Posts Tagged ‘wild steelhead


Natural Barriers: Dougan Falls and Wild Steelhead Purity

douganfalls leana jimenez

Dougan Falls on the Washougal River; Photo by Leana Jimenez

Well, almost pure strains of wild steelhead make their way above Dougan Falls on the Washougal River. Natural barriers, in this case a waterfall, seem to act as good obstacles to separate out the inferior hatchery steelhead from the wild steelhead. 

Studies have been conducted over the years to chart the passages of hatchery and of wild steelhead in various watersheds. The Washougal River has no man made barriers, only natural barriers in waterfalls.

“On the Washougal, our data indicate that natural passage barriers (waterfalls) effectively isolate returning wild steelhead from straying, hatchery-origin adults. Above Dougan Falls on the Washougal, less than 3% of returning adults have been identified as hatchery origin. Using this data, WDFW determined this area to be a genetic sanctuary…” (Clark-Skamania FF)

Dougan Falls Bill McMillan Pic

Here is a photograph by the legendary Bill McMillan of a wild steelhead leaping its way up and over Dougan Falls.

The Native Fish Society published a study by Bill McMillan re wild steelhead with references to the Washougal River and Dougan Falls


Wild Steelhead in Seattle Restaurant? Damn Ballsy

Well someone smacked their balls soundly enough to get it pulled from the menu. Dumb. Permanently boycott the bastards at Ray’s Boathouse I say….. Shooting Head (for more)

Now my story won’t get any recognition, but I thought it timely. I was exiting a SE Portland Safeway when I looked up and there on the backside of a non-trendy restaurant (there are actually a few in Portland) was a marquee highlighting Steelhead & Steak, nightly for $10.95.

Country Bill's and Aqua Steelhead (SwittersB)

I called and nicely enquired about the freshness of the Steelhead and the source. The bubbly waitress (now you know it was a non-trendy restaurant…the waitress was not a pinched, pretentious twit) told me the Steelhead was delivered by Pacific Seafood.

A quick on line review of Pacific Seafood, a Portland based company, revealed the source of their Steelhead: ” The steelhead used for both products is sourced from parent company Pacific Seafood’s aquaculture farm located in Nespelem, Wash., situated in the Okanagan Highlands on the Columbia River.”  (Not as alarming as Wild Steelhead for sure, but there is that Aquaculture thing again on the Columbia River?!)  Pacific Seafood

Oh, sorry to all the very nice, non-pinched, non-pretentious waitstaff at those trendy Portland restaurants.

Ballsy: ‘Vulgar Slang. Very tough and courageous, often recklessly or presumptuously so. ballsy.’


Wild Steelhead (Slip, Slip, Slippin………………….away?)

graph-down“Why should we care? If you’re a steelheader, the reasons are obvious. If you are not, the depleted state of wild steelhead populations coast wide serves as a powerful example of a valuable resource squandered and a lesson for anglers and fish managers everywhere. On a bigger scale, steelhead are an indicator species, the proverbial canary in the coalmine of population growth and human consumption. In other words, the health of wild steelhead is a direct reflection of the health of both our watersheds and marine environments. Steelhead can clearly survive without us – the question is, can we survive without them?”

Growth, hatcheries, put ‘n take mentality, logging, all government planning,  and I wonder about ocean going trawlers and long lining. We don’t hear about this much anymore and 20 years ago, it was the critical threat to runs. No one mentions it anymore. Wild Steelhead (even hatcher steelhead) have been declining for almost 30 years with floods, siltation, habitat and hatcheries. This article by Tomine gives the breadth of the decline. So, if government and man planned the wrong way before…perhaps the current over planners and over spenders can partially fix the decline without legislating man away from the recreational opportunities..

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August 2020

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