Hatchery Steelhead... yes or no?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Panhandle, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. Be Jofus G

    Be Jofus G Banned or Parked

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    When they take the gill nets off of the tribes and stop the commercial canadians from fishing our runs and leaving their own runs alone then I'll be all for cutting off the hatchery fish.
     
  2. Panhandle

    Panhandle Active Member

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    Just out of Curiosity Andy, and I'm not being a dick here, how many native fish have you caught in ratio to Brats on the rivers you fish? Would you be willing to sacrifice not fishing those rivers so that the Natives could replenish themselves? Keep in mind, these rivers would most likely be closed down for your lifetime.... kind of like rehabilitating grizz and wolf population in our generation. No more pics for you:p
     
  3. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    Most of the steelhead I fish for are native runs. On the few rivers I fish that do have hatchery steelhead like the Skagit, Ronde or the Stilly the large majority of the steelhead I catch from these rivers are native fish. They can close down the hatcheries and I believe it would have little affect on my fishing. Now if after the closing of the hatcheries the powers that be say they need to close the river to fishing; so be it.
     
  4. Panhandle

    Panhandle Active Member

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    Kerry, it sounds like if they shut down the hatcheries we'd all be fishing with you.:D
     
  5. Paul Huffman

    Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

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    James - I'm interested in learning more on this. Do you have references?
     
  6. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

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    Its a very steep learning curve;) :cool:
     
  7. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    Hahahah, the Skagit == silly hard! Man, more than any river that one intimidated me the most! I think it took 6 trips before it finally gave up a fish to me....
     
  8. Milt Roe

    Milt Roe Active Member

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    Tom Quinn's work at Forks creek characterized the low survival of hatchery/wild crosses. Send me a PM and I can probably find a PDF file unless someone else has a link. I believe there are other similar studies in the Kalama and elsewhere.
     
  9. Zen Piscator

    Zen Piscator Supporting wild steelhead, gravel to gravel.

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    Pan,
    On the walla walla river its nearly all hatchery fish. I've only landed two truely wild steelhead in 3 years of fishing when compared to larger amounts of brats. That river needs to be closed and restored. For the amount of water it carries and pristine spawning habitat of it and its tribuaries, it should be kicking out huge numbers of wild fish.

    On the T rivers most fish are wild, about 1 in 4 are hatchery atleast for me.

    Ronde, about half and half

    Clearwater, almost all hatchery

    I think I could live without steelehad if it meant their eventual return, just not well.

     
  10. Panhandle

    Panhandle Active Member

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    You're a better man than me Andy.
     
  11. Will Atlas

    Will Atlas Guest

    Paul,

    The Kalama studies were the first to have a significant amount of data suggesting that spawning interactions between wild and hatchery fish could significantly decrease the survival of the fish. There is a large body of scientific literature on hatchery wild interactions, some more conclusive that others. Bill Bakke with the wild fish society has a good amount of literature linked to his website http://www.nativefishsociety.org/conservation/biblio/wild_vs_hatchery/index.html
    That link should be helpful.

    As far as my feels about hatcheries I too have a number of conflicting feelings. First of all, I like catching steelhead. Increasingly however my interest in fish/fishing has been in catching native fish so I would much rather target native steelhead if doing so did not cause undue harm to the sustainability of the run. I also think that as fisheries managers we lean much too heavily on hatcheries as a means of creating better fishing opportunity. In my limited experience, hatchery steelhead are inferior in all arenas, survival, willingness to take a fly, and fighting ability. I do however understand as others have mentioned that in some systems there would be no fish/fishing were it not for hatcheries. In these instances I think hatchery production is acceptable. That being said, the amount of hatchery planting that occurs in many systems which have completely viable habitat is disturbing to me and I cant help but think that without the hatchery fish the wild fish would be much better off.

    The columbia system presents unique challenges. When you are loosing 10% of outmigrant smolts at each dam the wild fish are going to struggle to survive period, so for rivers like the Methow hatchery plantings are probably going to be the reality. Broodstocks while possibly the lesser of two evils actually undergo domestication selection and show considerably decreased survival and overall fitness within only a few generations of domestication, so they probably arent a good answer for restoring wild fish. The Snake system is the one that really infuriates me. The dams on the snake generate a trivial amount of electricity and their maintenance as well as the cost of mitigation efforts (hatcheries, habitat restoration, etc) are heavily subsidized by the government...all to make Lewiston the largest inland port in the world. Its Bull! With the amount of money we've spent polluting the gene pool of those amazing clearwater fish we could remove the dams and create a highspeed rail system that would be at least as effective in transporting grain from idaho. I hope to god we can see that in our lifetimes, because with climate change and all the other challenges facing those fish I am affraid that may be the only way to save them in the long run. Its just so frustrating that restoring those runs is right at our fingertips and the bureaucrats are too ignorant to do anything but squander tax dollars on inferior hatchery fish!

