Thousands of fish die as water drops in Deschutes

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BEND, Ore. — Thousands of fish are dead after state water officials dropped the level of the Deschutes River southwest of Bend.

KTVZ-TV and The Bulletin newspaper report that the trout, sculpin and whitefish were discovered late last week in small pools and a dried-up channel of the river. The Oregon Water Resources Department has been reducing flows into the Deschutes in order to build up the water supply in the Wickiup Reservoir.

Area resident Kim Brannock said she was jogging on a trail along the river Thursday when she saw the dead fish. She returned with her husband, daughter and a neighbor the next morning and used buckets to haul some of the surviving fish into the main part of the river.

Officials say they can't remember similar instances on the Deschutes, and they say they didn't do anything differently this year, so they aren't sure why the fish became stranded.