: Skagit River, Grandy Creek
05-28-2004, 03:35 PM
Last night there was a meeting in Sedro Woolley about Grandy Creek Rearing (sp) Ponds.
The Director of WDFW was there with top people (10) from Olympia and Skagit County.
A lot of the night was spent on Grandy Creek; the Director said it was going to be done.
EIS report would be open to public comment June 14th. There will be more on EIS in a press release coming out soon.
05-28-2004, 04:00 PM
I wanted to be at the meeting; unfortunately, my 7th grader had a science fair last evening and that took precedence. Thanks for mentioning the meeting.
Was there any mention of whether WDFW is still planning on using Grandy Creek only as a winter steelhead hatchery, or are they looking at using Grandy as a hatchery for other fish such as chinook?
05-28-2004, 04:30 PM
Just winters for now.
Down the road there will be Summers
05-28-2004, 05:11 PM
A sad day for the Skagit.
05-28-2004, 07:21 PM
There was considerable discussion about summer run fish and some strongly advocated reintroducing them but my recollection is that the WDFW people only granted that if the idea was properly submitted then they would evaluate it.
There was some misconception among those present about the origins of the few wild summer steelhead in the Skagit in that some in the audience proposed that they were remnants of previous hatchery programs.
The SASSI reports that there are several native summer stocks although each is quite small and it is my thought that possible interactions with these native populations will prevent a new summer hatchery from happening.
With the proposed acclimation ponds use for imprinting winter steelhead to the Grandy Creek area there seems to be very strong opposition from many in the fly-fishing community and I am hoping that someone might discuss the disadvantages and possible advantages of building and operating the facility?
05-28-2004, 07:42 PM
I am a fly fisherman who is not opposed to the Grandy Creek site for winter fish. This is because there is not much chance of spawning interaction between hatchery fish from there and the wild winter fish in the system. Summer fish is another matter though because of the possible interactions with the wild summer stocks from the stream upriver a few miles from Grandy Creek. The other wild summer fish (from the upstream Cascade and Sauk rivers, or downstream from Day Creek) would not be threatened by summer fish being put in at Grandy.
The only real concern I have about the Grandy facility is the possible huge increase in fisherman numbers in the area from Grandy to Hamilton. That is a something that I can easily avoid though by simply fishing furthur down or upriver from Grandy. I am equally sure that the number of guides working the river will increase quite a bit because of the ease of driving to the Grandy area from Bellingham and Everett and the boat launches just upstream and downstream of Grandy providing easy and convenient boat access to the arrea.
I have a strong suspician that when the Grandy facility comes on-line, the number of fishers in the Rockport to Marblemount area will decrease and that fisherman will concentrate near the Marblemount hatchery and the Grand hatchery.
05-28-2004, 09:12 PM
Not to sound to dumb on this matter. With all the Steelhead hatcherys that are closing or that they want to close and with the Hatchery at Barnaby Slough. Why do they want to open another one on the Skagit. To me it doesn't makeany sense. But what the hell do I know,I'm just a grumpy old man.
05-28-2004, 10:38 PM
When the plan comes out it sounded to me that they where going to have summers in the future. With the three proposals they had. We will have to see what “PSE” does with the Baker River Dams. It hard to get all those people together in one spot and ask those questions. We only had WDFW there.
This is going to be Rearing ponds (raceways) not hatcheries. There already up and down the river.
05-29-2004, 10:05 AM
I don't understand the word "Reining Ponds" or do you mean rearing ponds. Even if you do that doesn't that put an imprint into the fishes brain on where to return to. And could that little creek hold all them fish at full size.
Some day if we ever meet up on the river or someplace where the water is flowing down hill you can explain this to me.
05-29-2004, 04:57 PM
My bad, your right. (sp)
06-01-2004, 11:43 AM
So my issue with the site is that no one seems to know what the impact will be of the hatchery fish on the wild fish. My understanding is that Grandy creek has failed three other times in trying become a hatchery. So why don't we learn from the past? What is the success rate of the current skagit hatchery? It is very low so is this money well spent for something that no one seems to know the impact of. In fact the orginal ESA got the project shot down because it wasn't good enough to show no impacts on the wild fish.
06-01-2004, 11:51 AM
Here is a little history on the Grandy creek failures of the past. It has only failed twice before not three times sorry.
Thus the choice of Grandy Creek, which has a long history of long ago failed hatcheries (the old foundations are still on the site). Around 1911 it was first constructed as a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Hatchery. However, the hatchery had increasing difficulties bringing back fish and had water source difficulties as well. It was subsequently abandoned by them in I believe the 1940s. But it was then purchased by Washington Department of Game as it was called at the time (must have been a realtor with a silver tongue to be able to sell a failing hatchery). WDG used it streictly as a steelhead hatchery until sometime in the 1960s or early 70s. They also abandoned it due to failing returns and water quality problems.
06-01-2004, 12:27 PM
From conversations I've had with Steve Stout, the manager of the Marblemount hatchery and Barnaby Slough raising ponds over the last 5 years, I have very few concerns about the impact of Grandy Creek hatchery fish on wild fish (remember this will be imprinting, raising ponds like those at Barnaby Slough with fish hatched at the Marblemount hatchery). The studies on hatchery/wild interaction in the Skagit/Sauk/Cascade rivers has found there is no interaction between the wild and hatchery stocks. The DNA studies in the Skagit system have shown there is a 0.01% probablity of interaction between the wild and hatchery fish. This is less than the genetic diversity found within either wild or hatchery fish.
Steve has also told me that the vast majority of wild fish spawning occurs above Concrete (much of it in the Sauk). Not that there is no spawning in the mainstem Skagit below Concrete, just that there is not a lot of it. Thus there is not a lot of chance for hatchery/wild spawing interaction. Addtionally, Grandy Creek has been a release site for hatchery steelhead for the last 10 years with approximately 40,000 smolt released into Grandy Creek at the hatchery location each year. This has been done for two reasons accordind to Steve. 1) to provide a way to evaluate the amount of wild-hatchery interaction in the middle Skagit; and 2) begin the establishment of a return to Grandy Creek for the future raising ponds.
