This week, American Rivers named the Snake River America’s No. 1 Most Endangered River of 2021, pointing to perilously low returns of Snake River salmon and steelhead, and the urgent need for lawmakers and communities to come together to develop a comprehensive economic revitalization plan.
Dean hollered from upstream as a steelhead took his fly, then hollered again a moment later as the fish released it. At another spot Dean had a nice fish on for perhaps a minute, his rod bowed and bobbing. But that steelhead, too, practiced detachment. Welcome to winter steelhead fishing.
Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) has stepped up to lead toward a more optimistic future for the entire Snake River basin. Rep. Simpson laid out a proposal that would create new clean energy sources, build new infrastructure, and ensure the needs of local communities, irrigators and shippers are met. The proposal would also restore runs of healthy, harvestable Snake River salmon and steelhead by removing the lower four Snake River dams.
The Salmon SuperHwy’s Annual Report highlights the power of conservation partnerships to deliver real benefits for coldwater fish and local communities, even in troubled times.
Today, Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon introduced the River Democracy Act of 2021, which would create new Wild and Scenic River designations for a number of stream segments in Oregon where TU is working to protect and restore habitat, water sources and fishing opportunities. TU supports this legislation, which is based on more than 15,000 recommendations submitted by Oregon residents.
A fishery management plan being developed for southwest Oregon coastal rivers has generated some debate over whether to temporarily reduce or prohibit harvest of wild steelhead.
This past Tuesday, 10 of the most respected scientists who, collectively, have studied Pacific Northwest salmon and steelhead for 400 years, penned a letter to the governors of Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington stating that achieving healthy and harvestable/fishable abundances of Snake River salmon and steelhead cannot be achieved without removing the four lower Snake River dams.
“It is our collective opinion, based on overwhelming scientific evidence, that restoration of a free-flowing lower Snake River is essential to recovering wild Pacific salmon and steelhead in the basin.”
So reads a remarkable letter recently sent to the governors of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana by 10 of the finest and most-respected salmon and steelhead scientists in the world.
The steelhead community is filled with amazingly humble and generous people. We are lucky to have many of those people working here at Wild Steelheaders United. Our fearless leader Dean Finnerty is certainly one of them. Read about our own Sam Davidson’s recent adventure with him on the famous North Umpqua.
We’ve all heard stories from our grandparents of unbelievable abundance and sizes in their fishing forays — the salmon so numerous it boggled the mind, and those Lahontan cutthroat trout so big you couldn’t wrap your arms around them. Yet even with these anecdotes it’s still hard to internalize just how different our experience of today is from way back when. That’s just human nature: memory is hard to maintain, especially across generations.