wenatchee river steelhead:(

ive been hearing from a few clients of mine, non fisherman, they just like to tell me anything fishing related they come across because i enjoy hearing it and they know im a nut. so they say that while heading east for whatever, that they have been seeing some people walking on or across hwy 2 with some big fish! have to be steelhead? do they even patrol closed waters during peak summertime? i am sad to hear of this and wonder if anyone else out there has heard of the same...
and before anyone asks- yes they were talking about the wenatchee river not the sf sky.


Active Member
I havent seen it first hand but my ex-roomate at EOU was from cashmere and said that he and his friends used to fish that river for steelies in the summer; it wasnt until recently that I looked it up and its closed. Its a bummer but I have never ever seen a gamey in that area so everyone just does as they please I guess.


Well-Known Member
There are chinook salmon in the Wenatchee, and some are spawning right about now. Of course, it's not open to fishing for salmon or steelhead, either one.
you thought the cedar river had an onslaught of people the first year they opened back up, the wenatchee would crush all records for sure .
Ive worked two years over there as a fishereies biologist, and right now the summer chinook are spawning. The river is closed to fishing (and by the way its probably not going to open for a while), but there are studies being done on the carcasses right now. While WDFW does not take any carcasses from the river, they sample them near the river. Is it possible that they maybe saw some plastic bags with heads in them? They do take the heads from some of the hatchery fish to extract the CWT's. However, we have seen carcasses filleted out on the side of the river, and it wouldn't surprise me if people were bold enough to take them back to their car to fillet them. Anyways, the fish are chinook, and people shouldn't be taking them from the river unless they are WDFW. Someone should call if they see someone actually taking a fish back to their car that is not wearing any WDFW logo clothing or life vests.


youngish old guy
People poach it like mad. I can't tally all the people I've either yelled at or reported. My experience is that they were mostly tourists (Leavenworth) rather than locals. They see a beautiful river, look down and see fish roll, then they get the rod out of their car. The one step they're missing there is to check the regs. One guy last summer pretended not to hear me as he dragged hardware across a big pool with his son. So, I swam across and opened a can.
headstrong1 said:
So, I swam across and opened a can.
of worms or WHOOPASS!!!!

i know that everyone thinks salmon, but ive seen some big steelhead in there and im sure that alot of them are steelies thats being removed.
While I happen to be one of those tourists (my wife wanted to come to October fest) and agree with you that is a beautiful river and I did bring my rod (however to hopefully fish the Methow) I am thankful that I looked up the river on the web and found your site that people post on. Having fished the Lochsa and St. Joe many years now it eats me up when I drive by and see people from out of state and in state pulling fish out of CnR sections of the river. So I understand how you feel. That being said I saw where the Methow was closed the 18 of Sept. Does anyone know if it is currently open for steelhead? Any help or ideas to go while my wife hits the shops on sunday and monday would be appreciated.
Methow opened this morning. Check WDFW regs carfully, as sections are closed to fishing, and hatchery fish need to be kept, and unclipped fish released without being taken from the water. Enjoy, bring a rain coat.


Active Member
I work along the river regularly. Like headstrong said, seems most are tourists out of Leavenworth. I have notified many this summer who were fishing in Tumwater Canyon. I do believe that there is probably some poaching that goes on in the low light hours lower in the river (Wenatchee to Peshastin), but can't say how prevalent it is.
I know that WDFW is "sampling" the river and tribs (right now...I believe). They did this last year, as well. They have several people fishing the river...trying to cover it well. I volunteered...but when they told me they had to tote four gallons of water with them to keep fish in, I withdrew. Actually, not sure they could have accepted my offer, anyway. Possible that somebody saw one of them with rod and reel and bucket...and assumed they were poachers?

Will Atlas

thanks for posting that link. very informative about the state and feds decision making process regarding opening upper columbia fisheries.



Active Member
You're welcome. I was kinda surprised too...thought it was just a "total fish count" (Rock Island minus Rocky Reach) calculation they used to make their Wenatchee River decision.
BTW...there was another very interesting piece in the paper the same night. Probably will clear up any question anyone has as to why the Wenatchee is just a notch above "difficult" to wade due to slickness. Here is the piece: http://wenatcheeworld.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081003/NEWS04/710031507