Andy Appleby, a fisheries biologist with the WDFW is conducting a research project in an attempt to improve the resident silver fisheries in Puget Sound. He has been involved in this fisheries for over 20 years. He is a gear guy but don't hold that against him since he has a passion for this fisheries. I told him that I will make a pitch for individuals on this forum to help provide fishing data to him. The information presented below is from conversations with Andy and from his proposed research paper to enhance the resident silver fisheries. It shows significant declines in this fisheries over the last decade, what the WDFW is attempting to do about this decline, and how fishermen who enjoy that fisheries can help Andy in his quest to improve it. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND For over 30 years the WDFW has implemented a delayed released silver smolt program to enhance to resident silver fisheries in Puget Sound. In the past, four sites have been used to rear these fish: Voights Cr.(Carbon R. trib.), Minter Cr.(Carr Inlet), Fox Island net pens, and Squaxin Island net pens. Delayed release of silver smolt were discontinued in the early 1990's at the first two sites and continues at the Squaxin Island site while the Fox Island site was discontinued 1 year ago. The Squaxin Island pen nets are a cooperative program run by the Squaxin Tribe/WDFW and delay releases approximately 2 million silver smolt annually. Before the early 1990's these fish were normally release between early-June to mid-June since there has been a shift to earlier release dates(early-May to mid-May)due to fish health concerns. The Squaxin Tribe/WDFW are committed long term to their net pens. During the 1970's through early 1990's approximately 20,000 to 30,000(1983 approx. 66,000) resident silvers were caught in inner Puget Sound. From 1992 to present there has been a significant drop in the catch rates to approx. 5,000 or less annually(1999 approx. 1,000). WDFW believes this decrease has been contributed to by loss of three delayed release sites and earlier release dates of silver smolt for the Squaxin Island net pens. WDFW RESEARCH TO ENHANCE RESIDENT SILVER FISHERIES Two years ago, WDFW started a radio telemetry implant program to monitor the movement of the silver smolt upon their release. This year 290,000 fish were delay released in late-June to early-July from Minter Cr. and Squaxin Island net pens. All fish had their adipose fin clipped and about 40,000 have coded-wire tags. To help with this research Andy Appleby would appreciate fishermen to report any sightings or encounters with these fish. Andy can be reached at (360) 902-2663 or [email protected]. Information that he needs: (1) date,(2) location, (3) size of fish, and (4) numbers of fish encountered(ex. few, small schools, big schools). Information given to Andy is for internal use by DWFW. I am providing Andy with data from my fishing diary over the last 11 years. I'll tell my fishing buddies specific locations but there is a concern that a person's fishing spots could be compromised. So what I am doing is giving Andy general locations(ex. Balch Passage, Budd Inlet, etc.) and sending him the data with a four month or more delay. Hope that some of you other saltchuck fishermen who enjoy the resident silver fisheries will step foreward and help Andy so that changes can be made to this fisheries to revive it.