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Wading Ethics

1587 Views 25 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  Greggor
Most of the rivers are full of spawn, redds. We have had a lot of water coming down the rivers. Most likely most of the redds are nearly impossible to pick out. And they are all over, not just in the prime spots and different species have their preffered areas.

I don't believe I have ever seen in the regs that wading is against the law. However is it ethical to stomp around in the water while there are active redds. It only takes one wrong step to wipe out a nest. Every redd destroyed reduces the return. And there are few rivers in this state that can afford to loose even 1 redd due to a fishermans big foot.

My contention is that on some systems fishermen wading on redds causes huge mortality!

If the fry don't make it out into the river then they can never return as an adult.

I will expand this to those who throw out anchors and even let the anchor slow down the drift dragging the bottom.

If we really want to have wild fish can we afford to blindly wade, or in fact wade at all?

wet line Dave
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If you are going to worry about maybe stepping on a redd then you should worry about maybe hooking a fish and hurting it. If your fishing ethics are that fine grained, you should stay home.
What happened to my response. Blasted keyboard, I hate it.
My point was to never scold anyone for doing anything wrong. If they know the regs, they will get belligerent. If they don't know the regs, they'll get defensive. If they get defensive, they may get belligerent. So, when talking to someone making mistakes, use diplomacy. Honey wins more friends than vinegar. If you state your case right, they may be more inclined to spread the wisdom.
That being said, a jerk is a jerk. In that case, use your cell phone and call the cops. But, don't let them see you making the call. (Better chance of catching them)
This is going to start a shit storm.
A storm yes. But I wouldn't have used the same words. iagree
Makes me think of the San Juan Shuffle.
Whats wrong with Wading Ethnics? Oh wait, never mind.

Seriously, I definitely think this is a legitimate area of concern. My initial thoughts, I don't think this is as much of a regulatory issue as it is a educational issue. The poaching laws seem to be under enforced as it is, and I would think any laws would effectively ban taking a swim on a hot summer day.

If a serious abuses were taking place I would think existing anti wildlife harassment laws could be enforced.
If we really want to have wild fish can we afford to blindly wade, or in fact wade at all?

wet line Dave
If survival of the wild fish is the issue we should probably just stop fishing. Actually, we'd provide the largest benefit if we just stopped breeding. Problem solved.
This is going to start a shit storm.
iagree Way to call that one Jim...
You can wade without stepping on or in redds, kicking up eggs etc. You just have to wade carefully. And wading does not necesarily have to come down to shuffling around in a river like a dumbass. Of course it is unethical to disturb redds. It is also illegal to damage them.

"Ethics Schmethics...as long as yah got yer health!"

Please dont kick up the redds :rofl:

And yes, "dragging anchors" is a serious problem!!!!
I don't remember where I was exactly this fall but I remember seeing an information sign/poster along a stream, on how to identify redds with good photos as part of the sign and, of course, explaining why to not disturb them. I thought it was a good idea.
At what time of the year do any fish in the rivers stop laying eggs. You have about five species of Salmon and then there is the Steelhead and the Cutts and the Whitefish and if there are any native fish left they do it also. Then there are the sculpins. It's an on going thing.

The Love is always in the air or underwater in this case.
If survival of the wild fish is the issue we should probably just stop fishing. Actually, we'd provide the largest benefit if we just stopped breeding. Problem solved.
That wouldn't be any funbawling:
If this is a serious problem and being a nubee at this I take that it is all I have seen on this thread is lot of gabbing and no real solutions. Dryflylarry made a reference to some educational materiel out there that might be helpful, Jim noted the variety we are blessed with all great. I feel that as a nubee to the sport and someone who regularly trawls this site to learn more about this sport it would be nice to have people address issues with some data to get the conversation going.

Yes this could be a touchy subject I agree, but none of us are here if we didn't like to fish. That settled how is the best way to wade and not screw-up the fishery for our selves not to mention everyone else?
Situational awareness, cautious wading, and gentle treatment of the environment help; "I don't give a rip" selfish practices don't. That being said, I levitate . . .
Well there really isn't any trouble is wading. You just have to watch where you wade at. Fish won't spawn in sand and the faster deeper water is out for them also. But I have noticed on The N/F Stilly that the salmon spawn at the head of riffles and out of the reaches of fast water. Not frog water just slower moving water.

Believe the OP indicated that with the abundant rains, redds now are hard to distinquish. Just to add piss to the fire.
Probably everyone will say they wade carefully. A few may.
FWIW - I'm in the camp to minimize impact as much as possible. On some streams (or portions thereof) it might be prudent to banish wading, all or some portion of the year. I'll leave it to the fisheries guys here to lead that analysis.
Good thread for thought.
If you want to ban wading, I suggest you team up with the Wildcat Steelhead Club. They tried to get wade fishing banned and failed. At the time it was in retaliation for an attempt to ban motorized boats on the Skagit.

For whatever its worth I don't think the sportsmen of this state need anymore fricken laws telling us how we should fish or hunt. We have enough laws already. Try education for a change.
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