Abstracts of Fisheries Management Reports, Technical Circulars and Project Reports of the Fisheries Branch Daiva O. Zaldokas & Debra L. Aird B.C. Fisheries Branch, 2204 Main Mall, U.B.C., Vancouver, B.C. V6T 1Z4 Fisheries Technical Circular No. 91 1992 LOWER MAINLAND REGIONAL FISHERIES REPORTS Clark, B.J. 1988. Juvenile Steelhead Capacity of the Seymour River Mainstem, 1987. Ministry of Environment & Parks, Surrey. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM147. Low flow in September 1987 produced optimum mainstem habitat for steelhead fry and parr. Forty nine (49%) of the mainstem (213700m2) was usable by steelhead fry, 69% (300900m3) by parr. Estimated usable habitat was greater than reported in 1986 due to better sampling (greater number of transects; more accurate equipment). Maximum fry and parr capacities for the Seymour mainstem were estimated at 153,864 and 75,225 respectively. At optimum fry densities the Seymour could produce 923 adult steelhead. Optimizing parr habitat could result in adult escapement near 3600 fish. Wide variations in seasonal flows probably limit both fry and parr production in certain years. Clark, B.J. 1988. The Enhancement of Summer Run Steelhead in Silverhope Creek: Progress in 1987. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM149. The summer run steelhead fry populations of Silverhope Creek have remained at optimal densities since 1984 and are capable of supporting adult returns of 400 fish without hatchery augmentation. Any change in channel form or harvest rates could effect the equilibrium. Ninety (90) percent of fry density variation between sample sites can be explained by the depth and velocity of the channel. Steelhead parr densities are effected by depth and velocity as well as boulder cover (D90) and the sand component. Future studies would be repetitive and it is recommended the annual assessment of Silverhope juveniles be discontinued. Neuman, H.R. 1988. Skagit River and Ross Reservoir Fisheries Management Plan. B.C. Ministry of Environment. Fish and Wildlife Management. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM150:40p. This management plan outlines fisheries management objectives, strategies and activities for the Skagit River and Ross Reservoir for the next five years. The recent international agreement not to flood the Skagit Valley and the establishment of an endowment fund administered by the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission has secured recreational development in the valley. Recreational use is expected to increase considerably over the next five to ten years and if uncontrolled poses a threat to the Skagit River fishery. For this reason fisheries management objectives and strategies must be clearly identified and activated planed to achieve them. The primary objective of this plan is to maintain the quality angling experience on the Skagit River and protect and enhance wild fish stocks. Strategies concentrate on managing angler use by controlling physical access, enhancing fish stocks, reducing reservoir harvest, assessing habitat improvement opportunities, and stocking the Sumallo River. Fisheries management must be coordinated with the Washington Department of Wildlife. The fish stocks common to the Skagit River and Ross Reservoir and the international fishery on the reservoir require that the system the system to be managed cooperatively for the benefit of both Canadians and Americans Funding assistance is required from the Skagit Environmental Endowment Commission for successful management of the Skagit River and Ross Reservoir fisheries. Scott, K.J. 1990. Results of the 1988 Mail Out Survey of Seymour River Anglers. Ministry of Environment, Fish and Wildlife Management. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM154. A questionnaire was mailed to one in five people (227) who had obtained a Seymour watershed access permit for fishing since March 1986 (periods for which records existed). The main purposes of the survey were to: profile recreationists that have been using the upper river restricted access area; determine their perception of use levels; and solicit opinions on the importance of various attributes affecting their fishing experience and proposed management strategies for the Seymour River sportfisheries. A follow-up telephone survey was conducted to assess the affect of non- response. Excluding 26 non-deliverables, half (102; 51%) of the remaining 201 people on the mailing list responded with completed questionnaires. Six (6%) were from hikers and the remaining 96 (94%) were from Seymour River anglers. Seventy six percent of the anglers who responded fished the Seymour more than 3 times per year and 70% spent most of their time fishing in the upper watershed. The non-response survey indicated that the results of this study were biased toward seasoned anglers who have fished the Seymour a lot. Respondents reported a low average number of encounters per day with other anglers indicating an extremely light use level in all zones. Attributes of the