: Proposals for changes in fishing rules
03-28-2005, 08:55 AM
Several months ago we had a discussion about the management of steelhead on the Skagit and the dissatisfaction with the current regulations. I mentioned that the upcoming year was the latest window for proposing changes. It is now time see the following for the process, forms and time line:
03-28-2005, 09:14 AM
I have a simple question for you where the answer might influence my rule change proposal. I understand the answer might not be a simple one, but perhaps you could shed a little light on this for me.
Why is the middle Skagit (Concrete to Sedro Woolley) closed on March 15?
03-28-2005, 06:31 PM
It's just about ready
03-28-2005, 09:30 PM
Mine will be done by the end of this week and will be for the changes on the Sauk mentioned in the aforementioned discussion.
03-28-2005, 09:55 PM
As I recall when the Skagit was made CnR (it was a couple years after the Sauk) there was a concern about those wild steelhead that spawn in the "middle River" tributaries. The feeling at the time was that those fish spawned earlier than those up river and tended to hold in the main river off the mouths of the creeks waiting to spawn.
This was based on the infor from anglers who when the river was open for the take of steelhead in April had very good on those fish. Whether those concerns are valid or not remains unknown. The fish spawning in those tribs do tend to have earlier spawning than those in the main stem and the upper river tribs. It is unclear whether that is due to them being a different population or the fact that those lower tribs tend to fed by rain water rather than snow melt thus they have lower flows later in the spring (May/June) limiting access for the spawning adult steelhead.
My sense is that it is the later case though for those that believe that each main stem reach and trib contains separate steelhead population the closure makes good sense.
Another issue that is sometimes include in this discussion is the enforcement question and whether it is reasonable to have that wide of area open.
03-28-2005, 10:01 PM
I beleive Russ and I have the same thing in mind?
03-29-2005, 12:49 PM
I suspect we do. I'd like to see the Sauk river and its anadromous tribs managed as wild fish sanctuary water with no hatchery planting, C&R, and selective gear rules.
As much as I like to fish the middle Skagit, I really don't want to see it opened during the spring C&R fishery. Too much water for fisheries enforcement to cover and as a result too much opportunity for poaching (bonking wild fish).
03-29-2005, 02:02 PM
Not sure that I disagree with you but if I may play devil's advocate a bit here, wouldn't having the middle river open at least put some eyes on the river? As it is now, once it closes, only poachers are left.
03-29-2005, 02:27 PM
I don't think having the middle Skagit open would reduce poaching. Instead, I think that the number of wild fish bonked would increase because the local folks who believe they have right to bonk any fish landed during an open season would be out fishing and bonking regardless of whether there are other fishers around or not. Many of these folks right now are of the opinion that it is perfectly legal for them to bonk a wild fish (despite the Skagit being closed to wild fish bonking) since the tribes take them and besides, didn't the state fish & wildlife commission pass a regulation that allows a person to legally bonk a single wild fish/year? is their thinking.
This is why I am of the opinion that opening the middle Skagit to C&R in March/April would increase the kill of wild fish.
03-29-2005, 02:30 PM
You could be right. It is one of those theory things that is hard to test. I say bonk them all! (the bonkers that is)
03-29-2005, 03:13 PM
03-29-2005, 03:15 PM
I think the poachers are going to poach no matter what the regs say. I would venture to say that some of the folks that live along the middle river still have their lines in the water.
I would tend to think that protecting the fish that use the middle river and its tribs to spawn from large numbers of anglers is a good enough reason to maintain the current closure.
Thanks for your reply Smalma.
03-29-2005, 07:48 PM
That's what I was thinking
03-30-2005, 11:33 AM
FT and Brian,
I thought all hatchery planting on the Sauk was stopped a couple of years ago. Is that true?
I am trying not to be Cynical at such a young age but even though I will submit my purposals we all know that the department and commission even though they work their tails off and do what they think is best doesn't really care too for public input we have seen that the last couple of cycles. But I guess we have to keep trying and keep getting the message out there that the majority of anglers want certian things.
