Having fished Oregon’s lakes for 40+ years now, and frustratingly and fruitlessly lobbied the ODFW (Oregon Dept. Of Fish & Wildlife)over the years as well, “it’s well past time open-minded fishermen to (illegally) take things into their own hands”, a friend confided to me quietly at a fairly recent meeting … the following.
Whispering, as an ODFW game warden was speaking to our group, he explained: “with recent pressure, to help the over-fishing of some species … in some areas. (Some poor and some no longer seem to be recovering, at least not as fast as they use to … and these guys . . . .)” my friend skeptically allowed his voice to trail off, shaking his head in disapproval . . .
Those of us who appreciate the fact that one can still stalk / seek out the larger fish and enjoy our solace on the lakes, “we seem to get little cooperation from authorities who seem only to be too interested in new ways to tax; besides, even more importantly, here in the northwest, they focus only on 2 species, salmon and trout“; effectively now, steelhead are gone, except for some of our almost secret (sacred) and sparse rivers.
Yet other species once drew people to Oregon as well …
I’d ask those who want our lakes to improve, to do a few very simple things:
- “Catch and release” (carry a camera for bragging rights if you must), but always, always, put the larger breeder stock back.
- Do NOT target fish on the spawning beds (most who do – club members – put the fish back, but I believe the reports that some fish after being hooked a few times, do not return to protecting their fry.)
- Not that they’re not appreciated for what they do do, (pun intended) but continue to complain to the ODFW about the lack of propagation and care for fish other than the Salmon, Steelhead and trout.
- Though they don’t seem to care or be aware of the impact, they continue to point out the inundation of certain treaty-protected predator birds (Cormorants) that are decimating bait-sized fry (food for or the target gamefish) ……. Cormorants move in on a lake in numbers of hundreds or thousands, each eating pounds per day.
- Most importantly, when you can safely get away with it, quietly create new habitat for the other species; and (referring to the bureaucrats) in spite of their myopic endeavors, keep it to yourself, he explained . . . . their authoritarianism is of utmost import … … to them.
Having later been threatened by an irate ODFW employee when just “asking” if there were any bass in a well-known trout lake … it became very obvious why my friend said what he did!
I had to chuckle to myself when the Warden followed me to my canoe to make sure I was following all the rules … all the ones he cared about … like NOT “planting” bass …
No; I wouldn’t let him look in my cooler, nor my tackle box, but later, just to unsettle him, when he had his binoculars on me – I was sure he was watching me from shore, I opened and ate my lunch … and made him wait before turned it upside down … so he knew ….