Wenatchee River Regulations! [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Wenatchee River Regulations!

03-26-2004, 04:20 PM
Having spent a few days over by the Wenatchee River on a job I couldn't help but marvel at all the increadible runs for summer steelhead.

Someday this river will be open again, maybe soon and I was thinking what ashame it would be if it got so crowded that it was not worth fishing. I can see 60 guides on it, 2000 gear guys and a 1000 fly guys all trying to get their shot at it.

I have an idea to toss around and would love to hear what people think about it.

My dream would be that the river when it opens would be a lottery drawing only river. From mid September thru November only 20 fishermen a day would be allowed on the river. Fishermen would mail their name in to F&G it would cost 25 dollars to enter the lottery and that is to pay for the lottery. You could also enter the name of one fishing partner who would be a part of the 20 fishermen a day. When your name is drawn a date would also be drawn from a seperate barrel. That date would include 3 strait days of fishing on the Wenatchee. So lets say Sparky and his girl friend the goddess get picked and their date October 3rd,4th and 5th. They and 17 other fishermen would be on the river those days. When your name is picked you must send in 75 dollars or 25 dollars a day to fish. This money would go to the F&G for research on wild steelhead in the upper Columbia basin. After your name is picked it would be put into a different barrel and if all the dates were not filled it could be re-drawn again.

I think Washington needs a Blue Ribbon Steelhead river and the Wenatchee should be it. It would be so nice to fish summer fish knowing there is a limited amount of people fishing it each day. This would be for selective gear and fly. On such a wonderful river one only would need 3 days of fishing to be completly satisfied. Even though I live paycheck to paycheck I would even be willing to pay up 100 dollars a day to fish that river without the crowds and without 60 guide boats going over every run all day long.
What do people think?

Brian Simonseth
03-26-2004, 04:54 PM
This would be great
But one thing
Can we rig it so my name would be pick?:hehe:

I would like to see this on other rivers

Skagit system

The state could make some money, lets say $50. a system limit number of fisher

Money could help out, more game agents!:whoa:

03-26-2004, 04:56 PM
Since we were able to fish the Wenatchee for Steelhead. I would really like to fish it again the scenario you suggest was not all that different from the way it was the last few times I fished there in the mid to late 80's. We did not have to pay any fees but the crowd was about what you suggest for admission.
Seems like its been closed for quite awhile I honestly can't remember how long, too long!
Well OC you saw what happened when they opened the Methow it will be as you say a lot more crowded on the Wenatchee. By the way the Tarheel has a rel nice "Cabin" on some very good water upriver. Maybe we could make property ownership a prerequisite for fishing each landowner could invite a few dedicated "Volunteers" to join him from time to time;)

03-26-2004, 10:44 PM
I could never support this type of "pay to play" reg. Ok, maybe specific, small sections of one or two rivers. To me, that path is the wrong one, and would only enforce the apathy that many have towards river stewardship already. I could envision a lottery for floats, no cost, to keep pressure down. I believe Montana is discussing just this type of approach to mitigate pressure from guides, private boats, etc. I would hate to see the day, when a father couldn't take his kid out fishing without entering the lottery and paying up. Would be a scary precedent for public waters IMHO.

03-27-2004, 12:11 AM
The Wenatchee was a favorite of mine during the fall that has treated me very well when it was opened. I was introduced to it by my good friend Bob Arnold who was kind enough to show me some of his favorite runs. I have sorely missed it since it was closed 6 years ago, and the year before that it was closed at the end of September.


I only ever saw 1 guide (he was on foot with his clients) and only saw 1 smaller raft (about 11 ft) on it. It is not a boat access friendly river since it is a long way between the very few places you could launch a boat and the best water is best fished through wading.

I never saw a lot of fisherman either, maybe I'd run into 6 or 7 other fisherman on a weekend day's fishing (I see more than that on the Skagit or Sauk on a weekend). Remember it is 3 hours from Seattle (if the traffic on Hwy 2 is not bad) and this tends to keep the number of fisherfolk down. Also, this is prime time for the Ronde, which also tends to keep the numbers down. Then again, some of the best fishing happens after the air temps on the eastern side drop into and below the 30's at night and only warm up into the low 50's at most during the day, which also tends to keep the numbers of fisherman down.

There is good bank access if you take the time to learn where you can get on the river. These access points are not all that obvious for the most part either.

