Forks Fights Wild Steelhead Harvest Ban [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Forks Fights Wild Steelhead Harvest Ban

02-19-2004, 03:22 PM
This was posted by a friend on another site. I thought that you folks would be interested. Also, I can't pull the story up on line, wondering if anyone can get a copy, scan and post with an OCR program. There is discussion at this site. Very slanted toward the decimation of our Steelhead. Hope posting these links are OK. I figured a few of you would like to express yourselves. I have.

Matt Burke

Here is what Bob writes:

If you want to read some swill from the "Wild Fish Killers of the Olympic Peninsula", look to today's Peninsula Daily News,(, and read Derek Meneken's article regarding the Wild Steelhead Harvest Moratorium, in the Sports section.

I think that the reporting in that paper, on this and related issues, has been very slanted; away from conservation and toward continued harvest. And If you want to make an intelligent statement to that paper:

If you want to let Mayor Nedra Reed of Forks, Wa, and the City Council Members of Forks,( all of whom are proposing to challenge the moratorium in a serious and committed way), know how valuable Wild Steelhead are to you, and how important the WDF&W Commission decision,(to impose a two year ban on harvest of Wild Steelhead), is to your fishing and visits in the Forks area; then take a moment to write a thoughtful, respectful and brief note in support of that recent decree. Let Mayor Nedra Reed know how often you fish in the Forks area and how much you spend there. No matter what form of tackle you use, you have a right to be heard.

Mayor Nedra Reed and the Council Members can be contacted via the Forks website at:

In addition, Let the Forks Chamber of commerce know what you do in Forks, and what you spend there as well. The Forks Chamber of Commerce can be reached at:

As usual, whenever someone does not want to recognize the need for conservation or protection of a natural resource, they are screaming about "Jobs and Dollars".

No one in this modern life really "Needs" to kill Wild Steelhead to make an honest living. If you care at all about this then take the time to let them know what YOUR dollars are worth in the Forks community; tell them where and when you spend your money, and why. And please, do this in a thoughtful and respectful manner. Let's give them something to think about instead of playing the old us-against-them-game.

The addresses are on the websites. I think it takes about four or five minutes to sit down and write a note to these people, fold it into an envelope and mail it with a stamp. That's the best way to let them know you care. And it's the best way to catalog the public comments. If we don't do this they will just run rampant with the thing. Emails don't count for as much as a real note.

If it meant that you could catch more wild fish someday; wouldn't you want to take the five minutes to make a difference?


Leland Miyawaki
02-19-2004, 10:44 PM
An Open Letter to the Citizens of Forks

I feel for you. First logging and now steelhead. I couldn't do anything about the logging but I CAN do something about wild steelhead.

I will come fish for them.

I will tell my friends in other states and other countries Ė my friends who flyfish for Atlantic Salmon in Scotland, Norway and Nova Scotia and my friends who fish for steelhead in Idaho and Oregon and travel north across the border to fish for steelhead in the Dean and Thompson. I will tell them about the wild steelhead runs that will do nothing but become more and more numerous. We will stay in Forks. We will eat and drink in Forks. Some will hire guides in Forks. They will go home and tell their friends of the great fishing and the hospitable people of Forks and they will show photographs of the beautiful steelhead they released back into the water.

Get ready people of Forks. Your future is coming!

Leland Miyawaki,
Kent Washington

02-20-2004, 07:07 PM
Just emailed their city attorney (the first email address found on their website) with the message that I will visit, sleep, eat, hire guides in their fair city thanks to the State's moratorium on wild steelhead killing.

02-23-2004, 03:24 AM
I am yet to fish the Peninsula Rivers, it is quite a long haul for me. However, I am going to make every effort to get out there - and it is due to the catch and release regulation just passed.

I think it is very important that those who are in favour of Catch and Release of Wild Steelhead lend their mouths to this effort - as well as put their money where their collective mouths are! It is not enough for us to sit back and enjoy the "victory". As we speak the forces of bonkage are rallying and so long as they have the local governments and businesses on their side they will have real clout. They must be brought to realize that $ will not come to their fair communities only at the cost of dead steelhead.

