Steelhead Meeting in Olympia

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Coach Duff, Feb 2, 2008.

  1. Will Atlas

    Will Atlas Guest

    Steve, it would be a sad day to see the OP rivers close to fishing. Of course it is equally tragic that the Skagit, Sauk, Stilly and Skykomish have dropped off as precipitously as they have. I think their is hope out on the peninsula though. For the most part the habitat is in good shape and the fish would respond quickly to increased escapement goals and more cautious management. I dont think C&R selective regs fisheries are incompatible with sustainable runs of wild steelhead, however if I did believe that I would sadly have to put down the rod. This is why we need action so badly NOW. I know as an angler and a biologist I am unwilling to standby as these magnificent fish slide off the precipice to extinction. Alot of good came out of the meeting and I'm hoping this groundswell of momentum can continue, because we're running out of time. Great to meet you man, and if you're still guiding out there this year, hopefully we'll cross paths.

    Regards,
    Will
     
  2. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2001
    Messages:
    8,363
    Likes Received:
    4,312
    Location:
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    I know you don't kill them intentionally but as Steve said we fly fishers have an impact whether we admit it or not. The anti C&R groups know this also and will use the incidental mortality rate associated with C&R fisheries to try and close the rivers down completely and as Steve mentioned perhaps this is exactly what should be done anyway. The increased pressure on the Skagit/Sauk over the past 10 to 15 years has been quite noticeable as the population of Pugetropolis increases, perhaps even more noticeable since the winter closures of the Skykomish and Stillaguamish have occurred.

    We are killing what we cherish. I personally hold out little hope for Puget Sound steelhead.
     
  3. Les Johnson

    Les Johnson Les Johnson

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2003
    Messages:
    1,590
    Likes Received:
    14
    Location:
    .Redmond, WA
    Catching steelhead has deteriorated from fishing over relatively healthy runs in the 1950s and 60s when we generally were pretty confident that we'd poke out our 24 annual steelhead punches every year. That was the annual limit at a time when we had a whole lot more steelhead and a lot fewer citizens in Washington.
    Even during this period when steelhead seemed abundant and we loved the hatchery and \rearing pond programs (which kept us in cookie cutter steelhead every December) there were two straight years (1968-69) when the runs crashed. I wrote about this in the November 1970 Field & Stream in a piece called, "Are Washington's Steelhead Facing Disaster?"
    Now, as the steelhead decline, anglers have increased and tackle and techniques have become increasingly efficient, there seems to be a feeling of desperation and greatly increased pressure among many contemporary anglers to catch a steelhead -- before they are all gone! Usually it is justified by "catch-and-release" which we know kills a percentage of steelhead caught. I do not however condemn their desire to catch a wild steelhead. It is one of the greatest thrills in sportfishing. It is an issue in the loss of wild steelhead though.
    Also, we know that the 25 or so "healthy" steelhead rivers of 2000 have continually declined to a precious few. During this deplorable slide, WDFW and the tribes have continued to work the numbers and allowed a potentially disaterous catcb of wild steelhead.
    I contend that while working to correct present conditions, we need to bring history forword and consider it with today's situation. Blending some continuity into our thinking is, in my opinion critical to a [hopefully] successful steelhead managment plan.
    We'll have to raise hell to get someone other than Jim Buck to write it though. He is a WDFW insider who, during his tenure in the Washington State Legislature has never come down on the side of conservation -- and with absolutely no credentials to write such a plan.
    Cheers,
    Les Johnson
     
  4. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,986
    Likes Received:
    318
    Location:
    Bellingham
    My point wasn't that I want to kill wild steelhead.

    My point was:

    In the absence of any hatchery steelhead (killable steelhead), are we going to get to C&R the wild steelhead?

    After we abolish the hatcheries the next step will have to be setting up true C&R fisheries that last year round, or at least most of the year with some months completely closed in regards to rivers with no hatcheries....At least if we want to admit we are steelhead fishing.

    On top of that, I also fear that we might have groups fighting the C&R fishery like in the past, trying to get the hatcheries back to allow us to sports fish and kill like 10 years down the road and end up right back where we started.

    You would be amazed how many green as green can be environmentalists around here are against C&R with just a little bit of information about it.

    I think we are in the minority here.....

    I don't give and F about eating wild steelhead. As a wise man once told me, "They taste like moss!"
     
  5. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Messages:
    3,696
    Likes Received:
    2,237
    Location:
    Marysville, Washington
    Sounds as if there was good representation of folks from here at Saturday's commission meeting. I regret that I didn't get the chance to meet/talk with more of you there.

    It will be interestng to see what the commission does with the SSMP - direct the agency to move forward with the current draft or ask for further clarification.

    Steve -
    "For those who didn't attend, the board is made up of a variety of folks, some who look like they've not been out of an office in years. Beureucracy(sic) at it's finest!"

