Spokane River - poaching enforcement help

Buzzy

Active Member
There have been a number of threads over the past several years about the Spokane and the ...... Spokane - related to poaching. A big thanks to the Silverbow Fly Shop and TU for their help to WDFW Enforcement!

WDFW NEWS RELEASE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia, WA 98501
wdfw.wa.gov


June 17, 2021
Contact:
Becky Bennett, 360-701-7026
Staci Lehman, 509-710-4511

Local business helps WDFW Police get new raft for patrolling Spokane River

SPOKANE – A new raft, acquired with the help of the Silver Bow Fly Shop in Spokane Valley, will provide Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Police a greater enforcement presence on the Spokane River.

Thick foliage and difficult to access locations along the riverbank have traditionally made the Spokane River a challenge to patrol. Currents and changing water levels make WDFW’s existing motorized boats unviable on the river. An increase in illegal fishing, litter, and vandalism on the river in recent years has made access to the shoreline an even greater need, especially for protecting redband trout. Spokane’s “signature fish,” redbands are native to area rivers and streams but are dwindling in numbers due to habitat degradation and warm water temperatures, coupled with illegal fishing activity and litter-driven water pollution. The new raft will make it easier to address these issues by allowing officers to reach more areas of the river.

Despite the urgent need, it wasn’t certain for a long time if the enforcement raft would ever become a reality. Due to product shortages caused by COVID, the wait to purchase a raft has been prohibitively long. WDFW Officer Dave Spurbeck approached Silver Bow staff about the issue, and they saw an opportunity to help with a problem that they too had recognized.

“We’ve all been fishing on the river, and working on the river, for years and honestly the more help we can get out there; the more eyes on the river, the better the fishing will be,” said Bo Brand, Guide Manager/Lead Sales Associate at Silver Bow. “When Dave (Spurbeck) approached us about it, we knew we wanted to help, to make conditions better for everyone.”

Silver Bow expedited the Department’s purchase and worked with Montana Raft Frames to also quickly build the department a trailer for the craft. It was launched for the first time on June 16 and Silver Bow’s Brand went along to give officers a refresher on oar frame rowing and familiarize staff with the upper stretch of the river.

“We couldn’t have made this happen without Silver Bow speeding up the process and using their resources to make this happen,” said Spurbeck. “We have been trying to figure out ways to reach more of the river for a long time and this is the gear we needed. Plus, working as fishing guides, these folks know all the areas of the river and have been generous in sharing their knowledge.”

Silver Bow, along with the Spokane Falls chapter of Trout Unlimited, have also been proactive in other conservation efforts for the river. In 2020, they used funds raised from an annual fly fishing film festival to make and install signs along the river to help explain local fishing rules.
 

Poff

WFF Premium
Thanks for sharing. Glad to see people working together to address important issues.
 

Salmo_g

WFF Premium
I think it's great to have cooperation among sport fishing interests and WDFW. But I don't understand the connection between "raft patrol" and reducing poaching, littering, and vandalism. Poachers can see a raft floating down the river before it gets to their location, stop their poaching or other illicit activity, and run off through the brush or forest by whatever route they used to get to the river. I thought WDFW LE agents typically apprehend river poachers by surprising them via the same stream side trails used by the poachers. Can anyone explain how this raft use by WDFW will make a difference? Or is it that increasing WDFW presence on the river from zero to occasional float trips will discourage the illegal activity?
 

Guy Gregory

Active Member
Over the years, clubs and conservation groups have bought lots of equipment for DFW and Parks to help them do their jobs. In addition, tens of thousands of volunteer hours have been devoted to cleanups, signage, and outreach. This is only the most recent and most visible of efforts by the Silver Bow shop and their people, who are obviously in this for more than some mention in the paper. SFTU as well. Great folks there.

Until the legislature indicates some interest in non-anadromous fisheries, and generally funds natural resource and parks statewide to something above a subsistence level, all will be for naught. There is very little DFW enforcement on this side of the curtain and those folks are up to their necks in work, with no legislative support at all, especially from the morons we continue to elect from legislative district 4. Collectively, our District 4 legislators care less about the river than any group of three random members of the community.

Rafts, bikes, bags, citizens patrols, flyers, whatever, until we have enforcement staff on the ground, we’ll continue to have poaching and abuse of our resources.
 

Dustin Bise

reformed hot-spotter
its really good news. there has been very little enforcement on the spokane in preceeding years (source, i pulled a public records request on enforcment encounters). A year or two of this should have a drastic impact on illegal fishing.
 

