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Poppy Cummins

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So I see over on Spey Pages a thread called Another Side to the Story. The thread was started by a local guide that I know and he posted a link to a video.  http://www.hatcheryandwild.com/

I have watched the video and read quite a bit of info that was linked to a Facebook page. I know some of you have commented on Spey Pages on this topic but others may not have seen this. If anyone wants to RESPECTFULLY discuss this topic without acrimonious talk I'm certainly interested in hearing your thoughts.

My personal feelings are that hatcheries aren't the answer to restoring wild fish runs and may be a hindrance. Having said that I will admit that I haven't bonked every brat that I've caught.

One of the large hatcheries shown in the video is 5 miles from where I sit and I do not believe it is ever going away unless some terrorist group blows it up. I also have several biologist friends that work there and I can tell you that they believe they are doing good work.

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Ken Campbell

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Reply with quote  #2 
Simply put, I believe that until we as a society eschew consumerism and the need to possess as a sign of success the hatcheries will continue to fill the demand side of the equation.
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Poppy Cummins

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Reply with quote  #3 
In my opinion society is never going to give up consumerism.
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Ken Campbell

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Reply with quote  #4 
Then I submit that the entire argument is moot. Here in the Treasure State we still show pictures of kids with dead fish. I kill fish. I like to eat them.
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Poppy Cummins

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Reply with quote  #5 
I like to eat fish as well and I like to see pictures of kids with dead fish but maybe not every fish they caught.
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Ken Campbell

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Reply with quote  #6 
Right. I get that. But we equate success with capture and possession. And we still teach that. The question is really complex. Would you swing flies for steelhead very long if there were no steelhead? If it were proven that wild stocks were going the way of the dodo would hatcheries be ok? If it were proven that wild fish could recover to their historic proportions, but no one could ever kill one for any reason, would hatcheries be OK? Gets messy quick.

Personally, I'm at a place in my life where I can't bear to kill anything that is so driven that it swims from the wide blue ocean, upriver past Bonneville and all the rest, evades all kinds of fatal hazards, and then playfully mashes a bomber at twilight. Not me, adipose fin or not. I'd bash a pike in the head in a cowboy second though. Contradiction? You betcha.

Highest possible regards M 'Athair.....

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Jonathan Barlow

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Reply with quote  #7 
I am sure there is a place for hatcheries. I am just not sure that place is on rivers that have wild runs of fish.

The whole thing is moot anyway, mom frere has it right that they are never going away.

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Bruce Kruk

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Reply with quote  #8 
This is all I have to say about this

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Poppy Cummins

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Reply with quote  #9 
Well you can have that with an unclipped brat.
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William Olson

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Reply with quote  #10 
Certainly not anti fishing.  But caught in the middle on hatcheries. 

The giant, single axis concrete plug a few miles up the river from a Red Shed is never (intentionally) going anywhere.  Therefore, the 'preserving the north fork' fish production site is going nowhere either.  The burr in me saddle arises in how this project came down...the tail end of an era, where the hatchery was the savior.  It was presented to allow one to both have cake and eat it.  Net the fish to oblivion.  Don't worry we make more.  Dam the rivers.  Don't worry we make more.  Log and mine and pillage and do everything we can...don't worry we make more. 

My dislike for hatcheries lies in how they were used as the legal impetus to destroy the village with the belief all will be OK. 

Until NOTHING fish culturist's (and politicos) predicted or promised came to fruition.  The native fish were literally sold down their own rivers. 

Now we have (some) sport angling guides living on hatchery welfare.  Commercial boats struggling to make ends meet while scraping by on hatchery welfare.  Can't fish the Skagit anymore in winter unless there are hatchery fish around.  And the only thing that keeps coming up...how to make better hatchery fish.  At what point does the madness end?  Accepting the failure that is fish culture as a mitigation tool?  Not one time, in more than 100 years of trying have hatchery fish lived up to the promised mitigation.  Not one time in the last 100 years has anything meaningful been done to fix the broken habitat(OK not entirely true as dams are falling and there are good projects being completed to fix access to lost habitat).  Or at least let it repair itself without further damage.  Only how to get at the remaining scraps.

