Friday, August 28, 2015

Deschutes under attack.

Let's fight back!

From the Deschutes River Alliance:

The Urgent Issue
On Friday, September 4, the ODFW Commissioners will be voting on a large package of angling rule changes created to “simplify” the Oregon fishing regulations.
One of the rule changes calls for opening up kill on redband trout in the lower Deschutes River.  Presently, there is a “slot limit” that only allows the take of 2 redband trout between 10 and 13 inches of length per day.  The new rule would allow the taking of any 2 redband trout over 8 inches per day.
Our position at the DRA is that if the Commission wishes to simplify the angling rules, the easiest thing would be to do away with any kill of redband trout on the lower Deschutes by making it a catch and release fishery with the required use of barbless hooks.  Now that would be simple!  Easy to understand, no measuring of fish would be necessary, and it would be easily enforceable.  Anything short of this deserves a deferral on decision-making to allow the public to provide input on rule changes.
[see more at Deschutes River Alliance]
A Statement of Political Position, From The Fly Fishing Shop:
Dear Deschutes River Allies,
Unfortunately, the rumor is true. A proposal has been made to provide harvest options for larger trout on the lower 100-miles of the Deschutes River. The slot-limit (2-trout between 10”-13”), which has been in place since 1979 is proposed to be replaced with a 2-trout limit (minimum size of 8”). I believe the slot-limit has provided the finest public fishery in Oregon and should be retained.
As of this writing,there is nothing about this proposal on the ODFW web site.
I had to search the ODFW Commission site to find this proposal (which I understand has also been removed). This smacks of a cover-up.
The lower Deschutes is one of the few fisheries that is managed to sustain itself indefinitely. And it supports tremendous fishing pressure, which pours cubic bucks into the communities around it. 
Depleting the numbers of larger trout in this proud fishery can benefit no one.
I seriously believe that one of the reasons why Oregon’s State Fishery agency is always broke, is that it sells our resources too cheap.
We don’t need more harvest to make money.We need better fisheries to bring people from other states.The Deschutes River is the best sports fishery money mill we have.
ODFW’s mandate is to protect wild fish and to provide fishing opportunity. The problem is that ODFW Staff has interpreted the word opportunity to mean harvest. They seem to never realize that once a fish is harvested, the opportunity is gone. The slot-limit bridges this gap. The Commission might consider that they may already be doing the best job that can be done here. But, if they need easier rules for dummies to understand, make it strictly catch and release.
The meeting where the decision will be made is on September 4 in of all places Seaside, Oregon (on Labor Day week). The page that just went missing also states that no one will be allowed to testify unless they register 24-hours in advance.
I think that this lack of disclosure and the decisions being made in Seaside is a plan to railroad these proposed changes away from the ease of public participation.
It is an old Bureaucratic trick to push through rules that the majority of their constituents would not agree with.
Doubtful that this bunch of Staff and Commissioners would have the fortitude to hold this same meeting in Maupin, Madras, Bend, Portland, or Welches.
As a matter of fact, I think that these cats have already made the decision.
All that is left is the ratification at a public meeting.
However, I am also a believer that democracy works as long as the citizens are willing to make their government govern by the will of the people.
Whatever the road blocks, we simply have to overcome them, and be a government of the people, by the people, for the people.
We can’t let these perpetrators steel all the hard work that has been put into the Deschutes fishery.
If the proposed regulation is allowed to go through, they’ve got it for a year, by that time they will probably do ten year’s-worth of damage for someone to repair.
And who but the professionals to better do the repair?
I can feel some bastard writing an order for funding, as I am writing this.
My suspicions may be a little intense, but I feel they are well thought out.
The decision to remove the slot-limit is a bad move biologically, and it is even worse since it has been done with a limited amount of public disclosure (which may be illegal as well).
This whole approach is wrong for the Deschutes, which is beyond a doubt the best fishery in Oregon. The best part of the slot-limit is it was done by the will of the people, and by nearly unanimous consent of those people (I know, because I was involved).
I just talked to an ODFW insider, and that person basically told me that some of the staff is strongly opposed to this regulation change, but they were told to shut up in fear of retaliation.
I think it is imperative that we get mobilized to meet these issues head on.
In this case our government has apparently run totally amuck, and we must initiate a public investigation.
Ad your thoughts and pass this on to your own circle of power.
Thank you for your support in this matter.
Fish long & prosper,
Mark Bachmann
The Fly Fishing Shop, Inc.
Phone: 1-800-266-3971
Cell: 503-781-6468

