NFR Emergency closure on the Nooksack!!!

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Nathan Weston, Jan 8, 2014.

  1. Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    Posts: 3,861
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,264 / 1
    Chris,
    Thanks for the reply.
    That was part of my thoughts behind planting fry versus smolts. Perhaps planting them as fry may help even out the playing field.
    What is worse for wild steelhead, planting 30K smolts or 30K fry? Neither are great but I'd think the fry would has less effect on wild fish.
    Make it so the hatchery fry either compete or perish without giving them the added benefit of being fed or released as a larger smolt.

    I know in many stillwaters I fish the fry plants seem to produce a much better quality fish then the catchables. Growing in a more natural enviroment can't hurt. Perhaps it could work for steelhead as well.

    With the terrible ROI's being stated in this thread, it might be worth a try from a cost savings standpoint.

    Just my thoughts. Perhaps Smalma or others could chime in on this as I'm certainly no biologist.
    SF
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  2. hookedonthefly Active Member

    Posts: 570
    Ratings: +121 / 0
    The cost per hatchery harvested steelhead took into account a $1.00 per smolt cost x the number of smolts released = total dollar smolt amount. Divide total dollar smolt plant costs by the number of harvested hatchery steelhead and there you have it.

    So, in the worst year on the Nooksack 2009, we had 146,599 smolts or $146,599. There were 59 hatchery fish harvested. $146,599 divided by 59 equals $2,484.73 per harvested hatchery steelhead in 2009 on the Nooksack river.

    Bill based the $1.00 smolt cost on numbers from the State of Oregon Columbia river hatchery programs as well as estimated smolt costs for the Great Lakes programs. There is not such information available for Washington hatcheries apparently; or, they just don't want us to know.

    Included in this smolt cost number is feed cost, annual hatchery operating and personnel and annual maintenance and repair. It does not appear that initial construction or major hatchery upgrade expenses were included in the Oregon or Great Lakes hatchery numbers. So, this may be a low estimate of what a smolt actually costs in this analysis.

    Stunning picture isn't it.
    Ed
  3. FinLuver Active Member

    Posts: 444
    Mid-Willamette Valley
    Ratings: +98 / 0
    "The cost per hatchery harvested steelhead took into account a $1.00 per smolt cost x the number of smolts released = total dollar smolt amount. Divide total dollar smolt plant costs by the number of harvested hatchery steelhead and there you have it.

    So, in the worst year on the Nooksack 2009, we had 146,599 smolts or $146,599. There were 59 hatchery fish harvested. $146,599 divided by 59 equals $2,484.73 per harvested hatchery steelhead in 2009 on the Nooksack river."

    Very CREATIVE indeed...

    I'm sure if I wanted to create "gloom n doom", I'd use the same "logic" that someone took the time to dream up with this math equation.

    How sad!!!

    BTW...did it take into consideration, the number of tags purchased, the number of people fished the river, the number of hours fished, and the number of tags returned to the fish & game agency to come up with "rate of return"???

    How many total fish returned and how many escaped the fisherman's onslaught???
  4. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,839
    Marysville, Washington
    Ratings: +717 / 0
    Stonefish -
    Folks have experiment with steelhead fry releases to enhance steelhead populations for years. In fact the earliest steelhead hatchery efforts (early 1900s) would put a weir across a tributary stream, collect adults, spawn them, and release the resulting fry back into the stream (and elsewhere). Typically such programs would last 6 to 8 years before they ran out of returning adults and needed to move some other stream that still had returning wild adults - the return from those releases was essentially zero. It was not until the old Department of Game figured out that they needed to rear young steelhead to smolt size (about 1950) did the hatchery programs begin producing significant returns. Remember form the early 1950s to the late 1980s the release of hatchery smolts (of acceptable size) were pretty successful in getting adult steelhead back to rivers. In 1983/84 the estimate of the hatchery return to the Snohomish system was over 26,000 adults (it is that kind of success that probably still drives some of the desire to continue to release hatchery fish with the hope marine survival conditions would improve).