Although it is true that the feds had a hatchery at Grandy Creek that was considered a failure, it was primarily for the raising of chinook and sockeye, both "high value" commercial fish. We must remember that the hatcheries of the early and mid 1900's were not very good at producing returning fish. It is also true that WDFW's forerunner purchased the feds Grandy Creek operation, which was abandoned after the construction of the new, larger hatchery at Marblemount. Marblemount had the advantage of water from a spring, which Grandy Creek does not have. The springs at Marblemount provide water temps that fluctuate very little throughout the year, unlike the freestone water in Grandy Creek, and this consistent temperature at the Marblemount hatchery is very conducive to incubating eggs and raising fry to smolts. This is also why Barnaby Slough is used for raising ponds instead of as a full hatchery.
In other words, the "water quality" issues that lead to the demise of the original Grandy Creek hatchery had little to do with it "purity" or polution and nearly everything to do with the freestone nature of Grandy Creek and its widely fluctuating water temps. This is why the hatchery was built at Marblemount, it has springs to provide nearly ideal water temps for egg incubation and fry growth.
06-01-2004, 04:02 PM
A lot of info on the interaction of wild and hatchery fish after they return to the river. Does anyone have any information on the interaction of wild and hatchery fish while in the river before smolting or thier interactions after they leave the river while in the salt? Do hatchery fish and wild fish use the same feeding areas in the ocean? Do hatchery parr and wild parr compete for food in the river?
06-01-2004, 06:16 PM
your getting to the stuff planted fish advocates dont like to discuss.Also,what does increased fishing pressure to harvest the planted fish mean to wild fish survival?In the end do we just subsitute expensive[inferior] fish for wild fish?Beau
Kerry and Beau do bring up good points.
I am with JJ. The thing that worries me is the impact to returning wild fish. The interaction between the wild and hatchery smolts is minor in my mind compared to increased hooking mortality brought on by heavily increasing fishing pressure.
Right now the majority of pressure as I see it on the Skagit is up above Rockport towards the Cascade. Why? Cause that is where the hatchery is.
I think it is pretty much a fact that the majority of the nates caught in the Skagit is below the Sauk. If we put in a hatchery below the Sauk and make it into a Cowlitz north we immediately increase pressure on the early returning native fish heading to the Sauk and Upper Skagit.
People do try and use the excuse that hatchery and wild fish have different return cycles. However, if you talk to old timers they lament the decline in early returning natives on all of our western washington rivers. Me thinks this is partly due to increased hatchery output and the throngs they bring to the river.
Take a trip down to the Cow between June-July or November-December and ask yourself if that is what you want to see up on the Skagit.
I for one will miss the relative solitude one can have on the middle/lower skagit in late winter/early spring.
06-01-2004, 10:23 PM
IMHO you hit a bullseye on what many are concerned about with a hatchery at Grandy Creek: The relative solitude on the middle Skagit (I define the middle Skagit as the river between Sedro Woolley and Concrete) now present during the December-February time frame would be gone, at least in the Grandy Creek to Hamilton area.
Regarding the impact of people fishing for hatchery fish at a Grandy Creek hatchery on wild fish, it would be far less than the impact of the Indian fishery from furthur down river. Remember, nets don't disciminate between hatchery and wild fish, sportsfishers can. Wild fish release would keep the impacts on wild fish to a fairly low level, especially since most of the angler effort is going to be expended right near the hatchery.
I may be very wrong; but I don't see the Skagit becoming a Cowlitz north because the Sky, Snoqualmie, Stilly, and Nooksack are all closer to population centers and the guides now working them will probably not move to the Skagit because of the extra miles they would have to travel. Also, I don't see a huge influx of our friends from B.C. coming down to the Skagit since they have the Vedder and several other rivers much closer.
The Cowlitz has a huge number of folks from Olympia and Tacoma fishing it along with a large number of folks from Kelso/Longview. I don't think the Tacoma or Olympia folks will travel up here in any appreciable numbers, they will stay stay on the Cowlitz. The majority of the Seattle/Everett/Bellevue/Monroe/Marysville folks will continue to fish the Sky, Stilly, and Snoqualmie.
The effect of hatchery smolts on wild smolts during the downstream migration is the only real concern I have.
06-01-2004, 11:24 PM
You should of lived here back in the late 60's early 70's
06-02-2004, 10:44 AM
So no concern with residualizing (SP?) straying and interbreeding? I am concerned about the competition while on the out bound migration too. But I also think straying and interbreeding is a concern too. I could be for this if we have good credible information that said that this wouldn't happen. I haven't seen any yet.
I am also concerned about how totally ineffective skagit hatcheries have been lately and is this where we want to put our money for a less then 1% survival rate. I believe the Cascade has been hurting to make its goals the last couple years what do we think this one will be any different.
06-02-2004, 11:45 AM
The relative solitude of an angler on the river has no merit what so ever on whether the Grandy Creek facility should be built or not. Your selfishness is disturbing to me. The only arguments for or against this facility that have merit are those that directly concern the fish or the river itself. Angler pleasure should not enter the equation. This also includes any arguments that the facility will increase angler catch rates of hatchery fish unless it can be proven beyond any doubt there will be no adverse affects on the river and its native fish including incidental catch and mortality of native fish.
I think you missed my point entirely Kerry. I was trying to agree with you. Honestly, I will miss the lower pressure on this section of the river. I cannot help it, I am a fisherman after all. That really was not my point though.
My main point was/is increased pressure on wild stocks by turning the Skagit into a fishing derby type atmosphere. I have not seen enough data on wild/hatchery smolt interaction to really say anything on that point. I do know there will be a lot more natives hooked than in a long time on this section of the river when the hatchery goes into effect. 10 percent of these fish will die, especially at the hands of folks just looking for a meal. Safely releasing natives will not be at the top of their priority list. Sparky's rule ain't gonna help.
When it comes down to it if this goes in you can count on the pressure from this angler going down. I go to the Skagit to interact with native fish not hatchery drones. I can get that kind of action 20 miles from my house rather than traveling 120 to the skagit. I see this hatchery as being bad for the native fish and also robbing the mighty skagit of its charm as one of the last bastions of wild steelhead in our state.
I bet the state will sell a few more licenses though :)
06-02-2004, 12:58 PM
Sorry Sean, I did indeed misinterpret your post.
Mean Mr Mustard
06-02-2004, 03:47 PM
About 7 years ago I owned another piece of Marblemount property with Olson Creek flowing through it. Late that Spring I observed a large native hen building a redd in this "seasonal creek" with a far smaller hatchery buck in attendance.
