Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Klickrolf, Mar 30, 2014.
I don't dispute that there are some number of winter runs on the Klickitat but I would also point out that summer runs are still holding in the river in February and may have comprised a lot if not all of your catch. Low light levels, higher water, and no angling pressure for months combine to make them bite quite well in the winter. Also, this whole question of the proportion of winters and summers in the river would be a moot point if the YN representatively PIT tagged smolts (such as through the use of a smolt trap) which could then be detected at Bonneville Dam. Thus far, this has not happened, at least in sufficient numbers. A cursory look at the limited PIT data for the Klickitat suggests that the majority of fish returned to BON during summer months, not winter. One other thing worth noting is that new arrivals in the winter may in fact consist of summers that have remained in the Columbia mainstem or other tributaries for months before migrating to the Klickitat. This is seen frequently in other gorge tributaries.
Wouldn't dispute anything you've stated above Tom, and thanks for jumping in. I do recall working up a kelt steelhead during the adfluvial bull trout study but the others were dime bright or very close so I assumed they were fresh winter fish.
Thanks to Tom's input, I spent a couple hours querying ptagis 2013 database and learned alot, thanks for the motivation Tom. Only looked at "wild" fish and "LYLFAT" and "Bonneville inclusive" tag detections. Lyle falls detections seem to be only adult fish with radio tags, they have tag numbers but I don't think those are PIT tags unless they are PIT tagging adults while also radio tagging them.
I wonder if the YN fisheries program actually PIT tags any wild steelhead smolts, other than the study that tagged this one in White Cr (tag # 3D9.1C2D82E2D9). Of course no one knows if a wild parr or smolt is a winter fish until it returns as an adult.
Only looked through about the first half of the detections database at Bonneville. The following 2 tagged fish were adults with radio tags, if they were PIT tagged as smolts the ptagis database doesn't disclose where or when. Tag #'s 3D9.1C2C9AAF5D and 3D9.1C2C968288, both of these fish appear to be adults when tagged, radio tags noted? Likely heading downriver to become repeat spawners. All and any input would be greatly appreciated. Likely the winter fish are more successful as repeat spawners.
One thing I noticed that really tripped my triger was all the detections for ToppenC fish! That's Toppenish Creek, trib of the Yakima River, I bust my teeth on that creek and am very pleased to see some serious follow-up being done there.
I'm no ptagis expert and likely am not fully understanding what I see in the database so I hope to be corrected if I got any of this wrong. Once again, I did the queryies for wild fish only at Bonneville and Lyle falls and only looked at about the first half of the data that was supplied at Bonneville.
I'm convinced there are plenty of wild winter fish visiting the Klickitat and wish there were some efforts to really figure this out...it ain't that hard!!
I'm not advocating an actual "Occuply the Klickitat" as done on the Skagit but I am wondering what makes the Klickitat a summer only fishery when there appears to be a good bit of evidence that the winter run is relatively healthy and could benefit from removal a few more hatchery fish. Please forgive the disjointed post, been researching and typing as I go and didn't take the time to rewrite it succinctly.
Here's what I'm trying to say, with PIT tags and radio tags and a ton of money devoted to anadromous fisheries why don't we know why we can't enjoy a C&R winter session devoted to diminishing hatchery fish impact on the wild gene-bank of the Klickitat River.
Was hoping for some sort of response. I see Paul and Salmo have read and hope Curt and TomB might have taken another look at the data. I'll try again.
Went back to ptagis, searched for wild steelhead over Bonneville once again. Used "Adult ladder " option "all three Bonn". Then "Prior Year", then stlhd, then "all" (for run date), then "wild".
I found 4 (four) Klickitat steelhead that were detected in 2013 and only one was a juvenile and that was the "only" PIT tagged fish that was detected (tag #3D9.1C2D06F7E1) in 2013. Two wild (2) adults radio tagged at Lyle Falls and labeled "wild WINTER" fish and one (1) fish labeled "summer steelhead" but that was also radio tagged as an adult and had no history of prior tagging.
Truth is we have no data! There is no demonstrated interest in learning about wild steelhead on the Klickitat, be it summer or winter. I'm disappointed and believe wild Klickitat steelhead deserve better.
I ran numbers and typed an lucid post that concluded, with many assumptions, that there are probably few, if any WR fish on the Klick. Then I "swiped" the mouse pad on this Damnable Apple computer and went "back" and lost my post.
Being too lazy to type it all again, here is the short version...
- SWAG is needed (Scientific Wild Ass Guessing).
- Assume KR wild fish would be late returning like the Hood.
- I assume some fish are not counted.
- Hood escapement/Harvest is estimated at 1351 fish.
- Passage over Bonneville for Steelhead (10yr ave) from Jan 1 to May 15 4705 fish, some are summer fish, but for the sake of argument I assume all are WR.
- Passage over The Dalles at the same time is 2648 fish.
Math give us 4705 - 2648 - 1351 = 706 fish. This is based on AVERAGES.
2009 estimated Wild escapement for the Hood (866 fish) is almost the exact number of wild fish that cross over Bonneville (I didn't even subtract the wild fish crossing The Dalles during this time). Which (with the overall math) leads one to believe that the average escapement to the Klickitat during this period is, for all practical purposes, 0 fish.
I would guess what is encountered during the late winter on the Klick is mostly Summer fish. Fish from the previous fall and late arrivals who stayed in the columbia river. PIT tag data shows these late arrivals show up in almost all of the rivers of the Snake and Columbia.
So a fishery on the Klick, mandatory bonker retention, wild release seems to make sense to me. Maybe close it on T-day and open Feb 1. Water is bad, let the Kings go away and finish spawning, let the Steelies settle in.