So write them, e-mail them... go out there and TELL them that catch and release sportsmen will support their businesses. They don't care how fishermen fish - they just care that they come and spend money - we can do that!

Leland, or anyone else who has some e-mail addresses and/or mailing addresses of the Forks people should post them for all to see. I would appreciate some key ones (both on the Commision and in Forks) as I will propose at the Steelhead Society of BC Directors meeting this week that the SSBC write a letter indicating our support of the new regulation

Leland Miyawaki
02-23-2004, 07:46 AM

Here is what I have been able to glean from their website. They don't appear to have email addresses.


Council members are: Artie Anderson, Denise Graham, Josh Broo, Pat Mansfield, Tim Fletcher, then City Clerk Treasurer Dan Leinan, Attorney / Planner Rod Fleck.

City mayor is Nedra Reed.

Forks City Hall
500 East Division Street
Forks, Washington 98331
Phone: 360-374-5412
Fax: 360-374-9430

Leland Miyawaki
02-23-2004, 08:14 AM
To paraphrase from the movie, "Field of Dreams,"

"If you save the wild steelhead, they will come."

02-23-2004, 01:33 PM

Sure sounds like to me that the Forks people don't want the CnR crowd out there to fish. I will definately go out there if they don't fight this legally and I will let them know why I am there but I will have a hard time going there if they do fight it legally. I have money and will spend it there but not if if it is going to help fund a legal challenge to a rule i want and believe it. They need to see that the sky isn't falling on them and I think they will be just fine.


Leland Miyawaki
02-23-2004, 01:49 PM
You're right, of course, JJ. That is about all we can do.


02-23-2004, 03:29 PM
One of the reasons that they may be against CnR is their clients want to kill the fish and take it home to the big city. Years ago when I was guiding the Deschutes, I had a client from England take a big hatchery buck home. If their clients want to CnR I am sure the guide will not protest.

02-23-2004, 05:02 PM
Here is my letter. I will be posting it.

February 23, 2004.

Mayor Nedra Reed,
Forks Washington,

I am writing you to voice my elation with the recent Washington State decision to stop the killing of wild steelhead. As a British Columbian I have grown up with catch and release regulations for wild steelhead. Frankly, I have avoided making the trek out to the Olympic Peninsula for many years, as I did not want to be spending my vacation dollars where wild steelhead were being killed. With this recent decision I will be coming out to your fair city to fish for the wild steelhead your rivers are renowned for.

What you and your Chamber of Commerce need to recognize is that wild steelhead are revered by a large community of anglers. Like myself, we are willing to travel hundreds of miles and spend considerable amounts of money to catch and release a few fish.

Last year I helicoptered into the Dean River at a cost of thousands of dollars, I also drive 15 hours to the Skeena and stay for 8-10 days to fish for wild steelhead. As well, I fish on average 15 days in the spring on the Skagit system and I do all of this with the expectation that I will harvest none of them. I believe that you will experience a serious influx of affluent anglers to the Forks area. Wild steelhead are a magnet, yet we believe they are too valuable to catch and kill. These magnificent fish need to be able to reproduce to create even more of their kind. The result is thereby obvious; more of their kind equals more of my kind, which is very good for your town and its business community.

In my opinion what you, your Council and your Chamber of Commerce should be doing is embracing the new regulations and actively promoting the great new opportunity you have with wild steelhead. Forks could easily become a worldwide destination for steelheaders. As vehement as those who oppose the changes are Ė they are relatively local, the proponents of Catch & Release are equally passionate and will put their money where their mouths are and are worldwide. To us these fish are not mere meat - they are the epitome of our sport. Have no fear - the fishermen will come.

Yours sincerely,

Tyler Kushnir

Cc Forks Chamber of Commerce
The Forks Forum

Leland Miyawaki
02-23-2004, 07:00 PM
Terrific letter Kush.


Leland Miyawaki
02-23-2004, 07:05 PM

The mayors first name is Nedra.


02-23-2004, 07:18 PM
Tyler, Great letter and thanks for the support. It was great to meet and talk with you again at the show.

