Emergency Angling Closure of the North Umpqua River

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From Native Fish Society

The North Umpqua River will be closed to all angling from August 10, 2021 through December 1, 2021 due to low numbers of Summer Steelhead and extreme environmental conditions in the North Umpqua River. Although a devastating decision for our angling community, this regulation change displays outstanding leadership from ODFW’s Roseburg District office and Biologist Greg Huchko. He and his staff have made a tough decision that will protect the resource now for the benefit of recovery in future seasons.

“This management change is painful, yet 100% necessary in order to protect and enhance the fish and fishery of the North Umpqua River,” says Kirk Blaine, NFS Southern Oregon Regional Coordinator, based in Roseburg, OR. “We’re committed to work with the department, stakeholders, and NGO partners to restore the wild summer steelhead for the fish and communities in the Umpqua Basin. Native Fish Society fully supports ODFW biologist Greg Huchko and other ODFW staff in making this bold decision.”

Without a doubt, Summer Steelhead of the North Umpqua River are on the brink now after years of decline. As wild fish advocates, we must pull together and support changes that build the resilience and health of these iconic fish. We must also pull together this summer and support the small businesses and community members who depend on these iconic fish and are an irreplaceable part of the North Umpqua’s history and culture. Together we can make it through this tough year and advocate for the changes necessary for a resilient wild Summer Steelhead population in the years ahead.

Native Fish Society is part of a Coalition working together to restore and protect the North Umpqua River. Below is a copy of the letter our coalition submitted to ODFW Commission and staff.

RE: Fisheries Management on the North Umpqua River

Chair Wahl, Commissioners, Fish Division Administrator Harrington, and ODFW Staff,

The North Umpqua Coalition is writing in support and appreciation of the newly implemented emergency closure on the North Umpqua River effective August 10, 2021 through December 1, 2021. This regulation change displays outstanding leadership from the Roseburg District ODFW Biologist Greg Huchko and management staff to implement regulations that will protect our struggling fisheries from the harmful effects of climate change.

In June of 2020, ODFW Commission adopted a Climate and Ocean Change Policy which highlights the department’s commitment to protect our fish and wildlife long into the future. In the face of the extreme heat, low summer steelhead returns, all coupled with habitat alterations from current and past fires, Greg Huchko has implemented bold action to help protect and enhance the fisheries of the North Umpqua River. These actions are not only limited to the most recent closure, it includes Mr. Huchko’s actions to implement a bubble closure on the Mainstem Umpqua River and “Hoot Owl” regulations in early July of this year. These actions will help reduce the stress on fish, and educate the public on the importance of these sanctuaries in a time where numerous salmonid populations are struggling.

Regulation changes such as these will chart the future of fisheries and wildlife management. The Coalition realizes that these management changes are very difficult, but agree they are deemed necessary to help protect the fish, river and communities of the North and Mainstem Umpqua Rivers. The effects of these management decisions will trickle throughout the community hurting small businesses and other communities that depend on the fish for their livelihood. We have the utmost empathy and compassion for these businesses and would be willing to help advocate for support from our governor’s office. Our long-term goal is to recover wild salmonid populations in the Umpqua Basin in the hopes that one day they can not only sustain catch and release fisheries but also sustain the harvest of wild fish. Management actions such as these are an important step in ensuring that someday we may experience this opportunity.

The North Umpqua Coalition fully supports the recent regulation changes on the North and mainstem Umpqua Rivers and thanks ODFW staff, specifically Greg Huchko, for their leadership in implementing these management changes. Summer steelhead of the North Umpqua River are on the brink. We encourage the agency and all fisheries managers to continue to manage with extreme caution to help protect and enhance these fish for future generations.

Sincerely yours,

Mark Sherwood

Executive Director, Native Fish Society


Tim Goforth

President – Steamboaters


David Moskowitz

Executive Director, Conservation Angler


Becky McRae

President, The North Umpqua Foundation


Ken Carloni

Vice President, Umpqua Watersheds


Dean Finnerty

NW Director /TU A.C.P. &

Director of the Wild Steelhead Initiative

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2 Responses to Emergency Angling Closure of the North Umpqua River

  1. David Jensen says:

    Great news. Thanks to Lane County’s Dean Finnerty for being a major factor in bringing closure about.

  2. Robert W Cooper says:

    I agree that wild steelhead and salmon runs are vital to the Northwest. Restoring fish populations to sustainable levels by closing the waters is a leaking band aid on a ongoing infection. For years now, up and down the northwest and central California, biologists, states, conservation groups, and native tribes have spent a lot of energy on these beautiful fish.
    What I do not see is wildlife managers addressing the seriousness of ocean survival of these fish. Over fishing of bait fish that fish need to survive. Sealion populations at such a high count with no natural predators. Minimal attempts to discourage sealions from coming up rivers in chase of steelhead and salmon runs.
    In my humble opinion until these issues and threats to fish survival are addressed the rest is in vain.
    would you advocates pull up your waders and fight the federal marine mammal act and then we might have improved fish returns.

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