Snake River Steelhead Recovery Plan Released by NOAA

In Idaho by Nick Chambers

By Rob Masonis   The recent release of the final federal recovery plan for Snake River Spring/Summer Chinook salmon and steelhead is a milestone in the decades-long effort to reverse the precipitous decline of salmon and steelhead runs in the Snake River system. The Snake was historically the most productive region in the Columbia Basin for spring/summer chinook and steelhead, …

Science Friday: Who’s who in the Elwha after dam removal

In Science Friday, Washington by Nick Chambers

By John McMillan   We should not be surprised by steelhead and salmon rushing upstream to pass former dams. That is their nature — to push boundaries, access new habitat. Unbuild it, and they will come.   And come they have in Washington’s Elwha River, where in 2014 two old dams were taken down. Not only have we observed hundreds …

Science Friday: More on summer and winter steelhead genetics

In Oregon, Science Friday by Nick Chambers

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 is something inherently different about …

Rise of the Phoenix: wild summer steelhead in the Elwha River

In Science Friday by Nick Chambers

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 – I found myself drawn to …

Stand Up For Clean Water

In Live Action Alerts by Nick Chambers

When anglers think of steelhead water, we tend to think of big, muscular rivers like the Skagit, Umpqua and Eel. We don’t usually think of tributary streams small enough to step across, or even that go dry at times.   We should. Such streams are very important for steelhead, particularly for spawning and rearing. In California, for example, 64 percent of …

Science Friday: Ephemeral Streams Provide Key Steelhead Habitat

In Science Friday by Nick Chambers

    Previously we wrote about the importance of ephemeral streams to steelhead. These are smaller waters, typically in headwaters and tributary drainages, segments of which dry back in summer or that flow intermittently. Today we pick up the topic again because of recent developments on the federal policy front that threaten these important habitat areas.   On July 27, …

Put fish first this summer in the Columbia

In Idaho, Oregon, Washington by Nick Chambers

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 particular the later arriving and …

Rivers of Resilience – Wind

In Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Science Friday, Steelhead Files, Washington by Nick Chambers

The Wind River, a tributary to the Columbia River just above Bonneville Dam, is, at only 224 square miles, a substantially smaller drainage than the Yakima. It receives more precipitation and thus is dominated by forests and industrial timberlands. The Wind River has had some habitat restoration but nowhere near the extent of the Yakima, but that is also because …

What happened to my summer runs?

In Science Friday, Steelhead Files, Washington by Shauna Sherard

    Editors note: This is the first in a multi-part series looking at both the decline and recovery of wild steelhead runs.    By Bill Herzog Here I am, as far into the corner of eastern Washington as you can get, waist deep in the mighty Snake River, two hander whooshing around me every few minutes. I’m immersed, literally …