03-30-2005, 12:59 PM
There has been Hatchery plants in the Sauk in the last three years
03-30-2005, 01:12 PM
Hatchery Winter steelhead? Hum that is interesting because the guy I talked to about the Grandy Creek told me that they stoped out planting on the Sauk 3 years ago. Wonder where the disconnect came from. I will have to find that guys name on this one. Imagine that if it is true the facts not being straight.
03-30-2005, 01:21 PM
I can vouch for the presence of returnees too, as I caught an 11 pound specimen 3 years ago on the middle drift in december....I believe they still are planting it. Hopefully it will be stopped soon.
03-30-2005, 02:28 PM
My understanding is that they had stopped outplanting in the Sauk for a few years, but started back up again in 2003, did it again in 2004, and have now suspended outplanting, and are not scheduled to start doing it again...as per the HSRG recommendations and the Grandy Creek Acclimation Pond EIS.
03-30-2005, 02:59 PM
WDFW does want your input. What you might find distasteful is that they also want input from the segment of the public that wants exactly the opposite of your preferences. It's a virtual impossibility to have regs that everyone likes in a pluralistic society. Compromise is the name of the game, and is one reason why it sometimes pays to make unreasonable demands.
03-30-2005, 03:59 PM
I am learning that trick. It is just funny how the vast majority of people may want one thing yet they continue to ignore it. I know one manager said that he wanted no rules changes until 90-95% of the people wanted it. That is frustrating to me because you will never get 90% of the people to agree to something.
08-27-2005, 08:54 AM
Kerry/Flytyer et al -
Just took a look at the fishing reg proposals changes send out by WDFW for comment for the 2006/07 season -see WDFW's web site.
Took a look at both those forwarded by WDFW for comment as well as those that did not make the cut. Did not see any of the various proposals that you were talking about. Am I to assume that you felt that such proposals for changes did not warrent any investment of your time?
Once again anglers in this State have lived up to my expectations - long on the bitching but pretty short on efforts to make things better. I can see that my time providing response on various fish management issues has been wasted and in the future such time would be better spend on tying flies.
Disappointed but not surprised
08-27-2005, 08:15 PM
Not sure why you singled me out on this thread. Early on I asked a question about the middle Skagit. You provided me with a very good answer that explained why the middle river was closed. I saw no reason to pursue the matter with a rule change proposal.
On another board I asked questions about intentional anchor dragging on the Skagit causing damage to the river or fish and if my memory serves me right you replied to that thread also. If I remember correctly you said that anchor dragging did little or no damage to the river or the fish spawning in the river. Along with your answer and a few other replies I did not think that this issue warranted a rule change either.
The above were my only concerns at this time. If you go back on this thread I even stated that I did not think my issue here needed a rule change proposal. I also believe I stated that on the other issue. What else do you want? I think you like to bitch about the sportsmen of this state as much as the sportsmen like to bitch about WDFW.
08-27-2005, 08:29 PM
I didn't pitch a proposal for turning the Sauk into a wild steelhead and salmon sanctuary not because I don't think it is important or worthy of my time. I didn't do so because of the uproar over the wild steelhead retention changes that went into effect this year, the displeasure of many sportsfisher with the wild steelhead retention change, the displeasure of some very vocal sportsfishers regarding the Makah chinook harvest this winter, and the commercial fishing interest uproar over McBrayer being appointed to the commission. Therefore, it seemed like this was not a good time to propose a wholesale change for the Sauk.
It appears to me that it will be far better making the proposal in two years after things settle down a bit, when I think it will have a better chance of getting accepted.
I also noticed that there were no large scale changes accepted by the commission, which seems to go with my thoughts on it not being the proper time to propose a change to the Sauk making it wild fish only, no hatchery plants, selective gear rule, and C&R throughout the time it is open to fishing.
Guys, this is a very emotional issue with a lot at stake, and it's easy to get worked up over it. Today I read every word of the pdf file that Smalma provided the link to that had anything to do with salmonids (I skipped over some of the other items). Personally I felt a bit of guilt and consider myself as having been addressed on this matter and rightfully so. As much as I spout off I should have invested more time into this process. In the past I've send many letters from Boston to WA per other matters, and stayed involved in the wild steelhead initiatives. This was an opportunity to get involved - I am on the mailing list and got the WDFW messages and requests.
