ENTERPRISE — A bag limit of two hatchery steelhead per day on northeast Oregon rivers that was put in effect late last year will remain in place through April 30, according to a press release from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
The limit, put in place by fishery managers, is in effect for the Snake River and tributaries, including the Grande Ronde, Wallowa and Imnaha rivers. Anglers must put up their rod and reel for the day once catching a second steelhead.
The limit was put in place in the fall after early returns indicated a below-average run of steelhead to the Snake River Basin, the release states.
“We had hoped to reinstate the standard bag limit for the spring fishery after most of the returning steelhead have been counted at Lower Granite Dam on the Snake River,” Jeff Yanke, Wallowa District fish biologist, said in the release. “Unfortunately, the current return estimates suggest not enough steelhead returned to justify that."
It's estimated 35,000 steelhead returned to the basin, which is 38% of the 10-year average. Wild steelhead are returning at a higher rate, as 19,000 — about 70% of average — have made it to the basin, the release states.
In Oregon, the limit is in effect in the following areas, according to the release:
• Grande Ronde River downstream of Meadow Creek.
• Catherine Creek from the mouth upstream to the Hwy. 203 bridge above Catherine Creek State Park.
• Imnaha River downstream of Big Sheep Creek.
• Wallowa River downstream of Trout Creek.
• Big Sheep Creek downstream of Little Sheep Creek.
• Wenaha River downstream of Crooked Creek.
Editor's note: This article has been updated.