Recent Posts

Science Friday: More on summer and winter steelhead genetics

By John McMillan Two weeks ago we reviewed a study by Prince et al. that discovered a single gene differentiated steelhead which return immature (referred to as pre-mature in the study) to freshwater (i.e., summer steelhead) and those that return in a mature or relatively mature state (i.e., winter steelhead). Anglers have long known there … Continued

Rise of the Phoenix: wild summer steelhead in the Elwha River

By John McMillan, science director, Trout Unlimited Wild Steelhead Initiative   A few years back, while working on the Elwha dam removal project, I donned a wetsuit for one of many snorkel surveys I conducted that summer. I had been snorkeling the main-stem Elwha, but that day – a crisp cool day in mid-October – … Continued

Science Friday: How summer steelhead are genetically different than winters

Many anglers over the years have no doubt wondered why some steelhead return to freshwater during the hottest and driest part of the year. The reasons why are both simple and complex.   The most obvious difference between summer steelhead and their winter run brethren is that they enter freshwater streams in summer and fall, … Continued

Science Friday: Warm water’s influence on the speed of upstream migrating steelhead

The dog days of summer are fully upon us. The predicted forecast for adult summer steelhead returning to the Columbia and Snake River basins is now, unfortunately, shaping up to be worse than expected (and it was already very low). However, it can be difficult to determine how accurate this forecast actually is because at … Continued

Science Friday: Steelhead in hot water, and what it means for catch-and-release

As predicted for summer steelhead in the Columbia River and many other watersheds in Washington and Oregon, something has happened to the fish. There are precious few of them this season. But it’s important to remember that ebb and flow in population size is part-and-parcel with these fish — and for all salmon in general. … Continued

Putting back the Pahsimeroi, piece-by-piece

By Matt Green In September 2016, Trout Unlimited partnered with the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, and Idaho Department of Fish and Game to rehabilitate 0.8 miles of the mainstem Pahsimeroi River to improve salmon and steelhead habitat. Over a century of irrigation, which dewatered the streams for much of the year, has … Continued

Don’t reel up just yet

By Bill Herzog   We of the swung fly club have to deal with quite a few of our brethren these days on the river, especially the more popular waters, sections and times. If we aren’t first through the run, then all we can hope for is a moving fish to come into swinging range … Continued

Science Friday: Turn up the A/C

Summer-time is here. That means hot weather and hot water, two things that don’t mix well with a cold-water fish like steelhead.   As we suffer through the largest heat wave of the summer, we wanted to review a piece of research that looked at how adult steelhead alter their behavior and use micro-habitats to … Continued

Stand Up For Clean Water

When anglers think of steelhead water, we tend to think of big, muscular rivers like the Skagit, Umpqua and Eel. We don’t usually think of tributary streams small enough to step across, or even that go dry at times.   We should. Such streams are very important for steelhead, particularly for spawning and rearing. In … Continued

Science Friday: Ephemeral Streams Provide Key Steelhead Habitat

    Previously we wrote about the importance of ephemeral streams to steelhead. These are smaller waters, typically in headwaters and tributary drainages, segments of which dry back in summer or that flow intermittently. Today we pick up the topic again because of recent developments on the federal policy front that threaten these important habitat … Continued