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Author Topic: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read  (Read 11478 times)

Offline RG

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Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« on: March 10, 2013, 08:18:15 AM »
Bob Heirman wrote a column in the Everett Herald about fishing the Pilchuck River.  If any of you are not familiar with him he's the father of fishing in Snohomish County and has been actively involved in managing fish since the 1930's.  Nobody is more familiar and educated.  He's the one they named Bob Heirman park on Thomas' Eddy in the Snohomish River for.  The game commission has gone so far overboard with the wild vs hatchery fish issue that they've thrown away the interests of sportsmen and businesses alike in favor of a few special interest people.


http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20130310/OPINION03/703109938
And I think God must be a cowboy at heart
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Offline Button Nubbs

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Re: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2013, 08:56:50 AM »
This guy has a hidden agenda.

This is one of the last rivers on the entire snoho system that gets good numbers of big wild fish andhe wants to flood it with brats? If you want hatchery fish go to rReiter Tokul or the Wallace, but for heaven sakes leave this river alone.

Quote
I haven't seen a steelheader be disappointed after catching a fish that fights the same, tastes the same and is a direct descendent of a "native" fish.

I don't know of one seious steelheader that would agree with this statement.

 :bash:
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Offline RG

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Re: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2013, 10:27:49 AM »
This guy has a hidden agenda.

This is one of the last rivers on the entire snoho system that gets good numbers of big wild fish andhe wants to flood it with brats? If you want hatchery fish go to rReiter Tokul or the Wallace, but for heaven sakes leave this river alone.

Quote
I haven't seen a steelheader be disappointed after catching a fish that fights the same, tastes the same and is a direct descendent of a "native" fish.

I don't know of one seious steelheader that would agree with this statement.

 :bash:

You are totally wrong, he doesn't have a hidden agenda, obviously you don't know Bob Heirman, he just fished it in its peak and now it's a wasteland.  I fished the Pilchuck for years and years and learned from the old timers that fished it for years.  The "big wild fish" are remnants of hatchery fish from years gone by, they were stocking the river back in the 1930's.  Read Heirman's book if you want to know the whole story, every Snohomish County fisherman should read it.  Western Washington used to be a steelhead fishing mecca, now there are only a few skeletons of days gone by and they are on the Olympic Peninsula.  I've fished at Lewis St. in Monroe when there were 30 guys on the bank with 10 or more fish on the beach day after day.  The Cracker Bar in Sultan, same way.  I drifted the Sky from Sultan to Ben Howard dozens of times per year, caught actual real fish.  I fished the reformatory drift, and Hansen's Bar, the morning hole, the two bit hole, hiked the Pilchuck from Snohomish to Lochsloy, caught beautiful fish, big fish.  When the fish were in you had to park your rig and walk a long way because there were so many people out there having a great time, and gee whiz, catching fish.

What has been accomplished?  Try to answer that one.  What about the hours of recreation, the "mental health days" spent on the river, the thousands upon thousands of dollars left in the Snohomish County economy for bait, gas, breakfast, clothing, tackle?  People used to buy licenses and steelhead cards by the hundreds and hundreds.  We gave it all up for a few special interest people who don't really care about the sport.  They have the hidden agenda but guess what, they certainly aren't fishermen because there are no fish available.  The Pilchuck closed the last day of January this year, before the wild fish run shows up in numbers to make sure nobody gets a chance to catch anything.  I live on the river bank, I watch the river daily.  I fish it and have since the 1960's.  Tell me about the hidden agenda please, I think Heirman's agenda is right out there on the table.  Provide sport and recreation for residents of our state.

And I think God must be a cowboy at heart
 He made wide open spaces from the start
 He made grass and trees and mountains and a horse to be a friend
 And trails to lead ol' cowboys home again

Chris Ledoux...

Offline Button Nubbs

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Re: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2013, 11:06:14 AM »
A couple things to consider:

Trying to create a new run of "wild fish" by letting hatchery fish spawn naturally is just plain stupid. They are genetically inferior. Could the planting of hatchery fish in that river system over the years contributed to the decline of the current returns. This needs to be explored before we just start dumping fish into a river again.

That river is not big enough to support all of the anglers in the Puget sound area. We would be lucky to have any biters make it to spawn with all the pressure it would recieve. I had a blast fishing that little gem but I had to quit while I was ahead. Now you go and there are 3 or 4 rigs at every turnout. That river will never go back to its former glory where you could bonk 3 20lb steelhead a day. But I'm sure that had no impact on those fish either...