I've not seen many folks on the Methow either and my wife and I have fished many a weekend on the Methow the last two years without running into another fisherman. This is another one of those rivers were the majority of the bank access requires one to search it out.

old man
03-28-2004, 08:13 PM
Fishing that river was a good thing when it was open. Used to catch 20" fish or bigger Native rainbows. Also on a few of the smaller feeder streams it was the same. Say Nason Creek. But I'm also not into a lottery to fish that river. I also wish it was open as it would probably keep some of the crowds down on the Yakima.

Like flytyer says I never ran into more than a couple of people when ever I fished it. But on another note,if it was closed to protect the native fish. Why are they still planting it with several thousands of fish about 175,000 steelhead smolts a year in the system. To me it doesn't make any sense as they eat the same food(bugs) as the natives do. So where's the common sense at on this.


New Spey
04-22-2004, 01:45 PM
How about doing what they did on the North Umpqua a few years ago? They made it dry line, un-weighted fly only. The one year they did this, the crowds
virtually ddissapeared It takes away the people, who only want to catch lots of fish. The reason they didn't keep it on the North Umpqua, is it hurt the area economically when those past crowds were no longer frequenting the local businesses. They compromised and now allow sinking lines. But if the Wenatchee is now closed, that won't be a problem, because the economy can only be helped by opening it.

Todd Ripley
04-22-2004, 01:57 PM

If they do ever open the Wenatchee to steelhead fishing again and regulate it any more than selective gear rules, be ready for the biggest firestorm in the history of steelhead fishing in Washington.

It would rival the current WSR controversy.

There are lots and lots of locals up there who would love to fish for all the hatchery fish that have been returning, and many of them do not flyfish, much less dry lines only.

I doubt WDFW would even consider anything other than season lengths and selective gear rules if they were to reopen the Wenatchee. I think that the City of Forks' specious argument about urban elitists wanting to use the OP as their own personal playground, while it doesn't apply there, would definitely apply on the Wenatchee if this were pushed.

This would be, after all, a fishery to catch hatchery fish...there's no conservation issue for those. Selective fishery regulations would be more than sufficient, combined with season length/times, to protect the listed wild ones.

Fish on...


04-22-2004, 02:17 PM
New Spey,

The Wenatchee was closed to all fishing because NOAA told the WDFW that either they close the Wenatchee to prevent the killing of native Upper Columbia River Steelhead because these steelhead were determined by NOAA to be "threatened". If WA State did not close the Wenatchee and its tributaries, Entiat, Methow and its tributaries, and Okanagon and its tributaries to fishing, NOAA was going to take over the management of all the Upper Columbia tributaries upstream of the Snake River.

NOAA allowed WA State to ask them for permission to have a wild steelhead release season on the Methow and Okanagon if they had "surplus" hatchery steelhead returning. However, they did not allow the state to do the same for the Wenatchee steelhead. That is also why WDFW quit clipping the adipose fin on the Wenatchee hatchery fish. Since there was not going to be any fishing on the Wenatchee, there was no need to fin clip or mark the hatchery fish.

The reason the hatchery fish are being fin clipped this year is there are indications that NOAA will allow for wild steelhead release with selective gear rules (single barbless hook, artificial only) in either 2005 or 2006. And the selective gear rules with wild steelhead release was the rule prior to NOAA closing the river for fishing. I thing it would be a very bad decision if WDFW did anything other than to reopen the Wenatchee (if they are allowed to by NOAA) for fishing than to have it WSR, selective gear rules.

04-22-2004, 03:50 PM
What are you trying to do, give me a heart attack??? :D I've been fishing that river before I was fishing steelhead. My Dad has me fishing that river for cutthroat back in the very early 70's. I almost consider it my home river, since I normally fish the majority of the time (outside the Chehalis system). If they put up those regs, you all would instantly know the first "Steelhead Permit Pirate". I'd have my assault gear on. I'd hide in the bushes and wait at the nearest put ins/take outs. I'd have to hijack their permits so I could make my scheduled fishing trips. :D Especially since I have taken at least 2 full weeks of my vacation each year just to fish the Hoh. I'd be in serious withdrawals (not including the other 40+ fishing days on top of that I fish there).

Man, you're killing me. But when you get your permit, let me know which days you go. ;) :p

Brian Simonseth
04-22-2004, 07:15 PM
This is a copy of what I saw in Oly 8 months ago.
But there were alot of them.:eyecrazy:

Dr. Swing
04-23-2004, 10:55 AM
If paying out the nose and excluding anglers from fishing a river is the only way to maintain some sort of quality angling for steelhead in the United States, I will gladly put down my two handers and fish for something else. There are plenty of fish out there in which the pursuit of them does not require either standing shoulder to shoulder with anglers, or paying out the ying yang to fish public water. The quality of experience steelheading is wonderful on an uncrowded stream, but not so enjoyable in a mob. I would rather fish for Carp in uncrowded waters than to fork over the $$$ or be in a crowd.

