According to Jeff Yanke, ODFW fish biologist in Enterprise, water temperatures in all three fisheries are approaching levels lethal to Chinook salmon. Combine that with very few anglers and little fishing success, and it’s hard to justify the resources needed to monitor the fisheries, Yanke said.
Yanke had high hopes for this year’s northeast Oregon Chinook fisheries after early returning Grande Ronde basin stocks arrived at Bonneville Dam in good numbers and ahead of schedule. However, the late returning stocks headed for the Grande Ronde, Imnaha and Wallowa rivers arrived very late, Yanke said. After potentially high harvest rates in the Columbia River fisheries, these Chinook returned to their natal rivers just as water conditions deteriorated.
“Right now my primary concern is getting enough fish back to ensure a next generation,” Yanke said.