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Pacific Northwest Sea Run Forum No such thing as rainbow trout, only landlocked steelhead

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  #31  
Old 02-09-2004, 10:42 PM
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The main opposition to this new policy (About Time!) , seems to be from those who fear it will lead to closing of Hatcherys, and reduced opportunity for harvest of those fishes. They seem to believe they have an inalienable right to Hatchery fish, and also only begrudgingly accept some restrictions on Wild Steelhead,while tribal netting continues. For them, this issue is an elitist, class warfare type proposal, and has grown out of Cn'R fisheries , created (of course)solely so Fly Fisherman can stand on spawning gravel and fish. (I had heard this one before, as I am sure others have) As I understand the process, the proposal was scaled back from 6 to 2 years. My question is this, given the typical life history of Steelhead, and the fact that we will see no improvement in returns in such a short span (save 1/1 life histories), was this a tactical error? Would not a 6 year ban have 'proven' the theory more effectively, (Including more life histories, allowing for a more pronounced and widespread rebounding of stocks, as opposed to a few stocks, or portions thereof containing the 1/1 history.) It is simple too short a period to see any real results. Am I wrong here, I just wonder. My fear, after just 2 years , opponents of the ban will simply say there has been no improvement, and so the ban should be rescinded. While that argument would not hold water , in the end, it would 'Play in Peoria'.
I thank all who were involved with the effort to win this battle. I have killed one wild steelhead in my life, 22 years ago this month . It has turned into my own personal 'Curse of Ruth' The fish was 25 lbs, from the Soth Fork Calawah River. I killed it, and haven't caught one larger since ! Let that be a warning to all !!
While the fish is long gone, and the rod and reel retired years ago, I still have the fly, and a picture of some funny looking kid w/ a big grin.
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Last edited by local; 02-09-2004 at 10:45 PM.
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  #32  
Old 02-10-2004, 01:35 AM
Smalma Smalma is offline
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Something to ponder!

The basic argument in support of the year round WSR requirement was that there are no "healthy" wild stocks of steelhead in the State of Washington and the change was needed to: 1) rebuild the depressed runs and 2) Protect those few remaining quasi "healthy runs" from sliding to depressed status. Essential there are no harvestable fish.

Then doesn't it follow that fishing impacts on wild steelhead should be limited to the lowest possible impacts associated with a WSR fishery while targeting hatchery steelhead or other species that can support fishing impacts. It would then follow that there should be no CnR fishing where these same wild fish are targeted.

That would mean that steelhead fishing (including any and all CnR season) in much of Western Washington would close about mid-Febraury when the abundance of Chamber's type winter run ends and remain closed until the hatchery summer steelhead become abundant, say mid-June.

If some one doesn't support such conservative seasons aren't they say that the above support arguments for this landmark change in management were not valid?

Are the vocal supportors of this decision still going to fish this Spring? and if so how do you justify that with the stated status of the resource?

This is just a sample of the issues we anglers that are passionate about wild steelhead will be wrestling with over the next couple years.

Tight lines
S malma

Tight lines
S malma
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  #33  
Old 02-10-2004, 01:49 AM
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Re: Moving on

Quote:
Originally posted by Nailknot
I like the path Sinktip proposes, and I, for one, would be more involved in WSC if it expands beyond WSR as a point issue. I'm glad to see it pass but ready for the broader (and local) battles that will insure wild steelhead survival. WSC has a team of winners and could grow to an even more influencial force. It will be interesting to see how things evolve.
Nailknot, What other issues do you propose? And more importantly are you willing to sacrifice some fishing time in order to accomplish them and support. You are right there are many issues, and your organization (I assume you are a member, might even know eachother) is trying to work them to the best of our ability, but only so many people to work on them. WSR was a point issue at hand to be worked on, that might benefit the fish, while trying to keep up with the ESA fiasco on the Columbia, current instream flow legislation, working on the steelhead summits, developing the WSC policy on Hatchery Reform etc. ? I am sorry if I sound turse, but the "I' ll get more involved if it expands beyond WSR" is like getting a half hearted pluck that won't come back.

PS: Could use some help at the WSC Booth at the flyshow.
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Last edited by rich_simms; 02-10-2004 at 02:09 AM.
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  #34  
Old 02-10-2004, 02:01 AM
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NrthFrk16 NrthFrk16 is offline
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Word around the campfire is that because of the WSC's presence at a recent Washington State House of Natural Resources Committee hearings, the stronger more favorable version (to the fish) of the Instream Flow was passed onto the House.

The Senate at the present time is considering a weaker version of the Bill (that the Governor supports).

The WSC also spent a good amount of time dealing with the recent tangle net fiasco on the Columbia. They tried (and are still trying) their hardest to keep the endangered steelhead from suffering a negative impact.

