Saturday Shoutout / Wild Steelheaders United

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This week Trout Unlimited launched a bold new effort.

Wild Steelheaders United is taking on the task of bringing Steelheaders together under one tent to work for the protection of this embattled species. Sounds like a no-brainer but when no two groups can even agree on what a steelhead is the challenge is daunting.

Trout Unlimited has a proven track record when it comes to consensus building. In this effort they are embracing science and educating anglers and policy makers to the facts. My style is a little more direct, so I’ll put it simply for you.

It’s time to put the immense mountain of bullshit surrounding steelhead behind us and move forward in a meaningful manner.

Please watch this video and visit the Wild Steelheaders United site. This is an issue we should all care deeply about and get behind.


Louis Cahill
Gink & Gasoline
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2 thoughts on “Saturday Shoutout / Wild Steelheaders United

  1. I have spent the last few days working with Michigan TU and TU national to include the Great Lakes fishery in this program While not native or connected to the coastal fishery we have many of the same issues and opportunities. Many of the issues that caused the collapse of salmon and steelhead in their native range were brought on by national policies and agencies. Adding the voices from the anglers of the Great Lakes to the project could make a difference in correcting these mistakes.or at least speed up the process. With or without including the Great Lake fishery it’s still a great idea and needs every angler’s support…

  2. I’d like to offer something to think about. I live on Vancouver Island where our rivers are “managed” as wild steelhead rivers. Once (in the 80’s and early 90’s) when we had a mix of wild/hatchery, one could reasonably go out and expect to hook a steelhead or two during a days fishing. Now, most rivers can be almost void of fish for long periods of time, with the ocassional small escapement here and there.
    Meanwhile, the number of anglers has skyrocketted! I question whether wild stocks can handle the continuous pounding, and though catch and release is mandated, no one can tell you with any certainty what the effects of cumulative C&R are on small populations of steelhead.
    Once, most rivers had “sanctuaries” where by the nature of the riparian environment, no one could fish. Now, with boats, better overall access, many more guides, and technically superior tackle (eg. Evolution of fly lines between the 80’s and now!), very few fish get much of a rest anymore. In the 70’s and 80’s, boats were rare; today, they are very common! Some would argue too common!

    At any rate, these are but a few of the myriad of issues you will face. Wild steelhead only in rivers close to large population centers, can’t deal with all the C&R pressure. The issues with hatchery fish are well documented, not here to argue those. But how well have the social issues (heck fish are “easy” to manage, people – not so much!) been considered.

    On VI , in the late 90’s, I voted to close most east coast rivers to steelhead fishing for two to three generations to allow WILD stocks to recover. I’m here to tell you, in late 2014, that Myself and many others are still waiting for that recovery. Winter fishing can be productive on a few rivers, but for the most part, very small steelhead runs seem to be our new reality.

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