Treaty Fishing on the Stillaguamish

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Jason Griffith, Sep 27, 2012.

  1. "We stop in mid-January to let the wild fish up."

    And unfortunately so do we!!
  2. [

    Lastly, the Stillaguamish Tribe cares about the salmon and steelhead populations on the river just as much as the rest of you on this site, if not more. They have undertaken decades of habitat, harvest, and hatchery projects aimed at rebuilding the wild runs on the Stillaguamish. Rather than go down the road of massive hatchery production, they have focused on rebuilding the wild runs, and have limited their harvest opportunities accordingly. Just like you, they have a vested interest in seeing the runs improve (50% of any increase, eh?), and take the long view. While not necessarily obvious, catching less (or no) fish doesn't always lead to larger run sizes. If the habitat is in poor shape, letting more fish spawn won't lead to increased long term production.

    Thank you Jason, posts like this can go a long way toward increased understanding between the stakeholders. The above paragraph should be a model for every watershed in Puget Sound. If we can stop pointing fingers @ everyone else, and together deal with the realities of the situations before us, maybe we can make that happen!
    Craig Pablo likes this.
  3. Maybe those younger members need more practice? Doesn't look like they've got the hang of it yet.
    And yes, I called it in.

    Attached Files:

  4. You know what Id like to see amongst ALL tribal fishing groups? Tribal crackdown and punishment for those who KNOWINGLY disregard the regulations and choose to use their allowed gear in an illegal manner. Happens on EVERY river, and there is a STRONG TRADITION of tribal elders doling out wrist slaps for what would be jailable offenses for non tribal members.
    troutpounder likes this.
  5. Someone call the whambulance!! Hopefully all sport fishers don't get classified as poachers because some poachers use those methods.

    For the record, I'd like to see a crackdown on all poachers. A poacher is a poacher regardless of how they're doing it.
    bennysbuddy likes this.
  6. A very interesting thread: data vs. opinion. The solution to the "them vs. us" is building a strong level of trust between user groups with the goal of protecting the resource.

    I was around 40 years ago and the wounds from that time heal very, very slowly. Good post Jason.
    Chris Johnson likes this.
  7. If you want an eye opener hit the lower Skagit when
    the the tribes are there, Chinook and Chums are filling their coffers
  8. Again, these openings are accounted for in the preseason planning process and the catches are tracked in season in order to meet management objectives. I know Bob and Casey well (tribal harvest bios on the Skagit), and they care about the resource as much as we all do. I know it is hard for folks to wrap their minds around, but a dead fish is a dead fish, whether in a net or at the end of a fly rod. If catches are accounted for, and mgmt objectives met, the resource will be here for our kids and grandkids. I am serious if folks want to contact me for further discussion of treaty vs. non-treaty harvest. I am always available:
    I've had a few folks get in touch with me, and the exchanges have been good for me as well as them (I hope!).

    Which brings me to the point of my checking back in on this thread- the numbers are in! I could break it down by mgmt period, but I suspect most folks just want the bottom line. So here are the numbers of fish harvested for the Stillaguamish Tribe from this summer thru the end of Coho mgmt (10/27) on the Stillaguamish River: 12 Chinook, 5 Chum, 1599 Coho, and 2 Steelhead. We had a total of seven fishers active this year. It should be noted that the Tulalip Tribes, non-treaty commercial fishers, and sporties all take a significant number of Stillaguamish Coho, Chum, and Chinook before they reach the river. These impacts are also tracked and managed inseason so that mgmt objectives are met.

    We are now entering Chum mgmt, but the Chum run on the Stillaguamish is too weak this year to support a commercial fishery. The Tribe will have two fishers out fishing up to three days per week to catch up to 300 Chum for Ceremonial and Subsistence (C&S) purposes. We will be monitoring the catches closely and will close when the cap is reached, or by 12/9, whichever is sooner. There will be nets in the Stillaguamish, just so you know.

