In a sweeping move to protect fish amid ongoing drought and high air and water temperatures, Oregon fish and wildlife officials announced Thursday some stretches of rivers would be closed to angling indefinitely and some after 2 p.m. starting Saturday.
The move comes on the heels of multiple fish die-offs on rivers from Willamette to the John Day during the past month.
The hope, Hamilton said, is that the drought will spur deeper changes that can help fish, such as improving riparian cover, reviewing how reservoir levels are managed during years of low snow packs, or even adding temperature regulating towers at dams.
“We’ve never done anything this broad sweeping”. The majority of streams in Oregon, though, will have the afternoons closure. Temperatures over 65 F (18 C) degrees will stress these types of fish, Swart said.
“It’s the reward part, you catch a fish, and you release them, it’s a release sort of deal”, Parker said. “We’re trying to do whatever we can to protect our native fish”.
Reaction in the fishing community was mixed. The Willamette River saw scores of dead salmon in June.
“All of these rules are not set in stone”, Donley said. When waters warm up toward the heat of the day and during heat waves, fish are vulnerable.
“There doesn’t seem to be any smoking gun at this point, which is always disconcerting”, McIntosh said.
“We are fully supportive of the state action”, he said. “We’ll continue monitoring stream conditions throughout Washington this summer and take additional actions if necessary”. “Planning for the effects of these changing climatic conditions presents a unique challenge for us, yet we are committed to doing our best to enhance resiliency to climate change and avoid significant impacts on our natural resources”.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife says the closures and restrictions are effective Saturday, until further notice.
Zach Urness has been an outdoors writer, photographer and videographer in Oregon for seven years.
On these sections of river, fishing will be prohibited at all times for trout, salmon, steelhead and sturgeon.
However, earlier this summer, the department closed fishing on a section of the Sol Duc River to protect returning chinook during drought conditions.
· The Wallowa River above Sunrise Road; Lostine River above Pole Bridge Campground; Prairie Creek; Hurricane Creek; Spring Creek; and all streams within the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area.
The Klamath River and its tributaries.
The Hood River and its tributaries and the White River and its tributaries. Fishing on the Elwha River west of Port Angeles is closed as part of restoration following dam removals.
North Fork Touchet River from the mouth to Spangler Creek.
Spokane River tributaries, including Little Spokane River and tributaries (Spokane/Pend Oreille/Stevens Counties) from the State Route 25 Bridge upstream to Monroe Street Dam.