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2587 Views 25 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Fred Evans
The Deer Creek natives are starting to show.
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Yeah, you'd better SHHHHH!!

I fished up there Sunday evening and did not touch a fish nor did I see any roll.

I usually start seeing them in good numbers the last week of June with the 4th of July being the BIG push. My first ever Deer Creek fish came on a June day 3 years ago.
Please do not ever stop mentioning Deer Creek natives, or any creek natives!

I've prowled in the shadows of cedars on the banks of the Stilliguamish many times and hobbled over the sun-washed moraine stones that the river slices through often during my tenure in the PNW. I can relate to the places and the smells and scenes... but even if I could not, just think about it... in 2001, it is completely and utterly redeeming to hear talk of a population of native summer steelhead that has been wiggling from the gravel of a certain creek for millenia, and still does today.

Along the way from then to now were names like Haig-Brown, Johnson, McLeod, Wahl, Drain, Knudsen, Bradner, Zane Grey, all the way up to our freind Mike Kinney today, who have probably uttered the same words you did...

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Please don't. :) I dont want to come across is selfish but I have never seen so many anglers on the Stilly for late June and I have been fishing it since I was about what is that, 12 years?? :D

Anyways it would benefit us ALL to keep this all very very qiuet. ;)
I won’t tell a soul. This is not a secret. The Deer Creek steelhead run is one of the most famous in this part of Washington. Funny you say that the river is crowded. I fished a well known run last night and seen one other fisherman early. Then I had this run all to myself for the evening. Well, one eagle was keeping an eye on me. I caught two beautiful Deer Creek natives. I watch as the fish moved into the run. After spotting the first roll I knew it was a matter of time. Five minutes later the first fish hit early in the swing. I landed it and moved up in the run. A few casts later the second fish took. That was it. I fished for another 45 minutes and got nothing. A great evening on a legendary river, fishing for legendary fish. A night I will remember for a long time.

Let the wild ones go…………………………………
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Glad to hear you got some fish. :) I know that the Deer Creek steelhead are a famous run but its a amazing how few people realize the strength of this run and how on a given July evening the river is stuffed with fish and it takes little effort to hook a couple fish. ;)
Ahhhhh but aren't we forgetting boyz...

That the Deer Creek Run use to be the strongest, what was it 5,000 strong before the devastating mud slide due to careless loggers.

The WDFW claims that counts are at 2,000????

But alas Mike Kinney who lives and breathes the Stilly says it's at 500???

Now who's right?
Are they still endangered and should we be targeting endangered fish?

What if you accidentally killed one?

Wouldn't you feel bad????
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They know now ;)
Hey Sinktip, if you fish the mouth of Deer Creek you can meet some really great fly fishermen.

Don't ya know.
Way to go Kerry, I wish I could have been there with you
Speaking of the Stilly we need to plan out trip. I am going to float it for the first time this year probally next week-the Boss in Sitka so my days off are very limited right now-and see what the river is looking like and see how the good holding water has changed, if at all.

How is the middle of July for ya, like the second week?

...and maybe this one can be a little more peaceful. ;)
Angie (06-27-2001 01:04 p.m.):
Ahhhhh but aren't we forgetting boyz...

That the Deer Creek Run use to be the strongest, what was it 5,000 strong before the devastating mud slide due to careless loggers.

The WDFW claims that counts are at 2,000????

But alas Mike Kinney who lives and breathes the Stilly says it's at 500???

Now who's right?
Are they still endangered and should we be targeting endangered fish?

What if you accidentally killed one?

Wouldn't you feel bad????
The historical run size of the Deer Creek steelhead is estimated at 2,000 returning adults a summer (DeShazo 74, Kreamer 99). In fact the maximum sustainable harvest for the Deer Creek native summer runs is believed to be at about 910 (Kreamer 99). The MSH was developed by the infamous Bob Gibbons and published with other authors in 1985 in the publication "Methodology for determaining MSH steelhead spawning escapements." In short this means that atleast 910 adults are required to return to sustain the run and every fish over that 910 may be harvested. (I DO NOT AGREE WITH GIBBONS) The current level of the run is estimated between 500-1000 adults although some sampling shows that the population may be in fact higher (Kreamer 99).

I have nothing against Mike Kinney, in fact, I admire his skills and flyfisherman and especially as a tier. BUT, Mike does not fly over Deer Creek in the summer and Mike does not count adults and he also does not have the capabilities to estimate the size of the run as accurate as science can.

So will I be fishing for Deer Creek steelhead?? You betcha!! But I will also fight the fish as fast as I can, never stepping below a #7 and if I believe the water becomes too warm, I start seeing morts, or if the emergency closure is in place this year I will stop fishing the Stilly. (Not because I park myself at Deer Creek but because if fish are dying due to being caught at the mouth of Deer Creek, they may also suffer at the many great holes below.

