Oregon’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is considering cutting short
the fishing season on part of the Deschutes River. That’s after
hundreds of fish became stranded last week in a shallow river channel
outside of Bend.
After the first reports came in, ODFW employees and volunteers headed
out with buckets to rescue fish that were still breathing. But the
department estimates several hundred fish may have perished.
Tod Heisler is the executive director of the Deschutes River Conservancy.
He says the dry summer meant the state had to divert more water to fully replenish irrigation reservoirs.
But he also says the region is coming out of a three-year wet period
and Heisler says fisheries tend to rebound with increased flows.
“This is a tragedy and this is a loss. There were all kind of
aquatic insects there and different species of fish. But it’s also a
promise of hope that says if we can restore flows more consistently in
that upper river, our fisheries should rebound and should be ok,”
Heisler says he hopes better resource management could prevent similar occurrences in the future.