Hatchery Steelhead in the N. Fork Stillaguamish

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Cruik, Jun 5, 2013.

  1. Cruik

    Cruik Active Member

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    I was doing a little research about the few summer hatchery steelhead programs which still occur in Puget Sound streams and came across the WDFW data for the Whitehorse Facility on the N. Fork Stilly. https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/score/score/hatcheries/hatchery_details.jsp?hatchery=Whitehorse

    Based upon the 2007-2009 runs, It states that 80k smolts produced and 121 hatchery adults produced. TOTAL, including sport and commercial harvest, not just the number making it back to the hatchery facility. A survival rate of .15%. Is this a joke or is it just bad data?

    Compare that to the Reiter facility which states 238k smolts produced and 2622 hatchery adults. A survival rate of 1.10% So Skykomish summer hatchery fish have a survival rate 7 times higher than that of the N. Fork Stilly?

    I apologize if this has been discussed before, but I feel like I must be missing something. Either the numbers are correct and the smolts are performing horribly or there are actually a lot more adult fish produced than their data indicates. If there truly is considerably more returning adults, and if the point of hatchery raised steelhead is to support catch and kill sportfishing opportunities, why tell the public their chances of catching a hatchery steelhead in the N. Fork Stilly are effectively nil?
     
  2. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast la flama blanca

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    I believe they count any fish returning to Fortson, or caught by anglers, after December 1st as a winter fish. I'm not 100% positive on that so maybe someone else can comment. If it's true, then a decent number of summers are being called winter runs. Still, the return rate is much lower than some of the other facilities like Reiter.
     
  3. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast la flama blanca

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    It's also my personal belief that Fortson summer fish stray a lot into neighboring systems with cooler summer water.
     
  4. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Cruik,

    Were all 80k smolts released in the NF? Or spread around to the SF and other locations? WDG used to plant 60 - 70K in the NF alone, and I could count 120 adult steelhead in just two pools (Fortson and Skiers). Return rates are way down, but 0.15% makes the hatchery program questionable in terms of cost:benefit. Reiter is a better rearing facility, but I wouldn't think it's 7 times better.

    Sg
     
  5. DanielOcean

    DanielOcean Steelhead Virgin

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    I talked to the guys at Pacific fly fishers about this yesterday. In there opinion you can still do very well at the Stilly both the north fork and main river.
     
  6. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

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    "Very well" is all relative. IMO there are few places you can do "Very well" in WA and only at specific times.

    I fish the Stilly a ton and would call it alright. I do okay. I hooked 21 steelhead on the Calawah in 2 half days (1 evening and 1 morning) last summer swinging flies. That is "very good" IMO. My best day on the Stilly last summer was hooking 2. I have fished the Stilly at least 100 days in my life and my best day was 8 hookups and that was a fluke and all were hatchery.

    Pacific Fly Fishers is not popular with some on the river (especially the locals) for the way they pimp the place and guide there. I don't know them or the place so I don't know either way.
     
  7. DanielOcean

    DanielOcean Steelhead Virgin

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    You know I can totally see your point there. However perhaps your experiences could be considered all relative as well. I would not be surprised if someone could have had good success on certain rivers as well. Honestly, the real true reason why I go fishing is not really to catch fish at all I think. So not being able to hook dozens and dozens of steelhead I am content with.
     
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  8. Smalma

    Smalma Active Member

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    I see that in 2012 that 242 hatchery summer steelhead were collected at the Whitehorse hatchery. Surly there were also some others caught in the river; another sign that marine survivals are improving???

    As an aside for decades it has been the case that the hatchery steelhead returns for both winters and summers (% smolt to adult survival) on the Snohomish system has been the best in Puget Sound; usually by a fair margin. As one moves south or north from the Snohomish basin the poorer the hatchery steelhead returns. Not sure that anyone has a good explanation as to why.

    Curt
     
  9. Cruik

    Cruik Active Member

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    Curt, I see that too. Comparing the 2012 collection number with the 2005-2009 numbers is astounding. Roughly 10 times as many in 2012. I'd like to think that it is a sign that conditions are improving, although perhaps it was the case in 2012, the conditions were right for the fish to shoot up into the hatchery rather than hang in the river to be harvested. That's interesting about the Snohomish system having a much higher survival rate than other PS streams (though still nowhere near some of the coastal rivers).
     
  10. wanative

    wanative Member

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    Is the collection data available on the wdfw website?
    Thanks,
    Fred
     
  11. cuponoodle breakfast

    cuponoodle breakfast la flama blanca

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  12. NW_Steel

    NW_Steel New Member

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    So I heard about this through the Grape Vine. I am the Steelhead guide at Pacific Fly Fishers and I have never once guided on that River. In fact for the first time in two summers I was on that river was yesterday 7/21/2013 for about 3 hours. If somebody asks about that river we will give him or her good information so they can enjoy the resource as much as the next person. We are not in the business of sending people to certain places but giving advice on the places they would like to fish. There are only two fly guides that work that river that I am aware of and they have no affiliation with our shop.

    We are a full service fly shop that helps locals and non-locals. I am sure most people on this site never asked the advice of a local fly shop in a place they were not familiar with, but many of us do. Please make sure that your facts are straight before you post comments about others and their businesses. We take pride in what we do here and I take pride in my guide service please inform the locals that their information is incorrect if it ever comes up.

    Joe Ewing
    Pacific Fly Fishers
    Northwest Steelheading
    425-318-0161
     
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  13. HauntedByWaters

    HauntedByWaters Active Member

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    That is just what I heard from the locals. They probably got you guys confused with someone else?

    I got nothing against your shop or any shop. I don't think anybody does. Just the guiding can be bothersome or pathetic depending in how you look at it.

    Also, you say "for the first time in two summers" you were on that river. Some of us have a memory span of a lot more than two summers. Some things linger in the psyche for longer than two summers. That may explain why some on that river have talked smack to me about the shop.
     
  14. JesseC

    JesseC Active Member

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    I rewrote your comment for you.
     
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  15. Rimmy

    Rimmy Member

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    Joe All I care about this time of years is the fairways are water and not too brown