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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I'm on the WDFW email list so always receive their notices, generally rule changes, etc.
The last one I rec'd today included this sentence.

"Our first priority is to develop fisheries that are consistent with efforts to protect and rebuild wild salmon stocks," said Jim Unsworth, director of WDFW.

This is actually the first time I've ever read a statement from WDFW suggesting rebuilding wild stocks was a "first" priority. Maybe I haven't looked hard enough to find this info but I was surprised and very pleased to read it, hope it's true.

Noticed their mission statement doesn't mention this?
 

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Formerly tbc1415
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It may be that "conserve existing fisheries" can be easily misconstrued as business as usual, while "developing new fisheries" more clearly indicates a new direction.

TC
 
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Formerly tbc1415
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"Developing" new fisheries should be left up to the fish, with our focus and funding on habitat restoration, management of seasons, and enforcement. NOT hatcheries and broodstock programs as "developing" infers.

We don't need to build new fisheries, we need to protect and conserve the wild, native species.
I see your point. Maybe I am too optimistic and forever hopeful that WDFW will shift their focus to developing programs to help wild stocks rebuild, you know, actually using best available science and away from hatcheries.

TC
 
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Make my day
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They have one (only one) priority. Sell licenses! Everything else takes a backseat to that.
 

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Nothing like a great mission statement and charter. At Boeing, we created new, updated, and better ones every year... it was one of the highlights :rolleyes:.

Protecting wild stocks while also providing fisheries for nets and recreational fisherman has been job #1 for decades... nuttin new here.
 

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They have one (only one) priority. Sell licenses! Everything else takes a backseat to that.
Actually Jeff, I don't think that's true at all. First, there's nothing at law or policy that I know that emphasizes license sales. Second, I can't think of many, or maybe any, actions that have been undertaken with license sales as an objective. Three, there are innumerable instances of actions by WDFW that effectively discourage license sales by reducing the times and areas open to sport fishing and the number of fish available to sport fishing. On the contrary, I think WDFW, in this ongoing climate of fewer General Fund dollars from the Legislature's appropriations, should be paying more attention to, and acting to encourage license sales by improving recreational fishing opportunity instead of decreasing it.

Sg
 

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Make my day
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Got it right from the horses mouth.

Fishing opportunities = fishing licenses = a budget. Why don't we have ONE quality lake in all of Snohomish county? Because put & take sells licenses!

A number of groups have been working on that goal for a long, long time. They were told flat out. "No rule change that might lower the number of licenses sold will be considered." Even if it would in up as a financial benefit. No stocking required as the groups would pay for it.

All they asked for is one out of the four hundred and sixty listed! The state has a mandate written in stone and nothing will change it. Not even lower costs.

Tell me, how many people are not going to buy a license if one lake is managed like Pass? How much does it cost to stock Pass? How is it so hard to try to get just one?

They did try with Rattlesnake in King. Can't think of a worse lake. No food and fluctuating water levels. It's like they wanted it to fail.

Sorry for the rant. Pet peeve.
 
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Hardly a rant. Maybe Salmo's right and it isn't their stated objective, but it does seem like the equation reflects the history of the departments decisions over the years.

Some discussions I've had with non fly-fishing folks suggest that the "quality lakes" program is perceived as a special interest program. Even when I explain that it isn't restricted to fly fishing only, just no bait and some further limitations on the business end of the line, they seem to view them in poor light.
 

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Jeff,

Yes, it's true that put-and-take does sell licenses, in that most fishing license buyers partake in the lowland lakes fishery on a statewide basis. But that doesn't explain the Department's decades-old action of raising millions of hatchery steelhead at a cost that significantly exceeds the cost of the resident trout stocking program for the relatively small percentage of fishing license buyers who fish for steelhead. Money from the license buyers who fish lowland lakes has been used for decades to raise steelhead that they don't fish for. Raising and stocking resident trout yields a higher dollar and fish return than does the steelhead program, yet the steelhead program has until recently enjoyed a status not dissimilar to a religious alter.

On another angle, the Department spends millions of General Fund and some license dollars to raise hatchery salmon that are largely caught by people who don't buy state fishing licenses, i.e., AK, BC, WA commercial, and treaty harvests. If WDFW were tuned in to providing services for those who buy its licenses, there would be major program overhauls that are not even being thought about, let alone given serious consideration.

