Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wild steelhead or a hatchery clone?


Moldy Chum, the popular fly fishing website, is seeking input from Washington state steelhead anglers, asking fly fishers how much they value wild fish vs. the hatchery steelhead now diluting the waters of the Northwest.


The state has placed a priority on managing for wild steelhead over the hatchery clones that, sadly, make up the bulk of the steelhead catch in the Northwest these days. Most steelhead anglers love to catch any fish, but the chance to catch a wild fish is what keeps a lot of die-hard steelheaders going.


Add in the problems hatchery fish cause to wild populations (undue competition, lack of genetic diversity, increased likelihood of disease) and it makes perfect sense for the state to manage its ocean-going runs for wild fish.


Take the poll at www.moldychum.com/surveys --the results will be shared with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Strengthening wild fish--wherever they swim--should be a priority for all fish and game management agencies.

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