What happend to the steelhead in Washington?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by IHV2FSH, Mar 19, 2011.

  1. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    2,016
    Likes Received:
    1,205
    Location:
    The Salt
    scottpuck, the article you posted is interesting but it doesn't point to any real long term habitat improvement, and even states that current water temps are too warm. nobody is dismissing the work of volunteers helping to restore habitat, but habitat work alone right now is not the entire answer.

    hatcheries play a role in wild fish declines, but directly and indirectly through harvest pressure and land use decisions (hatcheries in lieu).

    you make it out like those opposed to hatcheries are only focused on that one specific issue. it may be the case for some, but all of the wild fish advocates i've met feel just as strongly about mixed stock fisheries, dams, and habitat. habitat is critical for long term survival, but we have to take steps to make sure the remaining wild fish are as productive and abundant as possible as we wait for habitat to improve (if it actually does).

    as for more pressure coming to coastal rivers... i like that one of your examples is probably one of the best case studies on the problems with hatchery production on a system with lots of good habitat. the other example is a river that consistently misses escapement while being pimped out relentlessly.... she's one tired hoh.
     
  2. gt

    gt Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,616
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    sequim, WA
    a couple of miles from my front door is the dungeness r. a group called 'the river keepers' are very active in restoration work including placing woody debris where they can. but this very steep gradient river contains very few steelhead. according to WDFW, steelhead stocking has ceased because of the chinook ESA listing. apparently there are concerns regarding smolt competition which i don't understand. at any rate, the steelhead hatchery no longer releases smolt. so why are wild steelhead not repopulating this clean flowing uninterupted river? i doubt its 'ocean conditions' and has more to do with the destruction of the original wild population of fish with irrigation draw down during the summer months coupled with hatchery fish competiting for available space and food, but in fact, i am clueless.

    so has this river system reached the point of no return? too few remaining native wild steelhead to stand a chance against all other odds to return home and spawn? i suspect this is the case and so a beautiful free flowing river no longer has sustainable numbers of wild steelhead, functionally extinct. how many other river systems before someone calls WDFW on their mismanagement of our publically owned resources?
     
  3. speyforsteel

    speyforsteel Degenerate Caster

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Messages:
    316
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Eastern Washington
    Who turned them from substinance traders to profit based fishing?
    Who is purchasing the fish they catch and therefor providing a open market?
    Was it an native american judge who decided on there current fishing privileges?
     
  4. gt

    gt Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,616
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    sequim, WA
    and your three points are well taken but now what?

    - sit back and ignore bank to bank net sets on all of the OP rivers?
    - sit back while WDFW continues to promote MSY for the benefit of the above?
    - do nothing as the fish go extinct?

    i don't see your pointing out the obvious as having much impact on the future of our wild anadramous fish.
     
  5. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Messages:
    2,016
    Likes Received:
    1,205
    Location:
    The Salt
    the dungeness is an interesting case study, but the state is still planting it with hatchery winter-runs... this past winter they only released 3,700 smolts after past years of releasing between 10-14,000 smolts (these small numbers make you wonder "what's the point). of course, the dungeness is hammered habitat wise in the lower river. Not only massive water withdrawals in an area that receives next to no rain, but during the past couple decades sequim has seen massive development along the lower dungeness and it's watershed which only adds pressure to the watershed.
     
  6. gt

    gt Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,616
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    sequim, WA
    you bet topwater, the army corp of engineers has done a fine job of ditchitizing the dungy along with developers who simply bulldozed the best coho spawing area on the entire river. what did the county do? i am sure i don't even have to call that out. there is, however, a movement afoot to move the dikes on the lower river to allow the meander to re-establish itself. property has been purchased, the corp has been out doing their slow motion survey, so who knows, maybe the last mile or so will see some improvement along with the estuary.

    i had no idea they were still releasing steelhead smolts. i wonder which hatchery they are importing these zombies from as hurd creek is shut down.
     
