Our Blog

June 30, 2020

Migration Through the Eyes of a Salmon

When I turned one year old, my parr marks began to disappear, alerting me to the fact that my first great journey would soon begin. I knew it was time to go to the ocean. Under natural conditions, it would be an arduous journey: over 450 miles of river fraught with predators, rapids, strong currents, and changing salinity that culminates in a rapid biological adaptation to the ocean. Unfortunately, man-made obstacles such as agricultural runoff, heat pollution, stagnant water and dams further complicated my voyage.
June 24, 2020

Renewable Energy and Barging Industries Have Changed

The lower Snake River dams were built based on two predominant assumptions: (1) dams are the most viable form of producing renewable energy and (2) dams facilitate barge transport, which is the best way to ship goods to market. We must determine whether these assumptions are still true today in order to promote a dialogue about crafting solutions to replace the lower Snake River dams.
June 17, 2020

Northwest Steelheaders Stands in Solidarity

We recognize that ending racial discrimination in the U.S. begins with having discussions about it within our communities. Sixty years ago, our organization was built on the foundation of an active angling community, and we have thrived by fostering this community since. All of our programs are made possible by the strength of our community, by the thousands of hours our members volunteer each year. Through awareness, empathy, and compassion, we have the power to direct this strength toward making our community more inclusive and representative.
May 28, 2020

Tempering Heat Pollution in the Lower Snake River

Recently, there has been a lot of press about Oregon and Washington governors using their authority under the Clean Water Act to require dam operators to reduce the heat they are introducing into the Snake and Columbia Rivers. Heat pollution causes substantial stress and even death for endangered salmon and steelhead. This is an important development in the ongoing effort to protect salmon and steelhead in these rivers… but what does it mean to reduce “heat pollution” and how does that protect salmon, steelhead and our ability to fish? Heat is explicitly identified as a pollutant under the Clean Water Act, making entities that heat waterways responsible for mitigating the temperature changes they cause. As anglers, we know that temperature changes have huge impacts on fish. Here in Oregon, our water quality standards have set a water temperature threshold of 68 degrees Fahrenheit for salmon and steelhead streams—the warmest water salmon and steelhead can survive in.
April 23, 2020

Keith Hyde’s Mission: Bring New Faces to Fishing

Hyde’s perspective on life and his passion for fishing changed after a long fight with stage four squamous cell cancer, which is a form of throat cancer. As a survivor, he began to more deeply consider his role in the world and the legacy he wants to leave behind. “I started thinking to myself, like, Why me? With this low survivability rate? I'm no one. I'm no one special. I'm no different than any other person. So why did God choose me to survive? I have no idea. But I felt like there has to be some reason.” He paused for a moment before continuing, “I truly believe now that the reason is to promote the outdoors, to take people fishing, to enhance fisheries to provide opportunities for people to fish down the road. So now that's what I tried to do. That's kind of my deal. And I try to drag as many people along with me as I can.”
March 31, 2020

A Unified Voice Facing COVID-19

As you are all aware, our communities, nation and the world face a public health emergency due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) closed recreational fishing statewide for two weeks to promote additional social distancing. Following WDFW’s announcement, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) closed salmon and steelhead fishing on the Columbia River because the two states jointly manage fisheries on the Columbia and seek to have concurrent regulations. This period may be extended if the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is still high. It is important that we rise to the challenge and support one another as a community during this time of uncertainty. Please do your part by following social distancing and stay at home/stay safe mandates from public officials. Please also support health care workers and first responders and their families who are on the front line of this battle by donating money, masks, gloves or other requested personal protective equipment.
March 20, 2020

Request for Call-in Comments on the Snake-Columbia River Salmon & Steelhead DEIS

The Feb. 2020 Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Snake-Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead was produced by federal agencies under a 2016 court order and analyzes several options for the future management of federal dams in the Columbia Basin, including one option that would remove the four dams on the Lower Snake River. Unfortunately, despite the DEIS' recognition that restoring the lower Snake River would deliver the greatest survival benefits to Snake River fish compared to any of the other options, it instead recommends a Preferred Alternative with only minor modifications to a longstanding approach that has proven to be illegal, costly, and ineffective for over 25 years. You can contribute by contacting legislators!
March 16, 2020

COVID-19 Event Cancellations, Office Closure

As COVID-19 has emerged as a threat to public health, the Association of Northwest Steelheaders is taking steps to protect members, volunteers, staff and our communities. Following recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Oregon Health Authority, we have decided to cancel all chapter meetings, fish-alongs, clinics, pint nights, and other events through April 5th. We may extend these cancellations as we monitor new developments, and will notify you if we decide to do so. Through April 3rd, Northwest Steelheaders headquarters in Milwaukie, OR will be closed to volunteers and the public. Our staff will continue to work on issues facing our fisheries and anglers from home. Please continue to call or email us with any questions during this time.
February 21, 2020

Chris Hager Appointed to Oregon Conservation and Recreation Advisory Committee

Executive Director of Northwest Steelheaders, Chris Hager, is one of nine Oregonians named by Governor Kate Brown to chair the Oregon Conservation and Recreation Advisory Committee. The committee is charged with reviewing Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) policies regarding allocations of the Oregon Conservation & Recreation Fund and making recommendations to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.