As for why there isn't one quality lake in Snohomish County, I don't know. My guess is that any that might be proposed would be met with more opposition than support. Change is difficult in the face of tradition, regardless of how unwise or uneconomical the tradition. It can be done. The South Sound Fly Fishers were able to have a small neighborhood lake made year-round CNR. The lake hosts spiny rays that have been there since who knows when, and the club funds the stocking of larger-than-average sized trout. Some locals poach of course, but it still offers the best lowland lake fishing in the vicinity. So it's possible.
Sg
 

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Jeff-

No doubt that the lowland lake trout program (opening day waters) generated more income via license sells than the program cost. In effect those casual anglers that fished opening day help fund the fishing that many of us hard core anglers enjoy.

Not sure what you consider a "quality water" but when the new regulations go into effect July 1st reportedly there will be two Snohomish County lakes managed under selective gear rules with a 1 fish limit with a minimum size limit of 18 inches (the same regulations that are on Lone). Those lakes are Chain just north of Monroe and Martha (Warm Beach) south of Stanwood. That is the result of some hard work by a few individuals in several fly clubs. I know several of those involved are excited about the potential of these "new fisheries".

Curt
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What about rebuilding the anadromous wild stocks. Can't we talk about them?

Are steelhead off the record or something? I'd give up my mental views to the salmon but not the steelhead!
 

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Klick,

One of the difficulties in the discussion of rebuilding wild steelhead stocks is that those involved in the recovery planning process, at least at the draft level, have no working definition of what recovery is or what it looks like. Some of the values produced by using the old WDG 1985 steelhead report on setting preliminary escapement goals with a generic productivity model at varying ocean survival levels appear hopelessly optimistic to me. By that I mean that no western WA river basin has produced these kinds of run sizes at escapements observed over the last 35 years or so.

I'm of the opinion that rebuilding or recovery needs to start with existing conditions because anything else is imaginary. Existing conditions include escapements observed over the period of record and resulting run sizes and recruitment at ocean survival rates that also have occurred during this same time period. That information can be used to identify river basin carrying capacity and productivity under existing habitat conditions, including ocean survival. If recovery or rebuilding goals are higher than observed levels, then the real world habitat improvements that would produce this goal need to be identified in detail, along with a method or methods for making those improvements happen in a region experiencing unchecked human population growth and attendant demands for space, water, energy, and waste disposal.

I don't know if the status of recovery planning has changed since I last saw it, but there wasn't anything that I thought was particularly reality based.

Sg
 

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Some discussions I've had with non fly-fishing folks suggest that the "quality lakes" program is perceived as a special interest program. Even when I explain that it isn't restricted to fly fishing only, just no bait and some further limitations on the business end of the line, they seem to view them in poor light.
I've had these same types of discussions. They're welcome to their views, but next time ask them why a fly is more "special" than a worm? They'll stutter and stammer and eventually blurt out that most people prefer to fish with worm, bait whatever. Then I tell them to get back to me after they compare the number of worm lakes to fly lakes.
Still waiting on that call...
 

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Jeff-

No doubt that the lowland lake trout program (opening day waters) generated more income via license sells than the program cost. In effect those casual anglers that fished opening day help fund the fishing that many of us hard core anglers enjoy.

Not sure what you consider a "quality water" but when the new regulations go into effect July 1st reportedly there will be two Snohomish County lakes managed under selective gear rules with a 1 fish limit with a minimum size limit of 18 inches (the same regulations that are on Lone). Those lakes are Chain just north of Monroe and Martha (Warm Beach) south of Stanwood. That is the result of some hard work by a few individuals in several fly clubs. I know several of those involved are excited about the potential of these "new fisheries".

Curt
Curt, I'm in one of those clubs and yes it has been a long road to a partial victory. Yet, if you look farther down the calendar you will notice, come opening day they will be reverting back to put and take rules. Also poaching is way more likely when you can't tell if you see if a fish is legal, or if the harvesters have been there multiple times a day, every day. Both lakes already have a problem with that.

That's why I'm in favor of a Pass Lake type of fishery. No take means no reason to try. Someone sees you harvest a fish and they know your poaching. Simple and clear.
 

