Per direction from the Fish and Wildlife Commission at their Aug. 2 meeting, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildllife (ODFW) is closing all fishing (including catch-and-release) in the Columbia River around the mouth of the Deschutes River and in the lower Deschutes River from the mouth upstream to markers placed on the downstream end of Moody Rapids, from Monday, Aug. 12 through Sept. 15.
The closure is to protect wild summer steelhead and follows several other regulatory steps ODFW and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have taken to protect wild steelhead this year. Returns of ESA-listed wild Snake River steelhead this year are forecasted to be similar to the extremely poor return of 2017, and there are ongoing concerns about the potential effects of angling on wild steelhead that may gather in cooler water near tributary mouths like the Deschutes.
The boundary of the angling closure is defined by a line projecting from the South Channel Range “B” marker located approximately 3/4-mile upstream of the mouth of the Deschutes, downstream through Red Buoy Marker “4,” and terminating at the flashing red USCG light #2 on the Oregon shore downstream of the mouth. (See map on Columbia River Zone fishing regulations page.)
The Commission directed ODFW to take similar steps to close the mouth of the Deschutes last year. Based on additional discussions with the public and regional biologists, the boundary of this year’s closure has been refined to reduce the impact on Chinook fishing opportunities.
This action follows a number of regulatory steps taken to protect wild steelhead during the summer and fall fisheries this year; bag limits in the Columbia River were reduced to one hatchery steelhead per day for the month of July; and for fall fisheries, all steelhead (hatchery and wild) must be released during the following periods:
• Aug. 1-31 from Buoy 10 upstream to The Dalles Dam,
• Aug. 1 – Sept. 30 from The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam,
• Sept. 1 – Oct. 31 from John Day to McNary Dam, and
• Oct. 1 – Nov. 30 from McNary Dam upstream to the OR/WA state line.
For the latest fishing regulations in the Columbia and Deschutes Rivers, visit myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/columbia-zone and myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/central-zone.