WDFW Looking at restrictions for steelhead season

Nick Clayton

WFF Supporter
I dont really have a dog in this fight, but I do have some very good friends who are guides....guys I consider to be of high quality character, and I feel bad for this sudden change in their livelihood.

Still, as a guide myself, I feel like anyone who decides to guide for a living in 2020 had better be skilled at adapting to an ever changing work environment, have backup plans in place, and quite frankly be accepting to the fact that it could very easily come to a screeching halt at any point.

I keep seeing new steelhead guides pop up and for the life of me I can't understand why anyone would willingly begin a steelhead guide career these days.

I've said it before, but I would like to see the state treat guiding rivers similarly to how they treat guiding the salt. You want to run a salmon charter in the salt you're gonna pay 50k or more for a charter license, or find someone to lease you one for 5-6k a year. I say make a new guiding license, something that encompasses food fish and game fish, put a 40k price tag on it, and sell a finite number of them. After those sell, that's it. Anyone else that wants one needs to buy one from someone, most likely at a higher price, or lease. That sort of monetary investment would keep the half ass guides away. Those who survived would be much more invested in the fishery, and quite likely being proper stewards for the fishery. It would also be self policing, as those who invested so much would be quick to report any illegal activity.

To guide the saltwater one needs a captains license, a boat, insurance, and in most cases a serious amount of coin invested in licensing. As is, any Joe can throw 5k at a drift boat, and 375 bucks for a game fish license, and go join the mess. Doesnt seem like it should be that way.
 

Cougar Zeke

Active Member
I've said it before, but I would like to see the state treat guiding rivers similarly to how they treat guiding the salt. You want to run a salmon charter in the salt you're gonna pay 50k or more for a charter license, or find someone to lease you one for 5-6k a year. I say make a new guiding license, something that encompasses food fish and game fish, put a 40k price tag on it, and sell a finite number of them. After those sell, that's it. Anyone else that wants one needs to buy one from someone, most likely at a higher price, or lease. That sort of monetary investment would keep the half ass guides away. Those who survived would be much more invested in the fishery, and quite likely being proper stewards for the fishery. It would also be self policing, as those who invested so much would be quick to report any illegal activity.

To guide the saltwater one needs a captains license, a boat, insurance, and in most cases a serious amount of coin invested in licensing. As is, any Joe can throw 5k at a drift boat, and 375 bucks for a game fish license, and go join the mess. Doesnt seem like it should be that way.
If I was a guide, and wanted to do it for a living, I would totally support buying one of a limited number of guide licenses. It might be expensive up front, but Econ 101 says that you should be able to charge more for your services based on the limited number of guides. If you were a good guide and had return clients, you could make a living.
 

DerekWhipple

Active Member
Maybe it's because I fly-fish most other times so my brain has been warped, but I pretty much only gear fish for winter steelhead (centerpin, even!) and I don't see what the big deal for the rule change is if you aren't a guide or have mobility issues. Local guides or folks who physically can't wade are the only ones I really feel sorry for. Instagram clout-chasers can move on to redfish or pyramid lake or whatever hot destination for their winter months.

After spending time on ifish and other internet PNW fishing communities, there is something about buying a sled or $10k+ driftboat that must afflict you with some kind of psychosis and entitlement that you should be able to fish from a boat, or it's not worth fishing at all. I remember people lost their minds when boat ramps on the coast rivers were closed earlier this year, but you could still fish (I had a great March!). I shouldn't harp on that too much though, because like others, I will also be affected by the extra traffic on the Sandy and Wilson. Hopefully some fish will get through to the upper river.
 

Yard Sale

Huge Member
Maybe it's because I fly-fish most other times so my brain has been warped, but I pretty much only gear fish for winter steelhead (centerpin, even!) and I don't see what the big deal for the rule change is if you aren't a guide or have mobility issues. Local guides or folks who physically can't wade are the only ones I really feel sorry for. Instagram clout-chasers can move on to redfish or pyramid lake or whatever hot destination for their winter months.

After spending time on ifish and other internet PNW fishing communities, there is something about buying a sled or $10k+ driftboat that must afflict you with some kind of psychosis and entitlement that you should be able to fish from a boat, or it's not worth fishing at all. I remember people lost their minds when boat ramps on the coast rivers were closed earlier this year, but you could still fish (I had a great March!). I shouldn't harp on that too much though, because like others, I will also be affected by the extra traffic on the Sandy and Wilson. Hopefully some fish will get through to the upper river.


When times are tough you gotta make some extra revenue...
 

Evan Burck

Fudge Dragon
I remember people lost their minds when boat ramps on the coast rivers were closed earlier this year, but you could still fish (I had a great March!). I shouldn't harp on that too much though, because like others, I will also be affected by the extra traffic on the Sandy and Wilson. Hopefully some fish will get through to the upper river.
I quietly had a really, really good April while the ramps were closed and access limited. Having a frameless one-man boat really opened up some unique opportunities to experience some popular rivers where you'd typically be stuck in a drift boat parade.
 

dustinchromers

Active Member
.
I quietly had a really, really good April while the ramps were closed and access limited. Having a frameless one-man boat really opened up some unique opportunities to experience some popular rivers where you'd typically be stuck in a drift boat parade.

If I fish this winter I'm pulling the canoe back out and leaving the drifter at home. I can carry that thing like a billy goat and put in damn near anywhere. I will then stealth bomber my way to runs teaming with like two fish. They will all be mine for the taking. I'll go home after I get low holed five times.
 

Evan Burck

Fudge Dragon
.


If I fish this winter I'm pulling the canoe back out and leaving the drifter at home. I can carry that thing like a billy goat and put in damn near anywhere. I will then stealth bomber my way to runs teaming with like two fish. They will all be mine for the taking. I'll go home after I get low holed five times.
It's funny... this last year was my first in a VERY long time where I didn't own a drift boat, (multi-person) raft, or combustion engine vessel of some kind (besides my father in law's boat i use for the tunas). I caught more steelhead on the coast and locally, and harvested more fall salmon than any of the previous years since I moved to Oregon.
 

Bruce Baker

Active Member
NEWS RELEASE

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Dec. 10, 2020

Contact: Commission office, [email protected], 360-902-2267

Commission’s Fish Committee to hold meeting to discuss coastal steelhead conservation and fishing regulations

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Fish Committee will hold a public meeting on Friday, Dec. 11, to discuss recently announced coastal steelhead regulation changes and hear public comment.

Fish Program staff with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will provide the Fish Committee a briefing on coastal steelhead, including long-term trends, 2020-21 forecast, management actions to meet conservation objectives, and fishing opportunity.

WDFW on Tuesday announced upcoming coast-wide changes to sportfishing regulations in an effort to conserve wild steelhead as several coastal rivers are expected to again come in below escapement goals. The meeting is intended to provide the committee with an overview and background for these rules, which go into effect on Dec. 14.

The committee, which is made up of four members of the nine-member Commission, will also hear public comment during the meeting. No decisions will be made at the meeting.

The meeting will take place from 1-3 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 11. To support COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, the meeting will be available to the public to watch or listen through the webinar or conference call. For more information and to view an agenda, visit wdfw.wa.gov/about/commission/meetings. The meeting will also be recorded and posted online so people can also watch the meeting afterwards at their convenience.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is a panel appointed by the governor that sets policy for the WDFW. WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email ([email protected]).
 

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