Sunday, October 24, 2010

Wild Winter Steelhead at the Crossroads - An Opinion

We are 10 years into the wild winter steelhead broodstock programs on the north coast and what have we got to show for it?
Dwindling numbers of returning wild adults? Yes
Over sized and hungry broodstock smolt? You bet!
Gear and bait guides are the biggest benefactors in this program? Absolutely
The promised review and assessment of the program by ODFW? Nope!
So here we sit ten years later on the eve of yet another winter steelhead season with not much more knowledge of this program than when it first started.
Yes the broodstock program did supply a better strain of hatchery steelhead but you have to ask yourself if it was worth the price of the sacrifice of the wild eggs that were "borrowed". Experts do not think so.
Did it sell a lot more angling licenses and create the "angling opportunities" like ODFW had hoped? Doubtful since they pretty much eliminated the early winter season for thousands of November/December winter steelhead enthusiasts. Remember the old days of sneaking out for some winter steelhead fishing before Thanksgiving dinner?
Here is what we do know. Returning broodstock offsprings are less fit than the guides and ODFW would like you to know. The science and analysis of the broodstock programs  fishery experts is out there and it refutes what all the bullshit the Tillamook area bait guides are trying to sell you at the largest fishing forum in the Pacific northwest
Meanwhile the wild winter steelhead, the fish that really matter, are at a crossroads. Apparently a few at ODFW realize this but one has to wonder if it's too late and will they ever have a voice in making the correct policy decisions at that agency
I fear that another 10 years of playing dumb by ODFW will be the final straw for wild winter steelhead.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Good News For Bull Trout

I guess hydroelectric dams aren't critical habitat after all huh George?

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — The Obama administration has issued its final rule on critical habitat for the bull trout, one of the most fought-over threatened species in the country the past two decades.
The rule issued Tuesday by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reverses Bush administration policy on endangered species by recognizing the importance of protecting habitat to restore fish and wildlife in danger of extinction.
The 2005 critical habitat designation was struck down by a federal court, and an inspector general's report found improper political influence went into its creation.
The new rule greatly expands the miles of streams and areas of lakes and reservoirs deemed essential to restoring bull trout in Oregon, Washington

Friday, October 01, 2010

Metolius will humble you

Photograph by Kathleen Lewis Stewart

First of all let me say that the Metolius is a beautiful river in every sense of the word. It's a place that I could easily live near and be quite contented! To be able to hang around Camp Sherman and the "Met" would be wonderful.
It also showed me that I am not the hot shot fly fisherman that I may have foolishly thought I was. Actually I know I'm an average fly angler at best so there was no delusional thinking going on here at all.
Crystal clear and swift is the best way to describe it and for the few hours I fished it I as might well have been fishing with no fly on my line for all the good it did me.
It was however, one of my best fishing trips of the year...go figure