Hatchery Steelhead... yes or no?

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

  1. JS

    JS Active Member

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    iagree
     
  2. Daryle Holmstrom

    Daryle Holmstrom retiredfishak

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    We were in Hank's Market in Twisp on the 4th and they had fresh Columbia Steelhead for sale. Now what's up with that?

    Daryle
     
  3. yuhina

    yuhina Tropical member

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    Will, well said, I see Some good points in you post...

    "Hatchery fish" could mean several different things. 1. It could be fish that from some where, other drainages, that have totally different genetic profile. 2. It could be the offspring from last year wild type parent fish that have pure genetic profile.
    Having the first type of hatchery fish in the river, the gene pool would be washed out and lost their evolutionary significance and also might reduce the fitness of the local wild fish. On the other hand, having the second type of hatchery fish in the river, they did help the river maintain certain amount of fish, increase the population size of the whole lineage in that specific race. "Good" fishery fish restore the population that have been hugely damaged by dam, fisherman and habitat loss. For the genetic tool we have today... ,and if the implantation have been done properly, hatchery fish could be a good thing to the damaged fishery. Although I still love to see the fish will roam wild by themself without humans' hands. Just my little opinion for your reference.

    Yuhina
     
  4. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    Prolly purchased from a tribal netter... It was more than likely hatchery origin fish...
     
  5. Snake

    Snake tryin' not to get too comfortable

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    Here's a link to a USGS study looking at genetic differences in the migration, growth, and survival of hatchery and wild steelhead and of hatchery and wild spring chinook salmon :

    http://wfrc.usgs.gov/research/genetics/STReisenbichler1.htm

    That's funny, because that was the river they chose to sample steelhead from. If they can't get wild fish, how can they make a comparison??:confused:

    Something else weird about it: It only has the first 2 years (2000-2002) of a five-year study written up, and should be finished by now, but I couldn't find the final data anywhere on the USGS website.

    Thanks for the link, Will. That looks like a great organization and website!! :thumb:
     
  6. Jon Borcherding

    Jon Borcherding New Member

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    Thank you for that!:rofl: I promise not to pick on you either.:thumb:

    I believe the same studies also show that the likelyhood of gill or gut hooking increases with the use of bait vs. artificial lures.

    I used to be one of those guys but, "Most of the best bait guys I know" is not a very large sampling group, and I'm not sure I made my point clearly enough since you are bringing this up.

    My point is that closing the hatcheries and making more rivers CnR only will increase lobbying form the CnK crowd to close the rivers completely.

    I then asked the question, Is this still the best thing for the fish?


    JonB
     
  7. Big Tuna

    Big Tuna Member

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    Come live in Wenatchee and then you won't have to talk hypothetically about closed rivers:)
     
  8. ChrisW

    ChrisW AKA Beadhead

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    Interesting thread. First of all I would rather fish over fewer fish in a self sustaining run rather than a river full of hatchery brats. I do on occaision target hatchery fish based on the time of year (Dec-Jan), but I would gladly trade this opportunity if there was a chance to recover early returning nates.

    Here are a couple of observations. Steelhead are planted in almost every river in the state. Coho and chinook are also planted in a great many drainages. Which species are having the greatest challenges?
    hmmmm....steelhead, chinook and coho. Pinks and chum are doing pretty well on their own. Could it be that hatcheries are negatively influencing wild steelhead, chinook and coho? :beathead: If you presented this question to a fourth grader I'm sure you could find the solution. How long before we can no longer call any of our runs native?

    Hatcheries are getting fewer and fewer fish back, in some cases this is in the face of larger and larger plants. This has two effects: One, the obvious effect of less returning hatchery fish to fish for or to collect for spawning, and two, those fish that actually make it back and end up straying are from a severely compromised stock and likeley have an even worse effect on the native gene pool. We need the remaining rivers that have viable native stocks to be preserved as such.


    CW
     
  9. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    Totally gut hooking was more likely with bait, but the single largest factor in the study I saw was the use of single barbless hooks. The non-use of bait was second, not distantly but enough to be distinguished.

    Totally agree on this. The catch and keep crowd often use this argument as reasons for keeping. The reoccuring theme is, if the river can't sustain harvest it should be closed. It is funny though as often those arguments are grounded in the bizzare belief that C&R mortality is like 75%, and that fishing is about harvest. The counter of course is that fishing has evolved into a sport, and that to maximize the sport opportunity, C&R is an excellent tool.

    As for closing all rivers, because of the C&K crowd not liking C&R, I doubt it will ever happen. BC had a huge contingent of C&K up in their lakes region. When most lakes were turned into C&R based on a provisional plan there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Five years into the program though, people learned that *more* money was coming into the local economies because of the excellent fishing, and that the fishing was more fun. Of course there were still meat factories to allow people to keep, but by and large quite a bit went to C&R.

    Then again all of this is opinion, so you know how far that goes! :) None the less I do see your point more clearly (and it seems you've seen much of the same arguments between the gear guys!).
     
