I also came away with a mixed-bag of impressions. I agree that Kraemer was adept at responding to questions with unrelated answers. Another impression was that WDFW is still clearly driven by a harvest and allocation mentality, rather than a science-based "fish-first" philosophy. As Kraemer said, some things are out of the department's control, like habitat destruction and ocean conditions. But if stream habitat and ocean conditions as the major limiting factors for wild steelhead production, why not attempt to do something about them? There are ways to address those issues, basically by restoring habitat and the life history diversity of the wild runs. Why has the department failed to take a meaningful stand on habitat? And while Curt pointed out the fact that today's winter hatchery and wild runs have little spawn-timing overlap, I didn't hear anything about the impacts of harvest rules on squeezing the wild runs into a March-April-May return and spawning window (though I arrived 20 minutes late, maybe he did talk about that?). That practice sure seems effective at reducing life history diversity to me.
It was a very informative evening. There are lots of tough issues to deal with, no doubt about that.