Forum Index > Public Lands Stewardship > sport fishing closure necessary to protect declining populations of wild steelhead  ONP 11/21/23
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Ski
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PostTue Nov 21, 2023 4:00 pm 
Tuesday November 21, 2023 Olympic National Park News Release Temporary sport fishing closure necessary to protect declining populations of wild steelhead  Port Angeles, Wash. – To protect declining populations of wild steelhead, Olympic National Park is closing the Queets, Salmon and Quinault Rivers to sport fishing on November 27, 2023. Due to low forecasted returns, these conservation closures are necessary to eliminate any sport impacts to wild steelhead making their way to spawning areas inside and outside the park. Olympic Peninsula steelhead were recently petitioned for listing under the Endangered Species Act. The sport fishing closures are due to low forecasted returns, anticipated commercial harvest outside of the park, and declining trends in total run size with chronically low escapements of wild steelhead. The park and State escapement goals are 4,200 and 1,600 wild steelhead in the Queets System and Upper Quinault, respectively. “Given the low numbers, we are compelled to use the one remaining tool to minimize impacts on wild steelhead – pausing sport fishing inside the park. We understand that these closures affect sport anglers and fishing guides, and we appreciate their cooperation in helping to protect these precious wild resources.” said Olympic National Park Superintendent Sula Jacobs. Olympic National Park has significant conservation concerns for wild steelhead in these rivers based on long-term declines in annual run sizes and escapements dating back to 1980 (See Figures below). Notably, record low returns of wild steelhead were recorded in the Queets and Quinault systems in the last few years. Of additional concern is that wild steelhead have failed to reach the State and National Park Service escapement goals in 8 of the last 10 years in the Queets and 6 of the last 10 years in Upper Quinault. Fisheries within Olympic National Park are managed to provide diverse fishing opportunities, allow for the harvest of hatchery steelhead, and preserve wild salmonid populations. The National Park Service appreciates the cooperation and understanding of recreational anglers and professional guides during this time. Olympic National Park is implementing the following in-season changes:  Queets River: Closed to recreational fishing beginning November 27, 2023 Salmon River: Closed to recreational fishing beginning November 27, 2023 Quinault River (upper bridge downstream to park boundary): Closed to recreational fishing beginning November 27, 2023 The sport fishing regulations in Olympic National Park are implemented in cooperation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The Queets, Quinault, and Salmon Rivers within Olympic National Park are expected to reopen to recreational angling on June 1, 2024. For current fishing regulations and information, please visit the park website:  https://www.nps.gov/olym/planyourvisit/fishing.htm Figure 1. Declining trend in total run size of wild steelhead in the Queets River System, 1980-2023. Data courtesy of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Figure 2. Declining trend in total run size of wild steelhead in the Quinault River System, 1985-2023. Data courtesy of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
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PostTue Nov 21, 2023 4:02 pm 
Should have been done years ago, notwithstanding the fact that less than 1% of the total take from the Queets is from sportfishing. QIN really needs to get connected to reality if they have any realistic expectations of keeping that run viable. Thus far they have not demonstrated that.

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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PostSun Nov 26, 2023 12:16 pm 
Ski wrote:
Should have been done years ago, notwithstanding the fact that less than 1% of the total take from the Queets is from sportfishing. QIN really needs to get connected to reality if they have any realistic expectations of keeping that run viable. Thus far they have not demonstrated that.
Do you mean sportfishing in the National Park? I'm wondering what percentage goes to Quinault-guided sports fishing. The Seattle Times ran this article last week: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/environment/quinault-nation-calls-off-fall-coastal-coho-fishery-for-conservation/ All sorts of reasons for the decline tossed around, like "climate and continued population growth and habitat degradation."

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PostSun Nov 26, 2023 10:42 pm 
Seattle Times article. Village being relocated due to global warming? How did that change from Cascadia earthquake caused tsunami?

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Stefan
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PostMon Nov 27, 2023 1:28 pm 
I am not a fisherman.....Was there ever steelhead on the Elwa? Is there steelhead coming back to the Elwa?

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PostMon Nov 27, 2023 2:27 pm 
Stefan wrote:
Was there ever steelhead on the Elwa? Is there steelhead coming back to the Elwa?
Yes and yes. https://www.tu.org/magazine/conservation/barriers/dam-removal/after-dam-removal-on-the-elwha-steelhead-return/ All judicial decisions deserve periodic revisiting and possible revising, including those of Judge Boldt. Until that occurs, all of the salmon arguments are rhetorical at best and a complete time-suck. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying sitting in traffic every day for a nearly year-long culvert replacement with a bridge over a creek that rarely even flows water let alone has gravel for reds or any history as a salmon-bearing stream. Sigh.

"Life favors the prepared." - Edna Mode
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PostSun Dec 03, 2023 7:57 am 
^ If you ever read a locally-published book titled "Judicially Murdered", which details the nefarious machinations of the duplicitous Isaac Ingalls Stevens in his maniacal quest for fame and glory, you might think differently about the Boldt decision. That said, you are indeed correct, because as someone famously said: "The maths don't math." QIN's escapement numbers are completely disconnected from reality. Full stop. That said, briefly mentioned up-thread are but only a few of the plethora of "reasons" for the declines in anadromous salmonid runs, most of which we as humans have absolutely no control over. It is therefore incumbent on us, as humans, to make those efforts we are capable of making in order to assure the survival of the runs. Apparently QIN sees things differently. As to the culvert-to-bridge projects going on all over: it's complete overkill, in many cases unwarranted and unnecessary, but there's a LOT of money changing hands, which is really what that's all about. There aren't any fish in those ephemeral draws - I don't know who they think they're fooling, but it isn't me: Phelan Creek = prima facie evidence.

"I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each."
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