Conservation Angler Proposal for Thermal Angling Sanctuaries

Our hard working friends at the Conservation Angler need our help telling ODFW how important Thermal Angling Sanctuaries are to our wild steelhead populations. Please have a look at the post below and call in or write an email voicing your opinion. Info on the specifics of the meeting are at the bottom of this post.

1. A powerpoint presentation that was recently presented to the Oregon Legislature – it provides a quick summary the issue:

2. A memorandum to the House Water Committee on cold water refugia:

3. Photo-maps of seven critical CWR sites that should be closed to angling when the Columbia River water temperatures reach 68F (20C) as measured at any of the 4 dams on the Columbia below the Snake River. These maps are attached individually (apologies if they are unwieldy). They are attached below my signature.
Supporting creation of these sanctuaries would be a significant conservation achievement for wild steelhead in particular.

Cowlitz – Columbia Confluence Plume

Eagle Creek – Columbia Confluence Plume

Herman Creek Lagoon and Confluence Plume

Wind River and Confluence Plume

Little White Salmon (Drano Lake and Columbia Confluence)
A = highest priority, B = plume, C = greater impoundment

Big White Salmon River and Confluence Plume

Deschutes River and Confluence Plume

4. A final slide shows the daily average Columbia River temperatures at the first four dams on the Columbia River. The water quality standard is 20 C (68F) noted by the blue line. Keep in mind that migrating salmon and steelhead begin to exhibit stress when the water temperatures rise to 64F, and by the time they reach 68F, migration slows and research shows that migration slows dramatically with only a .5 degree increase over 68F. Examining Figure 2-3 (from EPA) it becomes clear that CWR are critical for wild steelhead from mid-July through mid-September.

Daily Average Columbia Water Temperatures June – September


Get involved by joining the public meeting detailed below.

Public meeting on thermal angling sanctuaries in Columbia River moves online
YouTube livestream March 25 at 5:30 p.m.

March 24, 2020

SALEM, Ore.—A public meeting to gather input on potential Thermal Angling Sanctuaries in select Oregon tributaries upstream of Bonneville Dam will be livestreamed on ODFW’s YouTube channel in light of COVID-19 restrictions limiting public gatherings.

The meeting time will also change to 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 25. Watch at ODFW’s YouTube channel,

There will be time for a Q&A during the livestream; members of the public can ask questions by commenting on the livestream and ODFW staff will answer as they are able.

The livestream will remain online for anyone who can’t make the virtual meeting to watch later. Public comments/questions can also be emailed to or

Among the topics of discussion are possible rule changes meant to improve conservation efforts and increase protections for summer steelhead in areas where they may congregate.

Specific topics currently under consideration include:

Discussing potential areas and boundaries for Thermal Angling Sanctuaries in and adjacent to Eagle Creek, Herman Creek, and the Deschutes River that would be temporarily closed to angling each year to protect natural-origin summer steelhead.
Establishing annual time periods during the summer/fall when Thermal Angling Sanctuaries would be in effect.
Discussing additional fisheries management actions, e.g., rolling steelhead retention closures, which have been used to ensure consistency with the Endangered Species Act.
The Agency intends to provide for in-person public meetings on this topic after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.


Tucker Jones, (971) 673-6063,
Michelle Dennehy, (503) 947-6022,

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