Enterprise, Ore. – Steelhead season opened in northeast Oregon on Sunday, Sept. 1. Bag limits will be reduced to one (1) hatchery steelhead per day in Oregon waters.
Effective Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, 2019; the daily bag limit is one hatchery steelhead in the following areas:
The Grande Ronde River upstream to Meadow Creek
The Imnaha River downstream of Big Sheep Creek
The Wallowa River from the mouth upstream to Trout Creek;
Big Sheep Creek downstream of Little Sheep Creek
The Wenaha River downstream of Crooked Creek;
The Snake River from the state line to Hells Canyon Dam;
Catherine Creek upstream to Hwy 203 bridge above Catherine Cr. State Park
While the steelhead opener is highly anticipated by anglers, there will be a reduced bag limit this year. “Unfortunately, the returning numbers are similar to those last year, “said Winston Morton, Acting Assistant District Fish Biologist in Enterprise. “As with last year, we have decided to limit the daily catch to one hatchery fish per day in order to protect the returning wild steelhead as well as to insure the hatchery has enough returning fish for broodstock.” The season will run through Dec. 31.
Steelhead are currently making their way up the Columbia and Snake Rivers and biologist are monitoring the run numbers. To date there are 7,340 steelhead over Lower Granite Dam of which 4,827 of those are hatchery fish. The total is only 30 percent of the 10-year average. “We will reevaluate the daily bag limit if returns increase,” added Morton.
ODFW would also to like Oregon anglers to be aware of a steelhead tag reward study being conducted by Idaho Fish and Game. “IDFG has tagged fish some fish and while most will return to their natal streams in Idaho, there is a chance Oregon anglers could catch some of these fish and we would encourage them to report the catch,” said Morton. The tags will be located just below the dorsal fin of the fish.
Anglers can report online at tag.idaho.gov or by phone 1-866-258-0358. Reward tags should be mailed to: Fish Tag Returns, 1414 East Locust Lane, Nampa, ID 83686.