Category Archive: Washington

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: 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

Anglers ask NOAA to expedite Skagit decision

Hundreds of anglers, industry representatives and community businesses all signed on to a letter urging the National Oceananic and Atmospheric Adminstration to expedite a review that would re-open the Skagit River for the 2018 winter/spring steelhead season. The following letter was recently submitted:   Barry Thom West Coast Administrator Peter Dygert Branch Chief Anadromous Harvest … Continued

Put fish first this summer in the Columbia

It’s hard to ignore the dismal forecast for this summer’s steelhead return to the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Just how bad is it? Well, this year’s wild and hatchery summer runs returning past Bonneville Dam are forecast to be the lowest in the past 34 years.   Predictions for all stocks look bad, but in … Continued

What does the Antiquities Act have to do with steelhead?

A seemingly innocuous little law passed in 1906 has become highly controversial in recent years. The Antiquities Act, signed into law by President Theodore Roosevelt, was a response to an escalating problem of looting of archeological and geologic resources and empowers the president to designate to significant historic, cultural, and scientific features as national monuments. … Continued

It is past time to open the Skagit

Washington was once home to the greatest concentration of quality steelhead fisheries in the Lower 48 and the Skagit River was the crown jewel of them all. Over the past few decades many of those fisheries have been shuttered due to declining populations and poor management strategies. The Skagit was the last to close in … Continued

Steelhead 101: Defining native, wild, hatchery and natural-origin

In recent posts we covered the basics of defining escapement and run size, and the ways these are measured by resource managers. Today, we turn our focus to the complex terminology used for describing and comparing hatchery and wild steelhead. Steelhead are typically referred to as either being “wild” or “hatchery,” but they may also … Continued

Bill that protects Methow River from mining moves forward

  A bill that would protect lands in Okanagan County from mining is moving forward after a markup in today’s Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee hearing.   The Methow Headwater Protections Act of 2017, S. 566, comes on the heels of a 20 year mineral withdrawal, cementing protections for an area known for it’s … Continued

Steelhead 101: Using snorkel surveys to estimate adult steelhead escapement

Another week, another post on how scientists and fisheries managers measure steelhead escapement. Last week, we described redd counts and why they are an important tool. This week, we review snorkel surveys.   Snorkel surveys entail divers swimming in the river and visually counting adult steelhead. Like redd counts, snorkel surveys do not cover an … Continued

Wild Rivers, Wild Steelhead

What are the keys to successful wild steelhead conservation? What can you do to help this cause? How do steelhead differ from other salmonids in their sexual behavior? For answers to these and many other questions about wild steelhead, as well as some of the best steelhead stories ever told, please join Wild Steelheaders United … Continued