What's the best steelhead river right now in the northwest?

Discussion in 'Steelhead' started by manitoba, Oct 24, 2010.

  1. Freestone

    Freestone Not to be confused with freestoneangler

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    Can't help you with where to go, just where not to go though that can change day-to-day. In all seriousness, most of the Upper Columbia run is hanging out in the main stem and not up in the tribs like the Methow and Wenatchee yet. So if you want to have a better shot at catching steelhead, I'd head somewhere else. Sure, some people have gotten lucky but most are leaving dissappointed.
     
  2. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Manitoba,

    If you only know of the Methow, Klickitat, and Grande Ronde, then why not pick one of them and go there? If I knew of a river with better fishing and no angler crowds, I sure as hell wouldn't share that information with you! Hell, I wouldn't share it with most of my fishing friends, nor would they with me, as even one more person contributes to crowding. You want to talk about steelhead fishing? Fine. How to? Anytime. Where to? Get off your ass and go spend your four days on one of the rivers you know about. After fishing it for four days, you'll know it a lot better and have a good idea of whether you want to go back again, or maybe try a different river and add some personal steelhead river knowledge to your data base instead of internet gleanings. Hell, I got skunked two out of the last three days, and I think I know what the fvk I'm doing.

    Sg
     
  3. Panhandle

    Panhandle Active Member

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    Its the Deschutes. The nice thing is that hardly anyone fishes it and those who do are very laid back about getting to and holding runs. Now get going before everyone reads this and beats you to the punch.
     
  4. Rimmy

    Rimmy Member

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    IT's the river that Salmo_g is on this weekend just ask him

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  5. bennysbuddy

    bennysbuddy the sultan of swing

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    by far the best river in the northwest is the one I'm not standing in. I stay on the west side and fish the rivers in vertual solitude, mainly because the fishing sucks. so if by now you haven't got the message you need to find your own rock !
     
  6. John Dude

    John Dude Learned skills from George Dickel

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    best steelhead river right now is nothing. But Saturday it will be the Grand R
     
  7. wet line

    wet line New Member

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    Maybe you should be looking at the Skena system!

    Washington steelhead are a ghost of the past and bolstered by old memories and present day wishful thinking!

    I grew up here and am over 60 yrs old. As a youth there were rivers that individually produced more sport caught fish in a year, than are caught in the entire state in a year today.

    Dave
     
  8. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    Wet Line,

    You post a couple of real interesting things. I find it fascinating and pathetic at the same time...that some rivers produced more sport-caught fish in a year than are caught in the entire state when the population must be significantly increased since then.

    And that you mentioned the Skeena as an alternative. On average, and especially the past few years the Snake returns have been vastly superior than the Skeena returns as far as sheer numbers. That being said, I have fished the Skeena 7 days in the past year and the Snake 0 times even though the Snake is substantially closer to my home.

    Just some weird information all things considered.
     
  9. Keith Hixson

    Keith Hixson Active Member

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    The River you are fishing at the time!
     
  10. wet line

    wet line New Member

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    BDD

    I am not sure if you mean population of fish or people.

    In the early 60's the Cowlitz. Green and Skagit had punch card returns from 18,000 to 20,000 fish each. And who can guess at the numbers of fish caught and released. And there were a lot of fish released especially when larger fish were preffered on systems that had good numbers of fish over 12 pounds or so.

    There were very few streams with adequate water flows that didn't have at least a few steelhead in the Puget Sound Basin. One of my favorite places to fish was a little creek that ran through where South Center in Tukwila is now. Not a lot of fish but always some fish. They weren't too difficult to hook but darned hard to land in a creek that was 6 to 8 feet wide lined with cattails and lots of water weeds. Most of the fish when hooked would go absolutely crazy, turn their nose down stream and take off. Those little creeks with small populations don't hold fish anymore for all sorts of reasons. So I will stand by my statement that our steelhead fishing is but a ghost of the past. I don't even care to think about the rivers that no longer have steelhead.

    Dave
     
  11. BDD

    BDD Active Member

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    Wet Line,

    I'm not disagreeing with your statement about the major steelhead rivers producing the kind of numbers you state. In fact, I think the Skagit recorded 30,000 fish caught one year, although I don't think C&R was practiced anywhere near like it is today so I'm not sure C&R fish added substantially to the total number caught. Yes, our steelhead fishing is a ghost of what it was, no doubt about it. However, my point is that the Snake will get well over 200,000 steelhead returning this year. The number of returning adult steelhead to the entire Skeena watershed, with all her famous tributaries doesn't get near that number, according to the Canadian bios. And yet, people flock there from all over the country and pay large amounts of money to fish there, including me even though the Snake is relatively close to me.
     
  12. stilly stalker

    stilly stalker Tuna sniffer

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    The NF Stilly used to get a return of approx. 60,000 to 90,000 fish a year.....Can you imagine? Ive seen pics of what Deer creek looked like then, Deep holes with steelhead stacked like firewood
    I talked to Alec Jackson one day, and he told me that in 1949, he landed almost 150 fish on the fly in the Skykomish, all native
     
  13. Preston

    Preston Active Member

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    Just a note on the numbers of fish that used to inhabit our rivers. During the heyday years of the sixties and early seventies, the annual catch statistics were almost entirely generated from punch card returns. Since only about 25% of punchcards were ever returned some clever number cruncher decided that the cards not returned should reflect the same figures as those that were. This was, of course, a fantasy; most of the cards which were not returned were blank. The result was an inflation of the department's reported catch numbers by a factor of about 75%.

    I agree entirely with BDD's remark: in those days it was extremely rare to see anyone release a steelhead. I remember catching (and releasing) a sorry-looking, rusty old buck late in the season on the Nisqually; when I twisted the hook out of his jaw and let him go, I was approached by three (count 'em) anglers who felt, in no uncertain terms, that I was not a nice person for not having offered it to them.
     
  14. Hillbilly Redneck

    Hillbilly Redneck wishin i was fishin

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    One man's crab bait is another man's dinner. Shame on you for not sharing!
     
  15. Salmo_g

    Salmo_g Active Member

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    Stilly Stalker,

    Not meaning to rain on a parade as to inject a bit of reality. To the best of my knowledge, Alec didn't live, let alone fish, in the US in 1949; nor did he catch 150 steelhead on the Sky or anywhere else. And what pictures of Deer Creek with steelhead stacked like cordword? Who has them? Where are they? Please excuse me for being skeptical of their existence. Further, that 60,000 to 90,000 steelhead attributed to the Silly system (the entire basin, not the NF) involves some questionable extrapolation of old commercial catch landings. Not saying that those numbers of fish weren't caught, but nobody knows exactly where all those steelhead were bound for because the catch was predominately in salt water.

    I can be such a spoil sport, I know. I miss a lot of party invitations because of that.

    Preston,

    It's true that the old punchcard numbers don't accurately reflect steelhead catches of the 60s and early 70s, but I don't think they are quite as bad as you indicate. Intensive creel surveys during the mid-70s indicated that best estimates of actual steelhead catches were 62% of the old extrapolation method. The upshot is that WDG (now WDFW) changed the extrapolation factor to more realistically estimate catches, and the result is that steelhead harvest from every river dropped dramatically.

    Sg