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Idaho Fish Report

No steelhead retention in portions of John Day, Umatilla, Walla Walla rivers this fall

by OR Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

SALEM, Ore.—While upriver Columbia River steelhead returns have improved this year, returns of hatchery and/or wild fish to several northeast Oregon tributaries are still expected to be low. Extra protections are needed for both wild and hatchery fish.

Portions of these rivers normally open to hatchery steelhead retention Sept. 1-Dec. 31 under permanent regulations will be closed to retention:

  • John Day River: Closed to steelhead retention from the mainline railroad bridge at the mouth upstream to a marker ¼ mile below Tumwater Falls
  • Umatilla River: Closed to steelhead retention from the Highway Bridge upstream to Three Mile Falls Dam
  • Walla Walla River: Closed to steelhead retention Oregon/Washington border upstream to the confluence between the South and North Forks
  • On the Umatilla, the hatchery return is predicted to be low, so the closure is needed to meet hatchery broodstock goals and for outplanting study efforts. This portion of the Umatilla River remains open for coho and fall Chinook under permanent regulations (from Sept. 1-Nov. 30) and most anglers are targeting those species not steelhead.

The Walla Walla has been closed to steelhead retention for the past five years and wild returns continue to be poor.

On the John Day, wild steelhead returns over Bonneville continue to remain below the 35,000 - 40,000 needed to hold a fishery, and hatchery strays into the John Day are predicted to be extremely low.

Find the latest regulations by visiting the Recreation Report / Fishing Report for your zone and clicking on Regulation Updates tab

For more information about steelhead management in the Columbia Basin including benchmarks used to consider fisheries, visit

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