Lower Columbia coho returns

Discussion in 'Washington Fishing Reports' started by barnettm, Mar 20, 2016.

  1. barnettm

    barnettm Member

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    mike
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    coho.jpg It has been mentioned that lower Columbia Coho returns are the reason for the present fishing crisis. Shown above are the coho returns to the Washougal hatchery 2007-2015. Agreed 2015 was a low year, but 2010-2012 were also low years and in general the curve fluctuates greatly. So should a crisis be declared over one 2015 data point?
     
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  2. MarkFromSea

    MarkFromSea Piscatologist

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    Mark
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    I thought it was more the Puget Sound Ho that were of larger concern.

    I'm pretty sure it's more of the unclipped, possibly "wild", fish they are focusing on in multiple areas. Sure, hatchery escapement plays a role in their decisions but the ESA designation of Puget Sound unclipped fish is the predominant issue at hand I think.

    I think it was Paul who sent me some numbers, 25 ocean nook represent 1 unclipped Puget Sound ho. Meaning if you want 1 additional unclipped ho to show up in Puget Sound, ya gotta cut back ocean harvest of nook by 25 fish. Excuse me if I got that wrong, using gray matter there.

    They wouldn't use only hatchery returns to quantify unclipped ho to rivers since the unclipped, if truly "wild", wouldn't be returning to hatcheries. One method is counting the redds, or fertilized egg scatters in rivers. I was camping up the Chiwawa last year or the year before when WDFW dumped a kid out of a van so he could walk the river and count nook redds. This was damn near up at Trinity... Interesting enough, earlier in the day, I was watching squaw fish gobble up minute fingerlings in a large pool of the Chiwawa. No fishing allowed at all there so no one can even target the squaw to remove them.

    The coastal river ho stocks are not ESA listed yet and we want to keep it that way.
     
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  3. barnettm

    barnettm Member

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    I have some plots on Puget Sound hatchery returns also. Also a couple on the coastal rivers. They all show the same trend. A down year in 2015, but not unlike other down years. The Puget Sound Voights creek hatchery was actually up in 2015. The only way I know to get quantitative data for wild returns is via the Columbia River dam counts.
     
  4. rrenick65

    rrenick65 Member

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    Ross
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    Those dam counts won't help you much either. All wild coho on the Columbia are ESA listed fish. A majority of the rivers are below Bonneville dam. The counts were down this year and have been for years compared to historical data.

    Mark hit it on the head, ESA listed coho are the predominate concern. Hence, why the are listed as Endangered. Hatchery fish are essentially a surrogate for wild fish. When the hatchery counts are low so are the wild fish. Not only were the numbers down, but the fitness of the fish were down as well. Better to play it safe and have future returns, if the Department is wrong, everyone will know. They can always open the fishery up after the fish show up. It's better that than close it down after its too late.
     
  5. barnettm

    barnettm Member

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    voights creek.jpg Well I found some data to suggest that maybe there is a problem. Said data is returns to the Voight Creek (Puget Sound) for the last few years. There is definitely a downward trend. I am glad you see that I was trying to tie hatchery returns to wild returns given the suspected problem is the ocean. So now I am ready to buy some more tuna lures!!
     
  6. Alice1952

    Alice1952 Member

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    Alice Archer
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    Has anybody ever questioned the number of wild fish to hatchery fish that the tribes catch ? I've never seen any documents showing them . Also never seen anybody keeping track. I lived on a creek that had a hatchery and was told not to worry about the coho that wouldn't use the fish ladder because there were plenty other creeks that had them. Looks like we got taken again by the powers at large
     
  7. barnettm

    barnettm Member

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    Nets get. both. Wdfw does. not post many curves that I can understand
     
  8. Alice1952

    Alice1952 Member

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    Sorry I didn't make myself clear I was talking about the troll caught fish the tribe takes. They don't release any fish. The Cowboys have to release wild fish
     
  9. Alice1952

    Alice1952 Member

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    All my years at Neah Bay 35 total I've never seen a Washington State fisheries employee check any Indian boat, especially when they wait till after dark to unload then go into pickup trucks.
     

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