Skagit blown badly [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Skagit blown badly

08-20-2003, 09:47 AM
Rumor has it that a chunk of a glacier has sloughed off into the Suiattle or Chocolate Cr. and is fouling the waters of the Sauk and Skagit like you wouldn’t believe. The river is in as a bad of shape as I have ever seen it except during a flood. Can anyone verify the rumor or have any additional information about what has blown the Skagit out of shape?

Mean Mr Mustard
08-20-2003, 01:09 PM
As one would expect, the upper river is clear, but...

Found three local yeehaws fishing for kings with their corkies and such. Bragged about the big king one had hooked yesterday and fought for 45 minutes. Gee, you slopeheads, don't you know the king is ESA listed up here. ALL salmon fishing is closed above the confluence with the Cascade River, year round. They know but do not care. And no one fishes for cutts with a tuna rod!

Went through the typical phone message systems to report this violation yet was unable to contact a "live" person. It's hopeless.:mad:


08-20-2003, 02:00 PM
It seems the further east one goes along the Skagit River the more interesting the people are. Not saying they are any better or worse then the flat landers living on the flood plain. Just a bit more eccentric shall we say. The poaching that takes place in the lower sections seems to be a tad more concealed but no less ubiquitous.

08-20-2003, 03:03 PM

Don't you just love the way WDFW Enforcement gets right on reported violations on the Skagit?

The amount of poaching that I've seen on the river for kings and other salmon species is maddening. It seems that enforcement has decided that it is OK to have some poaching on the Skagit above Woolley. There are people catching and keeping kings and pinks at Lyman Ferry. the Mixer, and Pressetin Creek. And these are all found right on roads.

08-20-2003, 03:28 PM
Flytyer & MMM, As long as the enforcement officers responsible for your area can do nothing and draw their paychecks with no adverse public relations I don't think you will ever get any action on the poaching issue. Those officers can't be so naive or dumb to believe there is no problem. The tired excuse that they are stretched out to thin is pretty well worn out. A case could be made for dereliction of public duty. I think I said this once before but you guys should find a newspaper reporter that is friendly to environmental issues and clue him/her in with a little guided trip to show them the highlights of this poaching activity. Maybe a story in the Seattle paper will put a little heat on the Game and Fish Department.
Also, the salmon are protected under federal law so why not call the Fish and Wildlife Service. When I lived in Arizona those guys were on the scene at the slightest hint of any illegal activity. Take care, MJC

Mean Mr Mustard
08-20-2003, 03:29 PM
WDFW enforcement is a joke, a bad joke at that. It's bad enough that the regs are written with such loop holes that one can pilot a jet sled through them but there is next to no enforcement. The system is set up so that if the game department can't respond then the state troopers will. HA!

In Marblemount there lives 3 such troopers and their families (close to half the population) yet no one will respond. I'm still waiting on a call I made last October in response to a violation (and I had witnesses, the offenders names, car tags, and even local address).

Thanks, again, for letting me blow off some steam on the subject.


08-20-2003, 03:36 PM
The problem goes beyond the WDFW. I think you will find the root problem for the lack of enforcement is the lack of money. WDFW being a state organization is subject to the whims of the politicians. The politicals have consistently cut the budget of the WDFW as they attempt to balance the budget and cover their own butts.

I believe you could crunch the numbers and find something like an increase of anglers around 30 to 40% more in the last 20 years and a decrease in the number of enforcement officers working for the WDFW. I would assume this is because the money is not there. WDFW will put what money they have where they can get the biggest bang for the buck. I don’t know for sure but I would think enforcement does not make the list.

Mean Mr Mustard
08-20-2003, 04:07 PM
Tried the newspaper route last fall and the local rag was simply not interested (they, too, have problems with getting timely responses from this agency).

Maybe a slight silver lining is to be found - I spoke with the local tribal fisheries office and they stated they would pass the info along to their enforcement personnel. Boldt or not, the tribes coming to the rescue is somewhat ironic, eh? They are increasingly becoming our best ally (foregone opportunity notwithstanding). Further, the tribal commission is scheduled to receive a federal grant in September to add 11 more enforcement officers to WDFW enforcement. Why is it that I still hold my breath?


08-20-2003, 04:18 PM
It's not just the Skagit it's everywhere in the state. Yesterday I met a contractor on a jobsite who boasted to me that he recently snagged 24 kings on the Woshugal and smoked them up in his smoker. Until recently I never knew that there was so much inbreading in Washington State. Ya a few up north and a few out east and a lot over in Quilcene and some further west. What is wrong with the fathers of these guys can't they find anyone but their sisters to have kids with. With Kerry patroling the lower Skagit and MMM patroling the upper river you would think that these snag happy turkeys would be no more by now.

Some say that happiness is in a warm gun and not having a Knee cap is a rememberence of a life time. But you did not hear that from me and I realize we can not do that in a civilized society. Think about it though, wouldn't it be kind of fun in a sick kind of way.
Peace on the river.

08-20-2003, 04:35 PM
I disagree it's not a lack of money it's a lack of proper priorities. They refuse to look at issues of right and wrong behavior so therefore enforcment is lacking. They spend all their money running hatcheries that promote unethical behavior because it sells licenses. It is my firsm opinion bordering on fact that WDFW at the mangment level does not give a **** about fish endangered or not.. Some people High up in that organization need to lose their jobs because they have been such miserable failures.. Buy hey people keep buying licenses so whats the big deal right?

