Thursday, June 09, 2011

Are We Getting Our Moneys Worth?

Recently I was looking through some old Oregon fishing regulation booklets and was shocked at what I read. In 1953 a resident angling license was $4 for the year and there was no harvest card required at that time. Fast forward 23 years later to 1976 and the price had doubled to a whopping $9 a year plus $2 for a harvest card. Now we fast forward again to 2011 and we are now paying $33 for a resident license plus $16.50 for a harvest card so with the agent fee us residents are paying $50. From 1976 to 2011 the price for an Oregon resident rose about $40 or almost 5 times what we were paying 30 years ago.Whew! Enough math already before my head explodes.
Picture this scenario before...
You want to purchase a new car. You've read all kinds of praises for this new model and so you go into the dealership to make your purchase.
When you've paid the price you excitedly go outside to take delivery of your new "ride" only to discover you've purchased a used Yugo and you paid a premium price for it. Think you might be a little angry? I would think so.
So basically Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife sold me a Yugo for the price of a Lexus!
Let me be blunt here. Fishing in Oregon just plain sucks! There are no "Blue Ribbon" fisheries anymore, the salmon runs are in shambles,the wild winter steelhead populations are dwindling and I could go on. You might think I am being a pessimist or a "glass half empty" person but for cryin' out loud the damn glass is broken. The uber-expensive hatchery programs seem like they are being run by a group of first graders and the only thing they are accomplishing is harming wild salmonids. I mean come on guys! You can put a gold ring in a pigs snout but that pig is still going to root around in it's own feces right? Well the "feces" ODFW wants us to wallow in is their claim that Oregon is a sportsman's paradise.
Why has this out of control state agency, who have been charged with the wise stewardship of our fish and wildlife, failed so miserably? Could it be that these bureaucrats are too concerned about saving their own jobs at the expense of everything else?
ODFW director Roy Elicker has made increased angler opportunity his mantra. The fish biologists have been ordered to find new "angling opportunities" to exploit and exploit them they have. The harvest of wild coastal cutthroat trout, the steelhead broodstock program and the greedy eye cast towards wild North Umpqua winter steelhead are a few of the most obvious failures but all at a higher price mind you.
Why would anyone buy into this bullshit? Well they aren't! License and tag sales are in the toilet and with the biennium budget process coming up ODFW will no doubt be embarrassed, or at least they should be, at the product they are serving up to the angling public.
Yes I held my nose and bought my license and so I shouldn't complain. However, is it really too much for me and other license buyers in this state to ask for more than a used Yugo? I think so.
So does the quality of our fishing in Oregon merit such a steep price? I don't think so.
This state has little if any blue ribbon" fishing left. One can argue that maybe the McKenzie would qualify or perhaps the Deschutes and Metolius but I do not see it.
Today the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has degraded the quality of angling, especially for cold water species, to the point that Oregon is no longer the fishing mecca that it once was. Over management, over use of hatcheries and over harvest along with habitat degradation, non-selective commercial harvest has turned Oregon into just another state where there used to be good fishing.
We all know about my personal war against steelhead and salmon broodstock programs but it goes beyond that. Today ODFW does not manage for conservation, they manage for angling opportunities and wild fish be damned!

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