Bull trout redd survey

I had a request to post the bull trout redd survey data.  As you can see, there has not been a significant drop recently.  There is also hydroacoustic data that shows a continued steady population of bull trout in Lake Billy Chinook.  The big drop in 2006 is correlated with a drop in the kokanee population, the bull’s primary food source, after the bulls became too numerous to be supported by the ecosystem.  Note that the redd count has stayed fairly constant since then and at a level above pre-SWW levels.

Lower Deschutes fish populations & health

At last week’s fisheries workshop, ODFW gave their annual report of fisheries  population and health for the lower Deschutes.  Since the 1970s they have been electrofishing the same stretches from Warm Springs to Jones Creek.  As reported in past years, trout continue to be in excellent health.  Condition factors were good before operation of the SWW and they are at least as good now.  If anything, the fish appear to be growing faster and are larger.Read More »

Climate changes in Montana (and locally)

I was recently sent a link to an interesting article about climate change’s impact on fly fishing in Montana and the continued denial of the science by so many, even the local Trout Unlimited chapter.  The article is part of a series by Inside Climate News.  It was worthwhile reading and also reminded me of anglers venting about PGE causing changes on the lower Deschutes and not considering the undeniable changes we have seen in our local climate over the past few years.  Clearly, the SWW has made an impact on the river, but so has a series of droughts, low water years, and year after year of record hot summers.  Next week is the annual 2-day Deschutes fisheries workshop and I look forward to hearing the latest science on the lower D. Read More »

Three days on the lower Deschutes

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Monday through Wednesday this week and friend Dan Pebbles and I floated the Deschutes from Trout Creek to Maupin.  It was a great trip.  It was hot, the river looked great, and the bugs were everywhere.  We caught so many fish on the surface it was almost boring.  They were uniformly healthy looking.  Fat 14” to 16” fish were common, a few were measured at 18” plus/minus, a size that used to be unusual.  The only problem with the float was the guide hatch.  What a crowd!  Seriously, there should be a much smaller limit.  The cougar in camp early Wednesday morning was a new one for me, fortunately no damage was done.  Of course, the lower D is a controversial and emotional issue for many.  There’s still time to sign up for the annual Fisheries Workshop and get the latest science to form your own informed opinion.

A River (or Lifestyle?) Worth Fighting For

The Deschutes River Alliance has recently released a new video titled “A River Worth Fighting For” touching on their suit against Portland General Electric and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs alleging violations of the Clean Water Act.  They spend more time illustrating economic hardship in Maupin which they attribute to those violations.  While I am completely in favor of the Clean Water Act being enforced, and sympathetic to businesses who rely on tourism, I believe this video is misleading in many respects.Read More »

PRB Fisheries Workshop

For over 20 years Portland General Electric and now the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs have been hosting the Pelton Round Butte Fisheries Workshop.  This is an annual gathering of state and federal agencies, NGOs, and the curious to review and discuss the latest science on the Deschutes and its tributaries.  I have been going for a few years and find it fascinating.  This year should have the usual updates on reintroduction and fisheries health, the final results of the macroinvertebrate study, and the results of the water quality study.  It will be very interesting.

This year the workshop will be June 13 & 14 at Tetherow Resort in Bend.  Everyone is welcome and I encourage you to attend.  To get on the email list, contact Jessica Graeber (Jessica.Graeber@pgn.com).

At last year’s conference, I took over 7 pages of notes.  Below are the highlights from those notes.Read More »