Monday, February 28, 2011

Come To Oregon This Summer For Poached Steelhead

No I'm not talking about illegally caught either.
In a press release from NSIA (Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association) it states the following.

NSIA representatives included major retailers such as Fred Meyer and Fishermen’s Marine and Outdoor, tackle manufacturers, outdoor advertising and media, and guides. Facilitated by ODFW, the participants brainstormed ways to leverage their collective communication platforms and resources for better outreach to attract new customers to this thriving but under appreciated fishery.

“Steelhead are one of Oregon’s most prized game fish, known for their fight,” said Todd Davidson, Director of Travel Oregon. “Great conditions and stable fishing seasons make summer steelhead a solid draw to Oregon for visiting anglers and their families.” Davidson continued, “The statewide potential of this pilot project is tremendous.”
Last year, nearly half a million of these summer steelhead, often nicknamed “freight trains” entered the Columbia River and were pursued by anglers from the bank and from boats. For 2011 the steelhead returns will be down, but only slightly. “This is the perfect fishery for the families that shop Fred Meyer,” said Cheryl Kindwall, sporting goods buyer. “A Columbia River steelhead is easily caught from the river’s many public beaches, turning a fishing trip into a picnic and fun family outing.”

So what is wrong with this you might ask? The Columbia river runs very warm, fish wise, in the summer months. It runs on an average year in the lethal range of 68-71Fin August the height of tourist season. Plainly speaking that is too hot to stress out a wild steelhead.
When a steelhead is hooked and played in those warm temperatures is is almost always lethal.
It is somewhat surprising that a group like NSIA would promote this fishery knowing that the warm water is harmful.
Tourism in Oregon is fine and we all know that it helps Oregon's struggling economy but to promote actually harming ESA is troubling. I would have thought NSIA would know better.Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who are also involved in this promotion of CR summer steelhead, has once again shown a total disregard for the health of wild salmonids...does that surprise you?


  1. We interviewed every person mentioned in the ridiculous NSIA press release. Todd Davidson passed the buck to ODFW's Rick Hargrave. Rick had no clue about water temps in the lower Columbia, and has never fished the Columbia. His great quote was, "We're just promoting fisheries like we always do." Yeah, Rick, with absolutely no regard for ESA listed fish!!

    Bob Rees, the only truly conservation minded person in the mix, admitted he hadn't thought about water temps, and says he'll strive to be a voice of reason in future meetings.

    Liz, who talks a good line for wild fish while promoting industry, said water temps are a non-issue because the fish stop biting when the temps get above 67 or 68F. Which is mostly true.

    So this little PR white-wash boils down to the promotion of a two to three week season below I-205, and one in which most people will not find success.

    Verdict: disengenuous bullshit, and a sign of things to come. No surprise, considering the source.

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