Help support Fish Not Gold eliminate the damage caused by Hobby Miners to our streams

Discussion in 'Fly Fishing Forum' started by Fish Not Gold, May 22, 2014.

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  1. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    Of the many years that I have fished in Washington State, I have only ran across a few hobby miners plying their hobby in Skinny waters. The most I have ever see were on Olney Creek, they seem to mine the shit out of that creek. Also on some other creeks/rivers they can only pan. No dredging allowed.

    Can't we just share the water with other people. They pretty near shut down Steelheading in the Puget Sounds rivers with the no planting of Hatchery fish in the rivers.

    If you can't blame fish loss on the loggers and the Commercial fishers you now have to point your fingers in another direction. I guess the Hobby gold seekers are going to be the ones.
     
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  2. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

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    I'm thinking about being a hobby boulder dynamiter and river re-router. I'm really interested in blowing up big rocks into many smaller rocks and moving streams from here to there. I don't see how this could damage anything in the stream, after all, there are already rocks there and the water will still get where it's going. I'm just going to distribute them a bit differently.

    I expect you all to share the water with me.
     
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  3. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    Good point Jim. In fact, I've never run across anyone running a dredge in WA waters. We use to see them on the Yuba and Feather...but mostly just pans and garden shovels... the wife and I are guilty as charged. Interested to hear who has seen these hobby miners and whether there are as many as suggested.
     
  4. Derek Young

    Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

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    I've had two encounters with "hobby miners" on the Yakima. The first time in summer, full flows, and a motorized, floating pontoon outfit with a huge hose, gas engine/pump, and two guys trying to control it as they floated down the river, just below Swauk Creek. They lost control of the dredge and it pinwheeled down the rip rap bank towards Thorp. Not sure what happened to them. The second was a couple using pans on Swauk Creek.

    I've encountered a young couple using a sluice on the Raging River, just below the Hwy 18 bridge.

    If you Google "Swauk Creek" the first few results are for sluicing and other mining operations.
     
  5. Kim McDonald

    Kim McDonald member

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    The issue isn't one or two guys running a suction dredge for one weekend, although that's not great either. The issue is a number of these hobby miners literally pounding small sections of headwater streams over and over. The miners mine not only during the work windows of the gold and fish pamphlet, but also routinely obtain permits to mine a specific claim for months at a time. Fish like the same spots in a stream where gold settles. And the miners trash the riparian habitat, moving boulders, root wads, brush. Then there is the issue that the hobby miners literally occupy (their term not mine) sensitive riparian areas without adequate camping faculties for months. Think leaking septic systems cause problems?

    Drive Cle Elum to Leavenworth over Blewett Pass. Even this weekend, at Kings Creek there was a large encampment of hobby miners (and no, Ron who I don't even know who you are, I wasn't stalking you!). These are prime headwaters for steelhead, salmon, and bull trout.

    WA state will be seeing a lot more miners now that Oregon, Idaho, and California have either shut suction dredge mining down or seriously restricted it.

    The cumulative impacts from all of this can be serious.

    Sorry in advance for typos...using phone and bad eyesight.

    Kim
     
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  6. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

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    If you want to see suction dredging in action, come to Peshastin Creek and it's tributaries. It often seems as if there is not a single stretch of river without mining claim signs. I know one claim that leaves the dredge in the stream for weeks on end, even when not actively mining.
     
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  7. Old Man

    Old Man Just an Old Man

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    If you ever make it to Montana, check out Alder Creek area. They dredged the hell out of it in the late 1800's. You can still go into those dredge piles and pull out Garnets. My ex son in law found a Ruby about 6" long and about an inch around. In one of those piles.

    Just about any trickle of water in the hills in the Dillon area has dredge piles on it. And Montana is a fly fishers paradise.
     
  8. freestoneangler

    freestoneangler Not to be confused with Freestone

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    Very familiar with the Alder area...our property is just outside of Sheridan. Until gold prices spiked, the old tailings were hardly used, now their alive again. The wife and I filled a mason jar full of garnets in a long afternoon a few years ago... they are of pretty poor quality however and why most from that area are simply used for abrasive media.

    I've never fished either creek...had know idea it was a magnet for gold mining. Driven past the areas over the years, but never noticed any mining activity. It sure seems like some common sense regulation, limiting this type of activity to manual panning and no mechanized equipment is in order. Hell, the state does not allow us to use metal detectors on state lands, parks, etc., digging holes everywhere and fouling the places up, what gives?
     
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  9. Kent Lufkin

    Kent Lufkin Remember when you could remember everything?

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    Unlike fish, gold doesn't reproduce every year. Once it's gone it doesn't come back, so the hobby miners have to either work the same claim over and over or move on to another one. The damage they cause is compounded year after year, as they work harder to find less and less gold.

    K
     
  10. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!

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    I don't understand why some of these activities couldn't be prosecuted under the Endangered Species Act, and the Clean Water Act, if the mining has a damaging effect on watersheds that hold endangered wild fish and other listed species. Lawsuits may be filed by any private U.S. citizen under these federal laws.
     
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  11. Josh

    Josh dead in the water

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    I don't understand why the tribes aren't filing lawsuits.
     
  12. Ron Larson

    Ron Larson New Member

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    Good Grief, people there's about 57,000 miles of supporting waters in Washington State, Peshastin Creek (Blewett) has less than 10 miles with active claims and even if it were ALL turned over this year by suction dredges, that's only 0.02% of the total supporting waters of the state. We all know that's not going to happen!
    My wild guesstimate would be perhaps at the very most less than 1/10 of one mile would be suction dredged in a season on all combined claims there, now we're talking about 0.0002%.

    Maybe some of you haven't seen this, but it makes a good point of just how insignificant suction dredging is, especially when Mt. St. Helens couldn't destroy a river or it's wild Steelhead... have an open mind and watch the video in the link below which is from "Wild Reverence", The Wild Steelheads last stand from North Fork Studios ;)

    Making Mountains out of Molehills

    Ron
     
  13. Bob Triggs

    Bob Triggs Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!

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    I have an impression that your numbers are a bit off here.
     
  14. Chris Bellows

    Chris Bellows Your Preferred WFF Poster

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    great link. i'm now a believer that those who oppose destroying our rivers just dislike your "liberty". defenders of liberty sucking at the teat by abusing our public lands and rivers.

    industrial uses of public lands, however small, have nothing to do with liberty.
     
  15. triploidjunkie

    triploidjunkie Active Member

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    That website was some propaganda bullshit. It's facts are way skewered, if not downright fictional. I just smile and shake my head when I hear suction dredgers say that aren't doing any harm.
     
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