ENTERPRISE — Steelhead season is now open in Northeast Oregon and bag limits have been reduced to one hatchery steelhead per day in Oregon waters, according to the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Effective Sept. 1 through Dec. 31, 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 the Highway 203 bridge above Catherine Creek State Park.

“Unfortunately, the returning numbers are similar to those last year, “said Winston Morton, ODFW 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 ensure the hatchery has enough returning fish for broodstock.”

The season runs through Dec. 31.

Steelhead are currently making their way up the Columbia and Snake rivers and biologists are monitoring the run numbers. To date there are 7,340 steelhead over Lower Granite Dam, with 4,827 of those being hatchery fish. The total is only 30% of the 10-year average.

“We will reevaluate the daily bag limit if returns increase,” Morton said.

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