Hoorah for Hatchery Fish

[Bulletin Board]

Posted by Tony Buzolich on 2014-02-20 16:58:55

I just thought I'd throw this bone out there for everyone to argue over. And, I'm probably going to speak out of both sides of my mouth, just for the fun of discussion.

With all the crap that's been going on about water robbery, tunnels, tearing down dams, building new dams, saving the delta, etc. how can we ever complain about having too many "hatchery" fish in our rivers?

The world is changing faster than I like. And as I get older it seems to change even faster. I guess being old lets you remember how the good old days used to be and how good things were when you were a kid growing up. Maybe we didn't appreciate it as much then, but I'd sure like to have some of it back now.

There's been a lot of chatter about saving the salmon and steelhead in our rivers and I whole heartedly support this. But how is the best way to do it? Is tearing down dams going to help increase the population growth of these fish at the expense of human water supply? Sure, I'd like to think we could return to the way things used to be, but things aren't like they used to be. We've got an unbelievable change in our population growth. And we all drink water.

A few years back (maybe 15-20?) the Feather and the American rivers were full of salmon. I was guiding salmon then on foot and we had some fantastic fishing days for several years. The hatchery in Oroville was over max capacity for handling all the salmon that were coming back to spawn. I know this because I had a little brother driving a rendering truck hauling the overage away. He was hauling spawned and unspawned carcuses away by the tons. Drums and drums of eggs included. The hatchery just couldn't handle any more. And, the fishing in the rivers was good. Everybody was catching lots of fish. Hatchery reared fish.

So, along the way comes some do gooder saying that these are mostly "hatchery" fish and they're NOT good for the system. " Hatchery fish are weaker". "We need to rebuild our native run and naturally spawned fish". "We need to let them return to their natural spawning grounds hundreds of miles farther upstream". ?????? Wouldn't that be nice?

Well, here we are. Trying to support a good idea. Trying to make things the way they were a hundred years ago. Wishful thinking but not very realistic. Our world today is not like it was a HUNDRED years ago. We've grown leaps and bounds and we're running out of room,,,,,,,,, and water.

Hatcheries were built with the idea of increasing the supply of fish to an ever increasing population of people. And it works. And we all catch fish. Native naturally spawned fish? No. But at least we have fish. And most people are happy.

My point with this editorial is only an old man's rambling thinking about how things used to be. Our world is not the way it used to be and we need the technology that hatcheries have brought us to at least get some fish back into our rivers. We can't turn back time and fish those untouched streams of a hundred years ago,,,,,,,,, there aren't any.

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