Shellfish enhancement began on Squaxin Island on August 28th, with Manila clam seed being spread on one of our island beaches. With the recent addition of a new position to lead the enhancement portion of the Shellfish Department, this seeding event was a successful start for new beach manager Daniel Kuntz. This enhancement program is funded by the Shellfish Growers Settlement. Much more Manila clam seeding is planned for this summer and fall.
Chinook have started to show up at the 5th Ave bridge in downtown Olympia. The Oly community is starting to flock to the site to watch the annual return of Fall Chinook. They are jumping around in Capitol Lake. Check out a story by Chester Allen from The Daily Olympian. Nice pictures of Harbor Seals chowing down the returns.
Today I spoke to WDFW Tumwater Falls Hatchery staff and fish are yet to reach the facility. Long time employee Lee of the facility said that the hatchery is preparing to fill the runways with water this week in anticipation of fish showing at the hatchery over the Labor Day weekend. A few fish have started to show a the bottom of the ladder he said.
Checkout the fish if you get a chance. In the up in coming weeks there should be a number of fish up at Tumwater Falls.
As of August 22nd: Squaxin Fall Chinook Fishery has harvested approximately 7,800 Chinook in Budd Inlet and marine area 13D. Reports from this weekend the fishing has begun to slow down.
We only have a couple of weeks left in our Fall Chinook Fishery…but the Coho fishery is set to begin Wednesday September 10th.
On Friday August 15, Squaxin Natural Resources took our summer youth on a fishing trip. This was the second year that we have taken our summer youth out fishing to thank them for their hard work over the summer. It was a beautiful day, even JD made the trip out for a couple of hours!
Darren Brownfield managed to catch a number of Spiney Dogfish. Sarah caught a sea star! Joefish had a nice Chinook on but it released the hook before we could get a net under it.
Daniel got boarded by the U.S. Coast Guard! Well the US Coast Guard basically terminated his voyage…life jacket = check, fire extinguisher =negative, flares= negative, throw able flotation device= negative…..let just say he failed the safety check list.
Thanks Michael, Miguel and Jeffery for your hard work this summer.
Squaxin continues to investigate sources of bacteria in Oakland Bay. Recently Tribal scientists, county staff and conservation district staff converged on a small tributary stream with high levels of bacteria. We divided the stream into segments and collected two water samples at the downstream end of each segment. The results will be available in a week or so.
A press release went out this afternoon, highlighting a recent study by the tribe on sediment in the Deschutes River:
A nearly 20 year old landslide is still hurting salmon according to a recently completed analysis of sediment in the Deschutes River by the Squaxin Island Tribe.
“The sediment from that landslide is still working its way through the river system,” said John Konovsky, environmental program manager for the Squaxin Island Tribe. “It has a relatively high proportion of minute dirt particles that continue to hinder coho reproduction.”
In January 1990, a huge storm hit the Deschutes River blocking an old culvert under a logging road. The resulting landslide sent tons of hillside sediment into Huckleberry Creek, a headwater tributary to the Deschutes.
Its that time of year again. The Squaxin Island Fishing Season is underway. In the past week we have had four to five fishermen out fishing Budd Inlet, Case Inlet,Dana, Pickering, and Peale Passages. Carr Inlet opened on August 1st.
Reports are that fishermen have been doing well in Carr Inlet. Budd Inlet is starting to pick up. Buyer prices started at $4 per lbs. Prices are expected to drop this week to $3.50 with Inner Budd Inlet fishery opening with the buyers expecting the fishery to produce darker Chinook.
Reports from our Lummi neighbors up north that they are encountering large amounts of brown slime attributed to a plankton bloom than catching sockeye in nets. The plankton bloom seems to be impacting the harvest significantly. The Olympian .
Gill net fishermen catch their quarry in long, floating curtains of monofilament that don’t work if migrating fish can see them. If the brown stuff doesn’t clear out in the weeks ahead, other salmon fisheries also might be affected.
I’ve fished sockeye all my life,” said Merle Jefferson, 58, Lummi Nation’s director of natural resources. “This is the worst I’ve ever seen it. … We cannot catch the fish because the nets are all fouled up.”
Art Lane, a Lummi fisherman who sets his net out from a small skiff, said the brown coating made his net so heavy it was hard to pull it out of the water and get it back into the boat. “A lot of skiffs were darn near sinking because of the weight,” Lane said.
Year after year fisheries are being challenged with environmental changes in the Puget Sound. This is unfortunate for Lummi fishermen.
One positive that may come of this is a stronger return of Sockeye to the Frasier River. We will have to wait and see.
The Squaxin Island Tribe’s Shellfish Department conducted shellfish population surveys on 20 parcels in Hammersley Inlet from June 20th to July 20th 2008. The surveys focused on naturally occurring beds of Manila clams found in an area that was recently upgraded to “Approved” status for the harvest of commercial shellfish by the Washington State Department of Health. Once that the surveys are completed the Tribe will work with the tideland owners and the commercial shellfish growers that hold harvest leases to write harvest plans for the joint management and harvest from each tideland parcel.