Record numbers of steelhead returning to the Snake River system has prompted Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to increase the bag limit for adipose fin-clipped steelhead in several northeast Oregon waters.
Beginning on Sunday, October 18, the bag limit for adipose fin-clipped steelhead will increase from three to five fish per day and will remain in effect through April 15, 2010 in the following areas:
* Grande Ronde River from the Oregon/Washington state line to the mouth of the Wallowa River;
* Wallowa River from the mouth to Trout Creek; and,
* Imnaha River from the mouth to Big Sheep Creek.
In the Snake River from the Oregon/Washington state line to the angling deadline below Hell’s Canyon Dam, the bag limit will be five adipose fin-clipped steelhead of which no more than three may be 32-inches total length or greater. The states of Idaho and Washington have implemented similar regulations in the Snake River and tributaries.
The June 1 through October 10 count of steelhead at lower Granite Dam is over 230,000 this year, about double the 10-year average. With such a large run in the Snake River, managers expect abundant hatchery steelhead to return to trapping facilities on the Wallowa River, Little Sheep Creek (Imnaha basin), and at Hell’s Canyon Dam on the Snake River.
“We expect a very good fishery this year,” said Bill Knox, ODFW fish biologist in Enterprise. “There will be plenty of fish and we encourage anglers to keep adipose fin-clipped, hatchery steelhead to help reduce the potential interactions with ESA-listed wild steelhead in these waters. Retention of adipose fin-clipped hatchery steelhead will also help reduce surplus returns to hatchery trapping facilities next spring.”
Anglers are still required to record steelhead on their combined angling tags and follow all other regulations contained in the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.