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PostSun Jun 05, 2016 11:30 pm 
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Mt. Rainier National Park Fisheries Management Plan

COMMENT PERIOD FOR SCOPING ENDS 06/06/16

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/morafishmgtplan

comments:

http://parkplanning.nps.gov/morafishmgtplan

or contact Mt. Rainier National Park 360 569 6752

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PostSun Jun 05, 2016 11:31 pm 
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Where do you fish within Mount Rainier National Park? What fishing opportunities within the park are most important to you to maintain?

I do not fish at MRNP. I fish at ONP. The Queets. Not very often, though. Not really worth the trouble anymore - the resource has been hammered. I haul a little trout rod up there but on most of my trips I don't even unwrap it.
A little surf fishing out at Kalaloch is a gas, even if I can only snag a few tiny perch once in a blue moon. I'd rather watch the brown pelicans and sea lions anyway.

comments for the public record:

First, let me extend my sincere thanks to Rebecca Lofgren for taking time to talk with me on the phone about the issues involving fisheries management at Mt. Rainier National Park.
I would also like to extend my sincere thanks to Sam Brenkman, Fisheries Biologist, Olympic National Park for taking the time to give me some background on management practices within Olympic National Park.

I have no magic answers for the problems with anadromous fish in the streams. I really wish I did, but the issues are many and complex. There are no simplistic solutions. Some of the problems with the anadromous salmonids are beyond human control; there's really not a lot NPS can do about ocean conditions in the North Pacific.
All I can say is try to work in cooperation with local tribes and the utilities companies that manage the dams and see if there's a better way to get more of those runs upstream.
This is just my lousy opinion, but I sincerely believe the tribal escapement numbers are just simply unrealistic; clearly evidenced by the numbers on Olympic Peninsula rivers. I hope at some point in the future somebody will finally wake up and smell the coffee (and/or get a grip on reality.)

Regarding the resident (and anadromous) stream fisheries, I believe sport fishing activity within Mt. Rainier National Park should be examined carefully, and management practices (particularly those involving fishing regulations within the Park) should err on the side of caution.
While I fully understand the National Park Service is obligated to cater to the public's recreational needs and wants, it is as well charged by Congressional mandate "to preserve and protect the native flora and fauna."
This is no longer the wild West. We are living in the 21st Century, and NPS planning objectives and goals should be formulated taking a much longer view so that future generations are able to enjoy that "native flora and fauna" as much as we in the present age. Planners should be looking FAR ahead - 50 or 100 years - not 10 or 20. What do we want our National Parks to look like for our great-grandchildren?

Regarding non-indigenous species in the upland lakes, I believe the management practices implemented at Olympic National Park are the model which should be followed. Non-indigenous trout are a detriment to other native species, and should be treated as unwanted guests. Let the tourists do the work for you: allow treble barbed hooks, "Power Bait", eggs, eliminate catch limits and size minimums. Do NOT allow live bait (worms, grubs, or anything else that wiggles.)
I would suggest imposing stiff penalties for use of live bait within Mt. Rainier National Park. We have seen the effects of attempting to eliminate one non-indigenous species with another and its disastrous effects with the mongoose in the Hawaiian Islands.
Any and all methods should be carefully examined and evaluated for their efficacy in eliminating the non-indigenous fishes from the Park. To fail in this regard puts indigenous amphibians and other native species at risk.

Management (or rather elimination) of non-indigenous fishes in streams that are also populated by indigenous species is a different issue, and will require an investment by NPS to educate sport fishermen so they are able to tell native from non-native species.
Again, management practices and imposition of fishing regulations should err on the side of caution.

A little anecdote to try to illustrate my point:

In the late 1980s (early 1990s ?) while coming down from Tshletshy and fording the Queets at Sams River, I ran into Keith Flanery, then the Queets Ranger, who was on the south bank. He was removing a Dolly (Bull Trout) from a stringer that a tourist had caught there. He was pretty upset about it, and I watched as he spent at least 20 minutes on his knees getting that fish to give a kick and get back out into the channel. He was beside himself, and didn't seem in much of a mood to chat.
He wrote the guy up - nailed him.
The fish lived. Keith finished his shift that day, but was probably pretty stressed out about it. Aforementioned tourist most likely paid the fine.
His story? He didn't notice the adipose fin was still intact and thought it was a hatchery steelhead.

Your law enforcement personnel have better things to do with their time, and writing up citations and fining the tourists is not what NPS is all about.
There's got to be a smarter way to handle the issue.
Again, I strongly urge erring on the side of caution, and if that means imposing more restrictive regulations or curtailing sport fishing altogether, so be it.
I applaud the recent decision by Olympic National Park to curtail sport fishing in many of their rivers; protection of the resource - that "native flora and fauna" should trump "for the benefit and enjoyment of the people" every time.

As go the fish, so go we.

