Tag Archives: b-run steelhead

Deschutes Mouth Plume In Columbia Again Closed To All Fishing

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Per direction from the Fish and Wildlife Commission at their Aug. 2 meeting, ODFW is closing all fishing (including catch-and-release) in the Columbia River around the mouth of the Deschutes River and in the lower Deschutes River from the mouth upstream to markers placed on the downstream end of Moody Rapids, from Monday, Aug. 12 through Sept. 15.

The closure is to protect wild summer steelhead and follows several other regulatory steps ODFW and WDFW have taken to protect wild steelhead this year. Returns of ESA-listed wild Snake River steelhead this year are forecasted to be similar to the extremely poor return of 2017, and there are ongoing concerns about the potential effects of angling on wild steelhead that may gather in cooler water near tributary mouths like the Deschutes.

The boundary of the angling closure is defined by a line projecting from the South Channel Range “B” marker located approximately 3/4-mile upstream of the mouth of the Deschutes, downstream through Red Buoy Marker “4”, and terminating at the flashing red USCG light #2 on the Oregon shore downstream of the mouth. (See map on Columbia River Zone fishing regulations page.)

The Commission directed ODFW to take similar steps to close the mouth of the Deschutes last year. Based on additional discussions with the public and regional biologists, the boundary of this year’s closure has been refined to reduce the impact on Chinook fishing opportunities.

This action follows a number of regulatory steps ODFW and WDFW have taken to protect wild steelhead during Columbia River summer and fall fisheries this year. Bag limits in the Columbia River were reduced to one hatchery steelhead per day for the month of July. For fall fisheries, all steelhead (hatchery and wild) must be released during the following periods:

  • Aug. 1-31 from Buoy 10 upstream to The Dalles Dam,
  • Aug. 1 – Sept. 30 from The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam,
  • Sept. 1 – Oct. 31 from John Day to McNary Dam, and
  • Oct. 1 – Nov. 30 from McNary Dam upstream to the OR/WA state line.

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Reconditioned Kelts Released, Boosting Wild Snake B-run By 20 Percent

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE COLUMBIA RIVER INTER-TRIBAL FISH COMMISSION

This year’s low number of steelhead returning to spawn are getting a helping hand from the Nez Perce Tribe and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission this week when fisheries biologists are releasing approximately 100 wild, B-run steelhead into the Snake River. Funded by the Bonneville Power Administration, the steelhead restoration project increases adult steelhead returns to the Snake River basin by maximizing the species’ ability to repeat spawn.

WILD STEELHEAD CAPTURED AS KELTS AND RECONDITIONED THROUGH A NEZ PERCE TRIBE PROGRAM ARE RELEASED INTO THE SNAKE RIVER, INCREASING THIS YEAR’S RETURN BY A FIFTH. (CRITFC)

The steelhead released today just below Lower Granite Dam were all “kelts”—steelhead that have spawned at least once. They were collected at the dam on their out-migration during spring 2016 and 2017 and transported to the Nez Perce Tribal Hatchery in Idaho where they were nursed back to health. After their 6- to 18-month re-maturation process, the females that were ready to spawn again were transported back to the river and released into the wild.

“With an expected natural return of around 500 female B-Run steelhead, this year’s kelt release will boost the number of spawners in the Snake River 20 percent,” said Doug Hatch, senior fisheries scientist and kelt project leader for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. “This work is beneficial every year, but absolutely critical in low-return years like this one.”

Nearly all steelhead survive after spawning, but challenges such as river conditions and the Columbia/Snake hydrosystem impact their survival. Only about half of each year’s steelhead run makes it back to Lower Granite Dam, the first dam they encounter on their migration back to the ocean. Only a tiny fraction (about 0.4% of the Snake River run are kelts) survive to repeat another spawning cycle.

“Kelts have always been a part of the ecosystem. Through the tribal reconditioning program we are merely nurturing an existing process to increase natural reproduction and significantly increases a kelt’s chances of spawning again,” explained Jaime A. Pinkham, executive director of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. “Holding them in hatchery pools shields them from migration-related mortalities and providing them a nutritious and varied diet in low-stress conditions allows them to recover and re-mature.”

The Snake River kelt reconditioning program is an adaptation of a similar program operated on the Yakima River by the Yakama Nation and the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. For the past 18 years, these tribal kelt reconditioning programs have significantly increased the number of repeat steelhead spawners throughout the region.

“Programs like these that take an innovative approach to recovery are how we, as a region, can make real progress in salmon and steelhead recovery,” said Pinkham.

More information on the tribes’ steelhead kelt reconditioning program can be found online at: http://www.critfc.org/fish-and-watersheds/fish-and-habitat-restoration/restoration-successes/steelhead-kelt-reconditioning/