Wild Steelhead Proposal for Chehalis System [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Wild Steelhead Proposal for Chehalis System

02-28-2003, 12:12 AM
Action Alert! Please write ASAP to support option 3! Time is of the essences.

The WDFW is seeking input on the Chehalis system steelhead fishery for this year. The predicted run size includes a harvestable surplus this year of wild fish and they are looking at 3 options for management:

Background data for 2003

Run size 10975 wild fish estimated
Treaty catch 648
Chehalis tribal 330 this leaves 9997 wild fish
e-goal 8600
Available 9997-8600 = 1397 fish available for possible sport use

Option 1: Season: Mar 1-7
Predicted catch of 145 to 196 fish, leaving a buffer of 1201 fish

Option 2: Season: Mar 24-31
Estimated catch: 166 to 223, leaving a buffer of 1074 fish

Option 3: Extend Wild Steelhead Release (WSR) season for 2 weeks to April 15 on the Wynooche and Satsop and to April 30 on the Chehalis.

No information was provided on hooking mortality, but I assume that it is less than the buffer amount.

The Advisory Group was about divided in their vote for these options: 9 for option 2 and 8 for option 3.

Data shows the Chehalis system has been above the escapement goal for 4 years without a kill fishery by roughly 500 to 3000 fish with last year being about 10,500 fish escaping to the spawning grounds.

Other facts:

The Chehalis system was underescaped between 1987 and 1997 except for 1989 when it just made the goal.

The Wnyooche has made escapement since 1894, except for 87, 92 and 96.

The Satsop has been underescaped since 1987 except for just making it in 93, 94, 98, and making it by 700 or so fish in 02.

The mainstem of the Chehalis has been underescaped since 1987 except for 99 and 2000.

We reviewed this fishery last year in the Advisory Group and Nate and I (along with a few others) voted for WSR. The Department followed that option. They now seem to favor a kill fishery, as it has been closed for a long time (to a kill fishery).

I again voted for WSR suggesting it would be better to allow the fish to spawn and hopefully build the run higher before a harvest.

I talked to B. Leland today and he said there is still a small amount of time to get comments in. He suggested sending e-mail comments to him and Bob Gibbons. I would suggest sending them also to Director Jeff Koenings and Bill Freymond. Here are those address'

Bob Leland lelanrfl@dfw.wa.gov
Bob Gibbons gibborgg@dfw.wa.gov
Jeff Koenings koenijpg@dfw.wa.gov
Bill Freymond freymbhf@dfw.wa.gov

Time is of the essence. Try to get comments in by the end of the week as they will make their decision early in March.

Dick Burge
VP Conservation
Wild Steelhead Coalition