Pioneer’s pragmatic project
Modifying the irrigation system and saving water in the Wenatchee River for the preservation of chinook, steelhead and bull trout is fantastic. However, manhandling a native steelhead (a steelhead with an unclipped adipose fin, as shown in the photo published Nov. 29) by Aaron Penvose, project director of Trout Unlimited, for a photo opportunity is detrimental to the preservation of the fish that they are trying to protect. Washington state fishing laws mandate that native steelhead cannot be removed from the water and must be released unharmed. Aaron’s handling of the native steelhead sets a poor example for less experienced fishermen and increases the likelihood that that fish will die due to the disturbance of the protective slime coat on the fish’s skin. Any other fisherman, doing a similar thing and being encountered by a wildlife enforcement officer, would most likely receive a citation.