Wild Steelhead in the Pike Pl Fish Market?


Active Member

Well said.


Your first paragraph response to Jon's post was terrific. Unfortunately, you then slipped right back into the Indian are at fault in the second paragraph.

I.e. you wrote,"So long as the Indian net fishermen get that free pass exactly because folks are afraid to call them out, the longer the indiscriminate killing of wild fish continues." The problem with this line of reasoning is that the Indians have a treaty right, which was upheld by the federal courts in US v. WA back in the 1970's, to fish with whatever means the individual tribe deems OK. Therefore, anytime any of us non-Indians talk about getting the Indian net out of the river, we are talking about taking the Indian treaty fishing rights from them. This is why this approach has not worked since Bolt made his ruling in US v. WA and why it is counterproductive to continue tossing that card on the table.

It doesn't matter how any of us may feel about Indian nets in the river or Indian tribes selling steelhead to fish brokers, restraunts, grocery stores, or fish markets. Arguing that the tribes need to have the nets out is in a very literal sense telling them that their treaty fishing rights (or a portion of those rights) ought to be taken from them. They will not agree to this anymore than you and other non-Indians who want the treaty fishing tribes to give up part of their fishing rights would agree to give up your privately owned land. This is exactly why it never works to try and tell the tribes what they ought to be doing in regards to fishing. It is also why I continue reminding you and others that the tribes have a right to fish with whatever means they so choose. And is also why I keep saying it is long past the time that this ban Indian netting diatribe ceases. It has not been effective for over 30 years, and it will not be effective now or in the future no matter how many times it is said.

We can work with the tribes, but it is folly to think that they will ever give up their treaty right to fish with whatever means they choose.


Active Member
well FT, i see you are back on your well worn stump. so, let us know how Y-O-U get in touch with 'the tribes' and just how you resolve 'working with them' to protect the wild fishes.

we are all counting on'yah to figure this out..................

Collectively the tribes are doing more to protect our fisheries than most anyone. Just because they are harvesting OP fish, which are not ESA listed, doesn't mean that they are contributing in any meaningful way to the decline of regional fish populations. If there is a sustainable yield on a particular river the state would be under tremendous pressure to open that river to harvest steelhead, do you think that this would go unutilized? What do you think is going to happen if we get all the nets out? Seriously. A few more fish will escape in the near future. But in the long run habitat will continue to decline along with fish populations. The way you choose to approach the decline of fish populations is doing no one any good. Where do you really think you’re going to get down this road?

People are vastly uninformed. Our politicians thrive on this. They can continue to allow habitat degradation and whip people into a frenzy over fabled Indian circuses that rape the resource. It’s not the Indians you should be mad about.

For those of you who want to shut down the tribal fisheries you should know about the requirements for a conservation exception to the Boldt treaty rights. Tribal fishing rights can be infringed for a conservation requirement. But it is a last resort. This means that you and I would have to give up our sports fisheries in order for this to happen. Out of around 30 federal cases concerning Tribal treaty fishing rights—they have lost ONE. Furthermore, the tribes have one of the strongest legal mechanisms for protecting salmon and steelhead. Because they have a treaty right to these fish, if the habitat is degraded to the point where there are no longer any fish—they can sue who ever is responsible for a 5th amendment taking. This is a HUGE stick. How do you think they won the culvert case? Why are we alienating and deeply offending the people how have the most power to affect change. And they’re trying change things.

The fact of the matter is that the state is allowing the destruction of fish habitat by developers, farmers, polluters and extractors. It is the state who is allocating these fish. This is what is driving this problem; it’s not the sale of wild steelhead for profit. The fact that selling wild steelhead for profit is an issue is the result of the deeper problem. If there were ample wild steelhead, selling them wouldn’t be such an issue. I trust the tribes far more than I trust our local, state and federal government. At least they have a vested personal, cultural and spiritual interest in the sustainability of salmon and steelhead runs. A majority of our governments have an interest in keeping the people who really rape our resources happy--one clear-cut, one strip mall and one gallon of wasted water at a time.


Active Member

Once again, very well said.


It appears that you prefer to do nothing more than post a feeble attempt to discredit any who disagree with your diatribes against the tribes.

I do have a few questions though: How has your blaming the tribes for lack of fish and your diatribes against Indian netting worked so far? I haven't seen this tactics work for over 30 years, why would it be different today?


