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Old 01-29-2020, 07:34 PM   #61
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Will the nets have any impact on salmon or steelhead?

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Old 01-29-2020, 09:09 PM   #62
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Will the nets have any impact on salmon or steelhead?
Mesh size that small there should be no impact.
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Old 01-29-2020, 10:52 PM   #63
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I hope to get my hands on some smelt to smoke and/or fry! It has been about three years since I've consumed any smelt.
Sounds like the commercials will have plenty to sell you.
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:54 AM   #64
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Sounds like the commercials will have plenty to sell you.

They will.

There have been smelt in fairly significant numbers in the Cowlitz since at least Monday 1/27. I ran my boat from Willow Grove to Skamokawa on Sunday, 1/26, and there were abundant gulls, seals, and sea lions feeding on smelt through the entire 20 mile reach of river.

The Fact Sheet stated that they wanted to wait on a rec fishery until they saw freshwater signs of abundance...clearly they hadn't bothered to look, but "industry" (per the Fact Sheet) wanted longer fishing periods to capitalize on favorable tides, which the Commission was apparently happy to grant.

I don't begrudge the commercial fishery. I am irritated that the rec fishery has been sidelined when it's abundantly clear that there are several million smelt in the Columbia as I write this, and all available science shows that allocating a few percent impact rate to rec fisheries on abundant adult runs has no impact on subsequent returns.
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Old 01-30-2020, 10:36 AM   #65
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Since this is a (ahem) "research" fishery, if they determine there is ample abundance to open up a recreational season they will also open up a commercial season.

A commercial double dip so to speak.
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Old 01-30-2020, 01:08 PM   #66
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Helpless feeling once again
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Old 01-30-2020, 01:46 PM   #67
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Since this is a (ahem) "research" fishery, if they determine there is ample abundance to open up a recreational season they will also open up a commercial season.

A commercial double dip so to speak.

That's inaccurate. The recreational fishery, if there is one, would also be a "research" fishery used in part to estimate spawning stock biomass. It wouldn't trigger an opening for a traditional commercial fishery.
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Old 01-30-2020, 02:47 PM   #68
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Helpless feeling once again

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Old 01-30-2020, 04:03 PM   #69
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Sport dippers could provide all the "research" they need or have a practical use for. The commercial fishery is all smoke and mirrors. When commercial takes prescience in any fishery, it's about the money and back room deals, not about the fish. ADM got it right.
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Old 01-30-2020, 04:50 PM   #70
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Absolutely got it right!!! Its all about $$$
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Old 01-30-2020, 05:16 PM   #71
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Fresh smelt for sale on Offerup. $5 a pound!
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Old 01-30-2020, 05:25 PM   #72
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Tons of gulls, eagles, cormorants, and 2 seals working the Cowlitz hard today by riverside park.
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Old 01-30-2020, 06:12 PM   #73
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I didn’t experience the dipping before 2000. But I did dip in the mid-2000s and again about 3-5 years ago when they had openings. The dipping 3-5 years ago was incredible. Full limit of 10lbs or more in 1 dip. I wonder if the “good old days” had dipping that was that good
Yep! In 70s I went on the Sandy and dipped a25 # limit in 1 dip. So did my wife. And just about everyone else there that day.
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Old 01-30-2020, 06:57 PM   #74
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When I was a kid (early 80's), There were times the net was literally full when it was being pulled in.
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Old 01-30-2020, 08:01 PM   #75
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The research dipping provides some baseline data, comparable to years past, helping them more accurately understand the population in water that isn’t generally accessible to recreational dippers.

Hopefully the smelt come in and a couple Saturdays are not only open, but well-timed.

I’d like to see the harvest amount halved and those that do want to dip, buy licenses like every other recreational clammer and fisherman.

And yes, a team of observers actively monitoring commercial and research netting activities.

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Old 01-30-2020, 08:57 PM   #76
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splash View Post
Since this is a (ahem) "research" fishery, if they determine there is ample abundance to open up a recreational season they will also open up a commercial season.

A commercial double dip so to speak.

