Some good news for a change - Rising From The Ashes (Elwha Summer-runs)

Cruik

WFF Supporter
More interesting than the fish are the conclusions that will be drawn from their presence. It's like a Rorschach test for steelhead politics. When you watch the video, what do you see?

-"I see Elwha summer-run steelhead genetics must have lived on in the resident fish."
-"I see that anadromous instincts are present in any coastal o. mykiss populations"
-"I just see hatchery fish."
-"I see the damage that forestry practices have wrought on wild steelhead"
-"I see an opportunity that will surely be ruined by the tribes"
-"I see what's wrong with PS steelhead: birds and pinnipeds in the estuary"
-"I see strays."
-"I see an opportunity to study ancient steelhead history in the bare instincts these fish exhibit"
-"I see a shorter drive than Forks to go fishing."
-"I see a big-ass bull trout!" :D
-"I see anti-hydropower propaganda"
-"I see o. mykiss. Resident or sea-going, same damn fish. Is this still a debate?"
 

Jonathan Stumpf

I don't care how you fish
Last I heard the Tribe is planting Chambers Creek hatchery winter steelhead, not summer runs. I don't think any hatchery summer runs are being stocked in the Elwha, so these summer fish are most likely wild. Given the robust population of mostly land-locked rainbows, this return of wild summer steelhead seems entirely plausible to me. Wild smolts from the resident trout population have been dropping downstream through the turbines and over the spillway for a hundred years. Without the reservoirs, the number of migrants would be even larger, and without the dams, the number of smolts surviving to the estuary would be magnified significantly.
The Chambers Creek plants were halted as a result of the lawsuit brought on in 2011 by WFC, WSC, TCA, and FFF, but the tribes are still planting wild broodstock for an indefinite period of time, until the trigger points are reached for the run size of the wild winter fish, at which point I believe they are supposed to sunset the program. You are correct about no summer runs being planted either.
 

DenWor54

Active Member
Hey Thomas, is there any info on when they do these surveys and how to join in. Also in the video they were taking samples for DNA and is there a data base for the general public to view. Back in the early days one research group got some info from me and proceeded to do there own predam removal DNA samples to determine in there was still steelhead traits in the upper watershed. I’m trying to find that information for my own knowledge.
 

Thomas Mitchell

corvus ossifragus
WFF Supporter
Hey Thomas, is there any info on when they do these surveys and how to join in. Also in the video they were taking samples for DNA and is there a data base for the general public to view. Back in the early days one research group got some info from me and proceeded to do there own predam removal DNA samples to determine in there was still steelhead traits in the upper watershed. I’m trying to find that information for my own knowledge.

Last year the surveys were the second week in September. Your best bet is to reach out directly to John McMillan on the details around the genetic studies or participation. I know the intent is to eventually publish the results when they have enough data but I don't know if/how the raw data is being made available in the interim. His contact info can be found on the Wild Steelheaders United site.
 

DenWor54

Active Member
Thanks Thomas, I will reach out to John and the park biologist to see if he has any info on predam removal DNA sampling’s. If I remember it was Washington Trout that organized the DNA sampling in the early 90’s.
 

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