Stilly question [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Stilly question

03-23-2004, 09:19 PM
Back in the 70's when I was a kid I lived within bicycle range of the Stilly near Arlington, a couple miles upstream from I-5. We used to fish it (and Pilchuck creek) with bait, and once in a blue moon would catch a fish. My uncle would try to fly fish with an old glass fly rod and an automatic reel and complained about the poor fishing, although I think he just wasn't a good fisherman. Was wondering if this is part of the area you guys steelhead nowadays, and is it in the area you refer to as the North Fork? I may be returning there for a visit and would like to take my new CND's with me. It sure was a great place to be a kid back then.

03-23-2004, 09:57 PM
I haven't seen a reference to the Pilchuck river/creek since the early 1980's. Used to fish the heck out this late in the season. Pool/pocket/pool/pocket, etc. Second largest steelhead I've ever hooked and landed came out of a small pool on the Pilchuck.

Doubt the things was much larger than my office at home ... but that hummer would almost always hold fish.

Sigh ... days gone by.

Brian Simonseth
03-23-2004, 10:06 PM
I fish N.F. Stilly all summer. I think I know it? Just e-mail me when you come up and I bring one of the CND I have!:smokin:

I'll take you fishing!!

beau purvis
03-23-2004, 10:07 PM
Well we have something else in common other than the Tronquets. By the way Peter said he really enjoyed your clave!!Peter and I stumbled onto the Pilchuck in the mid 60's. We were at the UW.The 2nd year there I had my classes so that I could leave for the Pilchuck at about 10am.It was great intimate pocket water with wonderful fish. many fond memories.We became lifelong friends at least partly as a result of the time we spent there!Beau

old man
03-24-2004, 10:56 AM
Used to fish Pilchuck Creek all the time until the fishing just seemed to drop off. But that was before I took up fly fishing. I have been back one or two times but there just seems to be no fish. I used to catch a lot of sea runs out of that little creek. But it was on spinners and the fish ranged from 14" to 20". But I think that those days are long gone now. Too many people using bait there now even though it is not allowed.Game wardens can't be every place. Sad,sad thing. Did most of my fishing in the late 70's to the late 80's.


03-24-2004, 12:01 PM
The river downstream of Arlington in the main stem Stilly. The river forks at Arlington and the North Fork runs up through Oso and toward Darrington. And it sounds like some people are confusing the Pilchuck River with Pilchuck Creek. The river is a tributary of the Snohomish, while the creek feeds the Stillaguamish.

03-24-2004, 12:28 PM

Like Jim has already said, Pilchuck Creek has very searuns in the lower section. If you go up nearer to lake Cavanaugh, you can find some cutthroat; however, access is not the greatest and you will find yourself walking the creek bed to find fish. There is a small winter steelhead run in it; but there are no summer runs that I am aware of. It does get hit quite hard in the lower section all summer long by local bait fishers.

The North Fork, as has been already said, begins in Arlington and flows toward Darrington. The north fork has experienced some pretty drastic changes from the DeForest Creek slide and all the material that went down Deer Creek and the North Fork from it. This year's flood I'm sure moved some more of this around and make some more changes to the river.

And upstream of Oso, there is a very active slide opposite Steelhead Haven that puts clay into the river with each rain. This slide and the clay/sand mix from it, colors the river all the way to Arlington and it has filled in much of the gravel and rock substrate in the river below it for miles. So far, Snohomish County has been unwilling to do anything to put an end to this slide's adverse effects on the river.

There is also a slide in the Boulder Creek drainage that has put sand/clay into the river below Boulder Creek.

I'm afraid you are going to find the North Fork not to be the same river you remember from your youth.

03-24-2004, 01:11 PM
Homer, Can't you just about touch the other side of NF with the tip of one those CND's in the summer?:razz:

Brian Simonseth
03-24-2004, 05:32 PM

I seat on a board (SIRC) working on the slide probelm we have done all the ground work. Now its the Feds time to work! The problem doen't stop to it hits the bay. Here is a sample letter I wrote. If you would like to write one to your local senator or SRFB be my guest

Iím asking for you help with Hazel/Steelhead Haven slide on the North Fork of the Stillaguamish. We have done all the work that we can; now itís time for letter writing to all the Senators and Salmon Recovery Funding Broad. Working with the Stillaguamish Tribe and the SIRC (which I have a seat on) we have done all the ground work. Now the SRFB is going to get this proposal, so I would like a letter from every one on this subject to the Senators and SRFB. Here is a copy of the letter I wrote (with help from some friends) and sending out.

Senator and SRFB

I urge you to support the Stillaguamish Tribe in their efforts to secure funding for the remediation of the Hazel/Steelhead Haven slide on the North Fork of the Stillaguamish. I hope that funding requested from your office will help to restore this once magnificent fishing treasure.

