Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Bob Triggs, Jan 20, 2018.
While I have generally been avoiding posting much on these threads (getting burned out I guess) you comments have inspired me to post again. I understand where you are coming from perfectly. However after decades involvement in the issues surrounding management steelhead and the regions other salmonids, their habitat needs and what it might take to move their populations from the edge of extinction I have come to harsh observations.
First health fish anadromous fish populations require healthy rivers. The priority has to be restoring rivers; without that restoration there will be no recovery and likely populations will continued declined. To restore rivers a passionate advocacy is essential. Those advocates besides their passion also need a connection and understanding of the river as well as the species of concern. By far the most passionate advocates that I have encountered have that connection with the river. They see how the river is changing over time, what is improving and what is going sideways. I know of no better way for any potential advocates to make the needed connections to the rivers in need is to spend time on the water with rod in hand. After more than 5 decades in these battles I'm more convinced than ever that river connection is essential. The Skagit and its steelhead have an impressive group of advocates in large part due to their connection to the river's steelhead. That passion is great enough that many of us will likely remain involved at some level whether we fish the Skagit or not until we are fishing the great river where the river is always in shape with abundant "players" to take our flies. The handful of the folks that drove the Occupy Skagit effort are mostly on the wrong side of 50 and some on the wrong side of 70. As they pass on to that great river the question becomes where will the next generation of advocates come from. If no one fishes our rivers who will be making the key connection to the river and if some are found will they have the intimate knowledge to as passionate and informed as needed to effective?
I have great concern about that without responsible fishing opportunities recruiting that next generation advocates will be iffy. If our grandkids are to have any hope of enjoying this resource folks to fill the boots of current advocates we need folks making that connect to the river and its fish.
With all the experts out there ,I enjoy the endless debate with nothing getting done. This must be the new America,debate the heck out of everything ,point fingers and never accomplish a thing .
No. Not having fishermen on the river has little to do with whether the river will "stay intact as nature sees now." With or without anglers there will be pressures from humans that will determine whether the river "stays intact as nature sees now." Logging, diking, agriculture, water withdrawals, commercial development, residential development, recreational development mining, global warming etc. all will change the river. That is how it has been forever and how it will continue.
We see anglers on the water and make assumptions that the activity of catching fish is the most important and most impactful activity on the fish. I used to think the same. I no longer think that. It seems we have studied angler impact to death trying to find the smoking bullet. It just isn't there. I am constantly amazed how people mix up the social issues with increased anglers and the biological ones. Because the experience sucks does not mean that the fish are suffering for it. Those are 2 different things.
The Skagit system pumps out fish at the rate that the river can support. It has habitat that the other PS streams do not. The other PS streams did not decline due to fishing just as the Skagit has not. Declines in all the PS rivers can be traced to habitat, habitat and ........habitat.
Recovery is not going to be found in the sportfishing rulebook. Any time spent there in the name of recovery is a wasted effort and only serves as a red herring.
I haven't read the entire thread so perhaps it's been mentioned or perhaps it's just a really bad idea. What about opening up the river via a lottery system to control the amount of anglers per day? A Hi-Vis tag would have to be worn/displayed. Separate lotteries for guides and the average Joe/Jane as well as those practicing CnR. Kinda crazy idea since it couldn't really be enforced for lack of enforcement resources. Also needing to take into account weekdays and weekends as well as when the river is blown out. The lottery could charge $ to help with reinforcement and conservation. You can purchase as many tickets as you want......
I actually have and have caught some nice steelhead on the lower system as well as fishing bull trout on the upper Sauk not an expert by any means but I’m familiar with the system
Well the lower system will be closed ..so no worries there. I renig my comment, I’m glad you have fished the Skagit....as for keeping it closed, I disagree. Moving on....
Hate to have a short response but I can see your reasoning to this point . Like I have said openly my opinion is just an opinion but it is interesting to read the different views myself .
While I find some truth to your statement I still think letting Mother Nature do it’s thing without any extra factors such as fishermen is what I believe in .
I do agree with habitat and development that is definitely the major driving factor the unfortunate problem there is money drives everything and the sad part for the fishing community is we are low on the totem pole when it comes to preserving that .
When if the skagit opens that river will look like the sandy river Spey clave with fishermen lol
It’s definitely great I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to do it probably been down to Belize 10 or so times in the last couple years . It’s a weird thing coming from here when you only see 2-3 boats a day maybe down there vs here lol
I’m sure they will open it and I most likely won’t partake in fishing it so more fish for you
Have you given any of these developers, permit grantors, loggers, ranchers, wineries, berry farms, WA DOT, Seattle City Light, etc. as much grief as you've handed out to us poor fishermen who have the least impact on the resource?
Im not giving anyone any grief and me complaining to them is going to be just small potatoes
Not if you organize like Occupy Skagit did - grass roots. Forget the dot-orgs, they'll study it to death while you do all the heavy lifting. It took us six years. Maybe you can do it sooner.