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Sammamish Lake Report
King County, WA

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05/23/2019
71° - 75°
Bottom Fishing From Boat
Smallmouth Bass
scented plastics
Sunny
Morning
66° - 70°
05/24/2019
1
1320

I think I will name this report R.I.P. Lake Sammamish bass fishing. I have fished this lake for some years now and know the lake well as I have in the past been out there almost weekly year round. I have seen the fishing quality decrease as the test commercial netting was initiated 2 years ago. Any body who fishes there on a regular basis already knows of the netting by the Muckelshoot, so this is no secret. And I had already learned in advance of their agenda to eradicate as many warm water species of fish as possible, so no surprise really. But having fished the lake the last few weeks, it is painfully obvious they have been effective in there efforts. The last two areas that were netted heavily are looking like aquatic deserts. I see very little fish of any kind on my sonar or underwater camera. And the area I fished last week and returned to yesterday is blatantly obvious as the nets extend over a very long span of the south shoreline. Last week I caught and released some nice sized crappie and bass. As I kept nothing, I expected to catch something there again. Not so. Nothing there now.

I hope I am wrong and maybe someone can find some hidden pocket that the nets missed, but I doubt I will go to Sammamish again except to troll for cutties occasionally. I agree with Mizefish that is best to release and let the fishery stay healthy, but what's the point when the fish he posted last are probably the victims of netting by now?


Comments

9TenMan
5/25/2019 8:17:01 PM
Thanks for the report. It is very frustrating and disheartening to hear about the netting. Without getting into the sensitive topic of sovereign rights or even the effectiveness that this netting has in protecting salmon runs, what I find most frustrating is the lack of information out there on the overall netting program. What are the goals of the netting and some of the science behind it? When and where is the netting taking place? Is Lake Washington also being netted? How many pounds of fish and of what species are being targeted and removed? I assume that the Muckelshoots don't have to provide this information to anyone but if they did I think it would go a long way in addressing much of the animosity and distrust that the various stakeholders have for each other.
stevertd2010
5/26/2019 7:37:55 PM
Yes, it is a poor arrangement that there are two entities with controlling interest over the same body of water that don't talk to each other. I would hope they could and reach some common goal to work together for a better outcome. A few years ago, the Muckleshoot did write a letter of intent to the WDFW in regards to a "test commercial warm water fishery". Unfortunately this letter was not widely shown, a few of the public knew about it.
Sharphooks
5/25/2019 10:34:04 PM
From my own experience as one who has enjoyed the Cutthroat fishery on Lake Sammamish for many years as a catch/release fisherman, I believe the "RIP" designation for Lake Sammamish should apply to the native/naturally produced Cutthroat fishery. My partner and I have periodically fished the lake since the beginning of last fall through the current period and we both agree the numbers of Cutthroat in the lake appear to be significantly reduced from past years. Whether or not the on-going netting on the lake has anything to do with that now declining fishery is a point that does not seem to be addressed within local media. It well could be caused by other factors which could include heavy fishing pressure especially during the past several years. The thing that really disturbs my fishing partner and I at this time is the fact we are seeing far fewer of the smaller class of Cutthroat in our catches and releases which does not bode well for that fishery for the next couple of years.
stevertd2010
5/26/2019 7:35:50 PM
Yes, I remember fishing during the winter time for cutties and we commonly caught about half a dozen fish that were in the 20 to 24 inch range. Don't see that anymore. Unfortunately, it costs money and resources to do a fish survey, so no telling what the present population is. And yes, it does seem to be decreasing in numbers the last two years especially.
stevertd2010
5/26/2019 7:38:15 PM
My understanding from a conversation with WDFW employee is that presently the Muckleshoots have decided that Lake Washington is too difficult to make a significant effect with netting and will be focusing on Lake Sammamish this year. As you said, because of animosity of both groups, no information is being shared, so no idea of any data you mentioned. Additionally, House Bill 1579 was just passed and appears to intend to remove more bass via deregulation of limits. Although I agree we need to do something to restore the salmon population, the method has some very likely unintended consequences. All this has been tried before and NOAA biologists have written a scientific paper on it.
stevertd2010
5/26/2019 7:39:33 PM
Basically by selecting to remove the larger predatory non-endemic species, they are selecting to have the population be all the smaller fish of that group. Unfortunately they also are the group that eats the most smolt. So the larger fish are actually keeping the hungry smaller fish that eat the majority of the salmon smolt will increase in numbers. I think science should be used for decision making, not emotional response.
stevertd2010
5/26/2019 7:39:53 PM
Our legislators may have good intentions, but I doubt any have degrees in fisheries science or biology. We don't have much time to get it right, so proper technique does matter. And focusing on netting ignores the fact that we are dealing with a complex ecosystem. There are many other factors that are degrading the salmon runs and kokanee in this system. We would have to remove all the development in the area and roadways and such to bring back some of the good habitat and even so, the water temperatures are rising and will most likely continue. And the oceans don't have the food source they once did for salmon to feed on.
stevertd2010
5/26/2019 7:40:36 PM
We would have to remove all the development in the area and roadways and such to bring back some of the good habitat and even so, the water temperatures are rising and will most likely continue. And the oceans don't have the food source they once did for salmon to feed on.
stevertd2010
5/26/2019 7:41:24 PM
By removing the big bass, I fear we are creating an acceleration from an already damaged system. So everyone loses. Both the warm water species fisherman and those that are trying to restore the salmonoids. Not a happy thought
cast&blast
5/26/2019 8:09:55 PM
Sammamish is dead. Been fishing it since the early 70s. We used to keep an occasional Cuttie or two and release most. Recent years pressure has been brutal with same boats taking limits on a regular basis. Tribal guys have wiped out one of the best Smallmouth fisheries in the state. I live 5 minutes away and don't even bother now. Damn shame!
stevertd2010
5/26/2019 9:59:55 PM
I'm feeling your pain and agree. Thus my long winded post.
FishDoc242
5/26/2019 9:44:57 PM
Catch and release is the only way we can move forward to have a strong fishery. Wild cutthroat and big bass are the main draw to fish this beautiful lake. Let's explain this to 3 fisherman we meet and "pay it forward" for everyone's benefit. I was told by the tribal members that they are targeting invasive Walleye.
stevertd2010
5/26/2019 9:58:26 PM
I think the appearance of walleye in Lake Washington is what sparked the idea of netting in the first place. However, they have stated in the letter that they are targeting all warm water species. It is not written that they have the intent to only catch walleye. Given the opening in the nets they are using, it will catch anything that is sizable, and that includes bass, potentially walleye and big carp of course. You can call the state biologist as I did, but he doesn't know much more than what was in the original statement, but seemed to have some idea of the present focus on Sammamish. They will stop netting if any salmonids are trapped.
FishingFool
6/12/2019 7:06:00 PM
I'm late to this but that's a HUGE bummer.
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Available Guide

Available Fishing Guide:
Website: Fast Action Guide Service

Phone: (425) 753-5772