Friday, February 02, 2007

A Time For Tough Choices

Points to ponder to any of you that read this blog and also fish.
What are you willing to sacrifice for the betterment of the resource? Could you give up your fly fishing for trout on the Deschutes for instance? How about the wonderful coastal cutthroat trout on the north coast? How about those of you that fish the Columbia river for spring chinook?
The point I'm trying to make here is there very well may come a time when we face these tough choices. Face it folks the once abundant runs of wild anadromous fish are but a shell of their former selves. Over harvest, pollution, hydro-electric dams, gill nets and loss of habitat has decimated these runs to the point of extinction in many instances.
We can get outraged at the TV news footage of hungry pinnepeds devouring spring chinook salmon below Bonneville dam and rightly so to a degree. The thing is the problem is just a symptom of a much larger problem. The regions gluttony for hydro power necessitated these dams or so they tell us. So now we have the four nearly useless lower Snake River dams that serve no viable purpose other than blocking wild salmon escapement into spawning areas. Nearly everyone agrees that these dams could and should be removed but of course they have become sacred cows to those that think the earth is ours to plunder.
With man made climate changes and other man caused problems we may see the end to many endangered fish runs.
Not many people realize that the Pacific steelhead trout ranged as far south as Baja California! In just a couple of generations those runs are just a long gone memory. The extinction has crept up the coastline and the now virtually all wild spawning steelhead runs are in trouble.
Add to all this the mismanagement of the resource by state and federal agencies and therein lays the problem.
It's time to quit wasting our money with poorly designed and managed hatchery programs and spend that money where it will do the most good! We are not entitled to have fish to harvest and it is selfish to think so. Couldn't that money be better spent in wild fish habitat restoration?
A perfect example of wasted money is the shrine to logging in the Tillamook forest that was built along the Wilson river. It's a very impressive display of how the giant timber companies pillaged that forest for so many years. Do you think maybe those millions would have been better spent on the regions endangered wild fish? I think so.
This opinion is not popular among the "coastal" folk who make their living in the forest but can't we still harvest trees and keep our rivers and their wild fish viable? I think so!


  1. While I agree with you, it's going to be hard to get the hatchery heads behind you. A majority of people buy fishing licenses to catch and kill fish. They don't care about hatchery vs wild distinctions and numbers bring in dollars for ODFW. People need to make a case for wild fish.

  2. Thanks for your comments Matt and I appreciate them.
    The misguided wild steelhead broodstock program is a perfect example of money over wild fish. Hopefully a few of us can make a difference when the programs on the north coast come up for review.