This year concerned anglers will again participate in establishing the size of the Mckenzie redside and coastal cutthroat population between Hendricks Bridge and Bellinger. (Sorry whitefish … but, if a certain unnamed individual’s data sheet is any indication, you are doing quite fine.) Last season, these five miles of our beautiful home waters were not stocked with hatchery trout for the first time in many years and will not be stocked this year either.
In order to participate in the McKenzie River Trout population study, you must attend just one of the formalized training sessions scheduled for Wednesday, April 27th, at both 3 PM and 6 PM. The training will be held at the ODFW Springfield Office (3150 E. Main St., Springfield; 541-726-3515). Kits will be distributed and the angling portion of the study beginning on April 29th. Tagging will continue until the end of June.
Last year, the study was held earlier in the season and there is a possibility that some of the rainbow were on their spring spawning run and were not residents of the study area. To foreclose that possibility, the study is being held post-spawn this year. The multi-year effort should establish a positive population trend as regulations become more friendly towards wild trout.
There is another new wrinkle: due to the generosity of certain local vendors there will be prizes awarded to highly productive anglers. The exact details remain to be ironed out but if you needed another reason to go fishing for beautiful, powerful, unique, native and wild trout, there you go. Also, if you have not floated this section of water this season, please note that this year’s high water events have wrought changes on the lower Mckenzie. The area above the canal confluence is particularly dynamic. Please exercise caution as you familiarize yourself with the changes in this area.
Despite the long history of planting and the ongoing bait fishery in this section (on an all wild and native population of trout no less), the redside and cutthroat trout are quite abundant in this reach considering the circumstances, a testimony to the vitality and potential of this magnificent river that also is THE stronghold for ESA listed threatened Upper Willamette River chinook. The Mckenzie also supports the ONLY healthy population of bull trout remaining on the west side of the Cascades.
Given these plain facts, it is unlikely that the severely depressed wild trout population between Forest Glenn and Hendricks Bridge is a habitat issue. Just because the study section is not stocked this season does not mean you will not catch any hatchery trout. In fact, it is highly likely that you will. Never tag stocked trout. In the event of a misclip, please use this handy cheat sheet to determine whether you have a native or a planter.
Please tag me:
It’s your call of course but personally when I catch a wash-in from the zombie apocalypse zone, I prefer to double tap. October 2nd … April 23rd … Whatever … details, details ….
This is one time where fishing pressure is a good thing! Hope to see you on the water.