This article was published on: 09/8/22 12:29 PM

Calling for volunteers with experience handling fish to help relocate stranded fish
as flows in the river drop for storage season.

With the wind-down of the growing season, the irrigation districts of Central Oregon reduce the river flow in the Upper Deschutes from Wickiup Reservoir to Bend to refill the reservoir for the following irrigation season. The Deschutes Basin Board of Control (DBBC) has partnered with the Deschutes River Conservancy, the Deschutes Redbands Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and dozens of volunteers from the community to roll up their sleeves in a collaborative fish rescue. The effort involves collecting fish stranded in pools along a side channel of the Deschutes River near Lava Island Falls, disconnected as a result of the low flows, and relocating them to the main river channel.


What’s new in 2022? The rescue will look different this year, and that’s a good thing. This year we are adjusting our strategy to improve the efficacy of the rescue and the clarity of event details to our volunteers. Unlike in previous years, children are not encouraged to come, but instead, a focus is placed on collecting individuals with experience handling fish. Our first goal is to save the fish and we invite you to join us to reach that goal.

When: Because of the dry fall, the event is projected to be sooner than in previous years. Once details are clear they will be announced, please sign up for email and text alerts above to receive updates.

What will you be doing: Volunteers will take part in one of the following three tasks depending on their skills and experience handling fish: (1) wade into the pools to help capture fish, (2) hike the buckets of fish from the pools to the river, or (3) help identify and count the fish as they are returned to the main channel of the Deschutes.

What to bring: Bring your waders if you wish to catch or count fish or bring hiking boots to help with hiking the fish. And bring snacks, water, and appropriate clothes for the weather.

What time: The rescue will run from 8 am – 4 pm. There will be two shifts from 8 – 12 and 12-4.

Where is it: Emails will be sent out prior to the event with parking details and volunteer directions. Directions will outline the bases where volunteers should meet. This rescue will be spread across 3 days, with different teams, goals, and focus areas for each day.
Sign up for email alerts so we can keep you informed on when and where we need help.


Meeting location will vary between rescue days!

First Day – Volunteers Meet at Lava Island (See Map Below)

Where to meet: Base 2: Lava Island Day Use Area (day-use loop, not the trailhead).

Second Day – Volunteers Meet at Lava Island (See Map Below)

Where to meet: Base 2: Lava Island Day Use Area (day-use loop, not the trailhead).

Third Day – Volunteers Meet at Lava Island (See Map Below)
Where to meet: Base 2: Lava Island Day Use Area (day-use loop, not the trailhead)

The Deschutes River side channel that runs along the west side of Lava Island (and the Deschutes River Trail) becomes disconnected and dry during low winter flows.

Head towards Mt. Bachelor on the Cascade Lakes National Scenic Byway, depending on the target Volunteer Station (details below), turn left following directions to Meadow Park (Base 1) or directions to Lava Island Day Use (Base 2).

There will be two main bases, as follows:

Base 1: Follow directions to Meadow Day Use Area (located on road FS-4600. 100). On arrival, follow Fish Rescue signage to base one.

Base 2: Lava Island Day Use Area (day-use loop, not the trailhead)

For more information contact us at ahuber@restorethedeschutes.org