In my opinion we chould close some hatcheries and have a gamie or two on EVERY river full time looking after that river and it's wild life should be their priority number 1

08-20-2003, 04:36 PM

Seems WDFW wants to get the message out on some rivers........

08-20-2003, 04:47 PM

I will not argue the fact that WDFW suffers from mismanagement. I don't know of any state agency that doesn't fall into the catagory of mismanaged. But, I think the problem of mismanagement stems more from the fact the the organization head is a political appointee. The head of the WDFW is judged by who's butt he kisses not by performance. Case in point, Bern Shanks.

I still contend that it comes down to money. Whether you want to put the mismanage spin on it or put a numbers spin on it. It all boils down to how much money they have and how they are going to spend it.

08-20-2003, 05:50 PM
Howdy All, Roballen I think you have it nailed pretty good.

Kerry, If the game wardens were making any attempt at enforcement and were getting some of the law breakers than I could buy your theory. We have had this same discussion several times and Flytyer & MMM have always had the same complaint. Lack of response from the local enforcement sector. I see that as not doing the job at all. That is the tired argument of we, meaning enforcement, can't be everywhere that I spoke of above. The reality is "they" aren't anywhere. I have never once in all of these discussions ever heard anyone mention that they knew an enforcement officer. I don't know my local enforcement officer anymore either but I know where he lives and I also know where the Fish and Game Commissioner for this area is every day. If I was experiencing the problems you guys are I would take these guys on a little ride and show them. If they wouldn't go you can believe there would be an article in the Lewiston and Boise papers about their unwillingness to do their jobs. Take care, MJC

08-20-2003, 05:57 PM
I know a WDFW enforcement officer that has recently retired after what I think was 25 years working for WDFW. He was a dedicated officer. I know he took pride in his job and was very good at it. I have heard him voice frustration with the dept. and I also have listen to him talk about others who work for WDFW. These are people that care about thier jobs. I doubt anyone would get into this kind of work for the money. It isn't worth the abuse and bull they take if it were for the money. Lets get real here.

08-20-2003, 06:13 PM
Kerry, I'm all for getting real. I will be the first to admit that enforcment officers aren't paid enough and they most deffinately have to put up with a lot of abuse from the public. I will also agree that the BIG problem is in management. But MMM & Flytyer are talking about open violation of the law in broad daylight in view of a good portion of the traveling public and you are telling me there is no way someone can not make an occaisional bust even after enforcment has received a first hand tip. I don't buy that.

Mean Mr Mustard
08-20-2003, 06:40 PM

Sorry but I just don't buy your arguement. It seems more a boilerplate escape clause, this budget crap. It was going on long before T.Ehyman (sp) screwed up the tax system causing these so called budgetary constraints, ad naseum.

An issue came up while my son and I fished the Zipper Lake. A couple 30 somethings drove up and proceeded to unload their wooden boat and MOTOR to go trolling. Crossing the lake, I told them of the motor ban and received the finger for my efforts. They trolled around until I left, seemingly with no care in the world. I reported their violation with license tab and as of yet have heard nothing from WDFW enforcement. That was two months ago. They have had plenty of time to track this plate down yet I do not believe they have done anything in respect to my report.


No newspaper is willing to take it on.

As to the local agents address, I know he lives about 20 miles from me. That's about all. Oh, and the phone numbers he gave me (when we did meet) to reach him personally were either a recording telling me to call HQ in Mill Creek or simply not "setup" and/or active.

You can't get through to a live person and they refuse to return calls!

An aside - I did finally get ahold of the US Forest Service office in Sedro Woolley, and discussed the issue of their access point. I donated a 16' heavy steel cattle gate should they want to use it to close the road. At least the pouchers won't be able to hide offroad.


08-20-2003, 07:15 PM
I hate to be the one to say it, but this list of grievances all fit under the "quaint culture of Washington State" to me. I've never seen poaching at this level anywhere else, state Govt mismanagement like this anywhere else, a total inability to problem solve at this level anywhere else. The attitude seems to be: take it or leave it. No negotiation, no progress. So, that's what we got. Who knew?

08-20-2003, 09:07 PM
Kerry S,

It's about time that WDFW did something about the mess over on the Quilcene. When I lived in Port Angeles (1991 to 1994), the Quilcene was a mess with open poaching, snagging, and property violations that were so bad that the fly fishers I knew in Port Angeles referred to the Quilcene coho fishery as the "Combat Zone". And told me not to go there unless I was willing to put up with Billy Bob and Bubba using illegal methods while bonking any and all fish.

The fact the WDFW is finally doing something is good news. The sad part is that it had been going on since the 80's. Why should it take 20 years for something to be done?


I know a WA State Patrol Officer and I asked him why the state patrol would not do something about the poaching when it was reported. He told me that his job was not to enforce fish and game laws, his job was to enforce traffic law and keep the roads safe for the public. He went on to say that I should report fishing violations (preferaby with vehicle license numbers) to WDFW.

When I asked a Sheriff's Deputy to do something about the poaching right off the public road, he told me that was the job of WDFW enforcement officers and not the job of the sheriff's office.

And to add further to this, MMM is correct about the Skagit Valley Herald being uninterested in doing an article on poaching uless the perpetrator was caught by WDFW, arrested, and had something like his boat taken away for the poaching. The claim is that otherwise such an article is meaningless and people will not read it.

