Are steelhead too popular...


Living at the place of many waters
WFF Supporter
Again, yes, but... I ran into about 10 young men working the edges this morning. Really nice kids, even though they had bait casters and bobbers. What's a kid supposed to do? I gave them the water, but I don't think the fish are here yet. Kids along the bank 20210227_090752.jpg

Nooksack Mac

Active Member
I didn't experience the good 'ol days, but I've thought about this perception and wonder if steelheading has truly exploded in popularity, or if some of it is just perception because anglers occupy a larger "footprint" on the river than in the past. Few thoughts I've wondered:
  • Anglers used to stack in some spots more, especially gear anglers. Take the Skykomish as an example. When you talk about the experience a few decades ago, you had gear anglers stacked in non-terminal spots: Lewis Street, 2-bit, Cracker Bar. You don't see it today. I wasn't there then, but I still run into old timers that will approach and fish right next to me with their hip-bait box and hip waders. This would have left a lot of room for the fly angler to find their own water.
  • More rivers were open and people stuck to their local. I also wonder if anglers today, because of the drive that goes into getting to the river, fish all day instead of "hit a run in the morning."
  • Everyone now knows finding untouched water is more important than finding the perfect size and color of corky and they'll race and spread out to find it.
  • People today devote more resources to their hobbies and have more money for things like flotation and an angler floating 10 miles in a day makes the river feel "busier" than fellow bankies do.
  • Rafts have become popular, opening up a lot of difficult stretches or making floating an option in bony conditions.
  • When there was harvest, catch-and-release rivers, sections, or timeframes would have offered relative peace as it sounds like there were more anglers then that weren't interested in fishing if they couldn't play for keeps.
Sorry if speculating incorrectly out my ass about an era I didn't witness.
You know what that makes you? A historian.


WFF Supporter
"Humans are great at loving something to death and destroying it in the process."

I have been a silent observer on this forum for quite some time.
I have zero social media imprint aside from email - until now.
I joined your forum.
My country used to welcome and host steelhead in significant numbers.
I am 40.
I have loved steelhead habitat and steelhead fishing since I was very little.
That is a while in my eyes.
I devoured any writing I could find on the species.
I taught myself how and when to be in their temporary presence.
I left Ontario specifically to chase and learn about them all over BC in my teens.
I got tired of trimming/construction jobs used to supplement my pursuits.
I quit.
I fished more instead of working further or textbook learning.
I went broke and then I went back home.
I tried my hand at living in the fast lane.
My pals were quite successful and it was easy enough to a lazy guy for a time.
I got in trouble.
I wasted seasons.
I missed the steelhead, rivers and the forest.
They all forgave me, missed me too, and welcomed my return.
I realized what I am and what I am not.
I grew up.
This is the power and majesty steelhead and their environment hold for some.
Diminished or not.
I don't want them to disappear.
They are not a trend.

Our steelhead here are not considered as true steelhead by the refined.
I love them anyway.
I tell them they are still steelhead.
They appreciate that I think.
They are also on they're way out.
Our rivers are as well.
This is not cool.
I am not cool either.
I am just a steelhead guy.
But one willing to contribute, and something must be done.

We are experiencing the same phenomenon here as described by some in this thread.
All these guys have gear worth more than my truck.
I never seem to see the same guys twice though.
Or they have multiple outfits.
Either way they are multiplying.
So is the garbage, line and gutted fish carcasses found in once out-of-the-way, sacred places.

Reading this thread was the final straw prompting me to join.
That is meant as a complement to you all.
There are an incredible number of people who seem to genuinely care about steelhead, not just steelhead fishing, here.
There is a vast amount of experience and knowledge present from what I have read.
There are also many viewpoints expressed on matters personally important to me.
This is not common in my experience on the internet.
These matters are not geographically specific in my mind.
I don't personally know many Americans, haven't met many.
Now I want to.
The witty/intelligent/insightful comments here have reshaped my limited perception.
This is for sure a positive for me.
If anywhere I've come across observing on the web, this may be the place that actually spawns meaningful change.
Some of you already have played significant roles in your home states as I read it.
I want to be part of it if possible, even as an observer.
Thanks for that.
And also some of you are straight hilarious.
All the best from the Great Lakes.
Welcome to the forum. Also, great post.

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