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· North Bend, WA
4,814 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
[font size="2" color="#000099"]Gotta love PC's. Especially when your email program with all your mail, with all your contacts (mine were partially backed up, wife's were not so her loss is my fault ;-)) crashes without possible recovery.[/font]

So, someone out there emailed me the question (I'm paraphrasing) "Why are Western Washington's local trout populations generally small and low counts. Did they used to be, say 100 years ago, much bigger with significantly higher numbers?". Before I could respond I lost their email address with the crash. Hopefully you hit this post. Sorry for the inconvenience.

I'll go ahead and generalize that yes, 100 years ago I'm sure there were greater numbers of trout in our local river systems and of larger size. Couple reasons. First is that of course there has been over the last century higher and higher pressure by anglers. Early on by catch & kill, later compounded by the high numbers of folks in the region. This probably wouldn't have been such a factor but the Oregon Border Patrol has had the same problems stopping the folks from the State to their South as Cali as had with the country to their South. No offense. Really.

The second factor can be explained by comparing the two regions between Eastern & Western Washington. The basic reason is the differences in primary productivity between the regions, which is most likely due to climactic conditions or the prevalent weather in the two regions.

Western Washington, as all of us who live here know, receives a lot of rainfall. This condition results in the washing out of nutrients (the basis of primary productivity) that areas with less rainfall do not experience. This may be the reason why we have the prevalence of anadromous salmonids in westside streams and very few populations of large resident salmonids. These fish evolved to gain most of their growth at sea. The productivity is not inherent in the coastal waters to produce numbers of large salmonids, where the productivity exists in eastern Washington waters. The greater production in insect in eastern Washington waters is an indication of the relative difference in productivity between eastern and western Washington. Rainfall would also affect lake productivity.

The historic high numbers of fish in westside waters would be from anadromous species rather than resident species. The low numbers now would, in part, be attributable to high angler pressure. Other factors affect the numbers of fish now present, but most of the factors can be traced back to people effects.

I'm am not a subject matter expert on the history of Western Washington's challenges with the resident trout. This is some common sense, and input by WDFW. I welcome any input from anyone else if you have corrections or further comments.

On the flip side, there are some nice fish out there. Even in Snoqualmie Forks. It's just that when you finally hook into one, it's (I feel) your duty to release that big guy. Hell, give him a hug, shake his fin and for our sakes release him. Let us know you did so and we'll toss you a beer the next time we see you.

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