08-20-2003, 10:32 PM
Flytyer, I don't doubt for a minute that what you say about the state patrol and the sheriffs dept. not wanting to take any action as being true and I don't remember saying that either should be called. However if any law enforcement officer knows the law is being broken and fails to contact the enforcement agent and get him on the scene then he/she is definitely cheating the tax payers of Washington. I don't know how your sheriffs office over there is set up but on the Clearwater in my area the Clearwater county sheriffs dept operates a patrol boat on the river and they should be enforcing all the laws. I always thought ALL law enforcement officers took an oath to uphold the laws of the state. I've never heard of anyone taking that oath offer a disclaimer when it came to game and fish laws. Would the state patrolman you mentioned watch someone shoot an elk from or across the road and drive away. I'd bet not.

As to the newspaper article I sure as hell wasn't talking about the Skagit Valley Herald. I'm talking about someone with guts that is heavily interested in the environment and fishing that can get the story on the AP wire service or in a national magizine about the rampant poaching of Federally protected salmon going on in Washington state and the malfeasance of local and state law enforcement officials by looking the other way while they sit on their butts.

08-21-2003, 12:19 AM
"I know a WA State Patrol Officer and I asked him why the state patrol would not do something about the poaching when it was reported. He told me that his job was not to enforce fish and game laws, his job was to enforce traffic law and keep the roads safe for the public. He went on to say that I should report fishing violations (preferaby with vehicle license numbers) to WDFW.

When I asked a Sheriff's Deputy to do something about the poaching right off the public road, he told me that was the job of WDFW enforcement officers and not the job of the sheriff's office. "

Said this til I'm blue in the face ... hit up you Olympia Guys/Gals ... assuming they're not just a dumb as ours. Here in Oregon it IS the State Police's job to respond to game violations. Why not 'north of the border?'

I really do understand why the local 'cop' would not want to get involved if it weren't his/her "turf,'" think it's time you changed a couple of laws.

08-21-2003, 09:30 AM
We have had a few incidents of poaching witnessed by a couple of members of this board which has now been turned into “rampant poaching”. I am not going to buy that one.

We have had a couple of members of this board report violations to WDFW. They have not been contacted since the reports and this is being construed to mean no action has been taken by WDFW. I am sorry here but this is pure assumption. You offer no proof that nothing has been done. Only that you have not been contacted.

About 2 months ago I was walking my dog along the Skagit river near Burlington. I witnessed a gentleman and his young son, about 4 years old I would say, fishing. I walked down and mentioned he was fishing in closed waters. He more or less told me I didn’t know what I was talking about. They were catching what I will assume to be steelhead parr. I told him they were catching baby steelhead and because he was using powerbait they were more then likely killing each one in spite of releasing them. He told me to mind my own business. I called the local police department. In about 15 to 20 minutes a local officer showed up. I walked back down by the gentleman and officer to let this jerk know I had reported him. I witnessed the officer issuing him a citation. Don’t know what the ticket was for but this guy and his young boy packed up their gear and left.

So gentlemen, reporting violators can work.

08-21-2003, 10:18 AM
This thread has morphed into something quite interesting. A few thoughts of mine on it.

Fred -- You are right, WA needs to follow the OR model as it does work. I remember the first time two OSP officers pulled me over on the Deschutes (in their raft) and checked to make sure I had my papers :)

MMM -- It is partly budget and Tim E. has to share SOME of that blame but it goes deeper too.

I know and really respect a retired chief of enforcement for WDFW. This was one of the guys who came out of the old Fisheries dept. and he and I have discussed the enforcement issue at length. While he agrees there is less funding for enforment officers, he is more concerned on how that enforcement is prioritized. According to him, WDFW has shifted to a model which maximizes tickets rather than targets severity of infraction. His example to me was it takes time (and thus money) to build a case against a poacher. Even say we are just talking about the salmon snaggers by MMM's place, it takes an officer to drive up there and hopefully catch them in the act and if he does, he gets to write one or two tickets out of it. If we are talking say a group who is spotlighting deer and elk, the time to catch them is much greater.

These individual busts, while important to the species and those of us who care about them, are still reflected as only one or two tickets. So instead of focusing resources where I would argue they are needed, WDFW has decided to focus them where they can maximize tickets. My friend's example was razor clam season. By sending an officer or two to the beach, just because people are stupid and can't count, they can pretty much be assured of 10-15 tickets a day. In the eyes of the bean counters 10-15 a day is much better enforcement than 1-2. The goal then is to find a way to shift this focus.

Along those lines, there is an organization called Eyes in the Woods whose mission is to train citizens to be able to successfully report violations. As I understand it, they are trained on who to call and on what to observe (place, time, license plates, etc.) so that enforcement has the information they need to make a bust. I know the WSC was looking into trying to at least get them to a meeting to do a group training. I'm not sure where this is on the to do list but hope it can be pulled together.

Finally, just as an aside. When the WSC was putting together a list of many topics to address at the first Steelhead Summit that was held last November, enforcement was one of the first we put up. It was thought that this was an item that everyone could get behind and support and if so, this would give some clout to calls for change. We were surprised to find out that nobody prioritized it as a top 10 issue. I am guessing that this is possibly because many of the participants were from outside Washington. I can only conclude that enforcement is not a concern in Oregon, California, Idaho, Alaska and B.C.

I have rambled on long enough. Hope this was helpful.


08-21-2003, 10:53 AM
Good points Sinktip. I have been working a bit on getting the "Eyes in The Woods" program setup for my flyfishing club. Below is some info sent to me by Jay Hunter.

