Spring Steelhead in the PACNW

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Great Lakes Man, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. Great Lakes Man New Member

    Posts: 10
    Burlington, NJ
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Hello WFF. I am going to be planning a trip to the Mill Creek area to visit my inlaws. I was wondering what water and location are best in April or May with in an hours drive from that area. I am looking forward to some north west chrome.

    I will be using a 9ft 8Wt with a fast sinking tip.
  2. Backyard SANCHO!

    Posts: 1,690
    The River, WA.
    Ratings: +5 / 0
    There may not be anything open with in a couple hour drive from Mill Creek if the Skagit closes it's cn'r season. Might want to plan something over on the OP.
  3. shawn k Member

    Posts: 697
    buckets worldwide
    Ratings: +19 / 0
    The rivers are closed in may to protect the spawning fish. April is your best bet. Close to mill creek the skagit and sauk will be your best bet. Otherwise pic a stream over on the olympic pennisula
  4. Jerry Metcalf FishyJere

    Posts: 340
    Enumclaw, WA
    Ratings: +40 / 0
    Consider the Cowlitz. At that time of year there are some fish and the crowds are way, way down.

  5. Will Atlas Guest

    Posts: 0
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    Yeah, I've heard mixed reports on the status of the Skagit/Sauk this spring. Its a sad day when our states most storied steelhead river systems closes. I hope they at least tell us soon so we arent in limbo much longer. If anyone knows anything specific let us know.

  6. bhudda heffe'

    Posts: 1,946
    Ratings: +109 / 0
    i would hit up the cowlitz, kalama area in april/may. avoiding run-off could be hard to plan around, these waters are faster to fall into shape.
    good luck!
  7. HauntedByWaters Active Member

    Posts: 2,747
    Ratings: +103 / 0
    If that happened the shit would hit the fan. Everything else would be pummeled and it would snow ball.

    They won't do it.
  8. WT Member

    Posts: 771
    Seattle, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +7 / 0
    Famous last words. Lets just keep our fingers crossed.
  9. Great Lakes Man New Member

    Posts: 10
    Burlington, NJ
    Ratings: +1 / 0
    Humm, sounds like a dismal outlook for chrome in local waters this spring. Other than long drives, any other suggestions? :hmmm:
  10. davew Member

    Posts: 87
    Ratings: +0 / 0
    One thing to be prepared for is disappointment. In terms of numbers of fish caught, steelhead fishing here doesn't compare to the Great Lakes fishing you're used to. You can catch more steelhead in a good weekend on a Great Lakes trib than the typical fisherman will catch in a season out here.
  11. Stonefish Triploid and Humpy Hater

    Posts: 3,862
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,262 / 1
    Bring a trout rod also. Not an hour away, but you could hit the Yakima. That way you'd get to experience both the wet and dry sides of the state.
    Searun cutts on Puget Sound would be another option for you.
  12. Richard Olmstead BigDog

    Posts: 2,485
    Seattle, WA
    Ratings: +786 / 0
    April and May is a good time for coastal cutthroats on the Puget Sound beaches. 5 or 6 wt rod will do the trick.
  13. Salmo_g Active Member

    Posts: 7,473
    Your City ,State
    Ratings: +1,615 / 0

    Bring your trout and steelhead rods and be prepared no matter what. From Mill Creek you can reach the Sauk is just about one hour's drive. The Skagit and Sauk are typically open until April 30 to CNR fishing. In May you'll have to drive about 2 1/2 hours to a river like the Cowlitz or Lewis for steelhead, which are present, but not in great numbers.

    If it's steelhead you want, schedule your time in April, for either Skagit/Sauk or OP rivers. Otherwise May is fine.

  14. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,798
    Marysville, Washington
    Ratings: +653 / 0
    GLM -
    Given the recent ESA listing of Puget Sound steelhead, the poor escapement to the Skagit and Sauk last year, and the poor contribution of 2 salt fish to last years run I would judge that it is extremely unlikely that will be a CnR season this year on the Skagit/Sauk.

    I would second some of the others suggests that you come prepared for an alternate plan of action and be pleasantly surprised if you find Skagit/Sauk (a wonderful piece of water to spend a day or two and exceptional fish) open.

    You can track emergency regulations changes at this site -


    However if the State announces a closure I sure there will be a detailed thread discussion the situation.

