Skagit Occupied Again As Steelheaders Hope For Reopening Of C&R Fishery

Steelheaders again cast hookless lures into the Skagit in hopes that the famed river and its tributary the Sauk will one day again open to catch-and-release fishing in late winter and early spring.

Saturday was the second Occupy Skagit fish-in at Howard Miller Steelhead Park in Rockport, and it attracted a crowd, including the Skagit Valley Herald.

Retired local fisheries biologist Curt Kraemer told reporter Russel Hixson that there are enough steelhead in the Skagit system to handle the pressure of a fishing season.

In recent years the rivers have been the healthiest in terms of wild steelhead in Pugetropolis. It’s been several years now since the last time both were open this time of year. Low returns in 2010 and 2011 led to closures, and subsequently the season was written out of the regulations.

Occupy helps raise awareness of the issue, and the paper reports “organizers are optimistic that eventually the restrictions will be lifted, but believe it will take several years, a lot of hard work and lots of paperwork.”

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