Friday, December 27, 2019

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

River Closes Tonight

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
December 17, 2019
Stillaguamish and North Fork Stillaguamish rivers closing to the retention of hatchery steelhead
Action: Closes the mainstem Stillaguamish and the North Fork Stillaguamish rivers to the retention of hatchery steelhead.
Effective date: Dec. 19, 2019 until further notice.
Species affected: Hatchery steelhead
  • Stillaguamish River, from the mouth upstream to the confluence of the North Fork Stillaguamish and South Fork Stillaguamish rivers.
  • North Fork Stillaguamish River, from the mouth upstream to Swede Heaven Bridge.
Reason for action: The Whitehorse Ponds hatchery does not have adequate early winter steelhead broodstock on hand to meet egg-take goals.
Additional information: Fishing will reopen if egg-take goals are met. Retention of wild steelhead is unlawful statewide.
Information contact: Team Mill Creek, 425-775-1311.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

more on the closure of the Stillaguamish

Anyone wanting to attend the meeting and at a loss for what to say, take note that the printed fishing regulations go through June 30, 2020. There is no Stilly opening for the period Saturday before Memorial Day through June 30. WDFW is already set up to continue the 3 1/2 month summer closure of the Stilly for the next 100 years and telling you it's necessary for Chinook conservation if you're willing to believe it - even though it isn't. As WW says, you get the fishing you fight for. I'm planning to complain about the foregone Stilly closure even before the 2020 NOF results are out.

1. You say on the Department website that you value transparency. However, you meet in secret to make decisions that negatively affect recreational fishing by reducing opportunity. I want the Department to walk its talk and use CCTV to make those closed door meetings as transparent as you claim to value.

2. If you haven't already, immediately begin the process of developing a Department-specific alternative to joining the treaty tribes' BIA consultation with NMFS for ESA approval. Co-management only works when power is equally shared. The tribes have all the power under the current situation. Therefore, co-management is broken and a misnomer. The likely alternative is an ESA Section 10 Conservation Plan.

3. When constituents ask you for data, just share it with them in timely fashion. You work for us. Don't create the unnecessary expense of forcing the use of Public Disclosure Requests to see information that we already legally own. Don't force some of us to sue you, causing us to spend our money to fund both sides of lawsuits. This is counter-productive and antithetical to the concept of public service.

4. Keep the Skagit steelhead season open whether you secure supplemental budget funding or not. The Skagit fishery is more important than a multitude of other actions the Department funds that return little or no conservation or recreation, which should be your highest priorities.

5. Don't close the Stillaguamish River again for 3 1/2 months in 2020. (This is already in the regs booklet that goes through July 2020.) We both know that the Chinook conservation claim was a ruse, and that the real reason is because the tribes forced you. Stop using conservation as a reason for closing sport fishing when it isn't. You should know by now that we check up on these things. Push back. The tribes don't fund the Department, but sport fishers do, and we expect you to work for us and the fishery resource. We know that you know that it is possible to have a Stilly season for summer steelhead and sea run cutthroat with no significant adverse impact to Chinook, so do it.

That's it for now. What do we want that WDFW can deliver? And what's a catchy name or title for this OS v. 2.0?

message from a reader,

Your message is critical to inform WDFW Director Susewind and the Commissioners that their current path is unacceptable to recreational anglers.  Stillaguamish Chinook is not threatened by recreational fishing; they are threatened because the habitat in the basin is too degraded for the Chinook to sustain themselves by natural production.  And the Department knows it.  WDFW closed the Stilly to sport fishing for 3 1/2 months in 2019 and currently proposes it for 2020, at least through June 30.  The reason for the closure is not conservation.  It is because the Tribes insisted that any sport fishing would pose too much harm to the Chinook.  And because the Tribes have all the power at North of Falcon, WDFW must cave to every tribal demand in order to piggy-back on the tribal/BIA Section 7 ESA permit that NMFS reviews and approves. 

Co-management works only when both parties share equal power in negotiations.  The present permitting system removes balance, giving tribes all the power in the process.  I hope you will consider revising your message to demand that WDFW pursue getting its own ESA permit from NMFS to restore balance to co-manager negotiations.  If they don't, we can expect the Stillaguamish River to continue this closure for the next 100 years, or until Stilly Chinook go extinct because they will not recover within our lifetimes.

I plan to attend the WDFW Commission meeting in Bellingham on Dec. 13 & 14 to testify on this and related sportfishing matters.  I hope you and others interested in sportfishing the Stilly will also.


Steve Fransen

Saturday, December 07, 2019




the only difference is one is before and after, there goes the neighborhood, remember our great grandparents came here to tame the west and find a future.

your input is needed write to the WDFW NOW!!!!

To:  WDFW & North Falcon Process  
Date:  Dec. 1, 2019                                                                                                        
Subj:  Reopen North Fork Stillaguamish River - Summer Fly Fishing  Season 2020-2021

We, the license-buying sports fishing community of anglers on the North Fork Stillaguamish River (Region #4) who partake in "game fishing" herewith, (i.e.  summmer-run steelhead, native rainbow trout, sea-run cutthroat trout, and dolly varden char) want the stream reopened to its current summer and fall regulations:  Fly Fishing Only, Single Barbless Hook, Catch & Release except two hatchery steelhead retention.  Specifically, we feel that the river should at least be open from Memorial Day in May through the month of June to July 15th.  As well as the current fall season of Sept. 15 - Nov. 30th.  Additionally, we feel since the river has recently been closed in the month of June 2019 that there is now NO sports fishing catch & release opportunity for the famed Deer Creek native summer-run steelhead, which primarily run in the river during May and June during that time frame.
Justification:  According to the WDFW & North of Falcon the reasoning was due to a predicted three (3) hooking mortality rate on Chinook salmon.  Aside but related: there has not been a sports retention for any salmon in the North Fork for well over 7 decades.  Further, we feel since Chinook salmon as well as coho are not targeted by game fish fly fishers in the North Fork, and since that during the month of June to mid July there are very few if any Chinooks and coho in the North Fork these days, the predicted mortality rate is insignificant and does not warrant or justify closure of the sports game fly fishing catch & release season therein.

Ken James McLeod, past pres. Steelhead Trout Club (5 terms), member Snohomish Sportsmen's Club, member Deer Creek Fly Anglers, property owners on North Fork Stillaguamish River since 1928