Thursday March 21, 2024

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife

If you’ve ever wondered where steelhead go in the ocean after they spawned in rivers, you’re not alone. ODFW biologists in southern Oregon want to know too.

Biologists are putting satellite “pop-off” tags on 10 adult winter steelhead in the Rogue and Chetco rivers this spring. The goal is to tag “kelts” – the fish that already successfully spawned and are heading back to sea.

Unlike Pacific salmon, steelhead can spawn multiple times and have a much broader ocean distribution.

Steelhead are rarely encountered in commercial fisheries like salmon are, so much less is known about their distribution, migration routes, depth at sea, and more. Although this work is not a broadscale multi-year research project, it will provide this information, adding to biological knowledge of Rogue-South Coast winter steelhead. It is also the first winter steelhead satellite tagging of kelts in Oregon.

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