Your Name Here

“STREAMWATCH” Program by “Eyes In The Woods”
Jay Hunter –

Streamwatch is a program that allows sport clubs the opportunity to take a leadership role in protecting aquatic resources in local areas. Many stream, lake and saltwater resources suffer damage annually from poaching, wild-fish keepers, litter, trespass, closed season and over limit abuses. The Crime Observation and Reporting Training (CORT) program developed by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Eyes In The Woods (EIW) allows concerned citizens the opportunity to contribute by reporting illegal activities. Local WDFW Wildlife Agents will be giving CORT training statewide starting this year!

The best preventative enforcement tool available in any remote streamside, lake, bay or tide-flat location is the knowledge that any person there may be a trained crime observer and member of Puget Sound Anglers, whose sign at the access proclaims their commitment to protecting local resources with WDFW and EIW.

Eyes In The Woods (EIW)
1) Coordinates and promotes a statewide “Streamwatch” program.
A) Coordinates local CORT training with WDFW enforcement.
B) Coordinates sign acquisition, materials and posting guidelines.
2) Establishes a communication process with sport clubs on related volunteer activities.

Sport Clubs/Organizations
1) Will identify a project coordinator for “Streamwatch” and water for “Adoption”. (See Application)
2) Will encourage membership involvement with the “Streamwatch” program:
A) Pursuing funding/sponsorship for signs, sponsor and clubs name on the sign option. (50 signs @ $15.)
B) Club members wishing to participate take the Crime Observation and Reporting Training (CORT) program.
C) Posting signs, using proper methods and materials.
D) Promoting proper angling ethics:
1) Know the WDFW regulations for waters fished; seasons, limits, special regulations, etc.
2) Anti-litter, being a considerate angler, release wild fish, obey trespass laws, etc.

It is expected that with several waters multiple sport clubs would wish to become involved. It is not the intent of the Eyes In the Woods “Streamwatch” program to exclude any group from participation in any basin of concern. Eyes In The Woods membership by involved club members is not mandatory for participation.

It is anticipated that several members of a participant sport club would take the CORT training from a WDFW Wildlife Agent. This training instructs an individual in the non-confrontational method of acquiring violation information to relay to a WDFW officer and encouraging other anglers to use proper angling ethics when fishing or recreating on or near waters.

Many sport groups have brought numerous “problem areas” to the attention of WDFW enforcement officers to learn that their field schedule is already over-full. Taking a major role in the protection of local aquatic resources demonstrates the type of quality resource leadership many dedicated clubs wish to participate in.

08-21-2003, 11:04 AM
Sinktip is right about the way tickets are written. An example the retired officer used was that a game warden is more likely to issue tickets on the Quilcene where many tickets can be issued than spend the time sneaking about the woods in the upper OP drainages looking for the poachers of wild steelhead that are spawning. The warden may want to catch the important poachers but under the system we use here in Washington to spend a month in the woods trying to out fox that type of criminal will not get him the ticket count management wants.

Talking with game officers after a meeting in Olymipa was very interesting. When I asked them about training in law enforcement they said they were happy with funding and were getting all the training they needed. Their concern was that funding in all other areas of enforcement was very poor and could use as much help as possible in getting that funding. Sounds like management realizes that there is little money and having their officers as well trained as posible will compensate for all the other problems in enforcement. I'm sure it helps but enforcement is swamped. Right now enforcement is working OT on the salt with the Salmon migration, with organized crime and shell fish poaching along with god knows what else.

Does anyone know if money from tickets go back to enforcement or to the state general fund?
4 years ago I was checked on the Sauk, the warden said he was only given so much gas per week for his vehicle and most was used to go to a weekly meeting. Does anyone know if that problem has been solved?

I hope the WSC and other organizations are finding new and inovative ways of helping fish & game law enforcement. We need a break through of some sort, just going to meetings and voicing concern is not enough, we are few in numbers,(all legal fishermen and hunters) and the pols have bigger concerns with the general populace. Maybe now is the time to put the puget sound tottally on the endangered spiecies list and stop this oh we care but we really don't have to do anything about it that we get from Olympia and the federal Gov.

Lets give the wardens even management some breaks they really do have their hands tied on the most part and it is going to be that way for a long time to come.

Mean Mr Mustard
08-21-2003, 12:55 PM

Sorry but your explaination doesn't wash. None of the offenders that I have reported have been cited/ticketed. How do I know? WDFW has NEVER gotten back to me to get the details (you know, plate#, etc.). Somebody is feeding you "feel good stories" or something.

Now to the razor clams: I wonder how much of a fine you get for excessive razor clam violation verses an illegally caught ESA listed Chinook salmon. I do recall an earlier time when the fine was something like up to a $1,000 fine and a year in jail. I don't think they are handing these out to mom and pop clammers.

The incentives are there to pursue and prosecute this lawlessness when one considers the fines and jail terms, along with the confiscation of the offenders property used in the commission of the crime. Such impact upon the offender and the monies received; it should be easy to get the enforcement up to the task.

I say most enforcement personnel in this state simply don't care and by association, damn them all for turning away from doing the right thing.


08-21-2003, 01:00 PM
I agree with OC that there are committed people inside WDFW and other state organizations and depts. Many of them have done incredible and patient work making incremental improvements despite the challenges. That they continue to hang with the job and do the best they can is a testimonial to commitment.

