Fishing for Chinook is banned for the rest of December on the river from the Blind Slough to Jordan Creek. More than 200 salmon were found dead just this week.
A press release from the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) said upstream water levels are low, causing the salmon to stay further downstream. That is helping spread a parasite believed to be responsible for the die-off. The river upstream of Jordan Creek is already closed to salmon angling by permanent rule.
In response to reports from the public of dead, pre-spawned adult fall Chinook, ODFW surveyed the lower river earlier this week, finding at least 200 dead adult Chinook. ODFW said evidence of scavenging and deeper holes with limited visibility likely means the number of mortalities is higher than observed.
Examination of Chinook carcasses by ODFW Fish Health staff confirmed the presence of cryptobia. ODFW said the closure is necessary to protect remaining fall Chinook adults to allow them to reach spawning grounds, according to Robert Bradley, district fish biologist for ODFW’s North Coast Watershed District.
“The fall Chinook run is below average to begin with this year, so this substantial loss of fish could affect recruitment of fish for future years,” Bradley said.
In addition, current river conditions are expected to continue for at least a week, which is likely to contribute to further loss of potential Chinook spawners from the parasite. Although cryptobia is present in other basins, no substantial mortalities have been observed in other rivers on the north coast to date.
Angling for steelhead is unaffected by this change and remains open under permanent regulations.
For more information about North Coast fisheries, including regulation updates, visit ODFW’s online fishing reports at www.myodfw.com.