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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got home from the St Helens Commissioners meeting. I wish I could have stayed for the Oregon Commissioners reception that starts at 7 tonight but I need to get home to take care of some stuff. If you can make it, this is the opportunity to talk directly with the Oregon Commissioners regarding your concerns about Columbia River fish allocations. See Liz Hamilton's post about it here.

Overall, the commission seemed receptive on the following points:
- changing from a five year plan of 60/40 sport to commercial allocation to perhaps two to three years, allowing more flexibility to adjust the allocation.
- sea lion predation. Based on the observations of workers at Bonneville, they estimate 2-3% of this year's run of springers were taken by sea lions within view of the dam. Also, during aerial observation of the Columbia River 14 oversized sturgeon were seen being eaten by sea lions.
- economic assessment/impacts of the allocation between sport and commercial fishers.

Also, the commission asked "what's wrong" with the current regulations regarding fish allocations on the Columbia River. They want our input folks.

If you can make it to the reception, please do so.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The follow up:

There were less than a dozen Ifishers in the room today along with Liz Hamilton of NSIA and some other groups in support of sportfishing. Considering it was a weekday during working hours (for most folks) I thought it was a fair turnout. There were also those in support of commercial fishing in attendance. I stood at the front door with my Ifish name tag on and gave a cheery "Good morning!" to probably most of the commissioners (some came in through other doors so I didn't get 'em all) as well as anyone else who came along, including some netters I'm sure.

The meeting was largely a rehash of the same information presented at the Vancouver meeting. The commissioners asked questions between portions of the presentation and I felt that most of our concerns had actually been communicated to them based on their questions. One of the last slides in the presentation said that the Cathlamet and Vancouver meetings were "well attended" and that the comments at those meetings were summarized for the Commission.

No decisions were made today and no public input was taken.
 

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Thanks for the info and making it to the meeting. :bowdown: :bowdown: :bowdown: :bowdown:
 

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We attended the meeting for about an hour late in the day. Besides the fact it was virtually impossible to understand anyone speaking because of the acoustics, not a lot was said anyway. My count was less than sixty people in the audience. This included a number of "suits". My wife and I hosted one of the commissioners for dinner. Besides the social chit chat we learned a bit about the workings of the commission and their responsibilities which includes a lot more than the Columbia River Salmon.
My take is, if you want to get something done, whining in a public meeting is not going to do it. Lindsay Ball made the statement at the reception, he or they or any other public agency are not going to carry the water to get things changed to the way someone thinks they should be.
We need to work the process which means spending money and working with the politicians.
As an example: A large (200 members) well organized and motivated group of flyfishermen in Idaho wanted to get the cows out of the canyon where there was a blue ribbon trout stream. After SEVERAL years working with an antagonistic group of ranchers, reluctant bureaucrats and winning some influential politicians over, grazing areas outside of the canyon owned by the BLM were traded for those within the canyon owned by the US Forest Service. Then the fishermen put up the money, blood, sweat and tears to fence off the cows from the most sensitive areas still owned by the grazing association.
It takes motivated, dedicated, influential people willing to make a long term commitment to effect change to legislated rights.
Another point, those are Idahos fish too but they can't participate in the process.
We left the reception shortly after someone said there are only three redfish in Redfish Lake Idaho. ???
 

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One of the WA commissioners asked for the springer sport take on the tribs. This is the second time this has been brought up. The netters are going to push these fish to be counted toward the sport allocation on the Columbia. Don't think this is within the realm of the joint commission as the tribs "belong" to each state. Something to watch for.
I want the bright, you get the boot. Right.
 

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I believe that a well organized group of sportsfishers and the industries that serve them will evolve from this process. This site alone has thousands of viewers daily just waiting for someone to lead the way. I know of 2 other sites just like this one. We will be heard.
 

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Tonite, a very smart guide actually had a commisioner blow a gasket. Right in front of God and everybody.

I held my chuckle to a minimum.

