Another lawsuit (intent to file)

Riverrat8

New Member
I agree with this statement but I do not think there are any advocates for this approaching the NMFS, WDFW....it seems like there is a strong advocacy for "perfect" genetic matches.

To me it is the quest for "perfection" that is turning this into a legal mumbo jumbo of acronyms, Acts, rulings...blah, blah blah...it makes great opportunity for lawyers and fascinating biological "studies", but it dooms the fish. We (man) have a great record of "counting and studying" things into extinction.

We need to accept that we have made irrecoverable changes and adjust our thinking. Then maybe we can go look at the ocean. Bureaucrats love to avoid decisions and let the inevitable happen and let the inevitable make the decisions. That's where this process is headed, as I read it.
I agree with you. We basically have the answers we need to make decisions which will recover the fish to whatever degree is possible. But instead we keep doing studies which dance around the important questions which remain. The Methow is a perfect example, hundreds of thousands of hatchery fish released every year but the river is closed, which is something I hate. The studies which are coming out of there are not asking whether the so called conservation hatchery programs has a benefit or cost to wild fish, only what the relative differences between one and two year old smolts are, etc. Plus, we have a large body of literature which tells us these programs won't work for steelhead and a couple dozen different reasons why.

Rather than study these fish to death we should let them use their own evolutionary tools to persist and repopulate where they can, and we get what we get. If we decide that isn't enough fish or we have already torched the habitat then we can have hatcheries in some places, but not almost every major watershed on the West Coast like we have now, or we can just write wild fish off for the future. And when I talk about torched habitat, I mean truly bad. If fish can survive and rebound with the clearcutting of the Northern Oregon Coast they can surely survive in the Upper Skykomish. I haven't seen a clearcut up the NF where the summers spawn that looks like it was done since the NW Forest Plan was written in 1994.

One reason the genetic works takes a forefront in a lot of arguments is that is one of the regulatory mechanisms we have made for ourselves. Puget Sound steelhead have been reproductively isolated from other DPS's and that has been determined through genetic testing. So the make up of my comments will include that, less because I care about purebred fish and more because that is the regulatory standard NMFS will use. Although I do appreciate the natural variety that exists between watersheds, one of my favorite things about steelhead vs. salmon. But, regardless of the genetic purity of a stock that will reform with time if fish are left alone.

I don't want this program to happen for two reasons. One is that I have absolute faith the NF Sky could produce a few hundred wild summers a year. That is enough for me to be happy, I don't like to eat steelhead. They are ok smoked, but I would rather fish than cook or eat.

Second, I am sick and tired of the BS claims and circus acts we go through to justify actions. Case in point. NMFS told WDFW they would no longer allow Skamania releases in the Sky in 2017. So WDFW writes a plan to use a naturalized Skamania strain to develop a "new" hatchery program. NMFS will likely approve it as a conservation program to reintroduce NF Sky fish, which aren't extirpated. If we want to have Skamania releases save everyone the headache and a bunch of money and keep the existing program in place. The end effect on wild fish is the same.
 

Creatch'r

Bored member
I agree with you. We basically have the answers we need to make decisions which will recover the fish to whatever degree is possible. But instead we keep doing studies which dance around the important questions which remain. The Methow is a perfect example, hundreds of thousands of hatchery fish released every year but the river is closed, which is something I hate. The studies which are coming out of there are not asking whether the so called conservation hatchery programs has a benefit or cost to wild fish, only what the relative differences between one and two year old smolts are, etc. Plus, we have a large body of literature which tells us these programs won't work for steelhead and a couple dozen different reasons why.

Rather than study these fish to death we should let them use their own evolutionary tools to persist and repopulate where they can, and we get what we get. If we decide that isn't enough fish or we have already torched the habitat then we can have hatcheries in some places, but not almost every major watershed on the West Coast like we have now, or we can just write wild fish off for the future. And when I talk about torched habitat, I mean truly bad. If fish can survive and rebound with the clearcutting of the Northern Oregon Coast they can surely survive in the Upper Skykomish. I haven't seen a clearcut up the NF where the summers spawn that looks like it was done since the NW Forest Plan was written in 1994.

One reason the genetic works takes a forefront in a lot of arguments is that is one of the regulatory mechanisms we have made for ourselves. Puget Sound steelhead have been reproductively isolated from other DPS's and that has been determined through genetic testing. So the make up of my comments will include that, less because I care about purebred fish and more because that is the regulatory standard NMFS will use. Although I do appreciate the natural variety that exists between watersheds, one of my favorite things about steelhead vs. salmon. But, regardless of the genetic purity of a stock that will reform with time if fish are left alone.

I don't want this program to happen for two reasons. One is that I have absolute faith the NF Sky could produce a few hundred wild summers a year. That is enough for me to be happy, I don't like to eat steelhead. They are ok smoked, but I would rather fish than cook or eat.

