What happend to the steelhead in Washington?

Charles Sullivan

ignoring Rob Allen and Generic
#46
While it's true that most in-river interactions between wild and hatchery steelhead have been dealt with, the salt water interactions are unknown.

Go Sox,
cds
 

Chris Bellows

Your Preferred WFF Poster
#47
we have taken rivers in oregon and stopped planting them for over 10 to 15 years and their NATIVE runs have not rebounded any ! the trask -n- mollala rivers to name a couple !
Molalla Final Report

"The Molalla wild winter steelhead run is part of the Upper Willamette Evolutionary Significant Unit,
which was federally listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1999. The Molalla
River population is in full recovery and is now considered a stronghold population.

Before 1997, the Molalla River was stocked for decades with out-of-basin summer steelhead,
winter steelhead, Coho salmon and catchable trout. These stockings along with the massive
timber harvest in the mid-Century led to the massive decline of this population. Those stockings
stopped with the listing of native winter steelhead and spring Chinook. Only a decade ago, Molalla
River wild winter steelhead were estimated to be less than 200 fish, but in 2007 and 2008, the
estimate was more than 1,500 fish, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)
and NFS reports."
 

Davy

Active Member
#49
Molalla Final Report

"The Molalla wild winter steelhead run is part of the Upper Willamette Evolutionary Significant Unit,
which was federally listed as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act in 1999. The Molalla
River population is in full recovery and is now considered a stronghold population.

Before 1997, the Molalla River was stocked for decades with out-of-basin summer steelhead,
winter steelhead, Coho salmon and catchable trout. These stockings along with the massive
timber harvest in the mid-Century led to the massive decline of this population. Those stockings
stopped with the listing of native winter steelhead and spring Chinook. Only a decade ago, Molalla
River wild winter steelhead were estimated to be less than 200 fish, but in 2007 and 2008, the
estimate was more than 1,500 fish, according to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW)
and NFS reports."
And they even let us fish for them, C&R, my house is about 5 minutes from the ramp, last year was awesome.
 

gt

Active Member
#50
very interesting topwater. so a low gradient river flowing through mile after mile of agricultural land, with all that implies, stops stocking hatchery fish, stands back and watches as wild fish return. that might just be classified as fisheries managment! its ashame that WDFW can't understand just how all of this can work.

but as we know, MSY is the only real goal for WDFW.
 

Davy

Active Member
#51
Indeed. The Molalla is a very small river similar to the Stilly. It has two forks the upper of which supports a small trout fishery much like the Middle fork Snoqualmie. It begins on the west slope Cascade range dropping thru farm and livestock country. The native fish runs have responded to being left alone very nicely. We were able to see many fish below Abiqua Falls last year( a stream I fished as a boy for steelhead) and a friends property on Butte Crk had fish spawning near his place as well . The MO is floatable with a driftboat in the winter . Infact, they keep a gate open to allow access to a key launching area only during the steelhead fishery. All other times the gate is kept closed to keep the tweakers out, atleast somewhat.
 

Drifter

Active Member
#52
i floated the river from the 70's to 2000 then just quit because of no fish ! so i'm glad to here its rebounded the way it has , even if it took ten years . i will have to watch what happens the next ten years as the columbia runs are boomning right now also for the upper river fish , who knows what will happen next ? a few good years might not mean to much but glad to see it has changed some !
 

gt

Active Member
#53
the columbia is recieving 200,000,000 smolts a year, the only reason there are fish there. how many billions more do we intend to spend on this failed 'recovery'???
 
#55
i floated the river from the 70's to 2000 then just quit because of no fish ! so i'm glad to here its rebounded the way it has , even if it took ten years . i will have to watch what happens the next ten years as the columbia runs are boomning right now also for the upper river fish , who knows what will happen next ? a few good years might not mean to much but glad to see it has changed some !
You quit right at the wrong time unfortunately. 2001 was a record year all across the board. I'm with you though, let's hope that things get better. The more we get involved, the better it will be for the next generation.
 
#56
This has been a very interesting and enlightening thread. I thank all of the members who have taken the time to provide thoughtful and detailed posts relating to answering the original question. Threads like this are one of the reasons the WFF is a great site.
 

IHV2FSH

Active Member
#57
the columbia is recieving 200,000,000 smolts a year, the only reason there are fish there. how many billions more do we intend to spend on this failed 'recovery'???
Not fact, just my opinion, but I think it's a lousy, losing management strategy for the fish and for the fishermen.

Mandated by law to release 500,000 steelhead yearlings every single year into the American River, not fry or fingerlings mind you, yearlings, the average return is less than 2% over the last 40 years or so. Less than 1% in recent times. The dam has been up since '55. What other "investor" would continue this type of "investment" with such a dismal long term track record?

The presence of hatchery fish is a false indication of the state of our fisheries. I hasn't worked, won't work, and simply can't work.

All any wild fish or animal needs to survive and flourish on this planet is suitable habitat and food source to live and reproduce on their own without constant interruption and the freedom to seek it out.
 
#58
very interesting topwater. so a low gradient river flowing through mile after mile of agricultural land, with all that implies, stops stocking hatchery fish, stands back and watches as wild fish return. that might just be classified as fisheries managment! its ashame that WDFW can't understand just how all of this can work.

but as we know, MSY is the only real goal for WDFW.
With your implication that the hatcheries are the obvious culprit, I'd like to point out the following article published very recently relating to the Molalla:

Community support can improve your river
Published: 3/1/2011 2:03:28 PM

By Karen Font Williams

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Northwest Region

By some measures, the Molalla River is one of the higher quality rivers in the state, but the river has not escaped effects from human development.

The Molalla River is currently too warm to support healthy fish and occasionally has too much bacteria at high stream flows for people to safely swim and fish.

