Thursday, February 7, 2013

Occupy Skagit

Over the years catch and release has been growning as an anglers responsibility and the sportsfishing industry is encouraging this as a means of sustaining future populations of fish. In a state that allows threatened steelhead to be killed on rivers such as the Hoh, I find it hard to believe that they would close a low impact sportsfishery of catch and release in the Puget Sound. This isn't the really issue. 

I find it hard to believe that NOAA's current status of steelhead in (Puget Sound, Olympic Peninsula, Southwest Washington, and Upper Willamette River) are not presently in significant danger of becoming extinct or endangered, although some individual stocks within these ESUs may be at risk. 

Here is an opportunity to voice our concern for a dying fishery on one of the best rivers in Washington.

What is Occupy Skagit?

• A gathering on the Skagit River, April 6th in support of restoring the C&R season. The activity will involve 'fishing' without hooks in as many visible places as possible on the Skagit and Sauk; from the bridge at Concrete upstream to Bacon Creek on the Skagit, and upstream on the Sauk to the bridge at Darrington.
•This is a 'Wade In' Our purpose is not to disrupt traffic, be violent, disrespectful, trespass, harass, or engage in illegal activity of any know, just like when you go fishing.
•This is a parallel action to mesh with attendance at the WDFW Comissioners Meeting the following week in Olympia.

Why is Occupy Skagit?
•At the time of the ESA listing of Puget Sound wild steelhead, it was generally acknowledged by NMFS that the most robust large basin population in the region was in the Skagit; in fact on its own it probably would not have been listed. After reviewing the evidence, it is our belief that a well managed, catch-and-release (C&R) season on the Skagit would not be inconsistent with the recovery of its wild winter steelhead.
•This will require a petition from WDFW to NMFS for a permit that establishes basin specific allowable impacts (as is currently being done with Puget Sound Chinook).

Who is Occupy Skagit?
•You are. If two people do it, no one will notice. If two hundred people do it, we hope to garner some attention. Sometimes you have to dump a little tea in the harbor to get noticed.
Occupy Skagit 4/06/13


  1. Not sure I agree with occupy Skagit. The Skagit steelhead fishery is in serious danger. I don't believe opening the fishery in March or April again will improve the native steelhead returns.

    The problem is that historically, the bulk of the native run wasn't in March and April, but rather January and February. The efforts should be to bring this vital part of the native run back.

    Closing down the Marblemount winter steelhead hatchery program, putting more effort into restoring tributary spawning habitat, and improving estuary habitat would be much more productive than bringing back a spring C & R fishery.

    1. Hi KJ ,

      I agree that the Skagit fishery is in danger and opening a fishery for two monthes is not going to improve the situation at all. Instead Occupy Skagit is a great way to bring awarness to the current state of the fishery, show how important sportsfishing is to the local economy and put emphases on the benefits of a catch and release fishery vs a kill fishery. I hope we can make it! Cheers, mia