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The Skagit River and one of its major tributaries, the Sauk River, represent a true success story of modern steelhead management. At the time of this writing, WDFW’s contract with NOAA Fisheries approving a catch and release season on the upper river is only good for another three seasons (through spring 2022). However, the comeback these fish have made to build their numbers up to the current run size is a testament to their genetic ‘guile’. It’s a fun debate common amongst steelhead anglers - ‘which river has the biggest fish?’  I’ll always put my money on a fish that is strong enough to push rocks around and build a redd in the middle of the 3rd largest river on the west coast. Spring chinook, Sockeye salmon and a healthy fall Coho run are a welcome bonus here, but its the unmatched scenery and the memory of the first steelhead I ever laid eyes on as a kid that keep me thinking about the Skagit.

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