Trip Report July 11th North Fork Stilly fishing-turned-bug-collecting

Why didn't I see any steelhead?

  • I don't know what I'm doing

    Votes: 2 50.0%
  • I don't know what I'm doing and the fish aren't there yet anyway

    Votes: 2 50.0%

  • Total voters


Active Member
I tried the North Fork Stilly for a few hours after work Tuesday, after reading somewhere that the summer steelhead tend to be in around mid-July. Fishing at the Lime Quarry access pool and a bit up & down from the Boulder Creek public access, I saw no sign of them, and it seemed like practically no other anglers had been on the trail recently, which made me think maybe I'm missing some information about run timing. Are they just not in yet?

Anyway, it was a pretty evening on the river, and around dusk some mayfly duns and spinners (Epeorus albertae, I think) were pretty active. I photographed them and a BWO.



Well-Known Member
Summer steelhead are "in" the NF Stilly by the 4th of July in abundant and very fishable numbers. They are, that is, if there is a run of any consequence. When the hatchery was regularly releasing around 70k summer smolts annually, I could count on being able to spot at least 40 steelhead in Fortson and 60 to 80 in Skier's on any given day after the 4th. Now they stock fewer smolts and the smolt to adult survival rate is barely 1%. Ergo, not many adult fish.



Active Member
Salmo g.

I agree that the poor smolt survival is a huge issue however the number of hatchery summer-run smolts being released in the North Fork remain substantial; 71K in 2014 and 76 K in 2015.



Well-Known Member
Thanks Smalma. I didn't look up stocking numbers before posting because I thought the Stilly was among the victims of reduced plants. Clearly SAR has changed. The number of resident summer runs in Fortson and Skiers of yesteryear probably exceeds the entire annual return now. Sad.

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