South Sound Fly Fishers are devoted to the conservation of our natural resources. Our Conservation committee looks for issues and projects that would be of interest to the membership. In addition, try to alert the membership to pending legislation that may affect our opportunities to fish or affect resources that we treasure.
Here in the South Puget Sound the sea-run cutthroat fishery is one that many of our members hold dear to their hearts. This local treasure is a poster child for the potential of a sustainable catch and release fishery. However, there are still many potential threats to the health these great fish. The knowledge base of the cutthroat life cycle and habits is seriously lacking within the scientific community, and public knowledge is almost non-existent. Time and time again, history has proven one thing. What we don’t know, WILL hurt them.
The SSFF is working in congruence with the WDFW and the Native Fish Society in gathering data on sea-run cutthroat in the South Sound. Members conduct spawning surveys, and are gearing up to collect scale samples in local watersheds to help with range identification.
In coordination with the WDFW, the South Sound Fly Fishers have distributed and posted waterproof signs at fly shops and other sporting goods stores, along beach access points, and public boat ramps to help fishers identify sea-run cutthroat trout and remind them that they must be released. We will be recording catch data to help WDFW better understand the distribution of sea-run cutthroat in South Sound. The sea-run cutthroat is a truly unique fishery that with good catch and release practices and help from groups like SSFF we will be able to enjoy generation after generation.
The South Sound Fly Fishers are not just a sporting advocacy group. We are also a resource advocacy group. That means sometimes there are tough choices to be made. In the Northwest, the debate about salmon and steelhead is ferocious and immense. There are many stakeholders with conflicting ideologies, even people within our own group have different opinions on how to “manage” this great resource. Hey, that’s life, and that is what makes it interesting.
As a group of fly fishers, we have first hand knowledge of what makes a wild fish special. To the discerning eye (or hand) one can see that these fish cannot be replaced.
We worked closely with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and later provided recommendations to the Fish and Wildlife Commission in support of the regulations to establish Munn Lake as a year-round selective gear fishery. In 2011, Munn Lake became the first selective gear lake in Thurston County.
We are excited to have a lake in our backyard that is expected to offer good fishing through much of the year. In contrast, at “put-and-take” managed lakes, fishing success typically drops way off shortly after the season opener because many fish are quickly removed from the population.
We have a stewardship with Munn Lake and our continuing involvement includes the posting of waterproof signs to remind fishers of the selective gear requirements, recording catch data to help assess stocking needs, cleaning up trash on occasion,as well as our commitment to the WDFW to provide funding to help defray some of the cost of stocking the lake with rainbow trout. With this resource, South Sound Fly Fishers can help educate the general public about proper catch and release fishing, and hopefully help carry these practices to our wild resources.