src question....

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by mud sculpin, Oct 28, 2007.

  1. Milt Roe

    Milt Roe Active Member

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    Thanks Les - Good to hear that perspective and I whole-heartedly agree. So let's be careful how we exploit this unique fishery and be thoughtful about our impacts. I'm certain nobody here wants to feel as though their impact is a negative influence to the long-term productivity of the SRC resource.
     
  2. Les Johnson

    Les Johnson Les Johnson

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    Well, as one who has written, tesitified and talked to fishing groups since 1975 on the well-bing of our cutthroat -- and as a fisherman, I want to keep fishing for the coastal cutthroat as well. We will have to remain vigilent however. Stay in touch.
    Les
     
  3. Richard Rust

    Richard Rust New Member

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    It seem's to me that you up north should get serious about saving the SRC. that return to the rivers.
    As I see it in your regulations you can still KILL them in most of your rivers....wish I coud do something about it, but being out of state -- I do not believe there is anything I can do being out of state can do for you...Seem's you that fish the salt could have some power over your Dept. of Fish.(Wildlife).
    You that are on the Forum --as well as people with some clout-- Miyawaki, Johnson, Triggs, those in the power of influence in WASH. & All Costal Fly Fishing Clubs could pull this off.
    Just a little imput from one that get's to fish up North in the Sound once in a while.....You need to get to work to make it even better....."rustyhook":beathead:
     
  4. Randy Lindahl

    Randy Lindahl Member

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    Wow! what some great insight and good advice. I was going out tomorrow to enjoy the salt and hope to see a few Cutts along the way. After reading this, I have to think alot about what I'm doing out there... " The Hunter" and/or "The Protector". I really enjoy the quiet, the scenery along with the highlight of an occasional hookup. Thanks Mr.Roe, Mr.Johnson & D3Smartie for the input.
    Great post. Randy
     
  5. Les Johnson

    Les Johnson Les Johnson

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    The north Puget sound coastal cutthroat has different habits than those in south Puget Sound. Too much to detail here. I covered it pretty thoroughly in my recent book, "Fly-Fishing Coastal Cutthroat Trout." And there is a Marine Sport Advisory Group that works with the WDFW on marine fishing issues, including the cutthroat. Also, there are a lot of opportunities to testify on the cutthroat's behalf. I've bumped in Mr. Triggs several times at these WDFW events. There is an ongoing effort to keep the cutthroat population as healthy as possible.
    Les Johnson
     
  6. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!

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    My concern is not so much with any particular " individual " sea run cutthroat trout being hooked-played-handled- "carefully" released etc, but with the repeated catches, handling and and releases throughout a season that some fish may endure, especially in a localized situation where one might be encountering the same fish frequently throughout a season. I dont see the loss of a single fish as minor in impact to the whole, each makes a significant genetic contribution. And let us not forget that there is ample influence from the "industry" side of fly fishing to encourage everyone to get out there and cast a fly to the wild Sea Run Cutthroat of Puget Sound. That kind of thing can end up directly impacting a lot of "individual" fish.

    (Along the same lines- it is far better to not handle these fish at all, or to minimize our handling of them as much as possible to protect their slime layer and to reduce unnecessary stress. Most of the fish we encounter are released without handling them at all but by just gently slipping the hook with the fish calm in the water at our knees. I see needless handling of fish as an "avoidable injury". Often if we are trying to release a hook in a difficult position we can simply support the fish in the water long enough to get the hook out, without having to grip or hoist the fish in any way.)

    I see many people legally harvest these wild sea runs in the rivers and creeks each year, often taking their limit, and purposefully focusing on Sea Run Cutthroat as they return to the freshwater. I also see people fishing on the beaches here with bait for salmon, rockfish etc, and they are incidentally killing Sea Run Cutthroat Trout with those baits and hooks, sometimes with a kind of casual disregard. When politely advised of the problem they are often hostile. (They seem to be more polite when the WDFW officer arrives, but the oficer is often busy elsewhere.) I have also witnessed many people targeting Sea Run Coastal Cutthroat Trout on the beaches here for deliberate illegal harvest. The attitude being typically encloistered, paranoid, cavalier and sarcastic. Happily, these people photograph quite well, as do their vehicles and lisense plate numbers.

    We cannnot overestimate the impact of fishing mortality;accidental, legal or illegal, on any individual localized run of these fish. Nor should we manage them on a run-by-run basis,(look where that system has brought the wild Steelhead.) What impacts the few impacts the many. Mortality is just as final in the foreground as it is in the "background". And in the end all of these localized runs of wild fish comprise the whole- just like wild Steelhead and Salmon.

    I too enjoy Flyfishing for Coastal Cutthroat Trout on our beaches, rivers and lakes. Yet not without a little guilt sometimes as I am concerned that these fish may not be "rebounding nicely even with the pressure they receive". Populations may be seemingly "robust"- in some places at some times- while they may be declining in other places. Not enough is known or qualified regarding the recovery of these fish. So I will proceed with caution as I continue to enjoy the adventure of fly fishing for them; moving often, using single small barbless hooks and stought tippetts, playing them moderately but without undue delay in ending it, minimizing any handling, and releasing them with a calm technique.

