Deschutes Closed to all Steelhead Fishing

Desperate times require desperate measures. ODFW did the right thing yesterday by closing the entire Deschutes River to all steelhead fishing for the rest of the year. They also closed the river below Moody Rapids to all fishing. I think that the entire river should be closed to all fishing, but the section below Moody is the most important, and I am thankful for the actions ODFW has taken. The problem is that there have been widespread reports of (selfish, short-sighted, unethical) anglers targeting steelhead while claiming to be fishing for salmon or trout. Hopefully, that will soon change. See ODFW’s press release below.

September 28, 2021

Deschutes River steelhead fishing closures extended through end of the year, coho also closing early

THE DALLES, Ore.—Due to the poor returns of steelhead to the Columbia River Basin, ODFW is extending steelhead fishing closures on the Deschutes River through Dec. 31, 2021.

The current forecast for steelhead above Bonneville Dam indicates that this will be one of the lowest runs on record. ODFW has been monitoring the fish passing over Sherars falls and the Deschutes run is mirroring those elsewhere in the Columbia River Basin.

Closing steelhead fishing will provide protection for wild steelhead and ensure that hatchery broodstock and fish reintroduction programs needs are also met.

“The closure to steelhead angling implemented in September had a dramatic impact on the number of steelhead encountered by anglers as compared to recent years. Extending these closures to the entire basin will ensure protection of these iconic fish for the remainder of this run year,” said Jason Seals, District Biologist for the Lower Deschutes.

“We understand this has an impact on anglers and local communities and it’s a tough decision, but the right one in this case,” continued Seals. “We appreciate anglers understanding and support for these actions as necessary to help future generations of Deschutes steelhead.”

ODFW is also closing angling for coho salmon early (dates below). This will help to reduce angling impacts when fishing with similar gear types. These species overlap significantly, spatially and temporally in the Deschutes River.

Angling will remain open for trout in the Deschutes River from Moody Rapids upstream to the Pelton Regulating dam as stated in the 2021 Sportfishing Regulations.

The temporary rules is as follows:

Deschutes River

I-84 upstream to the Lower End of Moody Rapids

  • Closed to all angling for all species through Dec. 31

Moody Rapids upstream to Sherars Falls

  • Closed to steelhead angling through Dec. 31
  • Closed to coho angling Nov. 1 to Dec. 31

Sherars Falls upstream to Pelton Regulating Dam

  • Closed to steelhead angling through Dec. 31
  • Closed to coho angling Oct. 1 to Dec. 31

For the latest fishing regulations, check your angling zone in the Recreation Report at,