News!!! Maybe?

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.

Jim Kerr
Rain Coast Guides
Forks, WA

Posted in Winter Steelhead Fly Fishing Report | Tagged | 8 Comments

8 Responses to News!?

  1. Paul says:

    I enjoy your essays and editorials. Nicely done. Easy to read and understand!


  2. Ken Johnson says:

    Oh good,
    More guys walking on the redds.
    What a fricking brilliant solution!
    I guess we should be thankful we get to fish at all.
    Bass and carp, anyone?

    • raincoastguides says:

      Hey Ken, sorry for the late reply. Thanks for your comments, hope to see you on a creek near here soon.

  3. Greg Splett says:

    After reading all the bluster in the forums I figured I would swing by and see what your take was, and its as spot on and as optimistic as I would expect. Unfortunately I am afraid The Steallhead that have consumed so much of my life and heart are not going to survive MSY and the made up math and science that it uses to overcome common sense. Be safe out there Jim.

    • raincoastguides says:

      Saving OP steelhead is easy. All we have to do is collect actual data, and decide what we want steelhead for.
      That is, are they for eating? Catching and releasing? Just to maintain the integrity of native stocks even if that means zero angler interaction? The hard part is coming to consensus and what we are trying to achieve.

  4. Steven K Stoll says:

    Question: does this mean the tribes will no longer be able to set their drift nets from boats, or follow them down through the runs from any type of “floating device”? Just curious, is all…

    • raincoastguides says:

      Sorry about the late reply. Surprisingly no, the tribes will still fish, each tribe individually, as they see fit to manage their portion of the allowable harvest.
      Keep in mind please though, that the coastal tribes do a MUCH better job at managing their fisheries than WDFW does at managing ours. They collect data on run size predictions much better, they monitor their harvest much better, and they enforce their rules MUCH better than WDFW. We often like to complain about tribal fishing, and certainly in some cases rightly so, but they have far more reason to complain about us. We should do better.

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