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Wednesday, February 06, 2008State says fish tales don't quite ring trueSome sport fishers love Gary Loomis, but commercial

operators and state biologists cast doubt on many of his assertionsBy CASSANDRA PROFITAThe Daily AstorianWednesday,

February 06, 2008His pitch is dynamic and persuasive - but is it true?Over the past year, renowned outdoorsman and fishing

rod inventor Gary Loomis, featured in an article reprinted in The Daily Astorian Dec. 28, has been rallying troops of sport

fishers to join a regional branch of the Coastal Conservation Association with a speech that blames commercial fishing for

Northwest salmon woes.But one of his battle cries doesn't add up, according to the Washington Department of Fish and

Wildlife.And commercial gillnetters, who have been targeted by Loomis as a factor in salmon declines, say they're being

unfairly tainted in an effort to recruit new members to the CCA, a national sportfishing advocacy group that has worked to

ban commercial fishing in the Gulf states.Over and over in his CCA promotions, Loomis recounts the story of the coho

salmon run on Cedar Creek in Washington. The creek was so degraded by 1992, Loomis says it only supported 32 salmon

before he and the Fish First organization took up the task of rebuilding its coho runs. The group improved habitat and

started a near-natural fry production and rearing program on the creek.But just as their efforts were beginning to pay off,

Loomis claims a late-addition commercial gillnet harvest in 2003 cleaned out the Cedar Creek run he'd labored to rebuild.

He says the run was 16,000 fish in 2002 and was expected to be 30,000 in 2003, but because the gillnet season it dropped

to 6,100.In a recent report, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Director Jeff Koenings said those numbers aren't

consistent with the data his agency has been collecting or with the way the Columbia River fishery is managed.Koenings said

his agency has been monitoring coho abundance on Cedar Creek and estimating the adult returns since 1999. According to

his data, "the actual returns of unmarked coho to Cedar Creek are much lower than those numbers reported to the media."

"It's propaganda," said Hobe Kytr, a spokesman for the commercial fishing group Salmon for All, who reviewed state data on

Cedar Creek coho. "It's not based on a word of truth. The Cedar Creek coho story is one Gary Loomis has been telling all over

the Northwest, and it keeps getting better and better every time he tells it."In 2002, WDFW counted 690 adult coho returning

to Cedar Creek - nowhere near the 16,000 fish claimed by Loomis. In fact, the most returning adult coho WDFW has counted

on Cedar Creek since 1999 was 2,355 in 2005."Cedar Creek is a small watershed," said Guy Norman, regional director for

WDFW. "Even though it is important - we would definitely agree it's very a important natural production coho stream for the

Columbia River - the capacity based on our habitat analysis is a few thousand fish. ... We wouldn't expect runs in the 30,000

range."Norman said Loomis' work on Cedar Creek has been central to the progress in rebuilding the coho run, and

reductions in harvest opportunity have helped too."Fish First and Gary Loomis have indeed worked hard and conducted

habitat restoration, and that's definitely helped productivity," he said. "Even though the potential is not anywhere near

30,000 - it's much less than that - they're helping with that habitat potential."Commercial harvest by gillnetters reached 21

percent of the entire coho run in 2003, which would not account for the dramatic drop in returns to Cedar Creek claimed by

Loomis. Norman said the overall coho harvest rate is in keeping with what gillnetters would have taken from the Cedar Creek

run. Based on the harvest rate, WDFW estimates the commercial harvest of Cedar Creek coho in 2003 to be 487.But Loomis

defends his numbers, saying WDFW isn't properly accounting for the coho that swim by the fish trap. To get to Cedar Creek,

coho must swim up the Lewis River about eight miles. A few miles up the creek, there's a a waterfall with a fish ladder that

contains the fish trap.Loomis says when his group launched the Fish First project on the creek, a former hatchery manager

at the nearby Lewis River Hatchery told him for every fish caught in the trap eight or nine jump the falls and are never

counted. For an easy estimate of the actual run size, Loomis multiplied the number caught in the trap by 10."There are more

fish going up there than they're able to count," Loomis said in an interview last week. "The trouble is Jeff Koening only used

the numbers that went through the trap. They didn't do anything about the percentage that are jumping the falls."Actually,

Norman said the state does have an "expansion factor" that accounts for the efficiency of the fish trap."We realize we're not

getting every fish in the trap," he said. "We use a tag and recapture method to get a handle on what percentage of the fish

we're actually seeing."Loomis said the state agency has a reason to downplay the potential run size on Cedar Creek."They've

been in charge of it for the last 140 years," he said. "Have they done a good job or a poor job? If they've killed off 100 times

more than they tell you they killed off, then they really did a bad job."He also points to observer data suggesting gillnetters

have underreported their catch, which would throw off the state's harvest estimates.WDFW "can only report the numbers that

they get," he said.Underlying the numbers game on salmon runs is a battle for fishing seasons on the Columbia. Though

Loomis says his push for CCA is about protecting the fish, not gaining ground for sport fishers in the current tug of war over

spring chinook salmon impacts, commercial fishermen note that his recruiting efforts started about a year before this year's

allocation decision, which will take place on Friday. Chinook salmon impacts are split between commercial and sport fishing

groups.Jim Wells, president of Salmon for All, said Loomis is using the gillnet fleet as "a whipping post" to build membership

in CCA so they can be more of a force in the allocation decision."This isn't about conservation," said Jim Wells, president of

Salmon for All. "He knew these impact splits were coming up. He needed membership in his group and he's using fictitious

numbers for Cedar Creek to get it. Those numbers were never there in the first place, and now he's blaming the gillnetters

for wiping them out."
 

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Great article , The arguments are common , But why would Loomis or any one deny that , Sporties versus commercial interest , I can be honest I [WAS ] Once a deck hand on a purse siener now I am A sport fisherman , So Thats what team I am On , And thats the way I see it , what team are you on? , sign for league and go to bat for your team
 

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While I don't totally believe Loomis and his 30,000 projection that never got to happen on Cedar Creek.

What is harder to believe is Koening's himself or commercial interests speaking about, so called made up propaganda from the CCA. Just BS politics at its best.

The sport fisherman awareness of the spring chinook allocation was not lead by CCA at all, sport fisherman are just tired of getting screwed, by just a few commies that provide such little impact to any local economy. Commies are a dying breed and they know it, and Koening's will go right along with them when they are gone.
 

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They are all liars. Hard to know what to believe anymore. I guess you gotta choose which lie benefits you best?
 

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interesting post, I find the commies to be using the avenue of our great Presidential prospects....politics......follow the money!!! Who pours more money into the politicians coffers with a specific goal in mind??? 'nuff said in my book....can't believe either!
I don't know GL, never met him....like his rods though! With that said, why would a guy who probably has millions! Worry about our fishery in this state and put his name on the line...why???? He can afford to fish Ak, Fl or where ever he pleases....I for one am tired of people trying to attack his integrity in "Fish First" and CCA...what's in it for him at this stage in his life...is he going to run for election and looking for an "in".......I feel it's because he is following his convictions!...he truely sees our fish "first" and is willing to put his time and effor, and now his reputation, on the line.
Like I said, interesting post..really shows me alot!~
 

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Musicman said:
interesting post, I find the commies to be using the avenue of our great Presidential prospects....politics......follow the money!!! Who pours more money into the politicians coffers with a specific goal in mind??? 'nuff said in my book....can't believe either!
I don't know GL, never met him....like his rods though! With that said, why would a guy who probably has millions! Worry about our fishery in this state and put his name on the line...why???? He can afford to fish Ak, Fl or where ever he pleases....I for one am tired of people trying to attack his integrity in "Fish First" and CCA...what's in it for him at this stage in his life...is he going to run for election and looking for an "in".......I feel it's because he is following his convictions!...he truely sees our fish "first" and is willing to put his time and effor, and now his reputation, on the line.
Like I said, interesting post..really shows me alot!~
This is an interesting post to say the least for sure!

So let's look at it from both sides. First off, why are we now referring to the commercial fishers as "commies"? Does that make us feel better? Does it beat our war drums harder and sound better? I have no lost love for them either, but I am not going to refer to them as "commies"! They are fellow fishers who use different methods then we do, and they get to sell there catch.

Let's not forget that "we" sport fishers and many others who don't fish have allowed them to do what they do. But let's discuss the pro and cons of the above quoted post.

1)
I don't know GL, never met him....like his rods though! With that said, why would a guy who probably has millions!
Possible answer…Could be a huge write off for both Gary and Fish First. Fish First is a 501 c3 group and Gary could be writing all of his efforts and expenses off as conservation efforts in this group. Gary surly needs all the tax write offs that he can get.

2)
Worry about our fishery in this state and put his name on the line...why????
Exactly what has Gary "put on the line"? Much of what he had "put on the line" as he's claimed is fact, is now being challenged as not factual.

3)
He can afford to fish Ak, Fl or where ever he pleases....
Well, Gary has done that for many years and continues to do so, so what is the issue on where he fishes? His money is made here for the most part, here is where he takes his tax deductions from.

3)
I for one am tired of people trying to attack his integrity in "Fish First" and CCA...what's in it for him at this stage in his life...is he going to run for election and looking for an "in".......
Well, if Gary believes in the current science as he claimes, one then must ask why Gary and Fish First are rearing tens of thousands of hatchery steelhead in his net pens on the Lewis…the same river where he is also rearing thousands of these so called "wild" coho?

