by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
Steelhead fishing will close in the John Day River this fall due to low projected returns of wild steelhead. Angling for, and retention of, steelhead will be closed in the mainstem John Day above Tumwater Falls—and tributaries above this boundary—from Sept. 15-Dec. 31, 2022 due to low projected returns.
Wild steelhead returns, the smolt to adult return ratio, and the proportion of hatchery fish straying into the John Day are all considered when developing seasons. To meet minimum abundance thresholds for John Day wild steelhead, counts of wild adult steelhead over Bonneville Dam must exceed 35,000 from July 1 through Aug. 31. Actual wild steelhead counts over Bonneville this year during that two-month timeframe were approximately 26,200, or about 75 percent of the goal.
“Wild steelhead returns were looking more positive earlier this summer,” said Stephan Charette, ODFW John Day district fish biologist. “Unfortunately, we have since seen wild passage slow down, though numbers are still improved from the record low return observed last year.”
Anglers are reminded that retention of steelhead also remains closed from Sept. 1-Dec. 31 in the following locations:
- John Day River from the mainline railroad bridge at the mouth upstream to a marker ¼ mile below Tumwater Falls
- Umatilla River from the Hwy 730 Bridge upstream to Three Mile Falls Dam
- Walla Walla River from the Oregon/Washington border upstream to the confluence between the South and North Forks
Note the passage criteria for opening the Deschutes River to steelhead fishing is not as restrictive as the John Day River so the Deschutes remains open to steelhead fishing and retention as of Aug. 15.
For more information on steelhead management including the frameworks used in decision making please visit https://myodfw.com/articles/steelhead-management-columbia-snake-river-basins
Remember to always check for the latest fishing regulations by visiting the Recreation Report /Fishing Report for your zone and clicking on Regulation Updates.