Umpqua Basin hatchery winter steelhead might net anglers a reward

ROSEBURG, Ore – Anglers who harvest a hatchery winter steelhead and return the snout to an ODFW collection barrel have a chance to win a $50 gift card if their fish is coded wire tagged. Monthly prize drawings run through April 2021.

Collection barrels are located at popular boat ramps around the Umpqua Basin and in Roseburg at Sportsman’s Warehouse and outside the ODFW office on North Umpqua Highway. Bags for the snouts and tags with date and location of harvest are in the barrels.

Hatchery winter steelhead were coded wire tagged this past spring and released in four groups at acclimation sites in Canyonville, each at a different time. ODFW scans collected snouts for the tags which contain the release date and group. This information informs which release timing is the most beneficial to anglers, particularly those fishing the South Umpqua River.

ODFW began getting that data during the 2018-19 winter steelhead angling season with anglers returning about 200 snouts. That number doubled during the 2019-20 season.

“We expect to collect harvested hatchery winter steelhead snouts for at least another five years. The longer length of this study gives us a better picture of the fishery and what, if any, adjustments need made to the release timing,” said Evan Leonetti, ODFW STEP biologist.

Leonetti said it’s too early in the study to make management adjustments and encourages anglers to continue returning snouts from their harvested hatchery winter steelhead.