Sunday, July 26, 2009
...and the Beat Goes On
You children of the 60's must certainly remember the old Sonny and Cher song "The Beat Goes On" don't you? Well I thought I would liken it to what the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is doing to wild salmonids in Oregon.
The beating, trampling and mismanaging our wild coldwater fisheries just keeps going on.
Looking back into recent history we can see the blitzkrieg that ODFW has launched on wild salmon,steelhead and trout. I will briefly review what has transpired in just the last 10 or so years as ODFW "beats" on wild fish.
The steelhead broodstock programs is perhaps the biggest blunder these "stewards" have foisted upon the state of Oregon. Ask anyone, who isn't a bait guide, on rivers like those in the Tillamook basin how few steelhead redds they are seeing since this program has gone on.
Then the total mismanagement of chinook salmon statewide. Whether it's the Columbia river or the coastal regions the state of Oregon's salmon populations, specifically chinook salmon, are in serious trouble. Ask anyone who fishes either area and they will tell you just how bad it is. ODFW went so far as to close specific rivers and areas to the retention of chinook salmon BUT they are allowing business as usual on coho salmon. They will even allow the harvest of wild coho in the same rivers where the chinook closure is taking place.
Then there is the "Angling Opportunities" excuse to pillage wild trout and steelhead populations. Sure enough ODFW is once again casting an eye towards the wild winter steelhead on the North Umpqua. In less than two years after first protecting these fish ODFW is going to try to push across a harvest of wild winter steelhead. Doesn't matter that it was only last October that the commission decided against a harvest.
Seems to me that there should be some kind of asterisk after each regulation that protects wild steelhead.
* We at ODFW reserve the right to pull the conservation rug out from any wild steelhead population if it can increase license sales So really nothing is safe these days. Whether it be coastal cutthroat trout, chinook and coho salmon or wild winter steelhead when it comes to being responsible stewards there truly aren't any sacred cows.
The thing is with a looking fee increase on just about every tag or license the state of Oregon is about to price themselves out of the game.
There are few if any "blue ribbon" coldwater fisheries in this region anymore but still the fight for what scraps are left goes on.
Folks it really does suck being such a cynic but reality, being what it is, forces me into this position.
I would much rather talk about the great strides our fish and wildlife departments are making in the preservation of our coldwater fisheries but for every small step forward that Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife makes they take two huge steps backwards.
Groups like Trout Unlimited and Native Fish Society are the proverbial John the Baptists, crying out in the wilderness of failed hatchery programs and disappearing salmon runs.
For those of you that buy an angling license in Oregon and Washington. Don't you think it's time to hold these people accountable for their mismanagement?
Next year the biennium budget process for ODFW will begin anew and it will be your chance to see these bureaucrats in action. Go to a regional budget meeting and ask pointed questions about what this state agency is doing with our money.
The experience is eye opening!