Williams is a strong supporter of our efforts to eliminate or reduce regular trout stocking in the McKenzie:
“My biggest concerns relate to impacts on the native species, including the native McKenzie River redband/rainbow, bull trout, and other native fishes. As you know there are numerous issues concerning impacts of the stocked trout, including erosion of the native trout genome, domestication of the native species, competition with natives, and the potential for introduced diseases and parasites that often accompany hatchery fish.
In addition to the biological and ecological issues, I simply do not believe that stocked trout send the right ethical message to the angling community and larger interested public. That is, we should value the native species and the river experience rather than trying to ensure fish for the creel. We do not know for sure how the fishery would fare without stocking, and with more conservation and management for the native species, but I can’t imagine that in the long run it would be poorer and perhaps even better than depending upon stocked fish.
This is not to say that stocked trout are inappropriate in all situations, because there are many areas, especially in lakes and reservoirs, where the ecological impacts are minimal and recreational opportunities from natives are severely limited or nonexistent. Of course, not all natural lakes should be stocked either. So, the context is important and the context for the McKenzie is a diverse native fish community that deserves improved stewardship.”
Jack E. Williams, Ph.D.