I'm curious what other's impressions were of last nite's meeting. I was both impressed and depressed by Curt Kraemer's presentation. One moment he makes the stand that the WDFW is the agency getting things done and making tough management decisions for both the health of the fisheries and the recreational benefit of the users based on the best available science, then he rolls over and blames the user groups (especially the flyfishermen and C&R proponents) for not taking an active part in lobbying for their chosen methods of managing the resource.
So which is it - are the WDFW conservation leaders or simply pawns of the user groups?? How much of a part does best science have in determining our seasons, equipment restrictions, and catch limits? Once there's a sufficient # of steelhead predicted to return for a given season, is the process of deciding allocation of this resource entirely political? Curt was asked this question in a number of ways and dodged it at every turn.
All the same, I learned a LOT about the political wheels that decide our fate and discovered that the history of hatcheries on the Skagit river amazingly dates back to 1901. He shared a lot of information (as did Pete Van G), and I'm glad I went.
There were a lot of people at this meeting - guides like Ed Ward and Dennis Dickson and a LOT of Skagit regulars I've run into on the river. It was good to see so many familiar faces.