And I would feel bad if I killed one but wouldnt you feel bad if you found out a Skagit-Sauk native you caught this yeaer could not make it??...especially in a year where the river did not reach its escapement goal!?!!?

DeShazo, J. J. 1974. Deer Creek study. Washington Department of Game. Olympia WA. 25 p.

Gibbons, R. G., P. K. Hahn, and T. H. Johnson. 1985. Methodology for determining MSH
steelhead spawning escapement requirements. Washington Department of Game, Olympia, WA. 39 p.

Kreamer, C. R. Management Brief: 1999 Update of on the Status of the Deer Creek Steelhead. Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife, Olympia, Wa. pp 1-7
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I'd like to chime in an albeit unscientific note to the great info that has been provided here by Ryan and others:

Who cares more for the Deer Creek native than the conscientious angler? Not the environmentalist, not the timber executive, not the government, not the native american (ironically). NO ONE.

We are satisfied with the knowledge that they exist and hopefully thrive, and yes we do celebrate by proving this to ourselves once in a while with a fly.

It's through this interaction that we develop such a deep bond - the strongest bond to the fish of any in the human race.

I only have one thing to say about the studies quoted. The WDFW has an abysmal record when it comes to managing fish. What ever studies they have been involved with I am very suspect of. As far as Kreamer goes. Kreamer would say anything and do anything to save his own ass. He will twist numbers to make himself look good. Period. Has anyone wondered why the Skagit was re-opened below the bridge in Mt. Vernon earlier than the rest of the river this year? It was because Kreamer likes to fish cutts in that part of the river during late spring. For no other reason. It had nothing to do with science. The WDFW has no creditability with me.
Kerry's Right

As for any scientific studies done on any of our species of salmon and steelhead, I say chuck them out the window.

I listen to the old timers, not only did Mike Kinney talk about the old days and the great numbers, but so did Harry Lemire, Stacey Lemerieux, and the other esteem members of the Skagit Steelhead Club. You know the stretch of river above I-5? Use to be a boulder garden and incrediable fishing... what is it now?

After working in the Environmental Industry for 3 years and working on salmon restoration projects with hydrogeologists, fishery biologists, etc...

I have found that these researchers don't know JACK -HIT about anything.

The only people that really know the rivers are the fishermen that fish their home rivers weekend after weekend and month after month and year after year...

The closing of the Sauk & Skagit this year for C&R season was a joke. If they were to be fair to all the steelhead, what about the early run of monsters that come in an spawn. They don't wait till March & April.

Take all them journals and burn them, because anyone knows that all that research is DOPED up to please the commercials and cover their own asses for their inept management of our river systems.

Any questions?

Isn't it funny to see that some people believe everything they read, I guess with age and experience (experience as in get out their and fish) you can discern what's real and what's not.
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I think there is value in both anecdotal and scientific data. In order to best serve the resource, it would make sense to consider all sources. Sometimes one would be right, other times not. There always seems to be a rift. IMHO the current basis of judgement leading to closures could use a wider breadth of metrics to factor in. I think we're doing things right when the consensus between interests agree as opposed to what we typically experience nowadays.

Hi Juro and all,

I've been a lurking admirer of this board for almost a year. I never registered because I guess I was unsure of what I could contribute considering that most anglers on this board are more experienced than I am. This board has always been pretty classy and the belligerent ignorance prevalent on most other NW angling boards hasn't shown up here. That streak ended with the above post by Angie.

Regardless of what you think about WDFW management, lumping every field biologist into the "don't know jack ---t" category is silly and not well thought through. Most biologists I know are dedicated and sharp. There is, however, an apparently huge disconnect between the field data and the final product that WDFW churns out. I don't know what filters the data go through before WDFW reaches conclusions. Probably a combination of political pressures and entrenched thinking by upper-level managers bring about some pretty questionable management schemes and, in some cases, data reports.

Whatever. Fishing for ten or thirty hours a week trains a person to be an expert in stream ecology about as well as watching football on weekends and playing in an occasional pick-up game prepares someone to coach the Seahawks.

I am sure that this board will continue to be positive and encouraging despite an occasional bump in the road. Juro is to be commended for fostering this attitude by example.

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I am always skeptical of the data that the WDFW of wildlife releases...

I was just using it to prove that the run was never 5,000 and then in fact the run is relatively stable. Maybe not healthy but stable.
I would agree that WDFW are not to be trusted. Just look at the winter/spring fishery they have messed up for years.
One question though. Have any of you seen any noticable changes in the stream bed the last few years? Or is it just me? I had thought that all the holes would not clean out in my life time. Any thoughts on the lower Stilly coming back from devastation? thanks.
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