Puget Sound Steelhead may be listed as Threatened/Endangered [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Puget Sound Steelhead may be listed as Threatened/Endangered

04-05-2005, 03:51 PM
Not April Foolin either~

Published in the Federal Register 4/5/2005 -

SUMMARY: NMFS received a petition
from Mr. Sam Wright on September 13,
2004, to list Puget Sound (Washington)
steelhead (Oncorhynchus mykiss) as a
threatened or endangered species under
the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
NMFS finds that the petition presents
substantial scientific and commercial
information indicating that the
petitioned action may be warranted.
Accordingly, NMFS is initiating a status
review of the species. To ensure that the
status review is complete and based
upon the best available scientific and
commercial information, NMFS is
soliciting information regarding the
viability of, and threats to, Puget Sound
O. mykiss populations, efforts being
made to protect the species, and the
names of potential peer reviewers.
DATES: Information and comments on
the subject action must be received by
June 6, 2005
ADDRESSES: You may submit comments
and information by any of the following
methods. Please identify submittals as
pertaining to the ‘‘Puget Sound O.
mykiss status review update.’’
• E-mail: PS.Omykiss.nwr@noaa.gov.
Include ‘‘Puget Sound O. mykiss status
review update’’ in the subject line of the
• Federal e-rulemaking portal: http://
• Mail: Submit written comments and
information to Chief, NMFS, Protected
Resources Division, 1201 NE Lloyd
Boulevard, Suite 1100, Portland, OR
97232. You may hand-deliver written
comments to our office during normal
business hours at the street address
given above.
• Hand Delivery/Courier: NMFS,
Protected Resources 1201 NE Lloyd
Boulevard, Suite 1100, Portland, OR
• Fax: 503–230–5441
further information regarding this action
contact Garth Griffin, NMFS, Northwest
Region, (503) 231–2005, or Marta
Nammack, NMFS, Office of Protected
Resources, (301) 713–1401.

Brian Simonseth
04-05-2005, 04:01 PM
If you want to see the entire Federal Register Notice, whcih includes background information, check:


04-06-2005, 10:25 AM
Hate to say we all didn't see this coming. I want to do the right thing for the fish even though it will impact my angling.

Sad day for all.


04-06-2005, 12:00 PM
Wondering how this will change our Sound fishing season? Does anyone think that there will be no season? I think it will be very close to how it is now. Did the federal goverment put in a no bait law in other ESA listed rivers throughout the NW?

One thing I see that may help the fish is hopefully there will be stronger laws on watershed developement. When the state and county goverments were given the responsibility I think they tried hard to enact sound development laws but the vested interests of organizations like the Washington Builders Assoc. were able to lobby and invest a lot of money in local elections and hurt protection laws. Maybe now we can have some laws that have some teeth that will hold up no matter who is running King County or Skagit County. Also an ESA listing may help with slowing down timber cutting. Though it had slowed down for a few years it seems that it has picked up again throughout the region. Anyone know if an ESA listing can slow down the DNR cuttings that seem to be going full force?

04-06-2005, 03:04 PM
Hey OC the Fed put some interesting options on the Elwha when they first entered the fray re. Chinook. They kept fishing open to Fly Fishing this so the few that wanted to fish for the small runs of Summer Steelheads and Cutthroat could continue to fish. However a gang of fellows who targeted the Chinnok with Fly gear brought that to a screeching halt or so I am told.
One thing that will come about with this listing is there will be even more folks taking up the available space out on the Op which for some reason that I can't quite grasp is still listed as being OK by the State and the Guides association.
For quite sometime I have been saying that I will be lucky to get to fish ffor the rest of my life as I am approaching "the Golden Years" faster than I thought possible I still wonder where I may have to move to to finish the job.

04-06-2005, 03:24 PM
Hey Moonlight, You gettin old too? I can't believe that, just last year you could stay up all night drink and then walk and fish for hours. Hey you want to go fishing with me and Tom Delay next week! We are going to put feeding tubes in our endangered OP Wild Steeelhead.

04-06-2005, 03:37 PM
Imagine it won't affect the angling regs that much but it might make it harder to open a river which I won't mind and is par for the course lately.

04-06-2005, 04:29 PM
Is there any chance that declaring them endangered will allow for more scrutiny and control over commercial fisheries and aquaculture ? If that was the case then it might not be such a bad thing. Especially if they didn't close the rivers to fishing or just implemented C+R regulations. I would hope that the WSC would have mor leverage if the steelhead were acknowledged to be endangered. Maybe I'm naive.

By the way OC, I hope you are not really a Tom Delay fan. Not only will you have to put feeding tubes in them but since they are entering the river to spawn you may be accused of promoting birth control measures by slowing there progression upstream when you should be lecturing them on celibacy :razz: :razz: .


