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Geriatric Skagit Swinger
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I know the future of this thread will involve bead bashing, bobber bashing, and guide bashing, but I'm hoping that we can sprinkle in some ideas on what a C&R season might include, prohibit, etc.
 

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This should be an interesting thread. How do you open a fishery and limit impacts on the fish? The low hanging fruit is no bait barbless hooks or a short season, beyond those it gets a little more difficult. They could just extend the season to a particular date, say mid march and see how it goes. I know this is a pipe dream but it would be nice if they could open a few other rivers as well to alleviate some of the pressure, like from the Sky north to the Nookie.
 
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Why not keep it how it used to be? Selective gear rules meaning single barbless hook, no bait/scent/artificial lure/fly only, no fishing from a moving boat under power, etc.

If you really wanted to manage it conservatively, you could go so far as to include no fishing from a boat. That would restrict all the plug pullers and could probably go for a longer season.

Oh yeah, no guides. :D
 

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A collector never stops collecting!
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Selective gear! No boats would be interesting, but would limit access and I'm not sure I would want that. No guides doesn't seem fair to me, but limiting the number of guides is a good idea to me...
 

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I’m a whale
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i dont think limiting any angler group is fair..selective gear rules is fine, along with barbless. guides are good and so are boats. if u want replace pressure else where..there has to be incentive to fish..the skagit can handle it imo.
 

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Selective gear! No boats would be interesting, but would limit access and I'm not sure I would want that. No guides doesn't seem fair to me, but limiting the number of guides is a good idea to me...
The "no guides" was a bit tongue in cheek but because WDFW does not mange fishing guides as far as days, location, or numbers there really is no way to control the pressure unless you use something fairly restrictive. Boats were allowed before; you just couldn't fish from them under power eliminating the side drifters from fishing effectively although they side drifted for years using oars (before kickers); it was tradition. But if you put everybody on the bank and used boats just for access, that would help minimize the number of guides and anglers as a whole.
 

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The "no guides" was a bit tongue in cheek but because WDFW does not mange fishing guides as far as days, location, or numbers there really is no way to control the pressure unless you use something fairly restrictive. Boats were allowed before; you just couldn't fish from them under power eliminating the side drifters from fishing effectively although they side drifted for years using oars (before kickers); it was tradition. But if you put everybody on the bank and used boats just for access, that would help minimize the number of guides and anglers as a whole.
I understand the "no guides" reference.. I think limiting the number of guides or setting up some sort of outfitter rules in WA is the real answer.. at the very least, having guides only guide in one area and not be able to move where ever the hell they want in the state. I know that would be hard since WA fishing is really about knowing when and where to fish, particularly on the west side and specifically for salmon and steelhead. Just look how crazy it gets on the OP, Cowlitz, Columbia, Methow, Klick, etc. when the fish are in... Anyway, let's get the river open for C&R with selective gear rules and then worry about the rest... or just let people with "Z's" in there name fish anywhere they want, whenever they want too! :)
 

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A couple items to consider.

First because the Skagit/Sauk are a wild and scenic rivers the fishing guides are required to get a permit from the USFS. The NOAA has concern about guide impacts they have a tool to limit the guide effort. Looking in that direction maybe more productive than "muddling" the Skagit/Sauk regulation development discussion with statewide guide issues.

I would remind folks that the Skagit system is no longer planted with hatchery steelhead. This has substantially changed the basin's steelhead fishing paradigm. For the 2016/2017 winter season everything closes at the end of January. That season is much shorter than what was the norm during the "hey-days" of the Skagit CnR season. Use the 2007/2008 regulations as the typical for that period the main stem Skagit was open for steelhead fishing without selective gear restriction through March 15 and the Sauk through the end of February. The CnR season with the selective gear restriction start mid March on the Skagit between the Dallas bridge and the mouth of the Cascade and the Sauk from its mouth to Darrington bridge on March first. Without the target fishery on the hatchery fish and the potential to begin the selective gear restrictions much early in the winter (First of February or even the first of December depending on the section) overall impacts may be reduced.

Curt
 

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I believe the rules that were in place before the closure were ok. I could see closing it a week or two earlier or perhaps closing down prime spawning water earlier but this may only serve to concentrate the anglers. I would also suggest a stamp or special permit to fish the Skagit system with an additional cost on top of a fishing license with the money generated going directly to managing, protecting, and studying Skagit fish.
 

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Mainly change the previous regulations to begin the Selective Gear regulations on Dec. 1 instead of March 16 on the Skagit and March 1 on the Sauk, respectively.

If WDFW or NMFS estimates that the CNR impacts are too great, then look to the segment of the fishery that produces the most hookups. That would be guide sleds boondogging, sidedrifting, or freedrifting, or whatever they call it, that can produce 20 to 30 hookups a day when fishing is good. Restrict or eliminate that practice and total CNR impacts go way down.

If guide restrictions are imposed, it should probably be limited to those grandfathered by having previously held a USFS Special Use permit for guiding under Wild and Scenic, and also to the number of rod days per season they can document with their old IRS guide income records.

