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  • Steelhead are the WA state fish
  • Steelhead and rainbow trout are the same species
  • Hatchery steelhead harm the gene stocks of wild steelhead
Photo by Dave McCoy

WSC Profile

Rich Simms photo by Jeff Bright

Rich Simms

Honorary Director

Board of Directors

Backstory: Rich grew up in Poulsbo, WA, fishing the many steelhead streams of the Olympic Peninsula. He learned to mooch for Chinook salmon with his father on Puget Sound. He's had an undying passion for chasing steelhead since his childhood, and now fishes for steelhead all around the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia.

First Steelhead: As a twelve-year-old, Rich caught his first winter steelhead on a frigid January day with leaky hip waders on the West Fork of the Humptulips River; a day he will always remember.

What He Does: Rich is a founding board member of the Wild Steelhead Coalition and has been its President since 2003. He is an Industrial Design professional with 20 years experience in project management and problem solving processes. Rich’s experiences as a designer and project manager help him to see the big picture without forsaking the details, and to understand that success is a collaborative effort.


Personal Philosophy: "I still get as excited about steelhead fishing as when I was kid. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to fish for steelhead on the streams of Hood Canal. That's not possible anymore: these streams-- along with many other fine steelhead streams-- have been reduced to a fraction of their past abundance. I'm committed to steelhead recovery and to engaging all anglers and conservationists to help recapture the steelhead legacy of the Pacific Northwest."

Central Beliefs of the WSC

Photo by Chris Ringlee

Photos on this page by Dave McCoy and Chris Ringlee

The Wild Steelhead Coalition (WSC) is an organization dedicated to increasing the return of wild steelhead to the waters and rivers of the Pacific Northwest.

The WSC believes that wild steelhead is the Northwest’s greatest natural resource

The following are some of the WSC’s core beliefs about wild steelhead, its needs for recovery and sustainability, and the value of its preservation for future generations:

  • To increase fish runs, more wild fish must return to their rivers and spawn.
  • In order for fish runs to be restored, damaged habitat must be returned to its productive state.
  • The many miles of productive spawning grounds that humans have made inaccessible to steelhead must again be made accessible.
  • Hatcheries must be managed to remove or minimize impacts on wild steelhead.
  • Hatchery steelhead must be mass-marked to differentiate them from wild stocks.
  • Maximum Sustained Harvest and Maximum Sustained Yield have failed to protect and perpetuate our wild fish. New management models, based on factors other than the greatest possible harvest of wild fish, must be developed.
  • We believe that taking substantive action to protect and restore wild steelhead will in turn benefit other wild salmonids.
  • All stakeholders have a role to play in the preservation of wild steelhead.
  • Steelhead is an iconic species in the Pacific Northwest, and one with enormous cultural and economic significance. To lose it would be to deprive our children and grandchildren of one of the great legacies of this region.