Wenatchee River Regulations! - Fly Fishing Forum
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Old 03-26-2004, 04:20 PM
OC OC is offline
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Wenatchee River Regulations!

Having spent a few days over by the Wenatchee River on a job I couldn't help but marvel at all the increadible runs for summer steelhead.

Someday this river will be open again, maybe soon and I was thinking what ashame it would be if it got so crowded that it was not worth fishing. I can see 60 guides on it, 2000 gear guys and a 1000 fly guys all trying to get their shot at it.

I have an idea to toss around and would love to hear what people think about it.

My dream would be that the river when it opens would be a lottery drawing only river. From mid September thru November only 20 fishermen a day would be allowed on the river. Fishermen would mail their name in to F&G it would cost 25 dollars to enter the lottery and that is to pay for the lottery. You could also enter the name of one fishing partner who would be a part of the 20 fishermen a day. When your name is drawn a date would also be drawn from a seperate barrel. That date would include 3 strait days of fishing on the Wenatchee. So lets say Sparky and his girl friend the goddess get picked and their date October 3rd,4th and 5th. They and 17 other fishermen would be on the river those days. When your name is picked you must send in 75 dollars or 25 dollars a day to fish. This money would go to the F&G for research on wild steelhead in the upper Columbia basin. After your name is picked it would be put into a different barrel and if all the dates were not filled it could be re-drawn again.

I think Washington needs a Blue Ribbon Steelhead river and the Wenatchee should be it. It would be so nice to fish summer fish knowing there is a limited amount of people fishing it each day. This would be for selective gear and fly. On such a wonderful river one only would need 3 days of fishing to be completly satisfied. Even though I live paycheck to paycheck I would even be willing to pay up 100 dollars a day to fish that river without the crowds and without 60 guide boats going over every run all day long.
What do people think?
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Old 03-26-2004, 04:54 PM
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Brian Simonseth Brian Simonseth is offline
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This would be great
But one thing
Can we rig it so my name would be pick?:hehe:

I would like to see this on other rivers

Skagit system
Hoh
GR
Lewis

The state could make some money, lets say $50. a system limit number of fisher

Money could help out, more game agents!
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Old 03-26-2004, 04:56 PM
Moonlight Moonlight is offline
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How long has it been...

Since we were able to fish the Wenatchee for Steelhead. I would really like to fish it again the scenario you suggest was not all that different from the way it was the last few times I fished there in the mid to late 80's. We did not have to pay any fees but the crowd was about what you suggest for admission.
Seems like its been closed for quite awhile I honestly can't remember how long, too long!
Well OC you saw what happened when they opened the Methow it will be as you say a lot more crowded on the Wenatchee. By the way the Tarheel has a rel nice "Cabin" on some very good water upriver. Maybe we could make property ownership a prerequisite for fishing each landowner could invite a few dedicated "Volunteers" to join him from time to time
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Old 03-26-2004, 10:44 PM
Nailknot Nailknot is offline
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Selling to corporations is bad enough

I could never support this type of "pay to play" reg. Ok, maybe specific, small sections of one or two rivers. To me, that path is the wrong one, and would only enforce the apathy that many have towards river stewardship already. I could envision a lottery for floats, no cost, to keep pressure down. I believe Montana is discussing just this type of approach to mitigate pressure from guides, private boats, etc. I would hate to see the day, when a father couldn't take his kid out fishing without entering the lottery and paying up. Would be a scary precedent for public waters IMHO.
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Old 03-27-2004, 12:11 AM
flytyer flytyer is offline
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The Wenatchee was a favorite of mine during the fall that has treated me very well when it was opened. I was introduced to it by my good friend Bob Arnold who was kind enough to show me some of his favorite runs. I have sorely missed it since it was closed 6 years ago, and the year before that it was closed at the end of September.

OC,

I only ever saw 1 guide (he was on foot with his clients) and only saw 1 smaller raft (about 11 ft) on it. It is not a boat access friendly river since it is a long way between the very few places you could launch a boat and the best water is best fished through wading.

I never saw a lot of fisherman either, maybe I'd run into 6 or 7 other fisherman on a weekend day's fishing (I see more than that on the Skagit or Sauk on a weekend). Remember it is 3 hours from Seattle (if the traffic on Hwy 2 is not bad) and this tends to keep the number of fisherfolk down. Also, this is prime time for the Ronde, which also tends to keep the numbers down. Then again, some of the best fishing happens after the air temps on the eastern side drop into and below the 30's at night and only warm up into the low 50's at most during the day, which also tends to keep the numbers of fisherman down.

