Occupy Skagit

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by _WW_, May 19, 2012.

  1. ChrisC Member

    Posts: 639
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    Ratings: +24 / 0
    I like Bob's idea of writing to our legislators. Are there any we know of at the state and federal level who have the potential of becoming an advocate? Mike Thompson comes to mind as an example of one who has been a strong advocate for fisheries protection in California.

    Also, given that WDFW Commissioners are the ones who appoint the WDFW Director, I don't see any real movement in getting to more managed CnR fisheries until we change their mindsets. In that regard, I think we should write to Gov-elect Inslee, who is responsible for appointing WDFW Commission members.

    Finally, it may be worth teeing up to our government officials the possibility of merging WDFW into DNR - the idea has been tossed around several times in the not too recent past - by Gov. Gregoire as well as by legislators. In reference to what inland has mentioned in the Skagit thread, we currently have a commission and agency that is focused on harvest and is not predisposed to allowing CnR fishing for the recreational and economic benefits. And given that the WDFW (and the Commission) have had a long track record of tone deafness to the sport fishing community, coupled with little capability to manage beyond making regulations and enforcement, I'm willing to take the risk to have the agency integrated into the DNR, particularly if will result in new fresh new thinking on how we manage rivers like the Skagit and Sauk.
  2. _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Posts: 1,941
    Skagit River
    Ratings: +675 / 0
    I've read several times that “we” need a clear goal and “lazer-like focus”.

    Well...here it is: Restore the catch and release season in March and April on the Skagit/ Sauk systems and quit using the season as a management tool.

    Lately WDFW has been using this season as their (one and only?)management tool in years of suspected low returns.
    They have installed a literal On/Off switch and at the first sign of trouble flip the switch. They can then report to the guy (who is that guy???) at the Federal level that something has been done and move on to planting trout in the lakes.

    The reality is that they have possibly saved the lives of a handful of 'Mortality Fish' but in exchange for that 'feel good' action, the river is unpatrolled, unenforced, and there are no “eyes” on what is going on. Yes I'm talking about poaching. And I can guarantee that the poaching numbers are higher than the mortality rate by a large margin. Thanks WDFW...thanks for helping out.

    Gear fisherman. All are welcome to Occupy Skagit. Just remember; No Hooks.

    Someone mentioned actually fishing for a couple of hours with advance notice to WDFW.
    That would be illegal and provable in court. My recommendation is NOT doing that. You could lose your car, boat, rod, reel, etc. Another reason is this; it gives folks, (media) something to focus on other than the message.

    Organization. Best used for the meeting of the Commissioners. They have a specific process (this in itself may be part of the problem – 'doing things as we always have') that they want people to follow so it should be used to get our foot in the door. Once in, we need to be armed with some science...and a plan to motivate them. I don't know any of these guys, but I do know something that motivates almost everybody. Embarrass them. Don't believe me? Just watch the next politico that gets caught doing the hanky-panky. Embarrass them and do it with facts. “We pay you how much? And flipping the switch on the C&R season is all you can do? Really! How long did it take you to come up with that?”

    Inland has a great post in the parallel thread 'Skagit River Steelhead'
    http://www.washingtonflyfishing.com/forum/index.php?goto/post&id=786194#post-786194
    This is the kind of information and facts we need to be armed with. WDFW, look at what others are doing that works. They've invented the wheel, no need for you to invent one too.

    I've got more to say, but right now I need to get dressed and try out my new rod.
    Ed Call likes this.
  3. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,841
    Marysville, Washington
    Ratings: +719 / 0
    WW -
    I agree that we need to stay legal to have creditibility.

    I understand your frustration with the lost of the CnR seasons and how they have been used as a lever against we need to be careful on how we use terms. CnR seasons (as well as harvest seasons, closed seasons, bag limits, season length, wild steelhead release, etc) will always be a management tools. While CnR seasons may be "religon" to some of us I don't think we want to defuse our efforts by claiming it is something it is not. Know of no better way to get dismissed by decision makers than give them grounds to think we don't know what we are talking about.

    I do agree that we need to be narrowly focused. As I see it getting to fish the Skagit again is going to depend on establishing a 3 legged stool.

    1) The frist leg would be to highlight the plight of PS steelhead as well as what the lost of the CnR seasons (and other opportunities) mean to the local businesses and the regional economy. Folks stopping for the a day for meals, rooms, buying psuedo gear (even boats), etc will serve as a reminder of what has been lost.

