McKenzie River Redsides need your help! Public testimony is being accepted by ODFW until August 23rd on two regulation proposals that will have significant effects on the health and viability of McKenzie Trout. See below and please consider sending an email to express your support for McKenzie River Redsides. Emails can be directed to Rhine T. Messmer, ODFW Recreational Fisheries Program Manager, at Rhine.T.Messmer@state.or.us. If you’d prefer to send a form-letter to ODFW, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get you a letter developed by the McKenzie Fly Fishers.
As we reported earlier, on August 3rd ODFW held a public hearing on a number of proposed changes that will affect angling on the McKenzie River. Turnout from wild fish supporters at the meeting was superb and a number of local anglers spoke out on behalf of McKenzie River Redside Trout. Strong testimony on both sides of the issues caused the Fish and Wildlife Commission to delay ruling on either proposal until their September 7th meeting in Hermiston.
Proposal 6P would change the definition of soft plastic lures from “bait,” as they are currently classified, to “lures.” Soft plastic lures have been shown to cause severe constipation when ingested by trout, resulting in anorexia-like symptoms. In short, the change in classification would allow soft plastic lures to be used on more sections of the McKenzie, thereby increasing the harmful effects created when trout ingest soft plastic lures.
Additionally, the Fish and Wildlife Commission took public comments on regulation proposal 31S, which would prohibit the use of bait in the section of the McKenzie River between Hendricks Bridge and Hayden Bridge. This section of the McKenzie is intended to be a wild trout production area, and is not stocked with hatchery fish with the intent of providing an increased number of larger, high-quality wild trout for the river. Bait fishing on this section of the river serves little to no purpose, as wild trout cannot be harvested. Further, bait fishing has been shown to cause hooking mortalities of up to 64%… that means more than one out of every two fish caught with bait dies after being released by the angler!
The September 7th F&W Commission Meeting will determine the fate of McKenzie River Redsides for generations. We’ll post info on time and location of the meeting closer to the date. While Hermiston might be far for you to travel individually, we urge supporters of wild, native fish to send an email expressing your views to ODFW before the August 23rd public comment deadline.