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Sprague River closes to all fishing Nov. 1

Monday, October 23, 2017

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – The Sprague River near Klamath Falls will close to all fishing beginning Wednesday, Nov. 1 and will reopen April 22, 2018.

ODFW is adopting the emergency regulation in order to protect spawning redband trout from the stress and mortality associated with fishing pressure and handling.

The redband trout spawning in the Sprague River spend much of their lives in Upper Klamath Lake and move into the river, up to 91 miles (one way), to spawn. Fish then return to the lake to recondition and some will spawn again, some up to six times.  According to Bill Tinniswood, ODFW fish biologist in Klamath Falls, the fish tend to spawn in highly concentrated areas, making them very susceptible to fishing pressure.

Traditionally, the river had been closed to fishing after Oct. 31 to protect spawning fish. However, in order to increase fishing opportunity the river was opened to year-round fishing in 2014. According to Tinniswood, the expanded season on the Sprague was made with the understanding that if fishing pressure increased too much on the spawning areas, the new regulations would be reconsidered.

“We thought the spawning areas would be protected because surrounding private property would limit access,” Tinniswood said. “Instead, fishing for these spawning trout has become an increasingly popular fishery. We estimate over 1,000 redband trout were captured off the spawning grounds when the fishery opened last year.”

Redband trout are on the state’s Sensitive Species List, and there are several genetically unique populations that spawn in the Sprague.  In 2018, fishing regulations on the Sprague River will revert to the typical April 22 opener and closure after Oct. 31.

“These fish and their offspring are the future of the Upper Klamath Lake and Williamson River trophy trout fishery,” Tinniswood said.

For more information on SE Zone fishing regulations, see https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/southeast-zone

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Contact:

Michelle Dennehy, Michelle.N.Dennehy@state.or.us, (503) 947-6022
Bill Tinniswood, William.R.Tinniswood@state.or.us, (541) 883-5732

 
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