Left me with two important lessons learned - 1.) Wild fish and hatchery fish DO mix it up, and 2.) Fish will stray.
...and the creek went bone-dry within three weeks. Mother nature doing her bit - gotta love the girl!
06-02-2004, 04:18 PM
All of the Puget sound rivers have had low returns of fish the last 5 years, wild fish included and the rivers in Oregon, California, and sourthwest Washington have had good returns. Only a few years ago the rivers of California had very bad returns of steelhead. Also, B.C. rivers have had poor returns of steelhead the last few years. Therefore, the low returns are a systemic problem spread over a very large area and probably due to ocean conditions or the salmon farms in the Straight of Georgia.
I didn't say anything about residualizing or straying. I said that according to the DNA studies Steve Stout the manager of the Marblemount Hatchery told me about, there was only a 0.01% probability of hatchery/wild interaction on the Skagit, Sauk, and Cascade rivers. I also said Steve told me there was not a lot of steelhead spawning happening below Concrete and that the majority of steelhead spawn in the Sauk.
I am aware of the wild steelhead returns to several of the creeks in the middle river. However, these are either miles downstream of Grandy Creek or some distance upstream of Grandy Creek. Presitin Creek in the closest one and it is around 2 miles upstream. Therefore, there seems to be little likelihood of wild/hatchery spawning interaction.
I've not caught a residualized steelhead (rainbows) in the Skagit system, nor have I met anyone who has. This doesn't mean they don't exist; but it does mean they are rare. I don't see a facility at Grandy Creek adding much if anything to the small number of residualized steelhead (rainbows) in the river.
There is no documented hatchery steelhead strays that I am aware of in Bacon Creek, Day Creek, Gilligan Creek, Presitin Creek, Jackman Creek, Swift Creek, Illabot Creek, Loretta Creek, or Finney Creek all of which have been extensively surveyed by the Skagit System Cooperative for the presence of wild and hatchery steelhead. Therefore, although straying is a possibility, it appears to be a very, very low possibility.
Steelhead are able to spawn in a seasonal stream, have the eggs hatch, and the egg-sack fry survive by moving down to a larger body of water all in a 3 week time frame with the seasonal creek becoming dry almost at the moment the fry make it to the larger water. It is amazing what steelhead can do.
Mean Mr Mustard
06-02-2004, 04:41 PM
In this case, they didn't make it, the creek went dry too soon. The redd was at the downstream edge of a large "hole". The hole was, for the most part, the terminus of the creek until it, too, went dry (in other words, the creek flowed to the hole and vanished underground, save those times when storm runoff brought sufficient volume to connect the creek to the river). I was told by the Marblemount hatchery personnel that if I kept the area wet by hosing down, the eggs might make it until the next rainfall. Na!
06-02-2004, 05:59 PM
>>I've not caught a residualized steelhead (rainbows) in the Skagit system, nor have I met anyone who has.>>
I'm not sure what one would call the larger wild rainbows I've hooked in the Skagit in the fall. I would call them resident rainbows, or residual steelhead. I'm know there is a resident population, though they all seem to have adipose fins (so far).
06-02-2004, 06:07 PM
FT, where are you getting this information regarding the "good" returns for SW, Or, and CA.?
06-02-2004, 10:41 PM
I am aware that not all the rivers in a given area are experiencing good returns; but there are enough with good returns (Cowlitz wild fish, Klikitat, Sandy, Santiam, Rogue, Eel, and Smith, etc.) while there are so many other rivers spread out over such a large area of Washington and B.C. that it is clear there is a problem somewhere in the salt.
The areas I mentioned in my prior post were in response to JJ saying the Skagit hatchery has had low returns as a reason to oppose the Grandy Creek hatchery. It would have probably been better for me to simply say that there has been poor returns in Puget Sound and B.C. rivers for several years.
In other words, just because the Marblemount hatchery has not been having huge returns it doesn't mean that the hatchery is a failure. The wild fish are down too, and it is over a very large geographic area.
06-03-2004, 12:46 AM
I strongly oppose the grandy creek rearing ponds under any circumstances. here is why.
I think terminal fisheries are bad for sport fishing. I believe that they destroy the ethics of sport angling.
I also oppose it simply because WDFW cannot afford it. It's stupid to spend millions on a new program when other exsisting programs are having trouble making ends meet.
And as a general principle i oppose hatcherys with a blanket opposition. I oppose them everywhere wild fish exsist period. You cannot plant hatchery fish in any river without having a negative impact on wild fish, which are more important than sport fishing...
06-03-2004, 12:54 AM
06-03-2004, 12:50 PM
I'm going to play devil's advocate here. :devil:
Does this mean that you are of the opinion that all steelhead hatchery production in Washington State should cease and all the existing hatcheries should close immediately? Also, do you think it would be better for the fish and future steelhead fishing to close all the rivers for sportsfishing that are not meeting or exceeding escapement goals? If these two things are done, what happens to WDFW anadromous fisheries biologists and managers? Do they then only concentrate and worry about salmon, searun cutthroat, and dollies?
Still playing the devil's advocate.
Since you oppose the Grandy Creek hatchery on the grounds of straying, interbreeding with wild fish, and residualizing of hatchery fish, I assume you also are opposed to the continued operation of the North Fork Stilly's Whitehorse rearing ponds because those hatchery fish might do the same on the Stilly. I also assume you are opposed to the trucking of fish over Sunset Falls because there were no anadromous fish above the falls until the wier was built and the start of trucking the fish above the falls. I also assume you are opposed to the continued use of the fish ladder on the South Fork Stilly since prior to the fish ladder, anadromous fish could not get above the falls locted in Granite Falls.
06-03-2004, 01:20 PM
I can't speak for JJ and Rob but you pose some very important questions. If one was to only look at it from the perspective of a steelhead fisher, the answer to ALL your questions would be no.
However if you examine the problem from the perspective of what is best for wild fish (and court rulings aside, I believe that a wild fish is both different and superior to a hatchery fish) then I think a good case can be made for answering yes to most, if not all, of the questions you posed.
My problem, and I suspect yours as well, is that we are both conservationists and fishermen and as such it is impossible to be completely true to either objective.
06-03-2004, 01:27 PM
You hit it perfectly, "we are both conservationists and fisherman, and as such, it is impossible to be true to either objective."
