The Wild Steelhead Coalition is excited to announce the launch of our new campaign Steelhead Country. The campaign features a six-episode film series created by award-winning filmmaker Shane Anderson that explores the rise and fall of angling for wild steelhead in Washington – from the heyday of steelheading on the Puyallup River to the litany of legendary rivers that are now closed throughout Puget Sound.
Washington is Steelhead Country, a land that not long ago had more wild steelhead than any other region on earth. Back then, our rivers ran silver with wild steelhead and the idea of leaving Washington and making the trek north to the Skeena, Dean, or Bulkley to chase wild steelhead was absurd. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case, but we have the power to bring them back.
Steelhead Country is a collaborative campaign that celebrates the past greatness of Washington’s steelhead fisheries and dives deep into how mismanagement of our iconic “state fish” has caused precipitous declines across the state. The campaign also encourages people to sign a petition at steelheadcountry.org asking the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife to adopt a new management regime that better supports wild steelhead recovery; maximizes the quality of steelhead fisheries; and incorporates strategies to optimize angler opportunity, open more rivers, provide longer seasons, and equitably share fisheries for all user groups.
The last century has not been a good one for Washington’s wild steelhead, but there is hope for a brighter future. With rivers across Washington closed and runs on the brink of collapse, now is the time to join together and demand a better management approach.
We have the knowledge and ability to implement smarter policies that will help restore wild steelhead runs. We need to put that knowledge to work anywhere and everywhere possible. And we need to do everything to bring them back and restore Washington’s mantle as Steelhead Country.
Check out episodes 1 and 2 of the film series now available online, then take action and help bring back Steelhead Country. And stay tuned for the release of a new episode every Monday through April 24.