If this is not the place to debate or talk about selective fisheries just say so. This is the best site on fishing period and don't want to see it turn into an out of control site.
But I believe that we as fly fisherman need to take a real good look at our sport an why there is such a undercurrent of grumbling that seems to be getting louder especially in the NW.
First of all being involved politically on the side of working conservation I agree that selective fisheries work. Just one look at the great rivers in Yellowstone Park and Rail Road Ranch on the Henerys Fork are proof. Many years ago a lot of us worked hard for these rivers to become selective and yet remain open to the public.
I fear now though under certain situations a strong back lash
to the great efforts made around the country to improve the health of our rivers. Yes there is a lot of propaganda going on by the C&K folks but I'm seeing some truths surfacing in that propaganda.
Out here in the NW there are flyfishing clubs pushing for more and more fly fishing water only and selective fisheries. This is fine when there is a need to maintain great fisheries or to protect one that is in trouble. But I'm seeing public lakes that can only support hatchery trout and blue gills going selective. There is absolutely no reason for this, remember the kids and the bobber thing, remember how we all started to fish. Maybe these fly fishing clubs think they are doing something positive but they are not.
When the upper Madison River from Hebgan lake to the junction in the park was made selective we understood the majority of fishermen who lived in the area and came there to fish were selective fishermen. What I'm seeing here on Stilly and some of our lakes is unfair to most.
The WSC is a group of conservationists who want to save Wild Steelhead. We are flyfishermen, gear and bait fishermen. I believe that there are more gear fishermen in the WSC than flyfishermen. We are a unity and being a unity we have a chance to do our part to save native fish.
How do I explain to a gear fisherman why he can't fish the NF Stilly in summer? Or why Fly fisherman only can fish in May. We have so many good gear fisherman out here who are so careful releasing fish and who are as good a conservationist as any of us. Yes there are bad gear fisherman who could endanger the very fish we try to protect but as we can see on Stilly we also have some bad fly fisherman too.
A selective fishery with single barbless hook lets all types of gear fishing take place and makes for some form of unity. The Deschutes River in Oregon is such a river and I've enjoyed the friendship of many of stranger fishing gear and fly on the same stretch of river.
The NF of the Stilly must be open to single barbless hook on any type of gear. And I believe it should be the fly fishing community who should push for it. If the river is not healthy enough to support a more open minded type of selective fishery then maybe it should not be open at all. How can any of us look into the eye of a gear fisherman who is conservation minded and tell him the way he fishes is not good enough to fish on the Stilly and yet we want their support of state wide catch & release.
I don't disagree but I would add to that by saying single barbless hooks. Single meaning one point.. There is a lot of confusion about single hook on the Deschutes and many many gear fishermen use lures with 1 treble hook thinking they are fishing a single barbless hook.. Also anywhere where fish are in need of protection the first thing to go should be bait. I bait fished for years and especially with summer runs no matter how good of a fisherman you are they often "swallow" a bait especially roe.
I have been reading a few studies on catch and release mortality on chinook and coho. We tend to think of thoes two species as very strong and hardy but studies conducted on the Frazer river in BC suggest that both chinook and coho have alarmingly high mortality rates Especially when caught and released on bait.
Anyway I agree I don't think there is a need for fly only water but certainly single barbless no bait regs.
What is to keep the lure or bait fisherman from learning to fly fish if they want to fish the rare " fly fishing only" waters
Your right about the bait and summer fish and having a more open minded selective fishery would still give the bait fisherman an opportunity to participate in fishing on that stretch of river or lake. They would not have to go out and buy expensive new gear. All they would have to do is go to an artificial with single barbless hook. Some would not but many would do so.
I just can't see where making certain waters fly fishing only when the general population that fish that area don't fish that way. What difference does it make on what type of rod one uses when in the end it's the hook that strikes home. Why should we care what type of artificial is used lure or a greenbut skunk fly as long as it's barbless and the owner takes care in playing and releasing the fish.
Yes all could learn how to fly fish but I would hate to outfit a family of 4 with fly gear that is required to safely land and release a steelhead. A lot of fishermen have no interest in fly fishing so why should they have to learn. We need to have more people participate and through participating become involved in conservation. We fly fishermen need help on the conservation side if we isolate and try and do it ourselves we will loose every battle that needs to be fought.
Another point brought up is that a guy using gear and a lure is going to hook more fish and the possibility of a fish going belly up are greater. All I can say as far as summer run steelhead are concerned their are a lot of good fly fisherman out there who can fish summer fish as well as any lure fisherman. On the gear side one can argue that because it's heavier gear than fly gear fish are released quicker therefore fish have a better chance. Don't know if that's true but it's a good argument.
All have a good weekend and enjoy your fishing if you go.
You make some excellent points and I commend you for letting some very controversial views be known. And in some ways, I agree with you as I fish gear alot myself and understand that a gear fisherman who practives proper catch and release is going to do about the same amount of damage to the resource as a flyfisher who practives proper catch and release.
But at the same time, I disagree with you and believe that that we need eliminate our fly-only steelhead waters but I do believe, as you do, that there is a certain amount of animosity towards the fly community because they have limited certain rivers such as the North Fork, Hoko and Kalama to fly only in certain sections at certain times of the year.
I have fished the North Fork for years, well not years as in 20 years but years as in as long as Ive been fishing. But anyways, I believe that having it limited to fly-only during the summer months limits the amount of steelhead brough to the beach. There is a certain degree of hooking mortality and we can all agree that it is there and although a selective fishery may produce the same mortality as a fly-only fishery, a well-skilled spoon, spinner or jig fisherman will have no problem outfishing a fly guy. With a downgrade to selective fishery, the Stilly would experience a large growth in pressure, more fish would be caught and thus a higher portion of the run would fall victim to hooking mortality. We should not risk this on such a treasured, rare, semi-healthy, magnificent species like the Deer Creek steelhead.
And as far as Im concerned, I dont want my treasured runs on the Upper North Fork (when the hatchery fish, again return to te river) being clogged with anglers. I love that upper river and love stalking fish in its gin clear pools of late summer. I will admit that I am being selfish.
...and remember, this all coming from a gear-slinging bozo. :)
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