Wash. Dept. Fish & Wildlife listen up! [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Wash. Dept. Fish & Wildlife listen up!

10-06-2002, 07:38 PM
I continually find gear and bait fishers fishing for salmon in waters closed to such fishing on the Skagit River above Marblemount. I'll stroll amongst them asking how they are doing and what they are fishing for and invariably I'm told that they are fishing for salmon with varying degrees of success. When I inform them that the area is closed to such fishing they argue that their buddy fished it just the other day and told them that the fishing was good so it must be okay. Then they say they'll stop fishing for the chinook and try for chum. Retards! Chum are salmon and chinook are strictly off-limits anywhere in this river system at all times.

WDFW, I know these times test to the limit your abilities to manage our fisheries but please write those rules with more clarity and start posting METAL signs explaining the closed nature of these areas. These folks are killing these fish on their spawning grounds with no law enforcement anywhere to curtail such activity. And I tire of p*ssing these people off, alone. Quit putting me in the position of having to do your job!


10-06-2002, 08:29 PM
Doesn't the great State of Washington have a poaching hotline to report such violations?

10-06-2002, 09:59 PM
Yes, there is a poaching hotline, but without a freshly caught salmon at their feet I am unable to act further - my word against their's. And evidentiary material can quickly be erased. The area of which I speak is a long ways from enforcement further complicating the matter. Besides, I'm not talking about the diehard poacher, they're going to find a spot no matter what, no matter where. I'm talking about the average Joe from suburbia who uses an out-of-the-way public access spot to fish unaware. The poacher knows these fish are too far gone to be of value.

Now if there were an agent about the agent would be able to issue a citation simply based on an ill advised answer to "what are you fishing for?" Further, I believe any court in the state would accept an agent's statement that he believed they were targeting salmon.

I understand that this agency is understaffed but doing nothing, which seems the norm, invites lawlessness. At least signage and clear regulations are proactive.


10-06-2002, 11:13 PM
why doesn't Washington State empower it's State Police to do game checking. We do it down here and it's darned effective. The fellows/gals are driving around all day anyway .... just one more stop and a peek through a set of binoc's.

Dble Haul
10-07-2002, 08:20 AM
Can I assume that you've sent this message to the Washington Department of Fish and Game? Or did you just vent here?

Might be worth sending to them.

10-07-2002, 02:16 PM

As far as my understanding goes, no the state police are not charged with Fish and Game enforcement as in Oregon. Such would be a great aid in reducing such illegal activity especially since there are two troopers living here in Marblemount.

Dble Haul,

Yes to both. I have sent email concerning this (several times in fact) and I am indeed venting. Sorry for the latter.


Dble Haul
10-07-2002, 02:29 PM
Originally posted by watersprite

Dble Haul,

Yes to both. I have sent email concerning this (several times in fact) and I am indeed venting. Sorry for the latter.


No need to apologize.....we're all in need of venting at times, especially when we feel that our concerns are falling on deaf ears. Glad to hear that you sent your feelings on to the right people. FWIW, if enough people do this maybe change can be affected.

10-07-2002, 02:37 PM
What really set me off was the fisherman and his gal that I confronted yesterday were spin fishing with treble hooks! And upon striking up a conversation he confessed to being a flyfisher who just wanted a change.:mad:


10-07-2002, 11:52 PM

I have had these same kind of answers given to me on the upper Skagit. And like you, I have sent emails to WDFW about it. I have been seeing this happen more and more often during the last 5 years on the Skagit, Sauk, Samish (right at the Old Highway 99 bridge), and the Stilly. Always get the same answer, "Had a buddy fish here the other day and he did real sell so I thought I;d gie it a try."

Sure wish I knew where our WDFW wardens spent their time. I have only 2 WDFW enforcement agents in the last 8 years on the Noodsack, North Fork Nooksack, South Fork Nooksack, Skagit, Sauk, Cascade, Samish, Norht Fork Stilly, South Fork Stilly, and mainstem Stilly.