Mean Mr Mustard
06-03-2004, 01:40 PM
I'd like to play with these:
Does this mean that you are of the opinion that all steelhead hatchery production in Washington State should cease and all the existing hatcheries should close immediately? Also, do you think it would be better for the fish and future steelhead fishing to close all the rivers for sportfishing that are not meeting or exceeding escapement goals? If these two things are done, what happens to WDFW anadromous fisheries biologists and managers? Do they then only concentrate and worry about salmon, searun cutthroat, and dollies?
1.) No, not ALL immediately. Quickly close those on rivers which currently support a wild fish population. I would like to see the state work towards eliminating all such hatcheries in the long term as conditions permit. Use the hatcheries as a bandage until wild fish recovery is assured. Each system with its own plan.
2.) Close fisheries not meeting realistic escapement goals. No commercials, no tribal, and no sport. If the populations marginally exceed escapement goals, consider adjusting the resourse management regime to include those parties whose actions will not infringe upon the overall plan/escapement. Each system with its own plan.
3.) Team the anadromous biologists with NOAA, tag several thousand or so smolt and track the critters. Learn where they REALLY go. How they get there. Etc.... There's always something for the bio-folks to do.
4.) Take the engineers, no longer building hatcheries, and team them up with some guys who like to blow **** up and let them work on those falls/dams.
Disclaimer: This currently is how "I" see it. My opinions are not necessarily carved into stone and may change at the drop of a hat. Furthermore, I believe the thing is quite doable with the right mindset and effort. Hard choices and sacrifice for many is almost a given, but the alternative...?
06-03-2004, 01:56 PM
You need to run for office. You have my vote.
I think number three in your post is very important. Something bad is happening out there in the salt and we don't know what it is. If nothing else is accomplished in the next 3-5 years I would like to see a tracking study of smolts. Where do they go, how fast do they go and what factors do they encounter on their journey. Perhaps the B.C. aquaculture industry would agree to fund this.
I am not sure if I am going to be your campaign chairman that I can let you continue to talk about blowing up dams and falls. :hehe: While the dams might be an excellent idea once you convinced the authorities it wasn't a terrorist act, I think we better leave the falls alone.
Of course there is always the demolition of encroaching glaciers. I heard last night about the "wise" idea some have to use a nuke to stop the path of a glacier in the Situk river region of SE Alaska. Now that is a reality TV show that could get ratings! :devil:
06-03-2004, 02:26 PM
The door fell off the barn and I had to rehang it before I could go fishing!!
So I read this thread and thought that you all might like a "Clue" regarding the use of Nukes in the Great Land for Glaicial improvements.
A certain"Conservative Political Party" had as a plank in there platform for a number of years calling for the removal of several Glaicers behind Juneau to free up the construction of roads to the Capital City. There idea was that surplus Nukes were cheap and it would be quick! (Extremisim in the cause of constuction is no vice)no doubt.
Usually this grandiose scheme was laid at the feet of Joe Vogler but the Seretary of the Interior under Nixon , Walter Hickel latched on to the idea briefly during his successful run for the control of the State in the late 1980's.
A lot of non consevative "Conservationist" refered to these times as "Wally World". In all fairness to the Govenor he was suffering from dementia and the early stages of Alwhateveryoucallit. I remember one time at a meeting regarding Timber Harvest he pulled me aside and told me about how we needed to take some of the States oil wealth and build a pipeline to the Moon to bring back Tritium for cold fusion!
But I digress. The Situk is doomed its only a matter of when it happens not if. The forces at work are in motion and man with are puny meddelings will only be a side show to the outcome.:rolleyes:
06-03-2004, 02:53 PM
some might remember the motto from the theme park (an actual quote from the governor in the early 90s) was:
"You can't just let nature run wild!" :tsk_tsk:
06-03-2004, 03:12 PM
Still playing the devil's advocate.
How do we get the federal courts to allow the state to close tribal fishing since tribal fishing was deemed a treaty right by the federal courts back in the '70's? Perhaps we could get Congress to pass a law negating all the Indian treaties changing the status of the treaty tribes to corporations (similar to what was done in Alaska when it was granted statehood); Thus placing the treaty tribes under the jurisdiction of the state fishery and wildlife regulators. This would allow the state of Washington to limit or even curtail Indian netting.
Then Congress can pass another law eliminating the BIA.
As Red Green of the "Red Green Show" says, "I'm pulling for you!"
Just think, the glaciers can be vaporized, terrific landslides can be produced, and the politicos in Juneau might either be buried or die from the readiation posioning. It sounds like the rain of the Alaskan rainforest or the cold of the more northerly sections of the state have muddled or addled more than a few brains. These guys sound mentally ill suffering from schizophrenia.
Mean Mr Mustard
06-03-2004, 03:59 PM
I strongly support the abrogation of all treaties with the indigenous peoples. There was a time for such but it has long since passed.
Most tribes seem to have moved beyond community support to that of corporate, what with their gambling/gaming empires. (The state blew it when they didn't trade state acceptance of gambling for relinguishing netting rights. The state lost in court what might have been won at the negotiating table. But who's to say...) Can anyone say the tribes are truly hurting financially? Is there a genuine need for a subsistence catch? Besides, it's time the tribes joined the rest of us in this land of many colors. Sorry but, separate doesn't fit within the Equality Clause.
Which begs the question: Would a boycott of those casinos be an effective tool towards leveraging tribes to give up those treaty rights?
Anyway, bag those treaties.
And to the nuking of glaciers: Weren't studies done in the late '50s with thermo devices to break-up the icebergs in the North Atlantic? And weren't nukes ruled out as ineffective? Something about not enough sustained heat? Yeah you could concievably break them up, only to watch them coalesce and refreeze.
Good conversation; sure beats ragging on people.
06-03-2004, 04:15 PM
Don't have time for a indepth reply but here is some information for all to consider in your debate based on the best information available to me as an angler concern with the conservation of our wild salmonid resource.
1) the Grandy Creek facility will not mean an increase in the production target for hatchery steelhead in the Skagit basin. It would remain at 534,000 winter smolts. A state of the art facility may mean that the production goal may be met more frequently.
