The merits (or lack thereof) for a wild steelhead retention tag

Rob Allen

Active Member
#31
I should preface this by saying that I don't support wild steelhead retention, but I've been considering ways to "re-think" the current system so that all parties are offended (or not offended) equally. One of the most intriguing options, at least in my mind, is the creation of a Wild Steelhead Retention Tag that would have to be purchased separately from a standard Washington fishing license. I can't find any place that currently implements such a system, so information on its effectiveness is pretty much nonexistent. Perhaps something currently exists for species outside of steelhead?

In effect, a standard license WOULD NOT permit you to kill a wild steelhead on any of the currently open rivers. In order to retain a single wild fish per year, you'd need to purchase the tag (or endorsement) separately. I'm not too sure what would be a "fair" price...perhaps in the $50-$100 range - it's obviously a delicate line where you are able to recruit people to comply with the system or drive them towards just taking the illegal approach. In this case though, if they choose to not comply they really aren't doing anything outside of what is currently standard practice. Maybe it's a totally nutty concept, but it seems to be relatively straightforward.

This would have a couple of benefits as far as I can see:
1. Relatively easy to implement.
2. In a perfect world, funds raised could be used for increased enforcement, research, conservation, etc.
3. It would reduce the number of "impulse" kills. I.E. some guy catches a 40" wild buck and decides he wants to bonk it just because he can at the moment. If he doesn't have the tag, he might rethink the option of killing it in the heat of the moment. This would be one of the biggest positives in my mind.
4. I think it would start to create a sense that the killing of wild steelhead is less of a right and more of a "privilege" you have to pay for. It does this without totally eliminating the practice altogether though. The guys that want to kill what is effectively an endangered species should have to pay for the privilege.

Any other advantages/disadvantages you can think of other than "guys are just going to break the law anyways"?



It's Washington state government it's not gonna be easy
The money would go into the general fund
People who want to bonk and fish are going to do it legal or not
we need to start thinking of fishing for wild steelhead as a privilege so valuable that you wouldn't want to kill one..

change your mindset to think beyond your punchcard of do not fish for salmon and steelhead. I am all for cramming catch and release down the throats of all salmon and steelhead fishermen whether they like it or not. Humans ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS over harvest and always will. We have had the anti wild fish agenda crammed down our throats since white men first got here. I am all for some payback on this issue.
maybe that makes me a jerk but i am happy to be one in this case.
 
#32
Maybe see a different system altogether other than netting. (I know this would cost too much money). But it would be cool if they had ways to divert the fish into a shiloh/holding area so they could separate the keepers from non keepers and the non keepers would be released to continue their mission, thus doing away with all netting practices and substituting with diversion dams/gates.

Anyhow this would probably take care of much of the unchecked/unintentional wild Steelhead killing wouldn't it?

Where is the bigger wild Steelhead killing impact? By way of netting or the individual fisherman?

Even if my idea is out of whack I think that new improved harvesting methods aimed at non-target fish release (whatever the method may be) would probably show better wild steelhead impact results then dealing with the individual fisherman.
 

KerryS

Ignored Member
#33
Maybe see a different system altogether other than netting. (I know this would cost too much money). But it would be cool if they had ways to divert the fish into a shiloh/holding area so they could separate the keepers from non keepers and the non keepers would be released to continue their mission, thus doing away with all netting practices and substituting with diversion dams/gates.

Anyhow this would probably take care of much of the unchecked/unintentional wild Steelhead killing wouldn't it?

Where is the bigger wild Steelhead killing impact? By way of netting or the individual fisherman?

Even if my idea is out of whack I think that new improved harvesting methods aimed at non-target fish release (whatever the method may be) would probably show better wild steelhead impact results then dealing with the individual fisherman.

They are called fish traps and were used a lot in Western Washington before being outlawed. There are many that think fish traps should be brought back for the reasons you have stated.

http://www.informationliberation.com/files/salmon-trap1-630x558.jpg
 

Jeremy Floyd

fly fishing my way through life
#34
I would be interested in seeing the numbers on what something like this would actually cost for a feasibility study, and then enact. I am guessing you would be looking at a couple hundred dollars minimum to try and harvest one. Half of the proceeds would be going to the state, and the other half to the tribes.

