A Flood Of Hatchery Steelies Arrive

I’m beginning to suspect that at least part of the bulge seen on hydrographs around Western Washington earlier this week was due to all the hatchery winter steelhead moving upstream.

Sound far-fetched?

Well, OK, it is.

BUT new hatchery escapement figures from WDFW do show significant jumps in returns around the Westside since the flood of 2010.

No wonder WDFW was able to lift the upper North Fork Stilly closure yesterday and announced this afternoon the reopenings of Whatcom Creek and part of the North Fork Nooksack as of tomorrow, Dec. 18.

POSTFLOOD HATCHERY REPORTS SHOW A BIG WEEK-TO-WEEK JUMP OF WINTER STEELHEAD, LIKE THIS DUO THAT WINSTON McCLANAHAN AND KAREN CHAPDELAINE CAUGHT ON THE SKY. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST

Part of the bump is probably due to all the high water, but of course, December’s more than halfway done and this month is when the bulk of fish arrive and get caught.

That said, here’s a comparison of last week and this week’s hatchery adult totals for facilities around the Westside:

Hatchery: Last week’s adult-on-hand tally; this week’s

Kendall Creek (Nooksack): 7; 54

Whatcom Creek: 1; 12

Marblemount (Skagit): 75; 142

Whitehorse (NF Stillaguamish): 3; 106

Tokul Creek (Snoqualmie): 61; 240

Humptulips: 100; 133

Bogachiel: 72; 559

Forks Creek (Willapa): 393; 423

Beaver Creek (Elochoman): 45; 102

Cowlitz (hatchery): 547; 828

Kalama Falls (hatchery): 67; 130

Lewis (Ladder): 71; 150

In addition, Wallace and Reiter filed their first reports of the season, though only counted six and five steelhead, respectively.

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