From the reading I take it that bob wants to kill kill kill...
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Offline fishseeker

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Re: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2013, 12:04:26 PM »
I caught my 1st steelhead on the chuck in 1971 and used fish it a bunch. Have fished also from Lochsloy to Snohomish, Caught some bigguns too. Yup I ate em.  You weren't a low down POS back then for eating a fish :bash: I really could not tell the difference from the from the fight of the same size fish froma Nate or Hatchery fish. Tasted the same too! The attitude the Nate is better just don't wash in my book and is what got us to where we find ourselves today, NO FISH TO CATCH. I have not been out fishing for Iron since 1996. I used to catch plenty. I too fished Lewis st. before it filled in and there would be 30 guy's fishing the High Bank and the low bank would have 50 to 75 guys on it. there was fish being caught if the fish were in. Sad times when they close Hatchery's because certain groups don't like em. :bash: But I'm old now and you can have my spot on the river banks, Gave my gear to a young man and my DB is for sale. Screw it I'm going Prospecting, Gold is all native and don't need to look for a clipped fin. Same sounds a fishing and DON'T have to throw em back :bash:
 PS, I'll be the greyhaired guy hunched over a sluice with a bucket and a smile on my face once again :IBCOOL:
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Offline Button Nubbs

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Re: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2013, 01:05:52 PM »
The whacking of all those wild fish is why there are NO FISH TO CATCH.
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Offline fishseeker

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Re: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2013, 03:19:30 PM »
No nets is why there is no wild fish. Sportsman did catch enough to worry about in the 70s early 80s. But nets in untill Feb. sure did. Nets from Possesion to the mouth of the Snohomish took care of any all fish. Yea that was 50% :bash:
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Offline Button Nubbs

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Re: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2013, 03:41:46 PM »
That's part of the equation
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Offline Bullkllr

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Re: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« Reply #8 on: March 10, 2013, 05:19:21 PM »
There is plenty of data available regarding any introduction of hatchery steelhead to a system, whether they are from a foreign stock or even from a native stock within that system.

Virtually every study arrives at the same conclusion: (in a nutshell) hatchery production has only a negative effect on natural production, and native stock released from a hatchery have very poor reproductive success.

For a person who loves fishing for, catching, and eating steelhead as much as I do, this is a bitter pill to swallow, but it is the simple truth.

With the ESA thing for most stocks in Washington, were lucky to have any hatchery fish at all. Don't get me started on what things were like 30-40 years ago...Puyallup and Green were crazy with fish. When the Cowlitz hatcheries first took off, I remember waking on the gravel bar at the Barrier dam and needing to be careful not to step on the dozens of fish people had lying on the beach behind them. Ironically, those massive hatchery infusions are probably a signifcant part of why we are where we are today with our wilds. Those days are a thing of the past for the foreseeable future :'(

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Offline BOWHUNTER45

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Re: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« Reply #9 on: March 10, 2013, 05:26:51 PM »
Steelhead fishing is getting to be a joke ...all the regulations have flipped me upside down ...I may never go again ...they can have it .... :twocents: :tup:

Offline RG

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Re: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« Reply #10 on: March 10, 2013, 06:11:30 PM »
A couple things to consider:

Trying to create a new run of "wild fish" by letting hatchery fish spawn naturally is just plain stupid. They are genetically inferior. Could the planting of hatchery fish in that river system over the years contributed to the decline of the current returns. This needs to be explored before we just start dumping fish into a river again.

That river is not big enough to support all of the anglers in the Puget sound area. We would be lucky to have any biters make it to spawn with all the pressure it would recieve. I had a blast fishing that little gem but I had to quit while I was ahead. Now you go and there are 3 or 4 rigs at every turnout. That river will never go back to its former glory where you could bonk 3 20lb steelhead a day. But I'm sure that had no impact on those fish either...

From the reading I take it that bob wants to kill kill kill...

