Category Archive: Science Friday

Science Friday: Some come early, some come late: Genetics of Dean River steelhead

There are a handful of rivers that every steelheader wants to fish. Among these is the Dean River in British Columbia, perhaps the most revered wild steelhead river on the planet. Not only is this river remote and beautiful, it is also home to some of the hardest fighting steelhead anywhere.   The Dean’s fame … Continued

Science Friday: Sand bars, lagoons and moving steelhead

Back to back Science Friday posts focusing on California and the unique challenges that steelhead face in the state. This week we pivot from juvenile steelhead coping with ponded pools to a look at juveniles that enter and live seasonally in lagoons at the mouths of creeks and rivers — a phenomenon fairly common in … Continued

Science Friday: Surviving heat, drought and ponded streams

It is that time of year again. Heat wave after heat wave.   As summer progresses stream flows will continue to decline all across steelhead country, and in some cases, smaller tributaries will go dry. In other cases, streams won’t be completely dewatered; instead, they will become ponded. This occurs when flows diminish so much … Continued

Science Friday: How does catch and release affect steelhead?

Today we review a study on the impacts of catch and release angling on wild steelhead in the Bulkley River, the largest tributary to British Columbia’s legendary Skeena system. Conducted by Will Twardek and several others, this study looked into the effects of catch and release, air exposure and fight time on behavior and survival … Continued

Science Friday: Big fish, big streams; little fish, little streams

A holiday weekend deserves a new Science Friday post. So here we go. This week we focus on summer steelhead in the John Day River, a large tributary that drains into the middle Columbia River on the Oregon side.   The John Day is a big watershed, covering 8,000 square miles, although the river itself … Continued

Science Friday: Do these lipids make me look fat?

For most anglers who have encountered both winter and summer steelhead, it’s abundantly clear there are differences between the two races of fish.   For one, they enter freshwater at different times of the year, although there is some overlap.   In addition, there are physical differences. Summer steelhead tend to be more fusiform — … Continued

Science Friday: Certain genetic families survive better in hatcheries and might help explain why hatchery steelhead do poorly in nature

Spring is here and we’ve got a real shot of warm weather on the West Coast. Certainly, spawning steelhead appreciate the ecological effects of this boost in thermal energy.   Last week we reviewed a recent paper on repeat spawning in steelhead in the Hood River, Oregon. This week, we return to the Hood to … Continued

Science Friday: Do it once, do it twice. The tradeoffs of repeat spawning in steelhead

We are back after a short break, after coming through a heavy dose of conservation work. That work, in part, helped convince the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Marine Fisheries Service to re-open the iconic Skagit River for a catch-and-release season for wild steelhead. It feels like a new day has … Continued

Stock Recruit Curves And Wild Steelhead, A Good Match?

In several recent posts we have discussed the concept of density dependence and how it is used in fisheries management. Today we dive in deeper and talk about the stock-recruitment relationship, density dependence, and how the results of such models are applied to managing steelhead.   First, let’s define some terms. Stock refers to, in … Continued

Science Friday: Why do juvenile steelhead move at the onset of winter?

By John McMillan We are going old school today, Science Friday style. No, we’re not talking about shooting ourselves with a tranquilizer gun, going streaking, or starting a fraternity to compensate for a mid-life crisis. We’ll leave that to Will Ferrell.   But we are going back in time, to 1971. Today we revisit one … Continued