Thank you sincerely for your time and consideration.

fishing the Queets since 1958

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Sore Feet
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PostMon Jun 06, 2016 6:16 pm 
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Ski wrote:
Where do you fish within Mount Rainier National Park?

I have to imagine it's pretty much limited to Mowich, Green, and maybe Mystic, Crystal, and Tipsoo.  Really aren't any others that are big enough to be worth stocking.  I doubt any other than Mowich really receives much attention too.

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PostMon Jun 06, 2016 10:53 pm 
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Mt. Rainier National Park, National Park Service, in the scoping documents wrote:

Fish presence in the Park: Fifteen fish species are present in Mount Rainier national Park streams and lakes. Of these nine are native and six are nonnative. Fish species include three sculpins (Cottidae), one stickleback (Gasterosteidae), and 12 samonids (Salonidae).

Historically, there were no fish in any of the approximately 380 mapped lakes and ponds in Mount Rainier National Park. Early in the Park's history, the National Park Service (NPS) and Washington State introduced nonnative stocks of rainbow trout (Oncorhyncus mykiss), cutthroat trout (Oncorhyncus clarki), brook trout (Salvelinus foninalis), and kokanee salmon (Oncorhyncus nerka) in many of the park lakes. According to unpublished park records, official recorded stocking in the park occurred from 1915 through 1964 in streams, and from 1915 through 1972 in lakes. In addition, sculpin (Cossus spp.) were introduced into Mowich Lake and Lake George, most likely as bait fish. Recently, threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) were introduced into Deadwood Lake. Currently, there are approximately 31 lakes with reproducing introduced fish populations.

Most of the 470 mapped streams and rivers were also historically fishless. Exceptions include the nine valley bottom large rivers and their tributary junctions up to natural fish barriers. These rivers then and now bear native fish populations of bull trout (Salvelinus confluentus), cutthroat trout (Oncorhyncus clarki), coho salmon (Oncorhyncus kisutch) rainbow (steelhead) trout (Oncorhyncus mykiss) chinook salmon (Oncorhyncus tshawytscha), pink salmon (Oncorhynchus gorbuscha), and shorthead sculpin (Cottus confuses), and mountain whitefish (Prosopium williamsonii) (Samora 2013)

There are also nonnative fish in the rivers and streams. Eastern brook trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) are present in the Ohanapecosh, Carbon, Cowlitz, Mowich, Nisqually, and White and Huckleberry watersheds.
Introduced cutthroat trout, including west slope (Oncorhyncus clarkia lewisi) and Yellowstone cutthroat (O. Clarkii bouvieri) and present in the Ohanapecosh, Cowlitz, White, West Fork, and Huckleberry watersheds.

> for more facts see the URLs cited above in the first post.

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PostTue Sep 12, 2017 6:23 pm 
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Tuesday September 12, 2017 17:16 PDT

Mount Rainier National Park News Release

Mount Rainier National Park Releases Its Fish Management Plan Environmental Assessment for Public Comment


The National Park Service (NPS) has prepared an Environmental Assessment that considers the implementation of a Fish Management Plan at Mount Rainier National Park. The purpose of the plan is to guide management of native and nonnative fish populations in the park.

This Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluates three alternatives: Alternative 1 would continue existing fish management policies, goals and actions. Alternative 2, the preferred alternative, would implement revised fishing regulations consistent with NPS, Washington State, and Endangered Species Act policy, while providing for continued recreational fishing opportunities. Nonnative fish would eventually be removed from two streams and from 10 of 35 lakes with reproducing fish populations. Alternative 3 would include Alternative 2 actions, and nonnative fish removal would occur in ten additional park lakes and two additional streams with more complex habitat. In addition, native salmon and bull trout would be reintroduced to some stream reaches.

This EA has been prepared consistent with NPS guidance for implementation of the National Environmental Policy Act and provides a decision-making framework that 1) analyzes a reasonable range of alternatives to meet objectives of the proposal, 2) evaluates potential issues and impacts to the park’s resources, values and visitors, and 3) identifies mitigation measures to lessen the degree or extent of these impacts.

Mount Rainier National Park invites you to provide comments on the Fish Management Plan EA. Comments that provide corrections or suggestions to improve the alternatives or the environmental analysis are most helpful.

Please comment online using the National Park Service Planning, Environment and Public Comment (PEPC) website at: http://parkplanning.nps.gov/morafishmgtplan or mail comments to: Superintendent, Mount Rainier National Park, 55210 238th Ave. E., Ashford, Washington, 98304. This EA will be available for public review and comment for 30 days ending October 11, 2017.

Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment – including your personal identifying information – may be made publicly available at any time.  Although you can request in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, this cannot be guaranteed. Bulk comments in any format (hard copy or electronic) submitted on behalf of others will not be accepted.

