Monday the 11th marked the start of the 2021 legislative session in Olympia, with important implications for steelhead in Washington State. Washington operates on a biennial budget system, and this year — a budget year — the state must fund its state agencies and programs for the next two years.
“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.
Washington Council of Trout Unlimited has launched a new and exciting habitat initiative to improve opportunities to recover our iconic but threatened wild steelhead and salmon.
Last week, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) enacted new regulations coast-wide with the stated goal of reducing our encounter rates on these last, best wild runs here in Washington. This includes some serious changes to the way we fish for steelhead.
The Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe has completed a two-year restoration project of Little River recently, making it more salmon and steelhead friendly. We go in-depth with this part of the tribe’s Elwha River watershed restoration work.
2020 has been noteworthy in many ways. Some of this year’s offerings (megafires, Covid-19) have been unwelcome. But for steelhead anglers and advocates, one highlight was the release of a new film in April documenting the return of summer steelhead to Washington’s Elwha River.
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.
The ROD adopts the preferred alternative developed through the agencies’ environmental impact statement process. The decision recommends a limited increase in the amount of water spilled over the four dams on the Lower Snake River, but allows the dams to stay in place at a significant cost to salmon, steelhead, tribes, anglers, and communities across the Columbia Basin.
For the past three years, a diverse group of anglers with a shared passion for Puget Sound steelhead have worked to develop a portfolio of watershed-specific conservation, fishery, and hatchery strategies for that population. We’re excited to share with you a sneak-peek of the Quicksilver Portfolio.
When it finally happens, you’ll know. First, you’ll feel an unmistakable sensation of weight, building and causing an ever-deepening bend in your rod. Then you’ll feel your brain, now infused with adrenalin, on fire with the realization that a steelhead has indeed grabbed your swung fly.