Managing Sea Lion Predation: A Tried and True Steelhead Conservation Method

Northwest Steelheaders Supports Lethal Removal of Sea Lions in the Columbia River

By Alix Soliman, Operations Manager

In concert with the Northwest Steelheaders’ efforts to increase salmon populations in the Pacific Northwest for the benefit of people and ecosystems, the association has issued a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) supporting the June 13, 2019 Sea Lion Removal Application. The lethal removal of California and Steller sea lions is necessary to help prevent further population losses of wild salmon, steelhead, and other Endangered Species Act (ESA) listed species from being decimated. In the Columbia River basin alone, the U.S. population of California sea lions has increased from less than 500 to 4,000 over the past thirty years. Non-lethal methods of deterrence have failed in the past. Lethal take of individual problem sea lions (typically large males that take a significant amount of salmon) has shown to be the only successful management tool to address major predation problems both within and outside the Columbia River Basin. Read more...

Winter Steelhead Extinction Risk in Willamette River Plummets with Sea Lion Removal

By Alix Soliman, Operations Manager

When the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) modeled “Extinction Risk” of winter steelhead in the Willamette River in 2017, it was a whopping 90%. Following the removal of just 33 California sea lions preying on steelhead at Willamette Falls, ODFW estimates that the year-end extinction risk will fall to between 10-15%. Executive Director of Northwest Steelheaders Chris Hager is encouraged by the success of the permit. “Considering the incredible results of this place-based, individually-targeted program, we are confident that a similar approach in the Columbia River Basin will be effective in increasing winter steelhead runs,” Hager said. “This solution minimizes the number of sea lions euthanized while maximizing the steelhead population. It’s a win-win.” Read more...

Steelheaders Dive into Youth Salmon Education

Coordinated by Confluence AmeriCorps member Allena Vestal, over 20 Steelheader volunteers delivered salmon eggs to schools participating in the Fish Eggs to Fry program. On November 5th, volunteers from the McLoughlin, Sandy, and Tom McCall chapters delivered Spring Chinook eggs to schools that were unable to pick them up within the Clackamas, Multnomah, Yamhill, and Marion counties. The next day, all of the Washington County schools were taken care of by the Tualatin Valley Chapter. Students in the 130+ participating classrooms will have the pleasure of watching the Spring Chinook hatch and grow from alevin to fry! When the fry are buttoned up, Steelheaders will help students release them into the wild.

Save the Date for Family Fish Camp!

March 13-15

Join a family weekend of fishing and lodging at cozy Camp Angelos along a gorgeous stretch of the Sandy River. Passionate, experienced anglers teach essential skills for all ages, and your family will have the opportunity to recreate in the great outdoors while building connections in the community! Tickets will go on sale soon. Learn more... 

Don't leave it to salmon else! There's still time to cast a line for sea lion management, Columbia and Snake River reforms, hatchery improvement, and environmental education. Abundant and healthy runs of salmon and steelhead depend on you. Don’t let the season swim by without doing your part—now is a fin-tastic time to get more involved as we gear up for 2020! Give a gift

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Author & Steelheader Tom Alkire Publishes New Book

Western Waters: Fly Fishing Memories and Lessons From Twelve Rivers

Alkire blends fishing guide, natural history, and lyrical prose into a book that displays the kind of deep insight that comes only with knowing a place well. From rainforest rivers to desert rivers, from tidal rivers to those along the Continental Divide, Alkire has waded and fished these waters over the decades. Along with his fishing adventures, the book also looks at the geography, the early explorers, and the modern-day impacts on the rivers themselves. Find it at your local bookstore! ISBN:978-0-8117-3829-3


Our second batch of merchandise with the new logo is almost here! Our online shop will launch on our website soon, so stay tuned!

  • Hats              $25
  • Hoodies        $35
  • T-shirts         $20

Coming Up

Get Involved

  • Become a Volunteer! As a volunteer-driven organization, we thrive when you take action on issues you care about. Learn more...
  • Mailing/Shipping: We will need volunteers to help out with mailing envelopes and shipping merchandise starting this month. Fill out this form or email to help out!
  • Sportsman's Show Feb 5-9: Interested in representing Northwest Steelheaders and getting new members to sign up? Help us table at the Sportsman's Show! Fill out this form or email to help out. 
  • Family Fish Camp March 13-15: Would you like to teach kids to fish, lead games and activities, or supervise? Fill out this form or email to learn more!

Request for Creativity

Would you like to share your favorite fish recipe? Have you written a thrilling non-fiction fishing story? Do you have a unique fly-tying DIY? Have you taken professional-quality photos of PNW fish and rivers? We want to show off the creativity of our incredible community! Email with your creative submission for a chance to be featured on our website, on social media, and/or in our next newsletter.


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Association of Northwest Steelheaders
6641 SE Lake Rd. Milwaukie, OR 97222
(503) 653-4176

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