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Camp Water

Camp water is close to home. Here you will find information on stuff happening here in the shop and on our local waters. You'll also find our weekly newsletter feature, Trailer Trash Thursday, a fun collection of fly fishing videos, perfect for a midweek distraction. If you don't get the newsletter, be sure to sign up today!

Trailer Trash Thursday Freight Train Edition

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 29, 2018

This edition of TTT is a few minutes longer than most, but just put it on in the background while you're working. It will help get you through the morning on this cold wet day.


Freight Train from Colin Philips on Vimeo.

Hatchery Steelhead Fry Displace Native Redbands

Joel La Follette - Wednesday, November 28, 2018


The La Follette family has a long history in Eastern Oregon on McKay and Ochoco creeks. Both streams provided angling distractions for the family from 1871 until the mid-1920s. My Great-great-great-grandfather, Jerome Bonapart La Follette met up with his brother, Capt. Charles La Follette on McKay Creek in 1867 while the captain was on the east side of the state establishing Camp Polk. Jerome moved the family to the area from the Willamette Valley and eventually owned a ranch on McKay Creek. His grandson, Leo, owned a place on Ochoco Creek where my grandfather first cast a fly. When this report came across my desk, I felt saddened that a genetic strain of native fish that shared the fertile valley with my ancestors was being threatened by an ill-advised attempt at reestablishing anadromous fish above the Pelton-Round Butte project. We all should be concerned about the future of wild fish in the upper basin. 

On October 31, 2018, PGE electronically filed a report with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) titled Native Fish Monitoring Plan: Biological Component Genetics Report and Addendum. This report documents a study by PGE and US Fish and Wildlife Service on the effects of hatchery Steelhead (O. mykiss) introduction on native populations of Redband Trout (O. mykiss) in Whychus Creek, McKay Creek, and Ochoco Creek. 


Fin clips were collected by ODFW and Portland General Electric (PGE) biologists from unclipped juvenile O. mykiss from July 2016 through November 2016 from Whychus, McKay, and Ochoco creeks in the upper Deschutes Basin. These samples were DNA tested and compared to baseline samples from 2005 to identify brood origin. I have read much of this report and must admit that my high school biology class didn’t cover extraction of DNA or the corresponding comparison studies. I waded down to the “Discussion” and “Conclusions” part of the report where English once again became the preferred language. I offer those parts of the report as presented. The Deschutes River Alliance has posted the full report here.

Discussion
The results of this study indicate that collections of O. mykiss from Whychus Creek are genetically indistinguishable from Round Butte Hatchery O. mykiss, particularly in 2016, when 90% of all individuals assigned to Round Butte Hatchery and the FST value between the two groups was zero. There is also evidence which suggests O. mykiss from McKay Creek are being influenced by Round Butte Hatchery releases and are becoming increasingly genetically similar to Round Butte Hatchery O. mykiss. Only 3% of the fish collected in McKay Creek in 2013 assigned to Round Butte Hatchery. That increased to 26% in the 2016 McKay Creek collection. Decreasing FST values between the McKay Creek collections and the Round Butte collection through time also support this finding. Moreover, each of the clustering methods used here (neighbor-joining and DAPC) indicated that the Whychus Creek and McKay Creek collections are becoming more similar to Round Butte Hatchery through time. Assuming the collections made in Whychus Creek are representative of the populations in each year, our results suggest that wild O. mykiss have been mostly replaced in Whychus Creek in recent years by hatchery fish. While this hasn’t occurred to the same extent in McKay Creek, the increasing genetic similarity of the population to Round Butte Hatchery fish through time suggests the population is being heavily influenced by hatchery releases.
The influence of Round Butte Hatchery releases in Ochoco Creek isn’t as clear. This is primarily because we only have genetic data from a single collection made in 2016. However, over 25% of the fish collected from Ochoco Creek in 2016 assigned to Round Butte Hatchery, suggesting a sizable portion of the population was composed of hatchery fish.

Conclusions
As is the case with any population genetic study, conclusions we draw from the results presented here depend on the assumption that the collections we examined were representative of the populations from which they were taken. Assuming this is the case, we conclude that supplementation of hatchery-origin O. mykiss from Round Butte Hatchery, either as stocking of fry and smolts or less likely adult returns over Pelton Round Butte Dam, has had a strong influence on the composition of the population inhabiting Whychus Creek, and more recently McKay Creek and Ochoco Creek. Round Butte Hatchery O. mykiss have predominantly displaced natural-origin O. mykiss from Whychus Creek since 2005. This same pattern does not seem as prevalent in McKay Creek or Ochoco Creek. However, the increasing genetic similarity between the 2016 McKay Creek collection and Round Butte Hatchery collection suggests an increase in hatchery influence.
It is important to recognize that the samples analyzed in this study represented primarily juvenile individuals, many of which were likely sampled shortly after being outplanted as fry. Whether or not these individuals recruited into the spawning population in these creeks remains unknown. Our conclusions are limited to inferences regarding the juvenile populations from which these samples were collected. Many of the juveniles analyzed in this study would likely not have survived to spawn in these creeks. However, the number of hatchery releases and the influence they have had on the juvenile population composition in the Upper Deschutes basin over a relatively short period of time suggest that those releases represent a substantial risk to the persistence of the naturally-spawning populations, given what we know about the potential risks of hatchery introgression (Araki et al. 2007b; Araki et al. 2009; Araki and Schmid 2010; Christie et al. 2014).

