Deschutes River is Hot! But Not In the Fishing Sense…

In a letter from buddy Tom Larimer to PGE Senior Biologist, Don Ratliff, and shared with the fish conservation community, Tom pretty much sums it up:

It’s good to hear PGE finally has a way to monitor the water temps in the lower Deschutes River. I have to back up Brad Staples when he questions the validity of the water temperature model you are currently using to manage the river. We’ve had one of the coldest springs on record with substantial late season run-off and the water temps have been hitting 70 degrees every day in July when the air temps have been over 80 degrees. Every other Columbia River tributary was running below average temperatures this spring and the Deschutes was hitting the high sixties in peak run-off. Again, it’s hard to believe the temperature model is correct. What do we have to look forward to when we have a low-water year and a hot summer? Furthermore, no one is talking about the cold water plume that no longer exists at the mouth of the Deschutes that anadromous fish use as a sanctuary from the 74 degree water temps of the Columbia. How will this effect strains of fish headed to other rivers? Finally, does it make sense as I biologist to jeopardize the remaining wild steelhead, salmon and trout of the Deschutes in hopes that a hatchery strain of steelhead will repopulate the rivers that PGE decimated in 1965?

We had a meeting last winter in Bend with a number of guides. At that meeting you looked me straight in the eye and claimed that “last season was a transition year”… “It will be better next season, it won’t be as cold as it was prior to the project but we shouldn’t have any problems we had this year.” were just about your exact words. I speak for the majority of anglers that love the Deschutes… We don’t trust PGE.

Consider a few things as you move forward with this project. While the health of the river and her fish is first and foremost, please keep in mind all of the communities, families and individuals that you are affecting. You hold our fate in your hands. -Our lives depend on the health of the river. Know this… If you continue down this road as is, the Round Butte project will inevitably become one of the biggest wastes of time and money in Northwest history. -And your name will be at the top of the list for those responsible. PLEASE question your data and your intentions. I’m not looking for a response, I don’t need more bureaucratic smoke blown up my ass… Just fix our river.
Thanks for your time and considerations,
Tom Larimer
Larimer Outfitters
(541) 490-9446
Po Box 296
Hood River, Oregon 97031