Worst Returns on Record for Puget Sound Winter Steelhead?


That's not news to anyone that fished the Skagit last spring. I've been doing it for quite a few years and the lack of steelhead this last season was very sobering to us all.



Ignored Member
I didn't find anything in the article but speculation and opinion.

The steelhead numbers in the Skagit this past season certainly appeared to be low but I have only personal experience to judge this with. I did see fish in the system and there very well could have been more arrive after the river closed.

I would like to see what the "official" response is as far as returning numbers of wild steelhead were to the Skagit.
I read recently that Whole Foods Market has sold wild steelhead. They're one of my favorite stores. I'm boycotting them. I live a long way from Puget Sound.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
Just because they are selling wild fish, if doesn't mean they are from Washington. This seems to be the only state that none return to.

Being that you are in Kentucky, they could be Great Lakes fish.


Bob Triggs

Stop Killing Wild Steelhead!
In all liklihood the Steelhead being sold in Washington regional markets are coming from the coastal rivers and tribal fisheries like the Hoh, Quinault and Quillayute and others.


Active Member
Depressing news indeed!

Kerry -
While I have not seen the official escapement estimates word has it that the Skagit and many other Puget Sound systems saw modern day low escapements this past spring. The 2009 Skagit escapement will almost certainly be less than 3,000.

Doublespey -
A quote from the article -

"...the magnitude of the failure is startling and should have managers raising serious questions about how to save Puget Sound wild steelhead before its too late."

What do you think the State should going about saving those wild steelhead?

A decade ago the "silver bullet" to say wild steelhead was advertized as wild fish release and now it seems it end hatchery programs. Harvest management issues have been aggressively addressed over the last 25 years and the state is well into hatchery reform yet the fish continue to slide towards the edge. At some point folks may have to face the fact that other factors are in play.

Tight lines


Well-Known Member

Brett said 2,000 + or -, probably - for the Skagit. Lowest escapement ever recorded for what is supposed Puget Sound's strongest steelhead population.

Other factors are at play, but what the heck are they? By the best accounts, it isn't in freshwater in recent years.

Close the river to all steelhead fishing; wild, hatchery, sport and tribal.
coming from an outisders prosepective.....I totally agree with this. shut em down for 10 or 20 years. The only problem i see with this is that some other species will be thrown into the fire and would eventually face the same fate.

John Hicks

Owner and operator of Sea Run Pursuits
Just a thought. If they are surviving when they hit the fresh water, and one of the theories is that thier demise is in the salt. I think that closing the rivers for 10-15 years will just divert people attention from the real problem. It will give people and the state an excuse to not look into the problem further. That being said, I would support closing the rivers, if the state was going to look further into why ocean survival is so poor.


Active Member
While I don't disagree with the harmful impacts of hatcheries, the posting implies that hatcheries are the primary factor behind the reduced returns. As Curt mentions, there are other factors at play that should at least be mentioned.

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