04-06-2005, 05:40 PM
First, the updated review isn't likely to be completed by September, based on the agency track record. It could be months later than that. Second, the review may not result in a proposed listing. NMFS is likely to receive a lot of input on the status of Puget Sound steelhead, ranging from the PS ESU doesn't constitute a valid species under the ESA, and although run sizes are down, available information suggests it's mostly due to ocean survival rates. Frankly, I expect a "not warranted" for listing determination, but that's second-guessing the Science Center and Administration conclusion. If a proposed listing results, the listing wouldn't take effect for 12 months. If a listing determination occurs, it would more likely be for threatened than for endangered status. If PS steelhead are listed as threatened, I would expect very little change to present fisheries management, since most wild steelhead are already protected from harvest. Where harvest does occur, it would likely be racheted down some. I would expect no change to land use decisions or DNR logging, as those activities are already consulted on under the ESA because of the PS chinook threatened status.

There could be significant changes ahead, but I'm not holding my breath.


Salmo g.

04-06-2005, 06:37 PM
Thanks Salmo G for the info "One Step at a Time" I pretty much agree with you. My only hope is to get more protection on the Skagit lower watershed.

No I dislike people such as Tom Delay, the guy is truely bad person. I was making fun of Keith and JJ. Two good people who visit Flytalk who are a little misguided :lildevl: I used to understand why some were Republican years ago but with people like Tom Delay in the party and there seems to be more and more of them over there I can't for the life of me understand. That's like voting for (EDIT). The guy is so full of hate and I don't think he ever voted for an environmental bill in his life. Someone last year started the rumor that I fished with Dick Chenney and we bonked 72 wild steelhead on one outing and went to the bar and spoke loudly of our endevors.

Back to the issue, I hope something positive comes of this for Wild Steelhead. We will see.

04-06-2005, 07:55 PM
Salmo pretty much the situation, though I'm probably even more pessimistic that any listing will more than marginally improve the condition of our steelhead runs.

In regards to protecting the lower Skagit habitat. Given the current admistration stance on critical habitat and the fact that the basin all ready has two listed fish; chinook and bull trout, I would be shocked that any additional protection will be provided.

As far as potential changes of fishing seasons - I would expect that fisheries would be evaluated against the standard of no more than a 10% incidental impact on the wild population. Given the virtually everywhere in Puget Sound the incidental imapcts are below that 10% threshold I would not expect to see any changes in those fisheries creating those incidental impacts. I would not be surprised to see all directed wild steelhead fisheries terminated, regardless of how low those impacts may be.

What can be done to improve the lot of our steelhead? Not much until such time as the horrendous marine survival conditions improve. The other day I was looking at the hatchery winter steelhead returns on the Green River. For the period 1979/80 to 1991/92 the average return rate was 3.9%. For the latest 4 years ending in 2002/03 the rate was 0.4%. Similar declines in survival are being observed throughout the Puget Sound/Georgia basin area for both hatchery and wild winter steelhead. For example the wild steelhead smolt survival on the Koegh River has dropped from an average rate of 15% in the 1980s to where in recent years it is often below 3% and has dipped below 1%. I know of no management actions - in either the fisheries or habitat arenas that can bullet prove populations from declines under those conditions.

Tight lines
S malma

04-06-2005, 08:08 PM
Any idea as to why ocean survival rates are so low ?


04-06-2005, 09:00 PM
Gillie -
About all we know is that ocean survival varies considerably over time periods of good and bad survival conditions with each the high and lows often lasting a decade or more. The conditions are not uniorm through out the Pacific. We see such swings with all the ocean migrating anadromous salmonids. It has also been the case the different regions of the ocean may experience different survival conditions at the same time. For example generally good conditions in northern Alaskan often match with poor conditions here.

Also the conditions often favor one species over the other. For example while it appears that Puget Sound steelhead are experiencing very poor conditions pink and chum salmon from the same region are doing well above average.

Not sure there is much that we can do here that would effect the ocean conditions except maybe reduce greenhouse gases.

Tight lines
S malma

04-07-2005, 12:19 PM

Sorry you are out of line right now saying that if you are a republican you are voting for (EDIT). Anyone that knows me knows that I would never support any form of hatred like that. You may think I am miss guided, fair enough, for being conservative (I never say republican anymore) but saying I would support (EDIT) is way out there. I know you think that you are the only one that knows what is right and wrong and that is the attitude of division just as you say you don't like. There is something about the pot calling the kettle black that seems to come to mind here.

