ODFW has put a lot of effort into selling us a wild winter steelhead broodstock program as an alternative to out of basin hatchery programs. Sure, lots of fish come back. Sure, you can keep them because they’re clipped. (Who wants to eat a winter steelhead?) And yes, the guides love them because the winter steelhead season now runs from December to April. (Pounding the wild fish in the process)
But now comes a report that supports what the anti-broodstock crowd has been saying all along: Wild broodstock programs will be the death of wild stocks by reducing their overall fitness. Fitness does not mean their ability to leap over tall buildings, FYI.