Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Bob Triggs, Oct 2, 2013.
this is great advice...if only anyone would listen.
no lets just blame the tribe instead...everyone but me must be at fault.
I don't think that your average angler would have a problem with self imposed C&R limits. Largely because unguided anglers aren't really putting up the numbers the guides are. There are a LOT of guides on this river. Some who put up some staggering numbers. Some of those same guides are also doing a lot more than any of us to help the river on their own time. And asking them to tell their paying clients to hang it up after a fish or two isn't going to fly in most cases. I do know one guide who fishes from a boat who will occasionally have a client fish with a fly and clipped hook after they've been putting up numbers. That's about it.
I am not trying to derail this topic, but does anyone know how the other coastal rivers in vicinity faired? WDFW still hasn't answered my e-mails over the past 1 1/2 months.
I understand that steelhead fishing is dying the death of a thousand cuts, but if we focus all our efforts on rivers that are the most important to our fly fishing mystique, it's like saying "you can cut me anywhere but the face; it's too pretty." We're still going to bleed out.I just think that the goal needs to be advocating for species-wide protections, and not just river-specific regulations. If we argue that escapement is too low right now to allow wild steelhead retention in a specific river, we're conceding that if escapement was higher, that wild retention would be acceptable. It's not.
I do agree that the Hoh is special from a policy stand-point, but I think too many of us are concerned about the Hoh for our future ability to fish the majestic, storied Hoh. I think the Hoh is important more because the upper drainage and tributaries are less logged and developed, meaning there are less variables to point the finger at. Instead of blaming habitat or Puget Sound, we can blame harvest management practices and perhaps wage a successful campaign against wild sport and tribal retention not just for the Hoh, but all other rivers.
No matter where the fault lies, one can not escape the fact that the more fish that are removed from the river and bonked, the fewer will be around to spawn. Over time that equals fewer fish. Going unchecked, it will eventually result in NO FISH.
Even in the best of times, wild and hatchery fish, both have a difficult time to survive. Some of the obsticales that man has put into play, such as fishing, have not been helpful to them.
I have no problem with an occasional fish. But nets and excessive creel limits, both conditions are not helpful.
Cruik, this conversation could be had about many rivers. For your sake, because most of us already get it, just substitute whatever river it is that you would prefer everywhere it reads "Hoh" in this thread.
We could mention the Satsop, Hump, Wynoochee, Quillayute System, all of the small rivers around PA, etc. But, I think we all get it. Can't forget the Queets...
A way worse case than the Hoh. Just doesn't have the every day man traffic the Hoh does to speak up about it. And since it's not really managed by WDFW, it is a bit tougher topic to tackle.
One of the terrible vulnerabilities of these wild fish is that the managers have focused on individual watershed runs, instead of managing them as a species throughout an entire range or ecosystem, across all of their watersheds. And so they have dwindled, and collapsed, one run at a time, throughout our state. This is not the way that these wild fish evolved. As each run fails we lose important genetic diversity. This leaves the remaining wild fish in a precarious position. Every single run of these fish matters. Not just on any particular river. So here we are, looking at the Hoh river run of wild winter steelhead. We could just as well be speaking of any of the rivers and runs here. It is significant to me that this is happening because it was not so long ago that WDFW fish managers trotted out the Hoh river wild steelhead runs before the WDFW Commissioners as a good example of their management success in applying their Maximum Sustained Yield, (harvest), system. And apparently the WDFW Commissioners accepted that rationale, as they then reversed the Moratorium on the harvest of wild steelhead and allowed anglers to retain one wild steelhead per season on these rivers. I feel they should reconsider that decision, statewide.
"Species-wide protections" is why ALL of the Puget Sound rivers are closed to steelhead fishing. This includes the Skagit which has a projected escapement of between 8,000 to 10,000 fish in 2013, (official numbers yet to come). To put that number in perspective it is approximately (I'm typing from memory here and math is not my best subject ) 160% of an escapement goal that is already at 150% percent of what is believed to be the actual escapement needed for future viability. But the river is closed because a river 80 miles away that is part of the Puget Sound DPS (Distinct Population Segment) is under-escaping.
The quote above sounds wonderful. But in my studies of the situation on the Skagit, it describes a fairytale. If you fish, even C&R fishing, then you must accept retention. In the halls of conservatoria, a dead fish is a dead fish, is a dead fish. It matters not if by net, by legal retention or, (and this is important!) by incidental mortality from C&R fishing...there are still dead fish, and dead fish constitute harvest.
Every river needs an advocate. Pick one, select a reachable goal and go after it. Give up some of your time and pester those that can help you get to where you want to go. Give up some of your fishing days and go to Olympia. Give up some fly tying time and read through mountains of documents.
Or just keep adding to this thread...which is by far the way easier path.