Saturday, June 06, 2009

What Are You Smoking?

I gleaned this wealth of wisdom from a popular Pacific Northwest Fishing Forum and just could not resist a retort.

The following quote is from one David Johnson, a popular bait guide on the north coast. So to make sure that David's reply is in proper context let me post here the post that got his goat. The whole thread deals with the closure of the Nehalem river to fall chinook angling but I want to focus in on some specific statements David Johnson makes.

I didn't mean to imply that the guides were the sole problem to the Nehalem. If you read my earlier post I said that the guides can have a negative effect on all of the river systems that we are having declining runs on.

It almost seems like ODFW is managing the fishery for the guides.

If you attend any of the meetings it is clear that ODFW has a very special relationship with the guide lobby.

Here was Mr.Johnson's reply

I wish I did drugs because I'd ask for what you're smoking.


The ODFW Commission is about as unsupportive of the guide industry as they could be. Have you seen how many times they have bent us over in the last several years?

Some people just don't get it. If there are few fish in a run then there are going to be few fish caught. It's not like guides are going out and still catching 20 fish a day.

And when the runs are low and less fish are caught because of it then the pressure is down and less fish are harvested. In effect it's self regulating.

The bios know that there are less fish caught when these runs are down but they have to close it for political reasons more than anything.

BTW, the bios in Tillamook have their act together. They do know what they are doing. They do have the fishes best interest in mind and they do know when and if a there can be a fish harvest on different systems.

Why do I feel the need to reply you might ask? I've spent a few years trying to combat the adverse effect the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, specifically the Tillamook regional headquarters of ODFW, have had on wild salmonids.
Case in point is the steelhead broodstock programs on the Nestucca, Siletz and Wilson rivers. These rivers are all coastal tributaries in the Tillamook watershed and the broodstock programs have had an adverse effect on the wild steelhead populations. This is a fact and is undisputed except for ODFW and the bait guides, like Mr.Johnson, who are absolutely orgasmic over this program. Why do they love it so? It gives them a late winter season to run their guided trips that in the past they never had.
Yes these bait guides lobbied hard for this program and yes ODFW fell all over themselves to provide these GUIDES this late season bonanza of hatchery steelhead and why is that? Simply put it benefits these bait guides the most! No ifs ands or buts. They get to give their clients a chance at the returning broodstock hatchery steelhead at a time of year when in the past only wild steelhead were present. This is all at the expense, of course, of those wild winter steelhead. You know how I've railed on this blog about the steelhead broodstock and if you haven't then simply go my entry on 02/25/09 called "The Great Broodstock Boondoggle AKA Bait Guide Welfare" for the details of this program.
These bait guides also could book trips for the collection of those wild steelhead to harvest eggs and milt to make wild fish into hatchery fish and all in the name of helping wild fish they would claim. In fact one of these bait guides thought it was just wonderful that these returning broodstock HATCHERY steelhead could spawn with wild steelhead and therefore there would be an increase in the wild steelhead population. Wonder where this bait guide got his info? Could it have been one of those great biologists from the Tillamook office?
Everyone was supposed to be happy right? Well they didn't expect that this program to be detrimental to the wild steelhead on the above listed streams.
So Mr. Johnson can say that he and his fellow bait guides friends care about wild fish when in fact it appears that they are harming them. Intentionally? That is not for me to say but I will say this much. Angling for wild winter steelhead has been terrible the last couple of years and why is it?
David Johnson is one of the best bait guides at getting his clients into fish. That is an undisputed fact! He is second to none in putting hatchery steelhead in the box. However I think he misses the point in what the poster said that Mr. Johnson reacted so strongly to.
ODFW has accommodated bait guides like David Johnson to the point that they have hurt wild fish.
I am not making this stuff up folks! ODFW gave the bait guides of the north coast what they thought would be a wind fall. It was indeed just that the first couple of years but numbers of harvestable hatchery broodstock returnees have spiraled downward. Not only are the broodstock fish missing but so are the wild fish that pay the price of this folly.
The bottom line is this. ODFW biologists do not have the best interest of fish in mind but absolutely, especially wild winter steelhead. They have accommodated guides like David Johnson and others! So David I would have to ask what are you smoking because it is evident that your have a different take than what is really happening So don't "Bogart That Joint" dude! I would invite David Johnson or any north coast bait guide to rebut everything I've written here.

On another note your favorite blog "The Quiet Pool" turned three years old today. Thanks for reading.

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