Steelhead hatcheries: good or bad?

#31
The way I see it is that with the Snocrummy no longer having hatchery steelhead and sports anglers not being allowed to fish on the nates when there are nates in the river, the sports effort will switch to the Sky. This increased effort will grind the Sky fishery into oblivion. Of course the states answer to this will be shut down the hatcheries that put fish into the Sky. Effort will then move to the Green. See where I'm going here? The state will initially save money by not having to fund the hatcheries but long term will see revenues from lic sales drop. We need to face the fact that without a viable hatchery system we will have no sport steelhead fisheries. Will the tribes stop netting? Of course not as there's money to be made. We better hope that the tribes, feds, and state figure out a way to make hatchery systems viable. If not there's going to be a lot of fishing gear being dumped for pennies on the dollar at garage sales.
 

Dale Dennis

Formally Double-D
#32
I agree totally Tom, and the Whitlock approach has been tried here (in the late 60’s early 70’s) and was successful I might add but was stopped by WDFW for reasons that are unknown to me.
 

Smalma

Active Member
#33
Tom/Double-D -
As Double-D alluded to Vibert boxes have been used with steelhead in this area. My recollection is that those attempts were in the 1970s and early 1980s. The boxes were successful in hatching the eyed eggs. However there was little or no evident that they were successful in producing additional adults back to the rivers. The reason of course it that the use of egg boxes ignores the biological needs of steelhead.

Except in very rare cases the production bottlenecks of steelhead production is not getting eggs out of the gravel but the amount and quality of habitat for juvenile rearing. With the extended freshwater rearing the juvenile steelhead need specific summer and winter rearing habitats that fits the needs of both young fry as well as parr.

In short generally the best thing for the wild populations is to allow the wild fish to do their own thing in the waters of their choice.

Double-D -
I remember quite clearly why the egg box program was ended on the North Fork of the Stillaguamish. There were summer eggs planted in several of the NF tribs. It was soon discovered that a number of wild winter fish were using the same habitats. It did not (and still does not) make sense to plant exotics on top of existing wild populations.
However the local fly club was offered the opportunity that if they could find streams that were not being adequately seeded with steelhead that an box program would be considered. After some survey work by club member a list of potential candidtates was developed. The local bio aided by club members visited each potential site with an electro fisher to see if there many juvenile steelhead in the candidate streams. In each and every case the streams were found to loaded with young steelhead. That effectively ended the egg box program - It seemed that the State placed a higher value on the native winters rather than the local fly fisher's desire for more summer fish.

Tight lines
Curt
 
#35
Wild fish (see definitions) do not use the system as well and do not respond to habitat changes as well as natives i.e.: temp and water fluctuations. They tend to use lower tribbs which are more likely subjected to degradation and not get as high up in the systems i.e.: more main stream breeders than the true native stocks this has been proved in So Cal. Were native still exist. Verberts used in years past were only using hatchery eggs to my understanding and there in lies the problem.
 

ChrisC

Active Member
#36
I am sure your hatchery programs are of a higher quality up there compared to some of ours.



Another thing that sucks about hatchery fish is they always come in together, head up river really fast, and congregate in the several holes directly downstream of the hatchery where they get pummeled by anglers.

I fish a river a lot that has a hatchery for salmon and it never amazes me how the lower river can be good around the salt and right near the hatchery can be good but the miles and miles between them will have ZERO fish. I have walked the river the entire way and tried to spook fish out of the middle section with nothing when tons of fish were at the hatchery and in the estuary. They just aren't using that middle stretch at all and it looks like amazing habitat.

I think from a sports fishing standpoint, spreading the fish out to take advantage of all those areas would be a good idea. It would mean a higher quality experience to all. Every access point would have fish rather than the one that everybody and their grandma knows about.

The way it is now on this river and others, miles and miles of natural spawning areas are going to waste, and where the fish are is a total zoo.

I would much prefer fewer hookups, but more fishing space, and more river miles to explore without it being an utter waste of time.

I think a lot of rivers suffer from this. Think of hatcheries as taking all the fish potential of a river and focusing it in the 1/2 mile of water below the hatchery because that is basically what they do.

I don't typically fish for spawning salmon but I do fish the steelhead, srcs, and dollies around them and they also suffer at those zoo holes when they are accidental catches by people who don't know or don't care how special they are. They are only there because that is where their forage is, if there was forage in many different areas they may be doing better as well.
iagree

Very well put. My personal experience is that hatcheries concentrate fish and fishermen.
 

James Mello

Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"
#37
First, one problem not being addressed by anyone. There is a lot of money involved in the harvest of hatchery fish. If we do away with hatcheries will the tribes stop netting or will they turn thier attention to the native runs?

Seond, if hatcheries are so bad how do you explain the rebound of our hatchery raised Salmon? Any thoughts of closing down Salmon hatcheries? If hatcheris are bad for Stealhead they also have to be bad for slamon.

