The Conservation Angler, a wild fish conservation organization, applauds the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, and supports the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department (ODFW) in implementing protective angling regulations that will provide a migratory sanctuary for wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and the very lower mile of the Deschutes River.
The Deschutes River plume creates a cold water refugia for wild salmon and steelhead. The fishing closure would remain in force until the Columbia River water temperatures dropped below 68f.
“Very low numbers of several ESA-listed wild salmon and steelhead populations returning to the Columbia and Snake River are facing conditions adverse to their success in reaching their natal rivers.” Said Bill Bakke, Director of Science and Conservation for The Conservation Angler.
“While current regulations require many wild fish to be released unharmed, the lethal and sub-lethal effects of encounters in the fisheries (both indirect and direct) can and does have an impact on their fitness, survival and productivity.” Said David Moskowitz, Executive Director of The Conservation Angler.
“The very low wild summer steelhead run-size and the extreme heat and its effect on water temperatures really make this sanctuary area a critical conservation action for the entire Columbia River above Bonneville Dam,” said Moskowitz.
Upriver Wild steelhead past Bonneville Dam totaled 14,827 fish which is only 28% of the ten-year average. The current 2018 return of wild steelhead is less than 1,000 fish above 2017’s low return which was the second lowest return of wild steelhead since 1999.