Yakima Steelhead run breaks 6000

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by Paul Huffman, May 10, 2012.

  1. Paul Huffman

    Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

    I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but the steelhead count at Prosser Dam has gone over 6000 again this season. http://ykfp.org/yakindex.htm
     
    Matt Baerwalde likes this.
  2. Evan Burck

    Evan Burck Fudge Dragon

    Which would put it as one of the biggest runs we have. Hopefully WDFW doesn't "manage" these fish to oblivion as well.
     
  3. Derek Young

    Derek Young 2011 Orvis Endorsed Fly Fishing Guide Of The Year

    In my best Obi Wan.....These are not the steelhead you are looking for..move along.
     
  4. Cruik

    Cruik Active Member

    Where exactly are those steelhead going? Passage numbers at Roza are awful, and are every year. Do they spawn in the lower yak? I can't imagine there are that many fish headed up the Naches or the other creeks. Are they just hanging out in the Yak temporarily, because the Columbia is warm?
     
  5. McNasty

    McNasty Canyon Lurker

    i saw that already too. great news considering the absolute insane numbers of poachers out this winter
     
  6. Bob Newman

    Bob Newman Member

    Since the Columbia is too cold for spring chinook to want to come in, no the Columbia is not too warm. Prosser is quite a ways up the Yakima for them to "dip" into anyway. I think you would be surprised how many steelhead utilize the Naches and it's many tributaries.
     
  7. McNasty

    McNasty Canyon Lurker

    iv'e always known about steel in that river but have never really seen any "official" numbers though i'd be interested. dunno bout the numbers or regs back then but my uncle and great grandpa used to fly fish steelhead in there a looong time ago
     
  8. Rob Allen

    Rob Allen Active Member


    those are hatchery fish they have already managed them into oblivion.... hatchery fish are simply man kind's denial about what he has done to the Columbia river....
     
  9. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

    Rob,

    As far as I know, no hatchery steelhead are stocked in the Yakima. And given that it's well into spawning season, those fish shouldn't be dip in strays.

    Good news to read that the run is on the increase.

    Sg
     
  10. CurtisS

    CurtisS Member

    Don't know about the Steelhead in the Yak specifically, but its common for steelhead to utilize feeder rivers more so than the main stem. Especially when the main stem has a big run of SPring CHinook as those fish are almost always main stem spawners and they create quite a bit of competition. In the Quinault river where I live we see a lot of spawning steelhead in tributary creeks but not many in the main stem, where as all the kings spawn in the upper main stem.
     
  11. Rob Allen

    Rob Allen Active Member


    maybe I misread or misunderstood something then, better look into that...
     
  12. Cruik

    Cruik Active Member

    Interesting. Were they actually taking steelhead, or were they just targeting "whitefish?"

    So, I was curious about whether it was legal to target the wild Yakima steelhead. Looking at the regs, it looks like there's a general stream opener from Parker Dam to 3500' below Roza from first sat. in June until Oct. 31, and then a whitefish season during the winter. It says a Columbia River salmon/steelhead endorsement required, but no salmon fishing. Therefore, to me it indicates that targeting steelhead is legal during the general stream opener. Kind of makes sense, I guess.

    But from 3500 feet below Roza to 400 below Roza, there's only a winter whitefish season. However, for this small stretch, it says you need a Columbia River salmon/steelhead endorsement. Doesn't make much sense to make people pay for the endorsement if they can only target whitefish. Kinda looks like the WDFW knows and condones of fishing for "whitefish" in this section and possibly in the rest of the system in those winter "whitefish" season months. So do people legitimately fish for whitefish in the yak and other steelhead streams, or is it just a way to get around ESA and let people fish for "whitefish?"
     
  13. Rob Allen

    Rob Allen Active Member

    Some poachers do that on the Klickitat too they swing heavily weighted flies for "whitefish" during winter.. It's poaching! they have no intention of catching white fish.
     
  14. McNasty

    McNasty Canyon Lurker

    the endorsement is for the spring salmon season that goes up to the dam
     
  15. Luke77

    Luke77 I hope she likes whitefish

    Whitefish rules require size 14 hooks, so swinging big flies is pointless. Besides, big flies aren't the only things steelhead hit. It is ILLEGAL to target steelhead and if you get checked by a gamey with anything other than a size 14 fly during whitefish season, be prepared for the hammer. Fair warning...
     
  16. JesseC

    JesseC Active Member

    If the ESA checkers start noticing that people are poaching as heavily as they are, then they are going to close down the Yakima for ALL fishing during the sensitive run times.

    I consider this to be a foregone conclusion and am just waiting for the day when it happens. This is going to be really bad news for a great winter trout fishery and the shops that rely on winter fishermen.

    Poaching steelhead in the yakima is about as low as it gets.
     
    McNasty likes this.
  17. Paul Huffman

    Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

    Until the 2009 regs, the reach 3500 ft. below Roza to Parker Dam was open June 1-Mar. 31 for trout, year-round for "Other Game Fish". I used to really like to fish down there. No westsiders or guides in their boats. BWO in November, and Skwala in March was my best trout fishing for the year. But there was too much concern about the impact on steelhead. Strange that there could be much impact, because I didn't see much fishing at all down there. But I did hook a steelhead there one March on a tiny PT.
     
  18. Paul Huffman

    Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

    This last season, WDFW finally did something about the big problem of poaching steelhead on the Satus Bar during the winter whitefish season by closing the whole thing down by emergency regulation.
     
  19. Paul Huffman

    Paul Huffman Lagging economic indicator

    That's a interesting question. Take the 2010-2011 season, 6140 over Prosser, but only 343 over Roza. Where'd the rest go? Well, many people don't know that the streams on the Yakama Reservation still have healthy steelhead runs. The redd counts for 2011 were 293 in the Satus drainage, 100 in the Toppenish drainage, Ahtanum 28. So does that mean 6140 - (2*(293+100+28))-343 = 4955 went up the Naches? Seems like a lot. How many get lost to poaching? How many spawn in the Yakima below Roza? The YN, USFS, and WDFW walk a lot of streams in the Naches system, trying to get a handle on the escapement up there, but a lot are missed and some years the flow gets high and muddy just at the wrong time.

    This year, there's a different approach. YN tagged almost 500 steelhead with radio tags at Prosser. There's already some interesting observations coming in.

    The first time I borrowed the radio tracking gear, I was driving way up Cowiche Creek past Snow Mountain Ranch, up where the locals live in old school buses. We were bumping along, hadn't heard anything from the receiver for a while, then got a code, backtracked to where the signal got the strongest, put on the directional antenna, walked down to the stream, and in a few minutes, located two steelhead on a redd, female digging, two trout participating! Cool!

    Not so cool was we later got stuck in the snow up Rattlesnake Creek.
     
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  20. KerryS

    KerryS Ignored Member

    Cool info Paul, thanks.