The most blatent example of this was on the Cascade last October where I saw a clown targeting spawning Chinook with a fly rod - he was foul hooking them! I told him about the illegality of targeting Chinook, and he told me he was just C&R them. Besides, a 'Buddy told him about the good salmon fishing for large salmon'. I then told him that if a WDFW agent happened by he would be arrested, fined up to $1,000.00, lose his equipment, and then face federal charges with a possible $5,000.00 fine. His response was since the Marblemount hatchery was next door, he doubted he would be "hassled by WDFW"! I damn near jumped for joy and cheered when he broke a nearly new G.Loomis GLX 10 foot 8 weight on a foul-hooked Chinook, which ended his day.

He said he was in the Navy and stationed at Whidbey NAS, as if that should exonerate him for his despicable behavior.

I've walked into the Mixer with my wife and sons and had people purposely using heavy gear rods with large bell sinkers and equally large treble hooks targeting Chinook for fould hooking at the head of the run. One of my sons, he was 9 at the time, now he's 11, told these folks that the river was closed to Chinook and the 2 guys told him if they didn't get them, the Indians would. This despite the fact that the tribe's don't fish that far upriver because they want to avoid the Chinook and there are more silvers in good shape further down river.

Watersprite, I sure would like to see some of these folks get a fishing violation ticket. Fred, our State Patrol is not allowed to make fishing violaton arrests. And our Skagit County Sheriff's Dept. doesn't seem to think it is worth doing anything about it.

10-09-2002, 02:40 PM
Aside from the automatically generated "we received your lame complaint and we will get back to you before hell freezes over", I have yet to receive an answer from this state agency to my email on this problem. I'm thinking it will take at least ten (10) days.

Anybody want to guess how long it will take?

And what will be their message -

Sorry, all our staff are out fishing the Grand Ronde, we will get back to you soon.

Sorry but our staff is out catching those individuals who take one too many razor clams. Call your representatives and tell them to increase our funding.

Skagit River? What county is that in?

Gee, Steve, can't you get along with anyone?

Try the tribes, after all, they are federally funded.

Metal sign? Our suppliers are currently pressing out license plates and are unable to assist. Please try again.

__________(insert your favorite)__________


10-09-2002, 03:42 PM
Watersprite why don't you call Captain Bill Hebner head of the region 4 enforcement office 425-775-1311. Then when you get the we're to busy or we will check it out and get back to you answer and nothing happens you'll have a name of someone that should be accountable when you raise your concerns higher up. I'm sure you already have this web address. http://www.wa.gov/wdfw/enf/enforce.htm
If you feel they aren't acting on your complaint I would contact these people: Chief Bruce Bjork,Assistant Director
Deputy Chief Don Gatlin,Field Operations
Assistant Chief Lembit Ratassepp,Administration and keep a little HEAT on them which I know you are capable of doing. :hehe:
I don't think they want to really do anything about this as I feel this has been going on for a long time. As flytyer says the High Sherriff doesn't care. Do you know the name of your local warden? If I thought something like this was going on over here I would be setting on my local wardens door step and if he wouldn't take action I would be raising hell down in Boise. Does Washington have a fish and game commission?

10-09-2002, 04:28 PM
Sounds like you need to consider a River Watch program like they have started in the major Michigan salmon river locations where illegal fishing methods tends to be performed. It is a volunteer program of anglers who are organized by the DNR to watch certain parts of the rivers. If they see illegal fishing methods being pursued they call the DNR officers to make the arrests.

Per current reports they are making arrests and having impact.

They started these a couple of years ago.

It makes me sick seeing this going on, that is why I stopped fishing during the peak periods of the salmon runs probably 15 years ago, just so I do not have to see and put up with these types of people on the river.

I heard a doozy from my local fly shop owner last week. Listen to this, the DNR (Wisconsin they said) caught a couple of intoxicated fellows stretching a tennis court net across the stream to trap the salmon. A local high school was near the river where they stole the net from. Never heard of this one before.

Good luck with your efforts to resolve or less lessen this on your waters.


