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Wild Winter Steelhead Run Timing . How It Has Been Reshaped by Fisheries Management in Washington. Questions Examined:. When did hatchery steelhead significantly enter the catch What proportion of historic catches were prior to March Has there ever been differential harvest opportunity

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wild winter steelhead run timing

Wild Winter Steelhead Run Timing

How It Has Been Reshaped by Fisheries Managementin Washington

questions examined
Questions Examined:
  • When did hatchery steelhead significantly enter the catch
  • What proportion of historic catches were prior to March
  • Has there ever been differential harvest opportunity
  • Has a shift in wild steelhead run timing occurred
  • What are the biological values of early run timing

Mid-Sauk River, Jan. 24, 2003

washington s historic hatchery steelhead
Washington’s Historic Hatchery Steelhead
  • Steelhead fry releases began 1903; fingerlings 1936; not only was there little return but “Ironically, steelhead runs…were reduced by the hatcheries…” (Crawford 1979)
  • 1937-1941 Green River tagging study: “Artificial propagation appears to contribute very little towards the maintenance of steelhead trout populations.” (Pautzke & Meigs 1941)
  • 3.4% hatchery steelhead in Green River sport catch 1940; ~2% in 1941 (Pautzke & Meigs 1940; 1941)
slide4

Pautzke

and His

Supertrout

From Sports

Illustrated

Feb. 1955

“In 1950 he planted seven rivers. In 1953 he planted 760,000 … fingerlings in 35 rivers…”

slide6

Historic Wild Winter Steelhead Run-TimingSport Catch 1955 & 1956: nine Washington steelhead rivers [WDG summaries]Tribal Catch 1934-1959: nine Washington steelhead rivers [Taylor 1979]Sport Catch 1954-1961: all Washington steelhead rivers [Royal 1972]

slide7
Hoh River Tribal Steelhead Catch (1944-1959)
  • Hoh River Sport Steelhead Catch (1955 & 1956)
slide8
Nisqually River Tribal Steelhead Catch

(1935-1959)

  • Nisqually River Sport Steelhead Catch

(1955 & 1956)

slide9
Nooksack River Tribal Steelhead Catch

(1951-1959)

  • Nooksack River Sport Steelhead Catch

(1955 & 1956)

slide10
Queets River Tribal Steelhead Catch

(1934-1959)

  • Queets River Sport Steelhead Catch (1955 & 1956)
slide11
Quinault River Tribal Steelhead Catch

(1941-1959)

  • Quinault River Sport Steelhead Catch

(1955 & 1956)

return of marked hatchery steelhead and wild steelhead at 5 rivers from field checks royal 1972
Return of Marked Hatchery Steelhead and Wild Steelhead at 5 Rivers from Field Checks [Royal 1972]
  • Chambers Ck. stock hatchery steelhead available to the sport fishery earlier than wild with substantial % in December
  • The differential run-time provides an essential management tool
slide13
Chambers Ck. stock hatchery steelhead available to the sport fishery earlier than wild with substantial % in December
  • The differential run-time provides an essential management tool
slide14
Chambers Ck. stock hatchery steelhead available to the sport fishery earlier than wild with substantial % in December
  • The differential run-time provides an essential management tool
slide15
Among the few Washington rivers that better fit the 1972 Royal model for potential differential harvest of hatchery steelhead were the 1956 Skagit & 1955 Dungeness River steelhead examples that were then largely wild
  • Nevertheless 56% of the largely wild Skagit catch & 50% of the Dungeness largely catch were Dec through Feb
steelhead consequences of misinterpreting history
Steelhead ConsequencesOf Misinterpreting History
  • Today the majority of winter steelhead are caught in December and January and are as much as 90% hatchery steelhead

[Crawford 1979]

hoh river steelhead management 30 35 years after 1962
Hoh River Steelhead Management(30-35 years after 1962)
  • Interaction between wild & hatchery stocks is minimal because hatchery fish return earlier than wild & are managed for high exploitation (up to 95%) in terminal sport & commercial fisheries [McHenry et al. 1996]
  • Given high hatchery fish exploitation rate of about 80%, healthy wild spawner escapements, & difference in spawn timing of hatchery fish (Jan/Feb) & wild fish (mid Feb through May), potential for interbreeding is limited [Washington State Salmon and Steelhead Stock Inventory (SASSI) 1994]
slide19
Queets River sport steelhead catch in 1955 & 1956 compared to 1995 & 1996 by monthly area of distribution
  • Differences in hypothetical bell curves in wild winter steelhead return based on catch
slide20
Pysht River sport steelhead catch in 1955 & 1956 compared to 2001 & 2002 by monthly area of distribution
  • Differences in hypothetical bell curves in wild winter steelhead return based on catch
why early run timing
Why Early Run Timing?
  • Provides option for early spawning to increase overall fit to broadest range of temperature and flow patterns
  • Can result in earlier emergence; larger size into 1st winter; & ability to migrate from/within intermittent streams
  • Can provide more staggered emergence & resultant staggered use of available food resources in critical 1st months
  • Provides for destination adjustments to fluctuating basin conditions (rainfall, temperature, volcanic episodes, landslides, etc.)
  • Provides males the opportunity for multiple spawnings over the broadest period of time & broadest area
lower clearwater sub basin of queets examples of early run timing importance cederholm 1984
Lower Clearwater Sub-basin of Queets:Examples of Early Run Timing Importance[Cederholm 1984]
  • Spawning began in January in both the mainstem and tributaries but spawning peaked earlier in the tributaries
  • Spawning peak varied by tributary potentially reflecting differing flow/temperature/scour patterns
  • Warmest water year spawning peaked 39 days earlier than coldest year [steelhead entry time remained same each year as indicated by tribal catch]
  • Late emergence: small size going into 1st winter;

Early emergence: large size going into 1st winter

slide23
Steelhead redds in 5 tributaries of the Clearwater Basin in 1978 (only year both Jan. & Feb. trib surveys were made)
  • Differing spawn times in each of 5 Clearwater Basin tributaries in 1978
slide24
Three Siuslaw Basin Tributaries on Oregon Coast

Wild Steelhead Trapped on Creek Entry

[Lindsay et al. 1991; 1992; 1993; & pers com Ken Kenaston ODFW]

  • Females thought to spawn within few days and leave
  • Males remained longer, including two that averaged 35 days
  • Early spawning may be needed to emerge prior to reduced flow
slide25

Studies at Snow Ck. demonstrate steelhead mating complexity & that early arriving males are particularly successful

  • (Seamons et al. 2003 & 2004)
  • Variable dates of first steelhead arrivals: December-March
  • Males arrived avg. 15 days prior to female they mated with
  • Females mated with males that arrived before them
  • Males spawned with as many as 10 females
  • Females spawned with as many as 5 males
  • One early arriving male sired 40% of all YOY in study area
early run tributary relation
Skagit River Basin

[Phillips et al. 1980; & 1981]

75% steelhead spawn in tributary streams

Skagit River Basin

[Freymond 1984]

Skagit River tributaries in 1983 had 13.7 redds/km; mainstem 9.2 redds/km

Rogue River

[Everest 1973]

Greatest spawning intensity in small tribs: <25 sq mi; <50 cfs winter flow; dry by mid-June

Many support large populations from which fry must migrate soon after emergence

Early-Run/Tributary Relation