Please go to this link on the Dschutes Angler website and scroll down to the Wed, August 26th report. I have also pasted the pertinent information about the proposed deregulation on the Deschutes below. Help our voices be heard and send an email to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
ODFW is revamping fishing regulations on SEPTEMBER 4 and we need as many voices as possible to speak out against their proposed regulation changes for the Deschutes River. In the name of “simplifying” the regulations, ODFW is proposing changing the rule from 2 trout between 10-13” per day to 2 trout over 8” per day. They are also proposing to keep the entire river open year-round. As a result, we will have anglers walking on spawning redds in areas that have traditionally been closed while trout and steelhead are spawning.
For trout anglers – can you imagine walking above the locked gate to your favorite back eddy only to find 4 fishermen walking away from the back eddy with a stringer of 8 redsides – each between 16-19 inches in length? They could legally do this with the change in regulations. Your favorite back eddy is now void of those large trout that you used to stalk and try to fool with your flies.
Other trout will not just move in to replace those fish. Fact (from ODFW's last major study on Deschutes Trout in 1989) it takes a Deschutes trout 3-4 years to reach maturity at 12-13 inches very few Deschutes trout make it to 16 inches or larger - they grow, on average, .5 inches per year after they reach maturity. Yes, they grow a half an inch a year. A trout that you catch over 15 inches is likely to be 8 years old. In that study, ODFW found that, in the area around Maupin, there are only 14 trout per mile measuring over 16 inches. Now ODFW is proposing that all trout over 8" can be harvested on the Deschutes. Keep in mind that on a busy summer weekend in Maupin we have 1700-1900 people rafting the river and camping around town. If just 5% of those people decided to bring their fishing poles and spend the evening fishing and keeping 2 trout of any size, over the course of 10 busy summer weekends we could lose 3800 trout to the frying pans. With 1650 trout per mile that wipes out all trout in over two full miles of the Deschutes.
Steelhead anglers – thousands of steelhead smolt leave their safe havens in the spring to begin their journey to the ocean. They are eager and dumb and will grab just about any fly that floats past. Instead of having a chance to make it out to the ocean, grow huge for a few years, and return to the Deschutes to grab your fly or lure – they are very likely to end up in a camper’s frying pan on the banks of the Deschutes. Most of the wild steelhead – an ESA listed fish – will be fair game for the frying pan if these regulations are passed.
As many of you are aware, the Deschutes is a rarity in the fact that our trout population is 100% self-supporting. Our desert redbands are wild native trout that are not supplemented in any way by a hatchery program. This is one of the few rivers in the lower 48 that truly has a trout fishery that was not created by the hand of man. This is a great trout fishery. The rainbows on the Deschutes fight harder, jump higher, and rip more line than any trout I have hooked anywhere in the world.
People do not come to the Deschutes looking for harvest opportunities. They come here because the quality of the fish and the abundance of hatches make this a great place to fish. The majority of anglers who trout fish on the Deschutes already practice catch and release.
If ODFW truly wants to simplify regulations, how’s this for simple? Deschutes Rainbow Trout 100% catch and release in the lower 100 miles of the Deschutes. Keep the same calendar of closure on the upper half of the river to protect spawning redds.
If you have read this far, THANK YOU.
PLEASE take the time to send your own email to the ODFW Commission before their hearing on Friday September 4 in Seaside. If you are able to make it to the coast on Labor Day weekend (nice timing ODFW) you will be allowed 3 minutes of testimony – to comment on their over 100 page proposal of angling regulation changes. It is not just the Deschutes in peril but all Oregon Rivers and Lakes will be impacted by their changes. More bait fishing allowed on rivers that have been artificial flies and lures only - oh yes!
Let these commission members know that we will not let them mismanage the Deschutes to death: firstname.lastname@example.org