10-09-2002, 09:37 PM

The last email I sent to WDFW in Olympia, which I also cc'd to Chief Bjork, never even got an acknowledgement that it was received! This was in early August about the snagging of Chinnok with fly rods and large lead head jigs that was going on in the Stilly. This sure gets a person a bit miffed. I also spoke with representative Morris's office about it, and was told the representative was concerned about natural resource management as well. Got this same kind of answer from Senator Haugan's office.

Curt is aware of the problem, but he is not an enforcement officer, he is only a biologist and the only thing he can do is shut the river down for all fishing.

If you get a reply of any kind, I'll be surprised. And if you get a meaningful reply, it would bowl me over.


What is a local warden: :hehe: they seem to be few and far between when it comes to enforcing fishing regs. When people are fishing for Chinook on a small river like the Samish right off the Old Hwy 99 bridge in full view of anyone who drives over the bridge (and it is a well traveled road) without getting arrrested despite this portion ofthe river being closed too fishing for any salmon, something is wrong.

The tribes have no jurisdiction over non-Indian fishermen. Therefore, they can do nothing except talk to the offenders. In fact, the tribal fish cops are the only ones I have ever seen on the Skagit in over 8 years of fishing it.

10-17-2002, 03:13 PM
Very sad, it's been 11 days and I have received no response from WDFW. I'm beginning to believe that this is simply a job to them (and poorly executed) and not a calling in the spiritual sense. They just don't care.

Now I'm really pissed! I will be writing letters to any and all which might effect a change in this attitude on their part and the issue which prompted my complaint.


10-17-2002, 09:10 PM

I still have yet to get a response from WDFW from the emails I wrote to them about the poaching I saw on the Stilly in mid July. I get very angry at our "fish and wildlife protectors" (what a misnomer for WDFW). It seems that they are far more interested in hunting and game law enforcement than fish enforcement at this time of year. I'm not surpirsed you have not gotten a reply from them yet. I will still be very surprised if you do.

10-19-2002, 03:01 PM
Well surprise! After the last post on the 17th I decided to bypass WDFW's main emailer and took my complaint directly to enforcement (if emailing is ever direct?). Early this morning Officer Crumpky from WDFW shows up at my farm to discuss the issue.

Because public river access is through USFS property there is nothing the state can do about posting the area, but now that he knows the location he will keep his eyes open. I gave him permission to use my access (much easier approach). The guy sounded real sincere; nice talk with a nice guy. Won't even hold it against him that he is a spoon fisherman.

Since the river is a federally designated wild and scenic river, the chinook are now federally protected on this river, and the USFS/Depart. of Agriculture decided to purchase the strip because they wanted further holdings along this salmon corridor I will have to take the matter up with them. And I will, you can bet on it.

An aside - The bears have been out in force. Wowed the officer with all the bear scat through my property. I must have at least 25 heirloom apple trees throughout my property which has been the mainstay of their diet. Man, bears poop little mountains; you could lose a small dog in them.


10-19-2002, 03:30 PM
Watersprite, Well that is something on a very positive note! Since this is a Federal matter maybe we should all write to them on this issue. Do you have a particular address where you plan to address your comments. Didn't flytyer bet you a steak that you wouldn't even get a reply from the WDFW?:devil: Thank you for the update.

10-19-2002, 03:52 PM
Don't yet have an address/authority to contact at the federal level. I plan on visiting the North Cascade National Park headquarters complex here in Marblemount next friday in the hopes that someone there can provide a clear trail to pursue. If any forum member can put me on the trail sooner by all means contact me.


Did anyone pick up on the Officer Crumpky thingy? Course the spelling could be off a bit...

10-19-2002, 05:27 PM

I was at industry seminar in Chicago this week. One of the speakers Richard Hunter - Gartner Group talked of the concept of "network armies" and their ability to mass thousands of people to electronically attack issues via the power of the internet. His current book is called "A World Without Secrets". See attached write up and link. Perhaps this is a technique to use for some of our ethics and resource issues ?

