ODFW & PGE are looking for volunteers in March and April to help with the reintroduction of salmon and steelhead into the upper Deschutes Basin. I have helped multiple times with these activities and always find it worthwhile.
ODFW needs volunteers to help with smolt pit tagging at Wizard Falls Fish Hatchery on the Metolius. Chinook smolts will be tagged on March 1, 5, and 15. Steelhead smolts on April 2, 3, and 12. A PIT tag allows researchers to track the movement of smolts as they make their way to the ocean. The fish are anesthetized and rice grain sized tags are inserted into the abdominal cavity with a needle gun injection. After being tagged the fish are released and help is needed with that as well. Contact Jen Luke at 541-388-6366 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PGE is looking for volunteers to stock fry. (Fry are recently hatched fish who will spend another year in the river while smolts are a year old and ready to go to sea.) Some stocking is from the road with short walks to the river, while some sites require hikes ranging from 2-4 miles round trip. Bags range from 25lbs to 40lbs. A bag of water holding a few thousand fish can fit in a large backpack. PGE has some frame packs available for use. Contact Terry Shrader at 541-325-5348 or email@example.com.
March 19 and 20: Stocking Metolius and tributaries. While most of the stocking requires hauling bags of fry in coolers (in vehicles) to sites near the road and stocking fish with buckets, there will opportunities to do some short hikes to Abbot Creek and Lake Creek.
March 21: Crooked River Ranch (strenuous). Backpacking bags of water and fry to rivers down into the canyon. Planting in the Crooked River canyon in the morning, lunch (provided), and then hike fry to sites in the Deschutes River canyon in the afternoon. A full day of stocking fish in rugged areas.
March 22: Whychus Creek stocking at Sisters (carrying buckets of fry to the river) and Alder Springs hike (pretty strenuous).
March 23: Crooked River and Ochoco Creek. Follow the stocking truck and carry buckets to multiple sites along the creek and river.