You all know by now that the mighty Skagit River is the king of salmon in Puget Sound, with all species of native salmon and trout still producing a substantial resource for people to harvest and to sustain our natural environment.
Unlike many salmon runs in Puget Sound, the Skagit’s populations are hanging on, but their health is a mixed bag and there is cause for concern. First, the good news is that sockeye salmon runs into Baker Lake are increasing significantly, providing expanded fishing opportunities for fishermen and fisherwomen in Skagit County. Steelhead are on the rise again as well following a reduction in fishing for a few years and some reforms in hatchery practices that we all hope will lead to restored fishing opportunities in 2018 in the Upper Skagit River. Bull trout are stronger in the Skagit than anywhere else in the United States. And even Chinook salmon are holding steady here. Continue reading
Wow, the Skagit River’s natural salmon and trout resources are one of a kind! This wild place produces a huge part of all of Puget Sound’s native fish, including 60% of it’s wild Chinook Salmon. It’s the only river in Puget Sound that produces substantial runs of all of our native salmon and trout species, and it’s one of the main bull trout strongholds in the entire United States!
Many folks know that it is world famous for steelhead fishing, but not many know that hundreds of thousands of pounds of steelhead were harvested every year back in the early 1900’s. That’s huge, almost hard to imagine what that was like!
While we don’t have great historical records, we do know a lot more these days. For the last 40 years, state and tribal governments have done a good job counting fish on their spawning grounds, and that “escapement” estimate tracks the health of the population. We also have a good idea of where fish spawn and where their young rear or grow, which helps us create maps of their distribution.
Future features here will explore why we see fish populations fluctuating up and down. Tell us what you would like to know about Skagit’s native fish!
Click the fish and explore each species’ health and location in more detail!