Rich G -
I'm not sure that the available information supports your position the WDFW is only interested in bonking wild fish. A quick review of this year's regs showed that one river in the state (King county's Green River) allows the taking of wild summer steelhead. No where in Eastern Washington is it legal to kill a wild steelhead. In Western Washington I found 135 streams that were open for steelhead fishing during the winter and on only 15 (11%) were open to the taking of wild steelhead (1 per day).
Typically about 80,000 anglers in this state fish steelhead. On the 15 streams open for the taking it would be a big year if the total number of wild fish killed would be 5,000 fish or about 1 fish for every 16 anglers. If you truly believe that the 5,000 fish is excessive you would never target any wild steelhead and quite fishing once the brats are done!
If everyone of us caught and release just 1 or 2 wild steelhead a year collectively we would kill more than 5,000 fish due to hooking mortality. If an angler is releasing more than a fish or 2 a year he or she is responsible killing more than their share of the resource and from your comments more than the resource can support.
Arguably Washington's management of wild steehead is the most conservative all wild salmonid management (possible exception would be bull trout). While I hear and read of much teeth gnashing about bonking wild steelhead I hear very little regarding wild coho, humpies, resident trout or even whitefish all of which are fished much harder than steelhead.
If all of us "wild steelhead nuts" truly feel that there are no harvestable wild steelhead we should not be targeting them.
Just something to think about will waiting for the next "brat" to bite.