    If we want more wild fish we need to do more to help that happen. I encourage everyone to look into the WDFW Volunteer programs, the W.S.U. Water Watchers, Beach Watchers and Shore Stewards Programs, and to volunteer with your own Regional Fisheries Enhancement Groups on your local watersheds in the myriad tasks involved in habitat restoration work. What is good for Salmon will help the Cutthroat too. As a professional Fly Fisherman and Guide I see it as my responsibility to be a steward of these wonderful wild fish and their natal bright waters. I owe them that much.
     
  7. Milt Roe

    Milt Roe Active Member

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    You conclude in the end that habitat degradation and intentional (whether illegal or regulation-sanctioned) mortality - not responsible C&R angling - are the most critical concerns for persitence of fishable populations. We agree on those points - in addition, C&R anglers need to be responsible in the way they handle fish, and people need to volunteer their time to make things better. Right on.

    However, I am a bit puzzled by the comments about the perceived negative impacts of the "industry" perspective that encourages people to get out there and target these fish while you also mention that you are apparently a part of that same industry as a "Professional Fly Fisherman and Guide". Hmmmm.
     
  8. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!

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    Milt: It is not clear to me what it is you are "puzzled" by in that statement.

    Yes, I am a part of the "industry" of fly fishing. And I guide and teach fly fishing anglers on the basis of the concerns and ethics that I have outlined here; catch and release, fly fishing only, with an emphasis on wild fish conservation. My approach effectively excludes a majority of prospective anglers who are only concerned with hooking a maximum number of fish, harvesting wild fish etc. That is the way I have evolved as a fisherman, so that is the way that I guide and teach others. If I wanted to do so I could beat a very loud drum, post a lot of hero shots, and really pump it up for new customers. I could make a lot more money doing that too. I chose not to do that as I feel it misrepresents the sensitivity of our wild fish runs here.
     
  9. Les Johnson

    Les Johnson Les Johnson

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    I believe that we have effectively taken the lid off of some issues that many cutthroat fishers may have not understood until the growth of this thread. When it comes to protecting the resource however, and I speak as one who first testified on behalf of the sea-run cutthroat in 1974, it will take a much larger enforcement cadre to ensure that people who catch-and-keep our coastal cutthroat legally or ilegally, face the prospect of close oversight.
    Further, we need to fight hard to protect all remaining habitat where the cutthroat lives. I have witnessed how quickly a cutthroat population can respond to restoration of a sullied environment. The WFFC had a long project to clean up Griffin Creek on the Snoqualmie River. In a few short years both the cutthroat and coho populations recovered dramatically.
    This has been, in my opinion, a healthy thread that will surely be an eye-opener to the newcomers who take time to read it. One thing that we did not delineate however is the importance of readers of WFF to join and support the activities of FFF, TU, Nature Conservancy and clubs such as Northwest Fly Anglers, Washington Fly Fishing Club, Evergreen Fly Fishers....and any of the many other groups local to your area.
    Les Johnson
     
  10. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    An interesting discussion.

    I guess I fall into the Milt Roe's camp- having healthy sea-runs is more about habitat protection than anything else. Again I restate an obsrevation that I have made here in Puget Sound. Those rivers (Skagit and Snohomish)that allow some harvest of our beloved cutthroat seem to have as reboust populations as those that do not (Stillaguamish). In addition those with harvest actually seem to provide a higher % of larger fish (those say over 15 inches). While those are just observations they are based on decades of close observation. While eliminating the harvest on those rivers would without a doubt benefit our own fishing (getting those nasty folks that want to kill a fish off the water) the anecdotal evidence suggest that the health of the runs would improve much than under current management.

    If we anglers are concerned about the over all health of our runs prehaps a good place to start would be stop any and all of our fishing on these fish in the salt. Virtuall all the hooking mortaltiy information that I have seen on anadromous salmonids shows higher mortalities on those fish caught in the salt than those in freshwater. Not only are those fish exposed to a potentially higher hooking mortality many of those fish are exposed to a virtually year-round fishery.

    Les -
    I agree wholeheartly that more folks need to get involved in supporting our cutthroat and their needs. But I'm afraid that as always the battle will come down to handful of old warriors.

    I'm not sure that those organizations you mentioned have done much in recent years in that respect. I need to go back no further than a decade ago when the harvest of cutthroat (and other wild game fish) was eliminated on the Stillaguamish those organizations you mentioned were largely silent. I have to wonder how many of those organizations you mentioned provided either public or written input to the Wildlife Commission today on the creation of wild salmonid management areas on the Sauk, Skagit and Cascade Rivers. Those WSMAs in my opinion represent a huge step towards more responsible wild fish management on that propose had the potential to serve as a template for wide scale application.

