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The Crooked River is a special place for anglers in Central Oregon. For me it is where I was first really introduced to the sport, and where I caught my first fish on the fly. Gabe Parr just finished up putting together a new site that provides some great information about the push to provide better fish passage at the Opal Springs dam above Lake Billy Chinook.

This year 80 steelhead have been passed into Lake Billy Chinook and 39 steelhead have been passed above Opal Springs Dam using a trap and haul system.

Arguably the chance of a strong run of steelhead being re-established in the Crooked basin is going to be a difficult battle – it is exciting to see the changes happening. Hopefully future generations of anglers will benefit from the movement, and other watersheds around the Pacific Northwest can be inspired by this movement as well.

5 comments on “Crooked River Steelhead

  1. Mammaflybox says:

    Why has this not happened sooner?! Its like a taxi service for salmon. I wish we had a cartoonist to draw a salmon flagging down a taxi…..

    1. I think the trap/truck operation at the dam has been in place a long time. The push here is to put a more permanent / better working solution in place like a fish ladder. Here is a really cool article and video embed about the project at another dam downstream that has allowed them to get as far as Opal Springs:

      http://www.opb.org/news/blog/ecotrope/at-pelton-round-butte-dams-100-million-later-a-steelhead-returns/

      1. Mammaflybox says:

        It seems insane dams don’t automatically have fish ladders! Seriously?! I know many ladders are pathetic and unusable by spawning salmon. Interesting. I’ll look into this.

      2. It is sad – fortunately now when impoundments have to renew their license, fish passage is a requirement. The cost of installing them is usually fairly large so I think more and more dams will be deemed not cost effective to operate… and the west will get more wild again 🙂

  2. And here is another story about an angler who hooked one of the steelhead last year downstream from Opal Springs: http://www.bendbulletin.com/outdoors/1681086-151/steelhead-in-the-crooked-river#

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