Throughout the southern half of their range, wild steelhead have experienced tremendous declines during the last century and a half. While many factors have contributed to their decline, overharvest in sport and commercial fisheries has been ubiquitous, and today most populations are depressed below 10% of their historic abundance. During…
Key Issue: Steelhead Harvest
WDFW currently fails to complete written management plans with the tribal comanagers before steelhead angling begins. When this happens, and a particular steelhead run is projected to be below the escapement goal, the tribes often fish directly for wild steelhead when there is no harvestable surplus. Take action today; tell WDFW to implement a management plan with the tribes before opening any river system to steelhead fishing.
The WSC supports river closures for wild steelhead fisheries when the runs are showing a decline and have not made their escapement goals over time. However, we have not found any information that supports the escapement goals and early closures of the Willapa Bay rivers.
The WSC was concerned by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife going against the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s policy to make the Columbia River barbless hook only to decrease mortality on ESA listed species. The WSC reminded ODFW that this regulation was aimed at benefitting the 12 ESA listed Salmonid species inhabiting the Columbia river.
WSC and allied agencies provided recommendations to the 2011-2017 WDFW Strategic Plan regarding wild steelhead and salmon management.
Bill McMillan was awarded a $5,000 grant from the Wild Steelhead Coalition (WSC) in early 2010 to continue research and develop an accurate historical baseline of what steelhead/salmon numbers and distribution were in the Columbia Basin prior to Euro-American contact. Funds for the WSC grant were secured from Patagonia’s World Trout Grant program.