Why are you anti-fishing?  I didn't see anything about recreating a run of wild fish.  I read him asking for a renewed opportunity for sportsmen and women in Washington to catch some steelhead, to experience the challenge and thrill of catching a few.  It shouldn't be a sport set aside for a few "elite" anglers who can go somewhere else.   It seems like a few, narrow minded, folks have convinced them that somehow it's a good thing to eliminate all the fishing I described above so some fish won't have to die.  Geez, give me a break.  It's not just a Pilchuck thing either, it's a northwest thing.  The hatchery programs have been gutted to the point that I bet they don't sell 5 percent of the number of licenses to steelhead fishermen that they sold in even the early 90's.  That's really sad too because it was a really great fishery.  If you don't want the fish killed then OK, open it to catch and release.  A year or two ago I went to WDFW at Mill Creek and spoke to the biologist who manages anadramous fish in region 4.  They told me they don't know how many wild fish there are because they don't actually have anybody going out there and counting them.  They just close the fishery in case there is a problem.  Really?  If there was fishing opportunity to be had there would be a lot more license and tag money available.  If they didn't spend it on wolf or butterfly management they could use it to count redds.  Or maybe they could ask a few sportmen's groups to help out, I bet that would work too, if they listened to what the group told them after the counts of course.  Maybe I seem bitter but I, like Bob Heirman, have seen what it was and it's not any more and the reason is because closed minded purists for some unknown reason have convinced the WDFW that people shouldn't be allowed to fish steelhead in Washington.  I don't get it but maybe I don't graze in the right pockets or something.  Who knows?
And I think God must be a cowboy at heart
 He made wide open spaces from the start
 He made grass and trees and mountains and a horse to be a friend
 And trails to lead ol' cowboys home again

Chris Ledoux...

Offline BOWHUNTER45

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Re: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« Reply #11 on: March 10, 2013, 06:56:27 PM »
Just think about what it used to be like to go and catch a steelhead ...it was like going on an elk hunt for me ...sleepless nights waiting for it to get daylight and heading to our shack on the river to light a fire and get a line in the water ...now you are being watched - threatened and can not handle native fish out of the water...I know they are working hard on the skagit to count what fish are showing up ...I drive by the counter everyday to see at least 3 or 4 rigs sitting at the counter ...why it takes that many I have no idea  :dunno: :chuckle: I think I should start a (In Memory of steelhead fishing in Washington ) All..If I could just find all the photo from the 80s & 90s of all the Big Nats we used to catch and turn loose to become tribal food they maybe  :o We were that nice  :dunno: :chuckle: just saying ...just being me ...thats all !

Offline Ironhead

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Re: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« Reply #12 on: March 10, 2013, 07:03:42 PM »
My personal opinion is for a  brood stock program on many of these rivers. Hatchery raising the native stock only makes sense to me. Then, if they do spawn naturally it will not be so detrimental to the native run. Yes, they will be slightly inferior to the wild fish but not any worse off than the mixed strains we have now.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2013, 07:41:57 PM by Ironhead »
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Offline Button Nubbs

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Re: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« Reply #13 on: March 10, 2013, 07:07:21 PM »
i am not anti fishing, as a matter of fact i would literally give a nut to be able to fish that river in feb/march. i am not exaggerating either. i will literally go to the doctor right now. :chuckle: i think these are the most beautiful creatures god put on this green earth and i would rather not fish them and give them a chance for survival than risk killing them all off.

you said there fish are the remnants of hatchery stock and i simply asked if dumping hatchery fish into these rivers had a detrimental impact to the wild stocks? you an i both know this river is small and intermingled breeding between hatchery and wild fish is inevitable.

as far as cnr goes i would love to see it happen but i dont think it would help much. im not sure where you got your figures but i read somewhere (i think on this site) that fishing licence sales are up some 11%. these fish would be running the gauntlet on this river system which would lead to high mortality rates even without a retention season. you and i both know these fish are snappy and would likley be caught numerous times on their way to the spawning grounds, greatly reducing their chance for survival even under cnr regulations.

dont take this the wrong way because i probably would have joined the "old timers" in the slaughter of these fish, and this is only part of the equation as to why wild stocks throughout the pnw are in trouble. if it truly was as crowded as you say it was lets do some simple math. 50 anglers per day keep 1 steelhead each feb through march. 59x50= 2,950. that is almost 1.500 spawning pairs of steelhead that will not procreate.

trust me there is nothing more i want than to see these fish rebound because there is nothing like hooking a 20lb steelhead in a river you could darn near spit across. i just think its time to take a different approach as wild stocks have been declining for years all over the pnw.
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Offline BOWHUNTER45

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Re: Steelhead on the Pilchuck. A good read
« Reply #14 on: March 10, 2013, 07:15:52 PM »
just close it all down for 5 yrs including tribal fishing and we would have fish again ....Pretty simple solution to the problem ...

 


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