NOBODY has any credible data AT ALL that resident trout are eating steelhead and/or chinook juveniles in the Cedar. NOBODY has any credible data AT All about the dynamics of the resident and anadromous and adfluvial (live in Lake W, spawn in Cedar) rainbow populations in the Cedar. The "resident" population could be a component of the steelhead population, a necessary genetic bank for any future recovery effort. The adfluvial population (likely those 8-lb "residents") could be growing, to fill the niche left vacant by the steelhead, and could wind up being the germ of some future rebound of the steelhead population. Basically, nobody knows, certainly not Mr Urabeck.
All these ideas are certainly worth looking at, and WDFW has a proposal to look at all this, including whether or not harvesting some rainbows would be good for the overall health of the river. That work should be allowed to play out before all the "conservation minded" fishers Mr Urabeck wants to let loose on this proposed suburban fishery start taking fish out of the river.
By the way, Frank Urabeck has been loudly telling anyone who will listen that Washington Trout doesn't know what it's talking about when it says that hatchery juveniles are preying on wild chinook juveniles, despite the data WT has presented, much of it from WDFW. But now he's convinced wild rainbows (which certainly deserve their own protection) are eating steelhead, despite the lack of any data whatsoever. Do you suppose it might be because WT's case could result in less fishing opportunity (and less boat-selling opportunity; the article fails to mention that Mr Urabeck works for the NW Marine Trade Association), and this theory supports more fishing (and boat-selling) opportunity? No, of course not; that would be a cynical selling-out of the resource.
Yes. Before we know exactly what's going on, let's go fishing! After all, we have once again been able to essentially make up a plausible sounding theory whereby harvesting fish is actually NECESSARY to protect the resource. What could be more convenient? That is exactly the kind of management that resulted in closing the river in the first place.
I've said this before: you can fish the forks of the Snoqualmie, the Tolt, the upper Green, the Yak, Pass Lake, Leech Lake, or any number of PS beaches for SR cutts. Why do you need to fish the Cedar?
If this is the same Frank Urabeck that is on the WDFW Steelhead and Cutthroat Policy Advisory Group that I am also on, he is the outgoing President of the Northwest Marine Trade Association. He is not a friend of flyfishers and catch & releasers and his moves and motives should not be taken lightly. If you want wild steelhead to return to the Cedar, don't let anyone kill the seed.
I believe you are totally correct in your analysis.
I believe the opening of the Cedar is more of a non enforcement thing. That river is nailed so hard by poachers the game dept is giving up on it, IMHO! Those nice trout that are being and were caught are mostly steelhead holding in there for an extra year before heading out to the salt. Unfortunately I believe the river is doomed! There are too many people who live on it and don't care. There are so many calls of poaching on it that there is almost a no respose. I have called in several times in the past three or four years and I got basically yeah we know but our officers are tied up else where. Sad but true it is the death of what once was a good,not great, urban steelhead river.
Problem is, there's just too little enforcement officers PERIOD!!! Needs to be alot more. Most that are in operation try to get people that are pretty "easy" to deal with in court. I assume that they are like the police and have to be in court to prosecute. Probably want to ticket guys who'll just pay the ticket.
Personally, I've watched quite a few poachers since the "cell phone"era. I've called on all of them. Worse thing, one instance was LITERALLY 100 yards upstream from the local WDFW field office. Sat there and fished until the sun went down (was about 7 hours later) and watched these clowns leave with stringers FULL of fish. This was after I told them they had over fished (could keep two smaller ones) and they even watched me call on cell. I'm talking about stringers with almost FIFTEEN fish EACH!!!!! Most of the poachers KNOW they won't be called on by a WDFW agent. A really sad time. Man, how long has the Cedar been closed? For some reason I don't remember it ever being open (but I never fished near it anyways).
I would love to see the river of my youth open again myself but only to catch and release fishing. The trouble is this river is so easy to get to all parts of it up and down the river and has so many people living around it. If you opened up the river to keep fish they would be gone in a year even if you only had a 1 fish limit. There was a movement a couple of years ago to open up the river to catch and release to maybe help to cut down on the poaching but I had not heard anything more on the river till now. If they want to open it up to keep fish I would rather see the river remain closed myself.
With the 4th of July coming up I want to put out a warning to not allow people to throw firecrackers, bottle rockets and m80's into our rivers, streams and lakes. The shock waves from the explosions kill fish like you would not belive. I saw this on the Ceder River the large fish kills back in the late 80's just a year or two before they closed the river to fishing. In a stretch of river of about 2 blocks we found underwater over 20 dead trout over 10", over 75 assorted dead smolt, about 15 dead bullheads and 5 other assorted fish. This was around the golf course. These are just what we saw with a mask and fins swimming the area and collecting golf balls at the time. There were most likely alot of fish that we did not see. The fish did not seem to have a mark on them.