2) I'm not sure how much the hatchery in the lower river would impact the wild fish above the current situation. First as we know the vast majority of the wild fish enter the Skagit after the middle of February. By the end of January 80% of the hatchery fish have spawned (based on timing at the hatchery itself) with the rest done before the end of February. If as many think the earliest wild steelhead (those entering the river before February) are head up to the upper portion of the basin then moving the hatchery returns and the fishery they support may actually provide a refuge for those early fish - they are only exposed to the fishery as they move through and them are upstream of much of the supposed effort.
3) There are resident rainbows in the Skagit system (in fact all healthy wild systems should have some). Based on reading of scales there are resident fish at least 10 years old in the basin. The primary reasons that there aren't more of them is likely due to the current fishery management that allows anglers to retain any over 14 inches and the use of bait and the elevated hooking mortality associated with the use of bait. The other major factor at least for the main Skagit it the likely impact on the small trout and the insects they depend on from the nearly daily rapid raising and lowering of the stream flows.
4) hatchery fish do spawn in the Skagit system - mostly in the main stem and tribs near the planting sites but a few fish can be found at least occassionally in most other areas of the basin.
5) the hatchery fish spawning is so missed timed that there survival is serevely limited by the spring run of flows. By spawning in Dec to mid February the fry from the hatchery fish would be emerging during the peak of the spring run-off - June and apparently survive very poorly.
6) Based on the differences in Skagit spawn timing between the hatchery and wild fish less than 1% of the wild fish would have any possibility of spawning with a hatchery fish - in most of those cases it would be a patially spend hatchery male that some how out competed a wild (and typically larger) male for spawning rights.
7) Genetic sampling has showns considerable differences between the wild and hatchery fish of the Skagit (should not be a surprise to any of you that have caught many of both). In the 20 years between the early 1970s and the 1990s the genetic differences between the hatchery and wild fish remained as large or larger.
8) The opportunity for hatchery and wild fish to spawn together in the 1970s and before was likely in the 10 to 15% range rather than less than 1% to day due to the much later spawn timing of the hatchery fish 30 years ago (some spawning into early April).
9) the Skagit wild steelhead still maintain extremely diverse age structure and life histories. It remains the only Washington river that I know of where one can find winter steelhead at least 7 years old, the occassional "half pounder", the resident part of teh population surviving to at least age 10, winter steelhead spawning well into the Cascades winter with redds seen as high as 2,900 feet in elevation, a spawning period that ranges over at least 5 months, and it has to be one of the few places in the world where wild winter steelhead could and have been caught 12 months of year.
06-03-2004, 04:43 PM
How much competition for food and shelter, if any, is there between hatchery parr and wild parr while still in the river?
06-03-2004, 07:02 PM
sorry was at work all day...
I am pretty blunt about hatchery issues because I believe the science to be crystal clear. Rather than answer your question directly what i will do is lay out what i think the ideal would be interms of both fishing and conservation.
1. first and foremost all hatchrery fish should be clipped. The tribes the state and the feds should all be barred from producting more smolts than they can afford to clip.
2. the tribes,the state and the feds should end all salmon and steelhead stocking in locations where there isn't active removal of adults before spawning or where there is no hatchery for them to go back to. For instance the East Fork Lewis has no hatchery facilities of any kind but is planted with summer and winter steelhead. Such plantings should cease immediatly!
3. NO new hatchery programs anywhere!! ever!!
4. Some rivers should be set aside and designated wild only. In such places all hatchery plants should cease
5. " no hatchery fish left behind" hatchery's that demomstrate the ability to produce fish well should recieve priority funding. hatcheries that don't produce well should recieve a set amount. They should prove they can do the job before we give them more money.. funding should be based on performance!! too many of our hatcheries take too much money and in turn we get piss poor fishing. as a tax payer i am outraged by government waste as a conservationist i am outraged that we'd endanger our wild runs to produce more crappy fishing.
to answer your question more directly no I wouldn't advocate closing down ever hatchery immediatly but it is clear that the status quo is unacceptable and thats what wdfw keep doing.. On the other hand if all the hatcheries closed tomorrow it wouldn't hurt my feelings of my fishing one bit.
06-04-2004, 12:55 AM
Still playing devil's advocate.
What about the trucking of fish over Sunset Falls on the Skykomish and the fish ladder that allows the fish to get over Granite Falls, should the trucking be ended and should the fish ladder be removed? I seem to recall that there has been some man-made help to allow fish in the Washougal to get over a couple of falls, should this man-made help be removed/destroyed? What about the trucking of wild fish over the dams on the Cowlitz, should that end also since it is artificial help?
Still playing devil's advocate.
Perhaps all the dams that block anadromous fish should be blown up and we folks who live here in Washington and Oregon can get our electric power from fossil fuels or another state. The fish could get upstream unhampered and there would be more employment drilling for the oil and gas or mining for the coal needed to run the fossil fuel power plants. Air quality and water quality might suffer a bit; but hey, the fish would be able to pass upstream to their historic spawning areas. As for the flooding that would get worse and more frequent when all the dams are gone, if people buy houses on floodplain or build businesses on a floodplain, or build cities or towns on a floodplain, they deserve to have them carried on down to Puget Sound, the Columbia, or the Pacific.
Still playing devil's advocate.
All who want to see hatcheries closed or curtailed in production,
When ocean conditions change (like they have recently) and all steelhead returns (hatchery and wild) go way down, does this mean the hatcheries on affected rivers should close or have a reduction in operating monies? After all, if the fish are not returning in expected numbers, is this not a waste of our tax monies?
06-04-2004, 01:37 AM
Don't know a thing about the Sky
However I'd be happy to have the fish ladder at salmon falls on the Washougal Dismantled. Actually i'd like to see all hatchery operations cease on the Washougal. Neither hatchery provides much in the way of legit fisheries. and wild steelhead have never had problems with any of the falls on the Washougal.
As far as the Cowlitz goes.. I think trucking fish above the dams is an incredible waste of money, Hatchery fish cannot and willnot establish themselves and reproduce in enough numbers to restore the run. I believe it's a huge waste of money on a project that goes against science. Hatcheries have not and there is no reason to think that hatcheries ever will be able to restore a wild run. it's never been done and mark my words it never will be done.
I am blanket against trucking hatchery fish into wild fish habitat it's just a bad stupid idea. even if all that lives in the habitat is 4 in coastal cutts.
By the way i use words like stupid because i believe them to be accurate. Doing things that are against all the evidence is the very deffinition of stupid. I don't say it to be derogotory I say it to be accurate..
