The historic reintroduction of salmon and steelhead requires protection of existing habitat and restoration of degraded stream reaches. The Deschutes Land Trust is working in partnership with the Upper Deschutes Watershed Council, the Deschutes River Conservancy and the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board to implement an integrated approach to support the reintroduction of anadromous fish to the Deschutes Basin.
As the reintroduction of anadromous fish gains momentum, the Deschutes Land Trust is hard at work preparing for their return in Whychus Creek. Our work to restore Whychus Creek at Camp Polk Meadow Preserve and to acquire two additional miles of Whychus Creek all centers around one goal: to create a steelhead stronghold in Whychus Creek and assure the successful reintroduction of anadromous fish in this area.
Are we moving in the right direction? It would appear so, as the first ocean bound steelhead smolt was caught and tagged at the Camp Polk Meadow screw trap this week. After being caught, the fish was surgically fitted with a Pit Tag, so that biologists will know if and when he makes it to Round Butte Dam and the Selective Water Withdrawal Tower to be passed through to the lower river and continue its journey to the great blue sea
Read on for the latest information on fish passage numbers from PGE’s chief fisheries biologist, Don Ratliff:
Total number of yearling spring Chinook smolts captured and transferred to the lower Deschutes is roughly 1,850 through March 30. However, the last few days the numbers have been increasing and we are capturing 150 to 300 per day. Numbers of sockeye (yearling kokanee) are also increasing with about 700 total and about 50/day the last several days. We hope and expect to see increasing numbers of spring Chinook and sockeye smolts through April. To date we have only seen a few steelhead, but they move later in the spring-mid April through June.
Numbers of spring Chinook smolts caught at both the Crooked and Metolius downstream migrant traps increased this past week and they started seeing some steelhead smolts at the Crooked River Central and McKay Creek traps. Friday they caught 70 spring Chinook smolts at the Crooked River Central trap, PIT-tagging 50 of them. To date they have PIT tagged about 760 naturally-reared spring Chinook smolts at the two traps on the Metolius River and 350 at the Crooked River Central trap so we know there are many fish above the SWW in transit. To date we have only caught about 6 of the PIT-tagged Chinook smolts at the SWW with an average passage time from the tributary traps to the SWW of about 3 weeks. Because the reservoir is still setting up with the new thermal regime, passage times should be less and survival higher in future years.