  10. Mark Bové

    Mark Bové Chasin tail

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    For me it is rather simple. I love fishing. I love catching fish, but it is a simple question of quality vs quantity. Some fisheries are truely amazing. Some coatal fisheries come to mind. These fisheries have fish in the system every day of the year due to the fact that we have created hatchery runs. The streams still maintain a great native fish population that haven't been messed with and are great sport. I maintain that such fisheries be left intact. The upper columbia/ Snake river tribs are a much different story. These streams have one run of fish and they all spawn at the same time. The hatchery fish, that some of the streams produce, are VERY tiny where the natives are huge perfectly propotioned fish. There are places though where big hatchery fish are produced and thus they create fun fisheries, but I know my wild fish fight much harder and are generally better fish. Its a tough one Adam.
    Mark T Bové
     
  11. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    I wished the pinks/chum versus steelhead et al. were so simple. Unfortunately you are talking about the extreme ends of juvienille rearing when discussing these fish. Chum and pinks flush into the sea within months of hatching. Steelhead, chinook and coho are among the most sensitive to habitat degredation because the juvinelle rearing range from 2 years on average (coho) to up to 6 years for steelhead. Futhermore coho need sloughs for good rearing and steelhead need good trout habitat. Chinook aren't something I know about, but apparently are more like steelhead in their rearing needs.

    Hatcheries *are* affecting natives, and we *know* it's bad, but it's hard to focus on a single dominant factor. I'm sure a bio like Smalama, Will Atlas, TomB or Salmo_g will have significantly more palatable answers and more detail :)

    Finally there are some bios that pretty much say that we *don't* have native fish left. In fact a genetics study of the Queets rivers almost proves it, as the most "similar" genetic stock to the Queets fish were "Chambers Creek". GAH! The study was done by the state, and I'm sure the sampling method left much to be desired, not because of the bios, but because how that river is run. But to even suggest something like this is pretty bad. You can look it up in the SASI info on the WDFW site... Based on this some of the folks I know instead call fish "wild" rather than native....
     
  12. TomB

    TomB Active Member

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    To add/modify what James said:

    In WESTERN WASHINGTON, all pink and chum and the vast majority of chinook migrate out of the rivers within weeks to months of hatching. Pinks move quickly out of river delta habitats to neritic waters and then the open ocean (pelagic). Chum and especially chinook hang around in delta and estuary nearshore habitats for extended rearing periods. Coho and sockeye mostly rear for one year in freshwater before smolting at age 1, although recent studies have documented a) significant #'s of coho smolting in the fall of their first year and rearing in brackish water). Coho and sockeye spend less time in estuaries and nearshore areas than chum or chinook. The majority of steelhead rear for 2 years in freshwater (6 would be anomalous for western washington, but not unheard of) before migrating quickly to pelagic waters.

    some of this can be found in Simenstad et al 1982 and Healey 1982....Tom Quinn's book im sure covers it as well

    To conclude, as you can see, the picture is perhaps more complicated, and each species has different needs for different habitats, all of which have been degraded toa degree--and that is just taking into account the most common life-histories in our area...many of these species display multiple distinct life history strategies, each strategy depending more or less on a given habitat.

    What we can say is that hatcheries certainly haven't helped native salmon and steelhead, and that each species has been affected in different ways by habitat destruction.

    To add to the native/wild discussion, phelps et al 1994 and 1997 showed that in many cases, native wild steelhead stocks have remained relatively free from hatchery genetic introgression despite legacies of stocking. A rudimentary undertstanding of genetics and evolutionary biology reveals the cause; if hatchery steelhead fitness is super low (see kalama river, hood river research) then they won't produce self-perpetuating offspring...when they manage to breed with wild fish, most of the time, rather than produced crossed offspring,there just aren't any offspring. The notion that there aren't any native stocks left is very misguided at best. Genetic work tells us that many stocks remain almost completely pure, and that even stocks with significant introgression can be helped by process-based restoration (i.e. restore the natural selection process free of brats ). The message I am trying to get across is that it isn't black and white, but rather a palette of grey. Every generation of wild fish that has hatchery fish breeding with it suffers and every generation that impure wild fish breed in the absence of hatchery fish, their offsprings' fitness increases. It is an incremental process and it takes many generations...harm often occuring faster than good. If we want native wild stocks, we must focus on process-based restoration--reconstructing or restoring the set of conditions that created the processes which allowed for their developement in the first place-- this requires that we address ALL of the 3 H's- habitat, hatcheries and harvest.

    Sorry for the longwinded and jumbled response---if you want editing, you gotta pay for it :)
    -T
     
  13. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast free bird

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    The fish doing the best are also worth the least to commercial fishermen. What a coincidence.

    If hatchery plants were cut back, maybe the commercials up and down the coast would back off. Hell, maybe it would cause a die-off of cormorants and sealions too.
     
  14. James Mello

    James Mello Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"

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    Thanks for the clean up on the info I provided. I retract my reality and replace it with your! The info I have is from reading Quinns book, others bits from talking to folks :) Also, the 6 year thing is definately an anomoly, but that I think was mentioned in some text somewhere, and struck me as a pretty interesting tidbit! :)

    Mostly it was from some fisheries guys that worked at a hatchery that made that ascertation and one bio who's name escapes me..... It's interesting to hear your perspective, as the general idea that they suggested that productivity of hatchery stock doesn't need to be high as volume makes up for it. The specific examples given were based on the original stocking and subsequent straying of the Great Lakes region. Though it is a significantly different water system and the were an introduced invasive species...

    With that in mind, Will was suggesting the WFDW SASI data was corrupted by poor sampling, but even so, it is pretty bizzare to read the data and see that native Queets river fish are even the least bit "genetically similar" to Chambers Creek stock... If you have better or more info, that would be great to see :)

    BTW, good to see you posting on this important topic! :)
     
  15. yuhina

    yuhina Tropical member

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    Well said and lay out nicely, TomB... :beer2: