Skagit Catch & Release debate.

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
. . . You are openly admitting that fishermen have an impact on the fishery regardless how much or how little your still impacting the fishery.

Not true. In your emotion based opinion you have combined social and ecological impacts. They are not the same. The social experience of fishing will be both positive and negative. It will be positive in that fishing opportunity will occur. It will be negative in that I will likely encounter more other anglers than I'd prefer, since I like to have a lot of space to myself. But I'm not ignorant enough be believe that choice is on the menu. So too many fishermen is a social impact on the fishery, but that is not the same as a negative impact on the health of the steelhead population. Despite a potential for too many anglers and their associated incidental take through CNR mortality, the spawning escapement will still occur and the continued productivity of the population will be maintained.

How can I claim this? First, there is the 40 years of record showing that fishing has had no, as in ZERO, measurable affect on adult steelhead abundance. Are you aware that the directed harvest of wild steelhead was still allowed for part of the season in many of those seasons? Second, only part of the river is open to fishing. Many Skagit steelhead stage in areas of the river that are closed to fishing, further ensuring resource protection from inadvertent over-exploitation. So yes, we will still be impacting the fishery. However there will not be any measurable negative affect. Why does that bother you?


The skagit is one of the few remaining protected rivers out there why not leave it alone until we can come up with a solution for all the other messes we have on our remaining rivers.

Because IMO it is highly unlikely that we will or can solve all those other messes you refer to. Your emotion based formula is one that eliminates steelhead fishing from the list of quality of life regional attributes forever. Is that your goal? If so, why?

In my opinion and once again it's just an opinion no science involved I think your totally blind if you think fishermen wont have an impact. Do you know how crowed that river will be if they open it up ???? How many guides will be chomping at the bit to run trips. It will turn into the next cowlitz river regardless of method of choice it will be the best river with the most fish potential catching in the state. Not to mention all the improper handling of fish which I still believe over time affects fisheries.

It may be crowded, but it won't become the Cowlitz because the Skagit is a CNR fishery, whereas the Cowlitz fishery is one whose reputation was built on "whack 'em and stack 'em." Anglers who are not willing to release their catch won't bother with fishing the Skagit.

Improper handling of fish is built into the incidental take estimate.
While most best estimates of CNR mortality of winter steelhead are around 5% or less, WDFW and NMFS use the more conservative value of 10%. I think they have your hand-wringing concern covered.

Do you even understand that all your emotion-based hand wringing "what ifs" mainly alienates your fellow anglers and won't save even one steelhead? Do you realize that keeping the Skagit closed will not result in even one additional adult steelhead 4 and 5 years down the road? That is probably the main reason that your posts generate mostly negative responses.

Sg
 

Smalma

Active Member
Northweststeel-
While I have generally been avoiding posting much on these threads (getting burned out I guess) you comments have inspired me to post again. I understand where you are coming from perfectly. However after decades involvement in the issues surrounding management steelhead and the regions other salmonids, their habitat needs and what it might take to move their populations from the edge of extinction I have come to harsh observations.

First health fish anadromous fish populations require healthy rivers. The priority has to be restoring rivers; without that restoration there will be no recovery and likely populations will continued declined. To restore rivers a passionate advocacy is essential. Those advocates besides their passion also need a connection and understanding of the river as well as the species of concern. By far the most passionate advocates that I have encountered have that connection with the river. They see how the river is changing over time, what is improving and what is going sideways. I know of no better way for any potential advocates to make the needed connections to the rivers in need is to spend time on the water with rod in hand. After more than 5 decades in these battles I'm more convinced than ever that river connection is essential. The Skagit and its steelhead have an impressive group of advocates in large part due to their connection to the river's steelhead. That passion is great enough that many of us will likely remain involved at some level whether we fish the Skagit or not until we are fishing the great river where the river is always in shape with abundant "players" to take our flies. The handful of the folks that drove the Occupy Skagit effort are mostly on the wrong side of 50 and some on the wrong side of 70. As they pass on to that great river the question becomes where will the next generation of advocates come from. If no one fishes our rivers who will be making the key connection to the river and if some are found will they have the intimate knowledge to as passionate and informed as needed to effective?

I have great concern about that without responsible fishing opportunities recruiting that next generation advocates will be iffy. If our grandkids are to have any hope of enjoying this resource folks to fill the boots of current advocates we need folks making that connect to the river and its fish.

Curt
 

Charles Sullivan

ignoring Rob Allen and Generic
You can't prove that allowing the river to turn into the cowlitz river won't affect the fishery but I can show that if you don't allow fishermen on the river it will stay intact as nature sees now. Seems like a pretty clear picture to me
No. Not having fishermen on the river has little to do with whether the river will "stay intact as nature sees now." With or without anglers there will be pressures from humans that will determine whether the river "stays intact as nature sees now." Logging, diking, agriculture, water withdrawals, commercial development, residential development, recreational development mining, global warming etc. all will change the river. That is how it has been forever and how it will continue.
We see anglers on the water and make assumptions that the activity of catching fish is the most important and most impactful activity on the fish. I used to think the same. I no longer think that. It seems we have studied angler impact to death trying to find the smoking bullet. It just isn't there. I am constantly amazed how people mix up the social issues with increased anglers and the biological ones. Because the experience sucks does not mean that the fish are suffering for it. Those are 2 different things.
The Skagit system pumps out fish at the rate that the river can support. It has habitat that the other PS streams do not. The other PS streams did not decline due to fishing just as the Skagit has not. Declines in all the PS rivers can be traced to habitat, habitat and ........habitat.
Recovery is not going to be found in the sportfishing rulebook. Any time spent there in the name of recovery is a wasted effort and only serves as a red herring.

