Oregon fishermen: Where are all the steelhead?


A sport fisherman lowers his anchor along the Williamette River near Oregon City, Ore. Thursday, May 12, 2005. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

OREGON CITY, Ore. (KOIN) — With the end of summer in sight, local fishermen say the number of steelhead in the Columbia River is far below what they’d hoped for.

Bob Rees with the Northwest Steelheaders says around 300,000 “A-run” steelhead were expected to migrate from the ocean to the Bonneville Dam by this time.

But Rees tells KOIN 6 News only about 100,000 steelhead have come through the dam so far, which he says is “far short from recent years.”

“With the tough ocean conditions in recent years, with the warm water blob and El Nino, you get a double impact on the fish that have a sensitive life cycle,” Rees said.

Fishermen on the river for Labor Day weekend were left disappointed.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife says 45 anglers at buoy 10 didn’t even catch a single steelhead per boat.

Rees says it’s obvious there’s a serious problem.

“We are getting so late into the season right now, the temps are at an adequate level that fish should be migrating at a pretty rapid pace,” he explained.

The “B-run” steelheads typically follow the patterns of the “A-run”, and the Northwest Steelheaders say that means those will likely have much lower totals as well.

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