Volunteer Opportunity: 2020 Fall Fish Rescue

This article was published on: 09/18/20 3:26 PM

Calling for volunteers to help relocate stranded fish as flows in the river drop for storage season!

Recall that 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, Coalition for the Deschutes 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.

*This year, event attendees will use masks and social distancing in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19*

But we are in need of volunteers! We need you!


What’s new in 2020? 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.

The event is projected to be between October 5th to October 12th, but as details are made clear we will update volunteers. (Event date will be updated during the day on October 5th when an assessment of conditions has been completed.) 

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
  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.

Where is it:
Emails will be sent out prior to the event with parking details and volunteer directions. Directions will outline bases where volunteers should meet.

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)

How do you stay in the loop for this moving event?
We will email you information leading up to the event but email will not be our primary source of outreach with last-minute changes and details (which are inherent to this type of event). Instead, this year we will be using text message alerts that will direct you to urgent/last minute updates on this webpage.

We will be using text messages alerts to communicate last-minute changes, be sure to share this information when you sign up. CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP and to provide your phone number and email to get event updates.

For more information contact us at FallFishRescue@gmail.com