That's inaccurate. The recreational fishery, if there is one, would also be a "research" fishery used in part to estimate spawning stock biomass. It wouldn't trigger an opening for a traditional commercial fishery.
Wasn't aware of any recreational research dipping. Would be interested in this information if anyone could provide it. Certainly wouldn't be the first time I was mistaken. I was simply saying that if they open a season for one group they usually open it to the other.
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Old 01-30-2020, 09:18 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by ccw View Post
The research dipping provides some baseline data, comparable to years past, helping them more accurately understand the population in water that isn’t generally accessible to recreational dippers.

Hopefully the smelt come in and a couple Saturdays are not only open, but well-timed.

I’d like to see the harvest amount halved and those that do want to dip, buy licenses like every other recreational clammer and fisherman.

And yes, a team of observers actively monitoring commercial and research netting activities.

CW
For years I’ve found it perplexing that a license wasn’t required for rec harvest of smelt. Especially as easy as it is observing groups exceeding their limits.
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:36 AM   #78
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Wasn't aware of any recreational research dipping. Would be interested in this information if anyone could provide it. Certainly wouldn't be the first time I was mistaken. I was simply saying that if they open a season for one group they usually open it to the other.

All recreational opportunity since ESA listing in 2010 has been under the aegis of "research." This is negotiated between WDFW, ODFW, and NMFS.

You can read all about it in the joint staff report issued in January: https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/fi...geon-smelt.pdf

From the report:
"In response to the ESA listing in 2010, the states prohibited commercial sales of Eulachon from Columbia River and tributary fisheries effective December 10, 2010 and closed all recreational Eulachon fisheries effective January 1, 2011. In 2014–2018, the states worked closely with NMFS to adopt limited, conservation-minded commercial and recreational Eulachon seasons. These seasons were research-based, closely monitored, and provided the opportunity to collect biological data to evaluate the run size and age structure of the Columbia River sub-population. Fishery assessment data allows for a better understanding and calibration of the SSB estimation calculations and help state agencies provide NMFS with improved data for a viability assessment as part of a Eulachon recovery plan."

Contrary to what most here might assume, the impact rates of the recreational "research" harvests generally dwarf the commercial "research" landings, per the most recent CRC Fact Sheet (https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/fi...heet_no1_0.pdf):

"Mainstem Columbia River commercial landings averaged 9,030 pounds (range 110–18,560 pounds) annually during 2014-2018, and averaged an annual exploitation rate of 0.14% (range 0.03-0.32%). However, due to the poor return and corresponding low fishing effort in 2018, only 110 pounds were landed."
...
"During 2014-2017, limited recreational fisheries occurred in the Cowlitz and Sandy rivers. The recreational fishery in the Cowlitz River was restricted to 1-5 days annually (5-6 hours per day) while the Sandy River was only open in 2014 and 2015 (2-4 days annually; 6 hours per day). Annual recreational harvest averaged 159,060 pounds (range 540 – 290,770), and averaged an annual exploitation rate of 1.65% (range 0.03-2.77%). There was no recreational fishing opportunity in 2018 and 2019." [emphasis mine]
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Old 01-31-2020, 07:49 AM   #79
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I stand corrected. Thank you.
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Old 01-31-2020, 08:11 AM   #80
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I got to be honest, I would love to see all fishing on this run stopped until we see multiple years of good runs. Would rather that they spawn in big numbers and go to sea to be feed for bigger creatures in the ocean.

I enjoyed smelt dipping in the past, and don’t begrudge either sport or commercial fishermen their portion. I just think a good decision would be for everyone’s portion to be zero for a few more years.


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Old 02-01-2020, 03:20 PM   #81
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I agree with that. Give the runs a chance to rebuild and rebound.
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Old 02-01-2020, 06:32 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Chukarhead View Post
All recreational opportunity since ESA listing in 2010 has been under the aegis of "research." This is negotiated between WDFW, ODFW, and NMFS.