Gary is a good guy, but utile all the facts are out, just like the facts that are now coming out about his Cedar Cr. project, I will hold off my judgments. But I will continue to ask questions to get the real facts on our fisheries and the issues that surround them.
 

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I know people who are working with G.L. and there intentions are admirabale. He dosen't need to do this but does for the love of sport fishing. I for one applaude him. I suspect there will be many who will sling mud as keeping sport fishing intrests devided has worked for years. My 2
 

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I can tell you exactly why Gary Loomis is doing what he's doing: he lives, breathes, eats and sh*ts Pacific Northwest salmon/steelhead. It's pretty simple really: It's a very, very personal thing to him. It has to do with grandchildren and friends and what he honestly believes is right. Spend any time around him, and I guarantee, fish conservation will become even more personal for you than it already is.

I'm not blind to innacuracies and vagueness, but those can be corrected.

Gary drives his ass all over Creation to speak to anybody who will have him, and whether you buy all his facts/figures or not, his message is ultimately really simple: "Please just CARE! Please just HELP! Please just TRY!" That's it.

You're right: He's a multi-millionnaire. He doesn't have to do a damn thing ... yet, he does, on a schedule that would make the Grateful Dead weep.

He has my utmost respect and appreciation.

JS/NWWC
 

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I think it is amazing that the commercial are tring to spin things, they are very worried, they are realizing that sportsmen are finally comming together to try and stop the slaughter of listed fish. Going to selective methods of harvest to protect weak wild runs...how in the world can you be concerned about fish and not support CCA? Think about it.
 

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This isn't an issue of the commercial folks discrediting Gary. He has done that himself with his selective use of data and outright dishonest statements. I went to listen to Gary in Lacey and couldn't believe that he said "there are more salmon and steelhead in the Snake today than before the Snake River dams were built". He didn't say they were all hatchery fish and the wild runs are almost gone or are gone. I can't, and won't, support a guy or an organization that knowingly does this.

Many on this and other boards accuse the state fish managers of doing exactly what Gary is doing with data and cruicify the managers for doing so. I can't understand why he can't just stick to the facts. Some of us that haven't supported him and CCA would probably do so if he would 1) use accurate data without mis-representing it and 2) acknowledge that habitat, including dams, are part of the problem.
 

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JS -
Virtually everyone appreciates and is in awe of GL's passion and few doubt that his heart is in the right place.

However this business of mis-representing information will bite any meaningful efforts to change things in the rear-end. I have seen it happen way too many times. Those mis-representation will be thrown back into CCA supportors faces time after time when the debate various issues in front of various public forums. In effect their time will be taken correcting those "mistakes" rather than advocating the message. Such thing limit ones effectives by undermining your creditability or by limiting your effective time to make your argument.

If it was a matter of getting caugth up in the heat of the moment or just mis-speaking it would be one thing but I don't think we are talking about that being the case. I first heard GL making that Snake River comment referred to by Yelloweye a year ago. I purposely caught him in the hall and pointed out that in the early 1960s virtually all the steelhead returning to the Snake were wild and now that 85% of them are hatchery. That information is common knowledge and few minutes with a search engine will confirm it. Yet I believe that such statements continue to be made a year later.

That is just plain irresponsible which makes everyone's job that has gotten involved or will get involved just that more difficult. The shame of it is that it was completely unnecessary. His basic message of get involved should "sell" itself with plenty of examples that stands close examination.

Tight lines
Curt
 

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Gill netters are running scared and for them to call GL out for putting a spin on something is like the pot calling the kettle black. Commercial fisherman have been twisting the truth and raping the resource for years. Try getting anyone from WDFW or a commercial fish raper to admit what happened to Puget Sound ground fish populations!

In my mind the only thing this story tells me is that Koeing and his commercial boys are concerned and they should be!! clap:
 

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Dr Hook said:
Gill netters are running scared and for them to call GL out for putting a spin on something is like the pot calling the kettle black. Commercial fisherman have been twisting the truth and raping the resource for years. Try getting anyone from WDFW or a commercial fish raper to admit what happened to Puget Sound ground fish populations!

In my mind the only thing this story tells me is that Koeing and his commercial boys are concerned and they should be!! clap:
Tup: My thoughts exactly when reading this earlier.

My other thought was why the h#ll sportfishers are so quick to villainize somebody that is on their side. Not only do we have fight the commies we now have to fight each other. Tdown: Doesn't make much sense.
 

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RowVsWade said:
Tup: My thoughts exactly when reading this earlier.

