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Thread: Puget Sound salmon

  1. #1
    Boolit Master
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    Puget Sound salmon

    On Wednesday this week salmon fishing reopens in the vicinity of Port Townsend and it should be very good if wind permits. If nearby fisheries are any indication, these immature chinook salmon should be larger than usual averaging about 8# with a few in the high teens. Downriggers are the rule here as the fish are feeding at about 90-120 feet.

  2. #2
    Boolit Master
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    Since the previous post, every salmon derby held around the Sound (3 so far and 4 more over the next two weeks) has had a record number of chinook weighed in. It is going to be a great year for chinook but, unfortunately, not so good for coho salmon or pink salmon due to the conditions on their feeding grounds last summer. It is going to be a really tough year on the Oregon and Washington Coasts where the coho salmon got hit hardest last summer.

  3. #3
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    The spring Chinook should be heading into the mouth of the Rogue River any day now.
    I`m getting excited.....dale

  4. #4
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    In case anyone is wondering why Puget Sound has so many strange regulations regulating sportfishers catch of hatchery fish (100% paid for by sportsmen), I got an interesting answer from the sportfishing guru at the Dept. of Fish and Wildlife at last week's meeting.
    He said the state closed the most popular winter salmon area in Puget Sound two weeks ago because sportsmen had too many "encounters" with salmon so I asked him to define "encounters". He said that, whether hatchery or "wild", if you get it to the boat to be seen, that is an "encounter" even if released unharmed or comes unhooked without taking it out of the water. My next question, as a former fisheries biologist, was what was the assumed hooking mortality on any fish released unharmed. He said 20%. That is a complete falsehood. In the early 1990's, as a member of an oversight commission at the National Marine Fisheries Service and a biologist, I was asked to oversee a three year study on hooking mortality on chinook and coho salmon that were released. That study cost the sportfishing taxpayers about $2 million from Wallop/Breaux excise taxes. The result was LESS THAN 3% FOR COHO AND LESS THAN 6% FOR CHINOOK. The reason it was 20% was that the commercial fishers had demanded it even though they pay not a single dime to produce those fish at the hatcheries. The bureaucrats chose the 20% in order to make sure the the commercials get more than half the fish. That is politics in the State of Washington and why the commercial fishers pump millions into the legislature every session.
    Now you know why I don't tell the fish checkers at the boat launches anything when they ask if I "encountered" any salmon.
    Last edited by quilbilly; 03-25-2013 at 12:17 PM.

  5. #5
    Boolit Master
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    Stinks about the commercial fishermen. Same up here. The commercial fishermen get the priority and sports fishermen and the fish them selves get hind t**.

  6. #6
    Boolit Master
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    The guy from our agency reminded the sportsmen at the meeting that it cost $800 to put a hatchery chinook in the boat. I wish I had thought to ask what it costs to put that same fish in a gillnet since the commercials pay no federal excise tax that sportsmen pay and almost nothing in license fees to get well over half the chinook that sports pay the bills for.
    Anyway, the winter chinook season is almost over with closures beginning next week and doesnt repent until July.
    On an interesting note, almost no one fished this winter for chinook. In all the times I crossed the Sound on ferries over calm water and good fishing conditions, I can count on one hand the number of sport boats I saw on the water. Nevertheless, I have never seen so many anglers fishing on the lake a mile up the road from my house and the trout are averaging well over a pound. It is the economy with gas prices so high, people fish where the fishing is affordable and happens to be good.
    For the record, the lake is Lake Leland and is not only a fine trout lake but has nice catfish, and largemouth bass (my biggest has been just short of 9#) when the water warms up in a couple weeks. The lake is located on the NE corner of the Olympic Peninsula.

  7. #7
    Boolit Master
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    Last week I heard some of the best news I have heard in years. A group of anglers in SW Washington went out specifically for bluefin tuna and caught five. They were "smalls" (40-60#) but its a start after a 50 year absence. The resource is recovering. Albacore are now in the area obout 35 miles offshore.

  8. #8
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    This year (2015) was a tough one around here for coho and pinks but was very good near the coast for chinook. Even the hatcheries have had a tough time getting enough coho back for eggs. The really good news now is the huge number of jack coho that have been everywhere in the last seven weeks. The jacks (immature males) are 50% larger than usual as well. This is a sure sign next years coho run will be extraordinary. September will be fun around here and beach casting for salmon will be great.

  9. #9
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    This is gonna sound like a total I hate Washington post, which I pretty much do. I was born and raised in a little town over on the coast, I spent 38 years over there, I cut my teeth fishing the rivers for salmon and steelhead, I owned a 16 ft willie wide bottom guide model drift boat and spent lots of time on the rivers, the game dept started taking away MORE AND MORE all the time, it went from catch and release steelhead to a total STOP, you couldn't even fish for dolly varden anymore (sold my boat since you couldn't fish anymore) I deer hunted all of my life, I took the hunter safety course when I was 8 yrs old, I killed a bear that year, and a deer, up to my early to mid 20s the deer hunting, and fishing were A class, it started dwindling down by my early 30s and got nothing but worse and worse, I personally know about every hound Hunter over there and they were trying to warn fish and game years ago (starting with my dad 20 plus yrs ago) that Cougars were getting badly out of hand and killing deer by ridiculous numbers!!! My dad even agreed to take them hunting and prove that he could easily tree 3 or 4 Cougars in a single day on one small mountain range alone, and that's just the cats that had crossed the rd in the snow, and there were MANY MANY mountain ranges over there! My dad wrote the game dept. explaining how bad it was and that it was just a matter of SHORT time until they totally wiped the deer out, studies have shown that A COUGAR WILL KILL 1 ADULT DEER A WEEK!! The game dept wrote back saying they were glad to hear that the cougar numbers were up and doing good! COMPLETE BUNCH OF IDIOTS!!! There were other obvious factors as well that hurt the deer, poaching, indians allowed to take anytime they wanted, they ran a late season buck hunt for years and years that really hurt the blacktail deer, the bucks were in full rut and dumb! pretty much a free for all, and lots of big bucks killed every year (just plain piss poor management)Now move ahead to now, try and a find a deer over there now! I know about everyone in that little town I grew up in and most of the guys hunt or at least would like to, the success rate on deer is HORRIBLE at best, most of the guys I know head over the mountains to eastern wa to deer hunt. The wa coast was a great place to grow up in the 70s-80s, and even most of the 90s, but in my opinion is a pathetic place anymore! I moved to Idaho 5 years ago, I couldn't even imagine going back to that place, my wife stil goes over to visit family and friends I stay behind, I totally despise the place! It's not the state of WA, the state is a beautiful state! But patheticly run. There's my rant for the day! I Couldn't resist when I read the 'encounters with salmon' I could rattle on and on about things I seen first hand there, but I'm done now.

