2016 winter steelhead opportunities

Where are the Steelhead?

For those that weren’t able to make to 3 rivers on Saturday or were but noticed that I went really fast, here’s the slides from my presentation. If you were at the seminar, I truly appreciate the support and attendance from everyone! I don’t love public speaking but everyone’s encouragement and kind words made it a lot easier. I am truly appreciative for the opportunity to attend and hope this data helps you find some steelhead this year!!

Below are the 2015 smolt plants. These fish will primarily return this 2016/2017 season but you may also see 3 year returning fish from the 2014 plants. *Note: The bold items are the most relevant and highest plants:

There were a few major increases and decreases between the 2014 & 2015 plants. * ote: the Wynoochee plants are not expected to continue to decrease. This was because the return for the year they created the smolt was fairly small so they weren’t able to harvest as much to produce smolt.

Below is a little bit of an arbitrary number, but I wanted to be able to compare rivers against one another. The “return” shown below is based on 2013 smolt plants and 2015 escapement & catch records turned in. Note: There are many factors that make this arbitrary. Catch records not turned in, wild fish in escapement figures, 3 year fish in escapement figures, successful or never caught fish not counted, tribal & commercial catch not recorded, different environments from that year to this  year, etc.

The reason I generated these figures is to say that because the Bogie and Skookumchuck had good plants & historically the best returns, I expect to see good returns again this year. While the Wallace and Skykomish are low compared to the numbers presented, they were the top rivers in the Puget Sound and they also had the most plants.

A few tips to think about when looking for spots on the river to fish or rivers to fish:

Below are my suggestions if you’re looking for wild steelhead *Note Mike Z and Bad Ash Fishing are both great guides to get you into wild steelhead on the coast!

  • Humptulips
  • Satsop
  • Bogachiel
  • Hoh
  • Queets
  • Kalama
  • Calawah
  • Solduc
  • Wynoochee

Below are my top suggested place to try this season based on smolt plants, return statistics, opportunity for big limits, & time of year.

Below were the steelhead counts to the hatchery updated by WDFW as of 17th. If you want to get out for Thanksgiving, head to the Bogie, hump, or Kalama for wild fish *Note: Kalama wild fish are not recorded, but they have 24 to the hatchery so far.