For the first time since 1997, Oregon anglers will have the opportunity to keep trout caught in north coast rivers and streams. That and other 2009 sport fishing regulations were adopted by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on Friday.
The new regulations, effective Jan. 1, 2009, lift the catch-and-release only restriction for cutthroat trout in the Northwest Zone and will allow anglers to harvest up to two trout a day from May 25 to Oct. 31. Lower Columbia River tributaries will remain closed to trout harvest.
ODFW biologists briefed commissioners that there was no biological basis for continuing the harvest restrictions and recommended proposal 150P be adopted. The proposal reestablished the modest harvest of trout in all rivers and streams in the Northwest Zone, north of the Salmon River.
"Cutthroat populations on the north coast are widespread and stable," said Robert Bradley, ODFW fish biologist from Tillamook.
Bradley described the daily bag limit of two fish with a minimum length of eight inches as "a conservative proposal modeled on the successful cutthroat fishery that has existed on the mid and south coast for the past eight years."
Proponents of proposal 132P, which would have eliminated wild trout harvest in both the Northwest and Southwest Zones, testified that it would help protect native cutthroat trout populations. Others, however, argued that it would deny young and novice anglers the opportunity to take a fish home.
The Commission voted unanimously to accept the staff recommendations on both 150P and 132P.
On other proposals the commission:
? Declined to authorize fishing from a floating devise on the Applegate River.
? Kept in place a catch-and-release only restriction for wild steelhead on the mainstem Umpqua River and North Umpqua rivers.
? Rejected proposals to limit the use of bait on the McKenzie River.
? Declined to set statewide harvest limits for bass, crappie and channel catfish.
? Rejected proposals to increase daily bag limits for bull trout on Lake Billy Chinook.
? Approved the harvest of wild steelhead on the Illinois River with a limit of one per day and five per year.
A complete list of the 2009 sport fishing regulation proposals adopted by the Commission will be posted at www.dfw.state.or.us
The commission approved amendments to the Wildlife Integrity rules (OCR 635-056) that would classify tilapia, giant river prawns and whileleg shrimp as controlled species. The rule change would allow for commercial production (under specified conditions) of these species.
The commission appointed Lynden Brown of Lebanon to the Fish Screening Task Force to represent fishing or fish conservation interests. Brown is a retired high school science teacher, a member of the Oregon Fishing Club and Caribbean Conservation Corporation, and has been active in the Oregon Trout Salmon Watch program.
The ODFW Fish Screening Program helps water users install and maintain fish screens to prevent fish from entering ditch and pump water diversions. The Task Force advises ODFW on program development, implementation, monitoring, technology, funding and reporting.