Steelhead Country – Episode 5: The Last Wilderness

It’s a land of giants; towering evergreen trees, luminary anglers, and legendary wild steelhead, some as large as those anywhere else on Earth. Throughout history, Washington’s Olympic Peninsula has been called “The Last Wilderness”. Today, it’s Steelhead Country’s last best place.

But as crowds of anglers have descended from around the state and across the country, and as the heavy harvest from gillnets strung by tribal co-managers shows little sign of abating, the “OP” is stretched to the breaking point. The data paints a familiar picture, one reminiscent of the collapse of Puget Sound’s once mighty wild steelhead runs. Are we fated to repeat the history? Or will new regulations, new partnerships and a new commitment to conservation save the wild steelhead that still return to one the wildest places we have left?

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2 thoughts on “Steelhead Country – Episode 5: The Last Wilderness

  1. Great comments by JD Love in the video as the two men have a beer beside the river – give the local communities a reason not to kill steelhead: give them a stake in the river via a decent financial return from all the steelheaders hitting their river: Result – much less commercial fishing, more fish, more visiting anglers, more money in the pockets of local indigenous peoples, making them less inclined to net the runs and more inclined to nurture them.

    If you guys on the U.S. North West Coast can get this right, you never know, it might just be possible that my fellow Brits will start to realise that our own failing Atlantic salmon rivers and their runs might be saved and restored if far greater numbers of people (and not merely $1000 Spey-rodded and $1000 tarpon-reeled anglers) had a stake in salmon rivers and their fish, as at the moment we have a very few thousand salmon fishers forever making noises about everything, rivers and fish-wise – with a few notable, very exclusive and expensive exceptions – going to the wall, with nobody (except we anglers) caring about it. If a lot of concerned voters, whole communities of them and not just on the rivers themselves but also in the far-off cities and suburbs, emailed their political representatives, they could be amazed at just how quickly things get done.

    Keep campaigning, making a lot of media and political noise, and broadcasting it far and wide, fellas. There are a good number over here in western Europe and in Scandinavia who look to you people to show us what we will eventually also be getting round to doing a decade or more from now.

    Good luck.

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