BIG RUN LURES STEELHEADERS TO WALLOWA RIVER

March 07, 2002 11:00 pm
FISH ON: Robert Whitnah of Baker City poses with his adipose fin-clipped catch. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).
FISH ON: Robert Whitnah of Baker City poses with his adipose fin-clipped catch. (The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK).

Steelhead are in the Grande Ronde and Wallowa rivers in strong numbers and anglers could be found at nearly every hole on the Wallowa River Saturday trying to hook the coveted fish.

According to this weeks Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlifes fishing report, steelhead angling is fair on the Wallowa River and fair to good on the lower Grande Ronde and Imnaha rivers.

The daily bag limit on these rivers is three adipose fin-clipped steelhead per day.

This years strong run can be linked to several factors. Fisheries experts believe there were good river conditions when the steelhead began their migration to the Pacific in the spring of 1999 and 2000, and a good ocean environment was another positive factor. The fish were in the Pacific Ocean at a time when ocean currents provided them with good food resources. The food supply was good in part because there was no El Nino effect in 1999 and 2000. El Nino conditions bring warm currents to the northern Pacific Ocean.

This years returning run of steelhead consists of one-ocean and two-ocean fish. One-ocean steelhead spend one year in the ocean and two-ocean fish spend two years. Two-ocean steelhead weigh 8-12 pounds and one-ocean steelhead weigh 4-7 pounds.

Steelhead season runs through April 15.

The Observer