Thanks Kevin.

Mark and the dog.
 

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This site has alot of members and therefore has the potential to be a powerful force. But.. we need people to show up. We need people that are willing to sacrifice a little of thier own time to get things done. If everyone on this site could make it to just ONE meeting a year, the impact would be felt big time! :smash: I know it's tough to make some of the meetings with work and family. But we're talking the future of our sport. I went to my first meeting today and to tell the truth It was boring as hell with all the suits and senators and politics involved.But I went and learned alot from it and If at all possible I will be going to the next one.
So before you sit back and say to yourself "Gee I was thinking about going to one of those meetings but it looks like we got a decent turn out at the last one! and uh gee the fishing is hot on the blank river so Ill just miss this one and try and make it to the next one!" Alot of people think like this including me, but I figured I"ve got too much to lose to sit back and do nothing.
Come on people! We need every person on this board to try like hell to make at least one of these meetings! Go Represent! Get informed! YOU can make a difference!
 

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A big thanks to everyone who attended today and/or tonighte. :applause:

I think a consistant theme that was presented to the Commissioners from different angles is that ODFW's primary fishing constituency, that is sports anglers, feel under-represented and their concerns not heeded.

Regardless of various interpretations of the facts, this belief, communicated by the opinion leaders of sports fishing, should be heeded by ODFW executives and the Commissioners. Losing the confidence of your core constituency is a very bad place to be.

Additionally, when the public's comments/questions, made for the benefit of the Commissioners, are handed off to commercial fishing industry representatives for their editorializing, one has to wonder just who is running the show here? Strange days, indeed.

I'll sleep on it and maybe post more tomorrow.
 

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It takes motivated, dedicated, influential people willing to make a long term commitment to effect change to legislated rights.
You have just discribed NSIA, and they do exactly what you said needs to be done. :cheers:


We need to work the process which means spending money and working with the politicians
Another up and coming group is Northwest Guides And Anglers Association.
We don't need to form a new group, when we already have a dog in this fight.
What we need is bodies to show up and be counted.
Or we could start a new site called Iwhine, it should be fun, lots of pikeminnow derbys and beer golf.
Again, a big thanks to those that made the effort and attended the meeting. :dance:



salmon hugger
 

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Just a few thoughts I took away from the meeting. And the discussion that followed in the evening.

1. Sport fishers represented themselves very well. Questions were pointed but not discourteous in any way. The young guide that spoke was impressive to say the least. Way to go! Sorry I did not get to meet him.

2. Director Ball really needs to take lessons on how to deal with people regardless of the questions asked. He has shown a tendency to either dismiss a question by laughing uproariously at the person or challenging them in front of everyone. Maybe he doesn't see how sophomoric that looks. When a woman made the statement that gillnetters sell fish on the black market,(so do sportsmen) Lindsay got in her face and demanded to know who did it and he would take that information to the police. Even my wife commented "that was uncalled for". He should have simply told the lady that those are problems that exist in the industry and are better handled by calling the OSP. Remember, Director Ball, there are no stupid questions, only stupid answers.

3. The notion that a summer run gillnet fishery was "needed" because too many Chinook would ruin the spawning grounds on the Okanogan sounds like the old gillnetter refrain from years back. Any more than 40,000 escapement over McNary meant those fish were "going to waste". By whose standards?

4. Sorry ODFW but I don't buy that notion that 9 inch mesh allows Steelhead to escape. In one day off the Cowlitz during the gillnet seasons I saw three floater steelhead with netmarks and caught two that had deep cuts from the nets. And no they were not Seal bites. Yes the fish will swim away from the net after being released but how long will they live? Remember 9 inch mesh measures 9 inches held under tension. It is really a 4.5 inch square. I took my first 15 pound steelhead off the mouth of the Cowlitz this year. That fish would not have survived a trip through a gillnet.