Read the actual text of the Boldt decision sometime. While you may not agree with the ruling, you'll begin to understand that the 50% decision was more due to a misguided attempt by the state to have control over a federal treaty. Either way, since it's federal, we don't have a whole lot of recourse. Besides, the tribes didn't build the dams, and opposed them at most turns.
 

James Mello

Inventor of the "closed eye conjecture"
#38
I think from a sports fishing standpoint, spreading the fish out to take advantage of all those areas would be a good idea. It would mean a higher quality experience to all. Every access point would have fish rather than the one that everybody and their grandma knows about.

The way it is now on this river and others, miles and miles of natural spawning areas are going to waste, and where the fish are is a total zoo.

I would much prefer fewer hookups, but more fishing space, and more river miles to explore without it being an utter waste of time.

From a sport fishing experience, that is true. Having more fish more spread out would be great. But unfortunately unmanaged fish without a collection facility has proven to encourage straying which in turn is bad for wild fish. It's an evil catch 22, and I frankly would want to be the person having to make those management decisions.

-- Cheers
-- James
 

Preston

Active Member
#39
corysean99,
This has been pointed out many times in the past, but someone always fails to get the message. Tribal fishing is protected by treaty right. Treaty rights are protected by FEDERAL law. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING that can be done at the state level to alter the terms of the Boldt decision without the cooperation and agreement of the tribes (who are officially co-managers of the resource). The state of Washington has taken the issue all the way to the US Supreme Court on two occasions, and lost.
 
#40
I'm sure someone has thought of or discussed this before but, is it possible to sterilize hatchery fish prior to release? Probably through diet or radiation? Seems like it solves the interbreeding problem. Probably too much to ask that, like Trips, they might grow larger due to re-directed body function. I'd guess there's a ripple effect involved (like maybe they don't return) but what say the fishery guys.

Good point here!! How about triploid steelhead??
 

yuhina

Tropical member
#41
I'm sure someone has thought of or discussed this before but, is it possible to sterilize hatchery fish prior to release?
This actually a pretty good idea! Regardless how practical it is.
(But then we will run into another question: if those sterilize tripoloid fish will out compete the wild fish in the breeding ground if they return?)

Separate recreational stock and wildfish is all we can do now, as James mentioned that we really do a POOR job in managing the hatchery program. The artificial breeding program are just not good enough to maintain the wild population.

The same logic can throw into the Brown Trout Issues in the US. Do you want a healthy cutthroat population or you want the trophy brown?

In my opinion, some rivers with better habitat quality should designate for wildfish and totally thow out the hatchery program; some rivers that already has bad stocking records could designate for hatchery programs.
 

Smalma

Active Member
#42
Actually there has been some discussion of creating sterile steelhead.

Remember that steelhead return to our rivers to spawn. Sterile fish never sexually mature. Looks to a win/win. Not only would the sterile steelhead never spawn in the wild they would never return to the river thus moving any fishing for them and the associated impacts on the co-mingled wild fish to the high seas. Talk about getting away from impacts on the wild fish on our local waters.

Anyone have a boat capable of making the run to the international dateline for a little steelhead fishing (wild steelhead release of course)?

Tight lines
Curt
 
#43
From a sport fishing experience, that is true. Having more fish more spread out would be great. But unfortunately unmanaged fish without a collection facility has proven to encourage straying which in turn is bad for wild fish. It's an evil catch 22, and I frankly would want to be the person having to make those management decisions.

-- Cheers
-- James
I totally see what you are saying but I think I wasn't clear enough.

I wasn't advocating spreading hatchery fish out, I meant what I said as a reason that a river managed for wild fish will better for a sportsman. If those natural resources (the ones the rear fish while in rivers) weren't mostly going to hatchery smolts, we would have wild fish that would be far more spread out and integrated throughout a river system.
 

yuhina

Tropical member
#44
Actually there has been some discussion of creating sterile steelhead.

Remember that steelhead return to our rivers to spawn. Sterile fish never sexually mature. Looks to a win/win. Not only would the sterile steelhead never spawn in the wild they would never return to the river thus moving any fishing for them and the associated impacts on the co-mingled wild fish to the high seas. Talk about getting away from impacts on the wild fish on our local waters.

Anyone have a boat capable of making the run to the international dateline for a little steelhead fishing (wild steelhead release of course)?

Tight lines
Curt
Thanks Curt!
Good point and interesting fact!

I am not familiar with sterile steelhead, but there are some of hybrid species do return and try to spawn. I guess it is species wise differences. Hybrid stripers do run up to the spawning ground in our river systems. It would be nice to know if there are other sterile treatment that still maintain the spawning instinct.

http://afs.allenpress.com/perlserv/....1577/1548-8675(2000)020<0575:LAROJS>2.3.CO;2

an interesting article - few returns after the sterile treatment.
Mark
 
#45
Maybe I am wrong but it sound like nobody's interested in restoring native stocks. All hachery fish have negitive impact on native stocks sterile or not.
 

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