OP Steelhead Bull Trout Meeting?


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
I had to work last night and wasn't able to attend. Any thoughts or info that folks who attended can share?

David Loy

Senior Moment
It was a well attended meeting. Sam Brentman (a fisheries Bio for the NPS) gave a great presentation on the fisheries and management practices being used on the OP. I personally learned quite a bit. Wasn't focused on SH but still, a very interesting discussion with thoughtful Qs & As.
Probably the most interesting topic for me at least was the tracking of Bull Trout. Some of these fish travel from far up the Hoh for instance, all the way out (30 some miles), into the salt, head down the coast and head up another river. Maybe winter there, then head back out to salt and maybe hit a third river. Hang there for a while and then maybe head back up coast to the Hoh. This is an on-going study and as Sam said, there's much we don't know. Truely vagabonds it seems. I though it was interesting that they can travel into & through the salt and transition back to fresh water so easily. And, that they seem to know that they can leave one river and go find another at will. How would they know that... imprinting? I don't know much about Bull Trout but they're pretty interesting for sure.
And there was pizza and beer.
A worthy evening.

David Loy

Senior Moment
I didn't hear (or retain) that part of the discussion. Not sure they know yet. If I remember correctly though, this isn't keyed on any kind of a yearly cycle. More random OR long term than that. The particular tracked fish being discussed hit the three rivers over a period of more than a year I think. Maybe 18 months. Some of the other guys present might weigh in with better information.
He had pictures of some of the fattest dollies I have ever seen... pulled from commercial gillnets.

It sounded like they don't know whether they go into different rivers to spawn or what.


Well-Known Member
Hoh River bull trout appear to reproduce in the Hoh. They will over winter in Kalaloch Creek, and several over summered in the Raft River. I thought that was really interesting, cuz the Raft is an ultra low gradient, clear cut, open to the sunlight, no snow melt, no glacial water type of river; exactly the kind of habitat that bull trout are not supposed to be partial to. Over wintering in a non glacial stream makes sense, cuz all rivers are cold in the winter. But to over summer in one of the warmest rivers on the coast, well, that surprised me. Must be good feeding opportunity.

I was saddened to see that summer steelhead densities are as low as my catch results suggest they are. I was hoping that I just hadn't found the magic fly yet, or something like that. The snorkle surveys indicate that more than half of the summer run steelhead are dip ins or strays from the Bogie rearing ponds. Gotta' wonder what that's doing to the reproductive success of the natives.

It was an enjoyable presentation, and makes me appreciate even more having the ONP as an environmental asset in this area.


Salmo g.