Boating the Deschutes? John Day? – Covid 19 Updates

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From Deschutes Angler Amy and John Hazel

The burning question that I have been asked often over the past couple of weeks is WHEN will we be able to camp and float on the Deschutes??? I wanted to wait until I got the official email and it came today – the date has been pushed out to May 21. This does not mean with any certainty that everything will open on the 21st – they still have the power to extend the closure beyond that date – BUT boater passes are available for floating starting on May 21. If you have an earlier boater pass you will have gotten this email and you will have gotten a refund.
We can be happy about one thing, fishing is not closed. You are welcome to drive along the river, park, and fish wherever you like as long as you are an Oregon resident. Camping and sleeping on the road is not allowed and all of the restrooms along the river are locked up. One kid said to me, “What am I supposed to do, bring a shovel???” Uh, YES. Practice your leave no trace ethics and get far away from the river with a shovel, do what you need to do, and bury it so there is no sign that you have been there. It isn’t difficult.
Speaking on non-residents, we have not seen any news about when Oregon will open the fishing back up to non-residents. Check on the website for Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife for that information – we know that Washington is opening their fishing in their state on May 5, but we do not know if the Fish and Wildlife Departments in the two states are coordinating anything.
As for guiding, the biggest bummer is that we are not going to get to do our camp floats, overnight trips, or floating day trips during the main part of the salmonfly hatch this year. This is gut-wrenching for all of the outfitters on the Deschutes. We want nothing more than to be out there on the river showing you a great time, floating with you, teaching you, cheering you on, perfecting your cast, and having a blast around camp telling stories of the day.

From Recreation.Gov

Attention boaters: This is an update related to reservations on Lower Deschutes River Boater Pass System for the time period through 5/20/2020. All reservations through 5/20/20 have been cancelled and refunds have been issued. Permits may continue to be purchased for trips planning to be on the water after May 20, 2020. Local managers are committed to the health and safety of recreational visitors and our staff. We are following the guidelines from our agency and the CDC regarding COVID-19, closely monitoring the situation and responding to current conditions. Our agency will continue to work with our managing partners to identify how and when we will be able to issue boater passes again. Please continue to monitor this page for status updates.

The John Day?

Due to continuing guidance from the Oregon Governor and the Department of Interior, boating will not be allowed on the John Day River through May 20, 2020. ​Permits already purchased for this time period will be cancelled and refunded. The release date of May 1, 2020, to release of the second batch of permits has been postponed. The postponed release date has not yet been determined. BLM will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners to identify how and when we will be able to allow boating to begin again. Thank you for your understanding and please continue to monitor this page for updates.

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