From Craigslist:

Dear ODFW,

Deschutes trout is your latest victim.  You have to be kidding me. Right? The absurdity that I even have to write this letter just drives me nuts. Correct me where I have missed something here? You would like to make the rules more simple and therefore think a blanket regulation on waters would simplify things? I think it would be simple to cut your staff to zero and get a competent agency to take your place. 

I guess you felt left out in the piling on that agencies have contributed to in their bad management decisions around here. I mean the dam has the tower they are trying to kill fish, bugs, and small town economy with the excuse to save salmon. The tribes have their man given right to kill half the salmon and, oops, most all the steelhead accidently, with their traditional harvests methods using motorboats and modern gill nets. The BLM wants to charge you to float and has limited the “entry”lock down so the local kids, tourist, guides, and even you can’t even go out on the river without at least wasting your precious midnight sleep, getting denied by a machine, to get a segment 4 boaters pass. 

So, That’s cool. Lets change the rules to kill wild Deschutes trout. KILL THEM ALL! Why don’t we just nuke them? It would at least be faster. The local communities would move away or die too. Seems like the BLM would be interested in collaborating. Dam too! Brilliant. The more I think about it, the more I see the light: we, the people who care, are the enemy. We want clean cold water, healthy fish, happy people visiting our towns, and rules with regulation put in place to recreate and achieve this. So far, the BLM, Tribes, Dam regulators, and now ODFW are positioning itself on the other side of that fence. It’s embarrassing and absurd. 

From the Rant and Rave department.
From Amy Hazel:

My letter to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife - don't ruin the Deschutes!
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem, OR 97302
August 26, 2015
Dear ODFW Commission on Proposed Fishing Regulation Changes, 
My name is Amy Hazel and I live on the Deschutes River in Maupin, Oregon. Not only do I live on the Deschutes, my entire livelihood depends on the health of the Deschutes and the health of the fish that live in the Deschutes. My husband and I own Deschutes Angler Fly Shop and John Hazel & Company guide service. I have dedicated the past 17 years of my life to sharing this river and the wonderful trout and steelhead fishery with anglers from around the world. Your proposed regulation changes for the Deschutes River threaten to degrade and possibly destroy this wonderful gem of a resource.
In the 12 years that I have interacted with anglers on a daily basis in my fly fishing shop and in the 17 years I have spent on the Deschutes guiding anglers, I can honestly say that I have never heard anyone complain about not being able to kill large trout on the Deschutes. Even with a slot limit in place, one rarely ever sees anglers harvesting trout – the Deschutes is, in the minds of most anglers, a catch and release trout river. 
This river is a 100% wild native trout fishery. The trout are not supplemented by any of your hatchery programs, and they have been successfully thriving for decades. In recent years the changes in the management of the water releases from PGE’s Pelton Round Butte project have been negatively impacting water quality and insect populations on the Deschutes. The trout are struggling to adjust to these changes. Allowing additional harvest does not make sense in the Deschutes. 
Allowing anglers to kill any 2 trout over 8” in length will negatively impact the trout fishery as well as the steelhead fishery. Allowing anglers to harvest 8-9” steelhead smolts as well as 16” Deschutes native wild trout is irresponsible – especially since ODFW has not conducted any in-depth study on the health of Deschutes trout since the Schroeder study in 1989. 
It seems to me that you are removing regulations that were put in place to protect native spawning fish – trout and steelhead in particular. In the case of the Deschutes, opening the river year-round would put many spawning redds at risk of being trampled by anglers and the fish themselves at risk of being harassed by anglers during a sensitive spawning time. 
There are very few rivers in the world that can boast a native trout population as healthy as that on the Deschutes River. Why not make the Deschutes trout fishery a catch and release fishery? A beautiful Deschutes wild rainbow trout is far too valuable to be enjoyed by just one person.
Amy Hazel
Deschutes Angler Fly Shop
Maupin, OR