I don't think the intent was to single anyone out per se in Smalma's post - although I see how it could come across that way anytime names come into play. I sympathize with him because he really has invested countless hours unlike the vast majority. Personally, I agree that his presentation could have been more subtle but also agree with his underlying point that (appearances aside) all sportsmen should learn to be more effective in the process that is available to them.
Peace in the valley,
08-27-2005, 10:01 PM
I singled you out as we have had several conversations about your interest/dis-satifaction about the current regulations/management.
Just a note - the proposals are just WDFW's recommendations on what they think should be considered by the Commission. There is still lots of time for input and discussion before the commission makes its final determination.
Often it takes several attempts to advance new management ideas. Radical ideas often take some ground work before success is achieved - would have thought all this uproar with WSR would have illustrated that for folks. With the HSRG's recommendations for wild steelhead management areas the time was ripe for ideas such as those that were being discussed. it will be interesting whether those issues are still at the front of the stove in two years - past expereince would idicate that probably not.
If you review the proposals that WDFW didn't recommend for consideration for the commission they provide a rationale as to why not - Even if your idea was rejected by WDFW that rationale would have been useful in developing a stronger proposal in the future. As a side note most of the commissioners (all?) look at all the proposals whether the department recommends them and do take testimony and often enact proposals other than those recommended by the Department - again the WSR is a classic example.
I find it distrubing that considerably less than 200 folks (out of over 600,000 folks who bought year lic. in 2004) in all the state feel strong enough about any issue to make an regulation change proposal. That would seem to indicate that current management must be good enough for the vast majority.
08-28-2005, 03:14 PM
"With the HSRG's recommendations for wild steelhead management areas the time was ripe for ideas such as those that were being discussed. it will be interesting whether those issues are still at the front of the stove in two years - past expereince would idicate that probably not."
Well, if I have any say in it, which I think I do for myself at least (!), it always will be on some burner somewhere...and I'll try to keep them on the front.
"I find it distrubing that considerably less than 200 folks (out of over 600,000 folks who bought year lic. in 2004) in all the state feel strong enough about any issue to make an regulation change proposal. That would seem to indicate that current management must be good enough for the vast majority."
I, too, am disappointed every year by the lack of before-the-fact participation, but I suspect that it won't in any way reduce the usual amount of after-the-fact participation, mainly in the form of b!tching and complaining.
As for steelhead focused proposals this year, I think it makes sense to just let them lie and wait to see the Department's new Steelhead Management Policy when it comes out...it wouldn't make too much sense throwing a wrench into those works right now...there will be plenty of opportunity for that when the comment period on the new policy comes up...to be sure!
I, for one, would like thank you for not only your current level of participation, but also for your entire career in fish management. Anyone who doesn't consider you one of the more conscientious "good guys" needs to read up on the webs and intracacies that you have worked within for the past few decades. While it was starting to look like you might never retire ( :) ), I'm not exactly overjoyed to not have you there anymore. I hope some of the next generation of area biologists will use you and your career as an example of how to do it as best they can.
Thank you, Curt.
08-28-2005, 05:56 PM
I singled you out as we have had several conversations about your interest/dis-satifaction about the current regulations/management.
Hmmmm, well I think the only time I ever stated dissatisfaction with management wasn’t really current. My dissatisfaction was based on some quotes you had made in a local newspaper article about steelhead harvests of the sixties. I believe that the harvest levels then were more then double the escapement levels now and I still think that their was a bit of mismanagement during that period. Of course no one would ever admit that. It is always poor ocean conditions, lack of habitat, or angler apathy but never mismanagement
08-29-2005, 02:18 PM
Juro and Smalma,
I didn't feel singled out at all. I simply responded with an abreviated rationale why I didn't pitch the Sauk proposal this cycle. And I see that Todd added more of what I was thinking as well.
