Thanks for that insight on the North Fork, 90% is pretty amazing statistic. Boy they know clean water when they see it I guess, and I get a great feeling knowing that there is such a beautiful, bright tributary for them to perpetuate their species.
For anyone in other regions who have not yet seen the Skykomish River system, it's a crisp glacial system running free from the "American Alps", the North Cascade Mountain range. Meltwater from blue glaciers and snow pack tumbles down through mossy forests, sluicing the dust of stones ground by the last ice age - perhaps millions of years old. This dust colors the water a magical turquiose where native trout, steelhead, salmon fin like mirages in the clear summer flows. They fight to find a way to avoid extinction despite all that civilization tries to do to wipe them out. The air fills the lungs with a cleanliness that only the jet stream over the vast pacific can create, and the trees reach high into the northwest sky where bald eagles still thrive.
That this brightwater mountain stream should sustain most of the river system's dolly varden trout speaks volumes to how important conservation is. Many such rivers have been destroyed without any knowledge or concern for it's inhabitants. The impact of a chemical spill, dairy farm, logging operation, or dam could render the majority of this population on the brink of existence.
I can't wait to visit the North Cascades again.