If i had my way we would put weirs very low in all our rivers and remove every single hatchery fish from the system and allow only wild fish to assend our rivers.
Further I think that hatchery fish are the PRIMARY obstacle to the restoration of wild runs.
othrewise rivers like the Washougal which have improving habitat conditions would have increasing populations of wild fish.
I think most fishermen vastly underestimate the dammage hactheries do and vastly underestimate how quickly wild runs would rebound without the presence of hatchery fish
Mean Mr Mustard
06-04-2004, 02:04 AM
You've never heard me say to eliminate ALL the dams. Take Seattle City Light's Skagit Project - works for me for the most part. I hear tell the fish couldn't make it past the canyon in the old days, and hydro power is cleaner. Now were we ever to get hydrogen economically feasible for widespread power generation, well blow ALL those dams, man. And chisel out that darn canyon for the boys! and girls!
Irrigators can get with technology. Stop saturating the ground when underground drip irrigation works better, and far more economical. Wise water use and a rethinking of the reservoir system as it now exists.
Let California and the Southwest solve their energy problems with local solutions. We don't get a break in the retail for California produce or whatever. The favors all seem to flow south.
Dams, falls; case-by-case. Each system with a plan.
I hear you on the flood thing; I got flooded twice this past October. The last one was up to 40" in my basement. So I don't put anything in my basement and it's cool. I sure have great views, here. Oh, and the flooding didn't come from the Skagit River. It was Diobsud Creek that did the farm in, go figure. You know, life has some risks. Even those that result in soggy furniture.:eyecrazy:
I'm rooting for hydrogen, then we can blow everything up.:devil:
P.S. The feds gave the Panama Canal back to the Panamanians so why don't they give the dams on the Columbia River back to the state and let us decide their fate (with federal grant money to buy the explosives).
06-04-2004, 09:53 AM
Sorry for the non-fishing related post but MMM saying
The feds gave the Panama Canal back to the Panamanians ... got me thinking about the bumper sticker my dad used to have on one of our farm trucks. It read Let's Give Frank Church Away . I had not thought of that in 20 years probably but it just made me smile. I bet there are few that read this that will understand.
06-04-2004, 11:47 AM
I agree with you on hydrogen being the future for energy production, at least for those application now using oil/gas. Me thinks that the oil companies see this is as coming in the next 15 or so years and that one of the reasons for the currently high gasoline and diesel prices is the oil companies need money to do the research needed to provide the hydrogen to the motoring public, or they will go out of business from lack of demand.
It would also be very nice if the very wasteful practice known as flood irrigation would cease. Nothing like using water fish need to survive to flood a field with water for the production of such a valuable crop as grass (er hay).
Also, I wish all power dams would have been sited above known anadromous fish passage and use like the mainstem Skagit dams. The Baker River dams in the Skagit system are a different story.
Still playing the devil's advocate.
Are we to eliminate the hatcheries on the rivers that have been adversely impacted by dams? This would include the hatcheries on Columbia, those on the Snake system, the hatchery on the Deschutes, the Cowlitz, the Elwha, etc. Seems to me the hatcheries are vital to the continued existence of steelhead in these rivers.
What do we do instead of hatcheries on those rivers where dams have blocked fish passage and/or created such huge artificial lakes behind them that fish cannot move through them as smolts quickly enough to survive?
Some folks liked Frank Church; afterall, they named a wildness area after him. :chuckle:
06-04-2004, 09:53 PM
The Deschutes: dispite being outnumbered by hatchery fish 10 ro 1 wild fish are caught twice as often as hatchry steelhead. in othr words 10 percent of the run make up 50% or more of the catch.. By all meand get rid of the hatchery!
I am not suggesting doing away with hatchries on rivers destroyed by dams such as the cowlitz.
We simply need to decide what we are going to do.
Some rivers like the cowlitz unfortunatly should be written off as wild restoration and the moneys we spend on such rivers should go to restoring rivers where there is a chance of doing some good.
Even in rivers that are damed there is usually signifigant wild fish habitat. these rivers should be managed as mixed stock fisheries with an emphasis on minimizing impacts on wild fish nost notable restoring rearing habitat and removing hatchery adults before they spawn!.
On the other hand if all hatchery operations ceased state wide I believe we'd see a rapid increase in the number of wild fish.
The problem is that pro hatchery people tend to be unwilling to give up anytthing for the sake of wild fish. The even bigger problem is we need to be taking action NOW before all our rivers end up like the Washougal.. Believe me you do not want that to happen!! This is a river I know intimatly as anyone can know a river and it has noy yielded a steelhead to be in 3 years... and during the early 80's it was in the top 5 in the state. Hatcheries destroy rivers and the ethics of sport anglers. PERIOD!
06-04-2004, 10:18 PM
The Skagit was the #1 river for wild STEELHEAD not to many years ago!
06-04-2004, 10:58 PM
did the same fate hit the Wind run that got the Wash?Beau
06-05-2004, 12:04 AM
A good year on the Wind river gets 200 wild summers... biggest problem? My opinion hatchery springers..
06-05-2004, 12:57 AM
Unfortunately, I have heard and seen many people who think we need more hatcheries and a lot more hatchery fish also advocate bonking any and all steelhead or salmon they land. I've also heard many of them say the state should allow them to get more than one steelhead catch record card in a year so they could bonk as many as they land.
Like you, I think we need to have a ballance with some like the Cowlitz primarily hatchery oriented, some with mixed stock, and some primarily wild or wild only.
Playing the devil's advocate.:devil:
Was the decline in the number of wild steelhead in the Skagit the result of the Marblemount hatchery and the rearing ponds at Barnaby Slough? Or is something else happening that has resulted in lower numbers of steelhead returns in all of the Puget Sound and most of the B.C. rivers?
06-05-2004, 10:43 AM
This probably should be another thread. While it is true that hydrogen can be used to replace most of the uses of oil/gas it is not cheap or readily available. I know, you can electolyze water to get all you need, but there is the second law of thermodynamics that says there is no free lunch. In electrolysis of water, only a fraction of the energy used shows up stored in the hydrogen and the question is where that energy is going to come from, hydro, wind, coal, nuclear, etc.? You end up using more energy preparing the hydrogen than if you used the energy directly (no free lunch)
We are going to need the crude oil and coal for starting materials to make plastics and pharmaceuticals in the future. We shouldn't be using so much moving people and goods around right now.
