ODFW recently released the 2010 stocking plan for McKenzie River Trout. According to District Biologist Jeff Ziller, there are a few changes in the program that will benefit wild trout.
-The biggest boon for wild fish is on the lower river. ODFW will no longer stock below Hendrick’s Bridge — opening up five additional miles for wild fish only. Jeff said the lower river has the most productive rainbow habitat, so these five miles are pretty important.
-Ziller also said ODFW has reduced the number of boat plants from 21-14, (they’re making it up with more boat ramp truck plants) but the idea is that by cutting down on the number of boat stockings it will reduce competition with wild fish and probably mean less fishing pressure.
-Overall stocking has been reduced, from 139,865 fish to 131,115 fish.
Native fish advocates will need to get ready for some fund-raising and volunteer work. It’s going to be very important to document any increase in wild fish populations in the new wild fish only section on the lower river. ODFW hadn’t planned to study the wild fish rebound in that section, but the McKenzie Fly Fishers have been pushing to take on the task. We’re looking forward to the update on the topic.