Seymour anglers were wilderness feeling, uncrowded conditions, scenic beauty anf solitude (in that order). Studies of sportfishermen in recreational situations with attributes similar to the Seymour indicated that anglers who fish in the Demonstration Forest will be very sensitive to factors that could reduce the quality of their angling experience. Survey results indicated encounters with hikers have less impact on an anglers fishing experience than encounters with too many anglers, water based recreationists (kayaking or rafters), or indirect impacts (litter or lack of fishing ethics). Mid day was the time period most anglers suggested for other recreational activities to occur to minimize impacts on angling. While increased catch success was reported to be an attribute of lesser importance, the large majority of Seymour anglers did not agree with scaling down hatchery returns to reduce the incentive for fishing the river of crowding becomes a problem. Implementing special regulations was accepted in general, however, more than half the anglers disagreed with an all species catch and release, and a vocal minority of anglers that were obviously an established segment of the traditional angling clientele perceive gear restrictions (particularly fly fishing only) as preferential treatment of one group of anglers. Maintaining a permit system to monitor demand and if necessary limit use was seen as the most preferred method of regulating use. Scott, K.J. 1990. Managing Aquatic Resource User Conflicts -Results From a Survey of North American Fisheries Management Agencies Ministry of Environment, Fish and Wildlife Branch. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM155. An explanatory letter and short questionnaire were sent to thirty eight agencies responsible for managing fisheries in Canada and the United States to request information on managing aquatic resource user conflicts. Responses were received from eight of twelve Canadian agencies and fifteen of twenty six American state agencies contacted. The situations reported provided good examples of the variety of conflicts that can occur. Anglers often have adversarial relationships with boaters but they can also have mutual interests and interact co-operatively. Conflicts between various groups of anglers are also common. Establishing co-operative advisory committees, comprised of representatives from government agencies and public groups involved, has been the most effective way to investigate conflicts and develop solutions. Such committees must also be charged with recommending ways to implement their solutions (ie. gaining jurisdictional control of the user groups). Development of area management plans through mediation between government agencies and concerned public groups has been effective to mitigate against conflicts before they start. If the public is involved in the development of the plan, they will be more likely to support the objectives and strategies in the plan because they were part of the decision making process. Temporal and spacial zoning were most often suggested to segregate users when necessary. Alternative times and locations available to each user group for obtaining a similar experience must be considered. This helps to assess the uniqueness and importance of a particular recreational situation to respective activities. Education and awareness programs to inform users of problems they may not be aware of and to encourage courteous behaviour can help mitigate against user conflicts. Public meetings during the development of management plans also help to make user groups aware of the concerns of groups involved with other activities. Clark, B.J. 1989. Steelhead Fry Densities of the Cheakamus River During October, 1988 and Resulting Adult Production. Ministry of Environment, Surrey, B.C. Fish. Rep. No. LM157. Juvenile steelhead densities were at or over optimal densities in October 1988. The 1988 adult steelhead escapement was estimated at 534 fish. The number of adults required for optimal fry saturation was 256 leaving a biological surplus of 277 adult steelhead. Adult steelhead runs resulting from the fry and pre-smolts studied in 1988 are estimated at between 561 and 611 fish beginning in 1991. Bech, P. 1989. Steelhead & Cutthroat Brood Capture 1987-88. A Summary. Ministry of Environment. Fish & Wildlife Management. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM158. This report summarizes the capture of steelhead and anadromous cutthroat trout brook stock for provincial and federal hatchery facilities in the Lower Mainland Region during 1987-88. A total of 263 steelhead and 303 cutthroat trout were captured at an estimated cost of $21,936. Clark, B.J. 1989 Reconnaissance Report of Lang Creek and Its Spawning Channel, August 1988. Ministry of Environment, Surrey B.C. Fish. Rep. No. LM159. No abstract. Bengeyfield, W. 1990. Interaction Between Black Bass and Salmonid Populations: An Information Review. Ministry of Environment, Surrey B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM160. A review of interactions between black bass and salmonid fishes was commissioned by the B.C. Ministry of Environment as a first step in the consideration of stocking largemouth or smallmouth bass for recreational angling in the Lower Mainland. Information sources were mostly primary and secondary scientific publications, with some personal communications with professional fisheries biologists. Four major combinations of keywords relating to bass-salmonid interactions. Researchers at 12 agencies and fisheries organizations were contacted. An overview of the general biology and habitat preferences of both basses is presented first, with sections on taxonomy, distribution, food, growth, reproduction, waterbody types, lows, depths, substrate and cover, temperature, movements, and water quality. This survey found ten documented cases of black bass predation on salmonid fishes. Two references reported cases for both largemouth and smallmouth bass. One case involved spotted bass, a species not under consideration for stocking in B.C. Predation by largemouth or smallmouth bass on releases of hatchery salmonids was noted in five cases. Two well-documented cases in Lake Sammamish, Washington, and in the Columbia River, reported minor impacts on juvenile salmon migrations because bass were not feeding actively in the spring months. Only one case reported a serious problem caused by largemouth predation on summer rearing coho salmon in an Oregon coastal lake. Accidental introduction of bass tapeworm into Lower Mainland waters should be avoided by obtaining certified bass stocks. These fish should be planted in a lake where the fishery can be informed regarding the dangers of illicit stocking. Usher, J.B. 1989. Surveys of Selected Lakes in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia - 1989. Ministry of Environment, Fish and Wildlife Management, Chilliwack, B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM161. Surveys were conducted on 8 lakes in Region II during the spring and summer of 1989. The following lakes were surveyed -Hicks Lake, Wood Lake, Devil's Lake, near Whonnock, Rolley Lake, Cultus Lake, Francis Lake, Lost Lake and Norton Lake near Upper Indian Arm. The primary purpose of the surveys was to evaluate post stocking fish populations and to make recommendations for future stocking. Overnight sets of one or more gillnets was the method used to collect fish samples. Information for each lake sampled including access descriptions, methods, catch rates, length and weight frequency histograms of game fish captured, photographs, general comments and management recommendations are presented in appendices 3 to 10. Usher, J.B. 1990. Fish Samples Surveys of Selected Lakes in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Ministry of Environment, Fish and Wildlife Management. Regional Fish. Rep. No.LM161A Fish were sampled from eight lakes in Region II during the Spring of 1990. The following lakes were sampled: Hotel, Richardson, Crowston, Waugh, Garden Bay, Klein and Trout. These lakes are all located within Management Unit 2-5. The primary purpose of the sampling was to evaluate post-stocking fish populations and to make recommendations for future stocking. Overnight sets of one or more gillnets was the method used to collect fish samples. Information for each lake sampled, including access descriptions, methods, catch rates, length and weight frequency histograms of game fish captured, photographs, general comments and management recommendations are presented in Appendices 3 to 10. Whyte, I.W. 1990. An Assessment of Enhancement Opportunities in Schoolhouse Creek and Suter Brook, Port Moody, B.C. Ministry of Environment Fish and Wildlife Branch, Surrey B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. NO. LM162. Enhancement opportunities were assessed for two tributaries of Port Moody Arm, at the east end of Burrard Inlet, B.C. Schoolhouse Creek and Suter Brook both support resident populations of cutthroat trout and possibly anadromous salmonids in their lower reaches; however, both streams are presently considered under utilized, particularly as a result of barriers that prevent the migration of anadromous stocks. Salmonid populations and habitat were inventoried for each stream. Factors limiting production and enhancement opportunities were identified. Potential benefits that may result from habitat enhancement include creation of anadromous fisheries (cutthroat trout and coho salmon), improvement of the marine sport fishery in Port Moody Arm, increased opportunities for education and public involvement programs and increased public awareness of fisheries/environmental issues. Bech, P. 1989. Steelhead & Cutthroat Brood Capture 1987-88. A Summary. Ministry of Environment, Fish & Wildlife Management, Surrey, B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM169. This report summarizes the capture of steelhead and anadromous cutthroat trout brood stock for provincial and federal hatchery facilities in the Lower Mainland Region during 1987-88. A total