McKenzie River Trout Update: Mark your calendars for April 8th

Wild Trout Panel Next Thursday
On Thursday April 8th, McKenzie River Native Trout advocates should plan on attending the McKenzie River Watershed Council meeting at the Campbell Senior Center 155 High St. in Eugene. Dinner at 5:00, meeting at 5:30pm.

MRWC is hosting a panel discussion on the various options for trout management on the McKenzie River. The five panelists include Trout Unlimited, the McKenzie Fly Fishers, Dave Vazquez, the McKenzie River Guides Association and the Vida Store. Each panelist will get 5 minutes to express their perspective; after each initial presentation, other panelists, council members and the audience will ask questions of that panelist. Ater all initial presentations, members of the audience will get an opportunity to express opinions that they felt were not presented by a panelist; panelists will get 2 minutes to make final comments.

Trout and Tourism
In related news, the Register-Guard yesterday ran an article about the McKenzie River Tourism Committee, a group dedicated to bring more business to the “forgotten” McKenzie Valley. Of the 68 miles of navigable McKenzie River, 38 miles (33 miles in 2010) are managed for hatchery trout production. Should nearly half of Lane County’s tourism engine be dedicated to anglers chasing a hatchery truck/boat? Should one of the last intact ecosystems with healthy Bull Trout and Upper Willamette Spring Chinook populations be the place for an artificial put-and-take experience? Obviously, we don’t think so.

We’re hoping to influence the folks involved in this project to consider these issues:

-The McKenzie River is one of the only rivers in Western Oregon where anglers have a legitimate shot at a trophy trout. And the best way to increase opportunity to catch trophy fish is to shrink the hatchery zone.

-Anglers can catch hatchery fish in Pittsburgh. Why would someone come here?

-The Metolius is a great example of how a river and economy can bounce back. In a recent Native Fish Society Newsletter, Russell Basset interviewed owner of the Camp Sherman Store, Roger White, who said that he had better revenues in 1996, after the hatchery program stopped, than the previous owner had in 1995 during the hatchery days. “That first year was scary as hell,” White said. “People kept telling me that no one would come and that we would go out of business because the stocking stopped. The first couple years were tough, but we saw things turn around. After three years the fish were rebounding well. As the river progressed, magazines wrote articles and more and more people gave this river a try.”

For more information: contact Sarah Mizejewski, Lane County Community & Economic Development, at 541-682-4445 or sarah.mizejewski@co.lane.us and let her know how you feel about these issues.

By the numbers: Trout tagging
Here is an update on the trout tagging process from the McKenzie Flyfishers’ Dave Thomas: In January 2010, ODFW announced it would no longer stock a five mile section of the Lower McKenzie River, from Hendricks to Bellinger boat ramps. This section of river had been stocked with triploid rainbow trout for decades, so the McKenzie Flyfishers asked the agency to study the effect of removing those stocked fish on the native population. Through a grant from the Fly Fishers Club of Oregon, Trout Unlimited Chapter 678 funded the project, and held angler training sessions during the first week in March. ODFW trained a total of 46 participants. The tagging process and data recording standards were covered and each participant became eligible to use study kits containing tagging guns, tags, maps of the study section, data recording forms and other paraphernalia. At the end of the first two weeks of the study we had logged 22 tagging trips through the study section, plus an earlier ODFW trip using electric shock to tag fish. These efforts together resulted in 105 fish caught and released. Of these, 15 native cutthroats and 55 native rainbow trout were tagged. We expect this year’s study to continue through May or until we have tagged about 700 fish, which ever comes first. In succeeding years, using the proportion of tagged fish to the overall catch, we will develop progressively refined population estimates and have a much better idea of the impact of current planting practices on native fish in the river.

-MS

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2 Responses to McKenzie River Trout Update: Mark your calendars for April 8th

  1. Rob R says:

    Excellent information. I was there when the Metolius changed. That was where I spent my time in those years. I saw the quality and quantity of rainbows fill out naturally, as they have in so many other cases.

    The case for a wild McKenzie becomes more obvious and compelling with each passing day. And since every vocal proponent of hatchery plantings has gone on record as saying they care about wild redsides, it should be a gentle transition to walking the talk. Let’s give the river a chance to show us what she’s got!

  2. M00n says:

    A fishing buddy and I have spoken a few times about this issue/issue’s. We didn’t always go along with the powers that be on their decisions, but we also always assumed that they were doing the right thing in the long run. After going through the 2008 Public Input debacle however – we became skeptical of our own not to mention those who are in charge opinion’s concerning our wild fisheries and the waters in which they swim.

    As we asked questions, we became even more suspicious and more out spoken on the subject. As it turns out by all anecdotal and scientific study’s, our concern was well founded and it all so seems – things may well be much worse than even we ever suspected.

    As such and through the work of some pretty smart guys, I have found that truthful information is a powerful tool. I say let the truth and science speak for it’s self.
    I plan on making these and any other meetings that come up, I think education of and or about the science that is in – is the next step towards protecting our resources. I also wish to here all sides of said issue so as to be able to address such concerns.

    Thank you for the heads up guys……..

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