Hmmmm...I would say the Wild Steelhead Coalition is much more then a single-issue organization. However, when you take on an issue as large as wild steelhead release and fight for 3+ years to get it implemented, that issue will be the first thing that comes to find when you think of that group. That is what has happened to the WSC but like I said, they are so much more then a single-issue organization.

Come to a meeting, send some emails to current Board of Directors, visit the website and most importantly, get involved and then you will see that the WSC is sooo much more then a single-issue organization.
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  #35  
Old 02-10-2004, 10:55 AM
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Smalma,

It is your job to close the runs if they are not healthy to fish. You will not get any flack from this side if you do it with good science. But if the department and a few pols want to play the lets get even game and close all of the C&R season you should change the science you use now. State wide C&R in my opinion and many others will not do much good in increasing numbers of returning fish but by god having this law shows that we the sportsmen are very concerned about what has happened to our Steelhead. Hey and if you decide to close it down I hope you close the entire river systems down year round and pull the plug on the hatcheries.

I was against the WSC bringing this back to the table I thought they would just piss off the commission after the commission put 20 something positive things on the agenda dealing with steelhead. But after reading all this crying from the bonkers about wild steelhead release I am so damn proud of the WSC.

WSC you have made more friends than enemies but the enemies you have made can be very dangerous so watch your back and I hope you help watch the backs of the commission too, they are going to need it in the future. There was never going to be unity between those who want to eat wild steelhead and those who want them released so WSC stand your ground and you are going to need to get real tough in the coming weeks.

Good Luck.
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  #36  
Old 02-10-2004, 11:49 AM
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Eating Wild Steelhead

Quote:
There was never going to be unity between those who want to eat wild steelhead and those who want them released

Is there something special about eating "wild steelhead" versus a hatchery fish when the river conditions are the same? I don't really remember the former being more of an epicurean delight over the latter versions more mundane taste, but then again it has been a very long time since I ate a wild fish.
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  #37  
Old 02-10-2004, 12:00 PM
Leland Miyawaki Leland Miyawaki is offline
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I believe Lisa Pelly's term as commissioner may be up this year. If hers and any others are up we will have to make sure they are replaced by good people who champion the fish. I'm sure many of you remember the campaign waged to keep Pete on the commission.

Leland.
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  #38  
Old 02-10-2004, 01:36 PM
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MJC,

What it really comes down to is a rights issue. It is the same thing we see with a certian segment of society that believe my right comes first be damned with what is best for the society as a whole. Many of the kill crowd claim they do not kill wild fish and I'm sure that they don't. But because the law had said it was OK to kill on certain rivers at certain times of the year many do kill and they had the right to do so. That's no different than everyone having to fish a C&R season as long as it is law. The WSC and other concerned groups felt with the backing of what many feel to be good science that this kill fishery was wrong. They went to the commision in a perfectly propper maner and convinced the commision that there should be no kill season state wide.

This is just plain politics and it is the American way. The bonkers have the right to reverse it by going through the propper channels or however they choose. The only reason any of us are fishing Steelhead is because of politics. Everyone of our Sound rivers should be shut down because our Chinook and Steelhead should be on the endangered list. But through the fairness of democracy the developers, commercial fishermen, native americans, sportsmen and who knows how many other groups did not want give up their part of the pie and were able to convince all goverments involved not to put these fish on the list. Power wins and we are proud of the WSC and the power they found through hard work to win this one for the fish this time around.
There is not a person in the NW that needs to eat wild Steelhead to survive. I fish weekly for flounder, sunfish whatever is leaugle and what I'm told by the state is plentiful because I'm broke and I get by just fine without bonking a wild steelhead which is not plentiful. The F&G have been telling us that these fish could be killed on certain rivers so people could eat them The WSC convinced the commission otherwise and that is power of democracy at work.
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  #39  
Old 02-10-2004, 02:10 PM
Nailknot Nailknot is offline
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Agreed

Rich- no terseness taken I am a member, yes. I understand WSC is currently involved in a number of issues but the public perception has been on WSR. Now that WSR is done (sorta) will be great for these other issues to rise in awareness among members etc. Personally I'd like to see more regional focus on regs like C&R year round above Bacon Creek on the Skagit, Eastside Steelhead stream closure after Dec 31, etc. But maybe those are sportfishing issues not Wild Steelhead issues. How WSC evolves in regards to sportfishing vs. strictly conservation is what I meant by my "interesting to see how things evolve" comment.

If we lose the C&R seasons will be tragic. Not so much the losing the fishing as losing the interest of a lot of potential steelhead allies. The temp closing of these seasons a few years ago is the primary genesis of the WSC if I'm not mistaken?

Last edited by Nailknot; 02-10-2004 at 02:15 PM.
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  #40  
Old 02-10-2004, 09:59 PM
Smalma Smalma is offline
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OC-
First off I'm here as a private individual - hence the pseudonym (also Dollies are a pretty neat fish).

