Skagit 2013

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by _WW_, Jun 17, 2013.

  1. I'm currently working on an island in the San Jauns. The place is an electronic wasteland and I'm there four days a week so maybe it is affecting my perspective. I find it ironic that the I-5 bridge was fixed in less than 30 days but it is going to take years to open the Skagit C&R season. In fact there will be an entirely new span across the river before Hiway 20 shuts down for the winter. This is the kind of shit that can get done with a little motivation!

    I hope they install a sidewalk on it so we can wander out there next spring and watch thousands of steelhead swim under it.

    The state of Washington ignored the DEA, perhaps it is time for them to ignore NOAA, NMFS, ESA, EPA, and who ever else is in the way of common sense and fair play.
    bennysbuddy likes this.
  2. WW,

    Priorities. That's what it comes down to. An interstate highway is a BFD in the United States. It's essential to our commerce and way of life (not saying that it is right, just that it is.). The Skagit steelhead CNR season is barely a blip on WDFW's long list of obligations, duties, legal requirements, etc. And fisheries that are not even about harvest don't register at all on NMFS' radar screen. NMFS' major fisheries concerns are "reducing commercial overfishing" for the past decade, limiting by-catch of chinook in the massive ocean pollack fishery, and recovering ESA salmon and steelhead where actually killing and harvesting fish is the principle interest. Skagit steelhead CNR doesn't even rate a "huh? wassat?" above the lowest staff biologist levels dealing with PNW ESA issues. Oddly, certain PS treaty tribes are potentially among our most influencial allies since ESA steelhead constraints limit some of their salmon fishing. All of which is why I came to believe that OS makes sense and can serve a key role in getting a basin specific draft management plan endorsed by the co-managers and reviewed by NMFS and the TRT. And that is the key to re-opening the Skagit to steelhead fishing.

    Chris Johnson likes this.
  3. Thinking out loud here, but I wonder if anyone in the upper echelons of NOAA, NMFS, ESA, etc. can offer up a good explanation of how NOT fishing the Skagit is going to help the "recovery" of steelhead in the other Puget Sound drainages.

    Which is what makes it even more frustrating!
    It seems like such a small thing - an instant of mental clarity - a stroke of the pen -
    "Huh? Wassat? C&R on thousands of fish? Yeah, yeah - sure whatever. What's next on the agenda?"
  4. There you go WW, thinking it might be on the agenda. This is why I support OS. It's a means with a fair chance of making it happen. That, and treaty tribes whose salmon fishing is constrained by ESA steelhead impacts. Unfortunately, we are that small.

  5. Thought some of you might find the following link interesting -

    Some of the rivers with steelhead info included the Situk, Karluk, Afolynak, Ayalulik, and Dog Salmon

    One theory is that as marine survivals improve for steelhead, Chinook etc here in Washington there will be a corresponding decline for north (Alaskan) stocks. While the Alaska data is a bit of mixed bag it looks like that we may indeed be on the cusp of changing a marine survival regime. Not only does it look like things are improving here (see recent Skagit counts) they may be declining up north. The kelt counts on the Situk the last 5 years are 65% of what they were the previous decade.

    The next couple of years may be interesting and if you are planning on including the Situk on your bucket list you might want to go sooner than later.

  6. A pebble is a small thing - until it gets into your shoe. Then it gets taken care of.

    How do we become that pebble?
    bennysbuddy likes this.
  7. At least now we have a much better feel for who we need to influence next. If the NMFS is under the Department of Commerce, could our congressional delegation or our governor help influence the chain of command at the top? The benefit to the local economy as well as increased awareness and advocacy that would arise from a showcase fishery would both be arguments that could be made at that level.
  8. WW,

    OS becomes that pebble by drafting the Skagit steelhead mgt plan, circulating it among the co-managers and including all the necessary pieces. Then the co-managers re-submit it to our friends at NMFS and the TRT for review and ultimately, approval.


    In theory that approach could work. What I expect from it tho is a lot of "we're looking into it, and we'll get back to you" and then never hearing back from whomever. Since OS has learned the pathway of the planning and approval process to where the buck finally stops, I think that is more likely to be effective.

  9. Salmo, I'll draft one...what needs to be in it?
    Is there some copy and paste documents to use as a templates?

    For what it might be worth, there is this:

    Find your legislator and start sending some emails. "Occupy" their inbox.

    Follow this link and comment on the rule with the button at the top right:!documentDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0160-0009
    Be sure to mention local businesses before jumping to basin specific allowable impacts, negligible C&R angling impact, etc. For inspiration read through the older Occupy Skagit threads. The comment period ends July 22. It would be nice to "Occupy" the comments section with a flood of responses.

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