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Winter Steelhead Best Viewing Times

5:27 PM · Nov 29, 2022

Winter Steelhead will pass upstream from December through April at this Umpqua basin midriver location to spawn in mainstem river sections or numerous tributaries. This extended run-timing allows for several opportunities via our video to see this species migrating during days when the weather outside is cold and wet. River flows and temperatures can significantly change within just a few hours or days and will affect the current numbers of fish observed. LATE AFTERNOON AND EARLY EVENING HOURS are usually the best times to see these fish migrate pass the window. On average, about 20% of the total population run is observed by the end of January. During the month of February, another 25% of the fish migrate upstream. By March 15, roughly two-thirds (60-70%) of the returning winter steelhead have headed upstream after a long journey from the ocean. Over 95% of the total number of winter steelhead for this brood year have returned to the basin by April 15th. May is the start of the summer steelhead run that will not spawn till the following year. The total number of winter steelhead that have passed upstream since 1946 is 620,000, with an annual average of over 8,000 fish. There were two years that total counts were over 14,000 winter steelhead.