Steelhead fishing in the Upper Yakima

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Paul Huffman, Nov 29, 2006.

?
  1. Yes

    56 vote(s)
    71.8%
  2. No

    22 vote(s)
    28.2%
  1. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    I'm game for more discussion. Has anyone ever done any juvenile survival through Roza? I think it would be important to know current recruitment and survival there because that is the only blockage between the upper Yak and the more productive steelhead streams lower in the system (i.e., Toppenish, Naches, Satus etc.).

    I read in the local paper where the Yakamas have purchased some water rights to Manashtash Creek so that it won't become completely dewatered in the lower stretches. Now to identify and fix passage blockages within the watershed to allow the steelhead to "seed" spawning habitat. I think the irrigation districts should be responsible for bringing their projects up to "fish passage code" (whatever that means). Efforts like this would be more beneficial to restoring wild steelhead than planting hatchery fish in the system, in my opinion.

    Anybody know anything about adult passage at Roza? I heard that only fairly recently (last couple decades) that they improved their fish ladders to meet acceptable standards.

    One of the big issues is the poor water quality the fish must negotiate between the mouth and the city of Yakima. Between the predators, elevated water temperatues, pollution, and de-watering, I would imagine mortality to be relatively high. Of course the chinook and soon to be sockeye would have to migrate through the same corridor.
     
  2. Richard Olmstead

    Richard Olmstead BigDog

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    Does anyone know if they are taking counts on the fish ladder at Roza? Those data would be very interesting.
     
  3. fullerfly

    fullerfly Calvin Fuller

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    I would think that it would be in the steelheads better interest if the lower river was restored as well. The water is very low and warm in the summer and the sewage plant in West Richland usually gets overflowed by the river in the spring. Best fishing I have ever had on the Yak is right below the Horn Rapids Diversion Damn in Sept/Oct. Bass/Steelhead/Catfish/Salmon...and the Buglemouth fishing is great!
     
  4. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

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    Improve fish passage to the upper river and you will not only increase steelhead water but also salmon spawning water, put a few thousand kings in the upper river and you will see actual big trout instead of the puny 16 inchers that are considered big now. I say stock it with sockeye, lots and lots and lots of sockeye, then we won't argue about 22" fish being steelhead ;)
     
  5. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Richard -
    You might find the information you are interested in here -

    http://www.cbr.washington.edu/cgi-b...ST&proj=ROZ&run= &startdate=1/1&enddate=12/31

    akPM -
    Historically the Yakima system support a steelhead run that numbered in the 10,000s. It also had lots Chinook, coho, and sockeye. In the case of the sockeye they no longer have access to the lakes that historically produced so many fish.

    We as a society have opted to use the basins water for irrigation rather than fish production. It will take massive habitat restoration efforts to recapture much of the basins anadromous fish production. How can even begin to hope to see such efforts with many in the fly fishing community are more worried about the trout fishery rather than restoring the natural fish community with all its diversity?

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  6. Will Atlas

    Will Atlas Guest

    I wonder what the possibility of trucking/elevator transporting fish over the dam at cle elum lake would be. Those tributaries are much more pristine than the ones around cle elum and ellensburg, but I dont know how much they contributed to production historically. I am under the impression that counting of fish rarely happens at roza. the if you check out the passage Data on DART (data access in real time) it looks like they only count a few days out of the year. Probably more salmon oriented. Most of the time I think they just leave the ladder open and let fish pass at will. They do a better job counting down at prosser dam and it looks like the numbers of fish passing up into the Yakima proper are respectable 1500-2500, plus they're almost all wild.

    There is a link earlier in this thread to the Yakima fisheries council or something like that which has some very good info, but I like this dialog. I know the the lower river is an absolute mess by the end of the summer, but that has alot to do with current water use practices and probably is not impossible to fix. Also, isn't there a diversion dam at the top of the farmlands? I wonder what fish passage is like there.

    Will
     
  7. skyrise

    skyrise Active Member

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    I agree with restoration of the "wild" run to the upper river. keep the regs the same just let the restoration happen. no hatchery please. the thing that worries me on the yak watershed is not the return of steelhead. its all the development going on over there.
    just my 2 cents.
     
  8. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

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    I bet the resivors would make pretty good sockeye rearing habitat if they are deep enough and aerated enough. I think the upper river is great salmon habitat, look at the amount of trout in the river, the problem is not habitat it is dams dams dams, all the way up there, currently the dams on the yakima have what trucks and buckets to get fish over them, build a ladder, keep the water cold and they will come. Oh and stock a ton of sockeye smolt, the world needs more sockeye :thumb:
     
  9. docstash

    docstash Active Member

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    Fish count over Prosser Dam as of 1/14/2008 1656 unmarked and 203 marked steelhead. Usually not many more than 200 over Rosa by the end of the counting year 5/31.
     
  10. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    I'd like to see steelhead restoration in the Yakima. It would probably be limited to the tributaries unless some change is made to the high summer irrigation flows. Fry colonization habitat is in very short supply with the flows that occur at steelhead emergence under current conditions.

    Stocking sockeye in Bumping Lake and Cle Elum Lake was tried in the late 1980s, but no one built a fishway for the smolts to migrate downstream. If BOR builds fishways, then sockeye restoration is very feasible in my estimation. And the bull trout in those reservoirs and tributaries would love it!

    Sg
     
  11. ChrisC

    ChrisC Active Member

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    If that were indeed true I would love to see, no actually dare, Steve Probasco to assert these views in a future issue of NWFF.:D It is indeed narrowmindedness.
     
  12. ChrisW

    ChrisW AKA Beadhead

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    According to the salmonid stock inventory on the WDFW site, the Yakima System is one of the best summer run rivers in the state in terms of numbers. It is also one of the only rivers with increasing numbers over the last few years.

    There are also no hatchery plants and there is no tribal net fishery.

    hmmmmmm..... must be a coincidence!


    CW
     
  13. Paul Huffman

    Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

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    Salmo_g - We have temporary downstream passage at Cle Elum Dam now:
     
  14. WT

    WT Active Member

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    Nice bump. Makes me wonder how many rivers support good fisheries for steelhead and resident trouts.
    The Thompson and Deschutes come to mind.
    WT
     
  15. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    Methow and the Babine come to mind as well.