Monday, February 28, 2011

Come To Oregon This Summer For Poached Steelhead

No I'm not talking about illegally caught either.
In a press release from NSIA (Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association) it states the following.

NSIA representatives included major retailers such as Fred Meyer and Fishermen’s Marine and Outdoor, tackle manufacturers, outdoor advertising and media, and guides. Facilitated by ODFW, the participants brainstormed ways to leverage their collective communication platforms and resources for better outreach to attract new customers to this thriving but under appreciated fishery.

“Steelhead are one of Oregon’s most prized game fish, known for their fight,” said Todd Davidson, Director of Travel Oregon. “Great conditions and stable fishing seasons make summer steelhead a solid draw to Oregon for visiting anglers and their families.” Davidson continued, “The statewide potential of this pilot project is tremendous.”
Last year, nearly half a million of these summer steelhead, often nicknamed “freight trains” entered the Columbia River and were pursued by anglers from the bank and from boats. For 2011 the steelhead returns will be down, but only slightly. “This is the perfect fishery for the families that shop Fred Meyer,” said Cheryl Kindwall, sporting goods buyer. “A Columbia River steelhead is easily caught from the river’s many public beaches, turning a fishing trip into a picnic and fun family outing.”

So what is wrong with this you might ask? The Columbia river runs very warm, fish wise, in the summer months. It runs on an average year in the lethal range of 68-71Fin August the height of tourist season. Plainly speaking that is too hot to stress out a wild steelhead.
When a steelhead is hooked and played in those warm temperatures is is almost always lethal.
It is somewhat surprising that a group like NSIA would promote this fishery knowing that the warm water is harmful.
Tourism in Oregon is fine and we all know that it helps Oregon's struggling economy but to promote actually harming ESA is troubling. I would have thought NSIA would know better.Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who are also involved in this promotion of CR summer steelhead, has once again shown a total disregard for the health of wild salmonids...does that surprise you?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

An Important Read

If you have ever had doubts about just how hatchery programs affect wild salmon and steelhead you will want to read the study linked below. It's a pretty long read but it is worth it.
Chilcote Study on hatchery anadromous fish and their effect on wild salmonids

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Things to Think About for 2012

In 2012 Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will consider new angling proposals. This is a process that happens every 4 years and the public is invited to submit their ideas for consideration.
We have to be vigilant and stick up for our wild salmonids and their habitat and your help is needed.

Here are some proposals that I am kicking around.

- A 10" to 13" statewide slot limit for all wild cutthroat trout
- Barbless hooks for use in all rivers where wild salmon, trout and steelhead are present
- Bait restrictions in upper portions of coastal rivers
- Increased protection of salmon and steelhead spawning areas
- Increasing daily and weekly bag limits for hatchery steelhead
These are just some of the things that will be addressed and considered for future regulations.
AS we get closer to the time for this process to begin I will keep you all posted about what you need to do.
Please be involved! Wild fish need your help

Monday, February 07, 2011

Reagan at 100

Yes I know I made a pledge to "depoliticize" the Quiet Pool but I couldn't resist sharing this with all of you.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Barbless Hooks and Their Importance to Wild Salmonid Recovery

There is an incredible resistance among sports anglers against the use of barbless hooks and I do not understand it.
Studies show that the use of barbless hooks does decrease mortality among released fish. Think about for a minute.
You've hooked a wild trout and know that you are going to release it. Doesn't it make sense that a barbless hook allows your fly or lure to be quickly removed and therefore would be desirable among ALL sports anglers? This is just common sense...right?
The vitriol against the use of barbless hooks, especially among conventional gear anglers, is shocking.
Click on the link below for an eye opening article by Bill Bakke, executive director of Native Fish Society
Barbless Hooks Study by Bill Bakke

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Wild Steelhead - It's What's for Dinner

It recently came to my attention that Key City Fish Company of Port Townsend, Washington is a distributor of wild steelhead to area restaurants.
I emailed them and here is the exchange I had with them

I wrote -

It has come to my attention that you distribute and sell ESA listed wild steelhead to various Seattle restaurants.I would please implore you to stop and do not purchase these endangered fish any longer.
Wild steelhead are a very precious resource in this region and we cannot afford to let their numbers slip any further.
Once they are gone they are gone forever...there is no replacement for them in our rivers and in our rivers is where they belong not on someone dinner plate.
Please consider not selling them anymore.

Key City's Response -

Thank you for your concern regarding the Olympic Peninsula Steelhead. We agree with your position that distributing unsustainable, endangered and threatened fish is not a good idea.
The Olympic Peninsula Steelhead that we purchase is always from the sustainably managed Quileute tribal fishery on the Quileute River or the Makah tribal fishery on the Tsooees River. The Steelhead is a combination of both hatchery and wild stock that has spawned naturally. The Quileute and Makah Tribes are closely partnered with the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to effectively, and aggressively manage these fisheries so that they remain healthy and robust for generations to come. The state and tribes actively work with citizens to catalogue details about habitat and map fish stock distributions. I can assure you that everyone involved, from tribe to state to distributor and restaurant has a vested interest in the preservation of this fish.
It is true that many Wild Steelhead populations are indeed endangered or threatened and should absolutely be completely avoided, such as those on the California Coast, Oregon Coast, Snake River, and Puget Sound. However, the Olympic Peninsula Steelhead population is healthy, robust and absolutely not threatened. For confirmation of this please visit NOAA’s website at:
We are aware that there is considerable conflict between sport and commercial fishermen regarding the regulation of steelhead fishing and we understand the frustrations of both sides. We want to stress, though, that our interest in this fish is primarily as a fantastic food. The Olympic Peninsula Steelhead we deliver is sustainably and legally caught according to the regulations set forth by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife and is not endangered or threatened according to NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service. If these official assessments were to change we would indeed adjust our use of this product.
Best Regards,
Johnpaul Davies
Key City Fish Company

So okay they don't care but we do! I urge anyone who thinks the conservation of wild steelhead is pretty important and that Key City Fish Company is wrong to write this company and express your unhappiness about their business practices and their commitment to wild steelhead.
You can also write to companies that get fish from Key City and make them aware of what is going on.
Here is the response from a restaurant that got fish from Key City  Ray's Boathouse Restaurant in Seattle

Thank you for your feedback. We are no longer serving Steelhead. We will continue to work hard to find truly sustainable sources for our products and appreciate your comments at any time. Thank you for your time and passion on this very important issue.

Peter Birk, Executive Chef
Ray’s Boathouse, CafĂ© & Catering
6049 Seaview Avenue NW
Seattle, WA 98107

Obviously Ray's think wild steelhead are pretty important and that putting them on the menu is wrong.....Thank You Ray!

Reaching out to businesses like Key City and Ray's does make a difference. Maybe Key City will change their minds about serving wild steelhead if they get enough emails and calls to quit serving them.