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Fishes with Wolves
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Discussion Starter #1
Three Minute Challenge.
Here's a challenge. A challenge to any and all that like to fly fish for steelhead. At this time it is specifically in support of the Skagit C&R fishery but ultimately in this day and age of ESA listings and conservation group lawsuits, it will encompass all steelhead fishing in the state.

I'll lay out the challenge directly, first I want to explain the need for it. As you know Curt and I recently attended a Commissioners meeting – again. And once again we tried to get across to them that this fishery is widely supported and loved by anglers from around the state and to a lessor extent other parts of the country. If you are a fly fishing steelheader, the Skagit is on your bucket list. This, and the science to support the fishery, is all content that they've heard from us over and over for about seven years and counting. If you have watched the meeting, available at this link:
https://player.invintus.com/?clientID=2836755451&eventID=2019061004
you might have noticed there was a little bit of contention between us and them. And any of you familiar with proceedings like this know that before and after meetings there is some discussion that takes place. This is one of the reasons we go on Saturdays Their entire meeting is short lived and it's easier to hang around and have some of these discussions.

But Curt, myself, and a few others have taken this as far as we can. The Commissioners see the same few faces every time. They know how Curt feels. They know how Salmo feels. They know how I feel.

Their biggest question to us during and after the meeting was simple;
Where are you guys? Where are you guys when the department is trying to secure funding for your fishery from the legislature? Are your representatives even aware of this fishery? Are your representatives aware that this is something very important to you? Are your representatives aware that this is how fishing of this type is going to have to proceed in the 21st century?

If you care about flyfishing for steelhead in WA now and in the future, you need to do something now. And I think you can do something that will have an impact in three minutes. Less time than it takes to tie a fly. Less time than it takes to brew a pot of coffee. Less time than it takes to buy a coffee. Less time than it takes to post on the forum *****ing about WDFW, the Mariners, the Seahawks, or the weather. Less time than cruising the Classifieds. And certainly less time than to drive out of state to fish somewhere else.

So here is the three minute challenge:
Send an email to your representatives with a CC to the Commissioners and the Director of WDFW.
Find your representatives here:
Legislative Information Center Contacting Your Legislators
Find their emails here:
https://app.leg.wa.gov/MemberEmail/Default.aspx
CC to the Commissioners:
[email protected]
CC to the Director:
[email protected]

Tell them all that you are a fly fisherman and you saw the video linked to above and this is important to you. Tell them that this is their chance to build a fishing legacy to give their children, and your children, to fish for steelhead in the future. Tell them to support funding for this fishery and others to come either by WDFW budget means or authorizing the department to charge user fees so that we can pay for it ourselves.

Find others like yourself in your address book and send them a copy of your email and urge them to do the same.

It is, quite literally, time to put up or shut up.
 

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Fishes with Wolves
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397 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
Here is the email I sent to my reps - my senator is on the ways and means committee!

Honorable Representatives,

On Saturday the 15th, I attended and gave testimony at the WDFW Commissioners meeting. You can view this meeting here: https://player.invintus.com/?clientID=2836755451&eventID=2019061004
I attended in response to a reported internal email from Director Susewind to his WDFW colleagues with the subject heading of; 2019 - 21 Operating Budget Update. In this email was a paragraph which I will quote here from the copy that I reviewed:

• None of the other proposed enhancements are funded. For example, the current Skagit catch and release fishery will not receive funding and thus that opportunity will be eliminated.

Eliminated. Not might be, or possibly, or under consideration, but that opportunity will be eliminated. This fishery that has been in existence since 1981 was closed due to an ESA listing that encompassed all rivers that emptied into Puget Sound due to poor returns of steelhead. Except the Skagit, due in large part that its headwaters are behind conservation borders, was not experiencing the same fate as these other rivers. As a member of a group known as Occupy Skagit we lobbied WDFW for six years with their own science to develop a basin specific management plan to allow a fishery that NMFS would approve.

WDFW did their part and developed the plan, NMFS did their part and approved the plan. The wild fish, which I might add come at a cost of zero dollars to the state, came back as always and we had a very well regulated season in 2019 from February 1 to April 30th. Now it is time for you to do your part and develop a plan to permanently fund this fishery and limited fisheries like it to come in the future. In this time of ESA listings, declining runs, and an ever increasing human population fisheries like the recent catch and release season on the Skagit will have to become the new norm. Business as usual has brought us to this defining point. Someone needs to step up and make a legacy decision for recreational anglers of the future.

