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Thompson Steelhead Working Group


Steelhead are iconic of the Thompson River and region. Having long sustained First Nations people, Steelhead are also central to the region’s world-class recreational fishery. Unfortunately this salmonid species is in decline, and today Thompson Steelhead are classed as of extreme conservation concern. A new initiative is underway for a recovery and management plan.

Photo: Thompson Steelhead — catch & release fishery

About the Working Group

The Thompson Steelhead Working Group is a multi-governmental collaborative initiative formed in 2014 to bring together representatives of the Nlaka’pamux and Secwepemc First Nations, the Province of BC and the Government of Canada (Fisheries and Oceans Canada) to develop a recovery and management plan for Thompson Steelhead.

The Thompson Steelhead Working Group is now:

  • Identifying common objectives for Steelhead
  • Developing a planning framework to address recovery and management of Thompson Steelhead
  • Creating terms of reference for a Thompson Steelhead Committee.

 The five steps associated with the planning framework are to:

  1. Identify proposed planning priorities (biological, management)
  2. Identify resource management options
  3. Identify biological, social and economic performance indicators
  4. Assess the likely impacts of each resource management option
  5. Recommend preferred management options.

Thompson Steelhead Population Trends

Thompson Steelhead Status October 23, 2017 | Thompson Steelhead Status from MFLNRO, Nov 20, 2016

Although the abundance of Thompson Steelhead varies year to year, populations have declined overall since the 1990s. In 2015 numbers were low, with an estimated 440 fish returning to spawn. These returns were considerably less than the pre-season forecast of 1,300 spawners and in-season forecast of 850 spawners. The numbers have continued to fall. In 2016, there was an estimated 380 fish returning to spawn and in 2017 an estimated 290.

Thompson Steelhead is classed as of extreme conservation concern.


Thompson Steelhead pre-fishery abundance is shown in red above; spawner abundance is shown in blue: 1984-2016.

Steelhead Management

The Nkala’pamux and Secwepemc First Nations are working to protect and restore the Thompson Steelhead through habitat enhancements and management agreements between the three orders of government to ensure the sustainable abundance of Steelhead for the future.

The Province of BC is also taking steps most notably through the Provincial Framework for Steelhead Management and provincial designations aimed at protecting key habitat.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada leads the annual development of the Southern BC Integrated Fisheries Management Plan.

The working group plans to coordinate efforts to support Steelhead within the Thompson region.

Learn More

Learn more about:

Contact Us

The Fraser Basin Council serves as secretariat for the working group. You can reach the working group at:

Thompson Steelhead Working Group
c/o Mike Simpson, Senior Regional Manager, Thompson
Fraser Basin Council
200A - 1383 McGill Road, Kamloops, BC V2C 6K7

T: 250 314-9660


Our Vision

Social well-being supported by a vibrant economy and sustained by a healthy environment.

About the Fraser Basin Council

The Fraser Basin Council (FBC) is a charitable non-profit organization that brings people together to advance sustainability in the Fraser River Basin and throughout BC. Established in 1997, FBC is a collaboration of four orders of government (federal, provincial, local and First Nations) along with those from the private sector and civil society. We work with people in multiple sectors, helping them find collaborative solutions to today’s issues through a commitment to the social, economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability. Our focus is on healthy water and watersheds, action on climate change and air quality and strong, resilient communities and regions.

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Climate Action Toolkit:

Contact Us

FBC has offices in Vancouver, Kamloops, Williams Lake, Quesnel and Prince George. We also have staff located in Abbotsford and Vernon.

To reach us, see FBC Offices and FBC Staff.

Our main office is:

Fraser Basin Council
1st Floor, 470 Granville Street
Vancouver, BC V6C 1V5

T: 604 488-5350
F: 604 488-5351