Article WDFW Proposal #15 A Fighting Chance For Washington's Greatest Native Trout Fishery

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Steve Bird, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Having eaten once-abundant forage species like peamouth, pikeminnow and whitefish to the verge of extinction within Lake Roosevelt and the American-Canadian Reach segment of the Columbia above Lake Roosevelt, the out-of-control population of illegally introduced walleye rely increasingly more on native salmonids spawned in the Reach and LR tributaries as a source of prey, and as well, a despairingly high percentage of LR net-pen raised trout and kokanee. Sadly, it may already be too late for spawning populations of native strain kokanee. The redband and kokanee net-pen programs have, it comes to light, been costly and ultimately futile, with around 90% of net-pen fish eaten by walleye and smallmouth bass before reaching maturity. Here’s the latest findings from Lake Roosevelt:

    We are on the verge of losing the greatest and most irreplaceable native trout fishery in our state, and some would argue the lower ’48, and for no good reason but for pure, slow moving ignorance fortified with short-sighted faux-economic politics. As recently as 1990, while myself and other locals foresaw the collapse of our native fishery due to walleye predation, local fisheries agencies still thought that “managing” the Lake Roosevelt-UC drainage as a walleye fishery was a good idea, and, incredibly, they are still holding one foot on that crazy base, and that in spite of the most recent studies showing that walleye predation will destroy this fishery – and then, in turn, without sufficient feed, the artificial walleye fishery itself will collapse. We see the process accelerating, WDFW recognizes it, and has finally moved to ask public input on solutions. Of the suggestions WDFW puts forth, I and other UCNFA writers agree that only one of the proposals might have the impact needed to save the UC native trout fishery, and that is to remove ALL restrictions on the take of walleye and smallmouth bass. WDFW have set up a site to take your comments. Our native salmonid fishery is at the tipping point. I urge you to take a minute to let the department know your opinion. December 15th is the deadline for comments. Your input right now is crucial to the future of the Columbia’s native fish. Your voice is stronger than you may know. Please leave a comment on Proposal #15:

    I live beside the best-kept secret in Washington flyfishing. Problem with that is: bad things happen in secret. If you’d like to learn more about the upper Columbia, its fish and fly patterns, from a local’s perspective, check it out here:

    G-spot4u, jwg, triploidjunkie and 4 others like this.
  2. Nice post Steve! Just a point of clarity that I'm sure you know, but that may not be clear to all who read your post: Kokanee, while a salmonid, are not trout. After re-reading your post I could see that you did not intend to include kokanee in the general "trout" bucket, but just wanted to clarify for those that may want to comment on the proposal not to reference "kokanee trout".
    Steve Bird likes this.
  3. question: haven't we already lost? I mean those kokanee and rainbows were sockeye and steelhead before the grand coulee right?

    Kokanee are as much trout as any other member of the genus. And much more trout that bull trout, brook trout or lake trout.

    Anyway how do you get rid of the walleye? Just wondering
    Steve Bird likes this.
  4. Bread, fry and eat.
    Kcahill and Steve Bird like this.
  5. I haven't read up on walleye fisheries and such but I'll assume that they are a bit like pike, wouldn't it make more sense to have limit on really big fish for two reasons 1) to maintain intrest in the fishery, if there are less small fish chances of a true trophy are much higher thus you can maintain fishing pressure more than an all out limit on everything which kills the big fish too reducing fishing pressure. 2) I'd assume big walleye also eat little walleye?
  6. We lost big in many ways. But the Upper Jurassic is a unique place. And some day when heads are pulled from asses and the two barrier dams are modified or removed (when hogs grow wings), the could and would be the source of new runs of Steel and Sockeye, that are well adapted to their environment. These fish are the upper Jurassic's savings plan.

    I know I sound like a broken record, but I think all warm water species in all drainages connected to salmonid bearing streams should be no-limit, mandatory kill. Never doubt the power of anglers to exterminate fish if encourage to kill everything they can. Especially resident fish. It has been proven time and again. Hell if they dropped the limit on ditch pickles and those big ass perch, I would fire up the wedding rings, bottom bouncers and fill my cooler.

    And the fact that warm water species, "spiny rays" as my grandfather derisively referred to them, in the Columbia and it's tributaries were EVER managed as anything other than invasive species, is an embarrassment.

    Edit: My mother once told me not to swear in mixed company, so I cleaned my post.
  7. I've seen this kind of thinking destroy a pretty good pike fishery and there are still no trout. But yeah lets drastically reduce the walleye, bass and catfish populations, and maybe grow some really big walleye bass and catfish...
  8. No. We haven't lost yet. Yes, UC kokanee were sea-going sockeye before the dam; though not all UC redbands. In either case, that is beside the point. The point being: rivers & streams feeding Lake Roosevelt, & perhaps more importantly the free-flowing American-Canadian Reach segment and its tribs, above LR, still hosts naturally spawned populations of west slope cutthroat, bull trout & redband rainbows. The redband fishery is world class, though in danger.

    And no, removing all restrictions on walleye take probably won't get rid of them. Yet allowing the walleye guys to take them wide-open is at least something we can do to ameliorate the excessive predation levels we are now seeing (They's good eatin'). If you click on the links I posted, WDFW will explain it to you with some nuance.
  9. I could not be more in agreement with the above. Given a free reign the power of the rod is awesome.
    Steve Bird likes this.
  10. I don't particularly care for invasive species. If they go away and a new magic kingdom of trout nirvana is not created, at least one wrong was righted. I know this is not an opinion shared by everyone, and I'm not saying my view is right. It's just how I see things.
    Steve Bird likes this.
  11. Done, those feedback proposals are easy as pie. I'll take option 4, Walleye pie.
    Kcahill and Steve Bird like this.
  12. I threw my $0.02 on a few other as well :)
    Steve Bird likes this.
  13. Thanks for posting this.
    Steve Bird likes this.
  14. Just as with Facebook, the WFF forum has a "Like" button. Please press it as many times as possible.
    Chris Johnson and Steve Bird like this.
  15. I'm just saying that it would suck to kill a crap ton of game fish, and be left with no trout and a crap ton of little game fish that nobody wants to catch (eating the trout and kokes).

    Seems to me the best solution is to get rid of the dams ;)
    Steve Bird and David Dalan like this.
  16. :)
    Steve Bird likes this.
  17. You are right. That would suck. And if that was actually the case in this instance, I would not waste my time with this. However that is not the case. We have the trout, it's not a 'maybe'. (Did you read the links?) As a native rainbow fishery, as regards average size (19") & numbers per mile, the American-Canadian Reach segment is about on par with the Kenai.
    triploidjunkie likes this.
  18. Removeing the dams is a great Idea , Except what would heat & light my home and where would I plug in my car to charge the batteries so I can go fishing?????
  19. Blame the walleye, not the politician or loss of habitat.
  20. Simplistic. But don't worry. Those of us who are reading & actually working on the problem are portioning the blame around, as necessary.
    Stewart likes this.

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