A few weeks ago this photograph came across my desk of 16 illegally poached Metolius River Bull Trout. While many of you may think that the Metolius is already a fly fishing only stream, conventional tackle including multiple point hooks is allowed below Bridge 99. This puts resident wild native fish in danger and makes enforcement of game laws harder for officers according to the State Trooper who took the photograph in question. It seems that poachers utilize the river below Bridge 99 to slip in and toss baited lures to catch Bull Trout and depart before they can be caught. As proven here, not all are successful at avoiding apprehension. These two face charges for their efforts. Evidently this is a fairly common occurrence that is increasing according to law enforcement in the area and one we all should want to stop.
There is a movement afoot to clarify and simplify the regulations on the Metolius making the entire river Fly Fishing Only / Catch and Release. It should be noted that enforcement officers are in favor of this change as it would make enforcement easier. Additionally, law enforcement officers say that the fly fishing community seem to police themselves and tend to follow the posted regulations. It should also be noted that the Fall River in Central Oregon is Fly Fishing Only and is stocked with hatchery Trout, while the Metolius is managed as a wild fish river without any hatchery stocking since 1997 yet is not Fly Fishing Only throughout its full length.
It is important to state that the Metolius is Fly Fishing Only in the area of the popular camp grounds so a change to regulations to encompass the whole river would not impact families utilizing the Metolius for fishing recreation. They are already using fly gear. It would only protect fish in the lower river below Bridge 99 from less scrupulous anglers.
This effort to simplify the regulations and make the Metolius Fly Fishing Only is spearheaded by ODFW casting instructor and friend, Chris Foster. Chris has taken on this issue as a personal quest to protect the wild fish in the Metolius River. Public input is very important and this is where you all come it.
Please take a minute to email ODFW Director Curt Melcher
, ODFW Program Manager Mike Gauvin
and the ODFW Commission
and simply say "Make the entire Metolius River Fly Fishing only. Protect our wild fish."
Click the links above and take two minutes to protect the wild fish of the Metolius River. Chris has provided a detailed proposal and additional information on the issue in a notebook which is available in the shop for viewing during business hours.