top of page
Fishing 1962 Snoqulamie Falls1020x1106.j

Steelhead Trout Club History

The First 50 Years

The Steelhead Trout Club of Washington, the oldest and continuously active sportsmen’s club in the state was formally organized on Friday, January 20th, 1928 at the Wilsonian Hotel in the University District.

However, the catalyst for forming the Club happened on Jan 1st, 1928 on the banks of the Green River; the opening day of the winter steelhead season.....

It was a cold and murky January day on the banks of the Green River, perhaps it was indicative of the mood of the day.  Gathered around a warming fire, a loyal gang of steelhead trout fisherman stood thawing their hands, eating their lunches, and comparing catches.


The mood was dark, as they stared at the badly net scarred fish they had caught and they began to get angry at the lack of enforcement of inadequate laws to protect this great game fish. They knew something had to be done and so an idea was born and the beginning of the Wild Steelhead Trout Conservation fight began........

A timeline of the first 50 years of the Club is below:

Steelhead Conservation Fight Began.....

By the end of World War I, both sport and commercial fishermen in the Northwest were feeling the impact of pulp mills, dams, and logging on salmon and steelhead numbers, the two species that everyone considered a public resource. Steelhead fishermen, also known as “steelheaders,” fly fishermen, and gear fishermen alike were also concerned about poachers using gillnets in rivers, the abundance of fish traps at river mouths, and lack of enforcement of fish laws by county governments.

But that day on the Green did it. The political clout shown by this relatively small club in its early years lent tremendous encouragement to other segments of the outdoor fraternity to join hands in a common cause – the preservation of this state’s fishing and hunting endowment. It’s a classic example of the adage ‘Together we stand, Divided we fall’.

In the early years, the newly formed Steelhead Club set up goals to encourage, advocate and assist in the conservation and propagation of all sports fish and game life with an emphasis on making steelhead a full-fledged game fish; to protect and improve its habitat and environment; to disseminate knowledge and encourage outdoor life, recreation, and good sportsmanship; and to cooperate with other organizations having similar purposes. A tall order for such a small but passionate group.

So that you might learn a bit more about the Club’s history, the publication: 50 Year History of the Steelhead Trout Club of Washington Seattle Chapter, known as the 'Gold Book', has been scanned in its entirety for your reading pleasure! 

Ken McLeod 1923
bottom of page