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Geriatric Skagit Swinger
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
In the last couple of days I've had some more news from WDFW's Brett Barkdull. On August 29th a preliminary management plan went to NOAA for comments on any potential fatal flaws that would knock it down immediately. In the past, submissions like this have taken months. Not so this time. NOAA and WDFW are meeting on Monday.

To quote an email from Brett to Chris DeLeone; "Officially the fastest turn around with that agency I've ever seen! LOL! Things are moving now, this turn around is good news… I'll know more soon."

What's in the plan exactly hasn't been made public yet as is usually the case during this stage. However, if it just followed the status quo, there would be no need for it.
 

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While the public has not seen the draft plan (as it should be until the Feds and co-managers have had a chance to discuss differences/concerns and hopefully come to so sort of agreement).

I expect the corner stone of the Skagit wild winter steelhead management plan to be a sliding scale of allowed exploitation based on forecasted abundances (break points). The follow is just an illustration of what such break points and allowable exploitation (from all fishing sources) MIGHT look like - and I stress the numbers being used are just for illustration and expect the agree numbers to look different.

For forecasts of less than 2,500 zero exploitation.
For forecasts from 2,501 to 6,000 an allowed exploitation of 4%.
For forecasts from 6,001 to 10,000 an allowed exploitation of 16%.
For forecasts above 10,000 an allowed exploitation of 25%.

The gold standard for the evaluation of the Skagit steelhead management plan is whether it (with its various break points and sliding exploitation rates) will result in significant increase in the risk of extinction for the Skagit ESA wild steelhead stocks over the next century.

If the recreational fishery is strictly a CnR season then the season would likely be limited to a mortality (hooking mortality times the number of fish expected to be handled) of less than 1/2 of the allowed mortality (non-treaty share). I expect the hooking mortality rate used to 10% though lower values (typically 5%) have been used in other areas. Once the framework is agreed to then the interesting work of how to best craft the recreational seasons will be begin in earnest and hopefully the public will have a chance to provide input in that process. If so I expect the ideas from the public to be all over the board and getting folks on more or less the same page may prove to be as difficult as getting the plan drafted and submitted.

Curt
 

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The quick turn around does not surprise me all that much. The Feds must want to help the state and tribes agree on something. If I were them I would see this as a huge opportunity to rebuild a positive working relationship between those 2 parties. The last thing that NMFS wants is a repeat of this years N. of Falcon shit show.

I also think that as far as season setting goes (should we get that far), that it may not be as hard as one would think. The state is providing a new opportunity. They don't need to have a huge amount of public input. They can open what they want and allow the public to provide rule change proposals later. There is no need to let the wildcatters, TU or the guides have any input. They may do well to have a discussion with WFC, if for no other reason than that WFC sues a lot and the state would benefit from the perception of inclusion with them. Sometimes it is wise to include people who are not "allies".

I would like to personally thank all the people who have showed up to OS "protests", spoken to the commission and written the commission, department. There are some that deserve a bit more praise. It's truly a neat group of people and a wide cast of characters.

Go Sox,
cds
 

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I have a couple questions about this whole thing, I have tried doing my research but it seems the members on this board have more information than anyone else I talk to. Have we heard any news about how this plan is playing out?

Also, can I get some insight from the other guys on this site on the Sauk-Suiattle/other Skagit tribe's fishing regulations.

As it stands do they have rights to 50% of the Skagit Steelhead Run, even though there is little to no hatchery stock left?

Will they be netting this March?

And, with the recent recent Skagit river Draft Plan, how does this affect the native fishing rights ?

Most importantly if they are allowed to keep more wild Steelhead after the management plan gets put in place - are they the type of tribe that will net everything they can to get their full quota?

PS I certainly do not mean to sound like a racist or bigot, I fully respect the tribes and their culture, especially because I know this tribe in question has previously been very proactive in habitat restoration. However, I like everyone else, cringe at the thought of Wild steelhead falling to the perils of getting flossed out of their river by a gill net, and I would just like to know how much the CNR season will affect the total number of fish in the river.

Thanks in advance.
 

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I have a couple questions about this whole thing, I have tried doing my research but it seems the members on this board have more information than anyone else I talk to. Have we heard any news about how this plan is playing out?

Also, can I get some insight from the other guys on this site on the Sauk-Suiattle/other Skagit tribe's fishing regulations.

As it stands do they have rights to 50% of the Skagit Steelhead Run, even though there is little to no hatchery stock left?

