Mckenzie Trout Stocking: Opportunity Lost

Trout Unlimited and our coalition partners campaign to remove hatchery trout from the Mckenzie River remains in high gear.  Over the course of the next week or so I’m going to look at some of the criticisms directed at the campaign and of course, refute them. 

Critics say we are “greedy” (I’ve been called worse) and don’t want to “share” the resource.  (This is ironic.)  They say we want to  take trout out of Jr.’s creel and deny kids the joy of fishing.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that of about 113,000 trout stocked in the Mckenzie annually, maybe 37% percent make it to the creel and that’s a high end estimate.  By my calculation, about 82,500 of the hatchery trout stocked last year were not caught by anglers and instead died of natural causes!  What a waste!  On top of that abysmall return rate, the Cape Cod hatchery strain trout are severely depressing our magnificent native redsides.  That is no way to maximize opportunity or to treat our Oregon’s native trout.  It’s tragic.

There is a hard cap on the number of trout ODFW can stock in the district.  If you want people to harvest more trout, you have to put the trout where they are easier to harvest.   If ODFW was serious about maximizing opportunity for taking trout,  ODFW would plant trout where  they get a high creel return rate, not the Mckenzie.  Stillwater stocking can have a catch rate of 90% or more.  Putting all the hatchery trout destined for the Mckenzie in those waters could result in about 60,000 more trout on Jr.’s stringer and the Mckenzie Redside trout would rebound

There would be more trout for those who define opportunity as this:

Hatchery Trout-Not Pretty

and for those of us who prefer our opportunity like this:

Mckenzie Redside Rainbow


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3 Responses to Mckenzie Trout Stocking: Opportunity Lost

  1. Anthony says:

    Well said. It’s too bad that not everyone who hears of the plight of the campaign truly understands the impact that the stocking of trout introduces. I hope that the people from who you are getting complaints find some time to visit a meeting and learn of the benefits of beautiful, native redsides when compared to the negative impact of their colorless brothers.

  2. Moon says:

    First off – Thank you for all of you’re hard work on this Karl….. I look forward to some of the insights to be forth coming as you refute some of the same old complaints that come out of this debate. I find it rather ironic that we can’t move into the future of protecting wild fisheries first. When was the last time the news paper or any other credible outsource reported a success in any moving waters where hatchery plantings had help increase the wild fishery? Any time you do hear any news, it’s always spelling out quite the opposite.

  3. steve jost says:

    Well….at least you have 2 supporters…

    When you want to remove bait and scent…count me in.

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