    I think you are being unfair to the commission members. Remember they are largely a volunteer board - they are paid $100/day and expenses (food and lodging at typcial state rates) for each day they meet. They recieve nothing for the considerable time it takes to attempt to stay current with the variety of issue they face. Yes they tend to be older folks - not sure many could "afford" to spend the time they do with young families and the typical jobs.

    I have had the pleasure of know a number of commission members over the decades and see many more in action. Almost to the person I have found them to a dedicated lot who typcially come to the Commission with a strong passion about some pet issue(s). While I often find myself disagreeing with an individuals action's or priorities that in no way diminishes either their dedication or my respect for their willingness to step up to the plate. Further I'm of the opinion that the resources of this State are way better off for the Commission's efforts than if it was left to a political process.

    tight lines
    Curt
     
  6. Rich Simms

    Rich Simms Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    Occupy Hearings!
    As many of you know, testimony to the Fish and Wildlife Commission took place Saturday in Olympia, WA . I believe it went really well and thanks to all who supported by showing up to provide testimony or by mailing in your comments. I am proud of our board, membership and supporters who participated in this important issue. Everyone who attended provided a compelling testimony and hit on the talking points that we provided earlier in the week. The board’s testimony introduced the independent science review and each Commission member and WDFW Management was provided a copy. And then fo llowed up by board members capturing the main points especially on habitat and artificial propagation. Many who testified challenged the Commission that the time is now to act on behalf wild steelhead. The Commission listened carefully, asked good questions and seemed very engaged in the issue.

    The Commission also acknowledged that they received their copy of “Wild on the Fly” magazine article titled “The Tragedy of Steelhead” by Dylan Tomine. We sent each one of the Commission members a copy of this compelling article regarding the plight of wild steelhead.

    Our hope is our testimony and our provided independent science review of the state steelhead management plan will provide an improved steelhead management plan that will be a strong guiding policy for steelhead recovery. I also want to recognize the department staff, Heather Bartlett, Sara LaBorde and Aimilee Wilson, who have been responsible for developing the plan deserve credit and thanks. It has not been an easy task, but they have taken the time to listen to our concerns, ask questions and add WSC input to the plan.

    We will post the Independent Science Review on the WSC website and our board’s testimony soon. Thanks to all who participated and I hope you will join us at the WSC Awards Banquet and Auction on March 1st at the Marriot at Redmond Town Center , contact Ryan Petzold at 425-238-4903 for details!
     
  7. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    2,178
    Likes Received:
    1,473
    Location:
    The Salt
    holy crap, i had to google this to see if it was indeed true. i pinched myself repeatedly... crap, i'm awake.

    jim buck?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?! this was the legislator who went balistic when yearly limits were set for the forks area rivers. he is no friend of wild fish or fisheries. i was extremely thrilled when i found out the voters finally had the sense to send this piece of #$^% politician home. this truly shows how biased wdfw is against wild steelhead recovery.

    if he is involved, the plan is doomed.
     
  8. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2003
    Messages:
    3,703
    Likes Received:
    4,610
    Location:
    Central WA
    Thank you to everyone who took the time to testify on this critical issue! I truly hope your input results in an improved plan.

    Rich, please tell me this was a mis-statement. I called Heather B in Dec and was told that only oral testimony would be accepted so I post-poned a business trip to ensure I could attend. Then as luck would have it, the pass closures and resultant freight issues impacted our business to the extent that I had to work all weekend to catch-up. I tossed and turned all Friday night frustrated as heck and finally I emailed the commission about 6am Saturday asking that they accept late written testimony from E Wa because of the passes...I still haven't gotten a response but I'll be pissed if it turns out I could have simply mailed in my testimony before the meeting.
     
  9. jollyroger21

    jollyroger21 Banned or Parked

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2007
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    I would say the best way to let steelhead thrive would be to stop fishing for them? Does a wild steelhead have a better chance after it has been released or before it has even taken a hook?
     
  10. Jeremy Floyd

    Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Messages:
    3,545
    Likes Received:
    1,612
    Location:
    Quesnel, BC
    That is a good question Jolly.

    I hope you don't mind me replying to your question with another question.

    If we made up a number for catch and release mortality of between 2 and 5 percent (which seem inflated to me by my experience but this is just an example) and factor that into the run of returning fish fish on the Sauk winter run which is in the neighborhood of around 2000-3000 fish annually.

    That means that my made up CnR numbers would affect roughly 40 to 150 fish per year.

    40-150 fish isn't an inconcievable amount for a SINGLE PERSON, in a season of poaching, if they are able to have free access to the river. These unlawful folks will have free run of the river because the only other folks they have to worry about running into are other people who are breaking the law too and I am pretty sure they wont be calling law enforcement on each other.

    I know a lot of people assume that enforcement keeps folks off of the river and from doing stuff like this but, as a guide who usually is on the water over 200 days a year now with my current schedule, I can honestly say I have never been checked or talked to once by enforcement on a single river in my lifetime in WA.

    So after all that my question to you is this. Would you rather lose those fish to recreation, which pays money to the state general fund, through legal license sales, and also funnels tax money to the state from gear sales and guide trips, and gas, and benefits the law abiding citizens, or would you rather stay at home and just hope that the poachers have trouble catching them with no gear restrictions and no bag limit?