  10. #10
    Boolit Bub
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    Quote Originally Posted by 54bore View Post
    This is gonna sound like a total I hate Washington post, which I pretty much do. I was born and raised in a little town over on the coast, I spent 38 years over there, I cut my teeth fishing the rivers for salmon and steelhead, I owned a 16 ft willie wide bottom guide model drift boat and spent lots of time on the rivers, the game dept started taking away MORE AND MORE all the time, it went from catch and release steelhead to a total STOP, you couldn't even fish for dolly varden anymore (sold my boat since you couldn't fish anymore) I deer hunted all of my life, I took the hunter safety course when I was 8 yrs old, I killed a bear that year, and a deer, up to my early to mid 20s the deer hunting, and fishing were A class, it started dwindling down by my early 30s and got nothing but worse and worse, I personally know about every hound Hunter over there and they were trying to warn fish and game years ago (starting with my dad 20 plus yrs ago) that Cougars were getting badly out of hand and killing deer by ridiculous numbers!!! My dad even agreed to take them hunting and prove that he could easily tree 3 or 4 Cougars in a single day on one small mountain range alone, and that's just the cats that had crossed the rd in the snow, and there were MANY MANY mountain ranges over there! My dad wrote the game dept. explaining how bad it was and that it was just a matter of SHORT time until they totally wiped the deer out, studies have shown that A COUGAR WILL KILL 1 ADULT DEER A WEEK!! The game dept wrote back saying they were glad to hear that the cougar numbers were up and doing good! COMPLETE BUNCH OF IDIOTS!!! There were other obvious factors as well that hurt the deer, poaching, indians allowed to take anytime they wanted, they ran a late season buck hunt for years and years that really hurt the blacktail deer, the bucks were in full rut and dumb! pretty much a free for all, and lots of big bucks killed every year (just plain piss poor management)Now move ahead to now, try and a find a deer over there now! I know about everyone in that little town I grew up in and most of the guys hunt or at least would like to, the success rate on deer is HORRIBLE at best, most of the guys I know head over the mountains to eastern wa to deer hunt. The wa coast was a great place to grow up in the 70s-80s, and even most of the 90s, but in my opinion is a pathetic place anymore! I moved to Idaho 5 years ago, I couldn't even imagine going back to that place, my wife stil goes over to visit family and friends I stay behind, I totally despise the place! It's not the state of WA, the state is a beautiful state! But patheticly run. There's my rant for the day! I Couldn't resist when I read the 'encounters with salmon' I could rattle on and on about things I seen first hand there, but I'm done now.
    I couldn't agree more.

    This is not the Washington of the 80's and earlier. Hell this place is crazy liberal progressive now. I live her off and on since 94. The last 15 years have been the worst. I tell everyone I know in CA that it's LA traffic with SF politics here now. Gross. I am moving to Alaska no later than next year. Not soon enough. I don't ever fish steelehead anymore. There is no fish. Sockeye has been fun on the Skagit though.

  11. #11
    Boolit Master
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    Just in case you were wondering what is going on in Washington State:
    The 80's were the last of the good times for Washington State salmon and steelhead sport fisheries. It was in the early 90's when I was actively lobbying in Olympia on timber-fish-wildlife issues and a legislator (and committee chairman) asked me to read the first draft of the new shoreline management plan. I was given the original in his office and the legislator quietly watched me scan the first few pages then watched me go ballistic when I read the passage that "all forms of consumptive recreation would be banned on waters...". The agency director who signed off on the plan became the next governor. Fortunately that first draft died in legislative committee (maybe I actually accomplished something) but that attitude remains and grows among the bureaucracies. A few months later I was at the same committee's hearing on "Natural Area Preserves" when the heads of the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy (!!) spoke. The heads of those two organizations both agreed in testimony that (this is a direct quote) -"Recreation is not a suitable use for public lands and resources.". Those are two major donors to the party that runs this state. You should never, ever contribute to either one of those phony organizations.
    Last edited by quilbilly; 08-14-2016 at 02:51 PM.

  12. #12
    Boolit Master
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    The assault on marine recreational fisheries continues apace. On January 6 the WDFW issued a press release ending all sport fishing on the Washington coast saying the Feds made them do it. At the moment you are not even allowed to put a clam neck on a hook to catch a perch in the surf. No problem with commercial fishing, of course. Just across the Columbia R., Oregon, a couple weeks ago enhanced its year around sport fishing opportunity in the ocean making their limit 7 fish year around plus two ling cod so the excuse by the Washington State fish bureaucracy blaming the same Feds that oversee Oregon is a total lie. Nothing new here, of course, because the stated goal of the Washington State fish-o-crats in 1977 was to eliminate marine recreational fisheries and make Washington "commercial fishing only, no sport fishing allowed" for marine and anadromous fish. This is called bureaucratic momentum. Our place in Quilcene may be a little bit of paradise but if I want to fish saltwater or catch a steelhead, I will be off to Oregon. At the moment the good news on the street is the legislature told the WDFW to stuff their request for a 30-50% increase in license fees.

  13. #13
    Boolit Master
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    The fishocrats just modified its closure right after the previous post so sport fishers can catch surf perch off the beach on the Washington Coast. It must have been quite a S. storm when all those tourist businesses on the coast read about it. LOL.

