Here in the wonderful state of Washington, we are still allowed to kill one wild steelhead a year. I am not sure the notion of killing one female with her nearly ready to release eggs is taken into consideration as this angler just killed more than one.
Here lays the future of a species that are about to go away forever and yet policy around the region is allowing for the killing of not just one fish, but as you can see here, potentially hundreds.
Things have to change. Today my dad encouraged me to be reasonable and factual with regards to my reaction to such sights and future articles regarding steelhead because reason is irrefutable and people will listen to it.
I couldn’t agree more and yet I simply can’t control my feelings when I see the residuals of a wild steelhead killed and its hopeful offspring left to help the grass grow. Tell this to a politician who has been reasonable about any other controversial issue. Seems to me it is just that much easier to muffle the sound of reason when that reason isn’t blasted from the rooftops, even when irrefutable.
This just isn’t making sense and yet so many out there, outside of our region are left to think these fish are just as abundant as they once were. It couldn’t be that bad, look at everyone who is guiding for them and how many they catch. What isn’t visible to those outside of the PNW or whom just simply aren’t involved with fish conservation at all is the tooth and nail fight that is being waged over a species of fish that is in many parts of the PNW, an ESA (Endangered Species Act) listed species, yes, the very same list the bald eagle was on.
These fish won’t recover if this matter or listing status isn’t taken seriously. Dylan Tomine has said there is encouraging work being done in certain places and while I agree, it doesn’t help the over all awareness of the fish. If an angler perceives the population of steelhead to be great on the Deschutes, then why wouldn’t the rest of the regions fish be in just as good of shape? This is the daily battle we have when speaking with clients who want to go steelhead fishing.
Yes, each fishery is unique and will require a unique set of management policies to save/recover/help/whatever the steelhead in that watershed. But if the word doesn’t not get out about the over all state of the fish, especially in Washington, we will all be looking for a new place to swing our flies.