"Why aren't Olympic Peninsula Steelhead . . .

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by miyawaki, Feb 19, 2014.

  1. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Well-Known Member

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    David,

    At this time I'm opposed to the targeted harvest of wild steelhead simply because the most notable thing about them - statewide - is their relative scarcity. Allowing the continued harvest of wild steelhead just because a very few rivers appear to still be producing them in excess of escapement needs is a fool's errand IMO. We have gone from relative abundance in the late 1960s, where angling was only beginning to have the potential to affect abundance, to the present where the preponderance of populations statewide are ESA listed, and the few that aren't, are just a short matter of time from the same peril.

    Early timed components of the runs can be re-established. The only requirement is that we stop killing them. As wild populations recover, the margins, early and late, expand in proportion if they are not cropped off. Because the tribes won't selectively harvest, and the hatchery fish return early, early timed wild fish will continue to be heavily selected against. Sport fishing regulations now prohibit retention of wild steelhead until Feb. 15, but since the tribes take the greater portion of the harvest, I doubt this regulation will have much effect.

    Sg
     
  2. David Dalan

    David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

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    And a light goes on in my head. Sounds like the tribes should just install a weir and sort out the brats, and distribute them to the members that want them. Would probably make harvest cheaper, and completely discriminatory. I hear tell that "tribes" (not sure who it applies to and to whom it does not...if at all) tend not to see much difference, if any, between wild reared and factory reared fish are concerned.

    In your experience, is this true?
     
  3. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

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    just pray for lots of rain in december and january to let those fish get upstream of the nets.... sucks for fishing though.
     
  4. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Well-Known Member

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    David,

    There are significant objections to selective fishing that I've heard tribal representatives express. First, selective methods are more expensive. A short gillnet, either drift or set, and a small skiff and outboard are the cheapest commercial fishing gear on the planet based on unit income and expense. The second problem is "who gets the money?" With the extant gillnet fishery the money goes to the fisherman who catches the fish. If a tribe were to install a weir and operate a complex fish trapping system, it would have to decide who gets the money and divide it among several fishermen who each believes they are the high liner under current conditions. Third, if you keep only the hatchery fish and release the wild ones, you forego the revenue of the released fish. A commercial fisherman's job is to catch fish, not let them go. The concept is anti-thetical. And last, certain tribes have made a policy decision that hatchery and wild fish are the same, in lieu of science to the contrary.

    Sg
     
  5. golfman44

    golfman44 5-Time Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year

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    Great read, thanks Leland.

    Few people here actually practice what they preach, including some people who have posted in this very thread (a particular 17 fish day on the Methow by someone here comes to mind). Bob is one of the few that actually walks the walk. I asked him about potential guide days on the OP and he was quick to turn down my $$ for the sake of the fish.

    Forum posts are one thing, actually acting on them is another. Whether you agree with his specific points or not is irrelevant, hats off to the man. Hopefully one day when I learn how to catch fish consistently I can have some self control, but who knows.


    [​IMG]
     
  6. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    But if the fishers would be payed far more for the released wild fish (via a scheme where recreational anglers would pay the tribes for their "rights" to harvest wild fish), wouldn't the conflict be less acrimonious and the fishers (via the tribal administration) would still receive value for these fish? It is always easier to divide up a generous pie.
    Steve
     
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  7. bhudda

    bhudda heffe'

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  8. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Well-Known Member

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    Cabezon,

    Yes, that's possible. However, depending on who you ask, the money is only the first or second reason for fishing. Some just like to fish, and they want to fish in the way that most satisfies them, and they'd rather do that for less money than release a wild fish so that it might be caught and released by a non-treaty sport fisherman. I think there's a huge trust and respect chasm that has to be crossed for that to happen.

    Sg
     
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  9. cabezon

    cabezon Sculpin Enterprises

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    I see your point; when one reads about other over-exploited fisheries around the world, similar attitudes are present even if it appears to be against their economic self interest in the long run. A key is to not totally suspend fishing, just reduce the effort but improve the economic return. For some things, some individuals would never sell at any price; however, you doesn't know that (or what the price is) until you ask. And it wouldn't be necessary to convince all the treaty tribes to try this approach, just one. If it proved successful, others will join in.

    Steve
     
  10. Rob Allen

    Rob Allen Active Member

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    time for ESA listings anyone intentionally killing wild steelhead from the OP proves by their actions that they do not care about the resource regardless of the equipment they use ti harvest them.


    Also if you love wild steelhead and want them to persist practice self restraint. fish where runs are at least stable or don't fish at all. just because you love catch and release fly fishing for steelhead doesn't mean you should spend every moment out there doing it. sometimes the only conservation move is to stay home.
     
  11. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    Yup, for sure. In the corporate world, we call it Business Ethics and Conflict of Interest.
     
  12. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

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    it is not about disagreeing, but about the blog post being factually wrong when attacking the motives of other anglers. facts are facts, and his version of what happened with the hoh summer closure and the motives of those who were against it are just flat out wrong.
     
  13. Charles Sullivan

    Charles Sullivan dreaming through the come down

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    This thread desperately needs data. A quick internet search brought up some WDFW escapement data. I am real curious if we have any run size data for OP stream as I feel that it would be more telling. Anyhow, here is what I got.
    http://www.wcssp.org/Documents/Appendix5.pdf

    Go Sox,
    cds
     
  14. PT

    PT Physhicist

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    Who is showing business ethics and who are the conflict of interest?
     
  15. doublespey

    doublespey Steelhead-a-holic

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    I admire Bob for acting on his beliefs. He obviously feels the need to live in his own truth, and I applaud him for that. As someone who makes his living guiding, this is even more impressive. Other fly guides (like Steve Buckner) have also chosen to stop guiding for wild OP Steelhead because of their declining #s.

    Most hardcore Steelheaders I know think they understand what is and isn't important in wild steelhead recovery. Some will argue that getting rid of hatchery fish is important. Others cite fishing pressures (which have undeniably increased) as significant. Others like to blame the tribes and the Boldt decision for the decline of wild steelhead. I think all of us agree that loss of habitat is a serious concern. None of us know much about the saltwater variables and their impact on run size.

    What's harder to separate is the health of the fishery vs the health of the fishing. Someone called this out earlier in the thread, and Topwater Chris agreed that many of us (myself included) no longer fish the Olympic Peninsula rivers because of the declining health of the fishing. I could say that I stopped because of the fish, but the truth is that I stopped because I no longer enjoyed jockeying with both the tribal and sport anglers that crowd the river during peak times.

    I can truly say that I'd rather cut the hookpoints off my flies and just get a grab and run out of the fish if I could do so without the crowds.

    So Bravo to Bob for doing what he thinks is important to help the Wild Steelhead. We each need to do the same, to live up to what WE believe is important. It's abundantly clear we'll never get everyone else to agree with us, and condemning them for their actions just serves to further fracture our fishing community that should be standing together on the issues we agree on.

    My .02,

    Brian