    Studies 30 and 40 years ago looked at the fate of steelhead fry released in streams (sorry don't have a citation). The basic finding was that only those fry that were able to find rearing "niches" in the first 100 meters or so were able to establish territories the rest simply disappeared. To successfully introduce fry one would have literally release a handful of fry every 100 meters or so (still expecting most to simply disappear immediately); those few that found rear areas still would have to survival the same sort of mortality that the wild fish (remember just a fraction of 1% of the eggs a female puts in the gravel will survive to return as an adult.

    More to the point the release of hatchery fry in the wild would have significant hatchery/wild impacts. Frist question would be where to get the eggs (if hatchery brood stock is used and the fry scattered through out the system there would be no collection point. Using wild fish for brood stock would simply be a mining exercise of the wild population that would likely produce fewer returning adults than if the wild brood stock was left to do their own thing. Further any fry that were so lucky to find a rearing niche would become direct competitors to the wild for the two years it would take for them to become smolts.

    In short replacing the hatchery steelhead with a fry program would like produce fewer returning adults than the current program (is a negative return possible LOL) with a dramatic increase in hatchery/wild interactions/impacts.

    Curt
  5. NateTreat Banned or Parked

    Posts: 60
    Lynnwood, Washington
    Ratings: +33 / 0
    My point is that they need to put a million in to make good numbers, or shut the thing down. That's unrealistic, so they need to shut it down and make it catch and release after the coho are done.
  6. hookedonthefly Active Member

    Posts: 570
    Ratings: +121 / 0
    Yep...gloom n doom indeed. Out of those 146,599 smolt released. There were 59 fish harvested and another 109 that actually made it back to the hatchery. Pretty piss poor performance. The Kendall creek winter steelhead hatchery program is absolutely pathetic.

    Total return = 168 Kendall creek hatchery steelhead...period.
  7. Olive bugger Active Member

    Posts: 2,498
    Woodinville, WA
    Ratings: +438 / 0
    Never hoppen, grasshopper. That would require an educated assessment of the problem and rule out the politics and making some hard decision.
  8. Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

    Posts: 1,796
    Bellingham Wa.
    Ratings: +320 / 1
    Last count there were 32 steelhead @ the hatchery, out of 100,000+ released.
  9. golfman44 Coho Queen

    Posts: 1,773
    Kirkland
    Ratings: +1,087 / 0
    That wouldn't change anything. The rivers can't even support the current planting levels. Adding more would do nothing. Until the hatcheries stop selling the vast majority of carcassees to businesses who turn them into food for cats/humans, the overwhelming majority of plants will continue to die due to being placed in a river system that is incapable of supporting them. They need to start throwing all carcasses back into the river system
    constructeur likes this.
  10. kjsteelhead Member

    Posts: 157
    Bellingham, Washington
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    So do the Kendall Creek hatchery steelhead stray enough as to warrant closing down the South Fork in case North Fork Fish head up, say "Whoops!" then head back down and then up the North Fork to the hatchery?
  11. Chris DeLeone Active Member

    Posts: 526
    Monroe, WA
    Ratings: +90 / 0
    Ed -
    "Yep...gloom n doom indeed. Out of those 146,599 smolt released. There were 59 fish harvested and another 109 that actually made it back to the hatchery. Pretty piss poor performance. The Kendall creek winter steelhead hatchery program is absolutely pathetic.

    Total return = 168 Kendall creek hatchery steelhead...period.

    Ok so just for the record I am not a supporter of the hatchery on the Skagit - they got 900 fish back last year and it looks even more bleak on the Nooksack - not cost effective one bit - UNDERSTOOD.
    But this mechanism and cost per hatchery harvest did not take into account many other items, that some in government would use to justify this program - the angler had to buy a license (money to the state), he had to purchase a rod, waders, boots, lures, gas to get to the river. He maybe bought a Ding-Don at a gas station with a cup of coffee. We understand that Forks gets about a 1million dollar (That is what I heard) injection into their economy each Steelhead season. So while I would like to see these hatcheries closed there are other aspects of the hatchery/harvest ROI that were not taken into account - Does that justify them, no - but we need to prove first that the hatchery fish take a toll on the long term recovery of the wild fish (should be easy). Second (much harder) that a CnR wild fishery will bring in the revenue that is perceived this hatchery program does - but on a regional economy.
    FinLuver likes this.
  12. Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    Posts: 3,861
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,264 / 1
    Curt,
    Thanks for the reply and good info as always.
    SF
  13. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 4,138
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +791 / 1
    Welcome to our world (south sound)...see everyone at the Cowlitz.
  14. Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