Dustin Bise

reformed hot-spotter
I think it's great to have cooperation among sport fishing interests and WDFW. But I don't understand the connection between "raft patrol" and reducing poaching, littering, and vandalism. Poachers can see a raft floating down the river before it gets to their location, stop their poaching or other illicit activity, and run off through the brush or forest by whatever route they used to get to the river. I thought WDFW LE agents typically apprehend river poachers by surprising them via the same stream side trails used by the poachers. Can anyone explain how this raft use by WDFW will make a difference? Or is it that increasing WDFW presence on the river from zero to occasional float trips will discourage the illegal activity?

it looks like any other raft, the spokane has about 1000 rafts a day these days it seems.... WDFW doesnt know the trails, some of them are long and treachous. others are hiden. access on the spokane is tough, even though its in a city.

and yes, its kinda like going from no real presence to a pretty big pressence with the occasional float. there is a few different types of local poachers. People that know what they are doing and are doing it on purpose (few, and probably wont get caught).... but the majority of poachers on the river are just ignorant of the rules, not breaking them with intent. The patrols should help with the ignorant a bunch, as they rarely are hiding what they are doing.
 

Dustin Bise

reformed hot-spotter
, bikes, citizens patrols,

last summer i reported probably 40 people actively poaching, mostly between riverfront park and upriver damn.

This summer i have yet to run into anyone poaching (though i have not been quite as diligent in taking laps through downtown on my rides...

but my gut feeling is that its not as bad as last year. there are a few guys that fish riverfront that ive reported many times.... hopefully they nab a couple of these chronic offenders.
 

Krusty

Outta Here
Over the years, clubs and conservation groups have bought lots of equipment for DFW and Parks to help them do their jobs. In addition, tens of thousands of volunteer hours have been devoted to cleanups, signage, and outreach. This is only the most recent and most visible of efforts by the Silver Bow shop and their people, who are obviously in this for more than some mention in the paper. SFTU as well. Great folks there.

Until the legislature indicates some interest in non-anadromous fisheries, and generally funds natural resource and parks statewide to something above a subsistence level, all will be for naught. There is very little DFW enforcement on this side of the curtain and those folks are up to their necks in work, with no legislative support at all, especially from the morons we continue to elect from legislative district 4. Collectively, our District 4 legislators care less about the river than any group of three random members of the community.

Rafts, bikes, bags, citizens patrols, flyers, whatever, until we have enforcement staff on the ground, we’ll continue to have poaching and abuse of our resources.
I agree. I've been on the Spokane River, fishing from a raft and observed unlawful fishing behavior. The perpetrators could care less about regular citizens yelling at them (and an up close personal on shore confrontation could be quite dangerous), but an encounter with a law enforcement officer is an entirely different matter. This is a wonderful development, facilitated by a great flyshop.
 

long_rod_silvers

WFF Premium
I think it's great to have cooperation among sport fishing interests and WDFW. But I don't understand the connection between "raft patrol" and reducing poaching, littering, and vandalism. Poachers can see a raft floating down the river before it gets to their location, stop their poaching or other illicit activity, and run off through the brush or forest by whatever route they used to get to the river. I thought WDFW LE agents typically apprehend river poachers by surprising them via the same stream side trails used by the poachers. Can anyone explain how this raft use by WDFW will make a difference? Or is it that increasing WDFW presence on the river from zero to occasional float trips will discourage the illegal activity?

One year ran into a guy fishing the Tolt just below the confluence of the north and south forks. I was coming down the river in a pontoon boat and he saw me from quite a long ways out. He didn't even bother to try and hide what he was doing. Just kept fishing. I stopped to talk because he was literally the only person I'd ever seen on the river in that stretch. It was mid April and the river was closed to fishing - he knew that. There wasn't much I could do except tell him I was reporting him as soon as I got a cell signal. He asked me not to, said he guided on the Sky/Snoqualmie (which was true, had seen him out there a few times) and he was afraid he'd lose his license...I explained that even though I wasn't enforcement, I was working for WDFW, so I'm obligated - and even if I wasn't working for WDFW I'd report him anyway.

Also had several similar encounters with people placer mining in streams when they shouldn't be.

Sharing that because it's an example (although anecdotal) of people who were knowingly breaking the rules that didn't high tail out of there when they saw someone coming.

In general, you're probably right that most (who know they're doing something wrong) will bounce out when they see someone coming their way. In fact, it always felt strange when they didn't - almost like they wanted to get caught.
 

Mstark

Active Member
This is great news for us locals who love this system! I can tell you from firsthand knowledge that Dave Spurbeck is a great guy and passionate about our resources. Spent many weekends in the gym with him watching volleyball. Shout out to Shawn V at Silver Bow as well…
 

duggiefresh

Active Member
He asked me not to, said he guided on the Sky/Snoqualmie (which was true, had seen him out there a few times) and he was afraid he'd lose his license...I explained that even though I wasn't enforcement, I was working for WDFW, so I'm obligated - and even if I wasn't working for WDFW I'd report him anyway.

Good on you for doing the right thing. Annoying that he had the nerve to ask you not to report him.
 

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