If you’ve ever met WSC board member Josh Mills then you know he is one fiery dude, no matter if he’s chasing wild steelhead, regaling folks with steelhead stories, or handing off a half dozen of his hand-tied bugs. But of all the things that get Mills fired up, few things get his blood boiling more than the state of the lower Snake River and its history of mismanagement.
With the Snake River experiencing historically bad wild steelhead runs and elected officials working to undermine years of scientifically based court decisions, Josh penned an impassioned editorial in Hatch Magazine titled “Sadistic Insanity on the Snake.” The piece poses a simple but poignant question – are the people fighting to maintain the failing status quo on the Snake too stupid or too evil to be in charge of managing an already teetering wild steelhead and salmon population?
Please take a few minutes to read Josh’s thoughts and learn more about how you can join the fight to free the Snake. It is a fight that we need to wage on all fronts – from telling your congressional representative to oppose H.R. 3144, to educating yourself on steelhead and salmon recovery, to supporting organizations that have been leading this fight for decades like Save Our Wild Salmon.
Click here to read “Sadistic Insanity on the Snake.” Here’s a short snippet of this powerful piece:
I’m so pissed that I have to resort to cliché. And not that idiotic one, “that’s why they call it fishing and not catching,” intended to justify a fruitless day on the water. Hell, these days I’d kill for the chance to step into my homewater and futilely swing flies through a river full of wild steelhead. But unfortunately, that’s not a possibility because when it comes to steelhead management, we’ve gone insane.
Here’s that cliché: they say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results. Our steelhead management? It’s worse than that. We don’t just do the same thing over and over again, we fight ferociously for the chance to do it.
Let’s take a quick step back. Starting in the 1930s, some elected officials decided to transform sleepy Lewiston, Idaho into a major inland port and transportation epicenter. To make that happen, they had to tame the wild lower Snake River, which was at the time home to perhaps the best steelhead and salmon habitat on the planet. Ice Harbor Dam came online in 1960 followed by Lower Granite Dam in 1975. Today’s Snake River is now a shell of its once great self.
Before development wreaked havoc on Columbia/Snake watershed, that corner of the Pacific Northwest boasted the greatest salmon runs anywhere on the planet. Nowhere in Alaska, British Columbia or Europe came close to matching its productivity. But the ill-fated work of the hands of man turned the world’s leading salmon system into one that is now home to a mere thirteen endangered runs of wild salmon and steelhead.