Second, I am sick and tired of the BS claims and circus acts we go through to justify actions. Case in point. NMFS told WDFW they would no longer allow Skamania releases in the Sky in 2017. So WDFW writes a plan to use a naturalized Skamania strain to develop a "new" hatchery program. NMFS will likely approve it as a conservation program to reintroduce NF Sky fish, which aren't extirpated. If we want to have Skamania releases save everyone the headache and a bunch of money and keep the existing program in place. The end effect on wild fish is the same.

This is a very good post. My only disagreement is that if moving forward with the new program is what it takes to continue or restore the hatchery program on the skykomish then I’m all for it. Without hatchery plants there is no meaningful summer steelhead fishery. I think that’s quite clear and if that is what the future looks like, then the only point of fishing for summer run on the sky is to practice casting and I can do that in the soccer field by my house. The wild summers of the sky aren’t some storied fish and waters of old that drew people far and wide. They aren’t extinct, why are people or agencies choosing this hill to die on? I just don’t get it. Eliminate a run of thousands of fish that swim an easily accessible river close to a major metropolis that drew a lot of rod hours and enjoyment for many to “save” a 100 next to no one fishes for, that swim up a river with no road access. Got it.....
 

Charles Sullivan

Active Member
This is a very good post. My only disagreement is that if moving forward with the new program is what it takes to continue or restore the hatchery program on the skykomish then I’m all for it. Without hatchery plants there is no meaningful summer steelhead fishery. I think that’s quite clear and if that is what the future looks like, then the only point of fishing for summer run on the sky is to practice casting and I can do that in the soccer field by my house. The wild summers of the sky aren’t some storied fish and waters of old that drew people far and wide. They aren’t extinct, why are people or agencies choosing this hill to die on? I just don’t get it. Eliminate a run of thousands of fish that swim an easily accessible river close to a major metropolis that drew a lot of rod hours and enjoyment for many to “save” a 100 next to no one fishes for, that swim up a river with no road access. Got it.....
They don't care about whether you fish for them or not. It's not hard to understand. They don't care about fishing. It does not factor into their behavior at all. None. zero. zip.

If there may potentially be 1 more wild fish and no fishing then that is a success because........ 1 more wild fish might potentially have come to be.

The only thing that WFC has going for it is that their perspective is super easy to understand and generally consistent. They are willing to sue all government agencies (especially WDFW) to dot every i and cross every t for every hatchery program because they generally don't like hatcheries and impacts on fishing opportunities do not matter to them. It's really super simple, consistent, predictable and obvious.

In my opinion, their perspective gains traction every time someone blasts WDFW about being the reason for poor returns. As long as the focus is always on WDFW and not on polluting and habitat destroying activities WFC becomes more powerful. Christ, the only thing WDFW is actually responsible for are hatcheries. If WDFW is to blame them presto....hatcheries are to blame.

Go sox,
cds
 

Chris Johnson

Active Member
This is the departments mission statement:

"Our Mission"​

"To preserve, protect and perpetuate fish,* WILDLIFE and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities."

Seems like they are going about it backward.
* emphasis mine
 
Last edited:

Charles Sullivan

Active Member
This is the departments mission statement:

"Our Mission"​

"To preserve, protect and perpetuate fish,* WILDLIFE and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish and wildlife recreational and commercial opportunities."

Seems like they are going about it backward.
* emphasis mine
Seems similar to, "Have your cake and eat it too."
Go Sox,
cds
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
All rivers should be open to cnr year around.
All rivers with significant hatchery returns should be open to all methods of angling while hatchery fish are present. All reasonable efforts should be made to hos never exceeds 10%. Sport fishing has no long term affect on wild runs.
 

Chris Johnson

Active Member
I understand the angst that is spawned by these threats of legal action, I want to fish as much as the next guy. I also understand the department is in a tough spot, and I have some empathy for them, but they have been at this for 100+ years in one form or another and things just keep getting more fucked up. If they can't live up to their stated goals then maybe it's time to start anew. A new structure that would eliminate the conflicts of interests between conservation, commercial and sport fishing?
 

long_rod_silvers

WFF Supporter
All reasonable efforts should be made to hos never exceeds 10%.
The Methow in March was a blast. Wouldn't be upset if they opened up more hatchery runs to thin out HOS. Maybe a good opportunity for a lottery system - those interested get to pay up to fish during these times. Might thin out the redd flossers. Cost for monitoring and enforcement is probably the limiting factor.

Thinking about the south fork sky, what's the downside to leaving the SF above sunset open year round? Is sunset falls passable going downstream or do all of the recruits from above sunset crash and burn at the falls?
 

Chris Bellows

Your Preferred WFF Poster
I think the moniker "a pure" fish is a myth. Seems we figured in another thread that the steelhead spawn with or can come from the resident rainbows. And looking at local pit tags and trapping data we get more than a few "strays" from other watersheds supplying new strange.
Our rescue pound mutts have always been heathier and needed less vet time than our expensive pure-bread dogs. Pure fish may have the same problem, and our focus on it may be leading to diminished returns.
And I miss the skamania fish, fall fishing is worthless anymore.

