Click the link above to take action against the controversial Snider Creek Hatchery on one of the O.P.’s greatest rivers. Scroll down to send a message to the Snider Creek Hatchery, it only takes a few minutes. If you have time to make coffee, tie one fly, edit one photo, check one box score, or even read this one blog post then you have time to make a difference for wild steelhead in Washington. Do it, quick! Here is the link again:
I picked my brother in law up at the airport at 9:50 pm. He was on a flight in from LA where he spent the day with his son at the beach. It was 82 degrees when he left. Now, in Seattle, it is raining, 44 degrees and we are heading for the Hoh River.
We drove most of the night and reached the Hoh at 2:30 in the morning. It was pouring rain by now and the campground that we found was more lake then ground. We opted for sleeping in the back of the truck and waiting to see what the light of day would bring.
More rain. Steady, cold, hard, rain. The river was chocolate milk and raging. It had been on the drop all week and I was having pretty high hopes till that moment. We decided to move up and see if we can find a river with some visibility. The Sol Duc seemed to offer us some good chances so we drop the boat and fish. That day was fantastic. A couple hard tugs and a nice dolly kept us pretty happy and even warmed us up a bit.
We finally set up respectable camp. We ate well and crashed early. One more chance to float the Sol Duc in the am kept us feeling pretty optimistic.
Although the river has very little swinging water where we were it is super fun to row. There are some nice rapids and enough waves to keep you on your toes.
No fish that last day but we did see bigfoot drinking beer and played a ton of guitar.
1. We close most of our rivers for the month of May to protect wild steelhead during their most prolific spawning season.
2. We managed for the much of the past decade the season of March and April on many of our steelhead rivers in the region to protect the “native” steelhead returning with catch and release regulations. This did include some of these O.P. rivers.
3. This left the early returning fish for decades, and I mean decades to be demolished if not nearly decimated by every sort of method imaginable. To the point where most of us didn’t really expect to see a wild fish until early to mid February because there just weren’t that many anyway.
After a little deeper read into this, if the previous catch and release regs remain in place for wild fish on those rivers, then this effectively shortens the catch and kill season, for real and is as a reader put it, “…a step in the right direction.”
Here it is straight from WDFW
Wild steelhead retention on eight Olympic Peninsula rivers opens Feb. 16, 2010
OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is reminding anglers that they will not be allowed to catch and keep wild steelhead on eight Olympic Peninsula rivers until mid-February.
Earlier this year, the annual opening date for wild steelhead retention was changed from Dec. 1 to Feb. 16 on eight rivers with fisheries for wild steelhead.
That change, adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission last February, applies to fisheries for wild steelhead on the Bogachiel, Calawah, Clearwater, Dickey, Hoh, Quillayute, Quinault and Sol Duc rivers. Those eight rivers are the only waters in Washington where wild steelhead retention is allowed.
The change does not affect fisheries currently under way for hatchery-reared steelhead – identifiable by their missing adipose or ventral fin.
The commission, which sets policy for WDFW, changed the opening date for wild steelhead retention to protect the early portion of the run, said Bob Leland, WDFW’s steelhead program manager. He noted, however, that anglers will still have an opportunity to catch and keep a wild fish during the peak of the return in late spring.
“Making this change will help to maintain the diversity of the run – including a range of late and early returning fish – that is important in preserving the wild steelhead population,” Leland said.
As before, anglers will be allowed to retain one wild steelhead per license year on one of the eight rivers. For more information on season dates and fishing rules, check the Fishing in Washington regulation pamphlet at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .
Leland said the change is consistent with WDFW’s Statewide Steelhead Management Plan, which was approved by the commission in 2008. The statewide plan, available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/steelhead/ , sets out a variety of conservation policies to guide fisheries management, hatchery operations and habitat-restoration programs.
Leland said anglers should be aware that the sportfishing rules adopted by the commission earlier this year also include regulations that prohibit the retention of wild steelhead on the Green (Duwamish), Pysht and Hoko rivers. The change is designed to protect wild steelhead on the three rivers, where wild runs have recently been in decline.