Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Samish River Chinook and the Nanny State

PHOTO: Mike Malijan, Skagit Valley Herald
The state Fish and Wildlife Department last Friday announced extension of the hatchery Chinook sport fishing season to November 30-- if the sport fishers are good boys. (Samish River salmon fishery extended with warning to anglers)

At issue is "whether anglers fishing the river are heeding the department's warnings about illegal snagging, trespassing on private property, littering and other unacceptable behavior."  Those issues have been a problem for a number of years, fish manager Annette Hoffmann said.

"We don't want to punish anglers who act responsibly and follow the rules, but the length of this season still depends on our ability to maintain an orderly fishery," said Hoffmann.

This is the time when I stand up and cheer for what's derogatorily called the "nanny state," an appellation wingnuts picked up from the Brits to describe what they consider an overbearing government presence in everyday life.

But if anglers act like spoiled brats -- trespassing, shitting, littering, snagging -- who else but the fish cops are there to take away their playthings?

In years past some "sport" fishers left massive messes on the Puyallup, prompting the tribe to threaten closure actions and a local fishing club to organize cleanup actions.

This year, the fishing frenzy over returning pink salmon have led to enforcement against "sport" fishers who snag their catch rather than use baited hooks. (Seattle salmon snaggers nabbed by WDFW)

Of course, there will never be enough fish cops to go around all fishing locales so it will have to be up to the real sport fishers to self-police fellow anglers, self-support placing trash containers and toilets, and provide education on best angling practices.

Or do you expect the nanny state to do that, in this day and age?

Let's license and treat sport fishing as a privilege, not a God-given right. Let's have sport fishers step up and do what real sportsmen do: be good sports. If not, close the playpen.

--Mike Sato


  1. Just drove over the mouth of the Samish this late morning. Both sides of the river are gated and require paying a $5 fee to owners in order to get in. Not a whole lot of ways to get to the river to fish without getting landowner permission! I was also at the Samish River near Hiway 9 this morning. No big fish up there yet - but they will get there. Lots of fry from last year in the pools. It's a productive river.

    1. Thanks; I appreciate your eyes and ears on the River, Rabbit's Guy.


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