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Central Oregon Fish Kill Could Curtail Fishing Season On The Deschutes

Oregon's Department of Fish and Wildlife is considering cutting short the fishing season on part of the Deschutes River. That's after hundreds of fish became stranded last week in a shallow river channel outside of Bend.

After the first reports came in, ODFW employees and volunteers headed out with buckets to rescue fish that were still breathing. But the department estimates several hundred fish may have perished.

Tod Heisler is the executive director of the Deschutes River Conservancy.

He says the dry summer meant the state had to divert more water to fully replenish irrigation reservoirs.

But he also says the region is coming out of a three-year wet period and Heisler says fisheries tend to rebound with increased flows.

"This is a tragedy and this is a loss. There were all kind of aquatic insects there and different species of fish. But it's also a promise of hope that says if we can restore flows more consistently in that upper river, our fisheries should rebound and should be ok," said Heisler.

Heisler says he hopes better resource management could prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Copyright 2013 Oregon Public Broadcasting