I think they should have a special season too if you pay for the tag/draw.. Make it easier to enforce by having only the tag holders on the rivers..
 
#35
I think they should have a special season too if you pay for the tag/draw.. Make it easier to enforce by having only the tag holders on the rivers..
Interesting idea...but I think that would create the situation that Freestone was talking about. Creating a day(s) where only tag holders are allowed to fish would really add to the "mystique" of it I think. The result would be a sort of "African big game hunt" feel where people that might otherwise not be interested would engage in the activity solely because of the exclusivity of it.
 

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#36
I think this would be a hard sell to WDFW. First of all, WDFW thinks steelhead management is just about perfect the way it is, except for the low, one-fish wild steelhead limit on the OP. WDFW doesn't want fewer wild steelhead killed per year. They want every wild steelhead over and above the designated spawning escapement goal to be caught and harvested. Killed. Othewise a dangerous over-escapement will occur, causing wastage.

Charging a special fee to kill a wild steelhead doesn't brighten WDFW's day unless the Legislature directs the proceeds into the state wildlife account instead of the General Fund. I think WDFW will remain philosophically opposed to the idea even if it were a fiscal plus for them.

Sg
 
#38
I think this would be a hard sell to WDFW. First of all, WDFW thinks steelhead management is just about perfect the way it is, except for the low, one-fish wild steelhead limit on the OP. WDFW doesn't want fewer wild steelhead killed per year. They want every wild steelhead over and above the designated spawning escapement goal to be caught and harvested. Killed. Othewise a dangerous over-escapement will occur, causing wastage.

Agreed about the difficulty of getting it through the powers that be. It's definitely a restriction on opportunity, albeit a compromise.

As far as the WDFW is concerned, I generally agree with your analysis. Anything that survives beyond the minimum goal is an inefficiency in their minds.

So, the process going into 2014 seems to be business as usual - harvest until the systems don't make escapement anymore, let the feds list Olympic Peninsula steelhead as endangered and then close the fisheries down once they reach a barely sustainable level?
 
#40
So someone with $$$ is entitled to kill a wild steelhead because it is their privilege? I would think it is a right, being a citizen if anything. Education about steelhead is important for the future of the sport, but more government regulation is not an answer. The government fails at everything it does
 

Jeremy Floyd

fly fishing my way through life
#41
SG, others..

I don't think it would be a hard sell if, in the end the fish were impacted less by making it an exchange for harvest methods, and there was profitability.

Financially speaking give up 200 licenses for $400-500 a pop, and a non refundable (carried over for those not drawn) $150+licensing fees or so for anyone putting into the draw. It would be an easy sell as long as there was enough money to grease the politico and tribes wheels..

With that scenario and 5000 people entering the draw, there would be $8000-10000 in tags, and $720000 in application revenue. If half of the anglers were successful, that would cost the people of WA 100 fish. If that revenue was split 50/50 with the tribes I am pretty sure that trumps the money they currently bring in through harvest.

People just need to see the value of the fish as more than simply caloric..
 

golfman44

5-Time Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
#42
SG, others..

I don't think it would be a hard sell if, in the end the fish were impacted less by making it an exchange for harvest methods, and there was profitability.

Financially speaking give up 200 licenses for $400-500 a pop, and a non refundable (carried over for those not drawn) $150+licensing fees or so for anyone putting into the draw. It would be an easy sell as long as there was enough money to grease the politico and tribes wheels..

With that scenario and 5000 people entering the draw, there would be $8000-10000 in tags, and $720000 in application revenue. If half of the anglers were successful, that would cost the people of WA 100 fish. If that revenue was split 50/50 with the tribes I am pretty sure that trumps the money they currently bring in through harvest.

People just need to see the value of the fish as more than simply caloric..
I think you are being quite unrealistic in thinking 5,000 people would drop $150 at a chance to spend $500 more just for a chance to catch and kill a wild steelhead.