Bonneveille Link: http://www.cbr.washington.edu/dart/wrapper?type=php&fname=adultdaily_1396717135_284.php
The Dalles: http://www.cbr.washington.edu/dart/wrapper?type=php&fname=adultdaily_1396717557_50.php
Hood Estimates: http://www.hatcheryreform.us/hrp_do...orge-hood_river_winter_steelhead_01-31-09.pdf
And color can be very deceptive. I have seen fish, especially hens, with barely faint pink markings (almost chrome-ish...trout with no stripe) at the end of March on the GR.
No thanks...the whole "occupy" thing seems a bit overused.
I would support a C&R fishery on natural origin fish with a kill season on hatchery fish in the winter on the Klick...IF and ONLY IF WDFW imposed some serious restrictions for the rest of the year to somehow minimize the current pressure this system receives from anglers. Even though this is one of the closer steelhead rivers to my home, I often don't bother fishing it as much as I should because of the pressure. And yes, I understand that I can be part of the problem too. But after seeing the explosion of two-rod bobber drifters pounding that river all season long for the past decade, (not just guides but they are a big part of it) I would feel better for the fish if somehow pressure could be reduced before extending a steelhead season.
These situations should not surprise us. As more and more rivers are closed (or severely restricted), those remaining become the places to go. Like the Klickitat, the Hoh and Bogachiel are busting at the seams. This is a concern I have for the Skagit. It's much easier access to the core Seattle basin population makes it ripe for the same situation you cite. Some are now suggesting a special permit, like that for the Columbia basin, but that does not address the very real issue of enforcement and monitoring...which I'm guessing is a problem on the Klickitat as well?
Freestone do you currently or have you ever fished the hoh, bogi, klick or skagit? The permit would hypothetically pay for monitoring/creeling/etc just like upper col tribs. That's literally what it addresses.
Quick response here Rolf...sorry for the delay. Short answers/comments:
1)PTAGIS queries I ran (actually through DART), indicated we have very little data, as you alluded to, to infer run timing using unbiased methods. Lyle falls counts are not a reliable indicator since flow, temperature, and the presence of other species, may affect the percent of steelhead entering the trap, not to mention that during the summer there are strays including wild fish that cannot be distinguished from klickitat wild fish in the field. A simple solution to this would be for the YKFP to representatively tag large numbers of smolts as is being done in other Columbia tributaries including gorge tribs like the Wind and Hood.
2) The limited data i did look at included a handful of fish tagged as smolts in White Creek over the years. All returned to BON during the summer. I did not count the timing as repeat spawners of adults tagged at lyle since they are unlikely to be a representative as discussed above.
3) other sources of information to think about klickitat timing:
a) 95-98% of Wind R adults are summer runs based on timing at BON (very few fish between november and april).
b) upstream of the Klickitat, all populations are ~100% summers (even 15 mile creek which had bean assumed to be a winter run, is now known to be a summer run based on PIT tags).
c) Above BON, the only winter run of any size at all is the Hood, and it also has a summer run of size.
d) so which is the Klickitat more likely to be like, the Wind or Hood, or rivers upstream?
-The Hood with its mixed run, has no barriers to migration on the mainstem or east fork, but a falls on the west fork at the mouth (punchbowl) that defines the transition to summers in that basin--mostly summers upstream and mostly winters downstream.
-On the wind, Shipherd falls at rkm 3 denies passage to most steelhead most years except in summer and fall, meaning winters, and summers that come back at the wrong time or sit in the BON pool too long, would likely have been historically forced to spawn in the limited habitat below shipherd falls (now can pass upstream through a ladder).
-since the Klickitat, like the Wind, has a falls just above the mouth that was historically thought to block all but spring chinook and steelhead (no coho or fall chinook naturally in the upper Klickitat!), I think it is reasonable to assume its run timing is more like the Wind's---not necessarily 95-98% summers, but probably very dominated by summers with a smaller winter component.
-In reality, we won''t know until the quality of monitoring data is improved.
Tom's and David's input forced me to do more searching and I became less confident in the numbers. The Dalles dam counts are useless since everyone agrees winter fish don't pass the Dalles, though I think Rock Creek gets a few. Data (for the Dalles Dam) between 1/1 and 3/31 don't exist in most years, the only exceptions are 2012 & 2013 but those numbers are entirely dubious because any number of those fish may have passed Bonneville months earlier. Same as the overwintering we see in the John Day Pool.
My attempts at finding Hood River wild winter escapement counts (estimates) weren't any better (help me David?) My searching only found very few wild winter fish (assuming 1/1- 3/31) passing Powerdale dam, are they counted somewhere else downriver? Or maybe it's based on PIT tags which I didn't check. I used Jan 1 to March 31 because I'm convinced alot of the mid to late April and May fish are spring steelhead and won't spawn for nearly a year.
Barring the assumptions of similarity to the Wind, Lyle falls has always been passable for steelhead and passage was easier prior to the dynamiting done when the original ladder was installed. Steelhead don't jump Lyle Falls, they swim it. Lyle Falls is not Shippard Falls.
Here's a little SWAG, everything I see suggests the wild winter run on the Klickitat is much stronger than suggested.
I only have a little experience with PTAGIS, but one thing to keep in mind is that some hatcheries tag a fairly significant portion of their smolts that are being released, while there may only be one smolt trap on the river that is only sampling a small fraction of the out migrating wild origin smolts. Getting the info to figure out what estimated proportion of the river's population was sampled is a whole other bag of worms.
I do (or have) fished those rivers. I think the "hypothetically" part of your response is what is most concerning...and likely most accurate. Still, special pay to play fees may very well be the future of this sport.