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Leland Miyawaki
03-02-2004, 02:31 PM

This is from today's

WDFW Commission fishing ban discussed
Posted on Tuesday 02 March @ 11:07:54

by George McCormick
Forks Mayor Nedra Reed discussed the Fish and Wildlife Commission adoption of item that would require the release of wild steelhead at West End Business and Professional Association last week.
She made three main points regarding the way the decision was arrived at.
First, no where on the agenda for that meeting was it indicated that the issue of steelhead catch and release would be discussed and voted on, she said.
Secondly, there is zero science backing up the decision, Reed said. Local groups say steelhead are healthy. And third, there was no input or discussion with the Tribes.

A decision of this scale has been tailored toward a special interest group, Reed said. We contend the decision was made inappropriately, she said.
The economic impact on the community needs to be examined, she said. There is a way to protect the resource and preserve the economic base.
The City of Forks may push forward on this issue, Reed said. Challenging the decision will take significant time, effort, and resources on the part of the city. We need the support of the residents of Forks, and the business community.
Reed, Rod Fleck and Dan Leinan will meet with commission chairman Will Roehl and other state officials at 10 a.m. Wednesday, March 3 in Olympia.
The commission voted 5-3 for the moratorium after it was introduced by Commissioner R.P. Van Gytenbeek during the meeting. Coincidentally a number of representatives of fly fishing groups also attended the meeting which has led Reed, and others, to contend that it was a set up and led to the concern that the way the decision was arrived at was flawed and possibly illegal. If it wasnít illegal, it was morally wrong, Reed said. This was a set up. It was an well-orchestrated event. The fly fishermen arrived at the meeting by the bus load.
Roehl voted against the ban.
If the commission doesnít rescind its decision, Reed said other alternatives are petitioning the governorís office and legal recourse.
If I see proof that the runs on our rivers are unhealthy, Iíll be the first to say letís shut it down, she said.
Right now we are vying for the resources and itís going to be a difficult situation, Reed said.