You can read all about it in the joint staff report issued in January: https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/fi...geon-smelt.pdf

From the report:
"In response to the ESA listing in 2010, the states prohibited commercial sales of Eulachon from Columbia River and tributary fisheries effective December 10, 2010 and closed all recreational Eulachon fisheries effective January 1, 2011. In 2014–2018, the states worked closely with NMFS to adopt limited, conservation-minded commercial and recreational Eulachon seasons. These seasons were research-based, closely monitored, and provided the opportunity to collect biological data to evaluate the run size and age structure of the Columbia River sub-population. Fishery assessment data allows for a better understanding and calibration of the SSB estimation calculations and help state agencies provide NMFS with improved data for a viability assessment as part of a Eulachon recovery plan."

Contrary to what most here might assume, the impact rates of the recreational "research" harvests generally dwarf the commercial "research" landings, per the most recent CRC Fact Sheet (https://wdfw.wa.gov/sites/default/fi...heet_no1_0.pdf):

"Mainstem Columbia River commercial landings averaged 9,030 pounds (range 110–18,560 pounds) annually during 2014-2018, and averaged an annual exploitation rate of 0.14% (range 0.03-0.32%). However, due to the poor return and corresponding low fishing effort in 2018, only 110 pounds were landed."
...
"During 2014-2017, limited recreational fisheries occurred in the Cowlitz and Sandy rivers. The recreational fishery in the Cowlitz River was restricted to 1-5 days annually (5-6 hours per day) while the Sandy River was only open in 2014 and 2015 (2-4 days annually; 6 hours per day). Annual recreational harvest averaged 159,060 pounds (range 540 – 290,770), and averaged an annual exploitation rate of 1.65% (range 0.03-2.77%). There was no recreational fishing opportunity in 2018 and 2019." [emphasis mine]
Thank you for providing a factual report to this issue. It is truly astounding how much smelt recreational harvesters have taken when comparing the 2014-2017 fisheries.
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Old 02-02-2020, 06:28 AM   #83
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For those who don't like smelt, blame the cook.


First rule of frying is, never use olive oil for anything but salad. Hideous stuff that can ruin whatever is cooked in it.


Split fish open along the backbone from the bottom, open it up and bread both sides. Fry with bone side down first till crispy then flip. Can eat bones and all if cooked right. Or just do traditionally and pull all the bones out through the top by grabbing spine at the front and pulling up and out toward the rear. You'll end up with a plate full of bones.

My neighbor Daryl would share some of his sons commercial catch us each year, 2 five gallon buckets. He also would bring over a small box of smoked smelt which the kids would devour. He had made this unique gut spoon as he called it. One swipe on the smelt belly and it was clean ready for the brine. It looked like a prawn de-veiner with a razor blade. The razor was wedged in place so it could be changed out. The blade cut the belly and the scooper behind it did the rest. I'll bet he smoked 100 pounds a year of smelt for himself and friends. He also would tell some of most hair raising WWII stories when we fished. A man among men as I would say.
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Old 02-04-2020, 10:59 AM   #84
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Guy on FB selling fresh CR smelt for $5 per pound. "Test" fishery must have been good
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Old 02-04-2020, 12:31 PM   #85
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I recently (today) read that they are considering a possible recreational smelt fishery. I don't have a link right now, but it should be out there somewhere.



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Old 02-04-2020, 03:32 PM   #86
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I found smelt for $4 a lb today at the local market here in Warrenton
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Old 02-05-2020, 01:28 PM   #87
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I can recall back in the 80's we dipped smelt under the I5 bridge on the banks of the Lewis river near Woodland. Many years later the smelt went as far up the Columbia that you could see dead smelt on the banks below Bonneville dam!
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Old 02-05-2020, 01:35 PM   #88
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I can recall back in the 80's we dipped smelt under the I5 bridge on the banks of the Lewis river near Woodland. Many years later the smelt went as far up the Columbia that you could see dead smelt on the banks below Bonneville dam!
That's where I dipped my first time, in the early 80's as well. It would be cool to see them in the Lewis again.


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Old 02-05-2020, 02:03 PM   #89
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That's where I dipped my first time, in the early 80's as well. It would be cool to see them in the Lewis again.