Towns and fields demand a large portion of the river’s flow during summer and eroding stream banks expose shallow water to the sun’s rays. Many groups and individuals are working on stream protection projects that will reduce pollution from various sources.

Sources of heating and bacteria pollution are described in the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality water quality improvement plan for the Molalla and Pudding Rivers.

How we live on the land affects our rivers. The land surrounding the Molalla River and the river’s tributary streams comprises a watershed.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality watershed coordinators can help communities improve their watershed by studying pollutant sources, exploring how land use contributes to stream pollution and communicating about how that pollution impairs aquatic life and limits human use of the river.

Communities then can plan what changes are likely to improve river quality, where they would be most effective, and what should be measured to tell us if we’re making a difference. If a river’s quality does not improve, our plan should be flexible enough to allow us to try something different.

Public investments in watershed restoration can provide economic benefits to communities as well as making streams healthier for fish and safer for people.

Last spring, the Ecosystem Workforce Program at the University of Oregon (http://ewp.uoregon.edu/) released three papers about the economic effects of forest and watershed restoration in Oregon.

Their research and analysis found that every $1 million of public investment in watershed restoration generates about 16 jobs. Think of the engineers, landscape designers, hydrologists, equipment operators, and planting crews.

Indirect economic benefits include revenue for businesses that provide supplies to restoration projects, as well as the local spending of those whom the project employs.

Across the northwest region of Oregon, investments in water quality improvement are helping communities. Stream bank restoration and livestock management changes along the Wilson River, which drains to Tillamook Bay, not only improved water quality, but allowed for the proposed opening of 400 previously closed acres to shellfish harvesting.

In the Tillamook Bay watershed, DEQ grants, matched with local funding and Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board funding, have provided several full-time and seasonal jobs over the last decade.

Recreational boat rentals and revenue to other local businesses in the Columbia Slough watershed have increased as the once maligned slough begins to recover from decades of abuse.

Nursery business increased as partners in the Tualatin River watershed planted their way to cooler stream temperatures.

Partners in the Molalla River watershed are building their own water quality and economic successes. The Clackamas County Soil and Water Conservation District, working with U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA Farm Service Agency, Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board, and private landowners, is currently providing technical assistance and coordinating grants for 11 restoration projects in the Molalla River watershed.

Molalla River Watch, the local watershed council, has inspired hundreds of volunteers to restore stream bank vegetation, and is using grants to measure the quality of the Molalla River and prioritize areas for future restoration projects.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Native Fish Society have combined efforts on several fish habitat improvement projects in the upper Molalla River.

Families are recreating more in the Molalla River corridor, thanks to frequent Molalla Police Department summer public safety patrols.

River use may increase still more with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s upcoming campground and trail improvements.

River users bring their business to local vendors such as sporting goods suppliers, grocery stores, and restaurants.

The Molalla River Alliance, after only two years of work, has pulled together an effective, organized, and diverse group of partners with the goals to preserve the water quality and biodiversity of the Molalla River and to protect and sustain the watershed’s natural resources.

In DEQ’s experience, environmental and associated economic successes are built when many partners, public and private, collaborate on a plan and persevere.

Restoring a watershed is a long-term, group project and the recipe for success seems to include these key ingredients: funding, local commitment, and a strategy to measure and report success.

If stream restoration and protection interest you, take advantage of the expertise and enthusiasm of local groups and state and federal agencies providing technical assistance in the Molalla River watershed.
While out of basin hatchery practices are certainly not good for wild steelhead populations, you are dismissing many years of stream rehab work that has been underway on the Molalla. It is quite obvious that you have an agenda here, and to your credit you do not hide it. However, you dismiss the work of a lot of hard working people which have set out to contribute to the positive outcomes of a rehabilitation effort – not just the elimination of its hatchery.

Salmo_g provides a lot of very good information in this thread that can be applied along the entire west coast. Hatcheries are not your silver bullet, and in a lot of cases they spread angler pressure out easing pressure on certain wild habitats.

The runs are not going to improve if water quality is not addressed, if water quality is good and your predation is high, then you are still fighting an uphill battle. We can remove every dam on the west coast, but if our fish are swimming in a poisonous environment, they stand no chance. We can remove every hatchery in Washington, reduce the steelhead populations within a few years to fractions of what exist today, and turn every angler in the state of Washington loose on the Queets and Ho.

Fisheries recovery is a multi-headed monster, and in my humble opinion you are going after the most complicated issue with the most far reaching social, economic, and political implications of any of the subjects.

I understand you are passionate about hatchery removal, but you and everyone that has this mind set need to understand that if you do nothing but remove hatcheries all you are accomplishing is a coup de grâce on the fishing opportunies we have today, with little impact to the end goal.
 

gt

Active Member
#59
even more interesting. i used to live about 1/2 mile from the molalla and understand the flow as well as the land it flows through. it is good news that some interested folks set out to do some improvements but you seem to imply that this eco system has had a complete makeover. what is more probably the case is the worse of the pollutants have been reduced and in combination with hatchery fish removal the wild fish are returning.

you also are a part of the overall problem with wild fish recovery as you point out: '... understand that if you do nothing but remove hatcheries all you are accomplishing is a coup de grâce on the fishing opportunies we have today, with little impact to the end goal...' which is the worn out arguement for continuing to raise zombie fish.

while some would want to point to the ubiquitious 'ocean conditions' all that means is they have no clue what is going on with the fish, but that sounds better than we are clueless. i have no problem with closing all steelhead hatcheries and shutting down harvest of steelhead by all concerned parties. afterall, fishing opportunities should be reserved for healthy populations of fish. and since the dams are a part of the anadramous problem, join my nephew and start bassin'!!!