-NPS-

( * emphasis added *)

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PostFri Sep 21, 2018 12:52 pm 
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Friday September 21, 2018 08:03 PDT

Mount Rainier National Park News Release

National Park Service Announces Decision to Implement a Fish Management Plan at Mount Rainier National Park


ASHFORD, Wash. - The National Park Service (NPS), has issued its decision and a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for Mount Rainier National Park’s Fish Management Plan Environmental Assessment (EA).

The decision will direct the long-term management for fish within lakes, rivers and streams in Mount Rainier National Park. Fish management actions and revisions to fishing regulations will conserve native fish populations, including threatened bull trout, and restore ecosystems in the park by reducing or eliminating non-native fish. The plan also provides for continued and expanded recreational fishing opportunities and related visitor experiences.

The EA analyzed three alternatives. The selected alternative will update fishing regulations emphasizing catch and release of native fish species and retention or harvest of nonnative fish species, implement nonnative fish suppression and/or eradication from selected streams and rivers in bull trout habitat, include fish removal from up to 10 lakes, expand research and monitoring, and allow adaptive management. A no action alternative (status quo management) and a more expansive action alternative were also considered.

The FONSI, its appendices, and the EA are available on the NPS Planning, Environment, and Public Comment (PEPC) website at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/morafishmgtplan by selecting Document List from the left navigation bar.

The National Park Service appreciates the public taking time to share their comments, ideas and concerns, and contributing to the Mount Rainier National Park planning process. If you have questions about this decision contact Kevin Skerl, Chief of Natural and Cultural Resources, or Tracy Swartout, Deputy Superintendent, at 360-569-6510.

www.nps.gov

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SwitchbackFisher
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PostFri Sep 21, 2018 9:25 pm 
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I understand the importance of it, but a selfish part of me has good memories fishing several of these lakes and would like to visit them again.

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PostFri Sep 21, 2018 9:32 pm 
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you might want to peruse the documents...

any of those lakes that are home to non-native fishes might well be open to the taking of fish (and/or use of bait, barbed treble hooks, etc.)

NPS fisheries biologists (unless I've been misinformed) have little use for the eastern brook trout and other non-native species that were planted in alpine lakes.

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PostSat Sep 22, 2018 9:01 pm 
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Many of the lakes I have fished were rainbow trout fisheries. Some are quite good too. I always keep a few for a meal on the trail. But often won’t keep more than that because who wants to pack fish out 10+ miles.

My comment was more along of understanding the importance to restore a more natural balance to the eco system and likelihood they may poison these lakes. But the selfish part of me wishes they would not

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PostSat Sep 22, 2018 10:13 pm 
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It's a National Park. I would doubt they'll be poisoning them. More likely they'll just allow anglers to eliminate the non-native fish populations with liberal regulations, as has been the case up at Olympic National Park.

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PostSat Sep 22, 2018 10:19 pm 
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They will be removing reproducing fish from 10 of the 35 lakes that currently have reproducing fish. They already removed fish from 3 lakes back in the 90s. The plan is to use gillnets for 5 years. If after five years the gillnets are not successful they will use rotenone.

They have removed fish from a couple lakes in North Cascades National Park with rotenone and one with gillnets.

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PostSat Sep 22, 2018 10:24 pm 
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Wow! Thanks for the info!

I haven't talked with their fisheries biologist since the scoping letter went out, and I'm way more familiar with the practices up at ONP than up at MRNP.

I am actually surprised they'd used a poison - seems like it might have unintended consequences - but it's not something I'm well versed on (obviously.)

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Brian Curtis
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PostSun Sep 23, 2018 6:15 am 
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Everything has unintended consequences. Leaving overpopulated fish populations in place harms salamanders though competition and predation and can alter zooplankton communities. If the overpopulated fish are eastern brook then they can harm downstream bull trout populations if they can escape downstream where they can hybridize. Using gillnets is labor intensive which can damage shorelines and the nets can also catch salamanders and diving birds. Rotenone can also kill salamanders and some invertebrates, but their plan is to catch all of the larvae and adults they can and then return them to the lake after. Even if they don't do that salamanders will repopulate the lakes very quickly.

Using the fish poison rotenone isn't as bad as it sounds. Rotenone is a natural substance derived from plant roots.  It can be deactivated in the outlet with a potassium permanganate drip and breaks down very quickly when exposed to UV so it does not stay in the lake for long.

The other option they considered was using YY eastern brook. These fish will produce all male progeny and over time and with repeated stocking should reduce or eliminate the fish from a lake. But this technique, developed by Idaho Fish and Game, is still very experimental so MRNP decided not to use it at this time.

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PostSun Sep 23, 2018 6:59 am 
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Thanks for the insight Brian. It sounds like I need to make a trip next summer to visit some of the lakes on the list.

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PostTue Oct 30, 2018 5:18 pm 
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Can a vertically oriented gill net be placed through a cut in ice, and left until breakup?
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