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Should be OlympiaFarq now...
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My apologies for the lost post. Bear with me if you can.

Some of you may have seen my worm dunker rant on the Cedar Report thread last week. To recap, I ran into a guy who readily told me he had landed "20 to 30 trout in the last two hours using worms." I was annoyed he was using spin gear (though that proved to be partially misplaced as another poster pointed out that spin gear is legal on selective gear rivers, so long as the tackle is proper), but the bait bothered me more. I had heard live bait leads to increased mortality, but since he seemed to be releasing his catch, I moved on without saying anything. Now I wish I had.

Fast forward to last night. I returned to the same run and as I made my way through the tail out of the pool the dunker had been working, I spotted a dead fish on the bottom. It turned out to be a small rainbow. It was stiff as a board and discolored, so I assume it had been dead a while. Just as I was about to toss it back, I noticed a 2-inch length of heavy monofilament hanging from his mouth. I moved to the bank to investigate further and this is what I found:

Hand Gopher tortoise Finger Fish Reptile


Hand Insect Finger Thumb Terrestrial plant


Food Seafood Fish Fin Fish products


The hook - a large (maybe #6) offset octopus hook - had pierced the two rear-most gill filaments, then embedded in the throat next to the esophageal sphincter. The mono was cut clean, so I assume the angler simply cut the line when he saw it was gill-hooked. The discovery soured the evening for me, so I packed it in.

On my way home, I kept stewing on it. While insignificant (it's not like I stumbled upon a major poaching operation), I think it's indicative of one of the main problems facing the Cedar (and all rivers): ignorance or outright disregard for the regulations.

So what to do about it? One idea that has been floated here before is signage. I am not aware of any signs on the river indicating that it is a selective gear fishery/CR only/no bait (please correct me if I'm wrong). I've heard others say that when confronting bait anglers, they often play dumb. Unfortunately, I bet at least some are telling the truth. While it's no excuse to not know the regulations, I bet some simply see other anglers on the water and assume the water is open to all forms of fishing. A few well-placed signs could help educate the public (or, at least, give all of us something to point at when "educating the public" on our own).

I want to spearhead an effort to get signs posted at popular Cedar River access points. To get started, I'm planning to contact city/county/state reps, WDFW, and any non-profit that might be interested in the cause. I'd like to hear your feedback on who to write to, where the signs should be posted and what they should say, and any other suggestions (e.g. revisions to future regulations) for how to better protect our rivers.

To the cynics:

I understand that no amount of signage or threats of punishment will stop all poachers/gear violators. Those who consciously disregard the regulations aren't going to be convinced. I also realize that mortality cannot be completely avoided and that our rivers face larger threats (pollution, development, etc.) than individual fish kills. However, we may be able to make a small difference by making the regulations more visible. If we care about the rivers we fish, we can't simply throw up our hands and declare even small efforts to protect them futile.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading. Feel free to PM me with any concerns or ideas you don't want to share publicly.

Steve
 

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Great idea Farq; thanks for following up on this. While it obviously wouldn't stop illegal fishing on the Cedar, it's likely to help in the short term at least to a small degree. More important; by increasing awareness that there are regulations in place To Protect And Improve The Fishery, it may make a real difference in the longer term. The Cedar has great potential as a local resource, but with such easy access, is pretty vulnerable.

Count me in!
 

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Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
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Very good idea regarding the signage for the Cedar.

Now a bit from this cynic...
I think one of the major problems the Cedar faces is its short season. You are basically looking at nine months of no angling activity....from those fishing legally under the regulations.
Unless you plan to do some patrols yourself looking for poachers during the closed season, I won't expect much help from WDFW. They are just spread too thinly.
As you mentioned, the signs will deter some but poachers are going to poach regardless of seasons or signs.

Good luck with this and keep us updated on how things are going.
Though I no longer fish the Cedar, I appreciate your efforts.
SF
 

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Signage put up by fishing groups and other advocates has been successful in education and eliminating the "dumb" arguments in other states. Get an official wdfw sign setup, place them high enough they can't be ripped down easily. (use ladders). Ones that get ripped off repeatedly get a chicken wire mesh wrap.
 

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Should be OlympiaFarq now...
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Signage put up by fishing groups and other advocates has been successful in education and eliminating the "dumb" arguments in other states. Get an official wdfw sign setup, place them high enough they can't be ripped down easily. (use ladders). Ones that get ripped off repeatedly get a chicken wire mesh wrap.
Great idea for signing the lesser traveled areas. Smaller signs would cut down on cost and environmental impact. For major access points - like Regis Park, Habenicht, etc - I'm going to advocate for large metal signs posted in concrete.

You mentioned that signs have been successful in other states - is that anecdotal or have you read a report or article on that? I would love some research to back me up. I am predicting I'll be met with the "it'll be really expensive and won't do any good any ways" argument.

As for general updates - I've reached out to the Cedar River Salmon Journey organization (no response yet) and I've gathered addresses for the Renton City Council, Renton-area state representatives/senator, and WDFW's Enforcement Advisory Committee. I'm still working on my letter to them, though. I'm thinking about reaching out to Emerald Water Anglers, Patricks, and Creekside to see if they could help out in any way.

Thanks for reading, folks.
 

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The hook - a large (maybe #6) offset octopus hook - had pierced the two rear-most gill filaments, then embedded in the throat next to the esophageal sphincter. The mono was cut clean, so I assume the angler simply cut the line when he saw it was gill-hooked. The discovery soured the evening for me, so I packed it in.
By no means am I defending illegal bait fishing but cutting the line was possibly done to give the fish a better shot at making it out alive rather than trying to rip the hook out of the fish's gills. Sucks that poaching is such a problem for you guys that fish the Cedar. Good luck educating with the signs. My local area has recently gotten a lot of signage that was done by a combo of the Forest Service, DFW and the local fly fishing club.
 

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Should be OlympiaFarq now...
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
cutting the line was possibly done to give the fish a better shot at making it out alive...My local area has recently gotten a lot of signage that was done by a combo of the Forest Service, DFW and the local fly fishing club.
Thanks John. I didn't mean to imply he did anything wrong by cutting the line. The way it was hooked (in and out through the gill- like a stitch in clothing - then back into the throat) attempting to remove it would have probably been instantly fatal. Cutting the line was all he could do. The damage was done.

I'll try getting in touch with some local clubs. I hadn't thought of that. They'd probably have more pull than me working on my own.
 

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Boulder, CO example of signs they erected along a stream;



Apparently a collective effort between the city of Boulder, the Colorado State Parks Dept., and a local fly club made this happen as described here;

http://www.boulderflycasters.org/author/larryquilling/

I commend you for wanting to make this happen!
I don't fish the Cedar, but I think the signs could have a positive impact.
 

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Should be OlympiaFarq now...
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Boulder, CO example of signs they erected along a stream;



Apparently a collective effort between the city of Boulder, the Colorado State Parks Dept., and a local fly club made this happen as described here;

http://www.boulderflycasters.org/author/larryquilling/

I commend you for wanting to make this happen!
I don't fish the Cedar, but I think the signs could have a positive impact.
Just what I've been looking for! Thanks!
 

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I agree with @JohnB to have local fly clubs get involved in the process. They should be willing to cough up some of the cost and labor for signage installation. PSFF paid for and installed a large sign at Price Lake detailing the regulations - (probably no current members of the club will remember this). Good luck and thanks for taking this on.
 
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