some of the lowest steelhead returns on record, the Oregon Department of Fish
and Wildlife has already curtailed steelhead fishing seasons throughout the
Columbia River basin by adopting rolling season closures, reduced bag limits,
and a night angling closure for all species.
CBB, June 16, 2017, “States Set Schedule Of Angling Closures Aimed At
Protecting Low Numbers Of Wild Steelhead” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439106.aspx)
ODFW is asking anglers to further help the region’s steelhead by adopting
ODFW’s best handling practices when they’re out on the water this summer.
voluntary efforts may reduce the necessity for future mandatory regulations,”
said Tucker Jones, ODFW’s manager of Ocean Salmon and Columbia River fisheries.
“If a person happens to intercept a wild steelhead, or any steelhead during a
retention closure period for that matter, it is imperative that they do their
utmost to ensure its survival by using best handling practices.”
lists best handling practices on Page 13 of the 2017 Oregon Sport Fishing
Regulations. These practices include:
Use barbless hooks (even where not required)
Use tackle strong enough to bring your fish in quickly
Land fish as quickly and carefully as possible
Avoid removing the fish from the water
If taking a photo, cradle the fish at water level and quickly take the picture
Remove hooks quickly and gently while keeping the fish under water
Use long-nosed pliers or hemostats to back out a hook
If a fish is hooked deeply, cut the line near the hook
Revive fish (point them into slow current or move them back and forth until
gills are working)
When possible, let the fish swim out of your hands
Fish when it’s cool out – likely early in the morning or late in the afternoon
– fishing is better and stress on fish is less.
summer steelhead forecasts are very low this year at approximately 119,000,
compared to 5- and 10-year average actual returns of 236,000 and 315,000,
respectively. Wild upriver summer steelhead forecasts are low as well, with a
forecast return of just 34,000 fish versus the 5- and 10-year average actual
returns of 87,000 and 105,000, respectively. Snake River wild “B” steelhead
returns are the most imperiled, with a forecast of just 1,100 fish.
returns of steelhead so low, another strategy is to not target them and focus
on other species, including warmwater species such as bass, walleye, and
pikeminnow. These species are not only fun to catch but they also prey on
juvenile steelhead and salmon.