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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

October 31, 2014 at 8:13 AM

Baker Lake sockeye fisheries topic of public workshop this Saturday in Mill Creek

7777251970_d1f76b40b5State Fish and Wildlife is hosting a Baker Lake sockeye workshop Saturday, Nov. 1 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Mill Creek regional office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd.

Recreational anglers want to ensure the summer sockeye catch opportunities between the sport and tribes remains fair.

“Sport anglers fishing Baker Lake for sockeye this summer were very disappointed with the inequity in the 2014 harvest of Baker sockeye as it now appears that the tribal harvest share may have approached 80 percent,” said Frank Urabeck, a sport fishing advocate from Bonney Lake. “Preliminary data suggests that the tribes harvested 12,000 to 13,000 sockeye with the recreational harvest being in the range of only 3,000 to 4,000.”

The pre-season forecast was 35,377 sockeye, but the actual run estimate is expected to have come in near 27,000.

“This is the second year in row that the pre-season estimate of the Baker sockeye run was much too high, resulting in another harvest inequity because the lake anglers are the last in line to fish for the sockeye.,” Urabeck said. As sockeye not harvested in Skagit River tribal fisheries enter the Baker River trap at Concrete, an in-season update of the run estimate can be made while it is still possible to make adjustments in fisheries.”

Tribal harvest numbers are available relatively soon after each of their fisheries, according to Urabeck, but no in-season run update was made this year until it was too late to avoid the overharvest of sockeye by the tribes.

Some ideas include a buffer in the pre-season run estimate could mitigate the problem to large degree with last minute adjustments made in both tribal and sport harvests in either direction based on a timely in-season run update.

The workshop will allow the public to help the department develop a better harvest management model that would still allow the tribes to get their fair share of the harvest, but also provide more equitable sharing by the sports.

For details, call 253-208-7323 or urabeck@comcast.net.

 

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