What bums me out is the lack of stewardship and appreciation I see from the locals on a day to day basis in Western WA. Not all of them, not at all. But a larger percentage than "normal." Sinktip's note of enforcement priority at the WSC conf is telling... is this because the enforcement branch is well funded in other states? I have my doubts- we just have much more poaching here. I have spent time in wilderness/rural areas throughout the US and you just don't see the level of disregard for land and resources to the level it exists in WA. It's really bizarre. Maybe some good old education spending would help. The "Eyes in the Woods" type programs work really well when there's peer pressure to obey the regs. Increasing responsibility on the base level- that's a tough problem to solve...

08-21-2003, 01:26 PM

What do you mean my explanation doesn't wash? I never offered an explanation. I only pointed out what you confirm. The only proof you have of no action being taken is you have not been contacted by WDFW. It still only proves they did not contact you.

That aside I think we agree that enforcement needs to be improved. I don't know about you but I am trying to find ways to do that.

08-21-2003, 01:27 PM
Kerry I'm glad you think there is not a wide spread poaching problem over there. I don't live there so maybe you are right. One thing I know for sure is that this problem is not just in Washington. I have lived in Idaho, California, Utah, Montana, and Arizona and I saw lots of poaching everywhere. The world is filled with unethical ?sportsmen?

I also know the game depts. are short of money, however I feel there is a great deal of mismanagement and misplaced objectives or goals within these depts. I have no axe to grind with field enforcement agents. I have talked with many of them and as others have stated they seem to be a dedicated group. The problems mostly seem to be with upper management and the politicians that only want to do what will get them the vote. For the last few years here in Idaho the IDFG has been the source of one fiasco after another involving people in leadership positions.

OC's point about the warden on the Sauk is a great example of wasted resources in the game dept. The warden had little gas and what he had he mostly spent going to meetings which also kept him from doing his job in the field. The above point would also seem to be a good reason for wanting the public to be more involved in reporting violations. I know here in Idaho the wardens go out in pairs quite a bit because of abuse by the public. This also seems to be a great waste of manpower.
The general public is not interested in this subject. They are to busy worrying about paying the mortgage or what to wear to the club, or the many other mundane things that involve day to day life. I'm not sure many sportsman are all that concerned with this issue. Hell, we had more posters last week when we were talking about "posers". We certainly had more posters talking about the demise of the C & R season on the Clearwater. This situation will never change as long as politics are involved in running the fish & game depts. Baring that in my view the next best thing is putting heat on the politicians and game dept. leadership. The best way to do that is public awareness. That is why I suggested some type of media exposure. The thing the people in high places fear the most is exposure and the public outcry that follows it.

08-21-2003, 01:38 PM

I might not think that poaching is rampant. But, after reading Nailknot's post perhaps my opinion is influenced by the fact that we do seem to accept the fact there is poaching here. I never really compared the west side of Washington to other parts of the country. I am not saying I approve of any poaching but if I am to be perfectly honest about things I know for a fact that it happens, who is doing it and where they do it. Maybe in some way I do accept poaching as part of the local culture here.

I hate admitting I might be wrong.

08-21-2003, 01:54 PM
Well one problem is the money paid for licenses and other fees is sent into the states general fund. Then after the politicians are done with it only a fraction of the total is pumped back to the WDFW. I wish there was a way for us to change that. IMHO all the money paid into license fees should be put back towards the resource and not paying for some politicians pet project.

Whether we like it or not it is a resource problem. There just are not enough folks to cover all the water. MMM, flyter, etc probably all fish alot of the same water and of course they see the poaching first hand around thier favorite haunts. Well the WDFW officers do not get the luxury of scoping out just one area. They have to cover the whole damn skagit. That is a ton of water.

More funding would help get more officers out there or like has been said in this thread would be to do as Oregon has done and give the police jurusdiction to handle fishing violations. From listening to Fred talk it has helped immensely down south. Hell I was even checked by an officer when I was down on the Rogue. I have never been checked in WA.

It seems police are quota driven (whether they admit it or not) and how easy would it be for them to just go down to the local fishing whole and clean up handing out tickets. That is what I would do...

The poaching problem all boils down to the fact that it does no good to have laws you do not enforce. Unfortunatley that seems to be the way this country is going in general. Just pass more laws and put more restictions on people and everyone feels good about themselves. Until they find out thier news laws have not done a lick of good because they do not enforce them. The answer...pass some more. On and on the cycle goes.

If we only just enforced the ones we have it would save everyone time and money.

Jeez now I am starting to sound like a republican. Time to stop writing...


Mean Mr Mustard
08-21-2003, 01:57 PM

In the simplest terms, no investigation can occur without the When, What, and Where. Who makes it even simpler, and How and Why is desert. If no one contacts the initial eyewitness to ascertain the When, What, and Where, then ain't nobody going nowhere, no how.

They have not contacted me for ANY of this information and I can not buy into any investigation occuring lacking such. Period.


08-21-2003, 02:18 PM
Kerry as I said I don't live over there and have never witnessed the poaching we have been talking about, but I believe what I'm hearing. I don't think however that poaching is any more prevalent there than in other places. It is BAD everywhere. I have spent several days camped in the recreation hall of a church (not Mormon) in southern Utah. This place had it's own meat processing plant for deer, legal and poached. I went there as a guest with no knowledge of this. I never went back. The people involved in this were from 3 states and all well respected in their communities. A loved member of my own family, now passed and also well respected here abouts has his salmon spears hanging in the museum in Pierce, ID. He was not fishing under any treaty rights. You don't have to go very far from where I'm sitting to find poaching as a celebrated way of life. I stopped hunting with many dear friends and members of my own family because of conflicts involving hunting ethics. I just spend my time trying to educate to next generation. I see signs that some of this is rubbing off on the older crowd but it is a SLOOOW process. Public education is the answer but that is also a costly and slow process.