02-24-2004, 12:04 AM

I agree that we all need to write letters similar to Kush's. However, don't forget that there are a lot of steelheaders who live in Port Angeles, Sequim, Forks, and the area between Sequim and Forks who practice C&R on all wild fish. There are also quite a few of the guides who insist on C&R in their boats. When I lived in Port Angeles, no one I fished with (whether fly, gear, or spin fisher) bonked wild fish.

That said, I am very aware of the very vocal group of locals (both guides and fishers) from that area that although relatively small in number who get the ear of the newspapers, Chamber of Commerce, and City Council and Mayor of Forks who advocate killing of any wild fish caught. This group makes so much noise that the CC and City Council make the false assumption that all the fishers who either live in on the North OP or visit it are interested in bonking wild fish. Letter to them similar to Kush's will show them that there are many who will gladly drive to Forks from afar simply because of the C&R regulation.


The west end OP rivers are some of my favorites, I only wish I lived closer than 4 hours+ away from them. My favorite river on the OP is the Sol Duc in the spring and fall in the area where Glasso used to fish. Alas, I only get over there 2 or 3 times per year.

02-24-2004, 11:40 AM
Here are some people to send email too:
City planner\attorney
Chamber of Commerce:
Economic Developer:

Here is my letter to the mayor:
Dear Mayor Reed,

I have read your quotes in the Forks Forum and in the Port Angles paper. I am here to say that I am a Catch and Release advocate and have never killed a wild fish intentionally in my life. I have stayed away from Forks in the spring time because of the catch and kill fishery. I donít believe in it and it isnít good science. I would come out there and spend my money and be extremely happy to do so. Every year I drive 5 hours and spend a great deal of money to fish the Thompson in British Columbia and there hasnít been wild fish kill there in 20 years. Did I mention the 14 hour trip I took to Northern BC for 8 days this last year, that was a great trip and I know I helped the local economy. The experience is worth more the dead fish in the bottom of the boat.

Have you seen what is happening to the numbers of wild steelhead in the state? I have and am willing to show you what is actually going on with the fish. The Hoh missed escapement last year by 800 fish yet there was still a sport harvest that would have put the river over escapement if it wouldnít have been allowed. It is being managed below escapement levels this year too. That comes directly from the department of Fish and wildlife. The Quillayute system has taken a steep nose dive over the last 5 years too. If we drop again this year it will be year 6 in a row which is over a full life cycle. This isnít good. We need to do everything we can to protect these fish.

Ask towns like Spences Bridge and Smithers in BC how much catch and release on wild fish has hurt them. Or talk to the people in Rockport or Clarks Bunny Cabins on the Skagit and see how they benefit from a CnR season. This is something to be embraced and welcomed. I and many others will come spend our money in your community if you embrace this, right now you are saying you donít want my money by what is being said and your stance on this subject and the hurts me as I want to come out and help but if you are going to sue I canít in good conscience come out and support that. Please drop this and embrace it and learn how to make Forks a destination spot for people who love the fish and the experience of watching them swim away.


02-25-2004, 09:36 AM
Sent the Forks Chamber an e-mail yesterday. Like most of us I let them know that I will support the town of Forks now and buy my gas, food and beverages there. I also told them that for the last two years I did not buy anything there, just drove through town because of their oppostion to the previous wild steelhead relaese.

Recieved a nice e-mail back from the Chambers Diane Schostak. She thanked me for doing my shopping in town again and said she hoped that I am right about how popular the C&R season will be. She also said that many buisness are concerned that things will get worse. Diane asked that when I come through town again to stop into the chamber building and talk about different ideas to promote forks as a C&R destination.

I think it would be good if all of us took a few minutes to do this when in Forks. It would also be good that when you shop there to let the manager of each store know why you are in town.

I think that the WSC should now use their talent and resourses to complete the moratorium on the killing of wild steelhead by helping Forks come up with some good sound marketing ideas. Let us see if the WSC can stick with what they worked so hard for and help Forks so that in two years time the moratorium will be supported by all in Forks. They will need all our help, let us not drop the ball.

Ol Rich
02-25-2004, 10:13 AM
I also received an e-mail response from Diane in which she asked for ideas to market C&R for the Forks area. We certainly have the talent within this forum to develop some marketing ideas. Lets put on our creative thinking caps.


