For the fifth time in the past six years, fishery managers will open the Reiter Ponds stretch of the upper Skykomish River early for hatchery steelhead retention.
By the rules pamphlet, the water 1,000 feet below the outlet to the rearing ponds to 1,500 feet above it ain’t supposed to open until Aug. 1, but WDFW just announced fishing’s a go there as of 8 a.m. Wednesday, June 29.
The agency says that the local hatchery is “on target to collect enough summer steelhead broodstock to meet production needs.”
Access to the river is through the grounds of the rearing ponds, off Reiter Road east of Gold Bar, as well as a large pull-off just uphill from Zeke’s on U.S. 2.
Night closure and anti-snagging rules are in effect. The 8 a.m. opener is to “ensure an orderly fishery,” says WDFW.
Anglers will be greeted with high water — the Sky just downstream is running at just under 10,000 cubic feet per second this afternoon, about twice the median over the past 82 years. Because of the bouldery nature of most of this stretch, most anglers use a float and jig, tipping with bait.
Past years have seen openers on June 12 (2010), June 24 (2006), July 18 (2009) and July 21 (2007).
In general, Washington fishery managers have been attempting more and more to keep hatchery steelhead from spawning with wild runs.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, reader Brent Sanders, who was fishing with guide Ryan Bennett, sent us a pic and report from well downstream on the Sky: “High water with low viz. I hooked two and only landed one.”