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lookout bob
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PostThu Mar 21, 2019 11:01 am 
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I walked around Green Lake yesterday and enjoyed my usual stroll and people watching.  I've been coming there for years for a 'constitutional walk' and really like the place.  Yesterday, I saw something never seen before.  Usually, when one sees cormorants, you see one or two together usually drying their wings after hunting.  Yesterday,however, I saw about 50 or 60 swimming together and watching each other most assiduously.  I've never seen that type of behavior before.  Can anyone clue me in?  Mating?  Social media? ( hockeygrin.gif )  What was that all about?

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"Altitude is its own reward"
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iron
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PostThu Mar 21, 2019 2:14 pm 
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we see dozens of them perched in a tree on samammish river at the 68th ave bridge in kenmore quite frequently.

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

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RichP
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PostThu Mar 21, 2019 3:01 pm 
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Every evening at the Montlake Cut by The UW hundreds arrive to roost in the trees. It's quite a sight.

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Without obsession, life is nothing. John Waters
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tmatlack
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PostFri Mar 22, 2019 4:38 am 
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Booo!  I'm not a cormorant fan.  Urban legend says we spawned their explosive population growth with hatchery fry in the upper rivers and lakes.  Being big, aggressive diving birds they drove out many of the other waterfowl.  Same with common mergansers, just about the only ducks you see on the upper rivers these days.

Tom
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iron
getting old



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PostFri Mar 22, 2019 8:44 am 
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tmatlack wrote:
Booo!  I'm not a cormorant fan.  Urban legend says we spawned their explosive population growth with hatchery fry in the upper rivers and lakes.  Being big, aggressive diving birds they drove out many of the other waterfowl.  Same with common mergansers, just about the only ducks you see on the upper rivers these days.

Tom

must not be a human fan either then...

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man, you go through life, you try to be nice to people, you struggle to resist the urge to punch 'em in the face, and for what?

--- moe sizlack
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Schroder
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PostFri Mar 22, 2019 8:51 am 
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There are usually about a hundred perched together for most of the winter on the pilings in front of my house (on Whidbey)
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nordique
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PostFri Mar 22, 2019 4:56 pm 
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I've not counted all of them:

Also know as Club Cormorant!
Also know as Club Cormorant!

From one of my annual visits to my Bowman Bay/Deception Pass hikes.
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Mikey
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PostSat Mar 23, 2019 3:33 am 
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Recently Wash Dept of Fish & Wildlife (WDFW) planted a large number (like 10,000) small (about 8") trout in Seattle's Green Lake.  The cormorants will eat many or most of the small trout WDFW plant in lakes this time of year.  The 2018-2019 Wash. State Fishing Licenses expire at the end of March and probably the March trout planting is a WDFW marketing approach to get people to purchase their 2019-2020 fishing licenses.  The WDFW March small trout plants are mostly in lakes open for fishing all year.  The WDFW is a different type of government agency since the Wash State Governor combined the Wash State Dept of Fisheries, the Wash State Dept of Game, etc. into the WDFW which has a commission appointed by the Governor.  The main income of the WDFW comes from fishing and hunting license fees but the WDFW tasks covers a wide range and the State has not been good at funding WDFW.  WDFW employees have told me that the hunting permit lottery was developed to raise $ because of the lack of funding from the State General Fund. Presently there is a strange situation occurring with regards to the extra fee charged for fishing the Columbia and SW rivers with the fee to go towards saving salmon and steelhead runs including stopping gill net fishing in the Columbia river but the commercial fishing lobby has prevented this from occurring, mainly because the Oregon Governor favors gill net commercial fishing. 
Washington State Senate Bill 5617  Banning the Use of Gill Nets by Non-Tribal Fisherman
was introduced by Sen. Jesse Salomon (Shoreline) (D).     This Bill was Read for the first time 01/25/2019. Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Water, Natural Resources & Parks.  Although gill net bans have wide support in Wash state, in the past the Chair of the Committee responsible for past gill-net bills would not hold a hearing on the bill, thus killing it.  The late Billy Frank Jr told me (we sat together at an international salmon conference in Seattle) that gill net fishing has caused the reduction in the size of salmon because the  gill nets capture the large salmon and the small salmon continue up the rivers to spawn causing the next generation of salmon to be smaller. The Federal and State governments have been incapable of managing the increased fish predation by sea lions, cormorants, etc. The recent passage of a Federal bill allowing the removal of problem sea lions from the Columbia and other rivers will help prevent the near extinction of fish runs in some SW Wash and Oregon Rivers.
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Schroder
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PostSat Mar 23, 2019 9:29 am 
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Mikey wrote:
gill net fishing has caused the reduction in the size of salmon because the  gill nets capture the large salmon and the small salmon continue up the rivers to spawn causing the next generation of salmon to be smaller.

