Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Smalma, Feb 5, 2008.
stop stocking the Kalama and I'd bet money most of that pressure goes somewhere else
Remember the word native? We used to call non-clipped fish natives. That was still the term less than 10 years ago. Now it's wild. We are finally admitting that the term native is close to being as extinct as the steelhead are. I dare them to take away the hatcheries. After all, non of those non clipped fish are hatchery fish are they? I appreciate the time you took to ask us our opinion, but shit Curt, you have been doing this for longer than I've been alive. I have a few questions for you. (Respectfully)
1. How many pure strains or stocks are left? I have dug up old planting records in all kinds of streams. George McCloud told me one time that all the rivers in Washington didn't hold steelhead, some of the runs are man-made.
2. If we close the hatcheries, is the way we figure out escapement going to stay the same. If you guys say 4000 fish are going to return to the Skagit and our co-stewards net 2000 and only 2100 come back, we (like in past years have a problem Houston.)
3. The state makes big bucks on fishing money and the hatcheries generate many millions more dollars in gas, food, guides, ext. than wild fish. When you guys (us included) tried to make Forks C&R we got our asses kicked. Without hatcheries, the sport fishing lobby (which is mostly gear) will die according to them. How do you beat them back.
4. Do salmon hatcheries continue?
5. How about the native american's hatchery programs? In reality you have no control over what they do, and I am forcefed a constant diet of bullshit on how strict their enforcement is and how concerned they are about fish stocks. Granted, I believe most are good, but when I see a Korean guy netting the Duwamish a few years back because he is married to a woman that is 1/4 native, I call bullshit on the whole shooting match. What you guys are really saying is they can do what the hell they want, and do what they want, and you hope that human nature is inherently good and they do the right thing. That's not going to change ala Boldt and the Supreme Court. They earned it, they deserve it, but we need to work side by side.
6. Lastly, since we have known the dangers of hatcheries for decades, this seems like another way for Fish and Game to save their asses. Get rid of the hatcheries that they have cultivated, promoted, fought like hell to keep, and now we try something new. This is not directed at you or Salmo or anybody else, but in general frustration. I'm not a scientist nor do I claim to be. I just think you are suggesting something that will not be followed out. Call me jaded, I'm a Washingtonian.
Lastly, the Bella Coola is gone, the Thompson is almost gone, and the Skeena is going down the drain. I have been told for years that these fish are going away due to netting ie sockeye and other things. Then again I've been told a bunch of things. Commercial fishing the most named culprit. I'll support anything that might help, but I'd like to hear someone finally say they don't know what the hell is going on, it's bigger than all of us. We need the US, Canada, the tribes, aggreement on scientific fronts, lobbying, big dollars, dam removal (yeah right) Maybe then we can get started in the right direction. I find it hard to believe that ending the hatchery programs is going to do much to stop the fishing fleets that intercept fish (incidentally). We need to consider management to include managing the magnificent bastards before during and upon their return journey.
Okay I'm done. I'm just as confused and un-educated about steelhead as the next guy. Maybe the hatchery removal ideas are what we need to jump start things. Like I said, make me a believer and give a chance to believe in all of you.
I have to respect what Coach Duff said...I am not a steelhead fisherman, but I have to say, it seems as our interests are being managed by the bucks...
If we can stand up, and take a united stand on what the fish need, and what we can do about it, then maybe, just maybe, it can be turned.
The easy way out for me is to say fu** it; things are cooked. But that apathy is not going to help anything when the fish are gone.
So who can I write to, email, and where can I make my voice heard?
a simple question, do you want wild fish recovery? if so, hatcheries need to go. it's really that easy, but would you be able to give up all the fishing opportuinities (resident coho, saltwater salmon seasons, winter and summer steelhead fishing in many areas)?
simple right? but honestly ask yourself if you really, really want wild fish recovery.
most say yes, unless it impacts their fishing opportunities.
Unfortunately, it is not as straightforward as you suggest, please refer to my previous post concerning the cowlitz. Each system may or may not have the ability at this point for wild/native fish to survive. I certainly would hope that native/wild fish could survive in the Cowlitz, but because of the history of this river and it's dams, and with no plans in the future for allowing wild fish to migrate naturally, how successful could it be for wild fish? Secondly, the native fish in this system have long been extinct.
Unfortunately, it's not as cut and dried as one may first concieve it to be. I'd love to see wild, native fish thrive in this system, but their gone at this point, and furthermore, there are no plans for them to survive let alone thrive in this system. If we're serious about helping wild fish, the first step in the process is the removal of dams, for without that, the fish are unable to reach their historical spawning grounds. Without that, there is no chance for them to survive.
I'm not disagreeing with anything you said Steve, I would just like to add one thing to that: Dams are not the only component of the solution.
The other competing root cause HAS to be habitat. It HAS to be habitat because there are plenty of rivers in SW that have no dams and have as many problems as those that do.
The beauty of the rivers in SW that have dams on them is is that they all have high quality habitat in the upper watersheds.
If you compare the Upper Cowlitz/Cispus, Upper NFL, and Upper White Salmon with the East Fork Lewis, Washougal and Elochoman- guess which rivers hold watersheds residing within Wilderness Areas- not national forests, Wilderness? Which ones are logged?
Not saying Dams aren't a primary cause- they're just another manifestation of habitat degradation.
with my limited knowledge in mind.
I say YES to Hatchery Fish
and NO to Wild Steelhead
Now, let me clarify that.
