Summer Steelhead

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Jay Allyn

The Poor-Student Fly Fisher
Where you a little too excited to get this post in? 13 posts seems a little too many!}(

On a moer serious note, I do agree with you. Leave spawning fish alone.


Sorry about the unnecessary # of posts - it wasn't intentional. I'm doing my weekly get hammered and tie flies thing so I guess that explains it. It won't happen again.


Banned or Parked
"I'm new to posting on this site and don't really want to step on anybody's toes here."

Am I the only one who calls BS on this? If you weren't trying to step on anyone's toes, then what the f$*% was your point??

Summer and winter steelhead spawn at the same time. You're basically saying that anyone fishing for winter steelhead right now is "ripping them off their redds" as well.
>thank you!! :thumb
>i was pleased as punch to see them close the methow at
>the end of december.
>it is pictures like these that make you and i sick.
>but some people just can not help themselves.

Glad you're pleased... How bout you edit out the pesonal attack on Ryan. He was legaly fishing that river. It may not be up to your own personal ethics... but it's no reason to be throwing mudd in his face. Especially when he's not here to defend himeself.

First off, I have spent a lot of time on the water with Ryan and know that he is an ethical angler. He cares about wild fish and is responsible with them. Although I wasn't on the Methow trip last Spring I would be willing to vouch that they weren't fishing over gravel for actively spawning fish. Educated fisherman know when and where to target fish that aren't up on redds. That being said, what is the difference if you target a winter steelhead on the lower Skagit in Feb, or summer steelhead on the Methow in Feb? As already stated, they are on their way to spawn.........thus, in your view, being ripped from redds.
hey, make sure nobody fishes the Skagit system during the C&R season this year, I think it might make people sick.



Actually, all I am saying alpine trout is stay the f#!% out of my water if thats your attitude. Fish that spawn in those rivers have already managed to pass through eight federal dams (twice!), avoided commercial fishing nets, swam through some of the most polluted waters in the state, and dodged armadas of gearchuckers. These fish start up the Columbia in early summer making it to their home rivers around October. After overwintering in these rivers or in the Snake they move their tired asses for their final act of spawning in the spring. Considering all that these fish go through and the fact they are extremely fatigued by this point, it is simply unsports-manlike to bother these fish. Just becuase it's legal doesn't mean it's right. But hey, if your buddy can't swing flies in the fall like the rest of us maybe he should learn. There's not much glory in bouncing egg patterns for half dead fish.
I completely agree that harassing spawning steelhead has no place in the sport of angling, however, I am confused by these pictures. The title suggests a late March 2003 trip, however, when I click on the individual pictures I keep coming up with a 11/1/2002 picture date. Do we really know which is correct before we jump to the obvious conclusion?



Active Member
Not to be total geek but there is evidence of "temporal separation" between summer and winter fish according to this interesting piece from NMFS:

Of course with the amount of bastardization that has probably occured in WA, what separation there is may have been diluted by our hatchery policies. Would be great to hear from someone who might have better information.

I'm staying out of the flaming but if one is fishing legally, then I think it would be more appropriate to put pressure on revising the regs.


If sticking up for what's right for our fish is "diggin a hole" for myself than that's exactly what I plan on doing.

Swinging flies on the Skagit during Feb for winter fish is significantly different from chasing summer run fish in the spring in rivers like the Methow and Grande Ronde. The big difference is that those winter fish in the Skagit spend about a week to a couple months in the river before spawning. Steelhead in the Methow and the Grande Ronde usually spend 6 to 9 months migrating far greater distances than Puget Sound river steelhead. The chances of a winter fish in the Skagit surviving to spawn after being caught and released are far better than a Grande Ronde fish caught nine months after it entered fresh water simply because its energy levels haven't been so depleted.

Here's a question: Why do you think the Puget Sound Rivers close down in the late spring? keep hordes of fisherman from harassing the majority of the wild fish that spawn during that time. Maybe you think we ought to get rid of that and just let people fish for the Skagit's winter runs right up until they start molding.


I'm all for putting pressure on the regs and you can be sure that the WDFW will be hearing from me. I'm just trying to encourage fellow steelhead fly anglers to hold themselves to a higher standard of ethics as well. I'm sure that we all agree that we want our sport and our fish runs to continue well into the future. Making that happen starts with our own actions and we shouldn't wait until the WDFW tells us to straighten up our acts.
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