Petition circulating opposing WDFW commission decision
A petition addressed to the Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission raises 16 questions that should be considered but apparently werenít by the commission.
It (moratorium) is not needed, said Ruby Swagerty, co-owner of Three Rivers. If it was needed it would be all right.
For the people in the city to come out here and try to stop us from having the fishing we were raised on ó thatís outrageous, she said.
Itís also very hurtful for them to say weíre Ďfish killersí, she added.
For us itís not an issue of doing less business, Swagerty said. I know Three Rivers will make it, but I know the town of Forks will be hurt.
An Aberdeen fisherman getting coffee at Three Rivers agreed with Swagerty. Iím against it (the ban), he said. Itís going to be rough for the town.
Iím not as concerned about the catch and release on my business as I am about it being unneeded, Swagerty said. We have some old-timers who have always taken care of our fishing resources and they must be heart-broken.
Ted Miller, owner of Road Runner Shuttle said heís kind of stuck in the middle.
In the future a lot more people may come over for the sport but I donít think they should change it strictly to catch and release, he said. Maybe cut it to retaining two fish a season may be a way.
Itís going to hurt everybody in Forks, Miller said. A fisherman who comes over here that I shuttle told me that he had six or seven friends that come over here to fish that wonít come if they canít keep a fish.
The petition reads:
Attention steelheaders and their friends
The Washington State Fish and Wildlife Commission recently passed a two-year statewide ban on the retention of wild steelhead by sport fishers. This means that starting April 1, 2004 and continuing for at least two years (likely forever if their ruling sticks) only hatchery steelhead caught in Forks rivers and elsewhere can be kept. Wild fish, those that were not marked by clipping off their adipose fin, will have to be released. If you do not like this ruling contact the Commission. Polite, intelligent letters giving the Commission good information as well as your opinions may be the best way to turn them around. They are meeting again in Olympia on March 12 and 13 and some time will be available then for public comment if you can attend. Call Susan Yaeger, executive secretary of the Commission to find out the exact time schedule and format for public testimony 360-902-2267. She is very helpful. These meetings will take place on the first floor of the Natural Resources Building, room 172. This building is at 1111 Washington Street SE. If you can write the Commission their e-mail address is, their fax number is 360-902-2448, and their mailing address is 600 Capitol Way N, Olympia 98501.
The Commission voted 5 to 3 in favor of wild fish non-retention, so you have to change the mind of only one of those voting in favor in order to derail this train. So give it to them. Here are some points for your letter or in-person testimony, but using your own words and experiences probably makes a greater impact than if a bunch of us sent the same letter.
1. The Forks area rivers support the best wild steelhead fishing in North America. Neither non-tribal nor tribal fishing has hurt the productivity of these runs.
2. Sport fishing for steelhead generates substantial income to many Forks residents-guides, motels, restaurants, gas stations, tackle, bait sales, etc.
3. Wild steelhead spawning escapements have been adequate to excellent for as long as the record has been kept.
4. The stream habitats are relatively productive because much of the spawning/fry rearing waters are in the Olympic National Park.
5. The upper reaches of all rivers, generally above highway 101, are already closed to catch-and-kill fishing for wild steelhead. This provides much spawner protection and gives the catch-and-release folks many miles of lightly fish waters.
6. Most fishing now occurs in the lower, catch-and-kill sections indicating that most fisherman like the opportunity to take a nice fish home now and again, even though many fish are voluntarily released.
7. You can only keep five wild steelhead a year anyway, which is very restrictive compared to the past, and has given these stocks adequate protection.
8. Forks area timber sales generate much of the revenues for state public schools. The rest of the State should listen to the wishes of Forks residents before passing down locally unpopular decrees.
9. Judge Boldt also said that the non-tribal fishermen had the right to 50% of the harvest, as well as the tribal 50% right. The best way to insure the non-tribal 50% is to catch it, and measure that catch accurately.
10. The opportunity to catch a trophy (20 pounder or bigger) steelhead brings many fishermen to Forks. Hatchery stocks and most other state rivers do not produce such wall-hangers.
11. The rivers are often out of shape for long periods, which helps the spawning escapements.
12. Catch and release need not be a law. It should be a choice as at present.
13. Catch and release is not needed for conservation. It will only allocate away from the current class of fishermen who may want to keep some of their fish, to another class of fishermen who do not. Neither group has it necessarily wrong, and the present system of extensive catch and release sections plus the five fish annual limit is a good and working compromise.
14. An unpopular and unnecessary law may be hard to enforce.
15. Already guide trips for April, 2004 are being canceled because of this pending change in fishing regulations.

16. The state biologists in charge of managing the Forks area streams think that this new regulation is not necessary.

Copyright © Forks Forum 2003

03-02-2004, 03:05 PM
"Fly fishermen arrived at the commission meeting by the busload". These must have been awfully small buses since last I looked, a bus has a capacity of at least 60 passengers. Ms Reed sounds like she is listening only to those who are opposed to C&R period. Afterall, the "old-timers have always taken care of the resource"; therefore, there must not be any reason to limit wild steelhead bonking.

I am sorry for being so sarcastic about this folks. I like many of the people who live in and around Forks; however, it just grates me to see one of Three Rivers owners talk out of both sides of his mouth at the same time because he doesn't want any of the locals to get angry at him. Same with the shuttle provider, who walks the fence with his "mixed feelings" on C&R.

It also still amazes me that she and the city council seem hell-bent on appeasing the disgruntled locals who want to have the commission to change the wild fish retention moratorium. Last time I checked, Forks does not pay for the operation of the Bogey and Sol Duc hatcheries, not does it have any wildlife officers or fishery biologists on its payroll.

03-02-2004, 03:27 PM
Talk about not having any facts.