You can get the book on Amazon, I think I will since I am directly involved with these issues at my company.

BTW, what kind of bears are those on your property, black ?


P.S. One problem the number of ethical anglers that care about these things are in the minority perhaps we could number a thousand or two, but not the hundreds of thousand it would take to make "a network army". But something to think about never the less.


10-20-2002, 01:08 AM

I never thought of trying to find the enforcement division of WDFW email, or the local enforcement officer. I used the email address that the WDFW site provided, and found it was pretty much useless.

I'm glad you got a response. Hopefully a few of these folks that have been targeting the chinook will get caught. The federal judges seem to like levying $5,000.00 fines for it. Couldn't think of more deserving folks of this type of prize than those who openly flaunt the regs.

old man
10-20-2002, 10:51 PM
Isn't it nice to complain about things in the fishing world and not get any answers. They want all your money but don't do anything about the problems of poachers. I don't think that the Game Wardens don't want any face to face with poachers. They like to give out tickets on no parking passes. But face up to a poacher,oh no. They have that problem in King Co. But the County Mounties take care of the problem I saw two poachers on the Snoqualmie before trhe season opened this year and I got a hold of The Co Mounties and they took care of the problem. And yes the State Patrol can also take care of the problem.

11-13-2002, 06:00 PM
An update -

Just received an email from WDFW Enforcement Division indicating my original email to them has been passed around to various personel within the organization and has been forwarded to Leo Merrit with the U.S. Forest Service. I hope that is Leo as in Lionhearted!

An aside - I found 30 plus feet of 45 lb. mono littering the bank the other day. Can not convince me that this is for Dollies.


01-07-2003, 05:24 PM
Last update -

Some may have noticed that I haven't been posting too often of late. I have been in a terribly sour mood over this issue of WDFW enforcement and Washington'e current crop of flyfishers.

I spent the good part of the fall season trying to work with WDFW enforcement to curb the illegal salmon fishing going on in my neck of the woods, to no avail. I have done everything enforcement has asked me to do (license plate #, names, even addresses and often with winesses to the particular occurences) and reported as advised. No action has ever been taken towards these reports and no one has answered my repeated inquiries.

Most depressing of all - most of the offenders had fly rods in hand.

Embarrased by my naivete, I am very troubled by this.


01-08-2003, 09:40 AM

Sorry to hear your down, ya just got to keep plugging away. There are a lot of us, WSC and other groups trying to find ways to help the state with enforcement. I think enforcement is trying real hard but are just over whelmed in the way the current state system works. A lot of our fish & game enforcement officers are working more hours than our teachers are with thier over crowded classrooms.

As for the current crop of fly fishermen. What can one say, things have changed. Fly fishing is just an every day sport now full of lots of every day people. Fly fishing has become a group sport maybe even a group spectator sport. No longer is it a pastime or an obsession for independent thinking people. There seems to be a lot of fly fishermen out and about that are very insecure in thier induvidual ability of natural growth through fly fishing. It will be ok though, time will make it better. Remenber that there are a lot of really great people out fishing who are working hard in one way or another for the environment and to keep fly fishing in the tradition it took so long to develope.

Soon we will meet on a great float down the Sauk or the Skagit if our rivers are not completely shut down even before the native fish arrive. Looking forward to fishing with you.

01-08-2003, 01:13 PM
It's pretty sad, for sure.

Good thing we have internet communities like this one where people agreee on what is sportsmanlike and what is just plain wrong, referring to snagging and poaching, etc.

With the thousands who browse this forum worldwide I would think we are void of snaggers and poachers, well maybe one or two have snuck in but they wouldn't last long here. Not because we'd run them out of Dodge, but because they just wouldn't fit into the upstanding attitudes of the sportsmen we have here and would leave.

