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Wild North Umpqua summer steelhead returns showing improvement

Written by on August 18, 2022

ROSEBURG, Ore – Numbers of wild summer steelhead returning to the North Umpqua River are showing improvement.

As of July 19, 1,094 wild summer steelhead crossed Winchester Dam in the North Umpqua River. Which is an improvement over 2021 when a total of just 450 wild fish returned. Although returns remain below average for this time of year, this is an encouraging sign.

Returns have been closely monitored this summer via a 24/7 count of all fish passing the video counting station at Winchester Dam. Current analysis projects this year’s run to be above the critical threshold of 1,200 wild summer steelhead returning by Dec. 1.

Fishery managers expected higher returns this year based on improving ocean conditions.

“We are seeing indications of improved ocean conditions, and we expect this uptick in summer steelhead returns to continue in the near future along with other salmon and steelhead runs,” said Evan Leonetti, Assistant District Fish Biologist.

There have also been good numbers of hatchery summer steelhead in the North Umpqua. Through July 19, 2,293 hatchery fish moved through the Winchester Dam fish ladder. This is closer to the average number of hatchery fish for this time of year and is providing for a good fishery that will continue into the fall.

Even with cooler nights and water temperatures as we move towards fall, biologists encourage anglers to follow good catch-and-release techniques for wild fish. Other recreationists are encouraged to avoid areas where wild summer steelhead may be holding such as deeper, cooler pools in the North Umpqua River system.

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