1) Hoh missed escapement last year and if there were no harvest it would have made it. And the Hoh is being managed under escapement this year.
2) The Queets has missed escapement 6 of the last 9 years I think it is.
3) The Quillayute system is the only system out there that has an upward trend in runs yet it has have 5 straight years of declining runs.
4) There has been no reduction of harvest since the reduced 5 fish limit has gone into place.

I don't think I can honestly support Forks if they don't want my kind out there. Can't see the forest for the tree.


03-02-2004, 03:28 PM
From the WSC Fact sheet:

Wild Steelhead Coalition Fact Sheet

1. In 1996 NOAA fisheries divided the west coast wild steelhead populations of California, Oregon, Washington, and Idaho into 15 areas called Evolutionary Significant Units (ESUs), or discrete areas with similar genetic and evolutionary traits. This was done for the purpose of evaluation and protection/listing separate populations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
2. As of January, 2004, eleven of the ESUs were either listed or a candidate under review for possible listing. Two of the 15 units were listed as Endangered (in danger of extinction), eight of the units were listed as threatened (in danger of becoming endangered) and one coastal Oregon Unit remained under further review.
3. In the mid 1950ís, over 125 rivers were producing catches of wild steelhead. Recently there have been only 15 to 18 rivers open to wild fish harvest due to listings and low spawner escapement. In the mid 1950ís, about 60,000 to 90,000 wild steelhead were annually harvested in the state by sport fishers (harvest estimates are based on WDFW data and correction recommendations). In 2003, sport fishers harvested 3,554 wild steelhead.
4. Hatchery fish now comprise 97.7 percent of the Washington sport steelhead harvest. In western Washington (Puget Sound and Coastal catch areas), hatchery fish comprise 90.4% of the sport harvest.
5. Washingtonís wild steelhead populations are either listed under the Federal Endangered Species Act, chronically under-escaped or in periods of recent population declines. Of Washingtonís 7 steelhead ESUs, 3 are now listed as Threatened, 1 is listed as Endangered, while the other 3 do not currently warrant listing. In spite of the ďnot warrantedĒ status, wild steelhead have in recent years been chronically under-escaped in the majority of Puget Sound ESU and Southwest Washington ESU streams. Only the Olympic Peninsula ESU has wild returns that usually exceed escapement goals and are open to harvest.
6. Most of the OP wild runs have been in a downward trend between their individual run-size peaks in the early/mid 1990ís and the latest run-size estimates from 2003. As the Columbia River and itís tributaries, Puget Sound, Southwest Washington, and Oregon rivers closed to wild steelhead fisheries and/or harvest, many guides and fishers have relocated their fishing activities to the Olympic Peninsula.
7. For the past few years, the Pysht, Quinault, Hoh, Queets, Dickey, Sol Duc, Quillayute, Calawah and Bogachiel River total runs and escapements have all been in a downward trend from their recent peak run-size returns.
8. Last year (2002/03) the Hoh River was under-escaped by 800 fish. The run-size would have easily exceeded the escapement goal of 2400 spawners, but the combined sport and tribal harvest drove the escapements well-below the escapement goal. This situation came about because of an overly optimistic pre-season run-size forecast that was used to establish the harvest fisheries for 2002/03. For 2003/04, the pre-season run-size forecast calls or 4453 fish, and the co-managers agreed to a harvest allocation of 1395 fish for the Hoh tribe and 668 for sport fishers. The co-managerís plan calls for a targeted wild steelhead escapement of 2360 fish, or 40 fish below the escapement goal! We can only hope that this yearís preseason forecast underestimates, rather than overestimates, this yearís actual returns, and that the harvesters fail to achieve their full allocations.
9. The Queets River has been managed for spawners below its desired WDFW escapement for the last 10 years due to tribal demands.
10. Sport catch data since the 5 fish annual limit was established in 2001 indicates the change has not reduced the total annual sport harvest of wild fish. For example, between 2000/01 and 2001/02, the Quillayute escapement declined 1300 fish while the sport kill increased from 1790 to 1930 fish.
11. Harvest models have failed wild salmonids in the 20th and 21st centuries as they are too simplistic and do not account for environmental variations, the role of life history diversity in population resilience, and other factors that are critical for sustaining healthy wild salmonid populations (freshwater habitat degradation, negative impacts of hatchery programs, etc).
12. Ocean and terrestrial productivity continually changes without notice or prediction, and this has major impacts and changes in salmonid populations. The only way to plan for these changes is to manage wild stocks much more conservatively than they have been with ďmaximum sustained harvest (MSH)Ē guidelines.
13. The life history of wild steelhead is far more diverse than most other salmonids. Seasonal runs, multiple year classís within a run, repeat spawners, juveniles that spend 1 to 3 years in the river, a riverine only component (rainbow trout), and river specific genetics, if protected, will provide resiliency and stability to these fish, even during poor environmental cycles.
14. A growing majority of sport fishers clearly prefer a non-harvest plan for wild steelhead. In 1995, 42.3% preferred CnR, 14% preferred harvest, and 43.4% had mixed opinions. In 2001, 49.3% preferred Wild Fish Release, 11.5% preferred releasing all steelhead, 2% preferred to close the fishery, and 33.9% preferred continued harvest (with 3.4% having no opinion). Combined, 65% of those with an opinion in 2001 preferred either CnR or closure for wild fish, even when a river would meet spawning escapement needs.