Go Sox,
cds
 
I haven't read the entire thread so perhaps it's been mentioned or perhaps it's just a really bad idea. What about opening up the river via a lottery system to control the amount of anglers per day? A Hi-Vis tag would have to be worn/displayed. Separate lotteries for guides and the average Joe/Jane as well as those practicing CnR. Kinda crazy idea since it couldn't really be enforced for lack of enforcement resources. Also needing to take into account weekdays and weekends as well as when the river is blown out. The lottery could charge $ to help with reinforcement and conservation. You can purchase as many tickets as you want......
 
Well the lower system will be closed ..so no worries there. I renig my comment, I’m glad you have fished the Skagit....as for keeping it closed, I disagree. Moving on....
 
Northweststeel-
While I have generally been avoiding posting much on these threads (getting burned out I guess) you comments have inspired me to post again. I understand where you are coming from perfectly. However after decades involvement in the issues surrounding management steelhead and the regions other salmonids, their habitat needs and what it might take to move their populations from the edge of extinction I have come to harsh observations.

First health fish anadromous fish populations require healthy rivers. The priority has to be restoring rivers; without that restoration there will be no recovery and likely populations will continued declined. To restore rivers a passionate advocacy is essential. Those advocates besides their passion also need a connection and understanding of the river as well as the species of concern. By far the most passionate advocates that I have encountered have that connection with the river. They see how the river is changing over time, what is improving and what is going sideways. I know of no better way for any potential advocates to make the needed connections to the rivers in need is to spend time on the water with rod in hand. After more than 5 decades in these battles I'm more convinced than ever that river connection is essential. The Skagit and its steelhead have an impressive group of advocates in large part due to their connection to the river's steelhead. That passion is great enough that many of us will likely remain involved at some level whether we fish the Skagit or not until we are fishing the great river where the river is always in shape with abundant "players" to take our flies. The handful of the folks that drove the Occupy Skagit effort are mostly on the wrong side of 50 and some on the wrong side of 70. As they pass on to that great river the question becomes where will the next generation of advocates come from. If no one fishes our rivers who will be making the key connection to the river and if some are found will they have the intimate knowledge to as passionate and informed as needed to effective?

I have great concern about that without responsible fishing opportunities recruiting that next generation advocates will be iffy. If our grandkids are to have any hope of enjoying this resource folks to fill the boots of current advocates we need folks making that connect to the river and its fish.

Curt
Hate to have a short response but I can see your reasoning to this point . Like I have said openly my opinion is just an opinion but it is interesting to read the different views myself .
 
No. Not having fishermen on the river has little to do with whether the river will "stay intact as nature sees now." With or without anglers there will be pressures from humans that will determine whether the river "stays intact as nature sees now." Logging, diking, agriculture, water withdrawals, commercial development, residential development, recreational development mining, global warming etc. all will change the river. That is how it has been forever and how it will continue.
We see anglers on the water and make assumptions that the activity of catching fish is the most important and most impactful activity on the fish. I used to think the same. I no longer think that. It seems we have studied angler impact to death trying to find the smoking bullet. It just isn't there. I am constantly amazed how people mix up the social issues with increased anglers and the biological ones. Because the experience sucks does not mean that the fish are suffering for it. Those are 2 different things.
The Skagit system pumps out fish at the rate that the river can support. It has habitat that the other PS streams do not. The other PS streams did not decline due to fishing just as the Skagit has not. Declines in all the PS rivers can be traced to habitat, habitat and ........habitat.
Recovery is not going to be found in the sportfishing rulebook. Any time spent there in the name of recovery is a wasted effort and only serves as a red herring.

Go Sox,
cds
While I find some truth to your statement I still think letting Mother Nature do it’s thing without any extra factors such as fishermen is what I believe in .
I do agree with habitat and development that is definitely the major driving factor the unfortunate problem there is money drives everything and the sad part for the fishing community is we are low on the totem pole when it comes to preserving that .
 
Have you ever fished the skagit, or in the spring cnr season in the past? It will not become the Cowlitz because for 1 you can not fish under power = no jets boondoggin. The Skagit is bigger than the Cowlitz and dose not give fish up easily, yes it could be busy but it will disperse as people get fustrated and stop heading up there.
When if the skagit opens that river will look like the sandy river Spey clave with fishermen lol
 
Thank you for the reply. I was just curious of where you normally fish and how it compares to the Skagit. I need to make it down to Mexico sometime soon. Florida Keys tarpon was fun though.
It’s definitely great I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to do it probably been down to Belize 10 or so times in the last couple years . It’s a weird thing coming from here when you only see 2-3 boats a day maybe down there vs here lol
 
Have you given any of these developers, permit grantors, loggers, ranchers, wineries, berry farms, WA DOT, Seattle City Light, etc. as much grief as you've handed out to us poor fishermen who have the least impact on the resource?
Im not giving anyone any grief and me complaining to them is going to be just small potatoes
 

Latest posts