THE DALLES, OR -- State biologists have determined that a number of dead and distressed sockeye salmon found this past weekend in the Deschutes River, appear to have died from a bacterial infection.
Early test results suggest the fish were from the Columbia River bound for upriver locations, and likely swam into the Deschutes in search of cooler water. However, the infection blamed for the deaths - Columnaris - is typically associated with warm water and/or low levels of dissolved oxygen.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife found about 45 dead and sick fish in a four-mile stretch of the lower Deschutes between the Colorado Rapids and the mouth of the river. ODFW officials are concerned there will be additional fish die-offs this year, if drought conditions continue.
Biologists are expected to continue to monitor water conditions on the lower Deschutes to watch for any effects on native fish. ODFW could consider some fishing restrictions if conditions warrant.