Success! You’ve signed the petition.

Thank you for telling WDFW how critically important it is to change management practices to save our state’s steelhead!

Please take a moment to share the petition below. Together, we can restore Steelhead Country to its former glory.


The Petition

Wild steelhead are an icon of Washington State, a bellwether for the health of its watersheds, and the life force of an international community of passionate anglers. Yet the state of Steelhead Country is precarious, and the only way back to steady ground is with a paradigm shift in how Washington manages its state fish.

Sign this petition to urge wild steelhead managers and stakeholders to change course before it’s too late, encourage them to adopt a more conservation-oriented approach to wild steelhead management that supports a future with healthy wild steelhead returns, sustainable angling, and quality fisheries.

I’m calling on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to maximize the quality of Washington’s steelhead fisheries and incorporate strategies that will enable the state to optimize angler opportunity, open more rivers, provide longer seasons, and equitably share fisheries for all user groups. We believe that can be achieved by doing the following:

  1. Refine and improve the strategies centered on maximizing harvest (Maximum Sustained Yield), including the development of a management model that acknowledges the variability of natural ecosystems.
  2. Adopt more dynamic management strategies that have sufficient buffers and sound biological goals, including increased escapement thresholds to account for variable returns; additionally, publicly provide the methods, data, and equations used by the WDFW for estimating these escapements.
  3. Provide transparent and robust documented methods for estimating total harvest, including all sources of fish mortality. This includes sportfishing catch and release, illegally harvested fish, tribal catch, tribal underreporting, and net drop-out mortality from tribal commercial fisheries. Using the above methods, communicate to the public run reconstructions for priority stocks (notably those on the Olympic Peninsula) showing source specific and total fishing mortality.
  4. Modernize and expand creel surveys, catch record card collections, use of sonar, and conduct more rigorous in-season catch monitoring of both recreational and tribal catch, so we can better forecast runs, understand run sizes in real-time, and incorporate various life histories into steelhead management harvest and fishing plans.
  5. Ensure written steelhead harvest management plans are in place with all tribal co-managers before any river system in the state is open for steelhead fishing, including tribal commercial and ceremonial or subsistence fishing. WDFW fisheries managers must work with the tribal co-managers toward accountable, transparent, and sustainable fisheries before both tribal and sport seasons commence. Transparency with the public is also critical in these negotiations, so we ask that you publicly state your positions and goals before negotiations commence and hold co-managers accountable to only 50 percent of the harvestable surplus of steelhead;
  6. Continue to ensure that fisheries management and regulations are better tailored to reduce over-pressure on sensitive steelhead stocks by recreational anglers and guides, especially in areas such as the Olympic Peninsula.