Recreational fishing is at a
crossroads. Our fisheries are no
longer being managed for fishing
but by litigation. NOAA
Fisheries have taken the stance
that it is in their best
interest to not review and
approve these Hatchery and
Genetics Management Plans as
they are worried that
environmental groups are going
to sue them. Hatchery and
Genetics Management Plans or
HGMPs are studied and are
roughly 50-60 pages of
scientific data to make sure
that it is safe for a certain
fish in a certain river or
stream can be released into that
system. So every fish in any
river system has to be approved
to be released. WDFW is
responsible for writing them,
NOAA is responsible for
approving them. There are over
200 of them to review and
approve. There has not been one
single one approved this year
for Puget Sound.
WDFW is raising our fish in our
hatcheries and being threatened
with lawsuits the early timed
steelhead are not released due
to this litigation. So we write
the HGMPs and NOAA sits on them.
As NOAA's Rob Jones admitted in
a hearing with our Senate
Natural Resources Committee,
they would rather the state be
tied to the railroad tracks than
them. If they untie the state
from the railroad tracks, they
would be tied to the railroad
tracks. Translated they get sued
if they approve them. I didn't
know that NOAA has an option to
not do their job. Apparently I
Many HGMPs were submitted back
in the early 2000s. Not a single
HGMP was approved. When the
Puget Sound ESA listings came
about in the 2007 area (if
memory serves me right) the
HGMPs had to be redone and
resubmitted. These are still
sitting in limbo.
Why was the lawsuit against
steelhead instead of Chinook or
Coho? Because it would have a
ton more resistance. These
people are very smart and are
starting at the bottom. They are
picking the low hanging fruit.
They were successful with some
of their first lawsuits with the
state and feds. The state and
feds have paid them off on the
Tokul creek hatchery and the
Leavenworth hatchery. Luckily
the Colvilles and the Yakima
tribes intervened in the lawsuit
Fish and Wildlife, Bonneville
Power, US Bureau of Reclamation.
Seattle Trout Club intervened
in the Tokul creek lawusit.
Thanks to them too.
Now they have started a
precedence and are getting paid
for their actions. It is a
matter of time before they go
after all hatcheries. In the
same hearing WFC admitted that
the only hatchery they approved
of are the closed ones.
If you take nothing more away
from this is that you need to
contact your federal senators
and tell them to put pressure on
NOAA to get all of our HGMPs
approved. Our fisheries are
worth a billion dollars a year
to our state.
We have pristine rivers in Hood
Canal that have had no hatchery
intervention. This is taken from
a letter to me by a PSA member.
five major rivers flowing into
Hood Canal from the west include
the most pristine habitat we
have in the state. They are the
Skokomish, Hama Hama, Duckabush,
Dosewallips, and Quilcene. The
Skokomish and Quilcene both have
fish hatcheries and are the only
two of this five with a runs of
either coho or chinook and both
offer harvest opportunity. The
other three rivers have not been
open to fishing since I moved
here in 1979 with, as far as I
know, with the exception of a
late season chum fishery on the
Dosewallips. Not one of these
rivers has a steelhead run and
they have been off limits for
steelhead for over 35 years and
have not had any hatchery
interference. One would think
with the pristine waters and no
hatchery interference a native
run would re-establish itself if
hatcheries were the problem."
Please don't take this lightly
as we are being attacked on many
fronts. This is a serious issue
for all salmon fisheries. Get
involved before it's too late.
Come and learn how to fish from
our skilled members at a local
chapter. We are the true
conservationists in Washington
that use common sense to deal
with our fisheries. Join your
local chapter today and be part
of the solution. We understand
today’s problems and are working
together for a better tomorrow.
If enjoy Puget Sound and Snohomish River Coho fishing or enjoy helping enhance
recreational opportunities please read on!
I'm Kelli Mack from the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club. We took over a
private salmon hatchery back in 2009 and got it back into operational condition.
To date we have raised and released over 240,000 Coho into the Snohomish River
system and currently have 88,000 more on hand to release next spring.
The eyed-eggs we receive are surplus hatchery fish, which if not kept local,
would be sent away to distant fisheries. We keep these fish in their home river
system, enriching our catching opportunities.
Although it's functional the hatchery is in need upgrades to ensure the safety
of eggs, fry, and smolt as we nurture them along their life-cycle.
Please help by making a tax deductible contribution to the campaign Snohomish &
Puget Sound Coho Fishing Enhancement going on now on Indiegogo here: Coho
Hatchery Fundraiser Link
Coho fishing in 2013 was almost 8 times better than in 2010 according to a
comparison of creel checks at the Everett Public Ramp.
Did you know that some yelloweye rockfish
that are here today were Washington residents before it became a
state in 1889? They have been and continue to be an important
part of our heritage.
Halibut and bottomfish fishing have also
been a part of Washington’s culture for hundreds of years. Many
generations of fishermen have relied on halibut and bottomfish
for food and recreation.
A recent stock assessment indicates that
the yelloweye rockfish population has declined over 80% from its
initial level. As a result, immediate action must be taken if
the stocks of these long-lived fish are to be rebuilt.
To rebuild yelloweye rockfish populations,
the harvest opportunities for this species must be severely
curtailed. In recent years, the Pacific Fishery Management
Council has set yelloweye rockfish harvest levels for all
commercial, recreational, and tribal fisheries combined for
California, Oregon, and Washington of about 17 metric tons (mt).
This number includes yelloweye rockfish that are discarded at
The Washington recreational harvest target
is about 2.7 mt (fewer than 1,000 fish) in coastal waters. To
put this in perspective, in 2001, the Washington recreational
fishery harvested 15 mt.
Yelloweye rockfish, in general, are harvested during the
Washington recreational halibut fishery. If the yelloweye
rockfish catch is projected to exceed 2.7 mt, then Pacific ocean
waters adjacent to Washington outside 25 fathoms will be closed
to recreational bottomfish fishing (including halibut).
If yelloweye rockfish cannot be avoided when anglers are
targeting halibut, then we may have to close recreational
halibut fishing in the future to protect yelloweye rockfish.
Because the yelloweye rockfish stock may not be rebuilt for over
100 years, the problem of managing the yelloweye fishery will
continue through our lifetime; however, you have the ability to
help save the halibut fishery now and preserve the yelloweye
resource for the future.
Live to be 120 years old
Range extends from Mexico to Alaska
Found in deeper, rocky bottom areas
Slow growing,low productive species
Reddish-orange in color with bright yelloweye
Commonly called "red snapper"
Often spend their entire lifetime on one rockpile
How You Can Help
If you are participating in the recreational halibut or
bottomfish fishery, please avoid areas that are known to
have yelloweye rockfish.
If you do accidentally catch a yelloweye, please return
to the water s soon as possible.
Help spread the word to others about the severity of the
yelloweye rockfish depleted population and the possible
consequences of not avoiding yelloweye areas
If you do not know what areas may have yelloweye
rockfish, please consult a local resort, motel, or charter
office or other expert before fishing