The Skagit, very depressed [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: The Skagit, very depressed

02-21-2005, 09:06 AM
Had a nice day fishing the Skagit River Sunday. 12 or more bulls to hand between two of us and a number of others LDRed. Fished ranged from 14" to 24".

No steelhead. I think the reason we managed so many bull trout is they will fit through the nets. Indians are netting every where. We had to dodge one set net and and a couple of drift nets most of the day. The set net was in a place where the river skinnied up and provided less then 30 feet of river where the fish could get up stream. The net was across this whole section.

Down a little lower in the river some cats are saying if the indians can kill 'em so can we and they are keeping everything they catch. Talked with a group of plunkers down by Burlington and they feel the same. Bonk everything.

I doubt that the Skagit River steelhead will be able to survive very many more years with this going on. I don't know what the answer is but I do feel something needs to be done and quickly. Every year there are less and less steelhead. Those that are in charge seem to be either powerless to do anything or they don't care.

02-21-2005, 10:02 AM
I wrote a bunch of angry rantings but decided to erase them before posting. I am sorry you had to witness the destruction of a valued resource first hand KerryS.....I doubt I could have kept my cool. I won't ever give up on our cause though.
-Thomas Buehrens

02-23-2005, 11:35 AM
For all the hype about how much better the OP is supposed to be than the Pugetopolis Rivers the fishing reports are very similar, except you would have to fish all winter to see that many Dollys! This high pressure and low water has got everything in the "Lockjaw Mode".
The other day I was taking my skunking like a man and wondering why the driftboat gang is so opposed to the noise of jet outboards I guess they can not hear there own boats as they are probably deaf from the constant crashing and banging over the rocks and shoals! :lildevl:

02-23-2005, 02:22 PM
I have what I think are a few simple questions:

1. Have the tribes been netting a significant number of steelhead on the Skagit in recent years?

2. What's the tribal netting schedule this year? And it is similar to netting schedules in recent years?

3. How accurate is the data on Skagit winter run steelhead harvests?
I ask this because the WDFW data I've seen suggests that recent tribal harvests of winter-runs (combined hatchery+wild) in the Skagit have been relatively small compared to sport harvests. For example, here's the data for recent years...

Can someone reading this board provide answers?

02-23-2005, 09:05 PM
All I know is rumor of one boat that put 18 wild steelhead on board and this was in early January. I would think the catch rate would increase as the wild steelhead migration progesses. I doubt that the WDFW harvest numbers are very accurate for tribal harvest. I don't think the tribes are required to report their harvest to the WDFW. Also, having spent 14 years as a commercial gill netter in the Puget Sound I know that not all fish are reported. I also question the numbers you posted as I do believe that sport fishing wild steelhead harvest for the Skagit ended several years ago. Where did the numbers come from for the last couple of years.

02-24-2005, 12:09 AM
FYI, Here's chart for the Skagit System

02-24-2005, 09:17 AM
oops, those numbers I listed are for the combined wild + hatchery fish caught each year --I've edited that post to fix that error. Thanks for picking up on that Kerry. According to the WDFW data (shown in the graph), people have reported some wild fish harvest in recent years in spite of the change to wild fish release regs that started in 2001. Note that the data show the majority of these fish are reported caught by sportsmen.

Harvest by year
2001 ..... 239
2002 ..... 146
2003 ..... 60

02-28-2005, 06:43 PM
A key difference is that the Skagit tribes used to focus their steelhead season on the early timed hatchery run. I have no idea why they are putting the full fleet on the wild run, other than to take whatever the harvestable share has been calculated at. I thought the run forecast was for just slightly more than the escapement goal. I did hear that the ex-vessel price for steelhead is up this year, after many years of prices so low that treaty fishermen wouldn't bother to go out when they had the opportunity. Presumably, whatever harvestable wild fish have been calculated will be taken soon, and the nets will disappear for the remainder of the season.


Salmo g.