The genetic intrusion into the wild Redband Trout population of these or any stream by hatchery Steelhead is inexcusable. This invasion in the name of a failing reintroduction effort is criminal. Sadly, our native Redband Trout have no “standing” in this situation from a legal or programmatic perspective. RBT (Redband Trout) aren’t protected under the Endangered Species Act. So they are therefore not of importance to agencies like NOAA and USFWS, who are commissioned with managing ESA listed anadromous fish populations. I would even offer that wild, native RBT don’t have much priority with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. ODFW would argue that they do support wild, native RBT populations, but their budget priorities suggest otherwise. As do the number of bodies of water in Oregon managed for wild Redband Trout.

Feds Approve Limited Sea-Lion Removal on Willamette

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 22, 2018


ODFW Press Release

Nov. 15, 2018

SALEM, Ore. – The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has approved the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s application to lethally remove the few California sea lions present at Willamette falls in an effort to help save winter steelhead and spring Chinook from extinction.

Sea lions are protected under the federal Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). On Oct. 6, 2017, ODFW applied for authorization to remove California sea lions at Willamette Falls under a provision of the MMPA that allows for limited lethal take of sea lions that are having a negative impact on protected fish species.

ODFW filed for the application because their analyses showed that the high levels of predation by sea lions (25% of the steelhead run in 2017) meant there was an almost 90% probability that one of the upper Willamette steelhead runs would go extinct. The level of predation on spring Chinook, although lower (7-9% annually), was still enough to increase the extinction risk by 10-15%.

The NMFS reached their decision after considering public comment on ODFW’s application as well as the recommendations of a 14-member stakeholder taskforce.

“This is good news for the native runs of salmon and steelhead in the Willamette River,” said Dr. Shaun Clements, ODFW policy analyst on the sea lion issue. “Before this decision, the state’s hands were tied as far as limiting sea lion predation on the Willamette River. We did put several years’ effort into non-lethal deterrence, none of which worked. The unfortunate reality is that, if we want to prevent extinction of the steelhead and Chinook, we will have to lethally remove sea lions at this location.”

Clements noted that this authorization will do nothing to help curb the recent influx of the much larger steller sea lions into the basin, or their impact on white sturgeon, a species that can live up to 100 years. “Steller sea lions are preying heavily on sturgeon in the lower Willamette but current federal law prohibits us from doing anything about that,” said Clements.

California sea lions in the U.S. are not listed as "endangered" or "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The most recent population estimate for the U.S. stock was 296,750 animals in 2016. ODFW requested and was granted authority to remove up to one percent of the population’s “potential biological removal” level, a metric that translates to a maximum of 93 animals a year on the lower Willamette. According to ODFW’s Marine Mammal Program Lead Dr. Shea Steingass, there are 50-100 animals that are present at the Falls at some point in the year.

“Removal of these sub-adult and adult males will have no impact on viability of the sea lion population but will greatly improve the outlook for threatened upper Willamette winter steelhead runs,” she said.

With federal authorization now in place, ODFW can move forward with plans to trap and remove sea lions from the Willamette. “We currently have up to 12 animals at the Falls and a majority of those have been seen here every year for the past 10 years” said Steingass.

ODFW will have to meet two federally-mandated criteria to remove an individual sea lion: it must be observed in the area between Willamette Falls and the mouth of the Clackamas River for two days, or be seen eating salmonids. Those sea lions captured on the Willamette by agency biologists will be transported to a secure facility and humanely euthanized by a veterinary staff. Staff will also perform a necropsy and collect samples to determine the age, health, and diet of the animal in an effort to better understand ecology and behavior of these animals. ODFW will continue to monitor sea lion predation at Willamette Falls, and report its findings to NMFS, which will decide in five years whether to renew ODFW’s authority.

Clements said the action is about striking a balance between the recovery of imperiled salmon and steelhead and the ongoing conservation of sea lions.

“We are trying to prevent a few individual sea lions from habituating to these areas that are hundreds of miles from the ocean where they are especially effective at driving already depleted fish populations further down the path to extinction,” he said. Predation by pinnipeds also threatens to undermine the gains made by significant regional investments in recovery efforts, such as improvements in fish passage at dams, restoration of fish habitat, and implementation of fishing regulations that prohibit anglers from harvesting wild fish.

The MMPA, unlike the ESA, has fewer tools for managers to use to balance the conservation of predators and prey and prevent these situations in locations where fish are most vulnerable. Sections of the MMPA were revised in 1994 to allow limited management of sea lions for the purpose of protecting ESA-listed salmon and steelhead. Unfortunately, the revisions do not allow for proactive management and cannot address emergencies like that occurring at Willamette Falls. In this regard, ODFW has been working with Oregon’s congressional delegation, which is working on a legislative solution that would give wildlife managers broader authority to deal with conservation problems if they arise elsewhere in the Columbia Basin. “I’m optimistic that we’ll get what we need from Congress, but also nervous that time is running out to get this done before the end of the congressional calendar,” said Clements.

Trailer Trash Thursday Plan B Edition

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 22, 2018

I'm beginning to see that a helicopter would come in handy...

Scientific Anlgers / Fly Fusion Web TV Series, Season 3 Episode 4_Pure High from Scientific Anglers on Vimeo.

Trailer Trash Thursday Jungle Trout Edition

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 15, 2018

As a rule, I don't do jungles. Too many critters that want to eat you. I could do this jungle... just say'n.



North Island, New Zealand 2018 - Jungle trout from Flyslingers on Vimeo.

Trailer Trash Thursday Mousing Edition

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 08, 2018

Mousing for big Trout is as good as it gets...


Rainbow Trout Eating Mice Patterns: Colorado from Joey Macomber on Vimeo.

Trailer Trash Thursday BC Whispers Edition

Joel La Follette - Thursday, November 01, 2018

If I could be anywhere on the planet today, this would be the place...

British Columbia Whispers from Sage Fly Fish on Vimeo.


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