That's absolute nonsense. The escapement to the rivers is controlled by setting time periods of fishing, i.e. one day of fishing and 6 of fish passage.

On the Columbia, the dams had that effect on the Chinook population health. The smaller, weaker salmon couldn't make it past the falls at the Dalles and when it was dammed, all of them could make it through the fish ladders.
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Mikey
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PostSat Mar 23, 2019 9:15 pm 
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Schroeder   Your statement about escapement does not appear to me to have anything to do with how gill nets catch the large fish and let the smaller fish swim through.  I am familiar with commercial fishing and salmon poaching on the SW Washington rivers because I have spent many hours on the Columbia and Cowlitz rivers.  Illegal set gill nets were, and probably still are, all too common.  The effect of the dams on the salmon runs has been well documented.  Washington State established a law that no high dams could be installed on the Cowlitz river so this river could be saved for salmons because the Columbia river dams destroyed most of the salmon runs above Bonneville dam.  However, Tacoma City Light filled a lawsuit that went all the way to the US Supreme Court which decided in favor of the Fed. Govt and  this allowed Tacoma City Light to install the dams with no fish ladders and of course the salmon runs declined greatly, such that there are few salmon returning (part of the blame is the incompetent operation of the Cowlitz river salmon hatcheries).

Note that the gill net mesh size determines the size of fish caught. The commercial salmon gill net fishing in the Columbia river was regulated via an Oregon-Washington agreement.
Summer 2018 Commercial Gillnet Fishery on the Columbia River
Gear:  Set and drift gill nets. 7 -inch minimum mesh size restriction.
The following applies to all Select Area commercial seasons adopted
Gill nets have a 9.75 inch maximum mesh size restriction
A gill net is an upright wall of fiber netting. A fish, of a size for which the net is designed, swimming into the net, can only pass part way through a single mesh. As the fish struggles to free itself, the net twine slips in back of the gill. The fish is thus gilled and can go neither forward nor backward.  Various mesh sizes are employed, depending on the species and size of the fish to be caught.

The chinook salmon caught commercially in the Columbia river bring a very good price and so the commercial fisherman want to catch the large chinook salmon because these big fish bring them the most money.  Small fish can swim through the minimum gill net mesh size which was 7 inches in 2018.  Thus the small chinook salmon such as jack salmon (immature salmon) can continue to and spawn.  Historically there were very large chinook salmon in the Columbia river and they are extremely rare or non-existent.

There is science on this topic. Examination of maximum girths showed that any fish with a maximum girth less than the mesh circumference plus 10% (lower limit of estimate range) to circumference plus 18% (upper limit) was capable of passing through a net without being caught.  In other words, fish will a maximum girth (circumference) less than the gill net mesh circumference are likely to swim through the gill net without being caught.  This means the large fish are caught, the small fish pass through.

Effects of Different Mesh Sizes on Gill-Net Catches of Atlantic Salmon in Newfoundland April 1986 North American Journal of Fisheries Management vol 6 (2):209-215
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filbert
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PostSun Mar 24, 2019 12:28 pm 
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I've seen that behavior many times before around this time of year.  Shortly afterwards most if not all disappear until returning next fall (presumably on some group migration).

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With every passing hour our solar system comes forty-three thousand miles closer to globular cluster M13 in the constellation Hercules, and still there are some misfits who continue to insist that there is no such thing as progress.
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Schroder
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PostMon Mar 25, 2019 3:39 pm 
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Mikey wrote:
Your statement about escapement does not appear to me to have anything to do with how gill nets catch the large fish and let the smaller fish swim through.

My point is that when there are no nets in the water, they all get through. This is how Fish & Game controls the escapement - through regulating time periods of fishing. I'm not talking about illegal nets left in rivers.

Mesh size regulation is used to control catch of target species. For sockeye, you use a mesh of about 5-1/2", depending on where you are and they used to use mesh sizes of up to 10" for kings, which allowed all sockeye and most pink and coho to pass through.  On a purse seiner, which catches everything in its area, you can see that there's not a lot of size variation within a species for a target river system.

My experience - I gillnetted in Puget Sound from 1958 until 1995, when I sold my license back to the State; I gillnetted Bristol Bay from 1970 to 2005 and in SE Alaska in the mid-70's.

The attempt to ban gillnets by sports fishers goes back as far as I can remember.  IMO nothing will be accomplished until the tribes agree to stop fishing as well, particularly inside the rivers,  and I think there needs to be a total moratorium on all commercial, tribal and sport salmon fishing if there's to be any hope of saving the orca population.
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