Last Chance to Support the John Day Steelhead Project

In Columbia River, Oregon by Kyle Smith

We’ve seen unbelievable support from the Wild Steelheaders United community for our John Day Steelhead Project fundraiser over the past three weeks. We blew past our $10,000 goal in the first two weeks of the campaign and we’re well on our way to $15,000. All funds raised above our $10,000 goal will help our research partners purchase more acoustic tags, track more John Day steelhead, and gain better data to understand migration patterns of these fish.

We wanted to share an update from Logan Breshears, graduate student at Oregon State University, who is one of the primary researchers involved with the John Day Steelhead Project. See Logan’s letter below and if you’re able, you can contribute to this important research on our crowdfunding page.

Hello everyone!

It’s great to be partnering with Trout Unlimited and Wild Steelheaders United on a research project that is near and dear to my heart. My name is Logan Breshears, and I am a graduate student at Oregon State University. My career in fisheries began as an intern with Trout Unlimited back in 2012, and I got to see firsthand the great things this organization can achieve through the help of its dedicated volunteers and generous donors. I have since worked on various projects benefiting native cutthroat trout in Utah, and in 2015, I began working with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife on various steelhead research projects throughout the John Day Basin.

My passion for steelhead started at a young age while growing up 10 minutes away from some of the best steelhead water on the Clackamas River in Oregon. I have countless memories dragging myself out of bed early in the morning just to stand in the water, or sit in a cold boat all day chasing these elusive fish. A lot of days on the water were so miserable, that I wish I could just forget them entirely. And then there were “those days”. Those few unforgettable days that kept me coming back to the river time and time again. The tug is the drug! It’s what keeps me going day in and day out, and it’s the reason why I built my career around understanding and conserving these magnificent fish!

The John Day River is a special place for too many reasons to count, but arguably its biggest draw are the wild runs of summer steelhead. The John Day is one of the few remaining summer steelhead bearing rivers in the lower 48 that is undammed and is not sustained by hatchery production. This project will help provide vital information about specific migration pathways of John Day steelhead throughout the Columbia River upstream of Bonneville dam, as well as their overshoot tendencies at the mouth of the John Day River. The information gathered will help managers make decisions that will ultimately improve the natural production of wild steelhead in the John Day River, and also be the impetus for future research. For these reasons, it is important that we preserve and understand these fish in order to provide meaningful management practices that will benefit mid-Columbia populations of steelhead, as well as the devoted anglers.

The more fish we are able to tag, the better we can identify the key drivers behind the overshoot problem, and by donating to this project, you will be doing exactly that. On behalf of myself and everyone involved with the John Day Steelhead Project, I would like to thank you for contributing to our research efforts, and I would also like to thank anyone who plans on donating during the final days of this fundraising campaign. This work truly could not be done without all the continued support from each and every one of you!


Logan Breshears