The Statewide Steelhead Management Plan is available on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/steelhead/, while the commission’s hatchery and fishery reform policy is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/policies/c3619.html.
While the hatchery program will no longer take place at Snider Creek, WDFW is working with stakeholders to re-establish a similar effort in the Bogachiel or Calawah rivers, where the department already releases hatchery steelhead, said Warren.
The program will end next spring, when 25,000 winter steelhead smolts are released into the Sol Duc River, Warren said. Last year, WDFW also discontinued its summer steelhead program on the Sol Duc River, after releasing 20,000 smolts.
Before making that decision, WDFW conducted three public meetings and reviewed about 400 public comments on the future of the Snider Creek program.
While fewer and fewer hatchery steelhead will be returning to the Sol Duc River in the coming years, anglers will continue to have opportunities to fish for salmon and other game fish, as well as retain one wild steelhead per license year on the river, said Warren.
The Snider Creek program was created in 1986 as a joint project with the Olympic Peninsula Guides’ Association to increase fishing opportunities for steelhead on the Sol Duc River. The program is unlike most other hatchery efforts in that it produces offspring from wild steelhead rather than hatchery fish.