03-02-2004, 03:49 PM
Interesting to read the comment about fly fisherman...Jeff what is the breakdown of fisherman in the WSC? I always thought it had more non fly guys than fly chuckers. I would hate to see this argument twisted around so it looks like only fly guys are pushing for these restirctions cause it is not true.

The argument just does not bear out that making a fishery C'n'R has ever caused a decline in the local economy. In the majority of cases I can think of (yellowstone, idaho, BC) it has only increased the quality of the fishing experience.

However, having to shut down a fisherey does definitely hurts the local economy.

If I see proof that the runs on our rivers are unhealthy, Iíll be the first to say letís shut it down, she said.

A very shortsighted view on things. If they continue the taking of wild fish there will not be any fishing in 10 years, maybe less.

Time for another letter from me....


03-02-2004, 04:15 PM
We were trying to figure that out the other day. We were rough estimating 60% fly 40% gear but a lot of guys will fish both.


03-02-2004, 04:38 PM
Personally I am getting to the point that I could care less what this town council thinks. This is Forks we are talking about. Hell, I live in Sedro Woolley and the only reason I go to the town council meetings is for a laugh. I certainly don't go there to get thier political views on state issues let alone thier views on how fish should be managed.

Brian Simonseth
03-02-2004, 04:58 PM
I agree with KERRY! (oh no)

DFW just sent me a big pouch of papers!

If Mayor Reed would read this she might think a little different!

JJ hit the nail on the head!

Where did she get her info? (local store):whoa:

Leland Miyawaki
03-02-2004, 05:23 PM
They are meeting with members of the Commission. Hopefully, the Commissioners will hold the line and present the facts to them.


03-02-2004, 05:25 PM
Brian and Sean,

The vocal folks in the Forks area always blame fly fishermen when the commission either reduces to number of fish they can legally keep (just like they did when the 5 wild fish/year regulation went into effect), when the commission reduces the season (like the ending of steelhead fishing on April 15th instead of April 30th), or the C&R on wild summer fish when it went into effect. Their other favorite target to blame is "them damn Indians". Besides, if sportsfishers don't kill the fish, the Indians will get them.

I'm fairly certain that most of these vocal people are angry both because they cannot have any wild fish in possession and because C&R will prevent them from having any wild fish in the boat at all; thus, keeping them from bonking several in a days fishing that are tossed on the bank where they can go get them later. They now know that those who care about the health of the runs will turn them in for fish they see them bonk in March and April.

Brian Simonseth
03-02-2004, 05:53 PM
eyes in the woods!

eyes in the woods!:whoa: