Yesterday the Register-Guard ran an editorial I wrote with the Caddis Fly Shop’s Chris Daughters about removing or reducing hatchery rainbow trout in the McKenzie River.
So far all of the response has been positive, but I’m pretty sure that might change when the letters to the editor start rolling in.
The McKenzie River wild trout are leopard spotted, practically black across the shoulders and back, with a bright red line down the side. The planters are kind of a washed out version — like an old quarter. The size is a big differentiator too. Native redsides max out about 22 inches with most fish you catch in the 14-16 inch range, while the average planter is around 8 inches. Sometimes ODFW plants some mega-hatchery fish (Brood stock, fish they were using for breeding). These are big, ugly, beatup things with raggedy fins and nasty sores, unnaturally fat and weird looking — living in a hatchery all its life.
But protecting a prettier trout really isn’t what this is about. It’s about the whole point of fishing. I fish to connect with something wild, to be surprised by nature’s beauty. Catching 80 hatchery pukes in a day doesn’t qualify. If I wanted to keep score and putz around outside in a man-made environment, I’d be a golfer, not an angler. No offense to our golfer pals!
I just want to reiterate that people need to write a letter or email the Register-Guard. Fisheries managers will hear from the counterargument — and they need to hear from you.
The Register-Guard welcomes letters on topics of general interest. Our length limit is 250 words; all letters are subject to condensation. Writers are limited to one letter per calendar month. Because of the volume of mail, not all letters can be printed. Letters must be signed with the writers full name. An address and daytime telephone number are needed for verification purposes; this information will not be published or released.
Mail letters to:
P.O. Box 10188
Eugene, OR 97440-2188
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you email, copy ODFW fisheries biologist Jeff Ziller: email@example.com.
And thanks for the support.