My other thought was why the h#ll sportfishers are so quick to villainize somebody that is on their side. Not only do we have fight the commies we now have to fight each other. Tdown: Doesn't make much sense.
Yea, I don't get it either. :geek:

One thing to keep in mind: the anonymity of the internet. I would not be surprised at all to find out that some of the opposition is actually commercial, tribal or other bad guys posing as sporties to cause disruption or create the appearance of infighting in the sport fishing community.
 

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Typical of politics, kill the messenger, kill the message!

Here is a fact that Koenings and the commercials don't want to acknowledge, we have overharvested wild fish and they can't take too much more without disappearing!

That doesn't mean habitat is not a critical issue, it just means that the commercials have had their run and it is going to end soon. The only question is HOW it will end. Either they take the last wild fish in a net or they stop because we stop them.
 

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True enough the commercial fishery interests seem concerned. That is a good thing. Their time on the LCR needs to be over. However, this criticism of Gary Loomis' misstatements isn't about villainizing either Gary or CCA. It's about the larger uphill battle. The eventual conservation decisions in this state won't be made by the sportfishing community, who would likely give Gary and CCA a pass for their errors in statements. The conservation decisions we need to have made at the WA state law level will be made by the broader public at large. This broader public won't give Gary or CCA a pass for even the slightest misstatement, which you can count on the commercial fishing lobby to use against them - and by extension us - in their political literatue and TV ads when it comes to that. That's why if Gary and CCA want to reduce the presence of or get gillnets out of the LCR, he and they should be using the most scientifically accurate conservation message possible. Persuading you guys is the easy part. Persuading a couple million WA voters won't be nearly as easy. Remember the I-6** (don't recall the number) ban on nets initiative that went down in flames back in 1996? This allocation and conservation fight will bite sportfishing on the butt if the message to the public isn't clear and accurate. You gotta' know the commercial interest will spin their infomercials against your interests anyway they can.

Sg
 

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Dr Hook said:
RowVsWade said:
Tup: My thoughts exactly when reading this earlier.

My other thought was why the h#ll sportfishers are so quick to villainize somebody that is on their side. Not only do we have fight the commies we now have to fight each other. Tdown: Doesn't make much sense.
Yea, I don't get it either. :geek:

One thing to keep in mind: the anonymity of the internet. I would not be surprised at all to find out that some of the opposition is actually commercial, tribal or other bad guys posing as sporties to cause disruption or create the appearance of infighting in the sport fishing community.
Tup: Tup: Tup: Tup:
 

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Is our fish and Game commission worthless?

For years I continue to hear the sport fishers whine about not getting a fair share of the Chinook in the Columbia and other areas. Have you every taken the time to ask yourself why we haven’t yet reclassified "chinook" as a game fish? If groups such as the CCA really wanted to conserve these stocks, all they would have to do is to get these fish reclassified as sport fish instead of "food fish" They wouldn't be taken as by-catch, nor would they be targeted by the commercials.

Some of us had only though that this could only be done through the initiative process.

WRONG!!!

It's simply would only take a majority vote of our game commissioners to do it! So what does that tell you about the makeup of our commission? How much do you want to bet that our commissioners do not even realize that they have the authority or powers to make this change?

The tools are already in place if our commission had the balls to use them. The laws are already there if only our commissioners really cared about our resources. We bicker about getting larger share of harvest on chinook when we could have it all!

RCW 77.04.012
Mandate of department and commission.

"Wildlife, fish, and shellfish are the property of the state. The commission, director, and the department shall preserve, protect, perpetuate, and manage the wildlife and food fish, game fish, and shellfish in state waters and offshore waters.":

"The commission may authorize the taking of wildlife, food fish, game fish, and shellfish only at times or places, or in manners or quantities, as in the judgment of the commission does not impair the supply of these resources.

The commission shall attempt to maximize the public recreational game fishing and hunting opportunities of all citizens, including juvenile, disabled, and senior citizens."
 

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Which side has a stake in the out come and what kind of a stake do they have. If one group profits and the other does not ask your self what are they fighting for.What does Gary have to profit from all of his hard work? What do the commercials have to profit? How about our esteemed (right) Director? He is a politician and the worst kind of whore, he would sell our future for his gain.Do you believe the commercials ? Look at the state of our fisheries compared to where they do not allow nets in the estuaries and then point your finger.

It is in the best interest of the commercials , Director Koeings and others that want to keep the status quo to create dissension with in the ranks and to keep us divided. The sports man in this state have fallen for this time and time again, let us end this cycle. Look for the greater good, not immediate gratification. It will take time to begin to fix our fishery, but that fix has to start some where and that will not end the fight, change comes difficult.

Get involved and join a group of like minded people and help shape the future of our fisheries.
 
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