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« Breaking the surface :: Loop Tackle Design | Main | Bryan Gregson Photography | 2013 Patagonia, Argentina | Gaucho »

Deschutes Fish Kill Update

An update on yesterday's grim report from the Deschutes.

We went to the river at 8:00 this morning, there were 4 of us with buckets and nets, when we arrived at the pool it had gone down probably another 12" over night and was cast over partially with ice and a water temp of 33-34 degrees.  Many of the fish from last night were already dead, but the pool was still teaming with life.  As we started to put fish into buckets we realized that the pool had far more than 200 fish in it.  The ODFW showed up about 1 hour after we arrived with more nets and more buckets, and with their added help we estimated that we might have pulled somewhere around 500 fish out of that pool and walked them up the trail about 1/4 mile to release them into the main channel of the Deschutes.

This water is a decent sized side channel of the Deschutes that is parted by lava flow at Lava Island Access point and runs from there down to the wetlands merging back with the Deschutes, just above Meadow. The wetlands are almost completely dry too, displacing a huge riparian zone as well.  his is outside of town heading towards Bachelor.

ODFW expressed that this happens every year, but when the water table is low it is especially bad because the river dries up completely. This is one area with a problem but there are others too from what they expressed. It seems like the water rights need some negotiating, when water tables are down everyone must conserve, not shut down the water status quo without thought to how the wildlife might be affected. Bummer, maybe I'm just naïve, but it seems like something is way out of balance here.

Throughout that river bed there are definitely 1000's of dead trout, that if the community had known what was going on, I'm convinced many would have come out to help get these fish out, it's a shame.

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