Over the past month, the McKenzie Flyfishers have spearheaded a wild trout census study on the five mile section of river from Hendricks to Bellinger boat ramps. The study was funded by the local Trout Unlimited Chapter through a $5,000 grant from the Flyfishers Club of Oregon.
Dave Thomas, Patrick Dowd, Karl Mueller, Moon and Monica Mullen, Craig Heaton, Dave Vazquez, Scott Kinney and others have been on the water, fly fishing for, and tagging native McKenzie Redside trout.
The study was implemented to document how the wild fish bounce back after hatchery fish removal. For anyone interested in the science behind hatchery fish interactions with wild fish, please visit the McKenzie Flyfishers fisheries page that documents all the best science on this topic.
Scott Kinney and I headed out yesterday for a few hours to do some tagging and it was a better day for bugwatching than fishing. We did manage to tag one nice 15.5″ native trout, and each had a couple shots at more nice fish. A couple more conversions might have turned a tough day into a good one. We also had a blizzard Grannom “Mothers Day” caddis hatch, plus bonus stonefly species including a salmonfly and a skwala stone.
There has also been some concerns as to the state of the local whitefish population in the McKenzie, and I can say anecdotally at least, that Scott’s boat is dispelling that rumor.