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  11. Milt Roe

    Milt Roe Active Member

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    I'd like to see some actual numbers for SRC hooking mortality in fresh vs salt before we jump to proposing an end to SRC fishing in the salt. Even if mortality is statistically higher in the salt, that incidental mortality under the C&R regulations in the salt may still fall within a sustainable level. As I've tried to argue, further restrictions to low-impact angling opportunity may not be the best place to focus our attention. Sure would be nice to have some technical data to wrap around some of these questions...
     
  12. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!

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    (* Italics and bold type mine for highlight, shows partial quote of original post.)

    We are talking about Sea Run Coastal Cutthroat Trout fly fishing in saltwater here? I would like to see that specific data.

    I feel that a statement such as this one can just as easily illuminate how badly WDFW Fish Program Managers are failing to adequately promote and educate the angling public for less damaging Catch & Release techniques to the anadromous fishery. The way that I fish, and the way that I teach my guided fishing guests, we dont have this problem
     
  13. Les Johnson

    Les Johnson Les Johnson

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    Stepping up to the plate?

    Curt,
    Over the past several years, going back to my beginnings in cutthroat conservation, nearly the entire memberships of the Washington Fly Fishing Club and Fourth Corner Flyfishers (led by Gordy Young and Ralph Wahl respectively) showed up in force at the meeting held at the Mork Hotel in Aberdeen in 1974. I was also very involved in pushing through the non-retention ruling on marine waters. I still maintain that it is a good idea. It would be great if WDFW went to bat for the cutthroat as has been stated in a few of the responses to this thread.
    Alan Holt of The Nature Conservancy attends cutthroat hearings as does Rob Masonis of American Rivers. Doug Schaad, Conservation Chair at Washington Fly Fishing Club works diligently to keep the membership up to speed on all sportfishing issues (including cutthroat). Bill Robinson of TU does a great job of tracking information on salmon, steelhead and cutthroat and reporting on it to a huge list of interested people. Kevin Ryan (FFF) sits on the WDFW Anadromous Sportfishing Committee and is highly aware of all the goings on in Olympia at the meetings. He makes sure the word gets out. Finally, about the only place I ever bump into Robert Trigss (I'm sad to say) is when we are testifying at one or another hearing. I could go on much further on this list of people from various organizations who step up to the plate on a regular basis. I respectuflly submit that you are way off the mark on this issue Curt.
    Cheers,
    Les
     
  14. dryflylarry

    dryflylarry "Chasing Riseforms"

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    "In fishing for them we should practice prudence in how many we catch and release even on a good day. This alone will reduce the incidence of mortality on this great trout."



    Good point Les. I have been guilty of this this week. I went back to the same spot 3 times and landed beauties and should have quit early. It was kind of hard since I had only been out for a couple of hours. I will be more prudent. What a beautiful trout...
     
  15. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Les -
    I think you missed my point. I'm well aware of all the work you as well as the indivivduals, and organizations you mentioned had done on behalf of the sea-run cutthroat we all love since the mid-1970s - (Thanks for mentioning Ralph Wahl - I had the pleasure of first meeting him in 1974 and our very first conversation was about sea-runs). I often think of those efforts and more than once while enjoying a fall day on a favorite river seeking one of my favorite fish I mentally thank that cast of folks for their efforts. My point was that in the last few years (at least to my knowledge which as we all know can be faulty) there has not been much going on on the sea-run cutthroat conservation front by those groups or others.

    Is that because on the whole most now consider our cuttrhoat in relatively good shape? If as expressed by some on this discussion there is concerns about cutthroat management why aren't there more public efforts to address those efforts (I realize that has been a focus on steelhead issues over the last decade)? This past weekend the WDFW commission took testimony on proposed regulation changes for the next season. Inspite of a public process requesting ideas and proposals (I brought it to the attention of this board several times with links and reminders) there was only 1 proposal that address cutthroat management; # P 126. That proposal would have required the release of cutthroat on the main Stillaguamish and its forks. WDFW staff recommendation was not to support that proposal.

    I submit that either most folks feel that the status quo situation is OK or that they lack the passion to take action.

    Regarding targeting cutts in the salt -
    Please note that I did not suggest that cutthroat fishing in the salt be closed by regulation; rather I suggested that if some folks out of concern for the resource feel that anglers should be limiting the numbers of sea-runs they catch and release or even how frequently they fish an area that they might also consider not fishing the salt at all - again volunteer actions by concerned anglers. I did find it interesting that the respond to that suggestion was "where is the data?" A fair enough question though I have to ask where did the philosophy of putting the fish first go? Most of the conservation actions taken on cutthroat over the last 30 years did not wait for complete data; rather decisions were made with the idea of erring on the side of the fish (yes we would all agree that some of those actions were not as timely or as conservative as we would like but the fact remains that in most cases management action was taken prior to having scientific data in hand to support it).

    My apologies for continuing the hi-jacking of the original thread topic.

    Tight lines
    Curt