I also must say, that I've come to expect a lot of sportsmen to bitch no matter what gets adopted and that the vast majority will not participate in the rule making process or comment period. I will be commenting on some of the proposals that were accepted and also thanking the commission for rejecting some of them, such as going back to 5 wild steelhead/year retention on the OP streams.
I also want to thank you for all the years of hard work you put into the anadromous fisheries here in the North Sound. The knowledge of the fish and rivers you so freely share with others is most valuable and helps us to speak from a more knowledgeable position. For these and many other contributions you've made over the length of your career, we are better off.
08-30-2005, 12:41 PM
I put my ideas in and the rationale behind not taking them for the most part is a joke. Sorry I know you will disagree but refusing ideas because we have already looked at resently isn't a good rationale in my book. Just because you haven't done things one way in past doesn't mean you shouldn't continually look at it continually.
Oh and I got some needlessly restricts gear usage. Needlessly how man I guess there is no impact on bait on wild parr, is that True? I don't think it is true and I believe I have heard you say that. Or I guess forcing others to use a method that will lessen the impact on wild fish because it would be easier to release. Please they are cop outs with not wanting to make any changes and kill everything that people can.
Rationale is a loose term I guess. Basically we don't want to do that is good enough. Rationale would be X study shows that Y has no effect on Z. Not Oh we don't think it is a good idea.
Curt you did some great things and I thank you for that. But to say that they give rationale behind every decision is not true.
And yes I took time to give my input as I have for a number of years and have taken my time to testify and continurally have it thrown back into my face. The department doesn't want to hear from people that want to help put fish and fishing opportunity (not kill opportunity) first.
08-30-2005, 09:33 PM
I did not say that the rationale were anywhere complete just that there are some provided that might give some insight in future submittals. I thought that might be helpful for what Flytyer was thinking as he said he was looking 2 years out for a polished proposal.
I can understand you frustration with the apparent short shift your propsals got.
However I did note that virtually all public proposals looking to change the status of the WSR got the same "rationale" - that was true whether it was to liberalize or restrict the addion take of wild steelhead. Personally I think that is probably appropraite. Clearly this single issue has been as divisive for the State's anglers that I have seen. After more than 2 years of turmoil maybe it is time to give the issue a rest and let the dust and hurt feelings settle down some. Hopefully when these issues are re-visited (and I'm sure that they will be) folks give some time to calm down will be able to look at the overall issue more objectively.
08-31-2005, 10:42 AM
I was actually almost OK with the rationale that they gave the WSR purposals since supposidely they are doing something with respect to it (though I won't hold my breath that it gets done). How about the gear restristions that were purposed not real rationale there?
Letting this drop is exactly what the department wants. They don't want the status quo questioned.
Please don't lump a lot of us into the do nothing crowd. I can say that I honestly feel the department doesn't want a lot of involvement and questions because it would be easier that way. Which is why they choose to ignore anyone that isn't for more kill fishery in hopes that we will just go away if they can just do it long enough because they will have taken the fight out of us.
08-31-2005, 07:52 PM
I certainly did not mean to lump with the do nothing crowd. Rather my aim was to demostrate that the number of folks that are attempting to do something for the resource or even to libbying for their fishing wants is depressing low.
I guess I have to disagree with you that the agency doesn't want questions or ducks your questions. How many times have WSC had WDFW folks at their meetings? Did they duck your questions? Has anyone ever refused to come to one of your meetings?
WDFW was pushing diversity of angling opportunities for decades and as I recall the first WSR type regulations were in place in the early 1980s (before hatchery fish were even marked). They were based on life history differences between hatchery and wild steelhead.
09-01-2005, 11:53 AM
I didn't say that the department ducks question I said they would prefer not to have any questions answered. I have spoken with department representatives and when asked a tough question they skirt around it. I have also heard that one of the high level official that he wished they had handed the closing of the CnR season differently in hopes that the WSC would have never been formed. I have asked for data on hatchery runs and wild escapement and never recieved replies and have had to take routes that weren't through the Department to get information.
The WDFW has done some Ok things. You did some good things and were always very generious with your time to the WSC, don't get me wrong I just don't agree they don't want questions asked because it has been some (not all) of the experience that I have had.