THE DALLES, Ore.—With another low run of summer steelhead forecast, angling closures for steelhead, bass and salmon will be in effect for parts of the Deschutes River this summer, starting as early as June 1, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said Wednesday.
The closures are in keeping with the Deschutes River steelhead fishery framework that fishery managers presented earlier this year due to continued low forecasts for Threatened summer steelhead runs to areas upriver of Bonneville Dam in the Columbia and Snake River Basins.
Last year’s upriver steelhead run to Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River was the lowest since records began in 1938, resulting in the first steelhead fishing closure on the Deschutes since 1978. Encounter rates from sport anglers that catch and release wild summer steelhead are typically high in mid-Columbia tributaries like the Deschutes, where fish stage before migrating to spawning areas throughout the Deschutes and Columbia Basin.
Pre-season forecasts for 2022 are similar to last year’s returns, so closures are necessary in these mixed stock fisheries, even though anglers may be targeting hatchery steelhead, ODFW said.
As more summer steelhead pass Bonneville Dam from summer through fall, fishing seasons will be adjusted. Anglers should always check the Recreation Report for their fishing zone as regulations can change quickly, https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/central-zone. Changes are also announced by news release.
Under temporary rules adopted for the Deschutes River today:
- Steelhead and bass fishing is closed from June 1-Aug. 15 from the mouth at the west bound I-84 Bridge upstream to Pelton Dam.
- Chinook salmon fishing is closed from Aug. 1-15 from the mouth at the west bound I-84 Bridge upstream to upper railroad trestle (approx 3 miles downstream from Sherars Falls).
- Coho salmon fishing is closed from Aug. 1-15 from the mouth at the west bound I-84 Bridge upstream to upper railroad trestle (approximately 3 miles downstream from Sherars Falls) and from Sherars Falls upstream to Pelton Dam.
Normally, under permanent regulations, hatchery steelhead fishing is open all year, coho fishing is open Aug. 1-Dec. 31 and Chinook fishing is open Aug. 1-Oct. 31. Salmon fishing closures are needed during these time periods, as salmon anglers may encounter wild steelhead.
Trout fishing remains open on the Deschutes River, as there is less risk that trout anglers will encounter wild steelhead. Anglers should take extra steps to avoid targeting steelhead and safely release them if caught, see tips at https://myodfw.com/articles/tips-avoiding-steelhead-when-fishing
For more information about steelhead management in the Columbia River and tributaries, see https://myodfw.com/articles/steelhead-management-columbia-snake-river-basins