    Tight lines
  15. Porter Active Member

    Posts: 6,422
    Kenmore, WA, USA.
    Ratings: +511 / 0
    Pittsburg heh? Let's see you pummled our guys in the Super Bowl ;) and you want tips.....:clown: everything above is :thumb:

    PS Sorry your guys are out already this January :p
  16. o mykiss Active Member

    Posts: 1,303
    Ratings: +176 / 0
    It would be a sad day if the spring C&R fishery doesn't happen on the Skagit/Sauk. We've taken it for granted for a long time. None of us should really be surprised if it's taken away in light of the steady declines and the recent listing of PS steelhead. Still, it's a shock. But also, I hate to say, it goes to show why the WDFW's decision to reverse the moratorium on the OP a couple years ago was such a collosal mistake. Why is it that these guys wait until it's too late to take the dramatic steps? Buehler may be right that the pressure will shift to the OP, but the worst thing is that every sport who lands a wild steelhead over there has the opportunity - thanks to the *#$%ing state - to kill it (unless he's already used up his 1 fish limit). When will these clowns ever learn? Is it always going to take an ESA listing or the threat of one before they do anything? The fricking steelhead management plan should have been pursued 15 or 20 years ago; instead it takes a fricking ESA listing to get the GD'd state off its ass to even think about doing something.

    Gregoire ought to fire the entire commission and appoint someone who is willing to do the right thing. And get rid of Koenig while she's at it.
  17. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,798
    Marysville, Washington
    Ratings: +653 / 0
    O mykiss -
    Wow must of hit a nerve.

    From your comments it is pretty clear that you have some stong feelings regarding our beloved steelhead however I think you and I have different understanding of some of the nuances surrounding some of the steelhead management issues and what happen to our steelhead populations. However this probably not the thread to discuss them. As I suggested in the "Hamma Hamma" thread if there is an interest is such discussions I would be willing to take part in such a dedicated thread.

    Tight lines
  18. o mykiss Active Member

    Posts: 1,303
    Ratings: +176 / 0
    Curt, I have to admit I haven't kept up with the Hamma Hamma thread, but will try to read it end to end to see what it has to offer. I know slightly more than jack shit when it comes to the plight of steelhead and steelhead management. I know that fault cannot be laid totally at the feet of WDFW. But I also know even as a complete outsider that WDFW constantly misses opportunities to be more conservative in how it manages - the reversal of the moratorium being just one recent case in point. Look at the freaking data every where up and down the West Coast and the overall trend for wild steelhead is down and has been for too long. I know that WDFW can't control every factor that impacts these fish, but killing fish is one they can. When every where you look things are going down hill, it seems obvious that there is a pretty good chance that the day is just around the corner (if it hasn't come already) when OP wild steelhead can't really stand a kill fishery. The commission had a golden opportunity and caved for purely political reasons. I wish these people would stand up and show some leadership instead of just reacting all the time. I'm tired of the excuses that it's habitat degradation, it's poor smolt survival, it's poor ocean conditions, etc. It seems pretty evident that those are all problems, so they should freaking manage as if that's the baseline condition they have to deal with instead of giving us the lame excuse that they don't have control over those things. We all know and accept that things are going downhill, so why are we allowing people to continue to kill fish on the OP over a season of the same length as the season that we would have had under the moratorium? Did the state shorten the season when it reversed the moratorium and allowed for a 1 fish/person kill fishery on the OP???? It would appear to me that the state has made completely incorrect assumptions about how much mortality a run could sustain on every single stream in this state where harvest of wild steelhead was once allowed but is no longer. Think about that. There's no other way to spin it, is there? And that's what scares me about continuing to allow people to kill fish on the OP. Because if we screw that place up, in the not too distant future there may not be any place left on the West side of the state to fish for steelhead.

    P.S. I'm sorry for hijacking this thread but this news is so depressing.
  19. cuponoodle breakfast gritty

    Posts: 1,651
    Ratings: +305 / 0
    Wow, nobody's asked about the tribes. If we lose our sport season on the Skagit, will they still net them like they do every year?
  20. BDD Active Member

    Posts: 2,227
    Ellensburg, WA
    Ratings: +216 / 2
    I'm no authority on the subject but they net every year because there is a surplus of hatchery fish to be caught. Typically their effort coincides with hatchery returns, usually in December and January. Sometimes they extend fishing effort later than that but it would be pretty bad PR for the tribes (co-managers), in my opinion, to be fishing in February or March in a year when wild adult returns are at or below escapement.