NO FISHING FOR WILD STEELHEAD PERIOD.
Thus, we need the Hatchery Fish to be our sport until the
wild population recovers. I am talking not even C&R.
Just leave the wild fish alone. If we don't that's the result
we'll end up with sooner than later.
So until you develop a fly that repels wild fish and attracts hatchery brats, that is logically impossible because there is significant overlap in terms of run timing. Plus it doesn't seem to sink in with you that hatchery fish are part - some would say a significant part - of what is limiting recovery of wild fish.
you can make it illegal to target them and especially to gill net & commercially consume them
How the hell is someone fishing a stream that has both wild and hatchery fish in it supposed to know what they are "targeting"? Is one supposed to snorkle the river to figure out which fish are non-fin clipped and which ones are fin clipped before he starts casting to anything?
The only people who are gillnetting for steelhead are the treaty tribes. If you think you the state has the power to stop them from gillnetting I suggest you read this and you will be disabused of that notion:
and for some additional good perspective about the impact of fishing by the treaty tribes, read this:
Steelhead are not allowed to be fished for by commercial entities in Washington state. Tribal fisheries are another issue, and are a protected right by federal law.
As for not targeting them, any river with any component of wild fish and hatchery fish must be shut down by the logic you provide, as a fly or bait can't select the fish to hook based on adiopose fin size.
curt... great topic to debate.
i agree that in order to recover native steelhead populations in many streams that are capable of recovering... hatcheries are going to have to be taken out....
also agree that the cowlitz is pretty much doomed...if you tell somebody you caught a wild steelhead there, they would laugh at you. I dont see any hope in recovering that artificial population. Probably the same for a handful of other rivers across the state.
I dont think just removing hatchery programs will be the key... as discussed in many other threads... habitat will need to be recovered/rehabbed and dams will need to be removed and sources of pollution/dirty stormwater will need to be corrected. logging practices corrected...
I think one of the biggest things we could do is attempt to fix the estuarian environment at our river mouths. unfortunately this is probably impossible without an uncountable amount of money. (Duwamish, Puyallup, Snohomish, etc).
Next, i think recovering native steelhead populations will largely depend on what happens out in the marine environment... which may not even be under our control. or maybe it is? Do we really have a handle on why there is such a low marine survival?
Coach duff.... i have had very similar feelings about how WDFW is running things. Often times been left wondering WTF.
As for if i care if the hatchery programs are shut down... I have to say that those fisheries that are set up for the Put and take fisheries... need to have the hatchery.
But here is an example where i believe the hatchery steelhead program should be shut down:
Voights Creek/puyallup/carbon.... there are how many steelhead smolts released from that hatchery every year??(approx 200,000)... and how many make it back??? (18 so far this year, recent years < 100)(not counting gill netting take) how many dollars does it cost to run this? why not take that money to enhance the entire puyallup river watershed? Being as I spend almost every weekend and some weekdays on this system I can tell ya that the hatchery run here is barely exsistent... I have heard of about 5 fish caught all year(in other words not many)... where as i have already heard/seen of lots of wild fish caught in the two weeks since they started showing up. To me from a management stand point this points towards elimating hatchery steelhead on a system like the puyallup... when say the skookumchuck hatchery returns 1500 hatchery fish??? from say 75000-100,000 smolts. Im sure there are other systems that are like this.... and they too should have hatchery steelhead programs removed. To me the benefits of eliminating the hatchery steelhead program on voights creek is two fold: first you are eliminating the competetion from the hatchery fish in the system and two you are taking the money you would have spent on the hatchery program and you are using it to enhance habitat or educate people on what they can do to protect these fish.
So overall i still think hatchery steelhead programs will have there place...but also believe that some of them need to be phased out sooner rather than later.
also then by this same logic shouldnt any system containing bull trout be closed to fishing because a bull trout cant distinguish between a steelhead lure/fly or one meant for a bull trout??? because as i understant it now it is illegal to target bull trout in streams unless specificied in the special rules section.
"survival rates of wild steelhead can be considerably higher than survival rates of hatchery steelhead smolts. The smolt-to-adult survival rates for Umatilla hatchery steelhead have generally ranged from 0.3 to 1.4% (Rowan 1999)."
lessee here, 1500/100,000 = 1.5%
Seems like they deserve a raise, not to be shut down.
Wild smolt-to-adult survival rates, depending on the study, have been pegged at anywhere from 200%-1000% higher than hatchery fish. (~4-15%).
You're using a utilitarian mindset (e.g. the amount of returning, surviving hatchery fish not justifying the resource investment of hatchery production) to argue that a program, whose entire existence is justified by the same philosophy, should be shutdown.
Well then, by YOUR logic ALL streams should be closed because juvenille wild steelhead can't distinguish between a steelhead lure/fly or one meant for a juvenille wild steelhead because in the regs it says thats it is illegal to fish for Trout except during Trout season.
AHHHHHGH!!!! Where does the slippery slope end?!
*sigh*, I need a drink.
I gotta call my Ethics & Stats profs and let them know they weren't a waste of time after all.
Please get rid of them. That would be my wish.
From an ecological standpoint, when possible, I believe we should do everything within our power to protect another species from distinction. Get rid of the brats so the nates can bloom!
From a moral standpoint, I just don't think replacing nature with man-made nature is a path we want to walk too far down. It didn't work, so let's give it up.
From a swung-fly perspective, I couldn't care less about a fake fish.
Let's get rid of them.