I value solitude much more than I value catching fish, and would happily give up numbers of fish for a chance to fish at my own pace. But I certainly am not going to pay for exclusive fishing rights. For the rest of you, I have no issues if you don't agree. What we each take and value from a day of angling is quite different, and that is fine by me.

New Spey
04-23-2004, 11:44 AM
You guys would know best, what would work up there. I just threw that out as a way to allow fishing with out taxing the resource. I also didn't realize that it was mostly a hatcherey operation. So I guess, never mind.

04-23-2004, 12:56 PM
I threw out this idea not so much as a quality fishing experience but as a way to put less pressure on just one river in this state for the sake of it's few remaining wild steelhead. It would give people the chance to fish this wonderful river again instead of letting it sit empty with the simple pleasures of being on that river. This is not an eliest concept where the highest bidder or those with wealth fish a beat. It is a lottery system that could protect a river in need of protection and weather you are rich or poor you can come up with a reasonable amount of money to have a few days on that one river if you are lucky and really want to fish it. And the money could go back into the river.
This would make perfect opportunity to start the long slow process of cutting back on hatchery fish in one river to see what happens when hatchery fish are taken out of the equation. I know Mr Bolt.

We Americans must stop this high horse additude that "we have a right because". We need to look at what freedom really means in this day and age after we have done as we pleased because we have had the right do do so. In every aspect of saving fish, the environment we are going to have to put limitations on how we are apart of the equation. It is so easy to say I'll fish somewhere else first than fish arm to arm with others. That there is plenty of places to fish with solitude. You are wrong to believe so or those places would not be getting harder to find each year. One foot print leads to many others.

I offered this idea good or bad to think outside the conventional box. I felt it would be a sane way for some lucky people to participate with a river that needs some love but not to be loved to death.

Ya got to think with every step you take because everything is just getting way too fragile.

04-23-2004, 01:54 PM

I welcome the out of the box attempt. What you are proposing is really no different then what some rivers in BC have been for some time. Only there the restriction is placed on non-resident anglers. It appears that this is only going to become more restrictive and for that I am sad. If I was a BC resident, I might feel differently though.

As it applies to the Wenatchee, I would hate to see any regulations that discriminated against angling method (fly vs. gear) or against resident vs. non-resident. Part of my enjoyment of fishing has been to fish with friends from Idaho, Oregon, Montana and BC. I would support a number of measures though if they were designed with the fish in mind.

1) A lottery to limit the combined angler days on specific rivers.
2) Increased resident fees with the return going to support habitat restoration, enforecement, etc.
3) Increased non-resident fees with the same focus as #2 above. Let's face it, Washington is a cheap date. If, and this is a big if, we can make our fisheries again world class, why not charge a fair market price for the chance to partake? (sorry OC, that is the GOP in me)
4)Increased fees and minimum qualifications for guides in the state. This is not meant to trash guides but it is very easy to become one and fairly cheap as well. I believe this leads to a plethora of guides out there, some of which have no qualifications for the role. (discalimer - this is just an opinion and may not be based in fact. Curious what some of the guides think.) Back to the fiscal side, if non-guided anglers are going to be asked to pony up the costs of fisheries enhancement, it is only fair that the guides pay their represenative share.

My 7.5 cents on the subject.

Dr. Swing
04-23-2004, 01:55 PM
Originally posted by OC

We Americans must stop this high horse additude that "we have a right because". We need to look at what freedom really means in this day and age after we have done as we pleased because we have had the right do do so. In every aspect of saving fish, the environment we are going to have to put limitations on how we are apart of the equation. It is so easy to say I'll fish somewhere else first than fish arm to arm with others. That there is plenty of places to fish with solitude. You are wrong to believe so or those places would not be getting harder to find each year. One foot print leads to many others.

I offered this idea good or bad to think outside the conventional box. I felt it would be a sane way for some lucky people to participate with a river that needs some love but not to be loved to death.

Ya got to think with every step you take because everything is just getting way too fragile.

OC, I agree with you in many respects. Solitude IS hard to find, and rivers are being fished to the point where not only are they overfished, but the experience is no longer an enjoyable one. I understand that the Wenatchee is a very valuble resource and that it could provide a wonderful experience for a few anglers if a limited entry system were put in place. Unfortunately, I see that limited entry is the only way to maintain quality fishing given the growth of the sport and the dwindling rivers which offer fishable runs of fish. The example of the Dean and most Atlantic Salmon rivers come to mind. If this is indeed the case, I think it is time, for me personally, to fish for something else besides steelhead. This is a personal thing for me.

