This will be a yearly thing where I bring this post to the top. I feel it's just that important for the well being of wild steelhead. Those of you that already curtails your upriver fishing, I applaud you!
Those of you who insist on harassing fish on their redds then maybe you should pay attention. There are still fresh steelhead in the lower portions of the river so why not stay down there and leave the upriver areas alone....ya think?
This subject is something I strongly believe in and adhere to so since this is my blog you dear readers will just have to indulge me.
As most of you know I spend a lot of time fishing the rivers near Tillamook, Oregon. I fish for steelhead and coastal cutthroat trout on those rivers and know some of them very well. I know the fish and where they frequent, although you would never guess that by my angling success or lack thereof on the Wilson. This time of year I will stay out of the upper parts of those rivers because I know there are many wild steelhead using the upper rivers and tributaries to spawn.
How did I arrive at this decision? In 2001 I was fishing in the upper portion of a Tillamook area stream and hooked a very large wild female steelhead. I played her out and landed her carefully to avoid any harm coming to her when I saw that she was dropping her eggs. I had probably taken her right off a spawning bed and I felt disgusted with myself for even being in that section of the river.
I vowed from that day on to never fish the upper river in late spring until at least the end of May. I've tried to convince others to do likewise and have managed to convince some but others steadfastly refuse.
The ODFW (Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) closes the nearby Miami river completely for that two month period and the upper Nestucca river is closed in order to limit access to spawning areas but why not the Wilson or the Trask?
I have seen too many pictures of grinning fishermen holding a wild buck steelhead out of the water for their hero shot while that male fish is dumping it's milt all over the fisherman's waders.
Some might say that why stop at the upper rivers why not close the whole river during that time? Wouldn't bother me in the least but some of those are big revenue rivers for both the ODFW and Tillamook county so with heavy lobbying from a few "good old boys" Tillamook area fishing groups they stays open.
I urge everyone who reads my blog to consider what they can do to further the cause of wild fish in this state and any state. If we don't do it then who will!
The picture below gives you an idea of what to look for.
PLEASE LEAVE SPAWNING or GUARDING FISH ALONE