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Ocean Flyfishing for Salmon Perhaps the most under-rated fishery in the world

Thread: We've Taken It In The Shorts Again! Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
04-10-2005 09:14 PM
flytyer Smalma,

IMHO, Washington salmon anglers are being very short-sighted in not wanting C&R salmon fisheries. Those outside of our state don't really know how adamant most salmon anglers are about bonking fish for the cooler.
04-10-2005 03:20 PM
juro Sad but true!

One year, many moons ago my brother and I rented a boat from Chris at Van Ripers during the extended season. Most of the others had pulled their docks, it was a ghost town.

He was so amazed that someone showed up that he upgraded us to the suite. My brother and I had an amazing time, not a soul out there it seemed. He even landed a king over near Mussolini, pretty lucky given it was the first time he had ever fished there. Got some great photos, enjoyed exploring the peninsula past Ruby, Quinault, then headed home.

Boy I would take a couple days of fishing like that anyday over workin'

Topwater, any comments on location or dates (as another option)?
04-10-2005 01:12 PM
Smalma Juro -
The unfortunate reality is that Washington anglers do not seem to be very interested in CnR opportunities for salmon. Sure many don't mind letting fish go as long at the end of the day they can take their limit home.

There have been wild fish released (marked fish only) seasons in a number of areas however for the majority of the anglers these aren't reality CnR fisheries but rather fisheries where the price the angler has to pay to access some fish (fish in the box) is releasing the unclipped fish.

Topwater may have a different spin on the situation but I would say that at least for Puget Sound the interest as expressed at the NOF process for CnR salmon seasons has declined in recent years. I would say that this year there was only a 1/3 as many people attending the meetings whose agenda I would classify as CnR as say 3 or 4 years ago. The reality is that the angler community that take part in the NOF process are those that determine what sort of fisheries we see within the limits of weak stock impacts.

Since I haven't fished the straits in years don't have any advice on where the best place for your conclave would be.

tight lines
S malma
04-10-2005 11:37 AM
juro Thanks for the clarification, it seems that (a) there is measurable evidence that a fishing restriction would benefit the Thompson coho and (b) there is actually a plan that encompasses international borders for the sake of the fish. I find these extremely reassuring and worth implementing even by a group of primarily C&R flyfishers like ourselves, perhaps keeping just enough for the grill for a ceremonial clave dinner on Sat PM before heading to sweetwater for Sunday.

But I guess our ability to access that fishery would mean hordes of flashers and cut pluggers with nylon nets and priests bringing home the motherlode in those big bloody plastic body bags, all or none.

What ever happened to the extended C&R fishery, or was that just in area 5?

In any case, for this clave in August... should we move it to Sekiu?
04-10-2005 10:55 AM
Smalma Juro-
Washington State is limited by treaty to having no more than a 10% impact on the upper Thompson coho. Anyone who has spend much time on the Thompson likley has seen the problems that those fish face in the Nicola and Coldwater -trashed habitat, water withdrawals, and elevated temperatures. Interestingly the imapcts in Washington fisheries is higher than in Canada - this year 10% impact in Washington and 3.5% in BC. That is with selective coho fisheries in the straits.

The fisheries that catch the majority of those Thompson coo are those in the northern part of the ocean, the straits and San Juan Islands. Surprising few are caught in fisheries in Marine areas 8 through 13. In fact I would not be surprised if more Thompson coho are caught in a week in Area 4 than for the entire season in areas 8 to 13 combined.

As I recall there will be monitoring of the Neah Bay catches in season and the status of the season in relation to the quota should be available on WDFW's web site and unless I miss my guess Topwater will be watching the numbers pretty closely. AS mentioned by Topwater the length of the season will likely be dependedt on the amount of effort.

I do find it a little interesting that folks are more than willing to participate in a mixed stock fishery that contains Thompson coho which clearly is in as much trouble as that basin's steelhead yet in recent years demonized fisheries that caught incidental Thompson steelhead. As always fisheries management in general and the fisheries manager's job in particular are pretty complex and the success of either is dependent on the view point and values of the individual making that judgement.

Topwater -
The "savings" on Thompson coho for Puget Sound occured mostly in changes in the commerical fisheries in the San Juan Islands. Re-shaping of the open areas, delay of the tribal chum fishery, foregoing some commerical pink fishing, etc.

Wishing all a productive and safe season on the water!

Tight lines
S malma
04-10-2005 05:40 AM
juro I hope these moves help to actually recover the runs as it often seems decisions are made from the cuff. I have no problem with restrictions as long as they are contributing to the improvement of the situation and that's becoming harder to rationalize each year.

As an aside, how does this impact those of us who are planning on a cross-country flight to attend the hooknose clave?
04-10-2005 12:03 AM
topwater smalma did a good job of explaining the neah bay (area 4) changes for 2005. the makah winter troll fishery had limited impacts on the coastal seasons (areas 1-4) due to serious constraints with late columbia river hatchery coho. the thompson played a role in our inability to get an area 4B add-on fishery once the ocean closed in area 4. even though the coast was down on thompson impacts from 2004, the numbers just couldn't support any additional impacts.

as someone who's main priority is the ocean fishery, i spend next to no time in the puget sound meetings. i do know that we were above our allowable thompson river impacts (based on ocean cutbacks and puget sound's 2004 season) statewide, so cuts had to come from somewhere. i don't know if the reductions in area 9 were the result. i also do not know how puget sound resolved the mid hood-canal chinook impacts that the makah winter troll fishery did have an impact on. i know the coastal chinook numbers moved downward during the last week of meetings.

