A New Bill to Protect Oregon’s Wild Owyhee Canyonlands

Man in the distance fishing in a wide river
Fishing on the Owyhee River
Support this important legislation and watch a new fishing video from the Owyhee Sportsmen Coalition

Legislation to protect Oregon’s Owyhee Canyonlands was reintroduced on June 8th by Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley. This legislation is the product of input from tribes and stakeholders including ranchers, hunters, anglers, conservation groups, local governments, and state and federal land and wildlife management agencies. If passed, S.1890 would permanently protect fish and wildlife habitat on roughly a million acres in southeast Oregon.  

The Owyhee Plateau is known for its wide-open, wild spaces and unique topography, creating incredible conditions for high quality hunting and fishing experiences. Throughout the landscape, hunters can find endless opportunities to pursue chukar and other upland bird species, mule deer, pronghorn, and a once-in-a -lifetime chance to hunt for California Bighorn Sheep. The Owyhee watershed also provides angling opportunities for native interior Redband rainbow trout, brown trout and native bull trout.  

Smiling woman crouches in a stream with a trout in Owyhee Canyonlands
Sophia K with Owyhee brown trout

“This legislation shows what can happen when stakeholders sit down together and find common ground,” said Michael Gibson, field coordinator for TU. “The real winner is the land and the fish and wildlife that live there. If passed, future generations of hunters and anglers will get to enjoy robust populations of Redband rainbow trout, chukar, pronghorn, mule deer and California bighorn sheep, while ranchers get the flexibility their operations need to be viable into the future.” 

The Owyhee Canyonlands legislation supports the multiple uses of public land in the region and recognizes that good stewardship means sustainable ranching, wildlife habitat management, public access and meaningful resource conservation. 

Now that the bill has been reintroduced, it is awaiting a committee hearing and markup. Join Trout Unlimited in urging Congress to advance this legislation as soon as possible and ensure this world-renowned landscape receives the protections it deserves.  

A New Video Celebrates Fishing in the Owyhee Watershed 

Trout Unlimited is one of the eight members of the Owyhee Sportsmen Coalition, a group of conservation and hunting organizations working together to advance legislation in eastern Oregon that protects wild country, supports rural economies and maintains hunting and angling traditions.  

The Owyhee River is a beautiful river flowing through a remote, wild landscape. Last spring, Coalition members, including Trout Unlimited, gathered on the banks of the Lower Owyhee to spend the week enjoying the river’s world-class brown trout fishery. To celebrate our time together and the opportunity to protect the rugged Owyhee Canyonlands, the coalition recently released a new film highlighting our time fishing this exceptional watershed.  

Take a few minutes to watch the inspiring film and be sure to send your message urging Congress to advance the legislation protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands.