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ODFW to truck Umatilla spring Chinook to upriver spawning areas

Friday, April 23, 2015

PENDLETON, Ore. -- With water levels in the Umatilla River already reaching summer lows, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today it will begin transporting returning adult spring Chinook salmon from Threemile Dam directly to spawning areas in the upper watershed – a move that will detour fish around the popular upper Umatilla River fishery.

“Low water levels and high water temperatures can have tragic consequences for spring Chinook migrating to their natal waters,” said Bill Duke, ODFW fish biologist in Pendleton. “To ensure these Chinook reach critical holding and spawning areas, we will begin trucking them from the dam beginning this week.”

According to Duke, it is not unusual for the agency to transport spring Chinook when late spring water flows decline and water temperatures increase.

“Usually we’re transporting these fish in early June, near the end of the run,” he said. “This year, with low water levels, we’re transporting them a month earlier, near the beginning of the run.”

The upper river from Threemile Dam upstream to the lower reservation boundary upstream of the Hwy 11 Bridge in Pendleton, will remain open to fishing, as some fish released upstream may drop back into the upper river fishery area.

“We realize this will have quite an impact on the upper river fishery, but consider this action necessary to ensure that fish reach the spawning grounds,” Duke said.

The area downstream of Threemile Dam will remain open until June 8, or until the harvest quota is reached. The quota is based on an estimated adult return of 3,500 fish and the numbers reaching Threemile Dam.

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Contact:

Bill Duke (541) 276-2344
Jessica Sall (503) 947-6023

 
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