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Geriatric Skagit Swinger
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A bio from WDFW has asked me what the average number of anglers might have been during the busy times of the Skagit/Sauk C&R? Weekdays vs weekend days?

Those of you that were there in the nineties, what say you?
 
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Well, I use to fish it about every weekend it was open five or more hours a day. I never really saw that many people up there fishing from the bank and never saw more than a dozen boats during my fishing day. The lack of easy put ins & take outs limited the boat traffic & the wade fishing involves a fair bit of bush whacking which eliminates a lot of the wadeing fishermen.
 

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We home based at HMSP and/or buddies close by homes, for the entirety of Feb, March and April, typically fishing weekdays and abstaining from weekends, from the late 80's up to the closure in 2009.

The Sauk would see anywhere from only one or two boats and a handful of bank anglers, to possibly 20 boats and about half that many bank anglers (spread amongst the various drifts), numbers increasing towards the end of the week through the weekends.
The Skagit above Rockport would see little to no pressure during the same time frame, with the section from Rockport to Faber's seeing heavy pressure. The stretch from HMSP launch to the Sauk mouth, down to Mixer Bar, Leaning Cedars, Island Pool etc, was particularly hard hit by sleds and guide boats, with a bit less pressure from Faber's to Concrete (predominately sled traffic). Hardly ever fishing below the Baker I can't comment on angler numbers below that point.

In review I would estimate the combined number of anglers on the Sauk from Mill to the Skagit confluence, and the Skagit from Marblemount to Concrete, to be somewhere in the range of 25 to 150 (depending on time of week and weather/river conditions). Those numbers seemed to hold pretty consistent from season to season until about 2005, then increasing until 2009.

I understand the main goal of OS is just to get a Skagit/Sauk C&R season up and running again. However, if guide reform/restrictions are not adopted, a special C&R permit is not implemented (to help offset drainage specific enforcement costs), and angling methods see no modification, this dream will be very short lived. It will see a lifespan of two to three seasons, max.
The above angler numbers will absolutely be double what they were prior to 2009... 25 going to 50 wouldn't be a huge deal, 150 jumping to 300 would be devastating.
 

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Flaccid Member
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Tighter regs are the future, and there is no better suited candidate than the skagit to test the waters with some progressive management. I wish I had something to add about the glory days of mother skagit, but I do have a lot of first hand experience with the current state of steelhead fisheries around the state and I can see clear as day the direction that the Sauk and Skagit fisheries will go without adjustment.
 

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There were always more folks fishing the Sauk than the Skagit. There were many a Saturday or Sunday afternoon where in the stretch between the Suiattle and the Native Hole you had to wait your turn to fish threw a run, especially the last week of March through April, and a lot of them like myself were walk and wade fishing and not using a boat. Below the Native Hole, there were much fewer folks fishing, probably because the runs were further apart.

The Skagit above Rockport always had some folks fishing, but not nearly as many as from Rockport to the Baker boat ramp. I would often see 6 or so folks who walked into the Mixer and a good 10 or more boats pull into shore in order for the guys (2 or 3-except for Farrar's boat that always seemed to have 3-4 clients in it) in an afternoon's fishing there. Above Rockport the largest concentration of anglers were at Swift Creek with quite a few up in the Bunny Farm area.

I'd say Joe H's estimate is about right.

Wayne, you spent time fishing both during March and April, so you saw this too.
 

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Geriatric Skagit Swinger
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Wayne, you spent time fishing both during March and April, so you saw this too.
Thinking back on it, I'm not sure if I ever surveyed the entire open water in one day. Some of the enforcement guys probably did it on a regular basis but a lot of them, Forbes, Phillips, etc have retired.

Anyway I talked with Brett by phone and he mentioned asking others the same thing. Their answers were similar to mine - between 50 and 100 on average. I emphasize on average because that would include those days when conditions were unfavorable for fishing and only a few would give it a try. So, whether we are right or wrong, at least we are remembering it the same. :)

The next question I expected to get but did not would concern angler success rate.
 

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Geriatric Skagit Swinger
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8,260 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The article that Skinner is referring to is not available in the online edition of the paper. Kind of weird since it's on the front page of the Sunday print edition. A sidebar to the article mentions that WDFW is taking comments on their draft budget proposals, one of which includes $625,000 budget item for adding a C&R Steelhead fishery on the Skagit. These proposals are for the years 2017-2019.

To see the proposals go here:
http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildfuture/
The proposal to include a Skagit C&R season is here:
http://wdfw.wa.gov/wildfuture/proposals/062316 wild_future_factsheets_fishing.pdf
Please take time to comment on these proposals!

Towards the end of the main article is the stuff about steelhead. And it mentions the movement to designate the Skagit as a gene bank. It also mentions that if it receives this designation that there can be no fishing. I believe this to be false as I've not heard that mentioned before.
 

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CCA, Hatchery Wild Coexist
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I think Joe has it about right. From memory the Baker area up to the mixer area was hit more often by boats around January and more towards the bottom end.
 
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