01-08-2003, 08:22 PM

Looks like you are getting the same kind of responses that I and several others got regarding the chinook poaching on the Stilly from so-called fly fishers who were using lead headed marabou jigs and 3" dink floats (they called indicators). I will keep on reported the crap I see some fishers do, including fly fishers, when I witness it and can get a license plate #, etc. It does get a bit depressing and it sure makes a person angry that the agency which is supposed to enforce the fish and game laws doesn't seem to care about providing effective enforcement. I suppose they had the wildlife cops assigned to hunting law enforcement.

OC is correct about WDFW not having nearly enough wardens to cover the territory effectively. Interestinly, I've only seen 2 fish cops on our northern Puget Sound rivers in the 8 1/2 years I've lived in Mount Vernon. It was far different on the Olympic Penninisula when I lived in Port Angeles prior to moving here.

01-08-2003, 11:30 PM
"But the County Mounties take care of the problem I saw two poachers on the Snoqualmie before trhe season opened this year and I got a hold of The Co Mounties and they took care of the problem. And yes the State Patrol can also take care of the problem."

I'm clueless as to why Washington doesn't follow Oregon's lead on this one. A 'law breaker, is a law breaker.' I'm sure our OSP officers would prefer to be doing something else, but when a Citizen calls, they come.

Lived in Washington for a ton of years, but, to tell the truth, I'm far more impressed by how Oregon address' obvious issues.

01-09-2003, 12:03 AM
Yes, Oregon does a much better job in my estimation in both management and enforcement.

To answer up on a few earlier questions-

Both the county mounties and the state patrol can enforce the fishery laws. But neither seems to be willing. As to the WDFW - The business card the WDFW officer left turns out to be useless, the phone numbers take one to a canned message to call the troopers and the personal message phone hasn't been set up to receive calls. Talk about limbo, or the proverbial catch-22!

The offending flyrodders out numbered the gear guys by about 3 to 1, so states my daughter. The nastiest encounter was with a gear guy who later, upon leaving, stated he admired my determination. Okay.

And finally to PMFF: black bears, only.

Oh,oh... the feds finally showed up and stretched a cable across the access road (the cable was there in the road from the last attempt at shutting down this access point). Unfortunately this cable never stopped anyone before, someone simply removed the u-bolts holding the cable ends together. Access is still allowed by parking along the road.

In a funk but NOT entirely discouraged...


Whiskey Dick
01-09-2003, 12:38 AM
"In a funk but NOT entirely discouraged..." watersprite hang in there and keep hitting redial on the phone, I know it can be frustrating but some one has to take notice if you keep bugging them, hang in there, tight lines,brian

01-10-2003, 01:36 PM

Catching up on threads.

This is very disheartening to hear of washington fly fishers violating closed waters and exploiting endangered wild salmon stocks and personal property.

Have not heard of any fly fishers out here fishing closed waters its usual the local gear and bait flingers that do that especially when the steelhead and salmon are actively spawning.

With all of the open river fishing in Washington and other states you would think people could adhere to the rules.

Very disheartening, my best in your efforts if there is anything us non washington residents can do please advise.

We could empower the forumns network army of ethical fly fishers perhaps and email the washington DNR and others perhaps.



Pm Out

01-10-2003, 03:14 PM

It has happened on Trail and Little Cal when they close in March.

Sad but true, bad thing is the IDNR is not around to nab them. Had two guys proclaim ignornace of the law, funny they could afford Sage sticks and still not bother to read the regs.

Even caught some yahoos on land we rented cutting brush and branches along the bank so they could cast better.

Guy sbeaking the law especially on protected fish is a dirty shame, bad thing is many times the courts go too light on them since they have real crime (murders, rapes, etc) to deal with.

Good luck on policing the area. When we see a car parked in the closed fishing area we will dial up the DNR to turn them in. Like as not they are fishing. Hopefully they get hassled by the MAN.

01-10-2003, 06:39 PM
Yes there are those types every where in all things.

I have personally never seen fly fishers in closed waters, but thats because I am not there looking for them like watersprite is since he lives there.

They should publically announce their names on the web, you know like the local police blotters, the DNR violation blotter.

Problem is the DNRs cannot enforce anything very well.

PM Out