Mean Mr Mustard
06-05-2004, 12:41 PM
I can't find any point of disagreement with your post, in particular your last paragraph on better uses for petroleum. Based on 1995 resourses, 13% goes to building and pharmacueticals with the rest (87%) going to heating, transportation and power generation. Of that percentage going to transportation, only 25% of that portion actually goes to powering the vehicle. [These figures come from my son's chemistry textbook and appear to be inline with those I found many years ago while doing a term paper on energy sources for a college science class.]
Granted that it is not economical, and usually impractical, to power a "cracking plant" from another energy resource when for every unit of energy in you receive less energy in return. The exception would be for storing power to be used in a mobile (transportation) application, whatever the storage means - hydrogen fuel cells or batteries. Extension cords are only so long. There the trade-off is somewhat acceptable.
Still, were one to build such a plant along the coast (Southern Calif. comes to mind) using tidal forces to power the generators which in turn power the cracking process, you stand to win in the long term. Using an untapped power source (the sea) to provide an unlimited fuel source (hydrogen). And the waste product is what? water! Pure water! Yeah, this one is non-polluting! A question does come to mind: If you use the sea water as the source of the hydrogen, does the cracking process provide for more waste water as well?
This could be used in Utah using the Great Salt Lake and solar energy. Solar energy in other areas of the southwest could concievably be used on whatever hydrogen bearing material is at hand. Local solutions to local power problems.
One other thing I learned in college was the true cost of resource extraction, etc. How much did that 2x4 really cost? How much was it subsidized by the taxpayer? what about the environmental concerns?
It's all doable if one is willing to accept the costs. Energy independence on a local, regional and national basis is, I feel, well worth it.
P.S. A little anecdotal info - as I was doing that term paper, a couple of researchers in Utah reportedly found the means to accomplish cold water fusion in the lab. Yeah, right! Unfortunately that one did what most bubbles do, it burst. Sure made my paper's summation rather interesting.
06-07-2004, 01:39 PM
"The Deschutes: dispite being outnumbered by hatchery fish 10 ro 1 wild fish are caught twice as often as hatchry steelhead. in othr words 10 percent of the run make up 50% or more of the catch.. By all meand get rid of the hatchery!"
Can you point me in the direction for your source for the above info, thanks,tight lines,brian
06-07-2004, 03:32 PM
Sorry been gone for 5 days.
Well the Deschutes info was done by the ODFW a couple of years ago when I read it.
I have never said close all hatcheries. I have also never said I totally against this facility also. I said I have some issues. They don't know what some of the impact are going to be. I have seen a lot of I think or there is not a lot of likely impact on, etc.
I don't think we should close all hatcheries down. In fact I agree with a lot of what Rob Allen said about what should be done with them. Lets stop planting them where there are no collection facilities. Yes that means the South fork of the Sky to since I know you will ask. Lets use our money and energy wisely. I see a lot of hand waving and if that is the case I will error on the side of the wild fish.
06-07-2004, 07:46 PM
I'm not going to ask anything but as to what you said about the S/Fork of the Sky. As not to plant hatchery fish there. Well I just did a check on the WDFW site and from what I have been able to gather is that they haven't planted that river in the last 5 years. they stick alot in the main ruver and the N/F but not the S/F
I think the hatchery fish that get up there are just following the salmon up to the falls and then get trucked up with the salmon. I have seen some nice fish up on the W. F Foss and I don't think that they plant that river.
06-07-2004, 08:07 PM
I don't believe they haven't planted any fish up there. Going by their data Reiter didn't plant one summer run for this years class. Anyone believe that? Maybe I am completely wrong here.
I do think some of the South fork hatchery fish are strays but not all of them. Again maybe I wrong.
The South fork is a different place as it is a created run where none existed before to help create a fishing opportunity. It is a good experiement. It is very unique and it has a different set of circumstances.
06-07-2004, 08:15 PM
Trey Combs in his book, Steelhead Fly Fishing, indicated that for 1986/87 one in four steelhead at the Pelton fish Trap (100 miles from the mouth) were "strays", steelhead from other rivers systems. These "strays" include fish from the Kalama and Washougal. To spawn in their natal rivers they would have to make their way back over two dams.
Steelhead probably have a small percentage of strays naturally to provide for disasters like Mt. St. Helens, but hatcheries seem to increase the tendency to "stray" into other systems. One conclusion is that hatcheries impact rivers beyond the system they are on.
06-07-2004, 08:23 PM
I guess my memory is failing.. i was a bit off on the numbers but the point remains the same..
HATCHERY AND WILD STEELHEAD CATCH RATES ARE DIFFERENT
By Bill M. Bakke, Director
Native Fish Society
Anglers on the Columbia and Deschutes rivers say that they catch more wild steelhead than hatchery steelhead even though there are more hatchery fish in the river. Data gathered by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on Deschutes steelhead catch rates and run size from
1977 to 2000 support this observation. This data is collected from the mouth of the river to Sherars Falls. The catch rate is based on the number of steelhead caught per 100 hours of angling. Form 1977 to 1993 the catch rate for wild steelhead is 5 fish compared to 2 hatchery fish
per hundred hours of fishing. During this time period, the estimated number of wild steelhead passing Sherars Falls was 87,000 compared to 150,000 hatchery steelhead. Even though hatchery fish were more abundant their catch rate was lower. All hatchery steelhead were fin-marked
beginning with the 1986 run.
From 1994 to 1997 the catch rate for hatchery fish exceeded that for wild steelhead in the Deschutes for the first time. The number of wild fish in the run also declined from an average of 5,118 fish in 1977-1993 to 1,855 for the years 1994-1997. In 1992 and 1994 the wild steelhead run dropped below a thousand fish for the first time. The 1994 run size was only 482 fish.
During this period of time the hatchery run increased from an average of 8,823 fish (1977-1993) to an average of 19,620 (1994-1997).
The hatchery run was over ten times larger than the wild run. This was due primarily to a massive increase in hatchery strays from elsewhere in the Columbia Basin. In 1996 the non-native strays were over 23,000 fish.
Even though hatchery steelhead were ten times more abundant than wild fish, the catch rate for wild fish was nearly equal to that of hatchery fish. The wild fish catch rate ranged from 0.91 to 0.96 fish to 1.0 hatchery fish. The worst catch rate was in 1996 when the ratio to wild/hatchery catch was 0.52 to1.0.
