June 2nd WSC meeting

June 2 2004 Guest Speaker: Bill McMillan
Presentation: The Situk & Skagit Rivers: A Comparison of Steelhead, Past and Present
Where: Bothel American Legion Hall
19213 Bothell Way NE, Bothell, WA
Time 7-9 PM

For half a century Bill McMillan has fished Northwest steelhead rivers and observed both abundance and depletion. In early May 2003 Bill had his first experience fishing and observing Southeast Alaska's famed Situk River, well known for it's spectacular steelhead fishing. "It was to be my first experience of seeing steelhead abundance rivaling that of Pacific salmon such as chum. But the fact is, I have since found that it was but a reduced level of depletion. Nevertheless, the experience is one that has suggested how far off the target we may be in setting goals for steelhead restoration in the Pacific Northwest of the Lower 48." In this presentation Bill will compare and contrast Alaska's Situk River with our own Skagit River, and how the history of steelhead abundance and depletion has played out in both systems.

Bill McMillan started fishing at age 12, and after some fisheries studies at UW, he decided that he could be more effective with his activism from outside the system. Fish became a primary means for data collection. In 1983 he initiated the first snorkel surveys to document declining wild fish numbers. He managed a research camp on the Kamchatka Peninsula during joint Russian/American research expeditions. Bill is currently very active in many Washington conservation activities. In November 2002 Bill was the WSC's guest speaker on the topic of "Hatchery Impacts on Wild Steelhead Populations".