Because of the required monitoring included in the plan some interesting data was collected. For instance, anglers from 214 different WA zip codes representing 21 different counties were interviewed. A review of the raw data also found that one out 11 anglers (9.4%) lived outside Washington state. Of those anglers 88.4% were from US states other than Washington. Anglers came from Canada and the UK. In years past the Skagit C&R season was populated with a Who's Who of the fishing world. Today, if you fish for steelhead, a Skagit steelhead is on your bucket list. The Skagit fishery, once the flagship fishery of the state, will die. Not for a lack of fish, but for a lack of dollars.

WDFW has determined that each angler's trip is worth $215 to the economy. Much of that spent near the destination. Going on the data from this spring of 7,241 angler days, this comes to $1,556,815.00. Over one and a half million dollars return for a monitoring and enforcement investment of approximately $200,000. Do you know anyone in District 39 that wouldn't like that kind of return on their tax dollars?

Recreational angling is a bi-partisan sport. It's time to drop the politics, come together and move recreational angling into the 21st century.

If, at any time you would like to meet over coffee or lunch to discuss this any further, I will gladly make myself available.

Thank you for your time,


Wayne Cline
Occupy Skagit
 

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Wayne,

Do you think out of state comments help, or are they written off as non-constituent. Many of the email campaigns eliminated by zip code, though I realize a direct email would not.
 

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Wayne, good write up. Unfortunately these decisions are left up to politicians. Where did you get the dollar figure for angler visit as a contribution to the economy? I agree it is a good investment for the state to make vs the cost of enforcement and monitoring. But like I said before it is unfortunate that these things are left up to politicians and unless you have a sizable campaign contribution in hand they are hard to talk to.
 

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Fishes with Wolves
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397 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Wayne, good write up. Unfortunately these decisions are left up to politicians. Where did you get the dollar figure for angler visit as a contribution to the economy? I agree it is a good investment for the state to make vs the cost of enforcement and monitoring. But like I said before it is unfortunate that these things are left up to politicians and unless you have a sizable campaign contribution in hand they are hard to talk to.
The dollar figure is what the Fish Program at WDFW has come up with. The decisions are in the hands of your representatives. Let them know how you feel! Within hours of my email one of my representatives has already contacted me and we will be sitting down to coffee for further discussion. In this day and age a little good publicity,(or bad) on social media can make some waves.
 

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Fishes with Wolves
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397 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
Wayne,

Do you think out of state comments help, or are they written off as non-constituent. Many of the email campaigns eliminated by zip code, though I realize a direct email would not.
I absolutely think out of state emails would be of great benefit to the cause. In a previous conference call meeting of the Commissioners, the one from Spokane mentioned, dismissively in my opinion, that "I'm sure it's a big deal to the folks up there." The data from last season shows that it's enjoyed by folks state wide and beyond. And although we mentioned it at the meeting it would certainly help to back it up with some emails from anglers such as your self. Send them to the District 39 law makers and cc the director and commissioners.
 

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I absolutely think out of state emails would be of great benefit to the cause. In a previous conference call meeting of the Commissioners, the one from Spokane mentioned, dismissively in my opinion, that "I'm sure it's a big deal to the folks up there." The data from last season shows that it's enjoyed by folks state wide and beyond. And although we mentioned it at the meeting it would certainly help to back it up with some emails from anglers such as your self. Send them to the District 39 law makers and cc the director and commissioners.
Good. It was very frustrating to have the email petition campaign bounce back. I think it gives them an out, and disregards a good share of the economic benefit of the resource when valued against other spending.
 

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We cannot seem to get them to close destructive and costly hatcheries, but boy are they quick to shut down non-hatchery based fisheries that cost very little, first chance they get. The wildlife commission's priorities are way out of whack (legislators generally adopt the commission's priorities and don't try to micro-manage the agency). Perhaps I am a bit too suspicious but it looks like they are bound and determined to demonstrate that catch and release fisheries based on wild fish don't work in order to keep the funding going for hatcheries. Yes, write your legislators, but I believe the real problem is agency leadership.
 

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Thanks WW for your effort.

I Sent my out of state e-mail plea in support of Steelhead fly fishing. Can not hurt. May cause one of the commissioners to think a little regarding fair and reasonable ruling that protects these addictive fish.
 
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