2023 steelhead forecast: another bad year

Yesterday ODFW announced a preliminary forecast for “upriver” Columbia Basin summer steelhead returns. These are fish that migrate past Bonneville Dam to places like the Deschutes River and further inland. They believe that “returns will continue to be poor, marking what would be the 8th consecutive year of low returns.” ODFW warns anglers to expect continued angling restrictions in 2023. The primary issue is that while ocean conditions for some anadromous fish have improved, Columbia Basin steelhead move into waters that continue to be too warm to be productive. These early forecasts are notoriously inaccurate but the overall trend remains deeply concerning. I encourage you to read ODFW’s web page on this forecast, it is well written and filled with interesting information.