Good, bad or indifferent hatcheries are not going anywhere- ever.  The wild fish would be fine (in spite of fish culture) if the habitat were ever given a chance to heal faster than we mess it up.  When you consider the geological forces that shape these rivers and their fish...it has been proven uncounted times...they are more than capable of colonizing any productive habitat.  And they will do it quite fast, it just seems like a snails pace when compared to the average life span of sapiens sapiens.  Doesn't do the 'now' generation any good when it will take a few hundred years to get anywhere.  

In the end it is a matter of accepting things for what they are.  You can't eliminate humans for fish.  We aren't going to give up resource extraction.  And we certainly aren't going to forgo modern conveniences.  It is what it is.  A really smart friend told me almost 20 years ago to make sure to savor each moment while on a river with wild steelhead.  For those are going to be our 'good old days'.  The same holds true today.  

I am especially thankful for the years 2010 and 2011.  We were gifted two autumns of wild Clearwater steelhead (aka B run), big enough runs that allowed one a wee glimpse of the real and true 'good old days'.  The vibrancy of life found in the heart of a species, surpassing all odds...awe-inspiring.  Wild and native salmonid populations have this vibrancy.  It is this zest that is missing from arti-fish.  A substitute for the 'real thing'.         

Ken Campbell

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Reply with quote  #11 
Agree. Well said.



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Reply with quote  #12 
Yep.
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Gene Larson

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Reply with quote  #13 
Brown trout came to this continent by the way of hatchery technology.  Brook trout moved from the Northeast and Midwest to the far west by the way of hatchery technology.  Rainbow trout went the other way by the same means.  A properly managed habitat may need help to get established, but once there needs no further help.  Witness Michigan's Au Sable River.  It had to be helped to recover from the logging excesses that exterminated all the fish in it.  But now it maintains itself with all three trouts mentioned above (yes, I know brooks aren't really trout).  

There are streams in the Rockies where we are told to kill non-native species, I hope that means eat them, they are good.  Would I rather have hatchery fish in a tailwater than no fish, yes!  

I think it should be illegal to stock a thriving stream with any species, raised by any means. But, I think hatcheries serve a purpose for food production and restoration after man's excesses have done their dirty work.  
Darryl Rigets

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Reply with quote  #14 

Hatcheries have their place, however their place should be temporary.
I see hatcheries as a Band-Aid solution to a problem that is more than skin deep.

Society dictates that we do something that gives us immediate results regardless of the consequences that may occur years down the road.

In most situations in my area fish habitat loss is due to past logging practices and urban sprawl, some to hydro projects, although the new run of river projects are causing more damage than government lets on.
Of course commercial fishing is always an issue.

As most are aware cutthroat and steelhead utilize the accessible portions of the upper watershed for spawning and rearing. In the past poorly regulated logging practices have caused damage the upper watersheds in a good portion of west coast forests. Until these areas have recovered through natural processes or by human intervention, trying to re-establish fish populations with hatchery fish and hoping that they will naturalize is a waste of time and money.

Here in BC the passing of the BC Forest Practices Code in 1995 was a step in the right direction where much of the upper watersheds containing fish bearing streams were protected and whole watersheds were being restored. Unfortunately major watershed restoration projects slowed considerably after a few years and not many occur to date. I think the same sort of process occurred in the states.

Unfortunately here in BC the forestry has now adopted a 40 year rotation that has been in place for the past few years and areas that have barely recovered from the last rotation are being logged again. 

Hatchery steelhead and cutthroat continue to be released into streams here in BC as they have for the past 50 years or more in some areas. I think mostly because hatcheries improve the numbers of returning fish and so increase chances of sports fishermen to catch fish, the more fish caught the more fishermen will fish. Fishermen need fishing gear, licences and vehicles to get them fishing some need guides etc. All of these needs contribute to the economy of the area, city, province, country.

So hatcheries could be used as a tool to successfully re-establish or establish fish populations in streams and rivers that have recovered or have been restored to their natural state, but they’re not, they are used to generate money.

Darryl Rigets

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Reply with quote  #15 
The "other sites" discussion on this topic seems long winded and some of the contributors seem to like hear themselves talk. There isn't a lot of fact based data. I found this study that was conducted by some researchers at the University of British Columbia. The study discusses wild steelhead recovery with out artificial intervention.The Keogh is a small river on northern Vancouver Island. They site several studies that have been written in the US Pacific north west. Very few of the US studies give a thumbs up to artificial intervention.

 
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