ODFW reports that next month the agency will partner with Oregon State University to begin a six-month study of large redband trout in the Blitzen River in southeastern Oregon.
The Blitzen River, which flows off Steens Mountain through the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and into Malheur Lake, has a large population of redband trout which migrate to different reaches of the river in the spring to spawn. Some of these fish may reach up to 20 inches in length.
The study involves capturing and tagging fish at three traps along the river. A number of fish will have radio tags surgically implanted so their movements can by followed using radio telemetry. In addition, there are a number of irrigation diversions on the river within the wildlife refuge that will be examined to determine if they are presenting obstacles to fish migration. The proposed study is to better understand where in the river the fish spawn, if they use the entire watershed and how water temperatures affect their distribution.
This is a fun fishery — lots of action with the opportunity to catch a monster desert rainbow species that are adapted to the arid conditions east of the Cascades.