The number of steelhead returning to the North Santiam River is at its lowest level in recorded history.

The number of steelhead returning to the North Santiam River is at its lowest level in recorded history.

Zach Urness/Statesman Journal.

The ability to fish for steelhead in the North Santiam River could end in coming years, wildlife officials told the Statesman Journal. 

Anglers have been targeting the iconic fish on the river east of Salem since time immemorial, but following a lawsuit and decision by a federal agency, it’s unclear how much longer that will continue. Earlier this year, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided to eliminate funding for a program that releases 121,000 summer steelhead smolts in the North Santiam each spring.

The hatchery-raised fish are the only ones anglers are allowed to catch and bring home for dinner. 

Read the whole story at the Statesman Journal.