Hatchery Steelhead Escapements: Am I missing something?

A place for readers to talk about river fishing in Washington.
Forum rules
Forum Post Guidelines: This Forum is rated “Family Friendly”. Civil discussions are encouraged and welcomed. Name calling, negative, harassing, or threatening comments will be removed and may result in suspension or IP Ban without notice. Please refer to the Terms of Service and Forum Guidelines post for more information. Thank you
Post Reply
Speedbird 48
Petty Officer
Posts: 30
Joined: Sat May 23, 2020 9:11 am

Hatchery Steelhead Escapements: Am I missing something?

Post by Speedbird 48 » Sun Jan 10, 2021 11:37 pm

Tokul Creek, Reiter Ponds, and Wallace River Hatchery are the three main producers of Steelhead in the Puget Sound. And from what I am seeing: All three have seen double digit returns of fish. Am I grossly misinterpreting the escapement reports? It actually looks like we may have even fewer Puget Sound Steelhead than last year

User avatar
Jakefish
Warrant Officer
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:35 pm
Location: Bellingham

Re: Hatchery Steelhead Escapements: Am I missing something?

Post by Jakefish » Mon Jan 11, 2021 9:56 am

The numbers are low, but they are about double this time last year:

----------------- 2020 - 2021
Kendall Creek: - 12 - 47
Whitehorse: ---- 18 - 35
Tokul Cr.: ------- 41 - 28
Wallace: -------- 4 -- 36
Reiter: ---------- 20 - 49


The only decline I see is Tokul Creek hatchery, which went down by about 30%. Overall it looks like a big improvement over last year, but still low numbers. Ocean survival has been poor for pretty much all steelhead runs this year.

User avatar
BentRod
Admiral
Posts: 1910
Joined: Tue May 20, 2008 7:59 am
Location: Issaquah

Re: Hatchery Steelhead Escapements: Am I missing something?

Post by BentRod » Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:31 pm

The only thing you're missing is data from the previous 10+ years. Granted, yes, logically one would think that the returns this year should be better than last, but overall they're all still quite dismal compared to what used to be normal and highlights that there is a serious issue in the pipeline somewhere. There should be 400-500 or more fish back at each hatchery by now by historic standards. I've got the Tokul data somewhere. Will have to dig it out.

User avatar
Jakefish
Warrant Officer
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:35 pm
Location: Bellingham

Re: Hatchery Steelhead Escapements: Am I missing something?

Post by Jakefish » Mon Jan 11, 2021 3:20 pm

BentRod wrote:
Mon Jan 11, 2021 2:31 pm
The only thing you're missing is data from the previous 10+ years. Granted, yes, logically one would think that the returns this year should be better than last, but overall they're all still quite dismal compared to what used to be normal and highlights that there is a serious issue in the pipeline somewhere. There should be 400-500 or more fish back at each hatchery by now by historic standards. I've got the Tokul data somewhere. Will have to dig it out.
The annual escapement is here for the past 20 years:

Code: Select all

https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/hatcheries/escapement#annual-reports
When did the release numbers get cut as a result of the lawsuit?

User avatar
BentRod
Admiral
Posts: 1910
Joined: Tue May 20, 2008 7:59 am
Location: Issaquah

Re: Hatchery Steelhead Escapements: Am I missing something?

Post by BentRod » Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:54 am

Historic Tokul hatchery steelhead escarpment numbers:

1/19/2011 - 677 (no report for 1/12/2011)
1/11/2012 - 636
1/9/2013 - 500
1/14/2014 - 354
1/14/2015 - 474
1/12/2016 - 161
1/9/2017 - 22
1/9/2018 - 318
1/9/2019 - 41
1/8/2020- 41
1/6/21 - 28

User avatar
Jakefish
Warrant Officer
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:35 pm
Location: Bellingham

Re: Hatchery Steelhead Escapements: Am I missing something?

Post by Jakefish » Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:03 am

Looking at the hatchery releases, 2017 returns were to be expected because there were no smolts released from Tokul in 2015. After that, releases are at or under 75k per year, which I believe is a substantial reduction from prior to the lawsuit that cut back all steelhead releases except on the Sky (and completely eliminated releases on the Skagit system).

Post Reply