of 263 steelhead and 303 cutthroat trout were captured at an estimated cost of $21,936. Bech, P.B. 1989. Steelhead Rearing Potential of Upper Big Silver Creek. Ministry of Environment, Surrey, B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM197. The purpose of this study was to determine the steelhead fry rearing capability of reach two of Big Silver Creek and reach one of Clear Creek, a tributary. The two reaches provide a total of 35,038 m2 of suitable steelhead fry habitat, which could potentially support 17,371 1.5g fry. Small numbers of rainbow trout juveniles were captured by open-site electrofishing in both reaches. It is unknown whether these fish are migratory (steelhead) or resident. Adult steelhead presence should be confirmed by March/April snorkelling and/or angling. Before steelhead fry stocking is considered, present fish densities should be determined by closed site electrofishing. Bech, P.B. 1990. Steelhead & Cutthroat Brood Capture 1988-89. A Summary. Ministry of Environment, Fish & Wildlife Management, Surrey, B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM198. This report summarizes the capture of steelhead and anadromous cutthroat trout brood stock for provincial and federal hatchery facilities in the Lower Mainland Region during 1988-89. A total of 256 steelhead and 200 cutthroat trout were captured at an estimated cost of $25,707.00 Bech, P.B. 1990. Summary of standardized Skagit River rainbow trout length data, 1983 to 1989. Ministry of Environment. Surrey, B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM199. This report summarizes and examines Skagit River rainbow trout length data from tagging studies, a test fishing project, and biological data collection projects from 1983 to 1989. The data is standardized to maximize comparability from year to year with the objective to detecting changes in the population's length characteristics. Examination of the standardized data shows no change in mean fish length in upper Skagit between 1983 and 1989, but suggests a trend of decreasing mean length in the Skagit since 1984, especially in 1988. The author recommends guidelines for future biological data collection projects to optimize data usefulness and minimize cost. Knight, R. and H.R. Neuman. 1991. An aerial Survey of Angler Use on 137 Lakes in the Lower Mainland Region of British Columbia. Ministry of Environment Fish an Wildlife Management. Surrey, B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM200. No Abstract. Bech, P.B Cutthroat trout rearing potential of Elbow Creek upstream of the anadromous barrier. Ministry of Environment, Surrey, B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM201. The purpose of this study was to determine the potential cutthroat trout rearing capability of Elbow Creek and its tributaries upstream of the anadromous barrier (2m high dam) and to estimate the additional anadromous trout production that could be realized by providing fish passage over the barrier. The area upstream of the dam has an estimated summer surface area of 10,120m2 of which 6,780m2 is usable fry habitat and 3,610m2 is usable parr habitat. This habitat is capable of rearing 7,322 fry and at least 304 parr, resulting in an adult cutthroat escapement of at least 55 fish. It is recommended that fish passage over the barrier be pursued or, alternatively, anadromous cutthroat fry be stocked upstream of the barrier. Usher, J.B. 1990. Fish Sampling Surveys of Selected Lakes in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Fish and Wildlife Management. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM202. Fish were sampled from eight lakes in Region II during the Spring of 1990. The following lakes were sampled: Hotel, Richardson , Crowston, Waugh, Garden Bay, Klien and Trout. These lakes are all located within Management Unit 2-5. The primary purpose of the sampling was to evaluate post-stocking fish populations and to make recommendations for future stocking. Overnight sets of one or more gillnets was the method used to collect fish samples. Information for each lake sampled, including access descriptions, methods, catch rates, length and weight frequency histograms of game fish captured, photographs, general comments and management recommendations are presented in Appendices 3 to 10. Knight, R. A Reconnaissance Survey of Rice Lake. Ministry of Environment. Lower Mainland Region, Surrey, B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM203. No abstract. Bech, P.B. 1990. Steelhead Rearing Capacity of the Mamquam River & Mashiter Creek. Ministry of Environment, Surrey B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM204. The purpose of this study was to determine the steelhead rearing capacity and present steelhead populations of the reaches of the Mamquam River and Mashiter Creek presently accessible to anadromous fish. The study streams have an estimated surface area of 138,900m2, of which 32,300m2 is suitable fry habitat and 37,300m2 is suitable parr habitat. Total estimated steelhead rearing capacity is 15,183 fry and 2,825 parr, which could potentially produce an adult steelhead run of 66 fish. Data from a single electrofishing site suggests that the study streams are operating at or near capacity, however additional data is required to confirm this and more electrofishing is recommended. Knight, R.C. 1990. Chehalis Lake Evaluation. Ministry of Environment, Fish and Wildlife. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM205. Gill netting of Chehalis lake stocks and a bio-physical inventory of tributary streams was conducted in 1988 and 1989 as a basis for a lake management plan. Dolly Varden, the main predator in the lake, were of good size and condition supporting a high use fishery. The major tributaries to the lake provide adequate recruitment of Dolly Varden to the fishery and are essential spawning areas. It is recommended all tributaries be closed to angling throughout the year to protect spawning and rearing Dolly Varden. A intensive creel survey is indicated in the future as angler effort increases because the potential for over-harvest exists. Bech, P.B. 1990. Steelhead Fry Stocking Potential of Upper Big Silver Creek. Ministry of Environment, Surrey, B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM206. The purpose of this study was to determine the steelhead fry stocking potential of reach 2 of Big Silver Creek and reach 1 of Clear Creek, a tributary. Electrofishing data suggested that a headwater stock of resident rainbow trout was utilizing 28% of the available fry habitat. It is recommended that 12,500 marked 1.5g steelhead fry be stocked in reach 2 of Big Silver and reach 1 of Clear Creek; that stocking densities be assessed and adjusted in the year following stocking; and that fish densities and habitat in reach 1 of Big Silver be assessed. Knight, R.C. 1990. Biophysical assessment of the upper Cheakamus River, between Cheakamus and Daisy Lakes. Ministry of Environment, Surrey, B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM207. In September, 1989 field work was undertaken to assess rainbow trout populations of the upper Cheakamus River and to identify recreational fishery potential and enhancement opportunities. This study was a continuation of assessment work that focused on the middle Cheakamus River in 1988. There is no significant recreational fishery potential on this section of the Cheakamus River be included in a single fisheries management plan and that no changes be made to current regulations. Neuman, H.R. 1991. A Management Plan for Small Lake Fisheries in the Lower Mainland Region. B.C. Environment, Fish and Wildl. Management Surrey, B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM208:23p. The small lakes fisheries resource of the Lower Mainland Region provides considerable recreational, educational and economic benefits to the people of the Region. However, the Lower Mainland is faced with an increasing demand for a limited fisheries resource. Growing human population and expanding industrial and urban development are placing increasingly heavy demands on a limited resource. This document is a five year management plan for small lakes in the Lower Mainland Region. The purpose is to guide fisheries mangers and to inform Regional and Program executive about regional issues facing small lake fisheries and strategies to resolve them. The plan is consistent with the mission ad objectives of the provincial Fisheries Program and the objectives of the Lower Mainland fisheries program. Lakes in the Lower Mainland are relatively unproductive due to a combination of geology, climate and topography. Nutrients are low and spawning and rearing habitat for salmonids is often limited. Rainbow and cutthroat trout, Dolly Varden char and kokanee salmon are the predominant game fish. Fish in small lakes are subject to a variety of uses including angling, public viewing and commercial use (angling guides). Angling is the predominant use and is the primary focus of this plan. The Region offers a diversity of angling experiences ranging form urban to wilderness, from "put and take" catchable fisheries to catch and release trophy fisheries, from crowded to solitary and from relatively unregulated to artificial fly only. The provincial Fisheries Program has four main strategic objectives: 1. Conserve Wild Fish Stocks 2. Protect and Manage Fish Habitat 3. Serve the Public Interests 4. Practice Strong Corporate Management Priority is assigned to conserving wild fish stocks and managing fish habitat. For this plan, the first and third objectives have been modified slightly to properly address the Lower Mainland situation. Strategies for each objective are: Objective: Conserve Native Fish Stocks Strategies: Prevent further decline of native fish stocks by increasing management activities directed at their conservation. Protect threatened and endangered fish species. Control the introduction and spread of exotic fish species in the Region. Objective: Protect and Manage Fish Habitat Strategies: Develop Regional guidelines to protect fish habitat in small