  7. ak_powder_monkey

    ak_powder_monkey Proud to Be Alaskan

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2004
    Messages:
    3,223
    Likes Received:
    112
    Location:
    Eagle River, Alaska
    I don't know if anyone else has seen the S river estuaries but, I personally can't believe any fish live in any of them. The fact that steelhead and salmon (let alone whales and stuff) are in puget sound at all is just amazing.

    Also could it be that hatcheries started clipping fins thus people notice the lack of wild fish now more then they did in the "good old days" (like the 80s maybe?)
     
  8. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    1,190
    Location:
    Skagit River
    It is too bad that this statement keeps getting thrown out there in such a manner as to make it appear that WDFW is at fault here for this policy. It has been mentioned and linked to on this forum many times as to the true origin of this policy.

    In short, WDFW is MANDATED by the Legislature of the State of Washinton to manage the fisheries for the commercial interests. Essentially, it is against the law for them to do otherwise. Get your lawyers, lobbyists, and your monies and go after that...

    On another note, I went to the directors meeting in Sedro Woolley last night. I salute the WDFW for having the balls to show up here where there isn't a river open to fishing for maybe a hundreds miles in any direction. It's just a shame they had to put up with so much ignorance from the locals. I left after hearing this question from one concerned citizen; "I want to know what the WDFW's plans are for selective gill netting?"
     
  9. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2001
    Messages:
    7,361
    Likes Received:
    2,676
    Location:
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    I thought there would be a better showing of some intelligence at the WDFW meeting in Sedro. Like WW I was surprised so many people that profess to have a love of fishing are so ignorant of the situation regarding fish. I was impressed by the patience displayed by WDFW officials when dealing with the ignorance and misplaced anger directed at them.

    The meeting consisted of WDFW crying about the lack of money and the public blaming them and commercial (tribal) fishing for the decline in steelhead. I heard little from either side about the true causes of steelhead decline and almost nothing regarding what could be done.
     
  10. gt

    gt Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,616
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    sequim, WA
    i'd be interested in reading this 'legal' mandate, got a link??
     
  11. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    1,190
    Location:
    Skagit River
    That Fish Manager gal and Phil both mentioned how the outmigrating fish aren't making it from the mouth of the Skagit to Neah Bay. That went right over everyone's head and didn't even slow down the net whining.
    And hows about that one dude that wanted to open up a "private hatchery' :rofl:
    The State spent $57.5 million in two years and they can't get any fish back to the Skagit...hope that sumbitch has deep pockets...
     
  12. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    1,190
    Location:
    Skagit River
    Clicky

    And here it is with the sentence in question in bold by me.

     
  13. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2001
    Messages:
    7,361
    Likes Received:
    2,676
    Location:
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    I was always under the impression that most of Skagit's steelhead made a right turn when leaving the river and move north thru the Strait of Georgia. Perhaps that is why they don't see very many make it to Neah Bay. Still it has nothing to do with nets.

    Only one person came up with a net argument that I thought held water. The fact that nets select the largest fish thus preventing the larger, stronger fish from spawning and encourging smaller, less capable fish to carry on the species.
     
  14. gt

    gt Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,616
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    sequim, WA
    WW, that statement DOES NOT mandate MSY, go read it again. the 'economic well-being and stability' can also be read as MANAGE THE fishery to insure we have fish!!!! that also could mean abolishing gill nets, purse seines, closing sport seasons.......all of which would meet the stated objective of 'maintain(ing) the economic well-being and stability of the fishing industry in the state'!!!!

    now, it is the case that the commission has chosen MSY as the only means of meeting this objective, but it is certainly not the only means available to them. this is the same commission that so many of you railed on about saving from the scrap heap. so those who wanted to save this group of industry representatives, now would be a great time to start beating your status quo drums to get something done for the 'well-being and stability' of fishing in this state.
     
  15. _WW_

    _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Messages:
    2,355
    Likes Received:
    1,190
    Location:
    Skagit River
    Legal language is tricky.

    Only an attempt is mandated here...no requirement to be successfull.
    They put some extra fish in some lakes and they have satisfied the first part of that mandate. Now they can devote the rest of their efforts at the second part of that mandate.

    He with the loudest Lobby - Wins! Ain't America great!