Friday, May 24, 2019

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Monday, May 13, 2019

Wednesday, May 08, 2019

opinion about our river, guest author from washington fly fishing forum, with permission to post.

Yet again, WDFW, the people you and I hire with our state tax and license fee dollars, decided to throw sport fishing under the bus for largely imaginary salmon conservation benefits.

See here:

Looks like no summer fishing season for SRC and summer steelhead NF Stillaguamish. The mainstem, SF Stillaguamish below Granite Falls, and all large tributaries are also closed. The legitimate conservation concern is impacts to wild (and hatchery) Chinook, which remain depressed (but are encountered in marine fisheries in far larger numbers than would ever be handled in the summer flyfishing season). Impacts to Stillaguamish Chinook are already minimal with flyfishing only, single barbless hooks, and no bait requirements. It should also be noted that Stillaguamish Chinook are threatened with extinction independent of any and all fishing in WA waters. The stock would likely already be extinct but for the intervention by the Stillagauamish Tribe maintaining it through their hatchery efforts over the last 30 to 40 years. And with the Oso landslide five years ago, the resulting sediment release has made it impossible for the habitat to produce one recruit (adult Chinook) per spawner, meaning that without the hatchery intervention the run would disappear.

Fishing, and especially the SRC and summer steelhead fishing on the Stillaguamish is not now, nor ever has been, the problem with this Chinook population. We fly fishers don't target Chinook, and the number incidentally hooked while sport fishing pales in comparison to the number poached each year by snaggers, spear guns, and dynamite (all of which I witnessed in years gone by). Stillaguamish Chinook are in a world of hurt, but closing sport fishing makes no difference to the future of this salmon population. The only reasonable recourse to saving Stillaguamish Chinook is the continued effort to culture these fish at the Stillaguamish Tribal hatchery in hopes that the watershed may one day recover to the point that the Chinook can successfully reproduce in the natural habitat.

With flyfishing only regs, weight is not permitted to be added to the line, and in the past hook size limits were put in place as an additional way to discourage targeting Chinook. If the catch of Chinook was in fact limiting the agency's ability to operate the fishery, even more restrictive regulations could be put in place, requiring the use of floating lines, etc., and by doing so, virtually eliminate angler encounters with chinook entirely. Of course, use of gear restrictions to prevent catch of Chinook in the fishery would only be "effective" if the actual goals of management were to simultaneously conserve Chinook as well as preserve the sport fishing seasons for gamefish. As it stands, a fishery with essentially no impacts to Chinook is being indefensibly sacrificed under false pretenses. If you care about this continued assault on recreational gamefish fisheries statewide, contact WDFW leadership in Olympia to let them know how you feel about their failure to advocate for our recreational angling that has no measurable impact to Chinook. These are the people who sell us out: Fish Management Division Leader (360) 902-2784 Assistant Director (Fish Program lead) (360) 902-2799, District 13 fish biologist, (425) 775-1311 (ext. 107)

Times are changing--------WDFW on new path forward for Puget Sound summer steelhead

WDFW on new path forward for Puget Sound summer steelhead
May. 3, 2019
Director’s Office Contact: Jim Scott, 360-902-2736
Public Affairs Contact: Carrie McCausland, 360-890-0996
OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Wild Fish Conservancy (WFC) have reached an agreement that will help meet objectives of the proposed steelhead recovery plan and resolve potential litigation regarding the use of a lower Columbia River (Skamania) steelhead hatchery stock in Puget Sound.
The agreement requires a phased three-year elimination of the current Skamania hatchery program in the Skykomish River beginning in 2020. WDFW had already been working with the tribal co-managers to transition to this 119,000 annual release to local South Fork Skykomish broodstock to address a recovery plan objective to improve the conservation benefits of hatchery programs.
“We know that transitioning to a local stock is better for fish, and that the Skykomish is a tremendously popular steelhead river,” said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind. “People will be able to continue enjoying the experience here much as they have in the past.”
The agreement requires that 2019 be the last year that Skamania hatchery steelhead are released in the Stillaguamish River.
The catch of hatchery-origin summer steelhead in the Stillaguamish River has averaged less than 20 fish over the last four years and collecting sufficient adults to meet program egg-take goals has been difficult.
“We share anglers’ disappointment over the lack of fishing opportunities in the Stillaguamish River,” said Susewind. “We want to work with the tribal co-managers and stakeholders to improve the Stillaguamish River situation, better meet conservation objectives, and explore alternative fishing opportunities.”
As an additional part of the agreement, the Department will begin a five-year initiative to gather data on North Fork Skykomish and South Fork Tolt summer steelhead in coordination with the WFC. The recovery plan has identified the current lack of information on summer steelhead as a significant impediment to measuring restoration and management efforts.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.