Wednesday, October 31, 2012

2012-10-31 Lets make ANY Wild Trout; Catch and Release on the Stillaguamish River System

What’s in a Name? The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife defines trout as follows: “…the term ‘trout’ includes rainbow trout, steelhead, brook, brown, cutthroat, tiger, golden, lake trout, and Kokanee, as well as landlocked Chinook, Coho, Atlantic salmon, and grayling.” * The minimum size limit for trout on the Stillaguamish river system is 14 inches. What are these 14 inch and larger trout that inhabit the Stillaguamish and its tributaries? A “rainbow trout” 14 inches or larger in the Stilly system is either a jack steelhead or a steelhead that did not go down to the saltwater (a resident rainbow trout). Both have the same genetics as protected wild steelhead. It has been demonstrated in both the scientific and legal opinions that jack steelhead and rainbow trout are an important component of the potential gene pool of wild stocks. This pool includes both summer and winter run steelhead on the Stillaguamish. “Cutthroat” refers to a coastal cutthroat in the Stilly drainage. This wild anadromous trout is currently protected in all marine environments. The coastal cutthroat 14” or larger are on a spawning run when in the Stilly drainage in late fall. Though not defined as a trout in the WDFW rules pamphlet, the bull trout 14” or larger is often regarded as a trout by the fishermen. This fish is widely protected elsewhere. With few exceptions, these “trout” may be harvested throughout the Stillaguamish river drainage. It is inconsistent regulation and detrimental to the health of our wild anadromous fish stocks to kill them within their natal river. The daily limit of 2 trout per fisherman has a significant impact on wild fish numbers. Currently several tributaries are limited to catch and release from the first Saturday in June until October 31st. After November 30th these wild fish may be harvested. Canyon Creek is the exception and is closed throughout the open season. It is doubtful that WDFW has current data to support these regulations. Limited budgets preclude the annual complete evaluation of the Stillaguamish watershed. Seasonal high water events, slides, and resource management can and do alter the capacity of the river system to support wild stocks of fish. Change can happen quickly and result in outdated regulations. The loss is not noticed until after is has occurred. We have few selective “Blue Ribbon” waters west of the Cascade mountains. Fishermen travel elsewhere to enjoy their sport and spend their monies. Taking home a limit is not the goal of these active fishermen. They seek wild fish in their natural environment. Maximizing license revenue does not represent wise resource management. It has been demonstrated elsewhere that protected waters generate significant monies for local communities. Money talks. What does it take for WDFW to alter their policy regarding wild fish stocks in the Stillaguamish watershed? It would be difficult to ignore the voice of concerned fishermen if they publicly protested WDFW regulations. Writing letters to the media, sending letters to politicians, and supporting local clubs will help. Public pressure to change WDFW regulations will make a difference. Let’s recognize the “trout” in the Stillaguamish for what they are: they are wild fish that need our protection. WDFW will find it difficult to defend inconsistent regulations for the Stillaguamish drainage when fishermen publicly demand a change. We are asking for the entire Stillaguamish river system to be a catch and release fishery for all wild fish stocks. • WDFW Sport Fishing Rules Effective May 1, 2012 to April 30, 2013 Author; Paul Wiltberger Supported By: N.F. Stillaguamish Steelhead Society Evergreen Fly Fishing Club; Conservation Committee

Monday, October 29, 2012

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Gordon this image is for you, G

Monday, October 22, 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Friday, October 19, 2012

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Monday, October 15, 2012


no more wading to our secret spots, 5wt. back in the rod rack, 7wt's for some clearer water.

Friday, October 12, 2012


Q; Does the river know and is it preparing for this rain coming in??? rain???????

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Friday, October 05, 2012

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Monday, October 01, 2012