Skagit Catch & Release debate.

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
#3
I saw that NFS tied themselves to the WFC's letter commenting on the PEPD. Since they claim that they want a Skagit steelhead fishery, I have to wonder if they understand that WFC's letter essentially demands that the Skagit remain closed to steelhead fishing FOREVER. All the things WFC wants, or perhaps even demands, be done before re-opening the Skagit to steelhead fishing will never be done. I've written before that WDFW doesn't have the interest, time, money, or resources to accomplish the minimum that WFC insists must be done. Of course, all of that hasn't been done for any fishery, anywhere in the state, country, or world that I know of. People need to be more thoughtful about what they say, and look more closely at what they write.

Sg
 

attack

Active Member
#6
Soon they will be joining forces with peta.

The short sighted, 100% selfish desire of some of you is mind blowing.

You don't think Bill McMillan (signee on that letter) wants to fish the river he lives on and has dedicated much of his life to restoring? of course he does, but he cares about the future of the fishery more.

This is a prime chance to do things right, not rush into things, and protect the river for future generations of fisherman to enjoy as well.

Stop being so ****ing selfish and open your eyes to the big picture.
 
#8
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So I must of got nfs mixed up with wfc,wsu, and what ever other .orgs exist .
Btw ..For the past few years I’ve seen Bill fishing his run quite a bit in Jan....I take almost 15-20 days off in Jan to float the Sauk and Skagit, every time, I see him.Why do people who want something closed, fish the very water they say they are protecting, I just can’t wrap my head around that. If you propose to close down fishing, why are you fishing???
 
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Jeremy Floyd

fly fishing my way through life
#9
The short sighted, 100% selfish desire of some of you is mind blowing.

You don't think Bill McMillan (signee on that letter) wants to fish the river he lives on and has dedicated much of his life to restoring? of course he does, but he cares about the future of the fishery more.

This is a prime chance to do things right, not rush into things, and protect the river for future generations of fisherman to enjoy as well.

Stop being so ****ing selfish and open your eyes to the big picture.

I don't really care either way personally, but I have lots of friends who are passionate on both sides.

From a distance, I see a ton of opinions that are being shouted from the largest soapboxes on the internet.

Your opinion, and I'm sure Bill McM's a nice guy, but his and everyone else's doesn't matter.

The science matters, the numbers behind the science matters. Everything else is opinion.

Let science do it's job. Take a back seat.
 

attack

Active Member
#10
I don't really care either way personally, but I have lots of friends who are passionate on both sides.

From a distance, I see a ton of opinions that are being shouted from the largest soapboxes on the internet.

Your opinion, and I'm sure Bill McM's a nice guy, but his and everyone else's doesn't matter.

The science matters, the numbers behind the science matters. Everything else is opinion.

Let science do it's job. Take a back seat.
I don't disagree with you but the problem here is there is no black & white scientific answer to this...there is a lot of guesswork so why not error on the side of caution?
 
#12
The short sighted, 100% selfish desire of some of you is mind blowing.

You don't think Bill McMillan (signee on that letter) wants to fish the river he lives on and has dedicated much of his life to restoring? of course he does, but he cares about the future of the fishery more.

This is a prime chance to do things right, not rush into things, and protect the river for future generations of fisherman to enjoy as well.

Stop being so ****ing selfish and open your eyes to the big picture.
It could just be a credibility issue with NOAA, the State and NFS and WFC - maybe the leading agencies responsible for the plan don't think these .orgs are credible in this circumstance.
 
#13
I am upset with timing in all the .org letters. All posted within three weeks of the proposed opening.

Leland.
It's the mission of all dot orgs to virtue signal as loud as possible to attract maximum attention. What better time then right now when something might get done. This signal will then be recieved by others who want to signal their virtue and hopefully donate. Then they can signal to even more "others "
about how righteous they are and the circle jerk continues till you have Facebook type threads that are essentially a high fiving echo chamber of, "thanks for all the great work you do" and similar positive statements that signal to everyone else the virtue of the commenters. Oh, and if you can somehow bring up Trump or politics subtly or not it's even better and kinda a cool bonus to signal even deeper your awesome intellect and tendencies. It's modern sociology. You shit in a punchbowl right before someone wants punch, in this case the prom, then scream your virtue as to how it was a righteous dump for the betterment of the world. This is the formula for the modern "non profit". You don't want to be in front because reactionary superior indignation plays so much better to types that get a big charge out of writing a check and think, "I'm really helping a noble cause here with people that have superior morals like me, I'm part of an elite moral group."
 
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Smalma

Active Member
#14
Attack-
While of many of respect and appreciate the passion that Mr. McMillan brings to the any discussion of the Skagit and its wonderful resources he is hardly unique in that respect. There are folks who have been involved in Skagit issues far longer than Bill, who share his passion, and may have even broad knowledge of the Skagit and its fish communities. However I will make this post about the science of this issues by reviewing some of the issues raised in the NFS/WFC letter.

