DNR proposes 5-year moratorium on fishing on the Elwha


Commentary by Marv Chastain

The DNR is proposing a five year moratoriam on fishing in all lakes and streams that feed into the Elwha. They are destroying the Elwha fish and hope that a moratorium will allow them to rebuild.

Pretty dumb. They won't rebuild in either Aldwell or Mills because those lakes (about 40,000 acre feet of fresh water)won't exist. They hope Lake Sutherland Kokanee will go to sea and produce a sockeye run. That might work, but a five year moratorium on Sutherland to build stocks is an idea that just ignores a 1996 government survey of Sutherland which found the kokanee had just about exceeded their habitat already. They found redds at the unheard of depth of 40 feet and more in some of the streams that feed into Sutherland. People might as well keep on catching them since they already exceed their habitat.

The whole Elwha fiasco just gets stupider. They are trying to convert Morse Creek into a replacment for the Elwha, knowing the Elwha will be out of commission as a salmon stream for a long time. But, Chinook salmon make their redds in main rivers. They are big fish and don't do much in subsidiary streams. It is a plus to have a hatchery in Morse, but if they think Elwha chinook will just come back and spawn there, they are mistaken (and probably, the same can pretty much be said for the Coho).


Marv Chastain lives west of Port Angeles, and served on REAL (Rescue Elwha Area Lakes) which pointed out the numerous wildlife and ecosystem that will be destroyed by removing the Elwha dams.