2020 Skagit steelhead season

Salmo_g

Well-Known Member
WFF Supporter
I said I would try to dispel any conspiracy theories, and a proactive approach is probably better than a reactive one. WDFW plans to issue a news release announcing that there will be no Skagit steelhead season (Feb. 1 - Apr. 30) this year in 2020. The reason is that the pre-season runsize forecast is 3,900 plus change, less than the 4,000 minimum agreed to in the Skagit steelhead Resource Management Plan for a scheduled CNR fishing season. It's not about money for fishery monitoring or some other thing. It's just a low forecast of recruits per spawner due to the 2015 drought and Blob in the coastal ocean waters.

So if you were thinking of going out of state or country to fish during Feb., Mar., or Apr. instead of fishing the Skagit, this might be the year to do it.
 

Joey C

New Member
Are there any contingencies, or options for a reassessment on this? Seems like the opening wasn’t announced until end of January last year (although, sounds like count must have been higher). Curious if more fish were to enter the system between now and end of month, if that would effect the decision? Sad news, all around.
 

Charles Sullivan

Active Member
Are there any contingencies, or options for a reassessment on this? Seems like the opening wasn’t announced until end of January last year (although, sounds like count must have been higher). Curious if more fish were to enter the system between now and end of month, if that would effect the decision? Sad news, all around.
No. That's not how it works.

Go sox,
Cds
 

Smalma

Active Member
Since the hatchery program on the Skagit was ended in 2013 the numbers of wild steelhead returning to the Skagit basin has declined by 45% (2014 to 2019). The return in 2019 (escapement plus fishing impacts) was approximately 30% than the forecast. Like most of the anadromous salmonids with extended freshwater rearing (other being cutthroat, coho, bull trout) north sound steelhead took a big hit from the drought in 2015. With the very low flows beginning in the early summer of 2015 steelhead took freshwater hits as eggs, fry and parr. Potential adults from those eggs/juveniles would have contributed to the this year's forecast (as 5 year fish).. Those factors coupled with would appears to very poor marine survivals argue for conservative expectations which appears to be what WDFW has done.

The good news is in the past Skagit steelhead have exhibited decent population resiliency. With improves in freshwater and/or marine survivals future fishing opportunities could be in the cards.

Disappointing that there will not be any fishing this spring but most here at this site have consistently argued that the needs of the fish must come first. This decision reinforces that the Skagit fishery plan regulating the Skagit puts the fish first.

Curt
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
They should just close th OP too, now that it's the only game in town.
Or....pick a couple rivers and just plug them with hatchery fish.
If you can designate rivers as wild gene banks, you can surely designate rivers as hatchery meat banks.
Losing opportunities like the early chambers creek fish on the Cowlitz put a lot of pressure on other systems.
SF
 

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