The expenditure of funds would provide a dramatic reduction of silt and clay from a slide that continues to seriously compromise spawning and rearing habitat through out the river, including estuarial shellfish habitat. These funds are needed to complete the engineering, design and construction of a logjam that would restore the disturbance state for the fish and wildlife populations.

The Stillaguamish watershed (WRIA 5) is fortunate to have the synergy of an organized local group known as the Stillaguamish Implementation and Review Committee (SIRC), this watershed council includes all relevant Federal, State, local and tribal agencies plus many local stakeholders representing the Federation of Fly Fishers, farmers, loggers, landowners and environmentalists. SIRC has been involved in the Army Corps of Engineers Ecosystems restoration projects since the late 1990ís. The Hazel/Steelhead Haven slide project has been identified as a key project necessary for a successful ecosystem restoration strategy. Congress has authorized $24,000,000 to address these projects in the Stillaguamish basin but the monies have yet to be appropriated.

I urge you to support the efforts in the Congress. Rarely is there an opportunity like this where a single project can solve so many downstream problems. Our future economic and cultural existence depends greatly upon the commitments we make today towards restoring this world-renowned river.

Respectfully yours,

Brian Simonseth

If any one has any question PM me.

03-24-2004, 05:44 PM

I'm very aware of how the slide has effected the river all the way to the bay. I also know that the Stilly Tribe and SIRC have tried to get Snohomish County on board without success. I am also aware of the federal grant that needed local and state matching dollars to create a permanent fix for the slide that was lost because the county would not belly up to the bar for the 10 years they had to do so.

The main problem appears to be with Snohomish County's unwillingness to spend any money on fixing the slide; hence, there is very little that can be done.

For those who do not understand the effects of the Steelhead Haven slide, it has had major negative impacts on the threatened chinook of the North Fork Stilliquamish River because it keeps covering up the gravel, which both reduces the amount of spawning ground available and smothers eggs in silt. The silt from it also fills in the river's runs and holes making them unsuitable for holding fish.

Brian Simonseth
03-24-2004, 06:05 PM
SIRC has made the slides on both forks number "1" on the todo list. Every one voted for it! John Koster is a board member. Flytyer I never seen you at any of the meetings (the past 3.5 years) so maybe you can fill me in on the slide issue. Things are happen!:whoa:

Snohomish County and the Stilly Tribe are working together on this one.

old man
03-25-2004, 10:53 AM

Most of the people that are talking about these rivers and streams know which Pilchuck Creek we are talking about. There is also a Little Pilchuck Creek. It starts around Locksloy and runs into the Pilchuck River above Machias.

As for summer runs I don't know. What I do know is the the main river gets a good number of smolts for the summer run time and they could stray up the Creek. Besides I have had a few chase my spinners when I fished that way and with my buck fever I probably pull it out of their reach.

Yeah those clay slides are killers just like the one on the S/F that also colors up that fork all the way down.

One more thing the upper Pilchuck Creek also had dollies/bull trout in it as I have got a few in my earlier days.

About 30 years ago I was up fishing Lake Cavanaugh when the State game dept planted some salmon fingerlings in the lake. Two years later there were salmon in the river. Some came back as jacks. But I don't know if the plant ever took roots.


Brian Simonseth
03-25-2004, 06:30 PM
If you would put your Snoopy Rod back in the closet and get a real rod. Who knows we could call you SS Rich!:hehe:

03-26-2004, 01:57 PM

I just got some info from the Stilly Tribe on the slide and it is consistent with my prior post. There has been a plan developed to contain the Steelhead Haven slide and move the river channel to the south away from the slide's toe so the slide material will not make it into the river. The tribe is also working on acquiring undeveloped lots in Steelhead Haven; but the tribe will not buy any lot with a house or mobile home on it.

The county, I was informed by the tribe, is not working with the tribe on this. Instead, the county is letting the tribe do the work and take the risk because the county has "other priorities".

Brian Simonseth
03-26-2004, 02:15 PM
SIRC, County and the Tribe have been working together on the Steelhead Haven project!

Why don't you come to the meetings


Thats the one I been talking about to different clubs for over 2 Years Feds will buy the homes part of the plan The study was done 3 years ago, I even have a copy of it gofigure

03-26-2004, 04:24 PM

It looks like the only thing we disagree on is the level of the county's involvement in mitigating the slide. My understanding is that the county has been very willing to meet with the tribe and others on it; however, the county is not willing to put up any money for it, nor have any of their equipment or employees do any of the actual work in the dirt.

Brian Simonseth
03-26-2004, 04:38 PM
SIRC has many projects
On this project Stillaguamish Tribe has the lead but we all work together on all projects