(BC found that rod days documents by guide's tax records were more conservative than the number initially claimed without such documentation.)

A key thing to remember is that the track record clearly indicates that sport fishing and treaty fishing did not jeopardize the continued existance of nor inhibit the recovery of Skagit steelhead over the past 38 years. Therefore, going forward, resuming fishing is the least of the steelhead population's worries.

Sg
 

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No fishing from a boat on the Sauk, no fishing under power on the skagit. Buy a skagit river endorsement to help pay for the creel and enforcement, create an app to log your hours and fish handled and let's see where we are at after a year or two of good data.

It will be more crowded than ever seen before, promise you that.
 

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Creatch'r -
I agree a CnR steelhead authorization card would be a nice feature to incorporate into the re-establishment of the our spring CnR seasons. Not only such authorization could be a revue source ($10/$20 per card) it would provide WDFW with a list of potential CnR fisheries as well as contacts for any emergency regulation changes, surveys, etc. I also think some way to log catch information on line would be handle though not so sure about an app - there are still some of us old farts that still use dated flip phones! Would you exclude us? Such authorization cards are used by WDFW in waterfowl management (snow geese, brant and sea ducks).

How crowded the river will be will depend in at least part the river conditions and the availability of fish. There has been springs where water conditions were such that there was little fishing - just a hanful days the river was fishable.

Curt
 

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Geriatric Skagit Swinger
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
there are still some of us old farts that still use dated flip phones!
And yet you still find a way to get online. A phone app would just make it possible to access a web program from the field. You could still report your encounters from home on your computer...or, heaven forbid, via the US Postal Service!
 

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I could see no fishing while under power, but eliminating fishing from a boat singles out too many fishers. I like the idea of a Skagit Steelhead stamp. I agree with Creatch'r, I think the pressure (at least initially), will be higher than before.
 

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First because the Skagit/Sauk are a wild and scenic rivers the fishing guides are required to get a permit from the USFS. The NOAA has concern about guide impacts they have a tool to limit the guide effort. Looking in that direction maybe more productive than "muddling" the Skagit/Sauk regulation development discussion with statewide guide issues.
Does this mean that There is a way that the USFS can limit the number of days a permitted guide can access the river with clients?

No fishing from a boat on the Sauk, no fishing under power on the skagit. Buy a skagit river endorsement to help pay for the creel and enforcement, create an app to log your hours and fish handled and let's see where we are at after a year or two of good data.
^ This seems like the most fair and obvious answer. No one should be fishing the Sauk from a boat, especially above Darrington.
 

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Wayne,

I think that having the old season ending of April 30, selective gear rules, no fishing under power, and having the selective gear rules kick-in on December 1st is the way to go for the Skagit. Due to the agreement to stop stocking hatchery steelhead, there really isn't any reason for not putting selective gear rules in place on December 1st.

On the Sauk, I'd like to see the same with one change, no motors allowed on boats because far too often in the past I've seen folks with motors on their drift boats run up from the Skagit, or put in at the WDFW launch at the steel highway bridge and then run back up to fish the same couple of runs over and over. If there is not motor allowed on the boat on the Sauk, it would eliminate that.
 

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FT -
Prior to the 2010-2011 season on waters under selective gear rules fishing from a floating device equipped with an internal combustion motor was prohibited. There was a specific exception for the Skagit. I don't remember why the motor restriction under selective gear restrictions was removed. Historically both WDFW and the commission have resisted making too many exceptions to rules so some research may be needed to understanding the reasoning for that 2010 change. Suspect part of the reasoning was a more wide spread use of the selective gear rules in a variety waters/fisheries.

Not saying your suggestions are not valid or needed to make the case for that change one may need to put the proposal in some sort of context stressing diversity of fishing opportunity (motors allowed on the larger Skagit and not on the smaller Sauk). Also could discuss reducing pressure on the fish or at least spreading that pressure among more anglers. ETC.

Curt
 

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Thanks Curt. Those are very valid observations and suggestions with very good rationales. Reducing fishing pressure on the fish and spreading it among more anglers is what I had in mind for the Sauk. On the larger Skagit, as far back as I can remember, motors were allowed, but fishing under power was not allowed during the C&R season. I see no reason to change that on the Skagit because it is such a large river.

The Sauk is a different matter and is why quite a few years ago I proposed a rule change to selective gear, wild fish release year round on the Sauk in order to make it a wild fish sanctuary river that was adopted. A good spey caster, single-hand fly guy with a shooting head, bait caster, or spin caster can easily cover runs from one side of the river to the other while wading. When someone runs up the Sauk with a motor on his boat and fishes the same run or two several times in a row, it very much impacts the fishing and concentrates fishing pressure rather than spreading it out.
 

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Wishin I was on the Sauk
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Old rules, but no motors on the Sauk. If it turns in a shit show we will need more regs. One thing that would help is to have some other rivers in PS open.
If all rivers would be open for CNR selective rules no fishing under power on large rivers and no fishing from floating device on smaller rivers state wide, the crowds would be none existent and the ESA impact rather small.
But the greed of man will trump all and we will squabble over the dust that was the crumbs that was....
 
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