I am not that familar with the issue at hand of the Wenatchee. If wild fish are in that great of danger, wouldn't keeping the river closed be the best thing for it? If there is a fishable run, opening the river to everybody would take the heat off a few other places, though it would probably be way overfished.

I also live in a state (Montana) where public access are being greatly reduced at a rapid pace. It is for very different reasons (BAD in my book,) but at the same time, I believe that is why I bristle at the thought of limiting access. Yet, I don't know of a better way to maintain a resource besides making the choice not to use it myself.

OC, you are right, in a world of greater angling presure, fewer fish and rivers to fish, a change in thinking is necessary. To me, taking that 1-3 week trip a year to fish for something else besides steelhead (though I am addicted and love the sport dearly) might be my way of dealing with the problem.

I certainly don't have all of the answers and I am open to all ideas. Would I want to fish the Wenatchee if your system were put in place? I would have to think long and hard about that one.

04-23-2004, 02:41 PM
Dr Swing,

Thanks for answering back. I hope You don't think I was giving you a hard time with my last post.

I know where you are at with Montana and what is going on there. I left my home in Montana as many have because of association by guilt. Having worked so hard for what I thought would be a better thing, C&R on rivers like the Madison and the rivers in Yellowstone then finding out it is not such a great thing.

We were sure proud the first 4 or 5 years of C&R of what we had accomplished. Fishing was improving, fishermen were coming from all corners of the globe and were spending money in towns that needed it. But we soon realized we had created a love it to death syndrome. River way too crowded both commercially and privately, fish that were no longer wild and seemed to know the game. These once beautiful fish were continually being hooked day after day. Hooking scars abound no life to a fish that somehow is just exausted or knows it will be let go. Then of course came whirling disease.
I left to fish elsewhere hoping to make less of an impact. What I've learned is we can all run but we can't hide. This is just how I feel right now but if we are going to make less of an impact and still be able to participate then we are going to have to make tough decissions. The Wenatchee is closed now because certain authorities feel it is needed and I will agree with them. But the talk is that it will one day soon be open to sport fishing again. Why leave a huge foot print on a river that is just being opened after a long time closure. The river will not be back to historic runs of wild fish when it opens, far from it. So let us participate in a way everyone has a chance to have the opportunity to fish it by a fair lottery system and give the fish some chance to make it. To me it would be the best win, win situation if it is going to re-open.

04-23-2004, 02:53 PM
As you said that it should be a fair lottery for all, be they from Washington or Pluto. I hope that no one thought I was advocating fly fishing only as I did say gear and fly, selective rules.

We have special drawings for hunting seasons why not fishing in certain areas.

Besides Sinktip if we do it the way I proposed you just got to know your name is going to be on my lottery ticket as the second person. I'd even pay your way to fish that river with you. I don't care if your a republican or from Pluto!:devil:

04-23-2004, 03:33 PM

The GOP in me says we should have a higher license fee for both resident and non-residents fishers in WA State. I also think that the very low fee for a guide's license should be raised as well. When I lived in Montana (1979-1991), one had to either have an outfitters's license (it was $1500.00/year then) or be working for someone with an outfitters license to guide. A guide also had to pay $250.00/year for a guide's license and it had the outfitter he was working for listed on the guide's license.

The GOP in me also says that to do what BC has done on some rivers and plans to do on others, or what most of the Maritime Provinces have done and require non-residents to hire a guide in order to fish is patently offensive. If you are a guide or have aspirations to be a guide, I suppose this would be good for business. However, it creates a pseudo-monopoly on access to the fishery and allows guides to continually increase fees, which the fisherman has no choice but to pay if he wishes to fish. I don't begrudge a guide the abiblity to make a decent income; however, with the guide requirement guides working the most popular waters could push the price up to $500.00, $600.00, or even $800.00/day of fishing. The poor non-resident fisher would have no choice but to pay these exorbitant prices or he can't fish.


I worry about some guides or wannabe guides lobbying WDFW and the legislature to require non-residents hire a guide to fish on any water that is placed in a limited entry category. Doing something like prohibiting fishing from floating devices and boats on a small number of rivers, prohibiting the use of floating devices or boats on a small limited number of rivers, or prohiting fishing on a certain day of the week, say a Sunday in the fashion of Scottish salmon waters, would reduce the fishing pressure and help protect the wild fish. I am very aware that prohiting boats or fishing from boats would cause a huge outcry from sportsfishers in out state. I am also quite sure that if there was a ban put in place on Sunday or Saturday fishing on the Wenatchee or any other river in out state that the roar in opposition would be deafening. That doesn't mean they are not viable options nor does it mean that they should not be considered and discussed by the fisheries managers.

04-23-2004, 03:35 PM
Proud Member of Plutoans For Kerry!


I see the appeal of a lottery system for crowd management. I would just want to make sure it was fair to all (gear, fly, guides and non-guides) and if there was any revenue generated, it was put back into the fishery not into the general fund.

04-23-2004, 03:57 PM
It would have to be fair and the great thing about it besides the less pressure on wild fish is that with only 20 or so people being able to fish each day one does not have to limit guides. There can be only so many guides with 20 people on the river. I don't like the guides demanding that out of state fishermen have to have a guide at all. For those of us in the 70's fishing Atlantic Salmon in Newfie and labrador we all remember the required guides sitting up on the side of the road while clients fished and the enjoyment they had in throwing empty Canadian Hardwood bottles down on the rocks below. No competion there. As for how much a guide charges I don't care, they will find the market as long as no one is required to fish with them. And you can quote this leftist on that!

04-23-2004, 05:21 PM
What the hell?????????????????????????????????


Dr. Swing
04-23-2004, 05:34 PM
Originally posted by KerryS
What the hell?????????????????????????????????


Seems you can find just about anything on the internet these days:hehe:

old man
04-23-2004, 05:41 PM
I don't really know whay to say on higher prices for licenses. We used to pay more a few years ago or did every body forget about that time. Punch cards cost for all the different fish plus the cost of permits for the different fishes,more for Crabs and Seaweed. Now it's all bunched together. Punch cards are free and all you need is a fresh or a salt water license.

When the Wenatchee used to be open you still didn't get a lot of people fishing it. Plus you have all the little feeder streams that closed also, oh you can fish some of them now but only the upper reaches.

It just jerks my chain that they put hatchery fish in it and in the long run we pay for them but they won't let us fish for them. Besides think of the Native fish that are getting bigger and nobody to harvest them except the POAchers.

I'm done ranting now and will quit.


Dr. Swing
04-23-2004, 05:51 PM

It is off topic, but I do feel the need to respond. I can't imagine the limited amount of catch and release on the Madison and YNP to be anything but a good thing. These areas would probably see tremendous preasure during the short summer months, catch and release or not, and it keeps the quality of fishing relativly high. Would it be better if there where fewer people? Sure, but I certainly don't want to limit access. Also you can fish area about 8-9 months of the year and find very few anglers to share the river with. Hook scared fish, and lame fighting fish are uncommon on the Madison, though many of the YNP rivers, and many other western tailwaters have this problem. My observations indicate that the fast water of the Madison pretty much make it impossible for less than healthy fish to survive.

The land access issues that I am concerned with are more along the lines of the extremely wealthy buying up huge chunks of land, and blocking what should be legal access. This is a large problem and a growing one. Obviously, a lottery system for the Wenatchee would not be so exclusive (hopefully!)

Settings such as the pay to fish spring creeks, or pay to fish trophy lakes leave a bad taste in my mouth. I care not to buy angling success, or a pleasant time on the river. Your comparison to drawing for hunting in areas is far more accurate, in this case, and far more acceptable my twisted fishing moral world.

My question to you is the Wenatchee worthy of this type of treatment, more so than other US rivers? After fishing in a setting such as the one you proposed, how excited would you to go stand in a lineup on your everyday haunts?

Also on a lighter note, I think 3 days or whatever you suggested would just wet somebodies appettie, not fill them for a year.

04-23-2004, 07:06 PM

Leftist for holding the position that guides can charge what they wish in a fishery that does not require an angler to have a guide? I think not. It is purely conservative capitalism. However, as you rightfully pointed out what happened in Newfoundland and the Labrador in the 70's where a non-resident angler was required to have a "guide", is a totally different thing and is why I am opposed to a requirement to hire a guide to fish. Requiring a guide to fish is nothing more than government imposed (but not funded) welfare.

Like Sinktip, I would like to see license money go to fisheries management/enforcement, not the general fund. I am aware that the license fees collected now are insufficient to fund WDFW and its programs such as hatcheries though.

Brian Simonseth
04-23-2004, 08:54 PM
Chief of E. P.

Iíll join you as a Member of Plutoans for Kerry S!

04-26-2004, 10:24 AM
Dr Swing,
Yes I agree with you on most of it like how it is getting harder to get on many rivers in Montana and elsewhere. But have you really sat down and thought about why these people who come to Montana bought sub divided land and put up no trespassing signs are here? For many it's catch & release, it's the easier quality of fishing that we worked so hard for. C&R fishing in Montana created a multi fingered industry be it too many guides, too many fly shops, and too many realestate companies. Why do you think that the Yellowstone Coalition, Ted Turner and Paul Allen are trying so hard to put as much land in trust? It's because it's people like us who want a part of it, we want to love it to death. We make all these rules that ranchers can't run their cattle in the creek or river because it is destructive yet we can send 500 fly fishermen a day in summer in and along the banks of the Madison and not have the courage to say we are doing the river no good.

All of us who consider ourselves conservationists are going to have take a step back and take a good honest and I mean honest look at who we really are. Be it hikers, kayakers, fishermen, rock climbers and all the rest of the want a piece of paradise crowd we have to realize that we are the creation of a industry, example,(OUTSIDE MAGAZINE) that magazine is the greatest polluter of our wilderness ever created who's purpose is to make money anyway it can of the land. Dr Swing are you a true belonger to the land or did you move to Montana so you could be closer to the types of recreation you love? If you did and please do not take this in the wrong way but if you did even if you are a careful steward you are part of a change to the system that is plain and simple loving paradise to death. I will take the old way though at this moment in time it will be hard to implement. But I will tell you we were far better off when one went to the land owner and asked permission to fish or hunt his land. Maybe you went out in June and spent a day helping hay but before the over commercialization and what mess we have now things were better and we had less fish but way better fishing and way more healthy fish. Most importantly we had a far more healthy understanding between human beings and how we related to the land.

For one delicate steelhead river in Washington that may of not have been fished by the hords in the past but will when open again be hammered by everyone of us steelhead fishermen all in search of a new piece of paradise, a new hope. For that one river I feel my idea is the right way to go where a fair and honest lottery system will give all of us an equal chance to fish it and be a part of it yet protect it from what we all love so much.

Dr. Swing
04-26-2004, 11:31 AM

It seems you blame C&R for the hordes of people who come to the west each season to fish.

The hordes of people who come to the West each season to fish do so because the rivers themselves, the tremendous publicity they have received, the vast amount of public water, and who knows what else. Catch and Release is the only way to REDUCE the impact of large numbers of people fishing an area. Catch and Release did not bring people to the west to fish, it protects the rivers from those people, to some degree.

Also a great number of the places you mentioned are not governed by catch and release. 90 % of the visiting anglers shoce to release their catch on most of the Madison and in all of Yellowstone with the exception of the Cutthroat tstreams.

If you want to blame something for the large number of anglers, please blame the magazines, guides like myself, flyshops, the "movie," population growth in general, the fly fishing industry as a whole or whatever else. Don't falsely blame catch and release.

Most of the rivers being bought up right now are absolutely not catch and release regulated. The Upper Ruby, in its fenced in glory is a prime example of that. Cherry Creek would be another one. People buy up these plots and exclude people because they want to be alone, because they can, and whatever else.

Sure the fishing was better back in the day. But blaming the decline of fishing on catch and release to me is invalid.

Hell yes, I moved to Montana to be closer to the recreation that I love. Have I ruined your paradise. I think not. Aside from a few short summer months, one can lose themselves in a river, lake or wilderness with few people around. Or jump on any hiking trail outside of Yellowstone any time of the year. You won't see many people.

I'm sorry that you feel that the use of a resourse destroys it. It can, but it certainly does not have to.

04-26-2004, 01:00 PM
Doctor Swing,
I"m sorry that I'm unable to convey my thoughts better. But as far as fishing in Montana and other places that are alike goes. Before C&R in the park and on the Madison the industry was small compared to today. Parts of the Madison before C&R had 800 fish or less per mile now in places twice that many. The success of C&R in places like Montana created a whole new industry. By the late 70's many of us realized we could make lots of money off a growing resource and we thought we were protecting the resource at the same time. We created an image that brought many people into fly fishing that before the new industry would have never picked up a fly rod in their remaining life time who would never even have known or cared about trout in Montana let alone anything other than Montana had some cows and cowboys. Only those who truly were a part of the quiet community of fly fishermen new about the wonders fly fishing knew about Montana fly fishing. Fly fishermen before the plublicity blitz were considered somewhat strange. Now they are part of the norm as are Kayakers, hikers, rock climbers and who created that? The birth of the outdoor recreational industry. The enviro and conservation thinking of the 70's thought more fish could mean more people fishing and yet still have great resource. What forward thinkers are now realizing that this is not the case, that more people being aware of conservation and participating in the outdoors does not always bring the results that were once hoped for. You, me and many others have created an industry that has made it way too easy for the general masses to particitpate in the outdoors and in doing so we are trampling it to death.

