I wish I was more of an optimist, but I don't see how it's not going to keep getting worse. Nothing is changing from a management perspective. Hell, people I know who are supposedly conservation minded are still "selling" the summer Columbia steelhead fishery with their posts on Instagram. I'm over the romance for free crap when our fish are going extinct. The dams (especially on the Snake), the slack-water invasives, hatcheries, and the ocean conditions are just a perfect storm. Not going to change fast enough, especially with a government that will always choose profit first. I'm focusing on bass fishing right now, basically because I'm sick of being so sad and depressed about it all the time. I hope everyone donates to the organizations that are working to save this fishery.It sure seems like the Columbia and tribs are suffering greatly in the numbers dept the last few years.
I guess all of us PNWers just need to get rich so we can go fish where there are still fish.While dammed Columbia river is doing poorly, free flowing Alaskan rivers are doing much better.
So far two major river like Yukon and Kuskokwim ( twice bigger then Skeena) on the west are having one of the best Chinook runs in 25+ year. The only better are 2003-2005 runs.
Below are graphs for these two major rivers. In Yukon it is based on sonar counting, while on Kusko is based on fish test in Bethel near Bearing Sea. Some major Kuskokwim tributary located further upstream and in lower drainage ( size of Bulkley or bigger) are already confirming the run ( sonar or weir counting). Good News draining directly to Bearing Sea so far has the best run in 25 years. So far Sockeye in Bristol Bay and Cooper have at least average run.
I hear you man. I know there is more to it than just getting there. I'm just saying it's really tough to watch the fish that I can easily reach on a shoestring budget go extinct, which is just putting more pressure on the places where they aren't. Baring a big shift the only steelheading I'll be doing this fall is going to involve a lot more time, money, and distance to reach, not to mention me adding more pressure to other fisheries. I'm still excited to do it, at least some day even if it doesn't work out this year. It's been a dream of mine to go north and fish for years. Still, I try to be respectful of others and the fact that it's someone's local water. I don't want to be that goober standing in your run in the morning. I just want to be able leave work a little early on Friday and stand in my home river, catch a steelhead, and sleep in my rig under the stars. I know so many people who do the big trip to BC every year and I feel like it's getting more and more popular, basically because we have no fish left down here.My point was that a natural habitat is very important.
Yukon and Kuskokwim watersheds are huge and very remote territory, mostly occupied by natives in a handful of small villages scattered here and there, and accessible by boat or plane with very little sport fishing going on. Even if you are rich, unless you have family or friends living there, know the area by fishing there for many years with Grizzlies, know how to operate jets lead in a very tight space !!!!!!, ( gravel bars, logs etc. ) you are not going to do well anyway.
Likely out-migrating fish, many of which are reconditioned kelts or 2018 fish that over wintered in the lower Columbia and completed their run to spawn in the spring.I'm curious what is with that big spike in March this year. That seems pretty odd too. I'd like to see a comparison of total fish. Probably still low, but maybe not quite as low as the right end of the graph suggests?