…..and the Camas slough!
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Old 02-05-2020, 03:05 PM   #90
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I might learn something new about smelt this Tuesday; I’ll post here what I do.

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Old 02-05-2020, 06:13 PM   #91
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Driving home from work today it looked like some Native Americans were doing a test dip? They were across from carnival market in Lexington. There was also a game warden truck further down the road at the rock pullout at the same time. I thought about stopping to see if they were getting any action, but didnt.
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Old 02-05-2020, 09:56 PM   #92
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I hope to get my hands on some smelt to smoke and/or fry! It has been about three years since I've consumed any smelt.

Northwest Wild Products advertising them. First batch from Feb 3 sold out Tuesday. More coming with tomorrow's opener.
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Old 02-07-2020, 06:18 PM   #93
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Northwest Wild Products advertising them. First batch from Feb 3 sold out Tuesday. More coming with tomorrow's opener.
Is there any info posted about how many pounds got landed? Hoping to see a strong return.

I've been watching for them at Tony's (my local fishmonger). Sounds like I might have to go on an excursion. Thanks for the heads up!
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Old 02-07-2020, 06:21 PM   #94
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What’s the river condition? Is it flooding where the commercial nets are targeting them?
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:05 PM   #95
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Anybody seein any sign of smelt in the cowlitz?
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:36 AM   #96
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Saw a lot of gulls and a couple pinnipeds down by Abernathy yesterday. Drove up west side hiway on the way home and no sign of smelt up to Castle Rock.
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:25 AM   #97
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Haven't seen a single sign of them in the Santiam system.
What gives? Not even any gulls.
Can't remember the last time I DID see any in there.
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Old 02-10-2020, 05:48 AM   #98
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Was downtown across the bridges on the Cowlitz yesterday afternoon.
It it extremely high and muddy, lots of tree debris and flowing pretty fast.

No signs of life in either direction.
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Old 02-10-2020, 06:21 AM   #99
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Saw lots of gulls Rafting near Goble yesterday afternoon. couldn’t tell what they were eating while driving by
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:31 PM   #100
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WDFW NEWS RELEASE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
http://wdfw.wa.gov/
February 10, 2020
Contact:*Laura Heironimus, 360-906-6716
Public Affairs contact:*Ben Anderson, 360-902-0045
One-day smelt opening announced for Cowlitz River
OLYMPIA – Fishery managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved a limited-opening recreational smelt fishery for Friday, Feb. 14.
A portion of the Cowlitz River will be open to recreational dip netting along the shore from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for one day only.
The portion of the river open to dip netting extends from the Highway 432 Bridge upstream to the Al Helenberg Memorial Boat Ramp, located approximately 1,300 feet upstream from the Highway 411/A Street Bridge in Castle Rock.
This is the first year since 2017 that a recreational smelt fishery has opened on the Cowlitz. Columbia River smelt – also known as Eulachon – were listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) in 2010.
NOAA Fisheries, which oversees ESA-listed stocks, approves of limited recreational harvest when commercial test fishery data shows runs are strong enough to support a recreational opener, said Laura Heironimus, WDFW’s Columbia River smelt, sturgeon, and lamprey lead. Managers review the catch and biological data from the research-level commercial fishery to better determine the run strength in order to consider opening the recreational dip net fishery.*
“We work closely with NOAA to take a precautionary approach to any fisheries involving an ESA-listed species,” Heironimus said. “Initial indicators suggest this run is strong enough to offer this limited opportunity while still allowing us to meet our conservation goals and help the population rebuild.”
About 4.2 million pounds of smelt returned to the Columbia River in 2019, and based on evidence to date managers expect the run this year is large enough to support a recreational fishery.* Managers will continue to closely track all available indicators of abundance, including catches in the upcoming recreational fishery and the commercial test fishery.
Each dip-netter may retain 10 pounds of smelt per day, with no more than one day's limit in possession. Ten pounds is about a quarter of a 5-gallon bucket. No fishing license is required to dip net for smelt in this limited fishery.
Prospective dip netters should be aware that flooding on the Cowlitz River began to subside over the weekend, but river levels and flows may still be very strong, and dip netters are urged to exercise caution. WDFW Enforcement officers will be present to help ensure the safety of the public, as well as enforce the 10-pound limit while the fishery is open.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting, and other recreation opportunities.