    Tightlines,
    Will
     
  12. Jon Borcherding

    Jon Borcherding New Member

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    I am conflicted on this issue. Much the same as some previous posters. One thought though, given the current political climate and the current demographics in the fly vs. bait vs. gear situation, IF we were to close any major river systems OR a significant number of smaller systems, you can bet that they will be closed to ALL forms of angling. Don't count on CnR fishing getting a pass. Not arguing for or against here..... just pointing out that the closure of CnR along with other forms of angling would be a virtual certainty.
    In a perfect world the folks who wanted to keep fishing would convert to CnR but, I think that in the real world they would pitch a screaming fit and lobby for total closure. You can also multiply that likelyhood by several orders of magnitude if the tribes and commercials get shut down.
    Still best for the fish?:confused:

    JonB
     
  13. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    So JonB, I'm not picking on you in the least bit. But the concept of us versus them is kinda a reoccuring theme and sometimes doesn't jive with reality. Bait and gear have nothing to do with C&R or catch and keep. The use of single barbless hooks is one of the best transitions we can make towards a sustainable C&R fishery. Studies in general show that if the isn't gil or gut hooked that they will in general recover.

    The reason why I bring this up is because most of the best bait guys I know do C&R exclusively for wild fish, even when it is their right to keep one. The people you speak of demographically are more into the harvest aspect of the fisheries, and the usual argument is based on the "right by tradition". The arguments that we see about harvest versus C&R occur on bait/gear boards at a rate that rivals our own on the fly boards and definately crosses the boundry of fly versus gear into gear versus gear.

    As is, the catch and keep of wild fish is pretty much as limited as it's going to get in this state (with the exception of the OP). Further restrictions would reduce the harvest on the OP to 0. Unfortunately that doesn't help the current plight of the wild stocks on the big C or the puget sound metropolis rivers. In most cases, the rivers are simply closed on Feb 28th, usually based on escapement for the wild stocks (which usually means it's closed).

    As for justification, the only thing that we can do to justify our C&R season is to state that the C&R mortality goal for a specific run will be how we choose to use our allotment of fish for the fishing season. Our tribal co-managers can do what they will with theirs, but that's a firm legal issue, nothing more nothing less. Any argument from the tribes would be quickly put down as this would be well within our rights by the Boldt decision. Of course if they *did* choose to revist this it is entirely possible that the entirety of the Boldt decision could be unravelled based on the current plight of the fish. I doubt comanagership would be surrendered as that right was earned in blood and suffering, but the oversight for the tribes and WDFW would probably start to change, as well as the defined right of harvest and how limits are set.

    -- Cheers
    -- James
     
  14. Steelie Mike

    Steelie Mike Active Member

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    I catch very few natives in local waters. I can count only a few and most of them are winter fish. I try to avoid places like the Upper Kalama where there are better numbers at certain times of the year. If I am to catch them, I would rather do it in the spring or early summer when they are fresh and full of vigor.

    I doubt that rivers like the Cowlitz have many natives in them. Winter fish maybe, but I doubt there are any true summer fish left. It is too bad, but realistically keeping a few rivers a catch and keep fishery will make kill fisherman at least partially happy. I personally bonk most if not all hatchery fish. Although I would prefer to catch a beautiful strong native steelhead, I will take a slightly mutilated hatchery fish that sometimes fish just as well as its native brethren. Also I believe removing hatchery fish from the genetic pool is a must. I have seen on two different systems steelhead spawning, Both times I noticed some of the fish were not wild. I left them alone, but what are the genetic consequences?

    So yeah I am torn as well.
     
  15. obiwankanobi

    obiwankanobi Active Member

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    When you examine the DNA of both hatchery and wild fish, you will see amino acid differences in the same line sequences. These slight variations can and will account for a genetically different fish, regardless if they make it back to their rearing habitat. Interestingly, mutations along DNA sequences can both help sustain a population or weaken its ability to survive.