Wednesday 8th August, 2007
This is the FP that I was hoping I'd have to write this week.
Last Friday, the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Commission met in Salem, OR to discuss various matters, including the proposed regulation changes for steelhead on the Umpqua River system. The results were even better than I had hoped for, with the Commission ruling to ban harvest of wild/native winter run steelhead on the Main stem AND the North Umpqua. With existing regs in place to protect native steelhead in the South Umpqua, this ruling effectively bans harvest of wild steelhead in the ENTIRE UMPQUA WATERSHED. The ruling will go into effect on January 1, 2008. Low steelhead counts on the Umpqua this summer likely helped our case by highlighting just how valuable the fishery is. We had excellent support, and though I never found out how many signatures were submitted on top of the 571 from the web, a friend of mine who attended the meeting said that the Commissioners made a special point to comment on the impressive number of signatures that were collected. At the last minute, the Wild Steelhead Coalition came through with an outstanding letter of support which undoubtedly helped solidify our case by presenting the best, science based reasing for the reg change that I'd seen. Thanks so much to everyone who signed in support and took time to spread the word via email and on their local boards. Having the support of the worldwide angling community was huge. Everyone should be proud of this acheivement and use this as a lesson that we really CAN influence positive change.
One last detail from the meeting. While the Commission ruled in our favor, the ruling was NOT unanimous, and it was noted that the new regulation banning harvest of natives will be up for review again in 2009. These guys just don't give up! Be ready, because next winter we may need to do this all over again. If we do, I'm expecting 5000 signatures. I may buy Rich a rocket launcher as an incentive/insurance policy!
After what seemed to be a bit of a lull in activity on the board (maybe I was just not paying attention), things are really rocking again. Way Yin is red hot, with awesome posts on both the single and double hand casting forums. We're talking about Switching Hands, and Tips for Casting Certification, and how to bonk a fish , which seems a bit off track for a conservation minded group, but it comes in handy if you manage to land a hatchery steelhead and want to keep its inferior genetics out of the gene pool and grill it for supper.
Until next time,
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