There is good bank access if you take the time to learn where you can get on the river. These access points are not all that obvious for the most part either.

I've not seen many folks on the Methow either and my wife and I have fished many a weekend on the Methow the last two years without running into another fisherman. This is another one of those rivers were the majority of the bank access requires one to search it out.
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Old 03-28-2004, 08:13 PM
old man old man is offline
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Fishing that river was a good thing when it was open. Used to catch 20" fish or bigger Native rainbows. Also on a few of the smaller feeder streams it was the same. Say Nason Creek. But I'm also not into a lottery to fish that river. I also wish it was open as it would probably keep some of the crowds down on the Yakima.

Like flytyer says I never ran into more than a couple of people when ever I fished it. But on another note,if it was closed to protect the native fish. Why are they still planting it with several thousands of fish about 175,000 steelhead smolts a year in the system. To me it doesn't make any sense as they eat the same food(bugs) as the natives do. So where's the common sense at on this.

Jim
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Old 04-22-2004, 01:45 PM
New Spey New Spey is offline
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How about doing what they did on the North Umpqua a few years ago? They made it dry line, un-weighted fly only. The one year they did this, the crowds
virtually ddissapeared It takes away the people, who only want to catch lots of fish. The reason they didn't keep it on the North Umpqua, is it hurt the area economically when those past crowds were no longer frequenting the local businesses. They compromised and now allow sinking lines. But if the Wenatchee is now closed, that won't be a problem, because the economy can only be helped by opening it.
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Old 04-22-2004, 01:57 PM
Todd Ripley Todd Ripley is offline
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Gentlemen,

If they do ever open the Wenatchee to steelhead fishing again and regulate it any more than selective gear rules, be ready for the biggest firestorm in the history of steelhead fishing in Washington.

It would rival the current WSR controversy.

There are lots and lots of locals up there who would love to fish for all the hatchery fish that have been returning, and many of them do not flyfish, much less dry lines only.

I doubt WDFW would even consider anything other than season lengths and selective gear rules if they were to reopen the Wenatchee. I think that the City of Forks' specious argument about urban elitists wanting to use the OP as their own personal playground, while it doesn't apply there, would definitely apply on the Wenatchee if this were pushed.

This would be, after all, a fishery to catch hatchery fish...there's no conservation issue for those. Selective fishery regulations would be more than sufficient, combined with season length/times, to protect the listed wild ones.

Fish on...

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Old 04-22-2004, 02:17 PM
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New Spey,

The Wenatchee was closed to all fishing because NOAA told the WDFW that either they close the Wenatchee to prevent the killing of native Upper Columbia River Steelhead because these steelhead were determined by NOAA to be "threatened". If WA State did not close the Wenatchee and its tributaries, Entiat, Methow and its tributaries, and Okanagon and its tributaries to fishing, NOAA was going to take over the management of all the Upper Columbia tributaries upstream of the Snake River.

NOAA allowed WA State to ask them for permission to have a wild steelhead release season on the Methow and Okanagon if they had "surplus" hatchery steelhead returning. However, they did not allow the state to do the same for the Wenatchee steelhead. That is also why WDFW quit clipping the adipose fin on the Wenatchee hatchery fish. Since there was not going to be any fishing on the Wenatchee, there was no need to fin clip or mark the hatchery fish.

The reason the hatchery fish are being fin clipped this year is there are indications that NOAA will allow for wild steelhead release with selective gear rules (single barbless hook, artificial only) in either 2005 or 2006. And the selective gear rules with wild steelhead release was the rule prior to NOAA closing the river for fishing. I thing it would be a very bad decision if WDFW did anything other than to reopen the Wenatchee (if they are allowed to by NOAA) for fishing than to have it WSR, selective gear rules.
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Old 04-22-2004, 03:50 PM
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Sheesh Brian, not the Hoh

What are you trying to do, give me a heart attack??? I've been fishing that river before I was fishing steelhead. My Dad has me fishing that river for cutthroat back in the very early 70's. I almost consider it my home river, since I normally fish the majority of the time (outside the Chehalis system). If they put up those regs, you all would instantly know the first "Steelhead Permit Pirate". I'd have my assault gear on. I'd hide in the bushes and wait at the nearest put ins/take outs. I'd have to hijack their permits so I could make my scheduled fishing trips. Especially since I have taken at least 2 full weeks of my vacation each year just to fish the Hoh. I'd be in serious withdrawals (not including the other 40+ fishing days on top of that I fish there).

