts. I just believe with conviction that when representing important causes some fact checking should be done to ensure that credible information is provided.
     
  8. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

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    Let me tell you something about Dylan. If he told me the only way to catch fish was to suck shit from a pig’s ass through a straw, there wouldn’t be a safe pig in the state. If I had a vehicle that was good for more than just getting me to work, I’d be there.
     
  9. Stonefish

    Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

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    A first two silvers caught retention rule would be difficult to implement during a large humpy run year.
    With a likely two silvers, two pinks catch limit this summer, you'd still have collateral damage to wild stocks as folks try to fill out their humpy limit.

    I think as we move forward, all PS marine areas will have some type of selective wild coho release regulations. It makes no sense to have those regs in MA 13, but not in 10 or 11 as the fish move through.
     
  10. d. rose

    d. rose Live to fish, fish to live.

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    Primarily we are talking about south Sound Coho (where a lot of us go to fish the beach and run into plenty of unmarked Coho), which could have been better stated in the note. We thought it best to include the whole of the Sound in a general sense. It terms of fact checking, all one needs to do is look at the regs for marine areas 11 - 13, there are vast periods of productive fishing that allow you to kill between 2 and 4 wild Coho. The regs are very confusing and convoluted. You'll have to look closely and for longer than 30 seconds.

    Anyone who has fished these areas has likely found estuaries where Coho spawn in smaller river systems. I am ALL for getting anglers together! I could care less how people fish as long as they are following the rules. Anyone who knows me would also know that I could care less of the manner they choose to chase any species of fish. You like swinging? You like nymphing? Go for it and have fun. It's not to much to ask, for everyone to justify pegging fish in the mouth and letting them go crazy to give back a little and to never forget that conservation is vital. Just ask the Turkey hunters or the Striper fisherman and how a population for the love of a targeted species when pulled together, can do amazing things.

    The note reveals very little in the way of "facts". It's intent was to be penned in a general sense and of the spirit in which to say, lets stop killing wild Coho, lets make the rules mirror that of wild native Sea Run cutties. Why not? Are the south Sound Coho not wild and native?

    I have made my career taking people fishing and selling people fishing gear. I'd like to give back in some way, and protecting this fish, in this system suits me.

    Dylan
     
  11. d. rose

    d. rose Live to fish, fish to live.

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    BTW, there has already been more discussion and a bigger focus on Coho in this thread than you'll see at any of these meetings. That's good. From my perspective, voices at this years meeting, met their agenda and catered to their style of fishing. Pushing for rules that enhanced their own fishing. Etc...

    Let's have a varied population to give input, even if it's anglers that like to fish Buzz bombs, flies, and spinners off of the beach. Their concerns could be different than the prevailing view point, and thusly translate to new and different forms of regulations. Do you care that there is a Fly Fishing Only period for Agate Passage? How do you think that rule was pushed through? It wasn't an angler who fishes Elliot Bay for Chinook.

    D
     
  12. d. rose

    d. rose Live to fish, fish to live.

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    Matt, the only way to catch fish is to suck shit from a pig's ass. Please let me know how this goes for you and take lots of pictures. You're hilarious. Good to hear from you.

    D
     
  13. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

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    Thanks Dylan, see ya out there on the beach when the pinks are running in the North Sound.
     
  14. Matt Burke

    Matt Burke Active Member

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    Seriously folks, you need to go cuz I can't. They are always done when I'm working. And you could express all your thoughts related to fly fishing. Like 30 pound wild steelhead being caught and killed.
     
  15. d. rose

    d. rose Live to fish, fish to live.

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    Jim,

    Here is the breakdown of the rulings in WA. based on a document given to me from the WDFW. These are the "facts".
     

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