I am tired of the BS that say the old timers are selfish and want it all for themselves. Many are seeing things that are not healthy, they are facing the truth and the enemy many times have been themselves for what they have helped create. This is not my paradise, it's not yours and it is not an industry who hand feeds thousands of you know who's into a Montana river, the brazilian Rain forrest, a guided tour up Mt Everest, a how to surf school, a how to steelhead fishing school or a let's feed some great whites while you know who's watch in dive cages. We are out of control!

04-26-2004, 01:07 PM

You make some valid points. I saw the hordes of fishermen, the huge increase is guides, and the buying up of land for the sole purpose of either having a place to make money through charging fishermen to fish or to have a place where you had a small section of river to yourself begin.

I remember the Missoure having virtually only local fishers utilizing it when there was only 1 fly shop in Great Falls and another one in Helena, neither of which offered guide services. There were only 4 guides who worked it regularly (2 from Great Falls, 1 from Cascade, and one from Helena) and maybe 6 guides who worked it for brief sporatic periods. It was rare to see more than 1 or 2 other anglers is a day's fishing, you didn't have to avoid the "boat hatch", and the fishing was wonderful.

I remember fishing 16 Mile Creek by walking up the old Mildwaukee Road right-of-way for access. I also saw Ted Turner buy up 5 working ranches and then proceed to put locked gates on all the access roads (which existed for 100 years or more) into the mountains, and close off all access to 16 Mile Creek (despite not owning the Milwaukee Road's railbed) because he owned the land on either side of it. I saw Tom Brokow buy 2 very large working ranches on the upper Boulder River and then close all the access roads into the Absorkas that crossed his land (again despite having existed for over 100 years) and stop all fishermen from fishing the river through his miles of land holding, despite the fact that is many places he only owned the land on the road side of the river.

I remember fishing the Ruby before a ranch had its "tresspass rights" purchased by an enterprising out-of-state group who then intituited a "fee for trespass" to access the river. I saw this group fence the public right-of-way at the county-owned and maintained bridges and put up no tresspassing signs, depsite not owning the right-of-way or the river bed. I saw this group then hire a "river master" to harass, intimidate, threaten, and get rid of "non-paying" local fisherman who knew the bridge access points were county land.

The Missour began to have a lot of guides and fishermen after Gary LaFountaine published an article on its great fishing in FLY FISHERMAN. He did so with great trepidition for he was greatly concerned about hordes of fishermen showing up. He did it because Montana Power (who owns the 3 dams below Canyon Ferry Dam (which is owned by the Bur. of Rec., the feds) were talking of using the dams as peaking power generating facilities. If they would have been operated in that fashion, the very fine spring creek-like Missouri below Holter Dam would no longer exist.

I saw Rock Creek get over-run with fishermen, including those fools who insist on "floating" it after the high water of spring runoff is over. I saw the Maiden Rock Canyon of the Big Hole begin having a lot of guides working it after runoff (something that was very rare before it was publicized by the fly shops in Dillion and Wise River).

Yes, I saw the beginnings of the "love it to death", the huge increase in fly shops, the even larger increase in guides, and the real estate brokers getting in on the act, all in the name of making a dollar )which of course is good for the economy). And I left in 1991 before it got really bad.

That said, I still have a problem with limiting the number of fishers who can access a river. This is why I think banning boats or other floating devices, a Sunday closure, and selective gear rules would be adequate. No boats, takes out a lot of folks who would hire a guides since most clients do not want to walk for their fish. The Sunday closure would keep the number of fishers down since may would not make the trip from Seattle for only a single day. The selective gear rules would eliminate all those who think you have to use bait or treble hooks to catch fish. These are far less draconian and they would keep the impact and numbers of fisherman to a reasonalbe level.

04-26-2004, 01:39 PM

I agree with you. It was not easy to see Turner and the others buy up all that land I once had the lock combos for. But folks like Craig and Jackie were forward thinkers and realized if people with the means to do just that did not do it then much of would be subdivided and we would not been able or want to fish it anymore anyway. They realized it is better to be private and held in trust and still a healthy working ranch than be destroyed by all of us who want thousands of small peices of paradise. It's sad but it is reality Turner fully understood what was and is happening and our grandchildren will be thankful they did just what they are doing.

