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.