I grew up on the banks of the Cedar River and enjoyed fishing it. For old times sake I would love to be able to fish the river again. When they closed the river I was greatly dissapointed that they didn't just appoint it as a catch and release, fly fishing only water. As for poachers - they have always been there even when the river wasn't closed. Even when I was little I knew the regulations and adhered to them. Of course I have never felt right killing a trout (squaw fish are another story) so I have always practiced C&R. I know of some beautiful places to fish on the Cedar and would love to see a C&R rule enstated and more intensive enforcement practices.
I don't want to go off-topic but think the point made about who the strong proponents are behind rule / regulation changes is important. The WDFW used to have a post where you could see who the advisory committee members are (and their backgrounds & affiliation) & this may still be there. When I looked a couple years ago, the majority of these individuals came from industry, some very large & powerful & some who simply had personal businesses that thrive on urban expansion and growth. I would say that if they're backgrounds and alliances they built through their careers are any indicator, Washington state has been in trouble for awhile. I challenged the WDFW to explain to me why any citizen of this state would "trust" this panel to fairly and equitably deal with the complex issues of fish and wildlife management and not to my surprise....nothing. The special interests and their lobbiests are embedded in WDFW politics and the Cedar river may just be another example.
In reading the article, I wonder how many poacher calls were made when folks saw the tribal members fishing it (with rod and reel). As the article mentions, the tribe does not have any minimum size or catch limits. Seeing a guy with a stringer full of fish on that river would warrant a call, but sounds like a lot of false calls could be made since the tribes live by a different set of rules. Could be very frustrating for enforcement...
This has got to be one of the most idiotic arguments I have ever heard. Those Resident rainbows and Cuttthroat are part of the natural system and killing more of them will not help solve the man caused problem ofthe steelhead and salmon. All you'll have is a river system in even worse shape that it already is.
What is Urabecks position with in TU? I cannot believe they would support this proposal.
If they do anything they should try do deal with rthe smallmouth population in Lake Washington, they are the non-native fish that is hurting the smolt population.
Did any of you know that at one point the Cedar did not even flow into Lake WA? It flowed into the Black River near Tukwilla and then into the Green(Duwamish) The Back river was the main outflow source for Lake WA until the lake was turned into a freshwater port for various ships (whaling, coal, lumber etc)
Urabeck used to write an outdoors column for the South County Journal. I remember he wrote some articles stating how hard he worked to get the WDFW to open Soos Creek below the hatchery for Chinook. I stopped one time to look & this was without question the ugliest fishing scene I've ever witnessed. Elbow-to-elbow fishermen, fighting, snaggers, beer cans, garbage, rotting carcasses, and all of the vegetation around the river was trampled. The next weekend Urabeck wrote an article stating how wonderful it was to have an opportunity to catch salmon, and described how he took his grand-kids there to fish.
If this is what they have in mind for the Cedar, I say just keep it closed.
I cannot agree with you more. I read that article what a joke, I think if it is open it should be fly fishing only and If they really, really feel it's important to keep some fish then it should be for at least 14" and higher. Why would anyone waste there time with a 10" fish I mean come on at that size most fisherman and I mean most who have no concern with what there catching would know the difference between Species anyway. what I would like to know is are there any rivers in which all three char species co-exsit successfully? In my observation and what little knowledge I have seems like if there is a successful Steelhead population there is more than likely a really poor Rainbow and Cutthroat population and visa versa, am I wrong?
I'm a bit confused, which "three char species" are you referring to? If you are referring to steelhead, rainbow and cutthroat, these are not char. The native char species of the PNW are bull trout and, in some headwaters, Dolly Varden (and there are, of course, the introduced eastern brook trout). Rainbow and cutthroat, while once classified as true trout (genus Salmo) are now considered to be more closely related to the Pacific salmons (genus Oncorhynchus) and are so classified (O. mykiss and O. clarki, respectively). Rainbow and steelhead are genetically identical and can and do interbreed, their progeny adopting sometimes andromous, and sometimes resident lifestyles. Anadromy is more common in coastal and Puget Sound rivers because of the relatively poor availability of food and is why these rivers have relatively small populations of resident rainbows.
The same applies to the cutthroat. Among the lifestyles favored by O. clarki clarki (the coastal cutthroat, the native subspecies of coastal and Puget Sound rivers) some choose to become semi-anadromous and venture as much as forty miles away from the rivers along the saltwater beaches for the good foraging, while others choose the hardscrabble existence of river residents.
I suspect that any large rainbow or cutthroat in the Cedar River are probably fish who have spent a good deal of time feeding in Lake Washington. Our rivers don't and never have had big populations of resident trout, particularly large ones.
wow thanks for the totally Awesome message there. I would like to ask you more questions but I don't think I should do it on this topic of the Cedar River cause it would be getting off the subject. I would definitely like to know more.
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