Below are revised and additional comments that I submitted to the agency regarding the Willapa Management Plan. After receiving considerable feedback revolving around the Rec marine and fresh water fisheries I thought it was appropriate. I do recognize the distrust of the agency and the fact that many if not most inriver fishers regard past seasons as pandering to the marine fisheries be it rec or commercial. Rather than have a annual food fight at North of Falcon setting seasons I attempted to propose a harvest breakout that was fair to all.


Take a look and let me know if you have additional thoughts as to fairness of the proposal for all rec fishers. Strike outs are in blue additions red.




January 18, 2015



To: WDF&W Commission

       Mr. Jim Scott

       Mr. Steve Theisfeld


As the review of the Willapa Management Plan  (WMP) continues I have received numerous questions and suggestions. The confusion appears to be driven by mistrust and the fact that the current WMP lacks specificity. This appears to reside primarily in the fact that the Northern Willapa recreational fisheries (2T & U ) have much different issues as to the allocation of harvest than middle (K,N,R,& Northern Portion of M) and Southern areas of the bay (Southern Portion of M, P). Frankly trying to sort out the many conflicting views driven by the ambiguities and lack of specificity in the WMP made this nearly impossible.


I have been asked to submit for your consideration the following or request similar language be inserted  into the WMP where appropriate.


Natural Origin Spawners (NOS) impacts for Chinook, Coho, and Chum shall be shared equally between recreational and commercial harvest. (see a)

a. Either can exceed its share as long as it does not impair a full season for the other.


It should be stated clearly that this does not mean a equal harvest of hatchery returning adults but rather the harvest impacts on NOS adults. That the commercial fleet harvest at a more efficient level than the recreational is a given and should not be a limiter. It is the NOS of all three salmon species that is the limiter and those impacts should be shared equally between recreational and commercial fishers. If commercial or recreational fishers can reduce their NOS impacts by a more effective selective fishery then either should reap the benefits from their effort to conserve NOS populations.


Recently Mr. Theisfeld took the extraordinary step of reaching out to recreational fishers asking for input on how to increase the effectiveness of the recreational fisheries. After making my thoughts on the issue public I received a great deal of feedback and most of it was centered around two issues. In the marine areas the placement and timing of commercial fisheries has been extremely detrimental to the 2T and U fisheries. In the middle reaches of the bay recreational marine is nearly nonexistent due to the nearly nonstop netting schedule.


The freshwater inriver has been restricted by low bag limits that appear to be politically driven rather than a conservation objective. As one gentleman communicated to me " they restrict us by opening dates and bag limits not for conservation but rather to give greater harvest to the commercials". Agree or disagree this view is present in the recreational community and frankly after looking at past harvest from my point of view is valid.


Just as I previously suggested that the harvest impacts for NOS populations be clearly defined for both commercial and recreational fisheries the same needs to be addressed by the WMP for marine and freshwater inriver fishers as was done in the Grays Harbor Management Plan. Failure to do so will only expand the annual two sided argument between recreational and commercial fishers to a three sided one that pits freshwater inriver, marine recreation and commercial against each other.    


 I have been asked to resubmit my suggestions on recreational harvest with additional changes that address the recreational harvest. I do believe that the suggested language outlined below, or similar, is a critical element of the WMP and needs to addressed. In keeping with Mr. Theisfeld's request on how to expand recreational fisheries catch the following recommendations are likely on the side of maximum but are very much doable.   


Prioritize recreational fishing opportunities for Chinook and Coho salmon equally and between  recreational fishing in areas 2T and 2U   for the Willapa marine and inriver freshwater fisheries during the Chinook salmon management period. (through Sept. 15); and


  1. Marine and inriver freshwater recreational Chinook and Coho harvest impacts shall be divided equally.  Either can exceed its share as long as it does not impair a full season for the other. ( see a,b,c)


    A. Marine full season is defined as a 2T recreational opening May 31 unless     a conservation objective requires a reduction. 6 fish limit, two rods per angler from a boat preseason forecast runsize permitting.

    B. Freshwater inriver recreational full season is defined as a August 1 opener for the Willapa           estuary streams for all reaches open to recreational      anglers unless a conservation objective requires a reduction. 4 adults a day, two rods per angler from a boat, no limit on Jacks preseason forecast runsize permitting.

    C. Any and all conservation driven recreational fisher reductions shall be equally shared by marine and fresh water inriver recreational fishers.




    Dave Hamilton