Man, you're killing me. But when you get your permit, let me know which days you go.
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Old 04-22-2004, 07:15 PM
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Brian Simonseth Brian Simonseth is offline
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This is a copy of what I saw in Oly 8 months ago.
But there were alot of them.:eyecrazy:
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Old 04-23-2004, 10:55 AM
Dr. Swing Dr. Swing is offline
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If paying out the nose and excluding anglers from fishing a river is the only way to maintain some sort of quality angling for steelhead in the United States, I will gladly put down my two handers and fish for something else. There are plenty of fish out there in which the pursuit of them does not require either standing shoulder to shoulder with anglers, or paying out the ying yang to fish public water. The quality of experience steelheading is wonderful on an uncrowded stream, but not so enjoyable in a mob. I would rather fish for Carp in uncrowded waters than to fork over the $$$ or be in a crowd.

I value solitude much more than I value catching fish, and would happily give up numbers of fish for a chance to fish at my own pace. But I certainly am not going to pay for exclusive fishing rights. For the rest of you, I have no issues if you don't agree. What we each take and value from a day of angling is quite different, and that is fine by me.
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Old 04-23-2004, 11:44 AM
New Spey New Spey is offline
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You guys would know best, what would work up there. I just threw that out as a way to allow fishing with out taxing the resource. I also didn't realize that it was mostly a hatcherey operation. So I guess, never mind.
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Old 04-23-2004, 12:56 PM
OC OC is offline
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I threw out this idea not so much as a quality fishing experience but as a way to put less pressure on just one river in this state for the sake of it's few remaining wild steelhead. It would give people the chance to fish this wonderful river again instead of letting it sit empty with the simple pleasures of being on that river. This is not an eliest concept where the highest bidder or those with wealth fish a beat. It is a lottery system that could protect a river in need of protection and weather you are rich or poor you can come up with a reasonable amount of money to have a few days on that one river if you are lucky and really want to fish it. And the money could go back into the river.
This would make perfect opportunity to start the long slow process of cutting back on hatchery fish in one river to see what happens when hatchery fish are taken out of the equation. I know Mr Bolt.

We Americans must stop this high horse additude that "we have a right because". We need to look at what freedom really means in this day and age after we have done as we pleased because we have had the right do do so. In every aspect of saving fish, the environment we are going to have to put limitations on how we are apart of the equation. It is so easy to say I'll fish somewhere else first than fish arm to arm with others. That there is plenty of places to fish with solitude. You are wrong to believe so or those places would not be getting harder to find each year. One foot print leads to many others.

I offered this idea good or bad to think outside the conventional box. I felt it would be a sane way for some lucky people to participate with a river that needs some love but not to be loved to death.

Ya got to think with every step you take because everything is just getting way too fragile.
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Old 04-23-2004, 01:54 PM
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OC,

I welcome the out of the box attempt. What you are proposing is really no different then what some rivers in BC have been for some time. Only there the restriction is placed on non-resident anglers. It appears that this is only going to become more restrictive and for that I am sad. If I was a BC resident, I might feel differently though.

As it applies to the Wenatchee, I would hate to see any regulations that discriminated against angling method (fly vs. gear) or against resident vs. non-resident. Part of my enjoyment of fishing has been to fish with friends from Idaho, Oregon, Montana and BC. I would support a number of measures though if they were designed with the fish in mind.

1) A lottery to limit the combined angler days on specific rivers.
2) Increased resident fees with the return going to support habitat restoration, enforecement, etc.
3) Increased non-resident fees with the same focus as #2 above. Let's face it, Washington is a cheap date. If, and this is a big if, we can make our fisheries again world class, why not charge a fair market price for the chance to partake? (sorry OC, that is the GOP in me)
4)Increased fees and minimum qualifications for guides in the state. This is not meant to trash guides but it is very easy to become one and fairly cheap as well. I believe this leads to a plethora of guides out there, some of which have no qualifications for the role. (discalimer - this is just an opinion and may not be based in fact. Curious what some of the guides think.) Back to the fiscal side, if non-guided anglers are going to be asked to pony up the costs of fisheries enhancement, it is only fair that the guides pay their represenative share.

My 7.5 cents on the subject.
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