02-25-2004, 10:48 AM
I think it would be good if all of us took a few minutes to do this when in Forks. It would also be good that when you shop there to let the manager of each store know why you are in town.

I am asking that anyone that is fishing over on the Clearwater will also let the merchants know that you are here because of
C & R, especially around the Orofino, ID area. Alot of people over here have the same mindset as that presently being displayed in Forks. Thank you. Take care, MJC

02-25-2004, 10:56 AM
Here's a great excuse to grab your fishing partners and take a trip to Forks. One fisherman stopping in to support C&R is great, but how about 3-5 having even more impact.

If we get some groups to visit the Chamber, maybe they'll get the idea that it's not just a couple isolated fishermen that are in favor of releasing Wild Steelhead.

Plus it's a great excuse to get over to Forks - I hear the Hoh has even been flyfishable recently. :cool:

02-25-2004, 11:45 AM
Good idea I will stop by the Chamber office on my back out to camp this morning. I don't think the people who own the camp we stay in even know me and my guys are flyfishermen let alone C&R. They just know we don't talk about fishing pay our rent on time and empty alot of wine bottles!!!!!:devil:

Leland Miyawaki
02-25-2004, 12:00 PM
I just received this from the Forks City Attorney.


Hello -

The City received your comments regarding the passage of Commissioner
Van Geytenbeek's proposed moratorium on retaining wild steelhead for two
years. The Mayor asked that a quick response go out regarding those

In reading through the various comments we have received on this, it
appears that there will remain a level of disagreement on this issue
that probably cannot be resolved between e-mails, nor via postings at
various message boards maintained by fishing enthusiasts.

The City will continue to pursue the various options permitted to it by
law regarding its position on this issue. We hope that the discussion
of this issue can continue in such a way as to ensure that the interests
of all are included and considered.

Again, thank you for your comments.


William R. Fleck
City Attorney/Planner
Forks, WA

02-25-2004, 12:04 PM
So it sure sounds like they are going to sue to me.

They need to embrace this and market it. And we need to support them if they do but if they sue not sure how we can support them.


02-25-2004, 02:44 PM
If they do, the question is Why?

The real question is . . . are they supporting an Idealogical position (the Right to Kill Steelhead) they believe represents the desire of the Forks residents, following thru based on pressure from local business owners and community figures, or because they really believe this is economically in their best interest.

If it's a combination of the first two, then there isn't much room for debate. I'd just send a polite letter (or have a polite discussion) as to why I won't be spending my $$$ to support the Forks economy. And of course convincing the business owners that it really ~is~ in their best interest.

If it's mostly the last, then it's a matter of convincing them that C&R anglers and those that support Wild Steelhead release represent a significant portion of those that travel to Forks to fish those rivers.

It would be good to find out which of these is the Mayor's perception of why Forks might sue the State over this.

my .02,


Leland Miyawaki
02-25-2004, 04:05 PM
I believe it's the latter also Brian. I'm thinking they believe nobody will come fish if they cannot take home their catch.

It's the fear of the unknown.

I thought the city attorney and others would have been heartened to know that there were fishers out there willing to pick up the slack, if any, left by "angler no-shows."

I thought we were extending a helping hand rather than beating them down.

I hoped they would see this as a new beginning rather than an end.

Right now, Forks has something no one else in the state has and there are two ways to perpetuate the sport. One is to let people kill wild steelhead and the other is to release them to be possibly be caught again and eventually to spawn.

The question is, which will help Forks in the long run?


Brian Simonseth
02-25-2004, 07:50 PM
We have to support them!
Let them know there are 2 types of FISHERMAN!:)
Once they see what It could be like, may be we won't drive 800 miles to Canada and fish!:smokin:

02-26-2004, 02:29 AM
I just came home from a Steelhead Society Directors meeting where I outlined the events re WSC and C&R. The SSBC is forwarding a congratulatory letter to the WSC and a number of Directors are very interested in making a trip to the OP this spring.

"If you build it, they will come..."

02-26-2004, 09:14 AM

Is there any way that some of the steelhead society directors could meet with some of the chamber members of Forks when and if they come. Maybe fill them in on how C&R fishery has helped many areas of BC? We would welcome you and I will do what I can to help the effort.

