Maybe, just maybe .. we're all on the same side? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Maybe, just maybe .. we're all on the same side?

11-16-2002, 11:29 PM
Sorry on a very old 'rental computer' here so can't post the web site link. fae

Tribe rebuilding Puyallup River runs

Susan Gordon; The News Tribune

Biologists released the first two feisty red coho salmon Wednesday morning from a custom-built cage 41 miles upstream from the mouth of the Puyallup River.

The cage, actually a fish trap, was set up by the Puyallup Tribe of Indians to measure the success of its efforts to restore salmon to the river's upper reaches.

"It's one of ours!" biologist Peter Samarin exclaimed Wednesday after he netted the first one, its missing adipose fin indicating its origin.

The trap enables tribal fisheries workers to count fish passing through a 290-foot-long concrete fish ladder, which was built two years ago to bypass the Electron Dam.

"It lets us know what's working and what's not," said Russ Ladley, the tribe's resource protection manager. "We want to see what proportion of those fish returning are marked."

Before the $1 million fish ladder opened, salmon hadn't spawned above the dam since 1904, when the long, shallow dike was built. Puget Sound Energy, which runs the hydropower project, paid for the $24,000 trap, the fish ladder and the tribe's continuing fish restoration program, which takes place on Rainier Timber Co. land west of Mount Rainier National Park.

Tribal fisheries workers began planting fish above the dam in 1997, using smolts and surplus adult salmon from the state-run Voights Creek Hatchery near Orting. The goal is to create self-sustaining runs of naturally spawning fish, an experiment it could take decades to validate.

The young coho grow in small, stream-fed rearing ponds for a year before workers free them to migrate downstream.

Marked coho passing through the fish ladder this year were released from the ponds 18 months ago. The recent lack of rainfall reduced river flow and slowed the fall migration.

11-17-2002, 08:03 PM

This is just one example of a Washington Tribe Helping to restore habitat and fish runs. The Nooksac Indian Tribe has been working for the last 3 years on habitat and stream restoration on the upper South Fork Nookcack River and its tributaries above Skookum Creek. This was once a prime summer Steelhead, summer/fall Chinook, and Coho river, along with winter Steelhead in the lower reaches below the canyon.

It has been very badly damaged by poor logging pactices and the removal of woody debris. This river now turns brown as soon as a little water falls because of the bank erosion caused by a lack or mature trees, and by high water temperature spikes in hot summer weather due to the lack of canopy cover on the tributaries. The Nooksack Tribe has been working on restoring woody debris and was primarily responsible for closing the river and its tributaries above Skookum Creek to fishing in order to protect the summer Steelhead.

The Skagit System Cooperative, the fisheries management arm of the Swinomish, Saud-Suiattle, and Upper Skagit Tribes (all of whom have fishing rights onthe Skagit system), has been working on restoring esturian habitat in the lower river below the forks, which is tidally influenced.

Their studies indicated that Chinook need these sloughs and small side channels for use since the fish use them to overwinter before going out to sea. Past diking efforts and closing off of small channels and sloughs that led into Skagit Bay had removed a substancial amount of this needed habitat. The Three Tribes have secured grants that they matched with tirbal dollars and state fisheries dollars, which have been used to restore about 1/3 of the lost exturian habitat.

Interestingly, nearly all the farmers who have been planting crops on the restored land (which is state owned) were opposed to the restoration because they said it will increase flood danger to their farms. Keep in mind that this area is known as Fir Island because it is between the forks and Skagit Bay. And back in the floods during the winter of 1990-1991 is was under water when a dike failed.

The Skagit Sytem Cooperative also shut a fishery in the bay off after only 18 hours (it was supposed to be for 48 hours and it was supposed to be each week from mid October to mid November) in its first week because there were so many fish caught by just 3 boats the Tribal fisheries biologists decided that it was not in the best interest of the resource to continue to fishery. Therefore, it was closed.

It appears that some of the tribes have realized that if they are to continue having a viable fishery, they must do some conservation and habitat work too.

11-17-2002, 09:48 PM
Fred and Flytyer,
Thanks for the informative thread! When people are like minded and understand the truth, they are on the same side. I applaud all men and women from all tribes who do the work of keeping the fisheries alive and flowing.
After all, it is a gift, and we need to take care of it accordingly. When we practice catch and release, it is a way each person can help these fisheries (and enviroment) each time they cast. That one fish goes on to live, reproduce, and be caught again, and in turn helps this great work to continue.