Wild, Pacific Northwest Steelhead are struggling–actually, they’re in much worse shape.  There are 11 populations of wild steelhead listed as threatened or endangered under the Endangered Species Act, and historic rivers are seeing lower and lower returns. Dams, human development, loss of habitat, and other factors have all contributed to this demise.

Oregon is no different. Many of the State’s historic rivers are not seeing the numbers of years past. Now, a group of anglers are hoping to change that. Harvey Young is leading the charge to let the state of Oregon know that wild steelhead are more valuable–much more valuable–released to bout with another angler than dragged up the shore and harvested. Young’s petition, Catch & Release for Wild Steelhead in Southwest Oregon, seeks to harmonize wild steelhead regulations. Under current regulations, Southwest Oregon is one of the only regions that allows the harvesting of wild steelhead; most of Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, Alaska, and British Columbia do not allow harvesting these fish.

A Wild Steelhead on the North Umpqua River

Young’s petition highlights several benefits of changing Oregon’s current regulations.

  1. Increased angling opportunity for wild steelhead
  2. More steelhead anglers will be able to participate in the fishery
  3. Steelhead fishing has been really tough for the last couple of years.

On Friday, December 6th, Oregon will consider rule changes for the 2020 season; they will also consider the proposal to mandate the release of all wild steelhead. To show the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission that anglers want to prioritize conservation and the long-term vigor of the resilient wild steelhead, he stared the petition which now has over 10,000 signatures and more on the way, hopefully!

For more background and info on how to comment and sign the petition follow this link!

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