Gene banks. The author rise the issue of gene banks and how any fishery allowed might affect that designation of any gene bank. The letter in discussing gene banks and the author desire to have the entire Skagit basin set aside as a "gene bank" rather other gene bank options says "Any of these is likely to require significant , but unknown, restrictions on the kind, amount, and locations of harvest of wild Skagit steelhead." A key item of the 2008 WDFW Statewide Steelhead Management Plan in setting up gene banks include this within gene banks "Fisheries can be conducted if wild steelhead management objectives are met as well as any necessary federal ESA determinations." In other words regardless of the location and/or status of any gene bank determinations in the Skagit Basin any future steelhead fisheries would under go exactly the same evaluations as the Skagit Steelhead FRMP.

The 2008 Statewide steelhead management plan was adopted in March of 2008. In May of 2008 all planting of hatchery steelhead in the Sauk basin ended. In addition regulations for the entire Sauk were changed so that except for any hatchery steelhead (fin clipped) anytime the river was open to fishing (summer or winter) the regulations would require the use selective gear rules and strict CnR. These actions coupled with the lack of any salmon planting means for the last decade the Sauk has been a functioning wild salmonid zone. The Sauk basin is larger than any of the current gene banks established under the Statewide plan.

Repeat spawners.
Yes the plan does not contain specific repeat spawner information. It also lacks the smolt ages, adult age structure, fecundity, detailed genetic information, etc.; information that is readily available to all evaluating the proposal. The FRMP does discuss how it expected to minimize impacts on the wild winter kelts. As a practical matter extensive observation of the spring CnR season fishery shows a surprising low encounter rates of kelts during that March/April period. In my own fishing a pretty decent sample of wild winters caught during that period produced exactly the same number of kelts to hand as my fishing in October; 1 kelt in each period.

Early run timing. The letter states that in Western Washington there has been several decades of 80 to 95% harvest rates targeting early-returning hatchery steelhead. While harvest rates on hatchery fish sometimes approach those levels the Skagit specific information indicates those rates were at 70 or less per cent. It is important to remember that since at least the early 1980s season structures were such to successfully achieve lower harvest rates on the wild fish. For example during this century the recreational fishery has been mark selective. In the letter their figure 1 makes the case that the run timing has changed dramatically since the mid-1950s. Let's look a little closure at that information. The 1950 run timing information is based on the reported sport catch from punch cards which clearly shows that the bulk of that catch was caught before the first of March. That can hardly be surprising given that much of the fishing in the basin (as elsewhere in the Puget Sound area) closed to fishing at the end of February. My recollection of the regulations at that time (from looking at old fishing regulation pamphlets) was the Sauk, Cascade and Skagit above the Baker closed at the end of February so I would expect the catch to be skewed to an early timing. Enos Bardner in his 1950 book Northwest Angler reports in his discussion of the Skagit winter steelhead fishery that "It is fished very little during December, but January is good, the period from Washington's birthday to the end of March is the best." Not much different from what we see today. They compare this estimate of timing with that from the fish collected on hook and line during a radio tagging study (Pflug et at) starting 2008. For the study with fish collected from January through May and reports the fish caught in each month. However there is no information as to when the fishing occurred; was there as much effort (days of fishing) in January as April? Much of the basin sampled was open for the public through January with the study fishing continuing through the rest of the sampling period in closed waters. Should we expect high success rates during closed periods? Especially in areas where the fish tend to hold for extended periods (as confirmed by radio tagged fish tracked)? Of equal importance the when did the sampling effort occur/ equally across all months? Reports from those that I know that took part in the sampling indicate that more effort occurred during the later period. In short IMHO hardly a fair comparison.

The FRMP does make the effort to limit impacts (especially for the recreational fishery) on those early returning/spawning fish. In the Skagit basin two different hydrograph types are found. One type is driven by "rain fall" driven and the other by "snow melt" driven These are very different with the streams with "rain fall" hydrographs are characterized by high early winter flows with declining flows through the spring into the summer. On the Skagit the "snow melt" streams are characterized by increasing spring flows (highest average daily flows occurring in May and June) with elevated flows continuing into the mid-summer. These two different hydrograph through the natural selection process shape the spawn timing of the wild steelhead. The "rain fall" streams typically have an earlier spawn timing while the "snow melt" streams have a later spawn timing. The "rain fall" timing starts a month and peaks a month or so earlier than the "snow melt" timing. The important piece in this discussion is that majority of the "rain fall" tributaries are found downstream of the "Dallas" that is below the area expected to be open during the spring CnR season.

I'm too lazy to go into more detail of the later. Even though I consider the Skagit basin my home river over the last twenty years I rarely target the basin's winter steelhead. I do however attempt to stay current with the available science regarding the steelhead resource, conservation biology, and Skagit ecology and truth that science with my basin observations as well as personal theories of what makes the river and its fish tick. Even though I may never again cast a fly targeting a Skagit steelhead I more than comfortable with the science used to support a potential Skagit steelhead season, the processes used to evaluate whether such a fish represent an threat to the long term viability and can comfortably endorse such a fishing. I'm equally confident that such fishery will not prevent the basin's steelhead from responding in a positive fashion (increased runs) if the habitat restoration proves to be successful.

Curt
 

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