Active Member
well FT, what i have picked up from your posts is that you and only you are correct, almost everyone else has it wrong. great, i can accept that. now just what, specifically, have you done to support your rightness???????

talk is pretty cheap. some of us, in our own and individual ways, have attempted to step forward and actually take some sort of action. so why not tell all of us just how you have accomplished the seemingly impossible task of having the tribes come to realize their actions are a vast part of the decline of wild fish.

come on now, anyone who professes to have the correct solution must be actively involved in saving our fish. please share all of your efforts with us...................
Well to change the subject, fish and wildlife nurtured and planted elk in the upper nooksack herd until there were lots of elk, I harvested a nice five point bull in 1987 with a bow that I bugled in. Can show a pic if you want, that year they had bow, modern, and muzzle. I think everyone got a few, however the 1988 season aftershock season when the tribes wanted half of the herd (I have photos of the dutchman slaughter) that should have never have happened. Had a good Native friend and still is that said the hunting rights should have never have happened. Oh well the elk herd has is now dead because of some mystery disease(too many guns at night? I don't know, an old blind swede can't see to well at night.) On second though I should have it tanned hair on (lots of elk hair caddis).

Actions do not contribute to the rightness of an idea. The truth behind an idea does contribute to its rightness.

The real task is not "having the tribes come to realize their actions are a vast part of the decline of wild fish". The task is having people come to know what the real causes of the decline of wild fish are. Sports fishermen blaming tribes will only result in a propogation of the status quo. Before anyone goes on to fight anymore windmills, they should take a long hard look at the big picture.

I don't mean to discredit people's efforts to effect markets, consumer choice could possibly keep wild steelhead off the shelves of retailers. It would have to be a large scale effort, if they don't sell them in the pike market they'll sell them elsewhere, someone will buy them--they could just ship them to japan. And the final question we need to ask is, how much of our effort should we focus on this aspect of the problem? The payoff for focusing our efforts here will not be as great as if focused elsewhere.

Talk is not cheap. Discourse is crucial.


Active Member
individual involvement and effort are what matters. sounds like neither FT or derek walk the walk.

and once again, of course there are a vast array of variables impacting the survival of wild anadramous fish. my point is simply that you cannot continue to harvest with impunity in this century, and that applies to ALL involved in fishing, myself included.

treaty or not, every human now has a moral and ethical responsibility to discharge. either accept that responsibility or stand back and watch extinction accelerate. the unfortunate part of this debate is so many of you are too new to this sport to actually have experienced anadramous fishing as it was. what you know is what is there today, and that is going to be extinct in YOUR lifetime, count on it.

Individual involvement and effort matter, but without discourse, they can easily be misdirected. You just don't get it do you? Your crusade against native fishing rights is going to get you nowhere. I take that back, it will set our interests back. By trying my hardest to help people like you understand that restricting tribal fisheries is not going to save our salmon and steelhead--I am doing my part.

Alienating groups with the same interests is not discharging your moral responsibility. You are participating in a classic case of doing the wrong thing for the (arguably) right reasons. Your intention may well be to see the rebound of native salmonid populations, but--as I've said before and this time I'll say it in all caps so that it might get through--THE TRIBAL FISHERIES ARE NOT THE PROBLEM. The sustainability of steelhead harvest IS an arguable issue, and if there is in fact no sustainable yield for a given population, THE STATE OF WASHINGTON SHOULD NOT ALLOCATE IT. And they should not allocate it to anyone. But most importantly why is there no sustainable yield?

as long as too many people in the sports fishing community believe as you do, these fish will go extinct. Please, for the love of all things holy, stop harassing the tribes and start harassing your local representatives.

can anyone who refers to the tribal fishery as the "Indian Circuses" out to "rape" the resources be expected to make a dispassionate analysis of the situation? Probably not. Do you read anything that's been written thus far? Because you haven't addressed any of the issues. Have you thought about it at all? You might as well have your ideas chiseled in granite.


Piscatorial Engineer
I f**kin' can't believe this.

Please correct me if I am wrong - there is only one group of people in WA right now who can legally target, kill and sell wild steelhead, and that group is native americans.

They do have the means and methods to target and kill wild fish, and do so with the obvious intent of high-grading sales. The highest value piece of fish flesh in WA is that adipose fin.

There are efforts on a number of fronts, but I for one will not pass an opportunity to joust at the wild fish windmill every time I get the chance - and have not been bashful about sharing that fact.

I don't care who kills wild steelhead - the time has passed where that activity can be viewed as an acceptable activity. If we are to have ANY chance of recovering/restoring/saving our wild fish stocks, we can't pass any opportunity to take however small a step toward that goal. It is not unlike a very long line at airport security when your flight departure time is approaching. But with one significant difference - if your flight leaves without you, there will be another one later to take its place. Once the last wild steelhead in WA is pulled from the net, it and all the rest are gone, period, end of conversation, for all of us.

