Whats the Deal with the resident silver fishery?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Jonathan Walkenberg, Dec 13, 2010.

  1. rotato

    rotato Active Member

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    if y'all think its "(hatefull word)" stay off the water
    after a slow last year i am stoked to play with these aggressive eaters
    these are the fish that got me into salt water ff
     
  2. Don Freeman

    Don Freeman Free Man

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    This is the heart of the delayed release program. Smolts held until roughly May will usually stay in the sound rather than go to sea, depending on forage and water quality or something. Those raised in net pens in the salt don't have a natal stream to return to, so the impact on wild runs is minimal. These fish move around the sound, following food sources, and providing great sport in what's otherwise slim pickens.

    Once they're over 16"or so, they are good to eat, and arguably take some of the pressure off cutthroat, since we can legally keep one, and are really easy to hook. That might be wishful thinking on my part, (the providing an alternative for SRC poaching part). They bite just about anything that looks like food.
     
  3. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Don -
    Not so sure about theimpact form these hatchery coho being minimal. The fact that the fish are released from nets pens and don't have a natal stream just means that those uncaught adult will "shotgun" throughout the region with individual fish spawning in a variety of nearby streams. They all try to migrate upstream in a trib somewhere to spawn. It is because of that behavior that raising Chinook in net pens were discontinued. If coho were ESA listed use of net pens would largely end as well.

    In addition to those potential genetic interactions there are ecosystem interactions that can be negative. They potentially compete with native coho, sea-run cutthroat and other native salmonids for a variety of food resoruces. As they grow they also become potential predators for smaller salmonids.

    It is interesting how folks will give a free pass for those critters we enjoy and raise holy heck with others.

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  4. Jonathan Tachell

    Jonathan Tachell Active Member

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    I seriously doubt there is to much competition for food in south puget sound between SRC and salmon right now or in the last twenty five or thirty years for that matter. The areas that I fish still have the same amount of bait, krill and so forth just a heck of a lot fewer salmon.
     
  5. Don Freeman

    Don Freeman Free Man

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    Curt, I'm guilty of over-generalizing, thanks for keeping me honest.

    I'm speaking based on a microcosm of an impact based on the extreme south sound. When the system works properly, late release fish from the Squaxin pens stay down here for the most part. Since there are no viable runs of wild fish left here in local streams, and the Deschutes didn't have wild fish above the falls before they built ladders, the model works pretty well to provide a put and take fishery in the salt.

    You're right about the impact on wild runs when the little bastards DON'T stay here where we want them to, and bolt north. They could end up anywhere. and interfere with populations from here to Neah Bay.

    I attended a presentation by Larry Phillips just yesterday on SRC's in this area. He's found that although Coho will crowd out cutthroat when competing for spawning and forage advantages, in this area at least, sea run cutthroat are thriving, and the Coho suck wind. In my playground, the resident program is working from a recreational standpoint, and hasn't hurt the wild stocks.

    I think the important thing to remember when making the kind of observation that I did earlier is that regional differences are dramatic, so the one size does not fit all when we're attempting to recover wild runs and provide economic and recreational opportunities to maintain public support.
     
  6. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    Jonathan-
    If the forage resources are so stable how do you account for the significant variability in those resident coho numbers in recent years? Especailly since so many of those fish are of hatchery origin (more or less constant recruitment) one would think there would be relatively constant fishing year to year. The theory that I have heard most often from folks familar with that fishery (and I'm not very familar with the deep south sound portion of the fishery) is forage availability plays an important role.

    Don -
    Right on the money with your comments about the importance of regional differences.

    However regarding the status of wild coho in deep south sound. The presences of those hatchery fish (both delayed and regular release) are part of the problem. A huge portion of the problem is driven by the co-managers decisions to focus harvest management on the catching the hatchery fish without much consideration for the status of the wild fish. Essentially the goal is to catch as many as possible of the hatchery which of course means that few wild fish escape to spawn. That coupled with the fact that what natural spawning coho do occur is mixture of those shotgunning hatchery coho and the few wild fish the escape the fishery. As we have all learned when the natural spawning population is dominated by hatchery fish the population is usually not very productive. And in the case of those net pen coho the problem is even worst when the stock used is from out of the region; I believe it is still case that the coho stock used in those net pens are Wallace fish (from the Snohomish).

    I recognize the recreational contribution of the fishery on those fish when they stick around. I understand why and would expect folks to continue that fishery. However my point is that there are potential wild fish cost associated with supporting that fishery and that if society and the co-managers get serious about wild coho production in the deep south Sound one area that will be the focus are those net pen fish.

    Tight lines
    Curt
     
  7. Don Freeman

    Don Freeman Free Man

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    Curt,

    I'm attending an informal meeting this morning with a group concerned with the future of this very issue. Members include former biologists and managers of the late release program. I intend to ask these very questions of them, and I'll let you know what I learn.

    Don
     
  8. MDL

    MDL We work to become, not to acquire.

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    Don,
    Looking forward to hearing from you concerning this.
     