04-07-2005, 05:51 PM

Call me a closed minded SOB if you want it's ok. But I'm asking you right now how can you support the conservative cause and work so hard for wild steelhead? All the work you are doing is getting nixed by the conservative right. Have you done a search lately on environmental voting records. The new conservative power structure has a record that is almost perfect in voting between 0% and 6% for environmental issues. I don't expect 100% or seventy percent hell 45 to 50 and I'd say it's fair it's moderate. But 0 to 6% and Tom delay and his close associates have a Flat 0% record. I don't like those that vote 100% they can't possibly studying the issues but ya know at least I know many good things are being protected and the what maybe 20% useless laws are better safe than sorry we will survive the irritations, better to error on the side of the environment and far right conservatives are voting close to 0% protection.

Last night you listened to Larry speak and he spoke fair he gave a true report. It is the conservative far right and libertarian base that Skagit County is famous for that is stopping any chance to save fish. They will not even look at moderation it's nothing to help fish and that is the way it's going to be. We are loosing our fish and I have not herd you have the courage to come out and say that we need to do something to get conservatisim back nearer the center. For once I would like to see some of you conservatives work for that because we need people who don't have such an anti environmental stance across the country. And if you think that the liberals are too far left, sorry they are not even close, I don't see any Abby Hoffmans or Angelia Davis's in congrass or the Senate. But hell there has got to be 60 in congress that are as far right as those two I mentioned are left. The most left leaning congressmen are a lot closer to the middle than where the conseratives are hanging out these days.
So sorry I peed you off but my, yours and everyone here fish are all most gone and the fly fishing conseravtive is living in a lie just take an honest look around at groups like the Washington Buiders Association, the developement lobby and you will see who they support. I'm not asking you to become a liberal just get your party closer to the middle and we might get some things done up north.

04-08-2005, 12:27 AM
OC, to point a finger at either party is like point at a mirror. The party politics has little to do with their constituents desires. Those who vote blindly because a candidate has a R, D, L, I or even GP strictly due to party affiliations should reevaluated whether they should vote at all. The party machines look for hot buttons to get you to react and vote without taking the time to educate yourself (general statements). There are sleazy ball politicians on both sides of the isle.

BTW, I edit'd as I felt the ref to the fascist was over the top.

04-08-2005, 01:55 AM
Someone asked about what a Threatened/Endangered listing would do to fishing regs, et al.... The Middle Columbia River Steelhead run was listed in the early 1990's. Catch and release fishery on all wild steelhead in the John Day River system (and the umatilla, et al.). Hatchery fish were fair game. John Day is the last totally wild, undammed system in the Columbia Basin, and so doesn't have many hatchery fish, other than the few strays, coming in. Per ODFW's consultation with NOAA Fisheries (NMFS at the time), no further restrictions as to bait/hardware/etc. were placed, other than wild fish were to be released. Fishing effort dropped of course, but still persisted. Late 1990's/early 2000's saw increases in returns that were pretty dramatic. As a part of the original consultation, if ODFW could show that spawning returns (redd counts) exceeded the targeted recovery goal 3 consecutive years, then NOAA Fisheries would enterain a partial retention fishery (a couple fish a season kept). ODFW damn near had it, but going into what would have been the 3rd consecutive season of redd counts exceeding recovery goals, a "little" sanffu at John Day dam killed that year's run... Seems someone, probably the Corps, was doing maintenance on the fish ladders, et al. shut them down, then "forgot" to open them up for 3-4 months during the heart of the run's passing... ooooopppppppssss the snafu wasn't discovered until ODFW's field bio's starting noticing really REALLY low returns in redds, where previous years were above recovery goals... Point being, ODFW lost the opportunity to provide a very limited take fishery to reward the people who have fished and supported the C and R regs (bait dunkers, hardware, fly fisherman, et al), and now are in yet another down cycle on returns...

Bottom line - all is not lost in a listing as far as sport opportunities, but the regs can get finicky... all depending upon what your "take" is on how a fishery should be used.........

Outside looking into the Puget Sound, and the OP; the changes from historic and current, vs. the changes the mid-Columbia region has experienced - I'm still scratchin' my head as to why those system's weren't listed a long time ago... Although it really isn't that big of a mystery after watching the C and R fiasco that was last year's drama with WDFW...