Are Indian fishermen a problem - absolutely! Are they THE problem? - hell no. Are there other problems? Yes there are. DO ALL OF THE PROBLEMS THAT REDUCE THE NUMBER OF WILD STEELHEAD IN OUR WA RIVERS NEED TO BE ADDRESSED? Without question. So, please excuse me if I step on your delicate sensibilities. If you kill wild steelhead, you deserve your place in the harsh glare of the spotlight, you have earned it. I do NOT care if it is legal, I do not care if you have a "right", neither make it acceptable to kill wild steelhead - not under these conditions in this day and age.

There is NOTHING in native American culture that even suggests it is OK to inflict genocide on any species. It is quite the opposite. Adherence to culture and "law" apparently get a little fuzzy on that point, though, as long as there is a dollar to be chased...

And, for the sake of clarity, I am defining "we" and "us" as the human race, breathing homo sapiens, those with opposing thumbs, land dwelling mammals with the largest cranial capacity, and in theory the biggest brains.

Sustainable practices, selective methods. It's a mantra.
The idea of a genetically distinct population is a double edged sword. While it allows for the protection of genetically distinct populations which may be facing extinction, when other populations within that species might not need as strict of protections, it allows them to be separated. When you separate the distinct populations, the result may very well be that one population can sustain a harvest while another cannot. In that case, it can be sustainable and selective to net a river system which supports a healthy enough population of wild fish--hypothetically speaking. The question becomes, is the practice in fact sustainable? If we assume for a moment that it is without a doubt sustainable, would you still oppose it? If so it is not sustainability that you are truly concerned with.

The debate hinges on whether the practice is sustainable.

If it is not in fact sustainable, it should be banned, no question. My point is that the state is allowing the tribes to harvest these fish. If there were a conservation requirement, they would most likely invoke a closure.

Fisheries should always be sustainable, and selectivity is relative.

By no means am I saying that talking to people about the general plight of wild steelhead in order to keep it from being bought or sold in the area should be discouraged. Educating people is very important. But should keeping nets out of our rivers become someone's sole crusade? No. But if you have a minute to tell someone you don't like that they're selling wild steelhead go for it, it may help. But don't miss an opportunity to tackle a bigger problem for the sake of ending netting.

To use your analogy, how much good is it going to do us to beat the crap out of the guy standing in front of us, just to run into the rest of the line--its a long line and most of the people there have a strong foothold. Especially when the guy in front of us is one of the most powerful people line.

I approach the issue this way not because of delicate sensibilities, its an issue of pragmatism.


Active Member
derek, did you observe with yur own two eyes what happened on hood canal following boldt? gun fire, fights, cut nets, boat ramings, and worst of all OVER HARVEST WITHOUT ENFORCEMENT. you do know that many of the major rivers on the canal are now sterile. just how do you think the fish in those rivers became extinct? non occurring development? no paving of the forests? over harvest from logging in the ONP? the canal was raped and we all know by whom.

now you may choose to not call that a circus, fine with me, but that is exactly what transpired. as i have stated, let me put this in all caps for'yah: THE INDIAN NET FISHERY IS A MAJOR CONTRIBUTING FACTOR TO THE CONTINUED DECLINE OF WILD ANADRAMOUS FISHES! i have also posted, repeatedly that there are a whole host of other factors involved with declining anadramous fish runs that 'we the people' are responsible for.

now given that statement, any upright walking, talking apex predator has a moral and ethical obligation to step up to bat on behalf of extinction. a treaty does not excuse not taking appropriate action any more than a licensed guide suggesting to a client that it is ok to take their one wild steelhead. the indians do not get a free pass from me any longer. i walked the walk, and i spoke directly with the NWIFC suggesting that we are all in this together. i would be embarased to post what their spokesman told me. now if you and FT have a means of working with the indians to modify their catch methods, hey, start the ground swell, lots of folks are going to join you.

but, if as i suspect, you have no idea about that which you post, well then stop telling everyone else they are wrong and you are right. the responsibility for taking action is the responsibility of each of us, walk the walk if you can.


Active Member
gt and Citori,

Neither of you have answered a question I posed before and that is: How are you going to have Congress pass a change to the Point No Point Treaty and have the US Supreme Court agree that such a change to ban Indian netting is Constitutional?

I have yet to see either of you say anything about how you are going to have this change in the treaty occur. Until you have a way to get this accomplished, all the barking about Indian netting is nothing more than fighting with windmills while riding imaginary horses because the treaty trumps the state and us sportsmen.


Active Member
FT, i do NOT have a J.D. therefore, i have never even thought about 'changing' a treaty. if, however, i did posess a J.D., this would be a lifes work in progress. hope that answers your specific question.


Active Member

It did not answer the question at all. It simply talked around it and offered a cop-out regarding you not having a JD degree. So I ask once again, what are you doing, have you done, or are you going to do to get the treaties changed in order to get the Indian net ban you keep going on and on about?

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