Winter Steelhead Have Arrived

Photo by Grant Richie, Minam Store & Motel

Fishing, hunting and viewing wildlife are popular activities throughout Eastern Oregon and the Hells Canyon Scenic Byway provides access to some of the best in the Northwest, any time of year. Opportunities change with the seasons so be sure to check out license requirements and regulations before setting out for some fun and exercise.

The Oregon department of Fish and Wildlife announces the first Winter Steelhead have arrived in many rivers and streams, and anglers can expect the fishing to really pick up once we get some warmer weather and a little rain. If you’re not sure where to go, check out the 2014 Winter Steelhead Guide at www.dfw.state.or.us/RR/Steelhead_guide.

Beginning January 1, 2014, anglers fishing for salmon, steelhead, or sturgeon in the Columbia River or its tributaries (all rivers and streams within Byway country) will be required to have a Columbia River Basin endorsement. See a map of the basin and get more information at by clicking here.

In the Minam area, fishermen normally begin to catch Steelhead on the Wallowa River as early as late October. “The catch rate increases with each week in November until the weather turns cold enough to drive most fisherman away or the river begins to ice over and run with slush,” said Grant Richie, Minam Store & Motel. “This year single digit temperatures brought slush and ice on the river banks in early December and it wasn’t until warmer weather close to Christmas that the river cleared up and provided reasonable fishing conditions again. The river is fishable now depending on each person’s tolerance for cold and river conditions should remain good unless we get more single digit temperatures for several days in a row.

“Steelhead are in the river to be caught and are only increasing in numbers from now until the end of the season,” Richie continued. “Fishermen should simply look at the weather forecast to see if the temperatures are something they want to be out in and they can always call us here at the Minam Store and Motel to inquire about current ice conditions on the river.” See their website and sign up for a newsletter at www.minamraftrentals.com or call 541.437.1111.

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