Get The Facts
ABUNDANT WILD STEELHEAD PROVIDE MORE AND BETTER FISHING OPPORTUNITY.
We do not need to choose between conserving wild steelhead and fishing opportunity. Some of the best steelhead fisheries are supported by wild fish — the Eel, Smith, Sol Duc, Situk, Skeena, North Umpqua, John Day, and Nehalem, to name just a few.
SOME WILD STEELHEAD SPAWN MULTIPLE TIMES, AND JUST A FEW ADULT STEELHEAD MAY PRODUCE MOST OF THE OFFSPRING IN ANY GIVEN YEAR.
All salmon die after spawning, but steelhead can spawn multiple times (up to 60% of steelhead in some rivers are repeat spawners). In addition, in any given year just a few prolific adults — repeat or one-time spawners — can produce most of the young steelhead (which means keeping the wrong fish can be more harmful to the population than you might think).
DIVERSITY IS KEY TO ABUNDANT WILD STEELHEAD.
Steelhead rely on many different life strategies to thrive across a variety of habitats. More plainly, there is no such thing as a typical steelhead. Their behavior ranges widely from one fish to the next, a trait that gives them an advantage over other species. Juveniles spend one to five years in freshwater before going to sea. Adults spend a few months to five years in the ocean. This remarkable diversity buffers steelhead from large population fluctuations — which are common with salmon.
WILD STEELHEAD ARE RESILIENT AND CAN THRIVE IF GIVEN A CHANCE.
Just five years after Mount St. Helens erupted and sent massive amounts of debris down Washington’s Toutle River, thousands of wild steelhead returned to spawn in this river. When harvest was drastically reduced on Alaska’s Situk River, wild steelhead rebounded. When releases of hatchery steelhead in Oregon’s Smith River ended, native steelhead abundance increased in astonishing numbers, making it one of Oregon’s best winter steelhead streams. When poor hatchery operations were eliminated on the South Fork Eel River, wild steelhead surged. With sufficient habitat and population diversity, we CAN recover strong, durable wild steelhead runs and improve steelhead angling opportunities.