Elwha Dam - Salmon and Sand Success!


Active Member
View attachment 102452
Since I'm a 'glass half full' sort of a guy - at least on this issue - I'd say we now have had (and continue to have) a great chance to watch the natural recovery of the salmon runs.

View attachment 102453

Give it a few years to grow some riparian cover, and the river in the old reservoir bottom looks like it will be an excellent natural "fish hatchery" to me. I just hope there are some traces of those 100 pound chinook genes surviving to seed it.


WFF Supporter
"The 2 best fishing rivers in Washington have Dams. Cowlitz and Yakima. Discuss-"

This is an interesting, and perhaps an important, point. I think a dam, like many things, is neither intrinsically good nor bad. It just is. And it can have effects, some of which are good, and some of which are bad, depending out what desired outcome you want. Almost without exception, dams obstruct upstream migration of fish, and often downstream migration as well. In the PNW we know dams as the proximate cause of loss of massive amounts of salmonid spawning and rearing area. In other areas, high dams with large storage reservoirs are the proximate causes of conditions favoring high quality tailwater trout fisheries, like the Provo, Green (Utah), Colorado at Lee's Ferry, Big Horn, Missouri (Holter Dam), the Arkansas, and I don't know how many others.

The Cowlitz is a good steelhead fishing river because more than twice as many steelhead smolts are stocked there than in all of Puget Sound's rivers combined. Of course, steelhead fishing upstream of the Cowlitz dams isn't so good. The Yakima River has a good resident trout fishery because the trout spawn mostly in tributaries downstream from the dams and are not dependent on making spawning migrations upstream of the locations of the dams. The other reason that the Yakima has a good trout fishery is that the fishing regulations were modified in the early and mid-1980s to favor development of good trout fishing. It wasn't as good when anglers could retain 12 trout over 6" long per day.


Support WFF | Remove the Ads

Support WFF by upgrading your account. Site supporters benefits include no ads and access to some additional features, few now, more in the works. Info

Latest posts