Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by David Dalan, Apr 12, 2013.
Too bad all those fish are dead. Of course in those days, the anglers thought there was a never ending supply of steelhead and catching 30-plus pound fish would go on forever. ....wrong.
Yeah, I'm not stoked about them being dead, but I thought the relative abundance of 30# class fish...droolworthy.
Yup, gets me a bit amped.
'71 was pre-Boldt.
Dood theres plenty of those in the WW...
Shhh...man you're gonna ruin all our secrets!!!
My wife was born and raised in Arlington. Her entire family fished. She has some insane stories about how it was around here. Stilly, Pilchuck Creek, Pilchuck River, Canyon Creek. Catch and kill was the norm - they thought something was wrong with you if you released a fish. Some of the older folks in her family still feel that way. I release a fish and they think I'm nuts!!
This is how I was raised... geee... I wonder why we don't have the numbers of trout these days as there once was. This was the results of 1 day of fishing.
My dorky looking little brother ended up much, much taller than I and ended up playing basketball for Portland State and still participates in triathlons in his late 50s. These where the days I didn't really care for fishing because he had to kill everything we caught and I didn't eat fish.
The stars must have aligned in 1971, wonder if any of those were caught on a fly? Couldn't read the text...well I could but it was too small and required more concentration than I was willing to apply.
DD, thanks for posting such an interesting piece. The article talks some about hatchery fish.. all these appear intact, did they mark hatchery stock back then? Would be great to read the rest if possible.
Klick, no word on whether any were fly caught or not.
If a guy could travel back, the 70 - 71 season with total open itinerary would sure be sweet.
Hatchery fish were not adipose fin clipped to indicate hatchery fish until the mid-1980s. Department worked for a couple years to get approval to use the adipose fin to denote a hatchery fish; prior to that time that mark was reserved for indicating that the fish had a code wire tag. It was years later until that ad clips were used to denote hatchery salmon.
As the article says those huge fish in 1971 was exceptional. As a aside the numbers of large steelhead appears to be much greater today than anytime in the past. Most of the steelhead anglers that taught me the game were fishing in the 1940s, 50s and 60s never caught a 20# steelhead in their careers. Today such fish seem almost common place.
What's funny, I KNOW one of the guys in that article. He owns the cabin by me on the Nooch. Cliff held the state record with that fish for a short time.
Here is a link to the whole article. Don't know why I didn't include it to start with
http://books.google.com/books?id=TO...q=31 pound steelhead field and stream&f=false
I'd have a similar experience (but a much smaller sample size). I don't recall either my grandfather, or my uncle with whom he fished, ever talking about a 20# steelhead. Or particularly large steelhead at all. They fished starting in the mid to late 1930's and stopped fishing more or less by the mid 1980's. Kalama to the Skagit.
David, much appreciate you linking 'the rest of the story' . Very cool. Something I'd likely never ran across otherwise.
Curt, thanks for comments.
Jerry you should buy that guy a beer.. what are the odds.
Have steelhead really gotten larger? Well, this reminds me of a story. There was a fishing guide named Ted. His wife had just given birth to their first son. Friends were over one evening, and someone asked Ted, "how much did your son weigh at birth?" Ted couldn't remember, but said, "no problem; I'll get my fish scale out of the driftboat." So he went outside, brought in the scale, and rigged a sling, and they weighed the few-days old baby. Sixteen pounds!
Early 1970's seemed good. Idaho and WA steelhead records were set in 1973, right on the heels of this article, both Clearwater fish, both over 30 (30.2 for ID 35 for WA).
I've known Cliff for years. He's caught more then 1 over 30 and lots of 20s. He and my cousin are quite the fisherman.
Interesting thread, and incredible fish! I too wonder why the baby-boomer generation (of which I am one!) felt the need to harvest so much, and can only think it was what our fathers did. His attitude was, a man took his limit; if he failed, he wasn't a man! I'm happy with a brace of trout for the man every once in awhile, but with C&R, I can catch as many as i want. The other half of that equation is that people like me really need to be cognizant of fish mortality, and our release practices need to be as gentle and restorative to the fish as they can possibly be. This is why you don't see many "hero" shots from me (and the fact that I can't figure out how to do it here!). But, we've learned from the mistakes of the past, and have changed our habits, so there's always hope.
Alex, you nailed it... at least for me. When you're raised in a consumptive outdoor family, everything was for harvest. Fish, deer, elk, mushrooms. The idea of releasing a legal size fish was unheard of in my family.
You figure that the average size family was six when we were growing up as baby boomers, and the limit was ten per person, that's a lot of fish taken from the wild.
As you said, the entire point seemed to be "get your limit" and you didn't stop until you did.
Unfortunately, I know a lot of anglers who still believe in this approach. This is why hatchery steelhead and salmon are dumped in the river with the wild population. The F&Gs are catering to the consumptive crowd so that crowd will continue to buy fishing licenses.