Deschutes River Conservancy organizes yearly fall fish rescue, saving 100s of stranded fish


Every year, Central Oregon irrigation districts reduce the river flow in the Upper Deschutes River from Wickiup Reservoir to Bend to prepare for the following irrigation season, which creates collateral damage, in the form of hundreds of fish stranded in side channels.

“When they do that, this side channel here at Lava Island Falls gets cut off from the river flow and fish get stranded in the side channel,” Deschutes River Conservancy Executive Director Kate Fitzpatrick said Tuesday.

To remedy the problem, the conservancy and partners, including many volunteers, are once again relocating stranded fish as the river level drops in the Upper Deschutes from Wickiup Reservoir, a fish rescue that has been occurring each fall for the past several years.

The collaboration of the groups are focusing on help for the native redband trout, but they’re also rescuing native whitefish, sculpin, kokanee and non-native brown trout.

Read more >