Hatchery steelhead are produced to mitigate for the loss of wild steelhead due to dam construction in the Deschutes Basin. The stray hatchery fish that enter the Deschutes are mitigation fish for dams elsewhere in the Columbia Basin. There is no explanation for this
difference in contribution to sport fisheries, but anglers are not getting the full benefit of mitigation
Having hatchery fish in the river also creates a more insidious problem that could reduce the number of wild fish in the fishery. In 1977, a Deschutes River steelhead study was done to compare the survival of hatchery and wild steelhead in natural streams and the hatchery. This
study showed that hatchery fish do not survive in streams as well as wild steelhead and that crosses between wild and hatchery steelhead actually reduced the number of progeny compared to wild crosses. On the other hand, the wild steelhead did not survive in the hatchery as well as the
This study also showed that these changes in survival happen rapidly, because the hatchery steelhead were of wild native Deschutes stock reared in the hatchery for only two generations. So selection for a hatchery type fish with lower survival in nature happens quickly. This scientific work was confirmed by a study conducted on the Kalama River showing the same results. In that study " the success of hatchery fish in producing smolt offspring was only 28% of that for wild fish." When Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist, Mark Chilcote, reviewed steelhead data, he came to some startling conclusions. Chilcote says, "Seventy-two percent of the variation in productivity of a natural spawning population can be explained by the percentage of hatchery fish in the spawning population. Finally, with respect to hatchery programs, the impact of naturally spawning hatchery fish on the capacity of a population to produce recruits is universally adverse. It is a reasonable inference that wild steelhead populations are better off when returning hatchery fish are prevented from escaping into natural spawning areas." Another study of hatchery and wild summer steelhead on Washington=s Kalama River shows that wild fish have more than a 10-fold advantage in their productivity over hatchery fish.
The conservation ethic of releasing all steelhead, both wild and hatchery is well developed among Deschutes River anglers. They release a lot of fish, including hatchery steelhead. Up to 57% of the hatchery steelhead are released in some fisheries on the Deschutes. However, this conservation ethic, when extended to hatchery steelhead, is likely to backfire on the angler. When those hatchery fish are released they may interbreed with wild steelhead and contribute to the decline of future wild steelhead abundance in the river.
Bill M. Bakke
Native Fish Society
06-08-2004, 12:46 AM
The S. Fork of the Sky has had fish trucked over the falls since sometime in the 1950's. They truck every fish that gets caught in the trap below the falls, including coho, chinook, cutthroat, hatchery steelhead that have strayed upriver to the falls, and wild steelhead. Interestingly, the hatchery steelhead move back down over the falls to the Reiter area with the cold weather in November (at least that is what a WDFW enforcement officer told me); but the wild steelhead remain above the falls and spawn. With close to 50 years of trucking fish over Sunset Falls, in my opinion, it is no longer an experiment.
What about the fish ladder that was installed at Granite Falls to provide anadromous salmonids access to the S. Fork Stilly above the falls, should it be made inoperable or destroyed?
Should the hatchery planting cease on the Wenatchee and simply leave it closed for the next 20 years to let the wild fish rebound to fishable numbers? What about the Yakima, should the hatchery program cease on it and simply accept that the steelhead were exterminated by Rosa dam so there is no reason to continue trying to bring the steelhead back? Afterall, the Yakima is a fine trout fishery above Rosa dam.
My understanding of steelhead straying into the Deschutes is that this that this "straying" of steelhead from other rivers into the Deschutes is a naturally occuring phenomenom that was documented as far back as the early 1900's, which was pre-hatchery and dams. I know that there have been tagged wild and hatchery fish from the Clearwater and Salmon rivers in Idaho found in the Deschutes in the fall or early winter. Because of this well-documented naturally occuring "straying" of steelhead from other rivers into the Deschutes, me thinks it is a very poor example to use when discussing steelhead straying into other river systems.
06-08-2004, 01:17 AM
fly tyer i wasn't talking about straying... I don't know how straying became part of the discussion...
here is a wopper that some people will hate
The hatchery programs on the wenatchee , methow Ect should be stopped IMEDIETLY!!! Hatcheries CANNOT restore wild runs PERIOD. Suggesting that they are saving the genetic heritige of the wild run in the hatchery is absolutely false because those genetics will never be able to be placed into a wild self sustaining run. trying to save these runs with the use of hatcheries is a huge waste of time and money. No wild run was ever preserved through the use of a hatchery,, it has never happened and i think it will never happen. I don't think we will ever be able to make hatchery fish that spawn in the wild with any success.
We should stop planting these few rivers and allow the fish to either recover on their own or allow them to pass into extinction with grace and dignity..
06-08-2004, 01:29 AM
The straying fish in the Deschutes were included in Bill Bakke's article that you posted as some justification for eliminating hatcheries. Since you didn't edit the straying fish out, I assumed you agreed with Bill on the matter. That is why I posted about the historical documentation of strays in the Deschutes.
Does the elimination of hatcheries include the Clearwater in Idaho since Dworschak Dam blocked all access to spawning grounds (a large majority of them are under the dam's water) and only have the few wild steelhead that use the South Fork Clearwater? Thus letting the vast majority of Clearwater fish become extinct.
Also, should we also end the barging of smolt past the dams on the Snake and let these runs crash into oblivion too?
06-08-2004, 02:04 AM
frankly I don't care whay Idaho does with their hatcheries. The COlumbia/ snake river system is so destroyed there are only few and small pockets of wild fish left. Thoes few are worth more than all the sport fishing opportunity the hatcheries provide in my opinion. SO yeah sure shut down all the hatcheries I don't care.
I don't know enough about ever stream and the problems associated with them. I just know that hatcheries are not and have never been a food answer.. I'd rather see runs go extinct then be kept going by hatcheries only.. better to have a tiny remnant thats totally wild than rivers flooded with hatchery fish..
please don't as me about any other specific rivers I don't know..
An alternative to stopping hatchery plants would be to remove al hatchery fish possible at the fish ladder at shears falls. this wouldn;t get them all but would certainly get most of them.
The point of Bills comments was that although hatchery fish vastly outnumbered wild fish wild fish still provided a signifigant portion of the sport catch..