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  1. #41
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Laramie, WY---Cape Coral, FL

    Default Re: Industry Ethics Opinion

    I just noticed the flows have dropped to 331cfs.

    Wow, talk about accessible river...This makes even the wade crossing at the EP easy.

    What a time to head to the trails.

  2. #42
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Industry Ethics Opinion

    Quote Originally Posted by rando View Post
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't salmon and steelhead fishing, fishing for spawning fish?
    Isn't spawn the only reason those fish enter river systems?
    If it is so, then how is it ethically different from fishing for spawning trout?

    I am not defending anyone, or attacking anyone. I do not fish for spawning fish (I fish predominantly warm-water tho). I don't condone fishing without license or breaking laws, but I also don't like the way article was written.

    Oh, and the whole concept of brand ambassadors as role models wake up it is all just marketing.

    Too much self righteousness everywhere nowadays. Especially internet.
    The opening question is a valid point and one possible answer is yes and no. Hopefully you won't mind if I try to explain the polar differences. First let's look at salmon, I think it's understood by many that once these fish return to their natal waters the end result is that the adult fish die. Of course there's a lot that happens prior to the final decline and eventual death of the fish. First there is the acclimation period during which those salmon that are exiting a saline environment and reentering freshwater flows remain in the brackish water contained in estuaries where rivers and creeks meat the ocean waters. What is happening during this period while they congregate prior to ascending the freshwater stream is called an Osmoregulatory shift. In short the fish are physiologically adjusting to their natal environment. Many salmon are caught during this period of time when there is an inordinate number of adult fish within a relatively small area as compared to open ocean environs or when traveling the river channels.

    Once the acclimation period ends they move into the river and begin the upstream migration. At this stage of the 'return' the fish are what I have come to know as 'bright fish' meaning that the further physiological changes and actual body morphing have not became visually apparent but are no less underway. This is the time for the fly fisherman to be trying his best to lure one into taking the fly. Some fish remain aggressive based on their previous years feeding at sea and that aggressiveness albeit perhaps a reflex action is what brings the grab of the fly in my opinion. Conversely, some individuals show no interest at all in flies or lures of any type. I consider these fish to be a result of genetic selection and to be survivors of their generation. Fish that take flies and lures are most likely to be harvested by the angler and thus will not be spawning. This minor phenomenon has given birth to a theory that I can't shake from my mind. I believe that given increased angling pressure resulting in harvest will eventually leave the rivers with a population of fish which lack that fatal instinctive feeding response when they see the fly or lure. In the end I predict salmon returns which will consist of a much higher number of individuals who do not possess the fatal trait.

    I'll get to the original point regarding whether you are fishing for "spawners" when you fish for salmon but would like to continue at this point with my theory based on observations. I'm not a fisheries scientist, just a fellow with just enough education combined with many years of hands on field experience when it comes to fisheries. With that disclaimer I'll go on. I believe that with these fish, if you continually remove those individuals that possess the trait of feeding responses after entering freshwater environs the population over time may transition into one in which a very high number of returning salmon are genetically predisposed against the behavior which has remover such individuals from previous generations leaving the anglers with fish that increasingly harder to entice. Perhaps not real science but a bit of my common sense approach to pondering why I encounter more runs of fish that seem to show no interest in grabbing a fly. It should be noted that this theory has been developed in South Central Alaska where the fishing pressure is exponentially higher that such areas as the Bristol Bay watersheds for instance. Right or wrong I believe this may come to be on the rivers I fish.

    Now on to that fishing for spawning salmon thing. By the time the fish are actually engaged in gathering around hens that are preparing nesting sites the salmon have underwent more changes. Based on species the changes are different although no less evident. Coloration in King Salmon, Sockeye and Silver Salmon changes to red. Varying tones and hues from deep burgundy to fire engine red are exhibited depending on the species you are seeing. At any time between the act of entering the natal river as bright fish and the described deep red color stage these fish can and do exhibit varying shades of coloration as the full sexual maturation takes place. Catching a King Salmon that shows a blush of pink on its flanks does not indicate that you have caught a spawning fish or that you have been fishing over actively spawning fish. Once you either can see the darkened bodies of the fish around a redd or you accidentally hook up with a very red and physically morphed fish that should be your indicator to move away from that area.

    What I described in the above paragraph would be my definition of spawning salmon. It is at this point that the fish can be considered and are actively spawning. It is also at that point that angler ethics and knowledge of the species come into play. I have seen many people so desperate to feel what it is like to have a salmon on their line that they will fish spawners. Some will even stoop to swinging, drifting a fly or reeling a spinning lure right through the fish on the beds in the effort to snag one. Snagging is illegal but fishing the beds is a gray area. The laws here do describe 'Disturbing Spawning Salmon or Molesting Salmon' as being out of bounds but like many places these rules are very hard to enforce. Only self policing and personal responsibility can change that behavior. Myself? I will not knowingly fish over spawning salmon, I consider the catching of a bright fish to be the ultimate fish.

