are some comments from a Willapa rec fisher from out of state. Agree or
disagree with his views he took the time to put forth his views and be involved.
That is important as a citizen participation is what this process underway for
Willapa is all about. The more diverse all our views the better as it allows all to
get true reading of what citizens feel.
Ref: Draft Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy
Dear Mr. Thiesfield:
As an out-of-state
salmon sport fishing enthusiast, I appreciate the opportunity to comment on the
above referenced draft document dated January 12, 2015. I have fished Willapa Bay (specifically area
2T, 2U & the Wash Away Beach area) for the past 14 years. I continue to support the development of the Willapa
River section of Willapa Bay into a world class sport Chinook salmon
fishery. We now have the opportunity to create
such a fishery through the implementation of a revised version of the prior
mentioned policy document. My comments
are presented with this goal in mind!
Please understand that I
support the restoration and maintenance of wild salmon populations. However, as we develop plans to ensure the
continuation of wild Chinook runs on the Willapa River we must provide time to
implement presently untried and possible currently unthought-of options for the
removal, or significant reduction in the number, of Chinook hatchery fish on the
spawning beds located within the Willapa River’s watershed. It has taken us decades to finally accept the
fact that wild salmon play a significant role in maintaining biodiversity, and
that there are too many hatchery Chinook on our natural spawning beds. We will NOT resolve these issues
overnight! In addressing these issues we
take knee jerk reactions that will seriously impact the current quality of the
Willapa River Chinook fishery. Reducing
hatchery production at the Fork Creek Hatchery, is, in my opinion, a knee jerk
reaction and should only be taken after all other option have through infield trials
proved to be inadequate.
result, I do not support the implementation of either Alternative A or B as
currently presented in the draft Policy document as both of these alternatives reduce
the Chinook output of the Forks Creek Hatchery.
Thus, by default, I support the implementation of Alternative C.
There are numerous
actions we can take immediately if we are truly interested in increasing the
number of wild Chinook returning to the Willapa River watershed while reducing
the number of hatchery Chinook found on the Willapa River watershed’s spawning
beds. However, in taking such actions we
must ensure that sufficient numbers of hatchery fish arrive at the Forks Creek
Hatchery to achieve Hatchery production goals.
Examples of such actions are:
1. Remove gillnets from Area 2T and 2U.
Commercial fishers shall implement selective harvest methods.
2. Allow commercial fishers to harvest hatchery Chinook within the upper
section of 2U prior to September 15th.
3. Sport fishers shall neither land nor net wild Chinook.
4. Sport fishers shall use barbless hooks with no more that 2 hooks per rig.
5. Increase sport harvest of hatchery Chinook through the establishment of higher
daily and seasonal limits within Area 2T and 2U.
6. Remove the restriction of the number of rods sport fishers may use per fishing
license when fishing within Area 2T and 2U.
7. Increase sport fisher harvest of hatchery Chinook within that portion of the
Willapa River watershed located upstream of the Forks Creek Hatchery through
the establishment of generous daily and seasonal limits.
8. Remove hatchery Chinook from high quality spawning beds which are located within
the Willapa River watershed upstream of the Forks Creek Hatchery through the
use of seine nets. Use volunteers to
perform this task. Let the volunteers
keep all hatchery Chinook so harvested.
9. Use fish traps on small streams located within the Willapa River to remove
hatchery Chinook. Use volunteers to
monitor these traps and allow these volunteers to keep all hatchery Chinook
found in such traps. They of course
would release all wild Chinook found in said traps.
10. As needed, implement other reasonable ideas as they become available for
the selective removal of hatchery Chinook from the portion of the Willapa River
watershed located above the Forks Creek Hatchery.
In addition, to
increase the sport fishing opportunities within the 2T and 2U areas of Willapa
Bay I support keeping these areas essentially commercial net free for the
period beginning August 1st through September 15th of
each year. Further, the current area
defined as 2U should be divided into 2 section, an upstream and downstream
section. The upstream would be defined starting
at Raymond and proceed downstream to the Raymond airport. The downstream section would begin at the
Raymond airport and proceed downstream to the Range Marker. Commercial fishers would be allowed early
season harvest of hatchery Chinook in the upper reach of the area 2U during the
August 1st through September 15th time period. After September 15th commercial
harvest would be allowed harvest throughout the 2T and 2U areas per State
This division of the
area 2U would allow sport fishers to again fish the area immediately around and
upstream of the Range Marker.
Historically, this was a very productive sport fishing area and safely
accessible by small boats launched at Raymond.
Recently, the commercial fleet has essentially dominated this area. My experience has been that once the
commercial fleet is fishing in an area, sport fishing will not be productive in
said area until at least 3 days following the conclusion of the commercial
Thanks for providing me
with the opportunity to provide input into your very important policy
document. If I may be of any assistance
please consider me a volunteer!
Posted on Mon, January 26, 2015
by Dave Hamilton