WDFW will not release 'early winter' hatchery steelhead this spring unless legal issues are resolved

Smalma

Active Member
The sad reality for most of the Puget Sound steelhead populations increasing the escapement goals by at least a factor of two will not add a single wild fish to the populations. Why? The habitat needed to support that kind of increase population numbers just does not exist and is not likely to exist any time in the future.

Remember those much hated winters escapement goals were established in 1984 and were based on the aggregate productivity seen in Puget Sound and North coastal rivers seen in the late 1970s and early 1980s; a period of above average marine survival. There is ample evidence that under the average marine survival seen over the last 35 years in the region those goals are above the carrying capacity in most cases thus not achievable. The major reason that PS wild winter steelhead abundances are a tiny fraction of the historic levels estimated to have existed 200 years ago is that is all the habitat we as a society left in our rivers to support wild steelhead.

Keep in mind that steelhead spend an extend time (an average of at least 2 years) in those rivers as juveniles before smolting and heading to sea. Over the course of that freshwater rearing period the young steelhead require seasonally and at various sizes very specific kinds and quality of habitats to survive that period. Those complex and varied habitats are the very habitat features that 150 years of abuse has largely eliminated. The capacity of those rivers to produce steelhead is both determined and limited by those rivers to produce smolts (that is the amount of juvenile steelhead habitat in the basin).

The tendency is for us to look at a system and think that if the river looks nice and the there is lots of good gravels that it must be able to produce steelhead. That rarely is the case; just one example. With that extend freshwater rearing period in the vast majority of cases the amount of spawning gravels has almost no bearing on the capacity of the river to produce steelhead smolt. Again using the Skagit as an example there is lots of potential spawning gravels in the basin and it has been estimated that gravel could support up to 50,000 spawners. Yet because the other habitat features are so limited that if one could magically put 50,000 steelhead on that gravel they would not produce more smolts (the ultimate test of the habitat productivity) than an escapement of 10,000 fish. Want more fish provide more that complex habitat features that those juvenile steelhead require to survive to become smolts.

Curt
 
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Rob Allen

Active Member
Curt increasing escapement goals is more about putting expectation on human behavior in regards to the fish we have left and their habitat not the capability of our rivers in their current condition.

The only things that humans can control is their behavior.. all the other factors are outside of our control. Humans have to modify their behavior if steelhead are to persist. If we are unwilling to change then all the money and effort we are spending to solve these problems and paying for people to study such things is a complete waste of time..
 

GOTY

9x Puget Sound Steelhead Guide of the Year
Freestone makes one post on a 2 month old thread and looks what happened.

Dustin Chromers level of trolling
 

freestoneangler

Not to be confused with Freestone
Freestone makes one post on a 2 month old thread and looks what happened.

Dustin Chromers level of trolling

Trolling...you kids and your cliché terms :rolleyes:. I was merely catching up after having been on travel, re-read the title of the thread, and made a simple statement about it.
 

_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
WFF Supporter
Curt increasing escapement goals is more about putting expectation on human behavior in regards to the fish we have left and their habitat not the capability of our rivers in their current condition.


Rubbish.
There you go...NOT listening again.
Setting unrealistic goals will only succeed in keeping closed rivers, closed for longer. Those goals will not produce one more steelhead.

Print it out, paste it up on your wall, and read it daily until it sinks in.
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
Rubbish.
There you go...NOT listening again.
Setting unrealistic goals will only succeed in keeping closed rivers, closed for longer. Those goals will not produce one more steelhead.

Print it out, paste it up on your wall, and read it daily until it sinks in.




then the fish are doomed and you better sell your gear now... even the people who care the most will not change their behavior how can we expect anyone else to and if no one does the fish are gone and there is no one to blame but ourselves...

steelhead are more important than steelhead fishing...




So what will increase wild steelhead numbers.. I have not heard anyone propose anything All i have heard is a bunch of whining about boooo hoooo my river's closed... The Skagit has more fish than all the rivers down here combined.. you guys are sitting pretty if you ask me... Sure our rivers are open,, there just aren't any fish... better closed river with fish than empty rivers that are open.
 

Atlantic Salmon

Outback Steakhouse Rewards Member
WFF Supporter
Maybe we can agree on a few things and get something on the ballot for 2015. It might take an professional mediator.
 

_WW_

Geriatric Skagit Swinger
WFF Supporter
So what will increase wild steelhead numbers..
HELLO!!! Is this thing on?
Go back and read what Curt has posted about habitat restoration and carrying capacity. He's mentioned it in just about every thread dealing with wild steehead.

Everybody keeps asking the same question: What can we do, what can we do? Curt keeps giving the same answer - over...and over...and over...
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
HELLO!!! Is this thing on?
Go back and read what Curt has posted about habitat restoration and carrying capacity. He's mentioned it in just about every thread dealing with wild steehead.

Everybody keeps asking the same question: What can we do, what can we do? Curt keeps giving the same answer - over...and over...and over...


nevermind
 

Rob Allen

Active Member
Nice try WW, but apparently a legitimate answer isn't what he wants to hear.



nobody is doing anything about habitat and thus steelhead numbers will not increase therefore talking about habitat is a waste of time, time is better spent complaining about rivers being closed...
 

Salmo_g

WFF Supporter
Rob,

You posted, ". . . no matter what I say half the board jumps down my throat..."

That's not true. It's only because of what you do choose to say, and it is invariably extreme, not grounded in reality, along with implying that everyone else should go along with your judgement and values. That ain't the way the world works. So much of what you write is so far off base that people simply dismiss you. That's on you, not them.

Then you posted a good example: ". . . Curt increasing escapement goals is more about putting expectation on human behavior in regards to the fish we have left and their habitat not the capability of our rivers in their current condition.

The only things that humans can control is their behavior.. all the other factors are outside of our control. Humans have to modify their behavior if steelhead are to persist. If we are unwilling to change then all the money and effort we are spending to solve these problems and paying for people to study such things is a complete waste of time.."

Your first paragraph simply doesn't make sense, so I'll stop there. In your second paragraph you equate the persistence of steelhead to something approaching near pristine habitat conditions and population levels. It looks like you have an "all or nothing" attitude. Go ahead, but don't be surprised when people dismiss you for expressing it. I have no illusion of ever restoring steelhead populations to what they were in 1850 or even 1950. I'm confident that PS steelhead populations would be viable enough to persist well into the foreseeable future under habitat and population conditions that existed in the 1980s. We need to restore habitat productivity and capacity to the extent practicable mainly to ensure persistence through periods of low marine survival like we've seen in recent years.

About the only place we agree is that steelhead are more important than steelhead fishing. To that end I support not fishing for steelhead when fishing would reduce the population abundance. I'm not opposed to using natural resources for human benefits. That includes hunting and fishing, to the extent that those activities don't deplete the resource. So we totally diverge when you suggest that no one should kill a steelhead even if population abundance is 1000% of the escapement goal. When you write that, you appear remarkably ignorant and uninformed about natural resource population dynamics, or animal husbandry of any sort. BTW, do you feel the same way about deer, elk, grouse, ducks, and geese? But feel free to go ahead and not fish; I'm OK with that. For you. Not for me.

Sg
 

KerryS

Ignored Member
nobody is doing anything about habitat and thus steelhead numbers will not increase therefore talking about habitat is a waste of time, time is better spent complaining about rivers being closed...

You are simply wrong. There are a lot of people doing a lot of good work restoring habitat.

What Salmo said. A lot of your statements don't make any sense and some are just alright false. Why should anybody take you seriously?
 

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