I agree, locally rare, but actually have seen some populations with that much and maybe even more spotting. They were beaverpond fish, mostly. But, I live less than a mile from a small slough/creek we fished as kids in the Spring that had these leopard cutts. The spotting was profuse on the belly and jaws etc.. Unreal fish ! Takes darker water, the little slough was really tea colored.
If nothing is being done to protect ESA listed salmon and steelhead as bycatch in gill nets then chances are nothing is going to be done about SRC bycatch, which are not protected. They are just catch and release in marine waters for recreational anglers per WDFW, not the feds or tribes.
My thoughts on the pictures would be to share them with groups like the Coastal Cutthroat Coalition.
They list the Squaxin Tribe as a sponsor on their website.
If I remember correctly, the tribes also help with some of the field studies CCC does.
The pictures might be a good source to begin a dialog with the tribe(s) regarding the value of these fish and net mesh size.
I know each tribe seems to act independently on how they govern their fisheries, but perhaps getting one tribe to buy in it may help sway other tribes to increase mesh size.
Just a though.
I'd like to hear other suggestions on this subject.
This past week the Hood Canal was chalk full of gill nets. We literally had to zig zag around them all week. At the ramp one of the buyers asked me what my clients are fishing for all the time with the fly rod. Which sparked up a pretty interesting/disturbing conversation.
He said they regularly get cutthroat in their nets fishing for coho and chum salmon... 2-7lbs!! He said they can not sell them obviously, so they take them home as a bi-catch free meal. I obviously was disturbed, but my curiosity sparked a further conversation, and he said they get them almost every set in their beach netting, and sometimes they will get 10-20 at a time.
Now, this past week, we had to fish the strange spots to find anything over 12", and we found very few fish that were not covered in net marks if they were above 12".
As many of us feared. Although it's probably worse than we thought. About 1/3 of the fish I caught this weekend had wounds/marks from nets. I had to zig zag around the nets as well.
They attempt to reduce bycatch of other species by run timing, but with SRC cruising up and down the inland shores year round they are very susceptible to being netted as bycatch. And as @Jonathan Tachell says, they have little "value" in negotiations. No commercial value and no federal protection, so little chance of driving change. Washington State fish management is so fucked up.
I’ve seen some super heavily spotted beaver pond coastal cutts. They have a very different, almost dark look to them.
Here is a post spawn fish from the salt with some heavy spotting down into the belly.
Really pretty fish. Looks like a lot of rainbow in that one-not often do you see red on the lateral line on a coastal, the red cheek patch is more often seen on the Cowlitz SRC.
I know a high lake that has the most mixed up fish I have ever seen, it has Coastal Cutthroat, Golden and Rainbow, and every combination possible. The Golden Trout hybrids retain the light parr marks into adulthood and have beautiful red fins-even some red on the dorsal, and very white tipped fins all around.
As Salmo and others have said on here before, many of the the largest Sea Run Cutthroats are probably a hybrid Coastal Rainbow x Costal Cutthroat.
Does anyone know of any a laws put forth as far as how close to shore these nets can be dragged??
Maybe one solution is a SRC "buffer zone" along the shores where certain types of commercial as well as recreational fishing cannot occur giving the SRC a fighting chance at shallower water sanctuaries maybe?
As far as the net mesh sizes are concerned.... "what would it take to standardize these nets and create a governing body to regulate them" would be my only concern here. The commercial guys aren't going to pay for new nets. It would have to be some sort of trade the old net for the new net type of thing and who would fund that type of project? I love the idea but struggle with the reality of how it would be done. Thoughts?
Just be careful about ruffling the feathers of commercial tribal fisherman over SRC bycatch. Technically their is a large abundance of SRC and since recreational fisherman harvest very few the tribes could decide they want their share (50% of the fish above what is needed to make escapement) and whatever of our 50% that do not get harvested (forgone opportunity).
Some of the tribes as stated above are more willing to work with their co managers than others. But if a couple that don't like to play ball wanted to stick it to SRC anglers drawing negative press to them they could. I doubt this would happen but it could, especially if they found a market for them.
The take if sea-runs in beach seines in Hood Canal is concerning. Do folks know whether those fisheries are tribal or non-treaty?
I see that there are non-treaty beach seine fisheries scheduled for a couple areas of Hood Canal. If folks are interested in this topic a place to start might the 2017 commercial regulations and information.
The seasons can be found in table 5 and the beach seine regulations on page 15. I see that Hood Canal Beach Seine (BS) fishery is the only on in the Sound that I could find and "The Puget Sound beach seine salmon fishery is designated as an emerging commercial fishery..." As such a emerging commercial fishery license is required. Don't know how many were sold or whether or not any non-treaty beach seining is occurring.
Sounds like those interested in this fishery may want to do some research and elevate this issue during NOF. May take on reading beach seine regulations that it probably is the case that sea-run cutthroat caught in non-treaty fisheries are too be released. Might want to consider to push for a clarification of that regulation and maybe the agency could provided an information note to those acquiring a license for that fishery.