So as you may have heard the Washington State department of Fish and Wild Life is planning some pretty major rule changes for this years native steelhead season.
WDFW has committed to a regulation prohibiting fishing from a floating device (you can float down the river, but you have to stand on the bottom to fish), and shortening the season on our local rivers to end on March 31.
This next section is bad, but it shouldn’t be news to anyone who has been paying attention at all.
Stop reading here to avoid shitty news
None of the proposals put forward by WDFW will have significant impact on wild steelhead populations , even in the relatively short term.
We can’t improve native steelhead populations without a fundamental change in management systems.
We will have to abandon maximum sustained yield (MSY) , and raise escapement goals to create escapement increases.
Nothing else will make a real difference.
Is anyone shocked by the fact that many rivers aren’t predicted to meet their minimum escapement goals?
Countless storied steelhead rivers have fallen on their asses. Even the Kenai has been closed to kings in recent years.
Salmon and steelhead are in really bad shape everywhere and it’s been getting steadily worse for a long time.
(See global warming and over fishing)
Please don’t pretend to be shocked.
As for the “no boat” rules, I am super sympathetic to all the folks this disenfranchises. Both guides, and folks unable to walk the banks. That’s a huge big deal, I think its fundamentally unfair to those folks, and I think the state has not really figured out how that’s going to work.
Again, super sorry guys, and I hope the state finds a way to make it right, and create opportunity for you.
Start reading again here for better news
The Hoh river is slated to make escapement, if only barely, and the Quillayute system is predicted to do pretty well.
As for me, and our clients, we are (oh my god, I’m going to do it) in a different boat.
Let that sink in.
We are gonna fish some of the old gear, some cool new gear, change the game plan a little, catch plenty of fish and have a lot of fun.
I am anticipating showing our clients some new challenges, solutions and some super cool new experiences.
In the mean time, I’m going to continue to do what I have always done. I’m going fishing. More than ever, I will try to make the most out my encounters with native steelhead, enjoy the spectacular “friluftsliv” of pursuing them and try to help, where I can, improve our understanding of what might help these fish persist into the future. Come out and join in.
Rain Coast Guides