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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I was looking at the numbers today, and from the WDFW site found this creel report----

"From Feb. 1-March 14, 2010, there have been an estimated 21,500 angler trips with 800 chinook handled from the lower Columbia mainstem sport fishery below Bonneville Dam. 698 (88%) of the chinook caught were kept.68% of the chinook kept were lower river stock based on Visual Stock Identification (VSI)." (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regions/reg5/reg5-2.htm)

So, as of the 14th, about 700 chinook had been kept, compared to the less than 40 that had actually gone over Bonneville by that date (http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/op/fishdata/home.asp)

As someone who aims to fish for them upriver, I think that thats lame, more but importantly, its hard to imagine that kind of early hammering can't be screwing up run timing through selection. I know weather and water conditions affect run timing also, and admit that I haven't personally looked into previous years or studies on this yet, but can't help but imagine that this is a bad practice.

Anyway, I certainly have a bias as an upriver angler who's never fished down below Bonneville, so I was wondering what others think of the situation- both in terms of potentially taking away opportunity from upriver fishermen, and in terms of affecting the timing of the run by decimating the early part of it year after year.
 

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I get really bent out of shape on this one. I feel that a season below Bonneville should only be opened after a certain quota has passed over the dam. For the last several years, massive overharvest on the lower Columbia has seriously screwed up the harvestable numbers in Idaho.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Oh ya, good point East Fork, but I really have no idea what "visual stock assesment" is, and am definitely curious how someone can tell an upriver from downriver fish just by looking at it, as well as the accuracy of a visual cue.
And no, 223 doesn't sound as bad, but even that smaller # compared to the 40 that had gone over at that point is worrisome.

Ray, I also lean towards thinking that the fishery shouldn't open until a certain number or percent pass the dam. Of course thats partly based on my assumption that the early pressure does in fact affect future run timing. If there isn't proof of that, then I guess I wouldn't have much argument.
 

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VSI: visual stock identification. Willamette springers are light colored on the head, ergo, "white faces." Upper river springers are darker, and called "black faces."

The harvest rate is actually pretty low. You can't compare the lower river catch of black faces and the Bonne ladder counts, since the fish contributing to catch haven't arrived at Bonne yet. Much ado about nothing, IMO.

Sg
 

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Would you apply your logic to targeting steelhead - that a certain number would have to be present in order to be targeted?

Ray, I also lean towards thinking that the fishery shouldn't open until a certain number or percent pass the dam.
 

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I get bent because run predictions based on pre run models are horribly inaccurate. Better run predictions can be made after a portion of the run has passed through the dam. Meanwhile, open the Willamette (it may already be open, I don't know) to fishing and keep the lower Columbia closed (especially to commercial fishing) until a partial upriver escapement goal is reached.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Citori, check out the links I posted in the original post. I'm not sure but I'd guess that while the bulletin you posted shows the specific numbers checked, the creel report might have the expanded estimates for the fishery based on those numbers. ***actually, later on in your link they have the exact numbers I put up originally, and ya, it is just the difference between fish actually checked, and the estimate they get from those checks.
"From Feb. 1-March 14, there have been an estimated 21,500 angler trips to the lower Columbia with 800 chinook handled from the lower Columbia mainstem sport fishery below Bonneville Dam. Of that total, 698 (88 percent) of the chinook caught were kept and 68 percent of the chinook kept were lower river stock."


Derek, I really dont know, I'll have to admit being pretty ignorant of how steelhead push past/hold below Bonneville, or the pressure involved. One big difference is that the steelhead seasons rarely (if ever?) get closed early on the Snake because of too much impact happening downriver.

Sounds like most of you aren't too worried, which is encouraging. I wasn't trying to stir the pot, just wanted to know what others thought.
Thanks
 

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Predicted returns - escapement numbers = harvest quota

so, when WDFW over estimates the return number, historically in error 25-75%, then observes fewer than desired escapement numbers, just who do you think is driving this bus? the most egrarious example of this is what just took place in setting the halibut seasons. the sport anglers were, once again, subjected to totally phony projections while the commercial interests were protected. and remember, 'we' saved WDFW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

MSY/MSH = commercial harvest at all costs. conservation of the resource has never entered into the equation.

now i thought there was a formula in place to protect upper river escapement since the tribes above bonneville raised a huge stink, no?
 

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I'm getting worried that the estimated huge run prediction isn't going to materialize. Go to Columbia River DART>Graphics and Text, and chart this year's chinook counts over BON with the ten year average. The water temperatures are above average, which you would guess would accelerate them.
 

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The bulk of the springer run on the columbia seems to have been later than normal the last six years or so. Not sure why but something seems to have changed the timing of the run. Seems to me the bulk of the run used to happen from mid March til the first week of April but now it seems to happen almost entirely in April with a decent amount of fish in early may still showing up. This is just an observation, has anyone else noticed this?
 

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Check out last year's jack return - the largest on record by far, and on which this year's projections were based. There are lots of folks predicting the jack return was an anomaly, and think the big run won't show. Others say not to expect them yet. I am glad they recognized the question and set the 40% buffer.
 
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