Looks like we are going fishing! There was a much better outcome with North of Falcon this year. We sat with the new West Coast Administrator, Barry Thom, some time back with a long heart to heart talk about how bad our NOF negotiations were and how divisive this situation had become for all parties. We asked him to intervene and gave some ideas on how to get us to a better place. Recreationals were going over the waterfall and the tribes were on our heels shortly after. But yet nothing was appearing to be getting better. Our license fees pay for fish in the hatcheries that all catch and when we aren't allowed to fish, recs will quit buying license so this is a full circle problem. This was taken to several tribal members to please get this to the other tribes. A big thanks to Barry for working on this for us.
With NOF, one particular tribe appeared to be hard over and we did lose one very important fishery over it. It was not the Muckleshoots. But for the rest it appeared that the tribes did work together for all of us to get back on the water. We gained ground over some fisheries and lost on others, but the tribes gave up some too. WDFW, tribes, commercials, and recreationals, worked together so all could be on the water for the best outcome possible. The problem areas of concern this year were Skagit, Stillaguamish, and the Dungeness rivers. So protections had to go in place to let these fish return safely to their home rivers. That impacted MA 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. These are going to have limited fisheries this season. Mother Nature has not been kind. Be sure to check the new regs. I will say Pat Pattillo worked hard on behalf of the Puget Sound Sport fishers with WDFW to change some dynamics of NOF. We would like to thank him for his hard work.
The Skokomish tribe played hardball once again, not allowing us to fish the Skokomish River.This is not a conservation issue whatsoever. WDFW last year countered the tribe with a Chinook beach seine fishery and took around 5000 kings in front of the river. Yet 32,000 kings still made it back to our George Adams hatchery. The Skokomish tribe caught less last year than the year before showing that WDFWs method was effective in countering the tribe. Plenty of fish for all, but yet they held on the Department of Interiors Solicitor Generals opinion to move ownership of the river from the middle to the far side giving them full use of the river and booting us off. No one agrees with this but the Skokes. There was a 4 Chinook fish limit in the salt there last year. I believe it might be the same this year. These kings can be pretty big.
PSA has been working with three tribes for some time on our fisheries issues. Ray Fryberg of the Tulalip tribe, Scott Schuler (pronounced Skyler) of the Upper Skagit tribe, and Randy Kinley of the Lummi Nation. All three of these great leaders worked with us on fisheries issues that have stopped lawsuits that would have shutdown hatcheries and were successful in stopping other fishery closures. We have been willing to work together on fishing issues that benefit all of us. This is where we need to be if they are ever going to return. Randy Kinley and I had just made a commitment to each other for the three tribes and PSA to form a partnership. With extreme sadness in my heart, Randy passed away two weeks later from a heart attack. He was a true friend to all that cared about the fish. If you knew Randy, you respected that man for his commitment to salmon. We talked often of fisheries problems that most never know about. For Randy's sake, we will continue on in his name. I will be doing a tribute to him in next months Reel News. This was a gigantic loss to our fisheries.
We hope this year puts a lot of salmon in your fishbox and hope to see you next year at our Second Annual PSA Monroe Sportsman Show. The first year was quite a success that we will build on for next year. Thanks to all that worked the show with us and those that supported us, Attendees and Vendors alike!
Join a PSA Chapter near you as we are working hard on your behalf to keep us on the water.
Did you know that some yelloweye rockfish
that are here today were Washington residents before it became a
state in 1889? They have been and continue to be an important
part of our heritage.
Halibut and bottomfish fishing have also
been a part of Washington’s culture for hundreds of years. Many
generations of fishermen have relied on halibut and bottomfish
for food and recreation.
A recent stock assessment indicates that
the yelloweye rockfish population has declined over 80% from its
initial level. As a result, immediate action must be taken if
the stocks of these long-lived fish are to be rebuilt.
To rebuild yelloweye rockfish populations,
the harvest opportunities for this species must be severely
curtailed. In recent years, the Pacific Fishery Management
Council has set yelloweye rockfish harvest levels for all
commercial, recreational, and tribal fisheries combined for
California, Oregon, and Washington of about 17 metric tons (mt).
This number includes yelloweye rockfish that are discarded at
The Washington recreational harvest target
is about 2.7 mt (fewer than 1,000 fish) in coastal waters. To
put this in perspective, in 2001, the Washington recreational
fishery harvested 15 mt.
Yelloweye rockfish, in general, are harvested during the
Washington recreational halibut fishery. If the yelloweye
rockfish catch is projected to exceed 2.7 mt, then Pacific ocean
waters adjacent to Washington outside 25 fathoms will be closed
to recreational bottomfish fishing (including halibut).
If yelloweye rockfish cannot be avoided when anglers are
targeting halibut, then we may have to close recreational
halibut fishing in the future to protect yelloweye rockfish.
Because the yelloweye rockfish stock may not be rebuilt for over
100 years, the problem of managing the yelloweye fishery will
continue through our lifetime; however, you have the ability to
help save the halibut fishery now and preserve the yelloweye
resource for the future.
Live to be 120 years old
Range extends from Mexico to Alaska
Found in deeper, rocky bottom areas
Slow growing,low productive species
Reddish-orange in color with bright yelloweye
Commonly called "red snapper"
Often spend their entire lifetime on one rockpile
How You Can Help
If you are participating in the recreational halibut or
bottomfish fishery, please avoid areas that are known to
have yelloweye rockfish.
If you do accidentally catch a yelloweye, please return
to the water s soon as possible.
Help spread the word to others about the severity of the
yelloweye rockfish depleted population and the possible
consequences of not avoiding yelloweye areas
If you do not know what areas may have yelloweye
rockfish, please consult a local resort, motel, or charter
office or other expert before fishing