    Steelhead? I'll be way more brief on this. They have a totally different life cycle than a salmon and are very much like trout, they are trout. Spawning time in Alaska is mid May through early June. Basically the same ethical rules apply when steelhead fishing in early spring. Fish who are in transit in a river or holding in a particular run cannot instantly be considered as actively spawning however this is no less a delicate time to be hooking and handling the fish. Once again it is the nature of the angler and how that person chooses to approach spring fishing that dictate whether an encounter between angler and fish turns out fatal to the fish. I do not and will not swing flies over a nesting area for rainbow / steelhead trout but that's just me.

    I don't think salmon fishing is by description the act of angling for spawning fish. I believe that some people do target steelhead and rainbows on the redds in the spring and the floating of a plastic egg under a bobber is the preferred method of many.
    Last edited by Ard; 04-13-2018 at 02:20 PM.

    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  3. Likes just4grins, flytie09, falcon53, myt1, eastfly66 liked this post
  4. #43

    Default Re: Industry Ethics Opinion

    Some "intersting" view points here. As with any group, it's not really fair to point fingers at the many due to the actions of the few. But that's what all forms of media these days seem to want to keep cramming down our throats, and now that seems to have spread to fishing.
    I am a prostaff/ambassador to 3 major brands, 2 of which are fly fishing related (one is strictly conventional - a soft plastics company). I certainly don't feel like I flood our forum (or any other forums) with dude bro mentality, buck nasty videos or even spam for those perspective companies. Im even willing to bet most members here didn't even know I represent any companies. And I certainly don't treat my fisheries like absolute garbage.

    Sent from my SM-G960U using Tapatalk

  5. Likes flytie09, fishing hobo, k_e_v, rando, myt1, Ard liked this post
  6. #44

    Default Re: Industry Ethics Opinion

    Iíve been fishing this area for about 5 years. I donít fish to spawners and know full well when the top mile is closed. Iíve put in a little time learned some things and have had a lot of success out there.
    Itís easy to look like a hero out there. The fish are big and once you figure some spots out you can have a lot of success.
    I understand the frustration for those who have been fishing it for a long time. I also realize that Iím part of the situation with that stretch of river blowing up in popularity.
    But still I follow the rules. Itís an amazing place to fish. Itís also unexcuseable for a guide or anyone to capitalize on the area by fishing illegally. Not even bothering to buy a fishing licsence and knowingly fish an area that is closed for spawning fish.
    There have been several big time hunters who have payed the price for not following the rules. Canít see how this is any different. No respect for this guy. He probably makes a lot more money than me and gets free gear. Pretty brave I might ad. Those Wyoming guys donít take any ****. I often park my truck to avoid exposing my Utah plates. I probably would think twice about showing that big ginger mug out there if I was him.

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  8. #45

    Default Re: Industry Ethics Opinion

    What I think is interesting is that you couldnít fish for trout on the redds here the season was closed.

    Now after new catch and release seasons were instituted in Minnesota and Wisconsin people can target fish on the redds to a certain point.

    I personally donít target fish on the redds but since they spawn everywhere itís likely I have swung a fly through some areas.

    My home river closes oct15th actually earlier but they extended two weeks last year. My point is close the season for spawning again if itís that hard on fish.

    I donít target steelhead or salmon on the redds but again most fish swim into the protection areas some do not, they spawn everywhere they like on the Great Lakes.

    Before I knew better I did try to sight fish for steelhead but I learned real quick that steelhead and salmon that are digging redds donít bite, they ignore everything. What I have seen is guys snag fish off the redds.

    I guess we should advocate for closed seasons instead of perpetual catch and release.

    I like to think Iím a ethical steelheader and fly fisherman, but I was young and dumb in my life, education is the key there and discussions about ethics and proper catch and release will do more good than anything.

    About fish pics and reports, well if it bothers everyone that much I can stop. While Iím not getting anything from my driftless reports, no fame, money, endorsements or anything.

    my motives were and are to share outdoor pictures and tasteful fish pics and reports to share with my friends on the forum and to give back a little to the forum that taught me so much.

    I know there are members that are too old to do the bushwhacking and wading I do, perhaps my reports can brighten and stimulate peopleís thoughts of their own experiences, I was hoping for more interaction about actual fishing but itís usually itchy, myself and a few others and we can do that on Facebook.

    I will stop the my driftless and steelhead trip reports in their respective sections.

    I fly fish a lot, because I love it, I sometimes wonder how many do too, or if this forum is merely a sales platform and guide service.

    Do I like hyped videos or products or guides? No

    Part of the internet is everybody is a pro guide, pro fly fisher and a overseller. Itís pretty easy at least for me to see whoís got some real street cred.

    Thanks for everything, Steve

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