This afternoon I was able to tour the Deschutes Land Trust’s new Ochoco Preserve. The preserve is currently farmland just outside Prineville that will be converted to wetlands over the next decade or so. It is where McKay and Ochoco Creeks meet the Crooked River. The potential for new, high quality habitat for native redband trout is very exciting. These creeks were also important spawning areas for anadromous Chinook salmon and steelhead and may be again once the fish ladder at Opal Springs Dam is complete. I encourage you to visit the DLT’s site, learn more, and become a member if you are able.
The southeastern part of Oregon has amazing fishing. Last summer I spent 10 days driving around that part of the state in my camper with one of my sons, we caught hundreds of trout from a few inches to over 20 inches, and we only came across one other angler the whole time. If you too love that area, or native fish, you should know ODFW is currently working on a conservation plan for the Malheur Basin and could use your help.
I was recently contacted about potentially participating on a panel discussing rivers in Deschutes County. Others would cover wildlife and habitat issues but they were looking for someone who would address economics. To the best of my knowledge there have been no comprehensive studies done on this topic but it did get me thinking.
The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife is a lightning rod for criticism by some. Having worked for years with many caring department employees I find that disapproval often misplaced. ODFW would like to do much more for the citizens of Oregon but they are hamstrung by a very tight budget. Not long ago they literally ended one month with $1.67 in the bank! After cutting personnel and facilities, and raising fees, they are now in better shape but things remain tight. They are currently planning their 2019-2021 budget and you have a chance to weigh in.Read More »
Beautiful day to count redds on the Metolius with ODFW. Great excuse to take a day off work. It is amazing how little spawning habit supports the entire redband trout population on this river. The fish migrate up close to the headwaters, spawn, and quickly move back downstream.
As Central Oregonians know, the City of Bend is expanding and incorporating land into its urban growth boundary, land that may have irrigation water rights. This land will primarily be used for housing or commercial purposes and, with perhaps the exception of the Park District, will no longer need irrigation water. Water from one of the three existing municipal water systems will be used instead. Unfortunately, the irrigators are not returning the now unneeded water back to the Deschutes. Read More »
The US Forest Service is currently seeking public comment on two project proposals on the upper Deschutes River, both are designed restore degraded riparian areas along the river.Read More »
In response to the Oregon Spotted Frog being listed as an endangered species, more water is being released into the upper Deschutes in the winter in order to provide improved overwintering habitat. At the same time, levels in Crane Prairie Reservoir are being more stably managed for consistent habitat. As a result, levels in Wickiup Reservoir should see larger draw downs in the winter which in turn will likely negatively impact its fish population. As a result, ODFW is changing the regulations for Wickiup to reduce the number of kokanee that may be harvested.Read More »