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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The Puyallup and White river had over 2,600 wild steelhead return in 2016. With those numbers comparable to the Hoh river and others of similar size should a spring CNR season be allowed? The wild steelhead numbers on the White have been steadily increasing for the past 6 years or so and if they continue to increase or hold steady between 2,000 and 3,000 I don't see any reason for not opening it up for a recreational CNR fishery.

I have the data from the regional bio at home for any disbelievers.

Thoughts and opinions?
 

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And one of the tribs is chock full of good size Char too...

It's a glacial till/colored up river with heaps of private property all over the place, plus tribal land, so really, have fun with that.
 

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White EG is 950, not sure on puyallup. This is good news and not really surprising to me. Both the Green and Nisqually also made their escapement goals of 2000 fish in 2016, although just barely. The WDFW website seems to have gotten better at keeping its steelhead escapement info close to up-to-date and the info is there for all. 2016 appears to have been a pretty good year for South Puget Sound.

Personally, I would support spring C&R seasons on all PS rivers on all but very low escapements, but that's probably pie in the sky thinking. Deleone is probably close on the absurd approval timeline. We're only about 2 years away (hopefully?) from a final recovery plan! Yay!
 

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Deleone is probably close on the absurd approval timeline. We're only about 2 years away (hopefully?) from a final recovery plan! Yay!
I think Chris might have been a little facetious but he is correct in stating start now because it will take years and this is how you start. Bring attention to the cause and gain support.

It was stated that much of the White is privately owned and has limited bank access. Is the White easily floated? Perhaps organize a "float in".
 

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I think Chris might have been a little facetious but he is correct in stating start now because it will take years and this is how you start. Bring attention to the cause and gain support.

It was stated that much of the White is privately owned and has limited bank access. Is the White easily floated? Perhaps organize a "float in".
I think there are a few things that have to happen with systems like this -

1. WDFW has the "want" to open the system or trib
2. They have to have a specific plan for that system
3. Number have to be steady and at or above escapement
4. WDFW has to have the funding to monitor each system - there in lies the problem, we don't have a plan and budget in place right now to monitor all the systems that could possibly handle a CnR season
5. WDFW and NOAA have to be comfortable with the plan and minimize their potential for a lawsuit
6. Anglers have to show they would like the system or trib open -

I think having a Puget Sound Endorsement tag of $20.00 would be a very good start. Putting together a limited entry lottery program could be another approach to some of these systems that could handle a limited fishery - Pillchuck, White/Puyallup, Samish, Green and other parts of the Snohomish system (Sky). For all that to happen - the department has to measure these systems yearly to have the data available to present to NOAA for a managed fishery. If we don't measure these fisheries yearly, how can we manage them?

Opening an ESA listed river is very long and frustrating process. There are too many different factions involved with the Co-managers, the State, the Fed, Anglers and the .Orgs - that's really the reason I suggested it could take 10-years, my hope is that if they do open the Skagit, other systems that could allow a fishery will be much easier to open - if that happens you can thank WW, Sg and Curt and a few guys at the state - everyone else seems to look at CnR steelhead fishing as a thorn in their side.

D
 

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I'll reiterate what Chris posted. CNR steelheading is such a niche fishery - even tho wild steelhead release is now the statewide law - that it's not on the radar screen for most of WDFW. For perspective relative to the Skagit season effort, I asked how many WDFW people could even find the Skagit on a map and was told, "one."

Making it happen on any of the other PS rivers requires finding an advocate within WDFW who will help with some of the heavy lifting, meaning writing a draft plan and coordinate with tribal co-managers, as the recreational interest group helps push it along within WDFW.

I'm confident that without outside interests pushing, such fishery openings are almost certain to never open.

Oh, and BTW, I have floated my WM in the White River from the fish return pipe downstream of Hwy 410 to the Muckleshoot Shaker Church "access" road and floated by canoe downstream from there to the 15th St. bridge in Auburn. It really is a nice little river offering amazingly good habitat conditions for such close proximity to major urban development. I think it's because it flows down through the Oseola (sp) mudflow, cutting it off from most of the developed upland, highlands.

Sg
 

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Yes the Puyallup/White river wild steelhead are ESA listed. As I recall the Puyallup basin wild steelhead escapement goal is 2,000.

I have hopes if and when the Puget Sound steelhead management Ad Hoc committee finishes their work (and they have not met yet) that the criteria under which steelhead fisheries targeting wild steelhead are start will have been established. I would envision something along the lines of what is happening on the Skagit. A major exception is that once a Skagit fisheries receives federal approval there will be a template for moving forward with other systems. Some questions that would have to be answered is consideration re-starting a fisheries based on the status of the basin as a whole or individual populations within a basin. Does one need to see the steelhead of the White surpassing those criteria or the basin as a whole.

I would think criteria might include consistently surpassing established escapement goals with sufficient buffers to assure that escapements continue to exceed goals. I would think something along exceeding 120% to 150% of the escapement goal for 4 or 5 consecutive years or maybe having the geometric mean of the most recent 5 years being more than 120 to 150% of the goal. Suspect any early fisheries are likely to be CnR though it would not be inappropriate to establish bench marks (escapement levels) above which increased opportunities might be considered. Another product of the Ad Hoc work might be a prioritized list of basins/populations that might be expect to meet or exceed established population specific fishing levels. Work on developing river specific management plans for the various would be based on that prioritized listed. I t would go without saying that those management plans would include the details on appropriate trigger points.

Based what currently being seen in PS escapements once the Skagit is approved I would think the next up might be the Samish. Following the Samish if the criteria at population level the Pilchuck river might be next. Consistent increased marine survivals might lead to a situation where the Skykomish/Snohomish, Nisqually, Puyallup, and finally the Green might be the order that populations might reach needed escapement levels to trigger allowing fishing.

The goal of this planning would be to assure that management plans as well as federal approvals of acceptable population levels would all be in place so that as soon as the populations meet those criteria fisheries could be instituted without excess time lags.

Curt
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thank you for the insight Curt. There are some south sound fishing advocates working closely with the WDFW to restore salmon and steelhead and their respected fisheries. Hopefully we will continue in the right direction.
 

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4. WDFW has to have the funding to monitor each system - there in lies the problem, we don't have a plan and budget in place right now to monitor all the systems that could possibly handle a CnR season
Just want to emphasize this. Nothing happens in the land of ESA listings without monitoring...and monitoring means boots on the ground collecting data...data that has to be interpreted and reported. All of this done by people who draw a paycheck.

Many folks have griped about the proposed season on the Skagit having a lower river boundary of the Dalles Bridge. One of the main considerations for establishing this point is the simple fact that there are currently not enough funds to monitor any more river miles.

This is another classic case of a government catch-22 - require something to be done and shift the burden of doing it to those who are least able to pay for it.

Contact your lawmakers and lobby for more funding!
 
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