I'm only sorry I missed the discussion on SeaLion predation. Bilogists only counted 20 or so Sea Lion killed oversize sturgeon? I spent one day at Coverts this spring and saw two in less than three hours by the same Sea Lion. Must have been a busier than usual day. huh!

Finally I don't believe this fight is about numbers of fish. It is about methods. The gillnet is an outdated indiscriminate piece of history and should be relegated to the museums. I have no quarrel with a commercial fishery that competes with me on an equal basis. ODFW and WDFW are clinging to the belief that it is the only really efficient way to harvest fish. I know some guides who could probably pull as many fish from the Columbia during the peak of the run as the average gillnetter does. I say give them a fixed gear fishery, hook and line, as many as they can put out of their boat, barbless hooks and go to it.
Terminal fisheries like Youngs Bay and Big Creek could be handled with wiers.

I'll submit my letter.
 

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[after sleeping on it]

Capt. Hook, good to meet you finally, and you make some very astute observations.

What was billed as a 'reception' hosted by the ODFW Commission to "informally get a chance to discuss issues,” was anything but. I've never seen a 'reception' conducted like that :shrug: (For those that weren't there, it wasn't an relaxed gathering with one-on-one conversations, instead everyone stood in a semi-circle and directed questions to Commission Chair Marla Rae, and later ODFW executive Lindsay Ball, in a format that was mix of 'Town Hall' and 'CrossFire') .

This 'controlled dialogue' strategy really backfired. The public grew increasingly dissatisfied with the department's responses and non-responses and/or how they were delivered.

ODFW, rather than acknowledging comments and giving straight answers, employed various diversion techniques including condescending comments. As a result the atmosphere became increasingly contentious. So much for a friendly 'reception'

While sometimes disagreeing on issues, I've always been proud of ODFW as 'my agency' and supported it. Today, though, I'm both concerned and dismayed at the position the department has put itself in. When ODFW chooses to circle-the-wagons against its core constituency - from boat dealers, to fishing business owners, to general anglers and we’re made to feel like outsiders, or an insurgency, it does not bode well for the department.
 

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I attended the meeting to see how WDFW staff would spin the public input from the Vancouver and Cathlamet meetings. :shrug: I would have liked to hear that disclosed in a public setting.

It was very interesting to witness the reactions of the Commissioners to the Staff's pro-harvest(OSY for sturgeon and MSY for salmon)presentation. :lurk:

Again, I'd like to see the commercial sturgeon harvest/impact numbers from Grays Harbor included in the totals.
I support the fork length conversion, and would like the commercials to have the same slot limit. :idea:

Staff was attempting to to say that the sealion impacts were insignificant( 2-3% )since they weren't counted against the nontreaty allocation. I loved it when it was pointed out; there could be an issue with the run size forecast. :grin:

Regards,
Hans
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Correct me if I'm wrong but the sea lion predation rate (2-3%) was for the stretch of river visible from the dam itself (2-3 miles, at best), not the entire river. If 2-3% of the run was taken by sea lions at the base of the dam, what was the total take downriver? Realizing that the dam is a special situation that concentrates the fish for sea lion predation, there are may many river-miles in which sea lions feed on salmon.

At the Vancouver meeting, someone presented data regarding the economic impact to the region of sportfishing and commercial fishing. Could someone repost that information and include the source of that info? I'm preparing an email to the commission and my governmental representatives and would like to include that information.
 

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If 2-3% of the run was taken by sea lions at the base of the dam, what was the total take downriver?
This whole sea lion fiasco is bewildering to me. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of sea lions in the Columbia River last spring. Just ask anyone who fished. Those sea lions killed thousands upon thousands of fish, both springers and sturgeon of all sizes. And nobody will even talk about it.

Just watch this year's run get wiped out again. Count on it. :depressed:
 

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The young guide Capt.Hook is referring to is Kevin Newell(Ifish name Totalfisherman) He is very passionate and informed about the cause and isn't afraid to voice his opinion. The commissioners weren't able to dodge his questions or birdwalk on their replies.
 
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