    I see a CnR season as a positive thing for the preservation of our fish because of this. The reason for that is simply by the fact that there are a lot more than one single poacher out on the river and they are extremely detrimental to our fish.
     
  11. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2001
    Messages:
    8,363
    Likes Received:
    4,312
    Location:
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Jeremy, not to argue with you on this but I am quoting you to bring up something that I think most do not consider when they claimed to not have been checked by enforcement.

    Most of us know what we are doing on the river and likely most of us look like we know what we are doing on the river. We have waders on that cost a couple of hundred bucks, rods that cost several hundreds, reels that could cost as much, I think you see where I am going with this. An enforcement officer sees this also and likely makes a judgment call that if someone spent that much money on their gear and appears to know how to use it, they likely purchased a license and likely know the regs. Now think about how a poacher might appear to a enforcement officer. Understand that the officer is trained and experienced in spotting illegal activity also. Who is this officer going to spend his valuable time contacting?
     
  12. Jeremy Floyd

    Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Messages:
    3,545
    Likes Received:
    1,612
    Location:
    Quesnel, BC
    Kerry,

    My experience is that the officers only target the easy places like boat launches and areas locally like Haller Park. The problem is that the majority of the damage being done by poaching isn't at either of those places. It is on stretches of river away from public eyes.

    As a side note; Other than Hazel, and Haller park I have yet to see enforcement on the Stilly outside of their vehicle and the ongoing joke among my friends and I who fish together is that we have yet to see one of them not talking on their telephone when they are patrolling the roadways of 530 looking for fish violations. Unfortunately there aren't many people fishing from the road.

    Also, if WDFW has figured out a way to spot a barb or an illegal fish stashed in a cooler or boat without actually leaving 530 or their vehicle, then they are way ahead (technology wise) of the rest of the world.

    That leaves Dickson guides and their phones to be the eyes on the water for local enforcement. Because of that I carry Wildlife Officer Maurstad's card which I laminated and tucked into my wader bib on the river at all times.

    I have called in some folks in the last year wearing two grand worth of gore-tex after just politely mentioning that what they were doing was highly illegal (yes, Deer Creek even just a couple hundred yards above the confluence and underneath the 530 bridge is actually closed) and I didnt want to see them get ticketed. That conversation resulted in being told to make passionate love to myself which prompted me to make the call.
     
  13. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2001
    Messages:
    8,363
    Likes Received:
    4,312
    Location:
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.

    Jeremy,

    Just because you don't see the enforcement doesn't mean it is happening but as I said I am not trying to argue with you merely pointing out the fact that they are not going to waste time with people that are not breaking the law.

    As far as your 2 guys fishing in Deer Creek I didn't mean to imply that just owning good fishing gear meant that you understood the regs completely. I said if you appear to know what you are doing chances are you do. Fishing in closed waters is a pretty good give away that you don't have a good understanding of the regs or you don't care. Either way I am sure if an enforcement officer would have seen this they would have been ticketed. Just guessing.

    I am surprised that you and the other Dickson guides are the only enforcement on the Stilly and thanks for supporting the regulations. Up here on the Skagit I run into a couple of gamies quite regularly and have witnessed them issuing citations on several occasions. We must have better officers up here. Although it seems you were telling me of one officer that seemed to have your respect. I think you mentioned she explained the incidental catch thing to you and at the time you seemed to approve of her explanations and even encouraged me to contact her if I needed further explanations of by catch and the regulations surrounding it. Thanks for her contact information by the way.

    Some years ago there was a guy on the Skagit that was known to do a bit of poaching. He was also known to stash his illegal catch in a cooler. For a time a game of cat and mouse was played by the game warden up here and the poacher where the warden would ask if he could take a look at the guy’s cooler when he came in. Unfortunately the warden never caught the guy with any fish but at least annoyed him to the point he felt he needed to do something. On one of his fishing trips he came across a couple of coots frozen in the water along side the river. He managed to free the live birds from the entrapping ice and imprisoned them n his cooler. When he got back to the ramp sure enough the warden was waiting for him and asked to check his cooler. When the cooler was opened two very pissed off birds came flying out which I was told scared the living shit out of the gamie. True story although I may not have told it correctly.

    Don’t know what this has to do with our other discussion other then it is funny and shows that the wardens do check but they don’t always win.
     
  14. Jeremy Floyd

    Jeremy Floyd fly fishing my way through life

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2006
    Messages:
    3,545
    Likes Received:
    1,612
    Location:
    Quesnel, BC
    Awesome story man! That is funny.
     
  15. Rich Simms

    Rich Simms Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Messages:
    248
    Likes Received:
    66
    Location:
    Occupy Hearings!
    Freestone, Personally I was not made aware of that detail, I would be really surprised if they snubbed your email testimony. I appreciate your passion and trying to do what you can, good job no matter what the outcome was, your heart was in the right place.