ROSEBURG, Ore – Numbers of wild summer steelhead in the North Umpqua River are up from last year’s low of 450 fish.
As of June 21, 544 wild summer steelhead crossed Winchester Dam into the North Umpqua Basin. Although this is still lower than average, biologists anticipated an increase in returns as ocean conditions are improving.
Biologists are closely monitoring returns and current analysis projects the 2022 run to be above the critical threshold of 1,200 wild summer steelhead returning by the end of the year. Peak return typically is late June through mid-July.
“We expected an increase over last year’s run because of improving ocean conditions, and it’s nice to see that play out,” said Evan Leonetti, Assistant District Fish Biologist. “We’re also seeing increases in some summer steelhead runs in other systems like the Columbia Basin and think this trend will continue in the near future.”
Returns less than 1,200 wild summer steelhead may trigger management actions beyond this year’s bubble closure around mainstem Umpqua River tributaries. With better returns so far, the river remains open for angling and retention of hatchery summer steelhead as per permanent regulations.
As the summer heats up, biologists encourage anglers to practice hot weather angling ethics. Other recreationists are also encouraged to avoid areas where wild summer steelhead may be holding such as deeper, cooler pools in the North Umpqua River system.