KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. — In August, biologists from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will begin restoring habitat in the headwaters of the Wood River where rainbow trout from Upper Klamath Lake migrate to spawn.
“We believe that 100 percent of the rainbow trout that spawn in the Wood River use the mile and a half stretch below the headwaters,” said Bill Tinniswood, assistant fish biologist for ODFW’s Klamath Watershed District. “It’s one of our key spawning habitats for rainbow trout that come out of Upper Klamath Lake.”
Historically, the upper reaches of the river held large numbers of logs and other natural in-stream structures that provided the fish with good spawning habitat and cover to hide from predators. However, over the years people have removed much of the wood and cut streamside vegetation to create pasture for cattle.
To remedy that situation, ODFW biologists will place a variety of wood debris into a half-mile section of river about one mile downstream from its headwaters that will provide habitat for all trout life stages.
“We think this project will have a positive impact on the rainbows,” said Tinniswood. “We’ve done other projects to improve spawning habitat on the Wood River in the past and have had huge success.”
The project is located on private land in cooperation with the landowner and should be completed by the end of September. ODFW biologists hope to eventually restore the remaining upstream mile spawning area.
The project was funded by a $9,646 grant from the ODFW Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program. Other partners in the project include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Klamath Guides Association, Bureau of Land Management, Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust and the Oregon Department of Forestry.
Created by the Oregon Legislature in 1989, the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program is funded by a surcharge on sport and commercial fishing licenses and commercial poundage fees. The program’s seven-member citizen board reviews fish restoration and enhancement project proposals and makes funding recommendations to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.
For more information on the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program, or to view information regarding current R&E Program applications, visit www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/RE or contact program coordinator Laura Tesler at (503) 947-6259.