The McKenzie Flyfisher’s Fishery Committee–composed of members with a variety of outlooks–is continuing its extensive consideration of the issue of reducing or removing hatchery trout from the McKenzie River.
The club is still deliberating its official position, but has recently posted a substantial report on the McKenzie River Hatchery issue under the “News” section of the club’s website.
This is a very well-balanced, well-researched document and it draws the following conclusions:
-There is a consensus in the scientific community that in general, hatchery fish do harm native fish.
-Jeff Ziller, South Willamette Watershed District Fish Biologist agrees with the scientific consensus.
-ODFW and Army Corps of Engineers biologists suspect from observational evidence that the depression of wild rainbow trout populations in the planted zone is substantial, or even severe.
Despite the McKenzie FlyFishers’ Committee’s independent findings that hatchery trout are harming native trout populations on the McKenzie River, The McKenzie River Guides Association has maintained its official position, that it wants the McKenzie River be stuffed to the bursting point with hatchery fish.
Arlen Thomason, chair of the McKenzie Flyfishers committee on this issue, noted author and biologist had the following to say:
“In a late-breaking turn of events, the McKenzie River Guides Association’s Board of Directors has formally adopted a policy affirming its previously stated position in support of the continued planting of hatchery trout as it is currently being practiced in the McKenzie. Taking off my hat now as chairman of the Fishery Committee, and speaking for myself, this is an unfortunate and disappointing development, as I had hoped they would keep open minds and seek common ground with other groups who are concerned with the health of the river. For an organization that has a history of service to the river community, the decision to disregard the well-being of McKenzie native redsides reflects poorly on its membership, many of whom are otherwise good people and have much to lose from a continued decline of our wild trout. The adopted policy maintains that the acknowledged depression of the native redside population within half of its McKenzie range is a purely social and not a biological issue, and that anyone advocating changes to help it is guilty of selfishness. The policy is disingenuous at best. It is akin to saying that a disease like diabetes or hypertension is not a biological issue because it’s a chronic condition that you can live with, at least for a while. The truth of course is that it most certainly is a biological issue; it’s the decision whether it should be treated or tolerated, when weighed against the costs, that is the social issue.”
You can contact members of the McKenzie River Guides Association board here, and share your opinion on who it is exactly that’s working for their own self-interest and not for the good of the fishery.