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ODFW Proposes Changes that Endanger Wild Fish

Joel La Follette - Thursday, August 20, 2015
ODFW is currently proposing changes to the State's fishing regulations that, in some cases, could endanger our wild native fish. These changes are being considered in an effort to simplify the current regulations making it easier for anglers to understand the rules, or by adding to the opportunity to catch more fish, thus drawing more anglers to buy fishing licenses. I printed out the proposals and while combining them with a current copy of the fishing regulations I did not come away seeing anything simple about them. What did raise a red flag was the following proposals.

Page 3. Deschutes River. Open for trout all year, 2 per day, 8 inch minimum length from I-84 Bridge to Pelton Reservoir.

The Deschutes has been under a slot limit (10-13 inches) since the 80s and this has improved the survival of spawning age fish, thus improving the population and the size of the fish present. Lowering the size limit puts wild native steelhead at risk for harvest, while removing the slot limit takes larger prime fish out of the gene pool. The Deschutes is currently treated by most anglers as a catch and release Trout stream, even though regulations allow for limited harvest. This provides campers the chance for a stream side fish lunch if they wish, while still leaving prime spawning stock in the river. This proposal is a very bad idea.

Page 4. Metolius River. Open all year. All tributaries closed with the exception of Lake and Spring creeks, artificial flies and lures only.

Did you get that one? First off, the river as been closed in the winter months (Oct. 31-May 23rd) above Allingham bridge to protect Rainbow Trout spawning habitat. The number of successful spawners in this area has increased each year. Opening this section of the river is not necessary and puts at risk a rebounding wild Trout population. Adding conventional tackle (lures) to the mix on the Metolius puts added pressure on this fishery that would impact fish, wildlife and the watershed in general. This river is a State treasure and needs to be protected. Another bad idea.

It should be noted that some of the proposed changes will be good for wild native fish by allowing additional harvest of some invasive species. Please look over the proposed changes and make comment to ODFW. I've included the links below.

Please consider emailing a copy of the letter below to ODFW. Feel free to ad your own colorful remarks and be sure to sign it. Copy the letter and email to ODFW Commission

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem, OR 97302

August 27, 2015

Dear ODFW Directors and Commissioners,

In the past ODFW has developed strategies to successfully manage the wild trout populations on the Deschutes and Metolius Rivers. Proposed rule changes currently under consideration threaten to undo the progress that has been made over many years protecting wild fish on these rivers.

Please do not throw this progress away. I encourage ODFW to continue to prioritize the protection of wild fish on the Deschutes, Metolius and all Oregon rivers. I stand firmly against currently proposed rule changes.

Joel La Follette
Royal Treatment Fly Fishing
West Linn, OR

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