04-08-2005, 09:27 AM
I think that is hog wash to say to point a finger at one side or another is usless.
This state enacted fairly moderate laws to try and do something to get fish back in our rivers. Laws to slow growth in flood plains, laws to stop channeling of our rivers and laws that over time would put more land not being utilized back into estuary and many more such laws. They were laws that were were agreed on by both sides and everyone agreed that over time they may help. But over the last 10 years there has been a radical conserative movement starting in Washington DC and going right down to local districts nation wide. These people have done everything possible to sleeze by the laws and make the laws as useless as possible. One only has to look at the Skagit watershed to see it. Ultra conservative groups such as the Washington Builders Association are putting huge somes of money into elections to make sure that there is no moderation in developement. There was even a republican commissioner in Skagit county not long ago who tried to work with both sides and to help fish and the party got him thrown out of office in the primaries because he took a moderte stance. I know there are many fine conservatives out there I know there are many lousy liberals out there. I hate whimpy liberals more than any group in the world but they are weak and have no power. Right now we need conservatives who are conservation minded to start standing up for what is fair and moderate and and start condeming this trend of total recklessness. Conservatives have to fight back and get your party back toward the middle because right now it is the far right who has all the power. I don't want you to become liberals we would really be just as screwed as we are now if you all became liberals.
We all can save fish with the laws we have now but those laws have to have teeth and we can not turn our back just because we are conservative or liberal. Look as a leftist it don't matter what I say to the conservative in places like Skagit county, Washington DC or Forks but you conservatives can really voice your concerns that you are not happy with their agenda. Then again maybe you are all happy with it.

04-08-2005, 11:27 AM
You haven't been listening to what I have been saying. I don't support any most if not all of the current admin's enviromental policy. Never have and never will. It isn't good for fish and that is one reason they didn't earn my vote this last election. I know most peopel don't look at their vote having to be earned but I do. I don't think I have ever voted a straight ticket in my life. I will vote and support the best canidate. Hell there was even 1 or 2 Dems I would have voted for in this last election. I am a conservative and not ashamed of it. I believe in small effective government. I believe in lower taxes. I believe that to be a true conservative you have to conserve and that means everything money, time, procedures, and the environment. I have advocated all of these.

The current administration doesn't support much if any of what I believe in environmentally just like the dems don't support much if anyhting I believe in outside the environment. I wish that the conservative movement would be more moderate on environmental issues just as I wish the dems would be more moderate on financial issues (are you pushing on your the liberals to do that?). And if you don't think that there are ultra liberals in government you haven't been watching Di Fi to name one.

You don't know really what I stand for other then I said I am a conservative and want to protect the environment. I guess your experience tells you that those are mutually exclusive but from where I stand I can say a fiscally responsible liberal is mutally exclusive too and I am sure you can disagree with that. Still you are the one out there calling conservatives hitlers. What does that tell me about the other side? There is a saying you catch more flies with honey rather then vinegar. Telling me I vote for hitler definately is vinegar.

I support doing the right thing for the environment. Always have and always will. Just like my father whom is a good 60's liberal worked for the Bonneville power administration for 38 years (oh my god a liberal in the power company) and an enviromenal minded person. I would rather have him making decision because I knew where he stood on the issues then someone else. Enviromental conservatives should be applauded. They should be encouraged to do the right thing not called hitlers.

As to the point at hand. I hope that they do list them as endaged not that it will change much as we already have other ESA speices so the effect other then a visiablity point probably pretty small.

Done with this subject as this tread has gone sideway.


Brian Simonseth
04-08-2005, 11:57 AM
Keep going, it's starting to get good!!!

04-08-2005, 01:27 PM
The right has moved to far to the right and the left has moved to far to the left leaving those of us who would be conservative Democrats and those of us who would be liberal Republicans stranded in the middle with no representation. :frown:

04-09-2005, 01:59 PM

I want to buy you a drink for that last statement. (Chocolate milk - I remember)

I think you hit it on the head.


04-09-2005, 07:28 PM
Thanks 'tip,

I will need to pass on the milk. Wife has forced me onto a low carb diet. I might be interested in one of those fancy flavored waters so popular with the exercise crowd though.

04-25-2005, 02:01 PM
I wonder if all those fish farms up the coast of British Columbia have an impact on those fish? I heard there are 3 new approved also for the mouth of the Skeena and up to 12 more certification pending. We used to have a moratorium on fish farming in the sea until the liberal government took over a few years ago. I think that open ocean fish farming has a signifigant impact on "ocean conditions" and probabaly contributes greatly to the fact that they are "poor" right now. I wonder if these fish farms are starting to affect American salmon/steelhead fisheries as well?

05-15-2005, 02:28 PM
"real steelhead dont eat pellets".
I dont understand why you wouldnt consider a hatchery steelhead a real steelhead? Planter trout are obvious to understand, they have lived their life in a still water tank, have no muscle from living in basically a swimming pool, their flesh is white and soft, etc. But a hatchery steelhead is let go into the wild as a baby, BATTLES its way downstream to the ocean, has to escape 20 foot great white sharks and sea lions, then makes the journey hundreds of miles up over waterfalls etc to spawn.

05-15-2005, 09:33 PM
Meaning no disrespect...

If you have to ask, you just don't understand.

05-15-2005, 09:53 PM
Spawn, I hope someone bonks it over the hed before it has the opportunity to polute the gene pool.