Last night we nearly handed out all fifty of our signs for the McKenzie River Native Trout Coalition, an organization with the goal of reducing or removing hatchery fish from the McKenzie River. Wild fish supporters packed the room at the Springfield Infantry Readiness Center. In fact, the room overflowed with our supporters and people had to sit on the floor, and spill out the door.
By showing up last night, you demonstrated to Rhine Messmer, recreational fisheries program manager for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, that the public cares about native fish and doesn’t agree with the agency’s misguided efforts to increase planting of hatchery fish on top of robust native populations in Oregon.
In 2007, when the McKenzie River Guides Association and our ODFW District biologists put together a bait ban proposal on the McKenzie River to protect native redsides, it was ODFW’s team in Salem that shut down that proposal because, according to Rhine, there was a major public outcry. Last night you showed the agency that there is also public support for protection of this resource.
When 50-people cram into a hot meeting room instead of being home with their families, ODFW can’t ignore the plight of the wild rainbow trout on the McKenzie.