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Fish FISH DIVISION
Regulating harvest, protection, and enhancement of fish populations
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Private Fish Ponds - John Day District

John Day Basin

Fish stocking in Oregon is carefully regulated by ODFW to ensure that the stocking of fish into private ponds does not affect fish populations in or below the pond site. Therefore, a Fish Transportation permit is needed in order to (a) transport live fish into, within or out of this state, (b) Hold any live fish in the waters of this state, or (c) Release or attempt to release any live fish into the waters of this state. A separate Fish Transportation Permit is needed for each release site but not for each delivery of fish made to a site during the authorized permit period, providing the total number of fish delivered does not exceed the number authorized to be transported under the permit. It is important to note that the Fish Transportation rules do not apply to aquaria fish intended for aquaria use. Aquaria can vary in size but are generally small home garden ponds which are self-contained and are generally filled by domestic water supply and have no outlet into state waters.

Water Rights – ODFW will not approve transport permits to stock fish in ponds that are not properly permitted by the Oregon Water Resources Department. The permitting process needs to be started, not necessarily completed, prior to applying for a fish transport permit.

The type of fish that you can stock in your pond is determined by a local ODFW fisheries biologist and Fish Division Managers. ODFW fish stocking guidelines for private ponds are intended to provide private pond owners a clear list of fish species approved for their local areas and what pond conditions must be in place for stocking to occur. Biologists will also provide general advice on which fish species are most likely to thrive in your pond without harming native fish communities. As Oregon has many native fish species and some are listed as endangered species or sensitive species, some stocking may not be allowed in areas where stocking of non-native fish may pose a risk to native species. Generally speaking, stocking of rainbow trout is allowed statewide in ponds with adequate screens or ponds with no outlets. Triploid trout are preferred in areas where ponds are located in a floodplain and in general are preferred for private pond stocking. New ponds that do not have a record of being stocked will need to be inspected by ODFW staff before a transport permit is approved. If other native species such as spotted frog and pond turtles are present, fish stocking may not be allowed; however, ODFW is interested in working cooperatively with landowners who may have these species in their ponds.

Most commonly known game fish are allowed to be stocked in private ponds; however, there are some exceptions. Brook trout or brown trout are not allowed under Oregon Revised Rule 635-007-0600(5)(a). Bull trout and brook trout can interbreed and brook trout can out compete native bull trout.

More information on bull trout in the John Day basin (pdf)

Many other species of fish common to the Midwest and Eastern part of the United States are prohibited in Oregon. Some of these species include: Carp (Silver, Snakehead, Bighead, etc.), Bowfin, Alligator gar, Pike, and Muskellunge (OAR 635-056-0050 and 635-006-0230).

A list of prohibited species

There are native sturgeon present in the John Day watershed. They have been documented up to RM 35 and are suspected to exist up to RM 104 (Clarno rapids). The stocking of sturgeon in ponds, lakes or streams would potentially impact this native population if individuals or offspring of planted populations escape downstream. Bluegill, brown bullhead catfish and largemouth bass have already escaped from ponds and been documented in the John Day River. Many warmwater species are not allowed to be stocked due to their negative impact on native species.

"Grass carp" (Cteneropharyngodon idella) require a special stocking permit as they are a controlled species.

More information on grass carp

The table below lists species of fish currently propagated by licensed private fish producers in Oregon that are available for stocking into private ponds if ponds meet stocking guidelines in the basin. For more information, you may call the local ODFW biologist at 541-575-1167 ext 225.

Fish Stocking Guide- John Day Basin

Type of Fish

Allowed

Restrictions

Bass, largemouth and smallmouth

In approved areas only.

Stocking requests will be evaluated for proximity and connection to free-flowing waters within the John Day basin.

Bluegill or Pumpkinseed

In approved areas only.

Stocking requests will be evaluated for proximity and connection to free-flowing waters within the John Day basin.

Brook Trout

Not allowed anywhere in the basin.

Brook trout are not allowed in the John Day basin due to Westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout concerns.

Brown Trout

Not allowed anywhere in the basin.

Brown trout are not allowed in the basin due to Westslope cutthroat trout and bull trout concerns and are not currently found in the basin.

Bullhead catfish

In approved areas only.

Stocking requests will be evaluated for proximity and connection to free-flowing waters within the John Day basin.

Channel catfish

In approved areas only.

No stocking allowed above Kimberly. Stocking requests will be evaluated for proximity and connection to free-flowing waters within the John Day basin.

Crappie, White and Black

In approved areas only.

Stocking requests will be evaluated for proximity and connection to free-flowing waters within the John Day basin.

Mosquitofish ("Gambusia")

In approved areas only.

No stocking allowed in water bodies with any connection to flowing water, regardless of screen specifications.

Rainbow Trout
(includes; triploids, Kamloops, Golden, Donaldson Trout)

Rainbow trout may be stocked in approved ponds with no outlets or ponds with adequate screening.

Triploid trout are preferred in ponds located in areas where there is any possibility of the fish escaping or in ponds located in floodplain areas.

Sturgeon

Not allowed anywhere in the basin.

White sturgeon are native to the John Day Basin and the stocking of non- native sturgeon in ponds, lakes or streams would potentially impact this native population if individuals or offspring of planted populations escape.

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