08-21-2003, 02:28 PM



I wish all the enforcement officers in our state would do what you report happened on the Skagit in Burlington by a Burlington Police Officer. A great example of this not happening is what happens in Mount Vernon on the Skagit. The river is closed for part of the year below the Division Street Bridge between downtown and west Mount Vernon. Dispite this boundary, one can always find folks fishing, with impunity from law enforcement, at the bar upstream of the bridge. And as you know, this bar is not just at the bounday bridge, it is several hundred yards upstream of the bridge. Mount Vernon Police ignore it, the Sheriff's Office ignores it, WDFW ignores it, and none of them do anything about it when told; therefore, law enforcement gives tacit approval to the illegal fishing.

Another great example is all the paoching for kings that goes on right at the Old Hwy 99 Bridge on the Samish River during September and early October. This is right under the nose of law enforcement and plain to see the folks fishing there. Yet, it goes on day after day, week after week, year after year byt the same people who then tell others or the others see someone fishing for the kinds and does it as well. This is a well-known probem; but nothing is done by any law enforcement agencies to curtail it. Yes, I am aware that during this time period, WDFW officers are pretty much tied up in the sound; however, not one other law enforcement agency seems to care.

08-21-2003, 03:09 PM
A great example of this not happening is what happens in Mount Vernon on the Skagit. The river is closed for part of the year below the Division Street Bridge between downtown and west Mount Vernon. Dispite this boundary, one can always find folks fishing, with impunity from law enforcement, at the bar upstream of the bridge. And as you know, this bar is not just at the bounday bridge, it is several hundred yards upstream of the bridge. Mount Vernon Police ignore it, the Sheriff's Office ignores it, WDFW ignores it, and none of them do anything about it when told; therefore, law enforcement gives tacit approval to the illegal fishing.

Flytyer, This is exactly the kind of situation I'm talking about where the media should be contacted. It is happening right in town, it is in broad daylight, it is right under the nose of several law enforcement agency yet know one is taking any enforcment action. That looks like something that would make the 5:00 news.

08-21-2003, 03:10 PM

That is all fine and good but you still have not proven anything other then your dislike for the system. Which once agian I think we both can agree it sucks.


You obviously did not here of the Mt. Vernon judge that was ticketed at Young's bar last year for poaching. Another thing you might not be aware of is the fact that WDFW officers will park across the street at Lion's park and take pictures of violators on Young's bar. They then mail the court summons to the violators. Now, don't tell me I am full of it because I have talked to the officer that both ticketed the judge and mail tickets to others. I have also parked next to the officer and ate lunch while observing him observing the bar and then head straight over and issue a citation to a violator. Believe it or not these guys do some good.

08-21-2003, 03:13 PM
As MJC said, "mismanagement and misplaced objectives and goals within the department", are a big concern. But what seems like mismanagement and misplaced ojectives to us the sportsmen maybe the departments only route to go because of politics/lack of funding. Remember for a high up management position in state or federal goverment it is suicide to object to politics played. What ever happened to Vern or what has happened in Idaho in the last few years? I want to believe that those who run fish & game are in the positions they are in because they love the resourse. If you have a friend in F&G management then you know what I mean, what is said publicly is different than what is said with close friends on the river or over a beer and some fly tying materials. Often what we get is the best position they can take without loosing everything.

If the revenue collected does go into the general fund then maybe it is time for some new approaches in stopping that from happening. Maybe it's time for the WSC and all the other sport groups to get an inititave on the ballot that all revenue collected for fishing and hunting go into the department plus a small percent of the general fund. A political campain letting the public know that our fin & fur need that money and it's money that recreationists spent for that sole purpose. Not an expert but maybe they need even more money then what they could raise and if that's the case then an increase in sport tax could be put on the intitave also. Show me one sportsman that wouldn't pay a little more in tax on flies or lures or ammo if it ment a well funded F&G department and I'll show you a red neck, poaching republican!:devil:

08-21-2003, 03:15 PM
Kerry, In light of your last post this is all the more reason this story should make the 5:00 news. It would give the WDFG enforcment division a pat on the back and maybe the public exposure would stop other would be violators.

08-21-2003, 03:25 PM
Let's see... I was raised in rural Idaho, we always had multiple deer and elk in the locker and I have been know in the 80s to have voted GOP. What exactly are you trying to say OC? :eyecrazy:

As for the general fund argument. I have been told by someone within the WDFW that while it is true that license revenue goes to the general fund, the funding for the dept. out of the general fund far surpasses that which goes in. Maybe someone with more time than I to research this can confirm this claim.

And Sean, you were starting to sound like a true conservative, not a republican. The two are no longer the same thing.