i know the 5 day a week fishery sucks for most people, but it will give you a chance to at least fish one day on the weekend in august. nobody representing sportfishing in neah bay, including myself, wanted a 5 day a week fishery. unfortunetely, to have any kind of season length we had to make the move in 2005. hopefully next year will look more like the past few years, and we can return to a normal 7 day a week fishery.

i think we'll make it to at least mid-august with the package we have, especially considering the large run of pinks coming through this summer. without an extra pink on the limit, every pink retained is another coho left in the quota. if we see the fishing pressure of last year, the season will go in 4-5 weeks, but if the pressure resembles 2003 the season might make it through august.

we've been very fortunate the past few seasons when there was enough fish for everyone to get their fill of salmon fishing. when cuts must be made, nobody wants to be the ones cut.

04-09-2005 12:32 PM
Smalma Just a FYI -
From further down in the article referred by Leland:

"Neah Bay (Marine Area 4)

July 1-Sept. 18: 12,667 coho sub quota. Open Tuesday through Saturday, two fish per day, only one of which may be a chinook. Chum non-retention during August and September. Release wild coho; minimum size for chinook is 24 inches; minimum size of coho 16 inches. Chinook guideline: 4,300; chinook non-retention east of Bonilla-Tatoosh line beginning Aug. 1. Closed to salmon fishing July 1-Sept. 30 inside the area bounded by a line from Kydaka Point to Shipwreck Point. "

The Tuesday to Saturday seasons were an attempt to extend the coho fishery. With only a 12,667 quota and full blown fishery (7 days/week) it was not expected to last through July. By fishing 5 days a week they hoped to have the fishery extend into August. The limited coho fishery has virtually nothing to do with the winter tribal troll fishery. Rather it is constrainted by the need to conserve Thompson coho and to a lesser amount the Columbia late coho.

Tight lines
S malma
04-08-2005 06:41 PM
flytyer Leland,

I suppose we all need to remember that the poor Makah tribal fisherman need those fish to help them earn a living, while we non-tribal sportsfisher only play with our food and as such, don't need to have much of an opportunity to catch fish. Afterall, we aren't relying on the fish we catch to make ends meet.

It ought to make us all feel much better about losing fishing opportunity when we keep in mind those poor Makah fisherman need those fish for income.
04-08-2005 10:43 AM
Tuesday-Saturday @ Neah

In the shorts indeed.

Among other things, the Tuesday-Saturday @ Neah will be tough on us jokers with jobs that mostly fish weekends.

04-08-2005 09:40 AM
Leland Miyawaki
We've Taken It In The Shorts Again!

Following is an excerpt of the results of the North of Falcon Meetings as reported in today's Seattle Times.

We've lost our two weeks fishery in Area 9 and others. If this and the other closures (see the complete article at, piss you off as much as I, write Dr. Koenings, WDFW Director, at and let him know what you think about losing your sportfishing seasons. We should also let our Governor know also (maybe someone could post her email address).

Chris (aka: Topwater) What can we do to help?


Makah's chinook plan leads to reduced sport seasons
By Mark Yuasa, Seattle Times staff reporter

Sports fisherman are outraged over the Makah Tribe's plan to increase their catch in its next winter troll chinook fishery, which in turn has led to a reduction in some sport fishing seasons.

"The recreational community has taken some cuts to allow for an increase in the Makah fishery, and once again we came out on the short end of the stick," said Clint Muns, who represents Puget Sound Anglers, the largest sport fishing club in Washington.

The expanded Makah winter chinook projected catch to a ceiling of 8,500 fish created a heightened impact on protected chinook stocks in mid-Hood Canal and the Snohomish river systems, and cuts were needed to get under the management objective.

The recreational fishing caucus throughout the season-setting process, which began March 1, adamantly opposed accepting the conservation burden created from the Makah winter fishery.

In the end, that wasn't the case.

"We were led to believe that we were splitting the impacts on wild chinook stocks of concern with the tribes, and we ended up taking all the heat," said Keith Robbins, a member of the state Fish and Wildlife's sport fishing advisory board.

State Fish and Wildlife has imposed two conservation measures by closing the sport fishery in northern Puget Sound (Area 9) during the last two weeks of July, and going with a chinook selective fishery in the Everett-Camano Island area (Areas 8-1 and 8-2) from Oct. 1 through April 2006.

"I certainly know people were upset over the Makah situation, but losing two weeks in Area 9 looked to be the best of the bad choices we had," said Phil Anderson, the state Fish and Wildlife salmon policy coordinator.

"The winter treaty troll fishery went from a full season last year to a much more restricted fishery," Anderson said.

"This winter the troll fishery is in October, and they went to a four-day-a-week fishery, so we'll see how that transpires."
"This whole (salmon-setting season) process is a collaborative effort to try and reach each parties' needs and come to a balance," said Tony Meyer, the director and salmon recovery information officer for Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

"The state (Fish and Wildlife) traded two weeks of Area 9 for a selective (chinook) fishery in Area 8-1 and 8-2 from Oct. 1 to April 30, and the tribes agreed to that expansion in the co-management process," Meyer added. "That adds several months to that sport fishery, which is pretty significant, and there are other bright spots in the sport package."

One sport-fishing advisory-board member countered: "I don't think any fishermen challenges the tribe's right to fish, but when the sport and non-tribal community has to underwrite that opportunity, it can't help but leave a bad taste in our mouths."

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