    2) Putting ESA aside for now it is time to re-visit WDFW's statewide steelhead management plan. It was obvious from the get go that it is least than angler friendly, not very responsive to changing conditions or adaptable.

    3) Demand that WDFW move forward with developing basin specific guidelines for allowable ESA impacts. Such guidelines probably would best serve our interest if it was abundanced based. However the key here is to have the tools in place so that managers can move quickly to re-establish fishing opportunities as runs improve.

    Obviously the above would need to be fleshed out considerably. It is offered as a "straw horse" to serve as a discussion starting point though I do feel that it would not be a bad foundation.

    BTW -
    With the holiday season in full swing it might be difficult to get folks together until the New Year.


    Curt
    Andrew Lawrence likes this.
  4. Rob Allen Active Member

    Posts: 1,008
    Vancouver WA
    Ratings: +401 / 0
    Just to be clear, i was not advocating illegal activity. Just pointing out that it would make it a serious protest if it was that important of an issue for you. Unless you can draw a huge turn out, which i do advocate, i tend to think it will be largely ignored by the folks that matter.... Now if you bring in a couple hundred people, all buying gas and food and motel rooms, then people will start to take notice....
  5. TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    Posts: 870
    Vancouver, WA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    IT appears Chris D. has taken the bull by the horns and is leading this. Let him take in the input along with the suggestions on this thread, and come back with a game plan and or an agenda. I offered my help to him if he wants to delegate any research or tasks. Perhaps those that want to help with some of the tedious calls etc can speak up as well to him via the facebook page.

    Meeting: We all have computers and hopefully webcams. Why not have a virtual meeting via a webinar to throw down some brainstorming ideas etc.

    Message: How do we communicate and show our message to the non-fishing/voting community that will hopefully see us via the news? I don’t think we want to appear like a bunch of greedy fishing guys demanding to let us fish for endangered fish. Show and communicate the non impact and benefit we have to the community and to the fish as being “river stewards” who are fed up with the inconsistent management by the wdfw.

    On the day of the event: The first step should possibly be a friendly peaceful gathering on the Skagit itself. In order to get out as many as possible, perhaps we have free casting lessons. Perhaps we invite some vendors/rod companies to see if they want to participate. The whole goal will be to bring awareness to the inconsistent management in the PS area.

    After the event: Soon after the event then we might want to get more aggressive and protest/picket WDFW or some other sort of protest to “turn up the heat”.

    Again just my thoughts and suggestions.
    Jamie Wilson likes this.
  6. Chris DeLeone Active Member

    Posts: 526
    Monroe, WA
    Ratings: +90 / 0
    This to me is KerryS and WW thing - I am willing to support and hope that there is a good group of folks in involved - I would love to be a part of that. I have reached out to a couple of folks to discuss the next steps and how I can lend a hand in this process.
  7. plecoptera419 Member

    Posts: 68
    Mount Vernon, WA
    Ratings: +26 / 0
    Having grown up here in the Skagit Valley and watching the river dying a slow death over my lifetime. All I can say is its about frigging time somebody threw a protest. I would like to help. Feel free to contact me and let me know what I can do.
  8. Chris Johnson Member: Native Fish Society

    Posts: 1,797
    Bellingham Wa.
    Ratings: +325 / 1
    I am willing to help in any capacity needed, whatever it may be I'm all in.
  9. Jason Rolfe Wanderer

    Posts: 1,178
    the beach
    Ratings: +373 / 0
    I'm all in as well. I've been wanting to learn more about this situation and NW steelhead in general. To those taking the lead on this, please keep us all informed of help that might be needed.
  10. _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Posts: 1,941
    Skagit River
    Ratings: +675 / 0
    Ok...I'm not a scientist, I'm a dumb carpenter so keep that in mind as we try to educate me.
    I can see how a CnR season could be a management tool to limit harvest. That's what the “release” part of it is all about. However, we don't want to harvest any fish – none, zilch, nada. In other words, zero impact. That's right! Zero Impact! I wish to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.

    I see a management minded alternative use for CnR seasons. A management tool to provide more angling opportunity. Remember their mandate? “The commission shall attempt to maximize the public recreational game fishing...” There it is, the hammer we need...We just want them to do their job.

    We can even offer up something in trade...although having to trade for something they already owe us seems a bit unfair, We would probably do it any way.
    WDFW can re-institute the catch record card that asked us to keep track of the wild fish we brought to hand. Think of that. Several hundred free research assistants every week! Free up to date real-time-data to work with.

