Humboldt Steelhead Days is more than just a fishing contest—it’s a winter celebration of all things steelhead. The ever-evolving event is in its fifth year and continues to host an array of watershed-related activities throughout Humboldt County. e goal of Humboldt Steelhead Days (HSD) is to inspire community awareness, and promose river restoration and the recovery of Humboldt’s iconic wild winter steelhead populations.
HSD looks to build on its popularity with both local and out-of-area anglers. During January and February, there are more steelhead in our North Coast rivers than anywhere else in California.
“Fishing winter Steelhead on the North Coast is exciting and exhilarating no matter what Mother Nature throws at you. Steelhead are beautiful, hard hitting fish. Get out there and hit it,” said HSD fisherman Tim Call.
This year, Humboldt Steelhead Days runs from Saturday, January 13 to Saturday, February 17. Licensed anglers can participate in the contest by registering online at www.humboldtsteelheaddays. com. Once registered, anglers will be eligible to win several prize packages. Anglers who catch the three biggest hatchery steelhead on either the Mad or Trinity rivers will be notified prior to the Steelhead Awards Ceremony on Saturday, February 17, at the Mad River Brewing Company Tap Room.
In addition to showcasing angling opportunities on some of Humboldt’s most pristine steelhead rivers, HSD is a major fundraising event for the non- profit group Mad River Alliance (MRA) and their programs. MRA is a community-driven group of volunteers working to protect clean water and the ecological integrity of the Mad River watershed for the benefit of its human and natural communities.
Michelle Fuller, the outgoing president of MRA’s Board of Directors, said “Humboldt Steelhead Days has become one of Mad River Alliance’s most fun and well-known events. We are thrilled to see so many people connecting with this important seasonal phenomenon, and coming out to support our watershed!”
MRA director Dave Feral founded HSD four years ago. The event’s original mission was to celebrate the return of the winter steelhead to the Mad River. HSD has evolved over the last four years to also build community awareness and fund continued restoration and recovery activities on North Coast rivers and streams.
“The Mad River watershed supports at least 37 fish species utilizing the river for some part of their life history. For salmon and steelhead, the annual return and spawning is an integral part of Humboldt’s cultural identity and way of life. Each year, wild fish return to their native streams, spawn and continue the cycle of life. Seeing these amazing creatures return from their miles-long journey will appeal to anyone who loves the natural world,” states Feral.
Anglers can fish on the Mad and Trinity rivers through February 17 with the requirement that they send in a photo of their hatchery fish catch to event organizers at humboldtsteelheaddays@ gmail.com, or post them on social media (HSD Facebook or Instagram pages) using the hashtags #humboldtsteelheaddays or #HSD.