Follow us:

Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 25, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Hopes of boosting Skokomish River steelhead in the works by Skokomish Tribe and other groups

The Skokomish Tribe is wrapping up the first five years of an intensive 16-year study to enhance steelhead populations in Hood Canal rivers. Puget Sound steelhead are listed as “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act, the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission reported in a news release.

An important component of the study is sampling redds that are created each spring by naturally spawning steelhead.

The tribe has counted nearly 200 salmon egg nests, also called redds, so far this season in the 30-mile-long Skokomish River. Eggs will be pumped from 40 of the healthiest redds between mid-May to mid-June to support the project.

“We’ve reached our egg collection goals every year of 30,000 eggs, and we’ve successfully raised healthy smolts that are released after two years of rearing at the state’s McKernan Hatchery,” Matt Kowalski, Skokomish Tribe steelhead biologist said in a news release.

“We’re also keeping a small portion of smolts and raising them to adulthood at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Manchester facility before releasing them in the river, helping increase their chances of spawning.

“We’re preparing also this spring for the return of the first steelhead that were collected as eggs in 2007,” he added. “We’re starting to see more fish in the lower river than we have in the past few years.”

Steelhead are elusive — the tribe maybe will see about 20 live fish a year when surveying the river. But based on the number of redds counted, the tribe can estimate that about 300-400 are returning annually to the South Fork of the river and its tributaries.

“The number of redds determines success of the project,” Kowalski said. “Early indications from this year show an increase in redds but we won’t know if this trend will continue until after more surveying is completed.”

The South Fork of the Skokomish River is just one of the many rivers that are part of this Hood Canal-wide project. The Duckabush and Dewatto rivers are also supplemented with steelhead; Tahuya, Big Beef, Hamma Hamma, Dosewallips and Little Quilcene rivers are not, as comparison rivers.

Other partners in the study are Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe, Port Gamble S’Klallam Tribe, Puget Sound Partnership, state Fish and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, Point No Point Treaty Council, Long Live The Kings, Hood Canal Salmon Enhancement Group, Hood Canal Coordinating Council and Tacoma Power.

Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►