  14. #14
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    They realized they were going to lose revenues from fishing licenses. Surf perch takes no profits away from the commercial fishing fleet, but still keeps some license revenues coming in.
    A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms *shall not be infringed*.

    "The greatest danger to American freedom is a government that ignores the Constitution."
    - Thomas Jefferson

    "While the people have property, arms in their hands, and only a spark of noble spirit, the most corrupt Congress must be mad to form any project of tyranny."
    - Rev. Nicholas Collin, Fayetteville Gazette (N.C.), October 12, 1789

  15. #15
    Boolit Master
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    On Friday (1/20) the Peninsula Daily News published my projections for this coming summer's salmon populations. The WDFW will probably not be happy again. The next few days will be interesting if the WDFW reacts when I "outed" their policy to exterminate pink salmon runs in North Sound (completed in 1995). Pinks are (were) incredibly popular with recreational fishers and will be missed this year. In a couple weeks they will have a meeting nearby and like last year, I will sit quietly in front. Good fun!

  16. #16
    Boolit Master
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    I did the calculations on chinook for this year (2017). There are about 160,000 hatchery raised chinook adults coming back to Puget Sound this year all paid for by sports anglers. 80,000 off the top go to the treaty tribes commercial fisheries. Of the remaining 80,000, the state is allowing sports anglers to have 29,000 "encounters" of which 20% die one way or another. The question now is where those 74,000 chinook are going. Last year about 55,000 hatchery chinook "disappeared into the ether because they certainly weren't seen by sports fishers. In Hood Canal near my home last year, the sports fisher (aka taxpayer) share was 22,000 chinook yet Hood Canal is effectively "gill net only, no sport fishing allowed" when those fish migrate in and those fish disappeared into the ether. For the record, the Indian Tribe in Hood Canal last year asked for a full on sport fishery for those chinook last spring and early summer to bring tourists who would spend at their casino but the state refused. The tribe is the "good guy" here and the fishery they requested would have made Hood Canal, as small as it is, as good as anyplace in British Columbia.

  17. #17
    Boolit Master
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    No matter how bad it gets for marine recreational fisheries (MRF) in Puget Sound and the Straits of Juan de Fuca, it will be the best it will ever be again. The state is moving headlong toward eliminating MRF in Western Washington except the Makah Reservation at Neah Bay and Westport where several high level fish bureaucrats keep their charter boats. The recently released secret agreement between the tribes and the anti-MRF bureaucrats makes it clear MRF fisheries for hatchery chinook are over however terminal area gill net fisheries by the tribes will continue. I was wondering when the day would come when I would agree with the radical greenies that it is time to close all the dozens of hatcheries (at least 20 by my count) of anadromous fish around the Sound which cost the license buyers at least $1.2 million per year each. Of course we will be able to fish for flounder and squid at least until the commercial fisheries decide they want them. At least I know that the Makah's will tell the state to take a hike since their economy depends on recreational fishing in Neah Bay. Ah well! At least the bass fishing is excellent around here.

  18. #18
    Boolit Master
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    The sad news today is that the Wash. Dept. of Fish and Wildlife bureaucrats finally got somebody killed with their stupid "gold rush" halibut regs. It is someone I knew too. They have been told time and again that these one day halibut openings set weeks in advance will force someone out in bad weather and it happened on Friday. The ocean was truly nasty on Friday for the one day opener but hundreds of boats went out at Neah Bay because everyone knows the state will shut seasons down without warning over their proven bogus anti-sportfishing catch statistics. My hunting partner was out there too on a charter and fortunately came back safe but empty handed.
    Maybe this will convince my friends on the Makah Tribal Council to assert their sovereignty and divorce themselves from the WDFW for season setting in order to make their customers safer within their territorial waters out three miles from the res. The capsizing occurred in their territorial waters.
    I hope the agency gets the blazes sued out of them by the family for refusing to listen to reason or learn from other state's experiences.
    This tragedy was completely avoidable.
    Sorry about the rant but I am exceedingly angry.

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