Category Archive: Oregon

The Dry Creek Steelhead Story

By Bill McMillan On moving to the Skagit Basin in the summer of 1998, in order to begin some familiarity with such a large watershed I began to fish its tributary streams, which were open to fishing at that time.  It was strictly catch-and-release, knowing most of the encounters would be juvenile steelhead.  Finney Creek … Continued

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

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

How to rig a spoon

By Bill Herzog   Casting and retrieving/swinging spoons for steelhead has made a bit of a comeback the last ten years. Nice to see the oldest technique for steelhead experience a bit of career resurgence. Rigging our spoons- that is the configuration of swivels and hooks- has to not only be the right size and … Continued

Smith River gets additional layer of protection

The DEQ voted unanimously to give the North Fork of the Smith Outstanding Resource Waters designation, which will protect the river, its tributaries, and associated wetlands from any activity that could degrade water quality. The rule will become state law effective immediately, but requires approval by the Environmental Protection Agency to take effect under the … Continued

Science Friday: Hitch-Hiking Smolts

Last week we talked about the importance of spill for out-migrating kelts and smolts in the Columbia Basin. Increasing spill is only one method employed to enhance downstream survival of smolts. As early as the mid-1950s smolts were loaded onto barges and moved downstream past the dams through the lock system. While fisheries managers experimented … Continued

Science Friday: Increased flow and spill in the Columbia River is important for more than just smolts

  Steelhead in the Upper Columbia and Snake Rivers undergo some of the longest journeys of any anadromous fish — some travel more than 600 miles. Returning adults must navigate numerous dams on their upstream migration to reach spawning grounds. Those offspring that survive to become smolts must make that same migration downstream, past the … Continued