02-26-2004, 10:54 AM
Having been gone I've just read this entire thread and am proud to call you guys my brothers. I will be preparing something today to send off.

From my own perspective, FWIW since I've moved 3000 miles away the attraction of the wild places and wild fish of the OP draws me to make the pilgrimage every year. Whether I find my feet on the remote twisting headwaters of the Queets like last year, or the more accessible Forks area rivers I am there because of one powerful attraction, the opportunity to C&R a native OP steelhead, the simple dream of doing it. Luckily I've had that dream realized many times thanks to the efforts of those who put protective regulations in place.

It's sad when it becomes about the meat when anyone could go downtown and buy some fish or just have a sit down meal at Shop-rite as I would do in my rental car down the road from the hotel where I am staying, after paying for an airline ticket and flying 3000 miles and buying the non-resident license and permit and dumping money in every fly shop from Puget Sound to Port Angeles just for a crack at the dream, the sheer possibility of a wild fish. I certainly wouldn't do that for a hatchery brat.

And let's talk about elitistism... those who want to kill wild steelhead are saying that the steelhead do not belong to the earth and people across all of humanity who respect and protect them have no say, instead the lives of these fish belong to them because the river passes through their backyard so they will bonk 'em if they please. Who are the elitists in this picture?

What if the Aleutian and North Pacific commercial fleets were targeting and harvesting these fish at sea, would they have the right to kill these fish out there?

It's the 21st century, and the miracle of native steelhead still survives despite what we have done to eliminate them. I don't see the harm in giving the wild ones a little breathing room for a while.

I like the idea of a big C&R gathering in Forks BTW!

02-26-2004, 01:17 PM

I'm sure that is possible - however, it would have to be after dark - as we will have driven a long way to fish and wouldn't be keen on losing fishing time :eyecrazy:

02-27-2004, 07:21 AM
I will let the folks in your area know why I am there and that CnR is the only way to go on the natives. Pathetic to go in other shops there in the past and see the owners and other clients laugh about bonking fish. Don't think they realize what was lost when they built Dworshak and did not take care of the B-runs.

02-27-2004, 09:44 AM

How's it going over there? Is the Front Range free from winter's icy grip yet? I'm looking forward to seeing you when you are next on the Clearwater. Take care, MJC

02-27-2004, 09:50 AM
I wonder if the City of Forks suing is all that bad of a thing. I mean if this moratorium on harvest of wild steelhead is based on sound science then their law suit should fail. I would assume this conformation coming from the courts could only strengthen the position of catch and release proponents.

02-27-2004, 01:08 PM
I think Juro hit on the crux of the matter - I doubt many in Forks realize the value of what they have. Catch it, kill it, eat it.

Applies to deer, elk, duck, salmon, steelhead, the neighbor's cat etc etc. I'm guessing to many a steelhead is just a steelhead. To borrow a sig line from another angler, "Why are Wild Steelhead made of Meat??"

So one of the first hurdles is to convince Forks politicans and business leaders that, even if they don't understand it, we (most visiting anglers) place a much higher value on wild steelhead that their hatchery brothers. As Juro said, the wild fish are the reason we travel great distances to Spend $$$$ in Forks!!!

To many locals, that wild fish is just be another steelhead to fill their freezer with. Releasing it may mean he doesn't limit today, or that he'll have to wait a few hours to land another hatchery fish before heading home.

We need to suggest that this little inconvenience is a small price to pay to promote Forks economic future. I think I'll remind them that the unrestrained plunder of natural resources leads to federal restrictions and other bad things. I'm sure they all remember the boom days of Logging when Forks was flush with $$$s - and then it was gone. Those who don't learn from history . . . :rolleyes:

02-27-2004, 03:11 PM
Leland & others close by the locality, is there any merit (or opportunity) in having some "local" news reporter pick up this item, review these posts and perhaps others. It's a great story about differing values & conservation etc.?

02-27-2004, 04:31 PM
To borrow a sig line from another angler, "Why are Wild Steelhead made of Meat??"