I know what Gary was trying to do on the Missourri, we were convinced that Montana Power was evil and I know they are in many ways. But honestly are they any worse than what we have created. In 1963 or anytime before the recreational onslaught Montana power did such things as dump water, pollute and we had far fewer fish for those reasons and that most who fished took home 5 fish a day. There was 300 fish per mile maybe at best. If you could go back in a time machine and have a day fishing to 300 fish and see a couple of locals fishing with worms or fish this comming June on 2000 fish a mile and 50 guide boats 100 walk in fly fishermen fishing over fish that have been fished over continuely what would you pick? It is a tough one I know.

Yes we are going have to regulate recreational users, I know it does not sit well with all of us but we are becoming the new Montana Power. And sad to say many of us have not yet begun to realize that.

04-26-2004, 02:03 PM

I nominate you to be mod. of the Environment Forum.

Oops, too late :razz:

Ok, all kidding aside, you can make some good points about a number of contributing factors and I think Dr. Swing and you both have done a good job of listing out a number of them. In my mind, it all boils down to too many people and not enough resources. Given this, some efforts are called for or you are right, we will love it all to death.

Of course if we just had more hatcheries and salmon farms, it would solve all our problems. :devil:


04-26-2004, 04:44 PM

I think more than the "love it to death" was and is at work on what many consider to be the best rivers, whether it be in Montana, here in Washington, or elsewhere. This the change in articles that were being published in the various fly fishing rags. Back before this change (which I put in the early to mid '80's) the articles were on fishing technique, fly tying, casting, equipment, and fishing without naming guides, shops, access points, pools, runs, etc.

After the naming of guides, shops, pools, access points, runs, etc., there was and continues to be a huge increase in the number of folks who travel to fish those rivers/streams/lakes in the articles. Lest also not forget that many of those "tell-all articles" were and are written by the very guides, shops, and chambers of commerce named in the articles. Nothing like drumming up readership, subscriptions, and business for the guides and shops named all in the guise of a "helpful" fishing article.

Prior to all the guide, shop, pool name, etc. in the "articles" or "stories", a person had to search this stuff out for himself instead of writing a few letters, an email, or making a phone call to the guides and shops listed in the article. The majority of folks do not desire to go somewhere, usally a long way from home, without having knowledge of where to go (which riffle/pool), who to hire as a guide, etc. This tell-all style of fly fishing magazine article has changed all this. Now all someone needs to do is read the latest article about an area he wants to travel to and fish and he is almost always provided with all the "inside info".

Are all magazine articles like this? No. I just read a very fine article in FLY ROD AND REEL on the Delaware River, and it did not give out one access point, one pool, one riffle, one guide, or how far from New York City or Philadelphia it is. I wish all authors and magazine publishers only wrote or published articles like it. The main points on the quality of the fishery, a little of the history of the fishery, hatches that are found on it, and how far downstream from Hancock, NY the mainstem supports trout, and the recommended line size to use were all in the article; but there was not specific info that would help a new visitor to find and get fish.

Perhaps this is why I liked what Dec did with his book on the Skagit/Sauk. No specific run info was included, no specific where to drop your fly info, etc. He let it up to the fisherman to come and partake and find fish if he had the skills to read the water, and present a fly effectively.

05-10-2004, 03:35 AM
the wenatchee is being fished by people now they are called poachers. if a c&r season is in effect this will be greatly reduced. more eyes on the river. why not a c&r season, no bait, barbless hook and single barb. what a great resource to waste. we could use it and put it back. mike

05-10-2004, 02:08 PM

The reason the Wenatchee is and has been closed has been posted earlier in this thread; however, for the benefit of those who have not taken the time to read all of the posts in the thread I'll reiterate it herein. The reason it was closed and remains closed is NMFS (which is now NOAA Fisheries) told WDFW that they either closed the Wenatchee to fishing (and some other river systems as well) or they (NOAA Fisheries) would take over management of all anadromous fish in WA state where there were threatened or endangered anadromous fish. NOAA Fisheries determined that the Upper Columbia summer steelhead were threatened and that the Wenatchee had to be closed to all fishing to protect the wild Upper Columbia summer steelhead.

It matters not what WA state fishers would like or what WDFW would like regarding a wild steelhead release or total C&R season on the Wenatchee. The feds will not allow it and the state must comply because of the wild Upper Columbia summer steelhad having threatened species status.

06-09-2004, 12:39 PM
when the wenatchee was open it was not as crowded as the snake or the ronde. you could always find places to fish. possibly they could make it catch and release with bait and hook restrictions. just trying to dream and wish.