The Stream Doctor

January 3rd, 2005

Email YOUR Questions directly to the Stream Doctor. This is your opportunity to get an experts professional opinion on anything stream related.

Q. Two years ago, me and a buddy found a mountain stream flowing into the Wenatchee River in eastern Washington that was full of rainbow trout (and one chocolate brown bull trout). Most fish were of very modest size, 6-8 inches, some as large as 10 inches in length. It was late July, very hot, and the fish were feeding aggressively on almost anything we put into the water. Last summer we showed up at the same stream and there was hardly a fish to be seen. There was lots of food, insects all over the place. What do you suppose happened? This stream flows out of a protected National Park where there is no logging. But, in the preceding winter there was exceptionally high snowfall and the winter lasted longer into spring than usual. The water flows in the river were high all summer long because of the large snow pack; in fact it was the middle of August before we could even fish in the stream due to high flows. I had assumed this kind of water would help the fish population. Where did the fish go?

A. Without knowing more about the stream and its history, it just isn't possible for me to come up with a reason for the disappearance of the fish. I think that you could probably get a better answer if you contacted the local WDFG fish biologist for that region. He/she might know of something that impacted the fish population or whether this fluctuation might be typical of the streams in that region.

I know of several tributary streams to the Wenatchee R. that flow out of National Forests, but none that flow from a National Park.

If you have a question, please feel free to contact me.
~ C. E. (Bert) Cushing, aka Streamdoctor
105 W. Cherokee Dr.
Estes Park, CO 80517
Phone: 970-577-1584

The 'Stream Doctor' is a retired professional stream ecologist and author, now living in the West and spending way too much time fly-fishing. You are invited to submit questions relating to anything stream related directly to him for use in this Q & A Feature at

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