"Wild $teelhead C&R gives me a thrill, why don't we all make it the drill"

02-28-2004, 07:45 AM

Still having our up and down weather here along the front range. Some of the lakes are open so it is about time to drag out the gear and start working on the casting so I don't suck so bad. Do you have a policy for demo on the CND rods and airflo lines?
Love the new sig line FWIT

02-28-2004, 08:58 AM
I as well as some other CND dealers have demo rods. I think the best way to see if you like any given rod is to cast it on the river under real conditions. If you can't get a test drive locally then I will arrange one for you.
As to the Airflo demo lines I have all of the floating models available. Thank you for your interest. Take care, MJC

"Wild $teelhead C&R gives me a thrill, why don't we all make it the drill"

03-01-2004, 09:11 AM
On Friday I stoped in and talked with Diane Schosak who runs the Forks chamber office. We talked for an hour about fish runs, science and Forks future. I let her know that there were many of us out there that want to help.

I did get a better understanding of their fears when she showed me a thread over on the WFF site. This thread had 4 or 5 posts of calling the Mayor a killer many other names that were not very positive to the folks of Forks. Ever notice when your thinking one way you have hard time seeing anything else. That thread did have many posts where fishers told the hot heads to cool their jets. I don't think those following all this see that though.

We talked about ideas and I believe many of them were new ideas to this very isolated communitty. Some of my ideas were the advertising in countries like Germany, England and Japan. S.E Alaska has done this and done very well indeed with tourists who will never have the money to fish for Alanatic Salmon in their own countries. I met a guide this winter who makes 100K a season just dealing with German Fishermen in Alaska.
I hope those in power here at Flytalk and other sites will allow a free link for the town of Forks Chamber of Commerce. I brought up that idea that such a thing might be able to be negociated and they really liked that idea.

Diane told me that the chamber is not into suing at this time and does not think that is the way the town will go. She told me that they want a meeting with the commission, the state, and Jim Buck and go over the procedure that was involved in making the two year moratorium possible.

I also let her know about Kush and the board of Directors of the BC Steelhead societity and the possibility that they may come down to fish these new waters and how Forks can be a closer destination to the Vancouver BC fishing crowd than much of their home waters are. They have never thought of BC crowd fishing OP waters before and she likes the idea.

I had a great time out there on the OP did not have my tires slashed, never ran into an unfriendly person on the river and had more fishing opportunities than I really needed to have in one weekend.

03-01-2004, 10:41 AM
Thanks OC - you made my Monday just a bit brighter. :D

We all deal with the hotheads, but I'm glad someone talked to Forks representatives about the opportunities more wild steelhead in their rivers will provide.

The OP rivers are a west coast equivalent of the Gaspe Peninsula's for Atlantic Salmon. I'm hoping once they (Forks CofC) realize how many visiting C&R anglers those rivers will support their tune might change. :smokin:

03-01-2004, 11:21 AM
Dont be surprised if the folks in Forks may be very hesitant to believe what we may say. They have been put to hard times before with equipment that was sabotaged, trees spiked in attempts to kill or injure them.

They may believe the threats from the other boards to be very real.

I understand where they are coming from. I lost a business, home and life savings.

Dont get me wrong I am very much for CnR. I just thouhgt maybe insite from one who has been there might help.


03-01-2004, 12:23 PM
Great Job O.C.
This is the kind of exchange that brongs folks together, a little more understanding and things can go a ong way to develop positive relations.
I, again, support the Forks CofC free ad, as long as they are willing to explicitly state that they support C&R

03-01-2004, 02:04 PM
I personally think we should take up a collection to show our good faith, and to impress on them that they have an incredibly valuable resource in healthy Wild Steelhead runs that will be of interest to anglers around the world.

Think of it like a shopowner. You sell a pair of shoes to one customer. But he only buys the "right" to try them on - then you take them back and gets another customer to "buy" the right to try them on.

Once the idea that the opportunity to catch a Wild Steelhead in beautiful surroundings is a valuable commodity in and of itself, and that large-scale harvest detracts from that value (and they start to see more C&R anglers making the trek to Forks), Forks CofC might end up being one of the biggest supporters of C&R.

They have the most to loose and the most to gain.

My .02