08-21-2003, 03:31 PM
I read all this and I still don't know if the Skagit is blown or not:)

A 70 lbs. mechanical Chinook that swims around the clear pools of the upper rivers would allow the officers to set up a easy sting operation without missing their morning coffee break:)
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There is enforcement out there. Just last summer while gazing off the C-Post bridge Joe told me that earlier in the day a officer had #@%&*#@ harrassed him for fishing kings. The nerve of some WDFW employees. Joe then yelled down at a fly fishermen in the hole and asked him if he minded if he jumped off the bridge. The fisherman said "yes, I mind". Joe did a cannon ball right in front of the guy. This is the kind of mentality the officers are dealing with.
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I hear all sorts of stories about poaching from the locals. Tales of spear guns in hole above Hazel to some kids regularly taking their drift boat down the Suiattle in the spring fishing steelhead, but I rarley ever witness them first hand. That doesn't mean it's not happening but I fish the Stilly almost every day and you would think I would see more. Most of the illigal fishing I see is just people with no clue on what the regulations are. I guess the good poachers are never seen. With the humpies starting to trickle in the lower river I'm sure their will be the usually "humpy chuckers" out fishing for them before Sept. 1st. Seems like thats when you will see the enforcement out checking guys at the Silvana bridge and what not.
The non-weighted fly thing on the Stilly is a joke too. But that is probably a thread all it's own.

08-21-2003, 03:36 PM
Remember for a high up management position in state or federal goverment it is suicide to object to politics played. What ever happened to Vern or what has happened in Idaho in the last few years? I want to believe that those who run fish & game are in the positions they are in because they love the resourse. If you have a friend in F&G management then you know what I mean, what is said publicly is different than what is said with close friends on the river or over a beer and some fly tying materials. Often what we get is the best position they can take without loosing ever

OC, This is exactly why politics should be completely removed from depts. of game and fish. then maybe the director could concentrate on running things without outside interference. I don't how it works over there but in Idaho the governor is strongly involved in the process and as I see it that is a very bad thing.

Kerry, I believe that enforcement agents are doing something, but it is not enough. I don't believe they are just sleeping under a tree while collecting their paycheck. However I believe they are greatly hindered in carrying out their duties by many things that happen within the hierarchy of the wildlife depts. This will never change unless public pressure is put on the politicians through publicity.
Also aren't these salmon protected under federal ESA listing? Where are the Fish and Wildlife Service? When I lived on the south end of Lake Havasu in Arizona the water below my house was a federal bird sanctuary. You couldn't pass gas there without one of those Fish and Wildlife people checking it out.

Mean Mr Mustard
08-21-2003, 03:57 PM
Originally posted by MJC
Where are the Fish and Wildlife Service?

Beats me, maybe on vacation? No one has returned my calls or answered my e-mail. But then, I am such a cranky old coot that nobody wants to ruin their day talking to me. :razz:

As to the media covering this issue - Just getting a writer to write such an expose (sp, and how do you add accent marks?) doesn't mean the publisher will print it. Less local ownership = National Tattlers and the like with flashy crap of little truth or substance.

I wish there were more than just poor farmers living around me (breeding farms for the slopeheads?) or I'd try button-holing a few to financially support an effort to aire these illegal activities and the ongoing failure of the law enforcement community. Any of you guys know any conscientious Micro$oft millionaires?


Mean Mr Mustard
08-21-2003, 04:17 PM

Originally posted by OC
Show me one sportsman that wouldn't pay a little more in tax on flies or lures or ammo if it ment a well funded F&G department and I'll show you a red neck, poaching republican!:devil:

The perfect set up for a slam dunk and I was too technically challenged and suffering from a sudden case of retentive nards to take it home.:hehe: :devil: :devil:


08-21-2003, 04:34 PM
You said it, not me. Maybe that's why you have done so well as of late. As far as I know you don't listen to Rush on your way to work so you can't be all that bad. Show me a republican poacher and I'll show you a poacher who got his ear to the AM dial.

You maybe right about the state putting a lot more into fish & game than fish & game can raise. And if that's the case then fish & game is in deep dodo. There goes the idea of an anititave.
Next idea; george bush brings home the troops and special forces patrols the rivers and woods because he has seen fit to declare the entire Puget Sound area endangered resourses. This way our troops get some real practice against the best local boys this side of Darrington. I know it would be tough on the troops but they need to continue to fight on and not just waste tax payers money sitting in some old hot barracks in North Carolina.

In all seriousness we truely need to come up with some new ideas on how to help the F&G. We have tried the conventional methods of lobby, hearings and letters to the press, congressmen and other goverment officials with out much sucsess.

Oh, I almost forgot. MJC you don't pass gas do you? I'd watch out if I were you for those fed F&G guys if they are noseing around your breathable waders. :eek:

08-21-2003, 05:11 PM
In all seriousness we truely need to come up with some new ideas on how to help the F&G. We have tried the conventional methods of lobby, hearings and letters to the press, congressmen and other goverment officials with out much sucsess.

Amen. I think we all spend a little too much time bashing the WDFW and not enough time trying to see how we can help them.

Thier plight is pretty obvious. They need to sell licenses to keep operations running. What is the easiest way for them to do it? Put in hatcheries to create more terminal fisheries or pump out more fish from exisitng ones. This creates angler interest who in turn buy a license to fish.

However , we all have seen that terminal fisheries usually bring out folks who either do not follow the rules and/or do not care for them. Exponential ramfications ensue. If you think the Skagit is bad now wait to see what happens if they put that hatchery on the lower river (is that still on the table?).

At the moment I do not have a good solution to this problem but will think on it. It is really going to take some creative thinking on all sides to come up with a solution.

Maybe I could start a website:

and we could post an offender of the week:hehe:


08-21-2003, 05:47 PM
And Sean, you were starting to sound like a true conservative, not a republican. The two are no longer the same thing.