    And thanks cuponoodle for calling in the derelict net!! I went out last week and personally pulled it with our boat (the same day we were notified). The fisher who set it is in the process of being prosecuted for a range of offenses relating to this net and others. The catches I quoted above reflect all fish taken by the Stillaguamish tribe this summer/fall, even those from confiscated/derelict nets.
    Be Jofus G likes this.
  9. I should add that the Wk 39 Inseason update (ISU) for Stilly/Sno Coho came in very close to preseason predictions. A great run all around.
  10. Jason, Well said. Thank you.
  11. I'm trying to understand how the system deals with the pre-catch numbers. Are they allocated upon a prediction and the guys that get them first win?
    Was the coho forecast 3200?
  12. The allocation is based on a prediction that is revised based on inseason catches in 8A (by Tulalip boats). We have a few decades of data that we use to regress catches against the eventual run size and can estimate if the run is bigger or smaller than forecast. Allocations are then adjusted accordingly. Being first doesn't guarantee more fish, the outside fishers still have to let fish up for our guys. Coho are managed with stepped ERs (exploitation rates). For healthy runs like this year, the ER is 50%. So the non-treaty guys get 50% of the 50% (25% of total run). The treaty catch is the other half of the 50% (25%). The Tulalip and Stillaguamish Tribes have a harvestable shares agreement whereby Tulalip gets 70% of the treaty Stillaguamish share and we get 30%. There is a lot of history in this agreement and it is governed by a court order, but our fishers certainly don't like it! Basically it boils down to the Tulalip tribes having U&A in the salt and Stillaguamish itself and the politics of the mid 80's when the agreement was reached. It's a long story.....
    Jamie Wilson likes this.
  13. Jason,
    Thanks for the postings that may help to clear the air a bit.

    A question (or three or four) for you: You mentioned " this summer" as part of a season in post #48. When does that "season" commence? When I saw tribal nets in the river in July above I-5, the WDFW said the tribe was targeting wild Chinook for a C&S opening, yet Deer Creek steelhead were still moving up the river at that time. Did that C&S fishery impact the Deer Creek run of wild endangered steelhead? Did a particular net mesh size allow escapement for those (2 you mentioned) wild steelhead?

    The anecdotal evidence of those sportfishing for the Deer Creek run of steelhead was that the run tailed off abruptly at/about the same time the nets went in. That could be causal or co-incidental. Perhaps you could shed some light on that?

    It is a interesting factoid that a tribal member can kill a (listed and endangered) fish at a time and with a method that would land me a $10,000 fine and likely some jail time. This type of incongruity cannot promote empathy.

    Thanks for your input,
    stilly stalker likes this.
  14. Are you seriously comparing fishing restrictions to what was done to the native Americans?
  15. Greg, I will check on this tomorrow and let you know when those two steelhead were caught. I know one was in September, but I can't remember offhand when the other was landed. I doubt that the nets had much to do with your observations seeing as how few days were fished in July and how few fish were landed (of any species). If it would help , I can break the catch down by week, month, whatever.

    I understand that, for some, nets in the river cause all sorts of consternation, but the real cause of the poor returns (for Stilly Wild STLHD) is most certainly not related to fishing pressure of any sort (net or hook and line). Catches have fallen dramatically with the runs and we now manage to catch less than 4% of the wild run. Yes, 4%!! These fish are falling off the face of the earth and there is very little going on in the freshwater to explain why. Most of us suspect an oceanographic shift (similar patterns in relatively pristine systems in AK and CND), but the jury is still out. Stay tuned, there are some very smart folks looking into it. The good news is that the resident portion is still around and they are the same genetically as their anadromous cousins (though NOAA fisheries is loathe to admit it), so it may be that the runs can bounce back during more favorable ocean conditions.
  16. Oh right....Greg, I will also check on the exact dates of our C&S fishery this summer, but I think we fished the first 2-3 weeks in July. Once they got enough for the first salmon ceremony, we closed it. I think they landed 5 Chinook total, but I will have to go back and check.

    Typically Chinook mgmt in the Stillaguamish mainstem is 7/1-9/5, Coho 9/6-10/28, Chum 10/28-12/9, and STLHD the rest of Dec. and early January. Exact dates move a few days each year, and fisheries can be closed early during years of poor returns or large catches (rare these days for us.). The forks are never open for our fishers, they stop at Danielson hole (RM 14), above Blue Stilly but below the cement plant.

  17. No such comparison intended, I think you may have mis-interpreted my comment or it was poorly stated, so I edited it for clarity's sake. Hope that satifies you.
  18. Jason,
    Thanks for the additional content you were able to provide. All who hold the Deer Creek run (as well as the rest of the runs) sacred are listening and hoping.
    stilly stalker likes this.
  19. Do sovereign nations observe the federal endangered classification? I'm unclear and searches have not added clarity.
  20. Greg,
    Deer Creek itself has been closed to angling for summer steelhead since the 1930s because of low returns, long before the Boldt decision affirmed the tribal right to harvest. Deer Creek has also been heavily impacted by deep seated landslides that were probably related to timber harvest. I wouldn't point the finger at tribal harvest for the decline in that population.
    Maybe sport anglers should have left the Deer Creek steelhead alone too.
    Be Jofus G likes this.

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