Fly Fishing Guide Service Based Out of Eugene, Oregon

Umpqua Wild Steelhead Need Your Help

Taken from The Caddis Fly/oregonflyfishingblog.com

In typical agency fashion, ODFW is hosting a weekday event wherein working folks need to try to take a day off to support their interest in protecting wild fish in the Coastal Management Plan. There is a place for written public comments listed below, but if you’ve ever been through one of these, the thing that actually matters is in-person appeals.

So why attend? Although it’s not included in the Coastal Management Plan, we expect a large vocal contingent to attend requesting the plan be amended to include harvest of wild Umpqua winter steelhead. Here is some info from North Umpqua guide Mark Stangeland’s blog:

The final draft CMP is being presented to the OFWC for approval on June 6, 2014 at ODFW Headquarters in Salem. Public testimony will again be heard as part of this agenda item, which we expect to be taken up most likely after 10:00 AM

Please attend if you can to support the current no-kill regulation. If you can’t attend, please send an email odfw.commission@state.or.us or letter to the Commission opposing any harvest of wild steelhead on the Umpqua River.

Your message can be very simple. You can also include any of the following issues to support your position, but it’s important to get the basic message across: No harvest of wild steelhead in the Umpqua Basin.

1. This is the last, best wild steelhead run in the United States, a world-famous fishery characterized by uniquely large fish as recognized in the CMP. Sound management requires caution with such a resource.

2. ODFW relies on their 2004 Biological Assessment to support harvest. Based on admittedly sketchy data, they estimate a run of 30,000 – 35,000 wild steelhead with over half coming from mainstem Umpqua River tributaries. Neither ODFW nor BLM can identify the tributaries with sufficient high quality rearing habitat to produce the half-million smolts needed for this estimated return (and it likely doesn’t exist).

3. Pending Federal legislation would transfer management of O&C lands currently administered by BLM to state control, under the provisions of Oregon’s Forest Practices Act. This will result in additional deterioration of fish habitat in mainstem Umpqua River tributaries

4. Climate change will have a disproportionately high impact on the upper Umpqua Basin for both flow levels and temperatures. As the only Cascade Mountains rivers in the CMP, the Umpqua headwaters depend on snowpack for summer flows, and snowpack is diminishing – note the recent news articles about record low snowpack in Crater Lake, the source for much of the North Umpqua summertime flows.

5. Given the budgetary problems ODFW is facing, they cannot identify the current state of wild steelhead or adequately monitor impacts from harvest combined with these other factors. This isn’t the time to increase pressure on the best wild run in the US.

HELP PROTECT THESE

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Meeting info below:

COASTAL MULTI-SPECIES CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT PLAN

The Commission Draft Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan (CMP) was presented to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission (OFWC) at its April 25, 2014 meeting in North Bend. Thank you to all who testified in that public hearing. The CMP and your input were favorably received by the OFWC.

The final draft CMP is being presented to the OFWC for approval on June 6, 2014 at ODFW Headquarters in Salem. Public testimony will again be heard as part of this agenda item, which we expect to be taken up most likely after 10:00 AM (please note that agenda items are subject to change and we cannot provide a time-certain). Details on this meeting can be found on the OFWC website. The final draft CMP and Executive Summary will also be posted by 5:00 PM on May 28 at: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/CRP/coastal_multispecies.asp. In addition to testifying at the Commission meeting, written public comments can be submitted prior to the meeting to: ODFW.CoastalPlan@state.or.us, odfw.commission@state.or.us, or Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, Salem, OR 97302.

3 Comments
  1. I can not get up there this Friday – but I will send an Email today!

  2. I was lucky to grow up fishing the Umpqua River system and have seen many changes occur over the last 30 years fishing the system. The problems that need to be addressed are not of the everyday sportsman who recreationally fishes on their weekends, it’s the guides.

    A one a day five a year harvest would be perfectly sustainable if it weren’t for the heavy guide pressure. The fact is simple and was witnessed the last go around with the regulation change. An allowance of five fish a year was seldom reached by most fishermen and most fish were still released back into the water unharmed. Yet we watched guides kill two fish on a day to day basis because it was “their clients” fish not theirs and everyday they had two fresh tags with places to tag hens. They killed 10-14 fish a week all because they weren’t regulated and the rules didn’t apply to them. Guides are already hard enough on fish with the five minute photo sessions and netting every fish.

    Though I am for a small recreational harvest of native fish (2 a year) we are far from a regulation system that would work. Until guides are regulated on keeping natives no changes should be made.

    This wasn’t intended to be negative towards all guides as I am sure many of them truly care about the run as much as I do. However if you all truly care about the fish you need to focus on controlling all the negative impacts that still occur on a daily basis, such as netting with nylon nets, removing fish from the water, extended photo sessions, and the huge amount of hook deaths that occur every December below Tyee during low water (also causes by heavy guide pressure)

    • Adam,

      Thank you for commenting, you are clearly an educated angler.

      I agree with a lot of what you had to say, particularly on the handling of wild fish once caught, and the issue concerning the amount of pressure and exposure the fish endure during low water years.

      This post was meant to bring last minute awareness on an issue where there is now “middle ground” option presently. Either everyone (including guides and clients) gets to kill one and five, or everyone releases all wild fish. The choice for me was clear.

      Thank you for your comment.

      -Ty

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