    You are going to have a really hard time convincing me that the Commission gives a rat's ass about the economic welfare of a gas station in Rockport...or Concrete...or Darrington. It's not in their job description. But if you think it will help, go for it. It might be a better play for the Governor.


    This one I like the most. And it falls under their Mandate - “The commission shall attempt to maximize the public recreational game fishing...” The part I take exception to is basing it on abundance. This is where the wedge gets driven and the season gets closed – same as now – nothing will change and all this will be for naught. People, if there are less fish in the system, less fish will be caught. I know it, you know it, and they know it. For lots of people it defines a “bad fishing trip” and even encourages some to not even make the trip. This will reduce even more any 'percieved' impact.

    “The Feds” This is what I worry about the most. It just seems like the path of least resistance for the Commission is to throw up their hands and hide behind “The Feds” - That faceless, nameless entity with God-like powers capable of sapping the backbone right out of those responsible for trying to give us an angling opportunity. How do we deal with these guys? What do we tell our Commissioners to do.

    Grrr...now my blood pressure is up. Think I'll go out in the back yard and see if less than an ounce of pot has fallen out of the sky so I can come in, smoke some and tie up some occupy flies.
  11. _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Posts: 1,941
    Skagit River
    Ratings: +675 / 0
    Ok...the backyard was empty so I did something else.
    I found this:
    http://www.nativefishsociety.org/conservation/documents/CR survival of winter sth AFS 2005.pdf

    Basically they tagged steelhead with radios and then tracked them.
    This is what it says on page 8:
    (2) no deaths were observed among radio-tagged fish known to be recaptured and released by anglers, and (3) survival did not vary with the frequency of recapture...

    In fact, if I understood the report correctly, more fish died from being tagged than from being caught and released...no matter how many times they were caught. Oh...and by the way, these fisherman were allowed to use bait!

    As I said above about the "percieved impact" of catch and release fishing to ESA listed steelhead...I wish to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
  12. kjsteelhead Member

    Posts: 157
    Bellingham, Washington
    Ratings: +16 / 0
    O.K. It's settled then. We'll all show up on the Skagit on April 20th to pretend to fish.
    Charles in in charge of the beer.
    Blacktail Hunter is in charge of the black-masked vandals going after all of the Discovery Pass Required signs.

    Hey Ed, can we get those T-shirts tie-dyed?
  13. TallFlyGuy Adipossessed!

    Posts: 870
    Vancouver, WA.
    Ratings: +45 / 0
    This is good stuff WW! These kind of facts are the "ammo" we need! These top major factors maybe should be summarized and put on the website so it is the first thing people see. Maybe put on a pamphlet or brochure to pass out to others. Maybe even in a question answer style or format. "Does catch and release fishing hurt the native fish in our rivers?.... According to a study done by the NFS.....
  14. _WW_ Fishes with Wolves

    Posts: 1,941
    Skagit River
    Ratings: +675 / 0
    So....I'm looking up the list of Commission members and what do I find?
    One of them is pratically my neighbor! Lot's of fisherman probably know the guy...Larry Carpenter
    http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/members.html
  15. KerryS Ignored Member

    Posts: 6,769
    Sedro Woolley, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +1,788 / 0
    Bought a boat from him. Your buddy Kim worked for him for awhile.
  16. freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

    Posts: 4,163
    Edgewood, WA
    Ratings: +798 / 1
    I wondered about that too. I heard the same thing, that so long as no hook was attached, you're OK -- then someone else said no, not true. I just need some flowing water to practice spey casting and tie a nice red fluff of yarn on the end to see where I'm landing. I need to contact WDFW myself and get the scoop.
  17. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,593
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,543 / 9
    You guys are pretty cool. Who's making breakfast? Where can I park my rig while sleeping in the back?
  18. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,603
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,719 / 0
    Mumbles,

    Because the Occupy Skagit clique is so cool, we'll first need to debate and vote on whether to invite you or not. However, if you prepare killer breakfasts, that could significantly improve your chances, along with single malt snacks in the afternoon.

    Sg
  19. Ed Call Mumbling Moderator

    Posts: 17,593
    Kitsap Peninsula
    Ratings: +1,543 / 9
    Salmo_g, you sir, are not the boss of me. However,you shall always be welcome to share my breakfast or flask.
  20. Jason Rolfe Wanderer

    Posts: 1,178
    the beach
    Ratings: +373 / 0
    I'll just want to say: I can make a mean old-fashioned.

    J