All angling on North Umpqua River and tributaries closed July 31 – Nov. 30
Written by Press Release on July 31, 2023
ROSEBURG, Ore – All angling on the North Umpqua River and its tributaries is closed at 12:01 a.m. July 31 through Nov. 30, 2023. Low numbers of returning wild summer steelhead prompted state fishery managers to enact the angling closure from the mouth to the marker below Soda Springs Dam.
ODFW biologists project the run will not meet the 1,200 returning wild fish “critical abundance level” – the point where conserving the population could be in jeopardy if a downward trend continues. This threshold is defined in the CMP (Coastal Multispecies Conservation and Management Plan.)
Current counts of wild summer steelhead passing Winchester Dam are just under half of the average wild fish return. Low water flows and water temperatures approaching 80 degrees in the lower North Umpqua and mainstem Umpqua rivers also play a role in this emergency angling closure.
Similar conditions and low returns also closed fishing in this area in 2021. Last year, returns were slightly over critical abundance level.
Several factors affecting the low wild summer steelhead returns are at play.
A primary factor is ocean conditions which play a major role in fish survival and ultimately run size. Once entering the Umpqua River, returning summer steel often face less than ideal conditions with very warm water.
Predation from non-native smallmouth and striped bass also has potentially increased, likely contributing to lowered runs. Lastly, habitat conditions in many areas of the Umpqua Basin must be improved to help cool water and provide better conditions for native fish.
District Biologist Greg Huchko says he’s seeing issues across species in the Umpqua with fish populations not performing as well as many other coastal basins, but particularly with coho and summer steelhead.
While ocean conditions are a global challenge, Huchko says ODFW and partners are focusing state and federal funds to improve riparian and in-stream habitat to benefit native fish.
Wild summer steelhead counts are determined from Winchester Dam video of migrating fish.