  9. hendersonbaylocal

    hendersonbaylocal Member

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    they are freakin awesome, that's what the deal is! total two fish on one rod tripled up on gurglers anarchy!

    they are stupid, aggressive, hungry and fun to catch.
     
  10. Jonathan Tachell

    Jonathan Tachell Active Member

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    Smalma the bait is there. It moves from year to year and is not always located at the same depth or same exact location but it is in the general area and i believe these resident coho change there patterns accordingly. Also I don't know what goes on in the hatchery, as far as if they are releasing the same numbers of fish every year and if they are releasing them at the same time every year. I know that there is little known about where these fish go from february until june or july. They seem to kinda disapear for the most part during that time. Maybe they go deep or migrate north or south im not sure. I think there is far more forage out in the salt than needed to support the tiny amount of salmon in the sound. This is purley observation though from a lot of people that spend a lot of time on the water in the area. I think the reason for fewer fish is cut backs in hatchery production and changes in hatchery practices but these are just my opinion.
     
  11. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

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    you can lead them to water ,But you can't make them drink, Everybody wants the other guy to quit fishing, somebody else is always responsible for the decline of the resource
     
  12. wet line

    wet line New Member

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    This has been an interesting thread and lots of input. What it does is underscore the mentallity of fishermen as a group.

    Many if not most fishers started out fishing on put and take lakes in a very artificial situation. Where more fish were available than sustainable. It didn't take much learning to catch quite a few fish and something in that process lodged in the brain. Good fishing equates to a lot of fish caught!

    So now after studies and trial and tribulation it is pretty well determined that in many fisheries all these hatchery fish put into the system are an issue of varying degrees to native populations.

    The fishermen say I want to catch more fish and gee whiz I want a bunch of native fish too, but I want more fish to catch. Fishermen have become addicted to the numerous hatchery fish. The hypochrisy comes when those same people profess enhancing native populations but still want a lot of fish to catch and this requires hatchery augmentation which harms wild fish in numerous ways.

    So the question is: do you want to catch a lot of fish, then support hatcheries and wild fish be damned! Or support efforts to restore wild fish runs at the expense of fishing in all aspects until the runs have had a chance to rejuvenate.

    We can have one or the other but not both.

    If you want wild fish then think about other species to fish for and other places to fish. It will require a change in mindset but it is up to the individual.

    Dave
     
  13. Jonathan Tachell

    Jonathan Tachell Active Member

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    Well said wet line.
     
  14. Don Freeman

    Don Freeman Free Man

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    Yup Dave, you've described the conundrum pretty accurately. I started out our meeting today with precisely that sentiment. "how do I reconcile my desire for some kind of a sport fishery with my ethic to re-establish wild runs".

    Our group, which aside from me will remain anonymous, consists of a retired hatchery manger, a working state biologist, a fly shop owner and several senior guys who have been fishing and active in conservation for decades around here.

    Here's what I learned:

    Aside from hatchery fish, coho are very scarce in the south sound. Due to several factors, they are not eligible for ESA listing, so stocking will continue.
    In order to change policy, data is needed to provide adequate rationale.
    The number of coho released into the sound has decreased from 14M to 9M in recent years.
    A very small percentage of these fish residualize, or remain in the sound for sport fishing. Compared to the impact of marine migrating fish, the impact is inconsequential. There are several reasons, including early release due to water quality, temperature, and sufficient funds to feed the smolt until July to increase residualization.
    It appears that adequate food supply is not the limiting factor; coastal cutthroat populations have not declined.

    In order to initiate change in policy, we need to develop data that can prove that enough wild fish return to re-start self sustaining runs. We need to know more about migration patterns of the fish.

    The hatcheries have begun to differentially mark fish released. In addition to adipose fin clipping, right/left ventral and pectoral fins may be removed. This enables samplers to identify the hatchery of origin.
    To aid the state in tracking this data, our group intends to mobilize volunteers on dates chosen for optimal catch in the various areas where resident coho are found. We will also raise money to pay for feed to increase retention time of smolt to enhance resident population.

    I'm sure that the contributors to this forum will respond across the usual spectrum of support and vilification. It goes with the territory. Many will critique that studies take time, and it's time for drastic action, etc. Maybe, but the system is what it is, and we hope to expedite the process through wide volunteer participation, rather than waiting for it to be done for us. You may not like the process, any more than the way a air bag slaps you in the face, but it's a better alternative.

    This is a condensed version of the issue, and of our proposals. I gotta go cook dinner, and not many read these wordy posts. We welcome constructive criticism and suggestions. We will be developing catch diaries and "Fish Ins" to start an expanded data base beginning in February. I'll contact clubs, shops and individual who can assist in this effort, but please, if you have something to contribute contact me.
     
  15. Bob Jones

    Bob Jones Still truckless now farther away

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    Don thanks so much for the care that you have that keeps you working to get us the information that we have to make our choices from. Thanks for your effort again.Yes it's tempting not to read the whole thing but when we need to know we have to read it again.