Stop the harvest of endangered Bull Trout in Lake Billy Chinook!


Kaden Leeper started this petition to ODFW Regulation Review Board

One of the most threatened fish in North America needs your help! Due to overfishing and their mistaken status as a “trash fish” in the early 20th century, bull trout now inhabit less than 20% of their historical range. Yet Lake Billy Chinook in Central Oregon is one of last two bodies of water in the USA where they can be caught and harvested.

Since 1998, bull trout have been listed as “threatened” as part of the Endangered Species Act, and are heavily protected by water quality standards as well as other environmental protection laws. These prehistoric char are only found in several states in US: Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and the Jarbridge River in Northern Nevada. In Montana and Washington, the targeting of this species by fisherman is illegal. In Idaho and almost all of Oregon they can be targeted, but must be released immediately unharmed.

However, in Lake Billy Chinook, one bull trout per person, per day is allowed to be harvested. Hungry Horse Reservoir in Montana is the only other place I have found that also allows this practice, yet their regulations state that anglers may only keep TWO bull trout caught during a calendar year. That same fisherman could come to Billy Chinook and catch and kill 365 in the same amount of time! How can it possibly be legal to kill an endangered species? This sort of practice is what lead to them being placed on the ESA in the first place! If it is true that this practice is ok because there is a thriving population in Billy Chinook, as I was told by ODFW representative Jerry George, why not let them thrive?! Many scientists and biologists studying these majestic fish believe that we will see their extinction in our life time. It is my belief that they should be given a chance to reproduce and expand their range uninterrupted.

This is a topic dear to my heart, and myself and the bull trout of the world would love your support!

Kaden Leeper

Show your support by clicking HERE

This entry was posted in Oregon Conservation News. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Stop the harvest of endangered Bull Trout in Lake Billy Chinook!

  1. keith karoglanian says:

    You can fish for bull trout in Lake Koocanusa in NW MT as well. file:///C:/Users/kkaroglanian/Desktop/2021%20Fishing%20Regulations%20Final%20for%20web.pdf

    Page 13 of the montana fishing regs

  2. CentralOregonFish says:

    Your hypothetical stance of 365 fish in a year is misleading. You didn’t mention the 24″ minimum length, or that a portion of the reservoir is closed for months out of the year(the portion that has the best success when targeting bull trout). The fishing for bull trout in Lake Billy Chinook is far from broken, why create an issue when the current system works excellent?
    Personally, I have never harvested a bull trout, mainly due to the fact that a bull trout is not a trout at all. There are far better eating fish in the water than a species of Char. We have had 2 day trips going 5 out of 10 and 8 out of 9. Of those 13 fish, maybe 2 would have qualified over the 24″ mark. 13 fish landed out of 19 opportunities between 2 anglers does not indicate anything less than a thriving species in any given body of water.
    Going out of the way to fix something that isn’t broken, in any definition of the word, is nonsensical.

  3. Kenneth R Bruner says:

    The Metolius arm IS the best area for Bull Trout in the reservoir, and open 8 months of the year. Four of those months are water ski season and it is virtually impossible to fish effectively. This is ONLY a TROPHY BULL TROUT opportunity with a 24″ minimum size fish allowed for retention. I too have had similar results in perhaps 2 keeper sized bull trout out of 15 fish hooked. They are far more challenging to hook than most people know and you would be hard pressed to hook a 24″+ fish daily in the best two months of the year when they are most active. They are quite healthy in Alaska and Canada, so I doubt there is truly any concern we will see extinction.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *