Last week, ODFW advanced temporary rules restricting fishing in inland waters for salmon, steelhead, and trout as well as sturgeon (to be addressed in a separate temporary rule following additional coordination with Washington State). The restrictions are driven by the emergency situation facing most Oregon rivers and streams due to drought conditions, low snowpack, low instream flows, extreme weather and highly elevated stream temperatures. The situation has resulted in lethal conditions for fish in several areas to date, and while air temperatures have moderated over the past week, temperatures remain elevated to levels of concern in many waterbodies. In addition, the forecast is for continued hot weather with no influx of cold water on the horizon. The restrictions are intended to reduce and minimize stress on native fish that are already stressed due to the above-mentioned conditions.
In short, the restrictions involve daily no fishing requirements in flowing inland waters from 2pm onward across the State, with specific exceptions applied to respective basins where areas of cold water persist. Exceptions also exist for tidewater areas and the restrictions do not affect fishing for warm-water species. The restriction trigger of 2pm targets the hottest part of the day (when water temperatures are also most acute). Other states have also taken this approach. In its communications related to these rules, the Department will emphasize that fishing opportunities still exist prior to the daily 2pm restriction trigger, and even with the restrictions in place, opportunities still exist in lakes, reservoirs for hatchery and warmwater fish.
The temporary rules will remain in effect until further notice. Rules will expire in 180 days unless ratified by Commission, with the expectation that the rules will not be necessary when cooler weather and rain arrive. ODFW will be doing a media release, and we have reached out in advance to constituent groups affected by the temp. rules. Please feel free to contact me as desired.
Acting Interim Deputy Director
Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
For more information please contact AOC Policy Director Gil Riddell who works on water policy issues.