By Laura Swanson
Since the Nehalem River is home water and yesterday’s announcement* by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife about fishing closures and restrictions on the Nehalem raised lots of questions from family fishermen, The Pioneer reached out to Robert W. Bradley, District Fish Biologist, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, North Coast Watershed District about the recent emergency fishing regulation changes:
Why was just the Nehalem River closed, and does this apply to the whole river and bay??
“The Nehalem and tributaries are closed to angling upstream of the Miami-Foley Road Bridge.
The bay/river from the mouth to the Miami Foley Road Bridge (and North Fork tidewater) remain open under normal regulations.
The North Fork of the Nehalem, above tidewater remains open, but with a hoot owl restriction (closed after 2 pm).
The news release did not make that clear, and I have asked for some clarifications to be made.”
ODFW Fish Biologist Bradley continued, “The Nehalem is experiencing extreme temperatures lethal to salmonids (as high as 85 degree temperatures observed.) Much worse than other areas. We have already observed fish kills. That is why it was treated differently than other areas for now. We are continuing to monitor the situation and if other areas warrant closure, we will do that too. I don’t expect things to get any better- right now I hope it just doesn’t get much worse.”
These rules are in effect until September 30th.
“We had to put an end date on the rules (can’t just leave it open ended.) The intent will be to lift the closure when conditions improve sufficiently, which could be sooner than the end of September. Rainfall will certainly help, but also shorter days and cooler nights.
Typically the peak temperatures are observed in mid-late August. This is not a typical year so far, so we’ll see what happens.”
*Here is the original press release from ODFW announcing the emergency fishing regulations effective today, July 1st: