Steelhead with John McMillan – Olympic Peninsula, Columbia River, Summer and Winter Steelhead


John McMillan is on the podcast to talk about our northwest steelhead runs, the ups and downs of anadromous fish cycles and why John is optimistic about the current state of steelhead.  John has a talent for clarifying the issues and breaking down where we are at given a long history of human influence in the northwest.

There is no question this one will go down as one of the great podcast episodes and one of the first deep dives into some of the conservation topics related to steelhead and salmon.  The North Umpqua, Olympic Peninsula and Deschutes are all covered in this one.


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Show Notes with John McMillan

John talks about the highest priority basins that are on TU’s list for steelhead and are their gems.

We note the reason steelhead disappear in Alaska and note that John was on the Barbless podcast where he went in depth on similar topics.

The Wild Steelhead Initiative is John’s focus now.  The goal is to identify those best last places for steelhead.

We talk about the Big Fundamental, aka Tim Duncan and how this applies to steelhead recovery based on limiting factors.  Run size, how many fishing, caught and how many escaping to spawn.

We talk about the Elwha dam removal and the potential removal of the 4 lower Snake River dams.  Here’s a time-lapsed video of the Elwha dam removal project.

Rainforest_steel is John’s Instagram handle where he shares some great underwater pics and summaries of steelhead life histories.

We talk about John’s new podcast coming out soon.  The guys at Barbless were a big part of helping to get John fired up on this.

The Steelhead Caddis and the String Leech are Johns goto flies for Summer and Winter Steelhead respectively.

May the Rivers Never Sleep is a book that John wrote with his dad.  We talk about the book a River Never Sleeps by Roderick Haig Brown.

Wild Steelhead by Sean Gallager as well as Trey Combs books and Dec Hogan’s Passion for Steelhead are all of the most recommended.

Dec Hogan was on the podcast here.

The Elwha movie is coming out on the summer steelhead returns.

We noted the Deschutes Angler Fly Shop and the upcoming fundraising action that John has going with TU.

You can reach John at Rainforest_Steel on Instagram.

Videos Noted in the Show

John Notes this Pulp Fiction Clip

The Elwha Dam Removal Project

Conclusion with John McMillan

John McMillan covered all of the big issues when it comes to steelhead recovery and the current status.

Snake River dams, hatcheries and habitat issues were all talked about today on the podcast.  John has a talent for breaking down the big issues for the rest of u