WDFW Looking at restrictions for steelhead season

Gary swenson

Active Member
Everyone is an armchair expert, I’m no different. My solution to this situation on the coast is really simple: all steelhead anglers are issued a punchcard (like we have for salmon retention), but this card is for the 7 days we choose to fish in the spring. Before you start to fish for the day, you have to punch that day on your card. This system allows for equal opportunity, and keeps crowding down. Guides can still work. If it costs almost nothing, reduces impacts considerably, keeps things open and is easy to enforce, why wouldn’t it be a great option?
 

JACKspASS

Active Member
Everyone is an armchair expert, I’m no different. My solution to this situation on the coast is really simple: all steelhead anglers are issued a punchcard (like we have for salmon retention), but this card is for the 7 days we choose to fish in the spring. Before you start to fish for the day, you have to punch that day on your card. This system allows for equal opportunity, and keeps crowding down. Guides can still work. If it costs almost nothing, reduces impacts considerably, keeps things open and is easy to enforce, why wouldn’t it be a great option?

In your system I would go get a guide license and party on.....
 

vader

Active Member
Plant the hell out of every ditch, creek, and river with summer steelhead and keep the rivers open to Jan31. Steelhead will be available from May to Jan to catch and keep, you can call your December summer run a winter if it makes you feel better. A limited number of true winters will be encountered before shutdown...That's my idea. It won't fly, but oh well....
I believe they use to. I remember in the 90's and 2000's that the S rivers had hatcheries. One could fish the nf, sky, cow, Kalama, etc. Thanksgiving used to be the winter kick off with the cow and sky being prime. Plenty of fishing opportunities spread out. Until someone one cried save the wild ones. Then hatcheries go and look where we are at.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
I believe they use to. I remember in the 90's and 2000's that the S rivers had hatcheries. One could fish the nf, sky, cow, Kalama, etc. Thanksgiving used to be the winter kick off with the cow and sky being prime. Plenty of fishing opportunities spread out. Until someone one cried save the wild ones. Then hatcheries go and look where we are at.


The numbers of returning hatchery steelhead returning were declining long before the number of smolts they planted did. If we planted smolts at the same levels now, as we did in the mid 80s, there would be no more adults than there are now.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
When pulling plugs, the rower is the only one fishing. Passengers are just there to increase the number of rods out.

True, and it's such a classic way to fish for winter steelhead, I'd have a hard time passing a regulation that makes it illegal.
If I had a drift out again. I'd do it from time to time. Other than bait and maybe barbs we need to get fish numbers back before we start arguing amongst ourselves about how people fish for them...
Limiting numbers of people and how they fish is NOT a conservation measure we need to quit pretending that it is. Because we fantasize about an unoccupied run on the Hoh.
 

flybill

A collector never stops collecting!
When pulling plugs, the rower is the only one fishing. Passengers are just there to increase the number of rods out.
It's a very relaxing way to fish! Bhudda showed me how it's done, thanks man! He rowed, while I watched the rods bounce... I was able to hold both my beer and cigar at the same time! He did interrupt me once, and had me reel in one of the rods and reset it.. geez! I had to put my feet down, put my beer in the holder and my cigar in my mouth and take care of it!

I did offer to row.. thank god he didn't take me up on it. I got cold once while on the river, and instead of putting on my coat or actually moving I asked Bhudda to move us over into the sun which he did! Thanks Bhudda! Let's do it again soon, I'll even row a bit!

Fishing for steelhead is soooo difficult! Damn I'm tired, just thinking about it... now back to swinging... my spey rod... get your minds out of the gutter!
 

Shad

Active Member
Any regulation that prevents bank-walking anglers from catch and release fishing that intends to kill zero steelhead while allowing gillnet fisheries that intend to kill as many as possible to continue seems a bit misguided, if the goal is conservation, that is. All I will say about that.

I think guiding should be limited to a select group of guides. Those who live locally (I'm talking Western OP here) get the first dibs on permits. We also need to get creative to limit the impact each guide can have each day. Maybe reduce the number of hooking encounters by placing a reasonable limit on how many fish an angler can land before they have to start fishing hookless lures, for example....

No fishing from boats would certainly reduce encounters, but as was pointed out earlier, that might not have a positive impact on the fishing experience, because it would concentrate everyone into the relatively few places where fish are accessible by wading. Probably a win for the fish, though....

Taking us off the water is not a conservation measure; it's a preservation measure. Once that transition occurs, it's all over... For fishing, and not long after, for the steelhead themselves. If we've reached that point, so be it, but I personally hope I'll be allowed to spend my 10-12 days working to hook maybe 4 or 5 fish each year a little longer.
 

dustinchromers

Active Member
I would be all about option four if it meant we were "fishing in kind" or in this case not fishing with our other "comanagers"
 

dustinchromers

Active Member
True, and it's such a classic way to fish for winter steelhead, I'd have a hard time passing a regulation that makes it illegal.
If I had a drift out again. I'd do it from time to time. Other than bait and maybe barbs we need to get fish numbers back before we start arguing amongst ourselves about how people fish for them...
Limiting numbers of people and how they fish is NOT a conservation measure we need to quit pretending that it is. Because we fantasize about an unoccupied run on the Hoh.

When me and my crack team of arm chair expert fisheries managers meet, which is essentially a dedicated group of beer drinking pontificators and bull shitters, this consideration has come up on the plug fishing. We determined (and we were thinking all the time not just now in a "crisis") that perhaps fishing from a boat is allowable with rods in the holders. Otherwise an individual could fish from a boat so long as the anchor was down and the boat was indeed stationary. This solves the limited standing room thing and spreads folks out while providing plug fishing for some of steelhead angling's most classic characters. One good guide fishes this way regularly. He is an old school guy and a bastion of courtesy and sport. I would not want to impact this paragon of what a guide should be.
 

longputt

Active Member
WA is overpopulated for the resource and other states and countries are creating rules to limit the impact of WA people, while being sure to get revenue from our visits.

However, WA is not as big of a destination and we have many "day trippers". Maybe a 5th option is to reduce fishing, charge a large premium for selected number of permits and help fund the work that needs to be done?

I can assure you the guides are not limited by the supply of clients and adding a $1000/day "wild steelhead" fee would hardly impact the number of people wanting to catch a trophy fish. It may even add to the marketing appeal.
 
Last edited:

BDD

Active Member
It is a shame that we have let our fisheries deteriorate to the point of having to implement such conservation measures, intentionally trying to reduce encounters but unfortunately that is where we are at.

I think it would be interesting to put a single barbless hook, no bait, no fishing from a floating device on the entire region just as an experiment to see how much it would reduce angling effort. The only exception would be for disabled anglers. Put those restrictions on and see how many people still want to fish. I wonder if there would be so many as to clog up runs like folks are predicting? It would likely greatly reduce guided fishing (except for the non-bead fly guides) except to those operations that have been in the business the longest with the most established clientele but as stated, guides already have one of the highest encounter rates by any user group and that would the the whole point. I think it would be a great experiment for the department to see how much angler effort is reduced and what the CPUE would be. Of course this would require an extensive creel program and there would be a lot of complaints but there will be lots of complaints if there is no fishing and/or when the populations become listed so really the department will need to prepare for the public outcry regardless of what happens.
 
Last edited:

Support WFF | Remove the Ads

Support WFF by upgrading your account. Site supporters benefits include no ads and access to some additional features, few now, more in the works. Info

Latest posts

Top