Will they be netting this March?

And, with the recent recent Skagit river Draft Plan, how does this affect the native fishing rights ?

Most importantly if they are allowed to keep more wild Steelhead after the management plan gets put in place - are they the type of tribe that will net everything they can to get their full quota?

PS I certainly do not mean to sound like a racist or bigot, I fully respect the tribes and their culture, especially because I know this tribe in question has previously been very proactive in habitat restoration. However, I like everyone else, cringe at the thought of Wild steelhead falling to the perils of getting flossed out of their river by a gill net, and I would just like to know how much the CNR season will affect the total number of fish in the river.

Thanks in advance.
Take another look at Smalma's post. He lays out the exploitation numbers pretty well. The tribes have historically respected the exploitation rates in the past and have not done nor said anything that would suggest they would do things differently in the future.
 

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I think a lot of their exploitation in recent years has been during their spring Chinook fishery.
 
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I would be interested in steelhead bycatch numbers occurring during tribal spring Chinook fishing. This fishery occurs in May or later and is primarily located in the lower river. At that time of year most of the steelhead run has already past the lower river and is in the upper reaches of the system. I guess some middle river spawners could be present but those fish usual enter the river early in the steelhead run and have already spawned thus the reason the middle river has traditionally closed in mid March.
 

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Wait a minute...

Are we trading the lives of wild steelhead for this c&r season we have been working towards? Like, they will potentially get to net 25% of a 10,000+ fish forecast just because we want to be able to c&r in February, March and April? I didn't know that it was coming at such a cost to the fish. Doesn't seem worth it to me...

Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong.
 

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Wait a minute...

Are we trading the lives of wild steelhead for this c&r season we have been working towards? Like, they will potentially get to net 25% of a 10,000+ fish forecast just because we want to be able to c&r in February, March and April? I didn't know that it was coming at such a cost to the fish. Doesn't seem worth it to me...

Somebody please correct me if I'm wrong.
If there are harvestable numbers of steelhead the tribes will fish no matter what we do. Having a c&r season also relies on the availability of harvestable fish and the percentage of those fish that could die as a result of a c&r fishery would go towards our harvestable numbers. Here is where the argument get interesting. Some say if fish can be lost to c&r then there should be a catch and kill harvest fishery. They have a point. The reason for a strictly c&r fishery is more anglers can enjoy the resource while doing less harm to the run.
 

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I completely understand the reason for, and I fully support a strictly c&r season. I guess I just didn't realize that there are people still interested in killing wild Skagit steelhead on purpose.

What I do realize is I still have a lot to learn about it, so I apologize because I know this has already been covered. I just dont know all of the specifics and the more I read, the less I feel I have learned.

So its a fair trade then? Or is it even a trade at all? Because they will net regardless of weather or not we get a c&r season?
 

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So its a fair trade then? Or is it even a trade at all? Because they will net regardless of weather or not we get a c&r season?
You will need to make that determination for yourself. One thing I can tell you is the tribal harvest has been approximately 4 or 5% of the run. One could make an argument that the mortality rate of a c&r fishery is at least the same or possibly higher than that. For me the tribes fishing for steelhead is a nonissue.
 

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Rpbfishin,

Just to reiterate, there is no trade. Sport fishers and the tribes are not trading anything. So you don't have to worry about fairness. Besides, life ain't fair anyway, in case you hadn't heard. Both treaty and non-treaty fishing are subject to conservation requirements. In fish management terms, for wild steelhead run sizes larger than the 6,000 spawning escapement guideline, there are harvestable fish whether or not you or I want them considered as such.

Yes, there are people so unevolved that they want to kill wild steelhead on purpose. If wild steelhead were consistently productive well above the escapement guideline there are both treaty and non-treaty interests who would prefer to harvest every last paper steelhead above that guideline.

However, the draft Skagit steelhead plan has to pass through an ESA filter that considers the likelihood that whatever fishing is allowed, in addition to all other impacts, the population won't be threatened with extinction as a result.

The track record is clear, as explained by the Skagit steelhead data, that neither treaty harvests nor non-treaty sport fishing has had any measurable effect on the abundance of Skagit steelhead since 1978. So resuming steelhead fishing on the Skagit, under the state and tribal regulations and federal ESA guidelines, is not likely to adversely affect nor jeopardize the continued existence or recovery of wild Skagit steelhead.

Sg
 
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