I've been writing about angling and fish-conservation issues professionally since 1995. (Full disclosure dept, which perhaps should have come sooner, considering many of my earlier posts on similar topics: I have a professional relationship with Washington Trout, an organization which takes a similar position to the one I'm attempting to articulate here. However, I am not attempting to speak for WT, but rather express my own opinion, albeit one obviously influenced by my association with them.) In my capacity as a professional writer on these subjects, I have had oportunity to do a lot of research and meet and talk to many scientists and resource managers working in these areas. As some members on this board have been kind enouogh to point out in some previous threads (and I have copped to) I do not have any technical background myself. But I do consider myself well immersed in the subject, and particularly some of the regulatory intracacies of the ESA. The Methow has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time, and so I've made it my business to learn a fair amount about it. This partly comes out of a sort of philosophical position of mine about the angling/conservation nexus, that I have written about from time to time (including on this board). Simply put, conservation begins at home. As anglers we do a lot of valuable finger pointing at (and fighting against) other groups hosing the environment generally and our fishing specifically. Good for us. But we're not so good at looking at ourselves and the adverse impacts we might be imposing on the resource we say we love. I have said here before, claiming the moral high-ground often requires a little climbing. I'm against any fishing on the Methow. I was against opening the summer c&r "trout" fishery. I am against the winter whitefish fishery. And I am against this steelhead fishery. The Methow gathers two runs of federaly listed ENDAGERED fish, summer steelhead and spring chinook. These two incredibly valuable, incredibly beautiful resources should be preserved and recovered, and not just for my entertainment. They should be protected, as far as is practicable, from every impact that might impede their recovery, including bad logging practices, bad hydro practices, bad agricultural practices, and yes, fishing, even c&r fishing (agan, a little climbing, folks). I don't need to argue what the mortatlity from a c&r fishery might be. If the total impact of the entire fishery was ONE fish, I believe that's more than the resource should be asked to give up at this point. The point about the Deer Creek and other depressed and/or recovering fish is well taken, and I understand I'm presenting a sticky and/or slippery position. But as someone else pointed out, at least the Deer Creek fish aren't listed. As I asked before, are there no fish we should just let be? Not even the Endangered ones, the ones facing imminent extinction? I love to fish; I love to fish for steelhead. I suppose I would love to fish for steehead on the Methow some day. Unfortunatley, I believe that if I did it now, I might actually be contributing to precluding that future. I understand that I can come across as a bit of a scold and a boor; my style may a little too dry for the internet. So I very much appreciate the comments of support, particularly from folks who admit to not agreeing with me 100%.