Wild Steelhead on ice at Pike Place Market

I was not aware that this has gone on for years. I am new to the area. I have become aware of the plight of these fish in my time here mostly through Doug Rose's book "Color of Winter". Escapements, gene pool degradation, 1974 Boldt decision, tribal netting, etc... all new to me.
Wild steelhead became available last winter at an east coast grocery chain called Wegman's. An internet community similar to this one that is run by a local fly shop (Oak Orchard Fly Shop) became aware of the situation. Although thier game is lake run rainbow's, they began a campaign of visit's and emails to state thier dissatisfaction. The responses went from standoffish to conciliatory. The fish came off the shelves, but this may be due to them becoming unavailable. We will have to wait and see what happens this year.
In light of this, and the previous post on the Washington D.C. restauranteer, you can imagine my surprise when I saw that huge fish on ice right in the backyard of the people I assumed to be most passionate about the situation. Definitely dissapointing.....Who'd have thought?
I did'nt think steelhead in any form were a commercially viable run. Commercially available, yes, but only through Boldt decision allowing tribal netting. Am I wrong? Any more responses or references to help me understand the complexities of this situation, or any info to make me look less misinformed when I speak with my east coast friends would be greatly appreciated.


Active Member
the native american, bank to bank, net fishery kills every fish entering an eco system. wild, hatchery zombies, no matter, dead. they will continue to do this so long as 'we the people' allow them to.

one of the best solutions is to shut off the commercial purchasing of these wild fishes. now you local to seattle folks, need to truck yur asses down to pike place market, find the manager of the establishement in question and have a discusison. if that does not produce a desired result, how about posting a rotating shift picket complete with signs. something akin to:

'wild fishes are endangered. why are they being sold right here?'

blabbing on this forum may make you feel better, but action is the only way of actually taking yet another small step to shutting this market down. i know i was able to have a quiet civilized conversation with a well know restaurateur right here in sequim and presto, no more wild steelhead on the menu, gone! one less source for the indians, thank you very much.

Ethan G.

I do science.. on fish..
iagree Someone needs to go over there, get a name, number, e-mail or some type of contact information for those of us who can't just go over to voice our concerns. Although a picket line might be a little much right now, having the local guys go down and talk to the owner about it shouldn't be out of the question.
OWNER? Ethan OWNERS with a big S. Wild Hoh River wild steelhead and salmon (and many other rivers) have been sold in at Pike Place Market since I was a kid. I'm 40. Other places I have seen large amounts of Hoh fish are the U District, Crossroads, Larry's Markets, Capital Hill (especially on Madison - where they used to claim to only sell wild fish from self sustaining runs), all over Queeen Anne, and on and on. The natives are not selective about who they sell to. If the fish originates from native sellers, no questions are asked and the broker or monger can sell away. Simple as that. I can't believe this is shocking some people. I guess my generation is just so tired, sick to our stomach, and fucking pissed off we can't even think about it anymore. Duffer

Ethan G.

I do science.. on fish..
The natives are not selective about who they sell to. If the fish originates from native sellers, no questions are asked and the broker or monger can sell away. Simple as that. I can't believe this is shocking some people. I guess my generation is just so tired, sick to our stomach, and fucking pissed off we can't even think about it anymore. Duffer
That's where our window of opportunity is. The natives are not selective about who they sell to, that is true. On the other hand, though, the seller has the choice to be selective about who they buy from. If we could educate the ownerS (with a big "s" :rofl:)then we could make some headway. That would be my plan since there's no way to stop the natives from catching the fish unless the demand is no longer there.


Active Member
"I guess my generation is just so tired, sick to our stomach, and fucking pissed off we can't even think about it anymore."

that is a lame excuse for not doing something about this continuing issue. complacence is one of the reasons this practice continues. a whole bunch of places have been mentioned. how about those of you 'in the neighborhood' start talking to the props, getting email addresses and such.

until or unless each of us actually starts acting, instead of bitching or rolling over and playing dead, nothing is ever going to change.


Recreational User
AAaah, I love the sound of self-righteous white men in the morning.

All y'all immigrants gotta read up on the Stevens-Palmer treaties, see what caused ol' George to decide the way he did.

Lucky for you, the tribes didn't continue, and you got to keep your houses and your land.

Until or unless each of us actually starts acting, instead of bitching or rolling over and playing dead, nothing is ever going to change.
That's funny...I seem to remember a bunch of pissed-off indigenous folks saying the same thing in the 60's and early 70's.
I expect to be between jobs sometime this coming week. I like the idea of speaking with the managers at the Pike Place Market. I would like to not sound like a babbling radical lunatic when I do so. I would also like some printable, factual information to help back up my claims. I know, I know... I will put in some elbow grease to find some on my own, it would be nice if someone with previous experience, or an idea where to get it would help. The more reputable the better.
Some other thoughts:

-I am sure coach is right that this happens all over this region, and many places we are unaware of, but Pike Place seems a good start. As a symbol of Seattle, and Seattle a staple of the Northwest, it is a real shame that this endangered fish, MY symbol of the Northwest, is for sale there.