lakes. Increase small lake inventory and assessment. Improve habitat productivity in small lakes. Objective: Provide for Public Use Strategies: Conduct public surveys on angler use and preference. Increase the diversity of angling opportunities. Increase the quality of angling opportunity and make more efficient use of existing opportunities to meet increasing angler demand. Develop a coastal fish culture program. Objective: Practice Strong Corporate Management Strategies: Increase planning on Lower Mainland small lakes. Improve public communications delivery for small lake programs. Implementation of the plan will focus on protecting and managing fish habitat and providing for public use. Native stocks will not be emphasized because they are not immediately at risk. On the other hand, there is a large public demand for angling which will be addressed through inventory and assessment, increasing the diversity and quantity of angling opportunity and improving habitat productivity. Full implementation of the plan is not possible without additional financial and human resources and will depend upon resource availability and Ministry, Program and Regional priorities. Swiatkiewicz, V.J. 1989. Lower Fraser River White Sturgeon (Acipneser transmontanus) Studies from 1985-1987. Ministry of Environment, Fish and Wildlife, Surrey, B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM209. The Fraser River white sturgeon fishery on the lower 100 km of river from Hope downstream to the estuary was studied from 1985 to 1987. This study included both tidal and non-tidal parts of the Fraser. Number of anglers obtaining free non-tidal sturgeon permits increased from 1,100 (1985-86), 1,500 (1986-87), to 2,000 in 1987/88. In 1986/87, sturgeon anglers fished 5,296 days, caught 3,951 sturgeon; of which 925 were killed. Most effort and catch occurred from the Mission Bridge (tidal boundary) upstream to the Harrison River. Average size of harvested fish was 121 cm and 18 kg. Fifty-four percent (54%) of harvested sturgeon were taken by ten percent (10%) of anglers. A total of 1,500 sturgeon in this study area were tagged with Peterson disc tags form 1985 to 1987 and 24 were recovered. Recaptured numbers were insufficient to obtain a reliable population estimate of the Lower Fraser sturgeon population. More tags must be applied and more effort in recoveries is required to increase the degree of reliability of the estimate. Preliminary analysis of length frequency catches of sturgeon between 75- 150 cm indicates 10% mortality for fish in this size range. Radio tagging of nine sturgeon has yielded sturgeon movement information that is inconclusive. Scott, K.J., J. den Breejen, and V.A. Lewysky. 1991. MS. An Assessment of the 1990 Skagit River Sport Fishery. Fish and Wildlife Management Lower Mainland Region, Surrey, B.C. Regional Fish. Rep. No. LM212:56p. An on-site survey of the Canadian Skagit and Sumallo Rivers sport fisheries was conducted during the summer and fall of 1990. The primary ojective was to replicate a survey first conducted in 1986 to monitor changes in angler effort and success. Information on angler chatacteristics and social carrying capacity was also collected. From July 1 to October 31, 1990, total angler effort was estimated at 12,271 hours. Overall, angler use in the 1990 season was similar to the comparable time period in 1986. While effort magnitude at the lower Skagit River was very similar between surveys, angling effort increased 39% at the Sumallo River and decreased 27% in the upper Skagit River. Angler success of rainbow trout declined form 0.43 fish per hour in 1986 to 0.36 fish per hour in 1990. Comparisons of temperal and spatial distribution of angler catch rates showed almost uniform lower success than in 1986. The most notable exception was the lower Skagit River Section 1 in October 1990 (0.94 fish per hour). The 1990 catch of 5305 rainbow trout was 5% less than for hte July 1 to October 31 period in 1986. The harvest of rianbow trout declined form 992 to 467 fish, or 53% less than in 1986. The overall release rate for trout in the 1990 season was 91% compared to 82% in 1986. In 1990, 71% of the total catch of 106 Daolly Varden char were released compared to 63% of the total catch (115) in 1986. While anglers are releasing most of their fish, the small total catches of Dolly Carden in th esurveys indicates the Skagit River stock is quite small and may already be over-exploited. Anglers interviewed in 1990 collectively exhibited similar demographic characteristics to 1986. However, more the 63% of the anglers had began fishing the Skagit since 1986 and 43% fished the Skagit for the first time in 1990. Experientail attributes (scenery, uncrowded conditions, wilderness feeling) were clearly the most important factors attracting anglers to the Skagit River. Use levels in 1990 in all three areas were well eithin social carrying capacity. In all areas anglers encountered fewer other anglers than they expected and 71% of the anglers assessed the use level to be "just right".