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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all;

More food for thought on how to enhance our fishery. The following is an excerpt from---

What can we do?

First, we can get educated. We have to come to a resolution to save our wild fish, and it starts with me. My mission statement is simple. "IF IT HAS AN ADIPOSE FIN, IT MUST BE WILD, IF IT IS WILD, IT MUST GO BACK IN THE WATER ALIVE."

Second, we must recognize certain groups, agency personnel, commissioners, and government officials for what they are. If they target kill fisheries on our wild fish, then we must deal with them. Sportsman can be reeducated, we can help them keep the law, use good streamside manners, respect their right to fish, etc. Educate your fishing groups that wild fish release to more than some novelty extra fishing season for the snooty steelhead flyfishers. Talk about all the positive effects it has had on your trout waters, and how it can do the same for your steelhead and salmon waters. Find reasons to unite our fishing groups not excuses to fragment.

Third, Wildlife agency personnel will admit their position is more political than biological, but like it or not, they ARE setting regulations to kill our wild fish. Find out who is behind the policy making in your local kill fishery, who is making those recommendations to the commission. Ask the hard questions. Invite them to your club meeting. Let them know that wild fish release IS what Joe public will want if the agency will simply manage for the release of wild fish. If all you get is excuses and mumbo gumbo, then maybe its time to give them their gold watch and send them on their way. Haven't you ever wondered why the Wildlife Department itself, hasn't done a better job about educating the public, about the benefits of wild fish release? Simply, they don't believe in it. They seem to be about as good in managing our fish as they are in managing their money. Gold watch time. Fourth, Mass marking all our hatchery production IS a good idea. Who cares what stream that fish is headed back for? If its wild, it lives.

Fifth: Barbless and baitless, hook and release is a valuable management tool. Anyone who tells you different is uninformed. So if C&R is so wonderful, how come we haven't seen the effects today? We do in our trout fisheries, and we did in mid eighties on the Skagit system. Then why not now? Analogy: Interjecting a Catch and Release fishery at the end of a kill fishery, is like taking two diet bars at the end of a big meal, then complaining they don't work, because you didn't lose weight! Silly, you were supposed to take them instead. When and if we can actually manage for wild fish....let them spawn, they will return.

Sixth: Open not closed. "Closed waters are poachers water". When we first opened the Sauk river to C&R in the mid eighties, everyone thought for sure it was going to be, "Catch and Run." Turns out the only ones who were complaining was the local boys at the mill, because they used to have the whole river to themselves, to kill as they pleased. Said there was too many guys watching, anymore.

Think about it. We have some world class fisheries in this state that go for begging, while a zillion guys crawl all over each other, on rivers like the Skykomish. Spread out the pressure with responsible anglers (not poachers) and you will maximize angling recreation and minimize mortality. This idea of kill all the wild steelhead until February 28th and then close it down, is just that, a bad idea. What we need to do, it open MORE waters and help the angler govern himself.

Seventh: Enforcement: I will be the first to admit, we need better enforcement, On All Our Rivers! And its not just for the fisherman. Do you know what its like for Mrs. Brown to watch all those steelhead swimming next to her front lawn, on the north Fork Stilly? One of the very worst poachers is the local landowner who can just slip off his porch and drop a line. Do you really think taking the responsible angler off the river will help? Wrong again.

What we really need to do with all that fisheries enhancement money, is beef up our Law Enforcement on our streams. Run training classes for county and state police on busting poachers, like they do in Montana and Idaho. Make enforcement a priority and I guarantee you, all us that consider our fisheries a valuable resource will carry our cell phones on the river. But Please, when we call in a slime ball, at least give us the impression SOMETHING is being done! I know I would much rather see that money go into Law Enforcement then that million dollar log jam, fisheries built on the North Fork last year. Lets send a message we are taking our streams back!

Now lets cut the crap, the guys who wants to continue the "Kill and Close", just can't stand the thought of someone out there enjoying a recreational fishery that they CHOOSE not to participate in. Now I ask you, does that sound fair? What killer Joe is really afraid of, is when Mr. Public finally realizes that we really can have MORE fish, and MORE recreation by simply releasing them, his kill fishery will go away. He feels threatened. Its OK Joe, releasing fish will only hurt for a little while.

I remember taking my father to the quality lakes in eastern Washington for their first time. He is a Wyoming boy, and I don't think he has ever released a fish over 10" in his life. I was really nervous! I will have to admit, he moaned and groaned a little bit at first, but it didn't take him long to realize, as he was handling another big rainbow, he was having the time of his life. Now the funny part is, later that afternoon, some migrant farm boys show up, and start whacking fish. My dad sees this, and he absolutely goes ballistic! I thought he was going to get us both killed! Funny how he changed his philosophy about killing fish, in a days fishing. If my dad can, anyone can.

Eighth: We have got to get some representation, if not equal representation, in our Wildlife Commission. If the commercial interests are running the show, obviously, our wild fish don't stand a chance. "Kill it and close it" has got us into this mess. It is time for a change. . Ask the hard questions, get involved.

Ninth: We need to be better educated on the stands of our elected officials, no, we need to do a better job in voting in people who are willing to do what is right.

Finally, we need to do what we can. If you can fish, invite someone of influence to fish. I know what a joke those public forum meetings are, but huddling around our little fishing groups and complaining, is not working, either. If you are in a club, educate your members. How about sitting down with club reps. from other groups, that you think you can reach a common ground? Call your representative, give your opinion."

Granted that this is about sea-run fish, but it sounds like a sensible, workable approach to any fishery, to me. But then, that's just me.
Any comments or criticisms?



"If I'm not going to catch anything, then I 'd rather not catch anything on flies"
Bob Lawless

fluff-chucker= slang for fly fisher

1,129 Posts
Which begs the question,

What Will We Do???

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