2009 WA Pinks [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: 2009 WA Pinks

03-05-2010, 09:23 PM
The following is a post by Curt Kraemer on another forum, it is a good read.

Early last week I was on a north Puget Sound beach and noticed a surprising number of small pink fry in the shallows. While it is not uncommon to see a handful of newly hathched fry hitting the salt in late February the numbers I saw were much higher than I had seen in previous years. Hearing from others that good numbers of these early fry are being seeing in a number of areas.

It seems pretty clear that not only were there lots of spawning pinks in PS rivers they appear to have survived the winter in good numbers.

As I recall we had several "lively" discussions last summer on whether the pink run was developing as forecasted and whether the commercial fisheries were over-harvesting the run. Correctly it was pointed out the it is difficult to predict salmon runs and the bios are often wrong. Given that last year's Puget Sound forecast of over 5 million returning was off the chart (levels not see in decades) the concern was that the forecast was too high. To no one's great surprise given the estimates of last fall's escapement indicates that once again the forecast was well off the mark.

While the final Is and Ts in the escapement estimates have not been dotted and crossed what I'm hearing from the various WDFW bios would indicate that Sound wide escapement of pinks in 2009 was in the area of 9 million fish. The total run size had to have been more than twice the forecast.

Given that escapement and the lack of major floods this winter it is not surprising that the number of fry hitting the beach are well above average. Given that huge escapement I would not be surpised if a billion or more fry successfully survive to reach the salt.

It will be interesting to see how all those little guys do and how many will return in the summer of 2011.

Tight lines

03-13-2010, 08:53 PM
Curt always makes some interesting observations.

Not that I mind the pinks that much but they are a bit troublesome when hunting cutts in the rivers. This past year's huge run added some additional challenges in the form of very large numbers of pink salmon fishermen and their boats running up and down the rivers. Not only were the cutts harder to find because of the large numbers of salmon but when one did find them the large number of boats running up and down the river would put the fish down making it almost impossible to catch them. Having an even larger run in '11 along with what is likely to be an increase in fishermen and boats on the river will make cutthroat fishing that much harder. Oh well, I always like a challenge.

03-20-2010, 11:03 PM

You post confuses me, why would more returning wild salmonoids be a bad thing? They add more biomass and bring in revenue to the state. They feed those cutts with their spawn, flesh, and fry. Not to mention the steelhead reap the same benefits. Yes, there are more anglers that is the only downside.

03-22-2010, 03:50 PM
Then, too, when those Pink fry hit the estuaries, they are the number one forage for sea-run cutts. Van Egan designed an elegant little fly to simulate Pink fry. Deadly for cutts during the Pink out-migration.

-- Eric

03-23-2010, 09:01 AM
Right now I would be splitting my time fishing for steelhead in the middle to upper Skagit and fishing for out migrating cutts in the lower river. I can't remember if they closed the lower river to all fishing before. Skunk cabbage is starting to bloom. First sign to start fishing the lower river. Not this year. Life on the Skagit sucks right now.