Sean, I thought you were sounding pretty damn good.

In all seriousness we truely need to come up with some new ideas on how to help the F&G. We have tried the conventional methods of lobby, hearings and letters to the press, congressmen and other goverment officials with out much sucsess.
Oh, I almost forgot. MJC you don't pass gas do you? I'd watch out if I were you for those fed F&G guys if they are noseing around your breathable waders.

OC, As to gas, all I will say is back in them days I was smoking about 3 packs a day so I waved a cigarette lighter around a lot and the backside of my breathables are still intact.
You are right in stating that we must come up with creative new ways to deal with this problem. While I have enjoyed this discourse immensely we haven't done much today but throw this subject back and forth. We had ALL better become proactive on this issue if we are ever going to make a difference. Idaho has a program, "Citizens Against Poaching", which I believe is something like the "Eyes in the Woods" program Kerry spoke of. I'm going to see what I can do to promote that program more than I have in the past. Take care, MJC

08-21-2003, 06:21 PM
Always wanted to hot wire a loaded septic truck and dump the "Load" into a certain fellows SUV. I guess it would work just as well on a "Poacher". At least it would make a great legendary anti poaching story.
This would not go very far to stopping poaching but really the only thing you can do is work with the system and that yields little results. For instance we ratted a fellow who was guiding without a permit in the Olympic National Park three months later the criminal and the Park Ranger that we reported him to "Removed" an old growth spruce from the river that was forming a solid and substantial "Log Jam". We bellyached about that fiasco too and nothing really happened, the ranger was transfered, the crook is still guiding, and I still will rat in any SOB that I find doing "Evil Deeds" on one of my rivers.:devil:

Mean Mr Mustard
08-21-2003, 06:28 PM
As the glacier moves the mountain, one grain of sand at a time, so can we overcome the unsurmountable. Talking. Thinking. It's a good start.


As in the ethics thingy, you take the lead again. Little steps often lead to larger ones. Thank You.


Thanks for taking this on with good spirits. I believe your contributions to this discussion have been well regarded even when viewed from the opposite bank with the bridge of friendship always there to keep us together. We still fishin'. Thank You.


It's always a pleasure...


08-21-2003, 08:48 PM

I was unaware of the judge getting a citation. It would have been very good to have our local "newspaper" report this in the recreation section of a Thursday edition. It would have gotten the attention of some of the folk who blatently ignore the regulations. Young's Bar is so easy to get to, why doesn't the officer simply go over there, park in the Mount Vernon neighborhood next to the dike, walk in, and start citing? Seems this would be far easier and more effective than sitting on the east side of the river watching with binoculars.

I also notice a distinct lack of reporting on poaching being frowned upon by Denny Church in his Thursday hunting and fishing column in the Herald.


The Seattle papers aren't very interested in reporting on something as mundane as fish poaching. They have decided theri urban readership doesn't have much interest in illegal fishing, unless it is a commercial fisher doing it.


Instead of banning weighted flies and added weight to the leader I would prefer to have seen WSFW close the North Fork Silly to all fishing until we get some rain and the river level goes up. In fact, I mentioned this very thing to an employee of WDFW. He told me he would not object to it; but that the no weighted fly or added weight to leader rule had already been adopted and he felt it would help. I agree with him that it will help. It won't stop it completely; but it will help.


You are right, conservative and republican are not synonymous. And Sean is sounding like a conservative.


In case you ask, I do not listen to Rush. I find him to be a bit of a bore who pushes the republican mantra of more money for me. And yes, I have been known to vote for GOP candidates and Democrats and independents. I have never voted a straight party though.


I will continue doing the same. It is very maddening though to see the suckers getting away with it.

08-26-2003, 07:54 PM
Isn't if fun whining about snaggers and poachers, trying to play cop and patting ourselves on the back for our personal righteousness? It sure seems like it must be.

But... Back to the original subject.

Here is a recent correspondence about the yucky silt in the Skagit.

--- --- --- --- --- --- --- --- ---

Edit: Thanks for the quick response. I'll strip the extraneous info and let you get back to your hall monitor duties. - Plunk

PS: I won't righteously pat myself on the back...
After all - I do eat wild steelhead when I legally can. :chuckle:

Mean Mr Mustard
08-26-2003, 08:14 PM
What's the matter, Plunker, hitting too close to home?

Yeah, there's guys here who make a point of being in compliance with the law and who help to stop those who would break them. It's a duty we all share and a counter-point to the anarchy of lawlessness.:tsk_tsk:


08-26-2003, 08:23 PM

EXACTLY!! Unfortunately, it is a duty that is too often neglected, ignored, or outright denigrated these days.

08-26-2003, 09:50 PM
I'd like to thank you for enlightening us. I was totally unaware that there was a board rule stating all posts had to stick to the subject that started the thread.

I would much rather talk about how to stop poaching on a river then why it is dirty.

I will gladly tell you that anyone noted poaching on my river will be turned in. If that is being self righteous, so be it.
Take care, MJC

09-02-2003, 04:57 PM
I started this thread trying to gather information on why the Skagit River had taken a sudden turn to murkiness. This thread was then directed to the topic of poaching. So be it. However, I do appreciate the fact that someone, namely Plunker, took the time to investigate my query and post information that helps clear up the question of murky waters flowing down the Skagit. Shame on those that would chastise him for sticking to the topic with useful information.