-As alluded to previously, those nets are not discriminatory. May be better to focus on the commercial sale of all steelhead. Tolerate the sale of hatchery fish and the wild ones just get discarded in the trash heap. I'm learning.

-An organised effort is always more effective than sporadic individual ones. Oh boy, I am getting in way over my head here. The deeper I get, the taller the mountain gets.

-As a member of a union, I believe picket lines tend to rally those already in your corner, and alienate others. Good for some situations, but maybe not this one. An informational pamphlet that is short, informative, referenced by reputable sources, and served with a smile to the consumers may be better. Now I am definitely in too deep. Anyone got connections at King5 or the Post Intelligencer?

-As this has been going on for decades I doubt it is the first time the managers or owners have heard about it. Say there is success, say there is enough success that no one in the region sells steelhead in any form. The fervor dies down...one owner puts some on display to gain a market edge....the others join to keep up...business as usual...very disheartening for the effort.

-Would'nt it be great if a lobby like TU pushed for a tax on the sale of these fish. Something with a little more teeth than the "sin taxes" on alcohol and tobacco. Maybe you can tax the tribes, maybe not, I dont know. I would think you could tax the middle man, and the tax is sure to be pushed on to the consumer. Drive the price out of this world and circumvent the Boldt decision. Something fun to think about.


Active Member
jist think, g smolt, if my ancestors had not walked across the land bridge, you wouldn't even be here and we would not be having this conversation!


Recreational User
I was merely using treaty law as a historic reference...albeit in a highly sarcastic tone.

It seems to me that indigenous fishing is among the minor worries to salmon and steelhead populations in WA. Bad logging procedures, rampant stream corridor development, redundant or nearing-obsolescence hydropower projects, apathetic WDWF management (both commercial AND sport), constant allocative division among stakeholders...these things are the meat of the problem, yet a vendor in the market selling fish legally taken by indigenous folks sets off the pitchfork and torch mob...

Why not lobby for complete stream closures? No inriver fishing, by either sport or commercial concerns? Directed aquaculture assessment, watershed health and viability programs? Seasonal closures to allow downstream passage? Buying out the gillnet and seine fleet? Promotion of more "target-specific" fisheries? Spawning and rearing habitat reparation or restoration?

It just seems to me that burning down the wrong castle in your witch-hunt might be a colossally misdirected waste of your apparent fervor to set things "Right".

As for the land bridge crack, well...there are a lot of us that had part of the family tree come over on the low tide, man.


Active Member
sure thing g smolt, difference is i recognize i am on this planet for an eye blink in time. my intent is to do what i can for those left behind. your's, apparently, is to find lame excuses for killing wild fishes and selling them to the highest bidder. and there you have the basics of what sets us apart in our thinking and acting.

hopefully you have put to rest the grand notion that native americans are the keepers of our resources. anyone who chooses to read a bit of PNW history knows the facts here, indigious peoples are/were/and continue to be resource extractors without apparent thought for the future.

Ed Call

Well-Known Member
Isn't it all impacting? So many interrelated acts that individually may not be that overwhelming but combined become more than a healthy popluation can endure. Commercial fisheries, recreational fisheries, native fisheries, population expansion, logging, other loss of habitat impact and I'm sure the list goes on and on beyond my simple mind's capabilities. No one of which will cause the final demise of the steelhead, then whatever other species we target as a global society, then the next....but combined they provide a combined pressure that would turn any old lump of coal into a diamond. I don't care what you think THE problem is, but you are likely looking at a PART of the problem. How do we get our act together to address THE overall problem and all its contributing factors right down to your and my impact? Until we get there the battle will continue to be lost.

I need another drink, I'm depressing myself.
As I see, there is no law that distinguishes wild reared vs hatchery reared salmon and steelhead relevant to commercial fisheries, like there is for sport fisheries.

Maybe someone should find out who the big wigs are in the state legislature with respect to natural resources and start lobbying. There is going to be a new WDFW commissioner soon. Start making noise in the right place. You guys singlehandedly stopped one fishmonger from bringing it to DC, why not organize and pressure for a bill in the next session. I believe it starts tomorrow...

Not a big Eymen fan, but he gets it done by knowing the law and ways to get what he wants.

"I'm just a bill, up on capitol hill...."

You guys know the tune,

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