Hatchery fish are the pure breeds raised in "puppy mills" not the other way around. There is more gene mixing in wild populations due to the nature of wild spawning, which is multiple males (including resident rainbows) spawning with a single female... versus hatchery programs that do the exact opposite and do not incorporate resident genes. Hatcheries narrow genetics, which is why hatchery runs are more often similar in size and run timing versus wild populations.
 

Creatch'r

Bored member
Thinking about the south fork sky, what's the downside to leaving the SF above sunset open year round? Is sunset falls passable going downstream or do all of the recruits from above sunset crash and burn at the falls?

Smolts seem to do fine over the falls plenty of salmon up there in good years.
 

Matt Paluch

WFF Supporter
I agree with you. We basically have the answers we need to make decisions which will recover the fish to whatever degree is possible. But instead we keep doing studies which dance around the important questions which remain. The Methow is a perfect example, hundreds of thousands of hatchery fish released every year but the river is closed, which is something I hate. The studies which are coming out of there are not asking whether the so called conservation hatchery programs has a benefit or cost to wild fish, only what the relative differences between one and two year old smolts are, etc. Plus, we have a large body of literature which tells us these programs won't work for steelhead and a couple dozen different reasons why.

Rather than study these fish to death we should let them use their own evolutionary tools to persist and repopulate where they can, and we get what we get. If we decide that isn't enough fish or we have already torched the habitat then we can have hatcheries in some places, but not almost every major watershed on the West Coast like we have now, or we can just write wild fish off for the future. And when I talk about torched habitat, I mean truly bad. If fish can survive and rebound with the clearcutting of the Northern Oregon Coast they can surely survive in the Upper Skykomish. I haven't seen a clearcut up the NF where the summers spawn that looks like it was done since the NW Forest Plan was written in 1994.

One reason the genetic works takes a forefront in a lot of arguments is that is one of the regulatory mechanisms we have made for ourselves. Puget Sound steelhead have been reproductively isolated from other DPS's and that has been determined through genetic testing. So the make up of my comments will include that, less because I care about purebred fish and more because that is the regulatory standard NMFS will use. Although I do appreciate the natural variety that exists between watersheds, one of my favorite things about steelhead vs. salmon. But, regardless of the genetic purity of a stock that will reform with time if fish are left alone.

I don't want this program to happen for two reasons. One is that I have absolute faith the NF Sky could produce a few hundred wild summers a year. That is enough for me to be happy, I don't like to eat steelhead. They are ok smoked, but I would rather fish than cook or eat.

Second, I am sick and tired of the BS claims and circus acts we go through to justify actions. Case in point. NMFS told WDFW they would no longer allow Skamania releases in the Sky in 2017. So WDFW writes a plan to use a naturalized Skamania strain to develop a "new" hatchery program. NMFS will likely approve it as a conservation program to reintroduce NF Sky fish, which aren't extirpated. If we want to have Skamania releases save everyone the headache and a bunch of money and keep the existing program in place. The end effect on wild fish is the same.
I think it's worth mentioning that there are genetic differences developing between the different UC tribs. I don't have a link to share about this, the information was shared at a NOF meeting in Wenatchee 2 years ago. I think this is something to consider when looking at the hatchery programs in the UC. If genetic adaptations are occurring already, and happening with the current hatchery practices, doesn't that indicate that the supplementation can aid the recovery of the species while allowing natural genetic development to occur?
 

aguthals

New Member
First time poster here. As someone who grew up in CA watching essentially all salmon/steelhead of some watersheds get wiped out by habitat destruction and ocean pollution, I would argue that removing one of the last popular fishing opportunities will do much more harm to the general health of fish in the PNW. If there are no more fisherman, then who else will care about their existence enough to do anything about it? Government sides with the direction of politics, and a few high-minded "conservationists" are no match for the march of urban development. Many people live in the city and call themselves environmentalists, but are completely ignorant to the real threats facing these fish and their habitats. There is no better motivator than to see the fishing spot you frequented as a child get developed, or watching sedimentation fill all your favorite holes after a clear cut. Without that experience we just keep developing the land, using products that unknowingly pollute estuaries, and support politicians who act in the complete opposite interest of the environment, because the media mainly ignores these issues.

Reliable fishing opportunities create generations of advocates. Some watersheds should be protected indeed, but fortifying locally adapted fish on the Sky so close to Seattle/metro will swell the ranks of those of us who will be continually invested in recovering salmon/steelhead populations. I would probably care very little about the environment, fish, habitat restoration, and urban pollution if I did not have access to fishing as a child. I am sure the same could be said of many others on this forum.

Like others on the forum have alluded to, more and more data is coming out showing that real problem lies in the ocean since habitat is excellent in many rivers like the NF Sky. Addressing these issues will require a broad political coalition that must include fisherman to have a chance.

 

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