The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Created Deschutes-Columbia River Cold Water Sanctuary Protecting Columbia River Salmon and Wild Steelhead

On August 3, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission directed the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Department (ODFW) to implementing protective angling regulations that provided a migratory sanctuary for wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and in the lower mile of the Deschutes River.

The Deschutes River plume creates a cold water refuge 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.

Read the full press release.

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