SW WA Steelhead Scale-sampling Project Needs Angler Volunteers

Calling all citizen-science steelheaders.

WDFW is looking for anglers to help collect scales off winter-runs they catch on a number of Southwest Washington rivers this season “for the purpose of assessing age composition” of the fish.


The agency says that it can’t collect enough samples off carcasses during their own stream surveys across 12 Region 5 watersheds along the Lower Columbia, so it wants to train fishermen to do so.

They’re specifically looking for scales off incidentally caught natural-origin steelhead hooked from January 26 to March 15, and their goal is to collect 100 samples from each basin.

WDFW describes its waters of interest as the Grays, Elochoman, Coweeman, South Fork Toutle, Green, East Fork Lewis and Washougal Rivers and Skamokawa, Mill, Abernathy and Germany Creeks.

Interested anglers FIRST need to apply to volunteer here.

Training is scheduled for January 25 from 5-7 p.m. at the Region 5 headquarters, 5525 South 11th Street, Woodland, 98642, at which time sampling tools will also be distributed.

Participants gotta supply their own rods, tackle and whatnot, and WDFW ain’t responsible if tweakers break into your rig while you’re out sampling.

Master Hunters will be credited with an hour per sample collected toward volunteer time requirements.

The opportunity had one wag wondering if state steelhead managers couldn’t do similar on coastal systems, where there’s a paucity of data on runs, not to mention a paucity of fishing opportunities.