Ugh, that sucks…

So after a few years of decreased steelhead returns to our area (Ringold), I had a good feeling about this year. I went out a couple times in October, had some grabs and landed one fish. Last Friday, I went out, landed one, had three tugs and had what was probably a coho on for a few minutes before the fly came out. Went out today, landed two steelhead, had four other great grabs that for some puzzling reason did not hook up. On the long walk back I stopped to do just ”10 more casts” at a spot I passed earlier and had talked to a gear guy who told me it was a great coho spot. On my second cast I hooked up and landed a coho. It was a great day, sunny but 28 degrees and windy, and my fight leg was soaked from leaky waders. (I guess my repair after last week didn’t work.). But I was in a great mood, casting well at the end despite the wind, thinking I got steelie mojo back. When I got home, I went through my 40 pending emails and got this from WDFW:

Nov. 18, 2022

Hanford Reach steelhead fishery to close

Closes steelhead fishing and retention

Effective date: Nov. 20, 2022, until further notice

Species affected: Steelhead

It says steelhead returns are low. Not my experience for sure. Major bummer.


Forum Supporter
A bunch of WA and OR spots have been shut down. Seems weird that once they dip into The Deschutes, the same up river fish are fair game.
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Evan B

Bobber Downey Jr.
I used to plan my entire life around fall steelheading. I think the last time I made a cast for steelhead in the fall was 2015 (unless we count a few trips to the Rogue... which I don't... totally different deal IMO). I really miss it.

Wayne Kohan

Maybe just be glad you found some fish and be okay with limiting your impact?
If you read the studies, catch and release mortality of steelhead is about 5%, most of that is due to deep hooking and is related to air exposure and warm water temps. All my fish landed this year (just 4 total) were caught on the swing in the corner of the mouth and left in the 49 degree water the whole time. And 3 of the 4 fish were hatchery fish. So I feel my impact is minimal.

O' Clarkii Stomias

Landlocked Atlantic Salmon
Forum Supporter
Bummer about the"Reach". Used to have some good days there this time of the year. Mid Columbia numbers like they are make me think we are not talking about removing the right dams.