Second I was not proposing that the state close any rivers but rather questioning the consistency of practicing CnR fish on populations an individual angler thought was not "healthy". An individual angler's choice based on his/her personal ethics.

You stated: "...close the runs if they are not healthy to fish. You will not get any flack from this side if you do it with good science."

How do we define a "healthy run" in this new context? For the last 20 years the State and Federal courts have used runs above the MSY escapement level as harvestable levels. In addition the state has allowed CnR fisheries that target wild steelhead (for example the spring catch and release season) on runs whose escapements were expected to be at least 80% of MSY. Now without any harvest fish for the recreational angler how do we (you and I) define a healthy run? Is it still one over MSY? or some other standard? Under what conditions should any fishery be allowed to target wild fish?

Note: WSR has been a management tool used to target co-mingle hatchery steelhead or other abundant stocck will minimizing the impacts on the wild population by requiring the release of any caught. Those that supported this change have essentially argued that with the possible exception of the Quilleyute system there are no healthy wild steelhead stocks in Washington. Given this new paradigm should we have any fishery that targets wild fish? If so under what conditions - still use the 80% of MSY? Another standard?

If CnR fishing is continued to allowed under the current (old?) standard the critics of this change would have some reason to view it as "fish grab" for a select user group.

I don't have an answer for these question but am suggesting that we need to serious consider them and clearly establish new guidelines. It is my understanding that the State's Steelhead Management Plan will be under review for the next couple year and that will likely be the place for such discussions. The success of the excerise will depend on bring together a diverse user group that has been strongly polarized.

Tight lines
S malma
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  #41  
Old 02-10-2004, 11:26 PM
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Sorry for playing "Columbo". I was always very impressed when he scratched his head and played stupid to get directly to the crux of the issue. Which I feel my question did, it is now and always was about bonking, as suspected. It's not about the tribes, thats a bunch of BS, in fact they should be the next target (screw Boldt)

Shutting down C&R:
If these wild stocks are hurting, why have a kill fishery? We already shut down a long list of rivers that are known to be down runs early. I assume these are the runs that require it.

Besides, if the fisheries that have been open during these months were healthy enough to permit killing them up to now, they are certainly healthy enough to stop killing them. Eliminating the kill is a huge improvement no matter how anyone spins it.

All of this "opposition" is a thin veil over old thinking in modern times, no appreciation without a fork and plate. The change is timely and a major step forward for stewards of the resource.

As I said in my first post, my only complaint is that the term for this is too short - it does not allow for life cycle to determine what the actual effect will be. If anything, this moratorium is not long enough, meaning no disrespect of course. I would hate to hear the powers that be say it failed because the results could not be measured.

Has this decision made things better? If only wild steelhead could talk...
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  #42  
Old 02-11-2004, 12:12 AM
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Quote:
If CnR fishing is continued to allowed under the current (old?) standard the critics of this change would have some reason to view it as "fish grab" for a select user group.
Smalma, Just what "select user group" are you talking about? Maybe I missed something but I didn't read anything about any gear restiction being added. The rules are the same for all anglers no matter what angling method they chose. I don't see this rule any different then a slot limit where only a certain size fish can be kept.
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  #43  
Old 02-11-2004, 12:41 AM
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I have to agree with Mike.

If the fishery remains open, everyone (regardless of interest group) still gets to 'grab' em. Just that everyone has to let them go. Fair and square.


If people are howling about catching them and letting them go, do they really appreciate having them around?
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  #44  
Old 02-11-2004, 12:58 AM
Smalma Smalma is offline
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MJC/Juro -
You both are correct of course! All fishers would still have access to fish however there is a sizeable group of the steelhead fishers out in the fishing world who feel that those that preach CnR only are elitist fishers and have attempted to force their select views on them and their fishing. Whether that is the case or not is really irrevalent.

Failure to recognize that difference in views just indicates how deeply the divided the steelhead fishing community has become.

Tight lines
S malma

Last edited by Smalma; 02-11-2004 at 01:51 AM.
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  #45  
Old 02-11-2004, 01:33 AM
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All, I appreciate all the acknowlegements on the WSC work, but I also want everyone to be sure to acknowlege the other groups and individuals who also took time to attend the testimonies and write letters, i.e. FF Steelhead Committee, Trout Unlimited, WFFC etc. It wasn't just the WSC. If the opposition wants to target the WSC, so be it, they can target the other supporters as well.
Personally, I have no time to worry about perceptions about the WSC, just what is reality about it.

Personally, Maybe this "cease fire" will finally get wild steelhead managed as a true game fish and not a food fish.

Please write the Commissioners and the WDFW supporting and thanking them on their decision, allowing them opportunity to take a harder look at steelhead management plans.

Smalma, I always appreciate your input, you make our membership think- that's important and I will always take that as support. I hope you recommend ideas for the WSC to work on in the future that you can fully embrace and support. Thanks!
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