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Old 02-10-2020, 04:33 PM   #101
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Honey. We are having smelt for valentines!!


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Old 02-10-2020, 05:45 PM   #102
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My guess is that its going to be a great way to kill most of a day. But most likely go home smeltless.
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Old 02-10-2020, 06:51 PM   #103
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Cant help but 🤣
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Old 02-10-2020, 07:59 PM   #104
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Friday?!?! Really?!?!
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Old 02-10-2020, 08:14 PM   #105
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its less $$ to buy some then take a day off.
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Old 02-10-2020, 08:55 PM   #106
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Default Re: 2020 smelt

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Originally Posted by PnwChrome View Post
I remember going to the sandy with my dad, looking over the stark street bridge guys in boats waist deep smelt , people renting dip nets for those without. We never thought to think this would disappear such wasteful overhsrvest of the resource.
Didn’t they even have a hot dog shack up by the bridge or am I confusing that with the old market by Glenn Otto?
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:23 AM   #107
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Anybody live near there? Is there any sign of smelt life in the river?
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:30 AM   #108
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Default Re: 2020 smelt

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Anybody live near there? Is there any sign of smelt life in the river?

No outward signs in the Cowlitz. But they'll be there.
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Old 02-11-2020, 09:02 AM   #109
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Anybody live near there? Is there any sign of smelt life in the river?
Watched the Natives dip yesterday on the Cowlitz right across from Carnival Market. I stayed about 10 min and didn't see them net one.
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Old 02-11-2020, 10:16 AM   #110
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i found smelt for $4 a lb today at the local market here in warrenton
which store?
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Old 02-12-2020, 02:05 PM   #111
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Anyone got eyes on the river? Birds, marine mammals any signs of smelt? Wondering if this opening is going to be just a boon for people and not smelt.


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Old 02-12-2020, 02:53 PM   #112
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What if they gave a season and nobody showed? I've never dipped a smelt in anything but low, clear water.
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Old 02-12-2020, 03:14 PM   #113
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What if they gave a season and nobody showed? I've never dipped a smelt in anything but low, clear water.
Muddy is better, they will hug the shore and not shy away.
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Old 02-12-2020, 03:16 PM   #114
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Stopped today at Gearhart and some nice members from the tribal community were doing ok. 5~15 a dip.


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Old 02-12-2020, 04:09 PM   #115
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Remdog: Looks pretty dirty to me. Must have been coincidence.
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Old 02-12-2020, 04:32 PM   #116
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Stopped today at Gearhart and some nice members from the tribal community were doing ok. 5~15 a dip.


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Thanks for the report Remdog
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:02 PM   #117
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Stopped today at Gearhart and some nice members from the tribal community were doing ok. 5~15 a dip.


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Nice, that's better than they were doing at Carnival Market the last couple days.
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Old 02-12-2020, 07:10 PM   #118
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They were doing ok. Had a great visit. The seals and sea lions were working the mouth of the Coweeman over really hard. Not a bird in sight though. With the visibility being about 6 inches makes sense though. I think the WDFW might have just hit this opener right on. I hope everyone does well. The two tribal members where awesome people. There was no one dipping below them. I wonder what 15,000 other people dipping will do. The fish push out with pressure. I would bring waders and a long pole. And please be careful. The river is high and dangerous. The Cowlitz ash will suck you in if you're not careful. Be safe to all that participate.


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Old 02-12-2020, 07:27 PM   #119
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Remdog: Looks pretty dirty to me. Must have been coincidence.
Granted 2014 was a high abundance year but the Cowlitz was high and dirty and the smelt were in close. Had to make short dips or you had a hard time lifting the net out of the water.



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Old 02-12-2020, 08:35 PM   #120
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High and dirty has always been best for me. I'd love to dip in the dark but that's not in the cards.


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