WDF&W 2018 Skagit Steelhead Meeting

Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
Just in:

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091


January 4, 2018
Edward Eleazer, (425) 775-1311, ext. 109

WDFW to host public workshops on proposed Skagit Basin steelhead fishery

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has scheduled meetings to discuss with the public a proposed recreational steelhead fishery in the Skagit Basin, where rivers have been closed to steelhead fishing for several years.

The public meetings are scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. and include the following dates and locations:

At the meetings, state fish managers will discuss a proposal to allow fisheries for wild steelhead in the Skagit, Sauk and Suiattle rivers. These rivers have been closed to steelhead fishing since 2010 due to low numbers of returning fish. WDFW is proposing catch-and-release recreational fishing for wild steelhead.

"In recent years, we've seen more steelhead returning to the Skagit Basin than before we closed the rivers to fishing," said Edward Eleazer, WDFW regional fish program manager. "Given the low number of steelhead mortalities associated with this sport fishery, we don't expect it will harm efforts to recover steelhead populations."

The Skagit Basin steelhead proposal, developed by state and tribal co-managers, is pending approval from NOAA Fisheries. The federal agency is seeking comments through Jan. 8 on the proposal, which can be found on NOAA's website at http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa...teelhead/skagit-steelhead_proposed_evalu.html.

If the proposal is approved, the state could allow a sport fishery within the next few months. During public meetings, WDFW will gather feedback on timing for the proposed fishery as well as discuss gear regulations.


Not to be confused with Freestone

"The plan proposes to manage the harvest of natural-origin Skagit River (Washington State) steelhead as an independent steelhead management unit within the ESA-listed Puget Sound steelhead demographic population segment (DPS). The Plan proposes to implement these Skagit River steelhead fisheries pursuant to U.S. v. Washington. This document serves to notify the public of the availability for comment of the proposed evaluation and pending determination of the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) as to whether the RMP meets the criteria under Limit 6 of the 4(d) Rule and as to whether implementation of the RMP will appreciably reduce the likelihood of survival and recovery of ESA-listed Puget Sound steelhead and Puget Sound Chinook salmon."

The even uglier side of this whole fucked up proposal. Tribal fishing/harvest and unnecessary mortality from C&R... all within an easy day trip from Pugetropolis. The RMP might as well be called the Skagit Steelhead obituary. :rolleyes:

Jake Dogfish

Active Member
It’s a one season and done deal. Last chance to legally catch endangered Steelhead. Something to brag to your Grandkids about!

bk paige

Wishin I was on the Sauk
As before the closure, the limited # taken is not a threat of extinction of Skagit steelhead.


Geriatric Skagit Swinger
WFF Supporter
It would seem that a lot of folks are under the misguided impression that there is steelhead recovery going on in the Skagit basin. As I mentioned to someone else in another venue who called it a "fragile recovery"

There is no 'recovery' going on in the Skagit, fragile or otherwise, just because there are no hatchery plants. The fish are simply 'being' without any angler activity from Feb 1 - April 30th. Closing the hatchery simply means that there will be no hatchery steelhead smolt in the river for the 15 days it took them to traverse to the salt. It also means there is lost angler opportunity and that the nets everyone is worried about are now focused entirely on wild fish...oops. There is no scientific reason to not have a well regulated and monitored C&R season on the Skagit basin.

And when you take the emotion out of it, that is the ugly truth of it.


Active Member
I say we keep it closed, but we also close all steelhead fishing in the salt. Nets, rods, whatever. Shut it all down. No steelhead for Americans, Canadians, Asians, Russians, or tribes. For 20 years. But that's just me.

Fisheries are too easy to abuse in this state, plain and simple. There isn't enough in terms of law enforcement on the rivers, and opening the Skagit would attract steelhead poachers from all over the place. And for anyone who wants to try to blame that on Seattle people, I didn't come up on a Seattle guy poaching steelhead out of the NF Stilly last summer, it was a slavic guy. And even all the locals I catch out there pulling shady shit are usually some kind of redneck from elsewhere in western WA.

The Skagit isn't safe. I'm glad the fish are doing well enough where we can consider fishing for them again, but we still probably shouldn't. The ugly truth here is that you can't trust the public to be honest or responsible when it comes to resource availability, even if you can trust certain members of that public (like us here).

Keep it closed.


Active Member
To see what happens. 20 years is long enough for several new generations to explode if they have the opportunity, and in 20 years I (should) still be around to see the results.

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