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Salmon and Steelhead: Are the runs declining or strong?
Thought I would make up a simple poll to find out your opinions about how you think the shape of our fish runs are. Keep the debate exclusive to our state and not a world wide discussion.
Long term trends might show different, as far as I am concerned in the now, and the recent few years, the fish runs are really boasting big numbers.
Better? Ya but... Compared too? I`m only 34 and have heard tooooo much about the "GOOD OL` DAYS" to think that this is good enough. But that`s just me... The fishin is good 1 year and not so... the next, for me. Don`t get me wrong, I get fish, but because of that fact I think I can, with a certain amount of confidence, say that it is not as abundant. It`s always been 1 yr to the next. BUT it seems that it fluctuates up and down more per year than it used to. Used to gradually go up and down. `Course I really pay attention to steel #`s (in tha PDX area) more than salmon, so I may be a bit biased/OFF with my OPINION/EXPERIENCE as far as over all salmon ids are concerned.
Let`s take, for example, this years winter run on EC. SO FAR! I`m not here to boast specific #`s. But I can tell ya I got a 1/4 of the fish I got last year. The hatchery itself, again so far, got half! I was done this time last year and on to brooders on tha clack, if that makes it any clearer!?
My answer? Not as abundant
I dont think the Good OL Days will ever be relevent in my life, nore will I ever see them. I disregard that, for my personal standard. The Portland fisheries as a whole I dont think can be a sole representative. Yes I agree, if we hold what my grandfather, or even my father had for oportunities as fisherman compared to what is available today - yeah, bismal, depressing... The world is grossly populated, and it takes resources to provide for what we are, and that wont change. That being said, I hold pretty true to my opinions that as to what has become the fisheries of today, as one whole piece of pie, not just the PDX area, or one single geographical area of the state, things arent bad, with good numbers of spring summer fish running the columbia the past few years, and a predicted #5 run of fall chinook all time potentially coming, oportunities to punch tag spots on the coast for winter steel/fall chinook, things arent bad. I will say that I have to travel often times to find "good" fishing, but in recent years I feel good in saying that there has been "good" fishing to be had.
ti think the runs this year and last year were really great. a bit better then a few years before ive definitely notcied quite a few more fish.
I also hold true... If my memory serves me `03 and `04 absolutely crushed. Here is an example of what I`m talking about, last 10 years I`m focused on...
And that`s Snake... nookies.... Like I say, I get my fish, that doesn`t mean the runs are as abundant
I am not an expert on this subject by any means. Things can improve though, for example, coho. In the 90's they were writing the obituary of that species here in Oregon but now there have been limited seasons for retention of wild coho on the coast and that is likely to continue. We have a small creek on our place in Coos County that we let the state "fish checkers" monitor every year. We had at least six coho pass through in Dec. '09 and ended up in our neighbor's pond at the headwaters. We have never seen salmon there in 40 years that I know of. The fish checker told me that another nearby creek that usually gets six to ten fish per year had 85 in 2009. So, things can change for the better and we hope to be seeing some more in the future. It's not all gloom and doom.
I feel like the the trend is downward... with a few spikes here n there of "good runs". The runs fluxuate (sp) too much and too wide spread it seems..
A buddy showed me a map years ago, 15 or so, that showed staple runs of salmon and steelhead through out Oregon. Some of those bodies are completely void of fish.
Know of older fellas that claim they were able to find steelhead every year in what today is a "ditch", no longer there.
The runs this year maybe pretty good, overall the trend is still downward I think. I have NO data to back this up, this is what I've observed personally.
There shall be 2 in the rogue river for me after i eat lunch and goto bi mart (20% off okuma rods and reels)
Generally speaking I'm optimistic about the salmon runs. I remember when the whole coho season was shut down in the ocean, they just last year started to let us keep chinook off the central coast again. The Willy and Columbia have both went through their closures too. Here is a site that has kept salmon records since 1938. You can punch up the numbers and draw your own conclusion.