I drove out to Forks last night for the meeting about Snider Creek. It was a lively but civil discussion on the program with WDFW staff. Learned some stuff and my head was spinning all day at work attempting to put my thoughts together.
The meeting was dominated by those in favor of the program. Since the meeting was in Forks I expected that. If it weren't for one long time wild fish advocate, I would have been the only one asking tough questions about the performance of the program. Of course, there were many people who did not comment at the meeting so it is hard to tell if there were other people opposed to the program. I would like to think there were a couple.
Now to my thoughts on the program. It is clear that there still are early wild fish in the Sol Duc. The guides stated and WDFW data show that Snider fish make up approximately 25% of the fish caught. This is great news. If the program is stopped there will still be a fishery, even if that fishery becomes non-consumptive with the recent early timed wild steelhead harvest closure.
The arguments in favor of the program are clearly geared towards economic and social factors. The program provides fish for harvest for guides and their clients. One speaker also mentioned that locals needed these fish to feed themselves. The supposed benefits of the program for wild fish are not mentioned by proponents. By pushing economic and social benefits the proponents are showing that the program is solely a harvest based program and not meant to act to restore early wild runs. Basically if the program is not continued they say it would be economically devastating to guides and the community of Forks. I disagree with this. Eventually, and hopefully not too late, all rivers will be wild steelhead release and guides and communities will have to adapt to that change. I think we should adapt sooner rather than later.
To me the decision to continue or end the program should be based on what is good for the wild fish, not the guides or Forks. Our rivers and fish runs are not property of local communities and businesses. They belong to all of us. We should not manage our wild stocks based on what guides want but what is good for the fish, period!
While the meeting is over there is still time to let the department know how you feel about the Snider Creek program on the Sol Duc. Please let the department know how you feel. Send e-mails to: