Proof of Steelhead in the Stilly???

Smalma

Active Member
#16
It is highly unlikely that the fish Fmunoz reported seeing on the Stilly were sockeye. By this time of the year on our local rivers the sockeye are usually pretty colored and would standout with little doubt that they were salmon.

He doesn't tell us which section of the river he was on. It is not uncommon if steelhead are holding in a pool for them to be "pushed" to the tailout by the raft/boat and then swim quickly back upstream. So the fish could have well been steelhead - especially if they were on the upper North Fork. That said I nearly always see early coho in the Stillaguamish during mid-August. They tend to move up river in small pods and are more or less constantly on the move. I beleive that the majority of those fish end up in the South Fork. If he was floating the main river I would say they probably were coho.

Regarding the recent poor fishing on the North Fork. Up until the last 5 or 6 years the returns of summer fish had escaped the poor marine survival that has been typical of the winter fish we have seen since the mid-1990s. Clearly our summer fish are now suffering from the same poor survivals we had seen with the winters. If I recall correctly the number of hatchery summer steelhead smolts being released with a couple of exceptions have been pretty constant since at least the 1970s.

Tight lines
Curt
 
#17
I saw some steelhead on one of those super hot days about 3 weeks ago.

It was when the water temps were way too hot for humans and fish but I had to get my fix. I was wading through a tailout and saw some white things moving near the bottom just at the edge of my view. They ended up being the bright white mouths of fish in the 26inch area that were grey ghosts on the other parts of their bodies. I could see their mouths clearly moving as they were gasping for air in the tailout because of the high water temps. There were about 7 of them.

Anyway, glad I didn't have time to fish them, they were better for it.

All I have had for all my efforts are some super fiesty smaller kings from the fast riffles, released carefully of course.

I know that as Fall comes on there will be more of the 18-24 inch steelhead I catch up there. They aren't hefty fish and haven't made a serious ocean going venture to get lots of weight but they are still beauties and chrome as can be.

I don't know anyone with a Deer Creek fish caught, just huskier NF fish.
 

fmunoz

Active Member
#18
It is highly unlikely that the fish Fmunoz reported seeing on the Stilly were sockeye. By this time of the year on our local rivers the sockeye are usually pretty colored and would standout with little doubt that they were salmon.

He doesn't tell us which section of the river he was on. It is not uncommon if steelhead are holding in a pool for them to be "pushed" to the tailout by the raft/boat and then swim quickly back upstream. So the fish could have well been steelhead - especially if they were on the upper North Fork. That said I nearly always see early coho in the Stillaguamish during mid-August. They tend to move up river in small pods and are more or less constantly on the move. I beleive that the majority of those fish end up in the South Fork. If he was floating the main river I would say they probably were coho.

Regarding the recent poor fishing on the North Fork. Up until the last 5 or 6 years the returns of summer fish had escaped the poor marine survival that has been typical of the winter fish we have seen since the mid-1990s. Clearly our summer fish are now suffering from the same poor survivals we had seen with the winters. If I recall correctly the number of hatchery summer steelhead smolts being released with a couple of exceptions have been pretty constant since at least the 1970s.

Tight lines
Curt
This was on the stretch between Arlington and I-5, the date was August 9th. I saw about 5 -6 schools of 15-20 fish each, beautiful sight.

Franklin
 

FT

Active Member
#20
Salmo G.

Especially when it is the closest summer run river to you and you consider it to be your home river in summer. Lots of days with skunks has been the norm the last 6 or so years as Curt already mentioned.
 
#21
Man, Im bummed. I thought I was just going to find out what a crummy steelheader I am. I would much rather suck at flyfishing for steelhead than for there to be so few fish in the system. Good luck out there guys.

Josh
 
#22
Yeah, if the problem is that you're a sucky angler, you can improve that. When the problem is lack of fish, there isn't much you can do. FWIW it does seem to me that the king numbers are better than the last few years.
I just checked the USGS site and the river really shot up. That illness I felt coming on has faded.
 

Joepa

Joe from PA
#24
Yeah, I've pretty much punted on the NF and Sky forks the last 2 summers due to the reports I've been hearing and the WDFW numbers. Looks like I'll need to get my summer fix this year in the desert.
 

KerryS

Ignored Member
#25
Once again for you newly minted steelhead fly fishers; steelhead are a myth perpetuated by tackle distributors, fly shop owners, and guides for the sole purpose of selling you more equipment and services. There are no steelhead anymore, anywhere.
 

Smalma

Active Member
#27
Salmo g.-
Unfortuantely many folks here missed the gem that was the North Fork during the 1970s and early 1980s. Unfortuantely not only are the returns are greatly reduced the river itself is a mere shadow of what it once was.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s I spend a lot of time skating dries on the North Fork with great success. My catch rates during peak season (mid-July to late August) were on parr and some years exceeded what I found in September in the Skeena country on the Morice/Bukley. There was a reason that many of days old timers cut their steelhead fly fishing teeth on the "Stilly" during the summer.

I agree the whole situation is heart breaking - I can count on one hand the number of times I have fished steelhead on the North Fork over the last decade. And that is with the Oso water being only a 1/2 from the house.

Tight lines
Curt
 
#28
Oh I wish.
I am sorry to say I fished the stilly from 2003-2007 with much of the same infested thought as everyone else. In 2003 I was lucky to grab 2 SH's, 2004- I had a banner year of 6 SH, 2005- hooked one, 2006-2007 nada, zero, zip...I'm done. It's a beautiful sight to behold.

Good luck, tight lines, remember the good ole days.
 

FT

Active Member
#30
Curt,

Not to mention the Oso water is only a ghost of its former self prior to the DeForest slide. Heck, my favorite runs (the Elbow and the water just downstream of it) as you doesn't really exist anymore with the last of the good holding water in it taken out by the '97 flood. I love the river, but like you, I don't fish it very often these days.
 

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