    Posts: 1,796
    Bellingham Wa.
    Ratings: +320 / 1
    Chris D, a majority of the guys fishing the Nookie are not fishing for hatchery fish, and would be there if there were 0 hatchery fish in the system. I would bet it's the same for the Skagit. There is a ton of research that shows the negative effects of hatchery fish on wild fish. Like I said in another post, if all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
  15. Chris DeLeone Active Member

    Posts: 526
    Monroe, WA
    Ratings: +90 / 0
    I understand that Chris - I am not a supporter of the hatchery program (as I stated) on the Skagit or the Nooksack and fully understand the effects on especially the early returning wild fish and the entire run - but I think the state looks at the harvest/cost returns in a little different way then we or BM would. WDFW justification of its hatchery programs are hard to stop.
  16. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,839
    Marysville, Washington
    Ratings: +717 / 0
    Chris-
    Even though you may not be targeting hatchery steelhead the reality in this era of ESA listed fish without them the Middle Fork would close to all fishing the end of October, the North Fork the end of November, and the South Fork and main stem the end of December.

    I guess it is up to each of us to determine whether those hatchery fish are worth not only some fish for the table as well as extra time on the water.

    Curt
  17. Jim Darden Active Member

    Posts: 907
    Bellingham, Wa.
    Ratings: +222 / 0
    The solution is simple, close the hatcheries and (with the money saved) send each Washington steelheader to the Bahamas to fish for bonefish instead....the cost of the program would easily support it and it would take pressure off our native stocks. This whole thing is managed like a cattle ranch where the rancher kills off 95% of his herd each year and wonders why he has no cows.
  18. golfman44 Coho Queen

    Posts: 1,773
    Kirkland
    Ratings: +1,087 / 0
    I wonder what the ratio is for harvested fish that get punched vs those that go unpunched? 50/50? Probably depends on the area...those tokul/wallace snaggers' ratios would be much lower than other areas I'd assume.

    Anyways, I'm not saying any of you are wrong, and I doubt any sane person would try to make that claim, but there is a lot more that goes into it than just a simplified "it costs X dollars per fish that gets punched/hatchery spawned". Oversimplifying things is an easy way for an argument to deteriorate quickly, and I think if you want to build a viable case against the way wdfw manages hatcheries then we should dig a little deeper.
    FinLuver likes this.
  19. Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

    Posts: 1,796
    Bellingham Wa.
    Ratings: +320 / 1
    golfman44, I don't believe that he was trying to reduce the argument down to just cost per fish, that is just one more arrow in the quiver. There have been scientific review groups, panels and study after study for years that point out the limits of hatchery programs. I think the problem is more political than scientific. As SG stated in another thread " never underestimate the power of the status quo"( I para-phrase).
  20. David Dalan 69°19'15.35" N 18°44'22.74" E

    Posts: 1,997
    Walla Walla, WA
    Ratings: +783 / 0

    Intuitively, using the 'Sac as an example, I am hard pressed to believe a river that kicks out 59 fish a year helps sell much gas, tags, rods, reels, etc. I would assume some kind of larger ROI argument is made regarding hatchery supplementation, but when only 109 harvestable fish are produced, the ROI is tiny. I actually assume at $150K to produce, the ROI is actually negative. As noted earlier a fair amount of capital expense is probably not included in the $ figure, so costs are higher.

    You'd probably get better ROI using half the funds for fish production on the 'Sac to offer license discounts, free rods and reels and gas cards to the anglers who fished this river.