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Klick,

One of the difficulties in the discussion of rebuilding wild steelhead stocks is that those involved in the recovery planning process, at least at the draft level, have no working definition of what recovery is or what it looks like. Some of the values produced by using the old WDG 1985 steelhead report on setting preliminary escapement goals with a generic productivity model at varying ocean survival levels appear hopelessly optimistic to me. By that I mean that no western WA river basin has produced these kinds of run sizes at escapements observed over the last 35 years or so.

I'm of the opinion that rebuilding or recovery needs to start with existing conditions because anything else is imaginary. Existing conditions include escapements observed over the period of record and resulting run sizes and recruitment at ocean survival rates that also have occurred during this same time period. That information can be used to identify river basin carrying capacity and productivity under existing habitat conditions, including ocean survival. If recovery or rebuilding goals are higher than observed levels, then the real world habitat improvements that would produce this goal need to be identified in detail, along with a method or methods for making those improvements happen in a region experiencing unchecked human population growth and attendant demands for space, water, energy, and waste disposal.

I don't know if the status of recovery planning has changed since I last saw it, but there wasn't anything that I thought was particularly reality based.

Sg
I understand what you are saying but this just comes across as an apologist.

Are you saying we should just now start gathering data, then wait another, what, 10-20 years until we somewhat understand ocean conditions and escapement goals to do something?

I fully appreciate your knowledge but sometimes it seems like you blur the line between facts and your opinion. You appear to be very close to the process, and that doesn't seem to be working in the wild fish's favor so far.
 

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Yard Sale,

Perhaps I owe an apology for seeming to be an apologist? Definitely not my intent.

I was trying to respond to Klick's topic of rebuilding wild stocks. I'll try to keep my opinion separate from the facts. IMO, the first step in rebuilding is to define what rebuilding looks like. What is the "desired future condition?" So far that has not been included in the draft PS steelhead recovery plan. This suggests to me that the folks involved are still unclear on where the recovery process is headed. For comparison, the PS Chinook recovery plan has milestone habitat measures (which are running behind) and milestone population goals by watershed.

No, I'm not saying we should now begin gathering data. We have steelhead harvest and escapement data - varying in quality between river systems - going back over 35 years. Again, IMO, making a decision on what to do needs to be grounded on what is and what we already know. We have data sufficient to establish as fact that some, perhaps many or most, PS river basins are currently at their environmental carrying capacity for wild steelhead. Harvest rates have been so low over the last two decades or more as to no longer be a factor affecting population abundance. Hydro is very limited in its impact to PS steelhead populations. The hatchery steelhead impact is being debated without universal consensus currently. My interpretation of the data is that the adverse impact is small and is probably not measurable as an affect on wild steelhead population abundance.

That leaves habitat among the 4 Hs. Freshwater habitat is what it is in the PS region. My personal estimate - i.e., opinion - is that overall throughout the PS region is a slight downward trend over the last two decades that does adversely affect river basin productivity and carrying capacity. I see that trend continuing irreversibly going forward due to projected human population increase. Are there any facts to contradict my opinion?

Ocean survival is just an extension of habitat. The difference seems to be that we have less ability to influence that factor, and it is the one that has such a huge effect on anadromous fish population abundance. We have seen smolt to adult survival rates (SAR) from highs of around 10% to presently less than 1% for many populations. When we are looking at order of magnitude variations in population abundance from this singular factor, we get results like the 1988 "record" Skagit wild steelhead run of 16,000 to the 2009 "record" low return of 2,500. And both results can occur from the same or similar sized spawning escapements. I think these are facts and not just my opinion. So with this natural variation in population abundance we can have both exceptional steelhead fishing, and we can have a population so threatened it gets listed under the ESA.

My opinion is to ask "why?" A population can only be threatened in its existence from natural variation only if that variation persists at the low end long enough to thwart the intrinsic salmonid population attribute of resiliance to rebound from low abundance. I'm not saying that couldn't happen, but so far, it hasn't. It has rebounded, and it isn't threatened. Most north sound populations aren't either, except maybe the Stilly, which has some exceptionally bad environmental problems.

I'm not saying we shouldn't do anything. However I think better thought needs to be given in regard to habitat conservation and habitat improvement. I think collectively we're really poor at the former and mediocre at the latter - that's opinion, not necessarily fact.

Lastly, I hope you're not insinuating that my proximity to the process has been bad for wild stocks. I can and have listed evidence of my work resulting in increased natural production of salmon and steelhead; not an easy thing in an area where the overall trend is downward.

Sg
 
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