Trouts Journal

Oregon Steelhead Once Again Need Your Support

Ivan Orsic / Mar 28, 2022

The readership of Trouts Fly Fishing spreads far beyond the Front Range, Summit County, and the Western Slopes of Colorado. For many readers and customers, they frequent other destinations. This includes the Pacific Northwest, in search of wild steelhead.

If you have been keeping up with the news surrounding the steelhead found in the PNW, you know their existence is--seemingly--always threatened.

Four days ago (and earlier this month), the ODFW--once again--requested public input for their prospective steelhead management in the Columbia River Basin and the North Umpqua River Basin.

This is a critical time for these truly wild fish, and while some progress has been made in recent years, there is always more that can be done to protect this unique and special species.

If you are interested in how your voice can be used to impact wild summer steelhead in Oregon, read ODFW's latest news release below!

Cover Photo by Andrew Bain on Unsplash

ODFW seeks input on steelhead management in Columbia Basin including Deschutes River

March 24, 2022

SALEM, Ore.—Returns of summer steelhead to areas above Bonneville Dam hit a record low in 2021, closing the Deschutes River to steelhead fishing for the first time since 1978 and impacting fisheries throughout the mainstem and tributaries.

With another low run forecast for 2022, ODFW is seeking to engage anglers and other stakeholders on potential fishery management actions this year and into the future. The goal is to provide greater transparency on what management actions will be taken when steelhead runs are low so anglers, guides and local communities understand the decision framework and can be more prepared for likely fishery restrictions.

As a first step, ODFW is asking anglers and other stakeholders to complete a listening survey by April 11. The survey is being conducted by Oregon State University Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit; find it HERE

On April 19 at 6 p.m.

ODFW fish biologists throughout the Columbia Basin will present a webinar to discuss summer steelhead management, what was learned from the survey, decision frameworks for fishery restrictions and more. This webinar will be live streamed over ODFW's YouTube channel and include a Q and A session where fisheries biologists will answer questions submitted during the live stream.

"We want to better understand the perspectives and concerns of those who are interested in the management of summer steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries including the Deschutes, John Day, Walla Walla, Umatilla, Imnaha and Grande Ronde Rivers," said Shaun Clements, ODFW assistant fish division administrator. "So we really appreciate everyone interested in this issue taking the time to complete the survey."

"Our first priority is always conservation, and unfortunately upriver summer steelhead runs have been on a downturn since 2017," he continued. "Greater transparency about management actions that may be taken during low runs will help communities impacted by closures prepare and understand when management actions will be taken and why."

While permanent regulations for these fisheries could change in the future, the decision frameworks initially will be used to make in-season regulation changes (e.g. temporary rules).

This public process is in addition to the normal process for mainstem Columbia River fisheries and the annual Sport Fishing Regulations process.

For more background on steelhead management in the Columbia River Basin and to sign up for updates, please visit HERE.

While the survey is designed to capture public comments on this issue, questions about steelhead management in the Columbia Basin including the tributaries can be emailed to

ODFW hosts public workshop, survey and webinar on North Umpqua summer steelhead

Thursday, March 17, 2022

ROSEBURG, Ore – With recent low returns of summer steelhead to the North Umpqua basin, ODFW is seeking public input on potential fishery management actions.

In 2021, summer steelhead returns declined in much of their range from Cape Blanco to British Columbia. Just 450 wild summer steelhead returned to the North Umpqua basin last year.

This decline, along with fires and drought in the basin prompted ODFW to reassess the North Umpqua summer steelhead population and factors that may limit their abundance. Factors may include stream and ocean conditions, the hatchery program, and more.

As ODFW determines if fishery management changes are necessary, public input on the hatchery summer steelhead program is needed.

An upcoming workshop is the first of a multi-pronged approach to understand public attitudes and concerns related to hatchery and wild summer steelhead and climate change impacts in the Umpqua Basin. It is followed by a survey and virtual webinar.

For information on the reassessment and public outreach, check the North Umpqua Summer Steelhead web page.

March 29 public workshop (in-person):

ODFW is hosting a workshop in Roseburg at the Douglas County Fairgrounds Conference Hall building, Cascade West room March 29, 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.

The workshop is limited to 100 participants and pre-registration is required.

During the workshop, attendees will participate in various round table discussions centered on these topics and more. The interactive nature of the workshop ensures all voices are heard and stakeholders can discuss their views with those at their table. Each table will be facilitated, and participants will move between tables to cover all topics.

March 19-27, 2022 - Survey:

Those who cannot attend the workshop but would still like to offer input can take a survey.

The survey is open 12 a.m. March 19 to 11:59 p.m. March 27.

April 7, 2022 - Public Webinar

The public is invited to a virtual webinar April 7, 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

ODFW will present the results of the summer steelhead population reassessment, public survey, and information gained at the in-person workshop.

April 22, 2022-Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Presentation:

Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Public input from the workshop, survey, and webinar will help craft management recommendations for the hatchery summer steelhead program. Staff will present this information to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission for approval at their April 22 meeting in Astoria.

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