Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The State of the Rogue River fishery

The Mail Tribune ran an interesting article recently on the manual labor involved with sampling anadromous fish runs on the Rogue River. ODFW and volunteers have been seining the river at Huntley Park, about 8 miles east of Gold Beach off Jerry's Flat Road, since the early 1970s.

Unfortunately, the Rogue fishery has taken a nosedive. Local guides say it’s the worst season for Fall Chinook salmon fishing in thirty years, in an article in the Seattle P-I. This collapse seems especially hard after the 2002 and 2003 fish counts over Gold Ray Dam on the Rogue River included record-breaking numbers for two runs of steelhead and two runs of salmon.

The Rogue River is one of the last places in Oregon to catch wild fish in a wild environment. I am concerned about threats to the Wild and Scenic section of the river. The agencies that manage public land and water should be managing the land to preserve the wild and scenic qualities of the region, but instead they are looking to clear cut regions around the Rogue River tributaries. The problem clear cuts pose to the spawning tributaries for coldwater fish like salmon and steelhead are the potential to raise stream temperatures and bury eggs in sediment. Check out this league of environmental groups, guides, local businesses and concerned citizens to learn about saving the Wild Rogue River.

Diamond Lake fishing is back in business

According to ODFW, the rotenone project on Diamond Lake to get rid of invasive tui chub has been a huge success.

The trout are back in large numbers (thanks to heavy stocking), and so are anglers. And the removal of chub has helped the lake in other ways:

From an article in the Grants Pass Daily Courier: The chub had eaten the insect population down to 6.2 pounds per acre in August 2006. Last month, the lake bed sported 127 pounds of insects per acre. As for water clarity, it was so poor last year that visibility at times measured less than one meter. In late June, the visibility measured 12.5 meters.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Chetco River Hogs are in

Larry Ellis at the Curry Pilot says the ground is saturated and water levels are fluctuating nicely on the Chetco -- and fishermen are banging big bright Chinook. Ellis offers tips for bank fishermen and an outlook on crabbing and fishing the Rogue.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Lazy Oregon hunters blow chukar hunting with ATV abuse

According to Pat Wray of High Country News, there are right and wrong situations for ATVs. Right usage scenarios included search and rescue for his son, and helping to tow his elk carcass out of the Wallowas on established trails. But Wray says too many hunters rely on ATV use, and he lists separate experiences where chuckar hunting and habitat were impacted on the Owyhee River and Malhuer River valleys.

From the article: Hunters using ATVs were busting through the desert, creating their own trails so they didn’t have to walk while they hunted some of the best chukar ground in North America. And it was flat! What incredible laziness!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Oregon Hunters Association publishes Chukar tips

Veteran chukar junkie and Oregon hunting celeb Gary Lewis published a funny sidebar in Oregon Hunter this month about 10 things not to do on a chukar hunt. Here is the abbreviated list of how to do it right:
1. Bring a topo map, GPS and compass.
2. Hunt into the wind (for your dogs to catch the scent).
3. Keep your yap shut -- no yelling at dogs or buddies.
4. Buy No. 6 shells rated at 1,300 fps.
5. Assume more birds are in the covey than the ones that first flushed.

From the article: If there is one great “everyman’s hunt” left in Oregon, where a hunter can walk his own (public) ground for miles, it’s the pursuit of the Himalayan import called the chukar. All it takes is a shotgun, a bird dog, and a pair of boots.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Register-Guard says scrap BLM WOPR

A brand new editorial in the Register-Guard hammers the BLM and Dirk Kempthorne for risking our watersheds and rolling back protections on endangered species. The EPA and a cadre of scientists have bashed the plan for being politically influenced and scientifically unsound as the BLM blindly plods on.

It's bad for spotted owls, bad for rivers and bad for fish. How much more information does the U.S. Bureau of Land Management need before it yanks its plan to dramatically increase logging on 2.2 million acres in Oregon?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Bubbas: Pick up your trash or we lose timber land hunting access and shoot each other in the face

Shane Ullrich at the Sweet Home News says he’s seen the garbage and vandalism on the timber lands that cause these companies to lock down access to hunting. Ullrich says the game animals flee public lands for the protected private land, which is bad enough, but he also notes that it bottlenecks hunters onto public lands and there is more opportunity for a nasty accident. “A lot of lead will be coming and going,” Ullrich writes.

I have to ask, because I hunt some timber lands near the Smith River drainage, why the hell would you haul an entire range and stove out into the woods to shoot holes in it? Beer cans, sure -- you’re a piece of shit, but I get it: Drink beer, throw it in the dirt and shoot the gun. But the oven? Why? Why?

Agencies improve central Oregon coastal stream habitat

Newport News-Times reports that several agencies are teaming up to improve coastal stream habitat for anadromous fish on the Central Oregon coast. The Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Forest Service and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife are teaming up with private land owners and watershed councils to fly large logs into the coast range watersheds with a helicopter.

The 100-foot logs will provide habitat and help create deep pools to support salmon, steelhead and sea-run cutthroat trout. Wood will be flown into the Beaver Creek Basin on North Fork Beaver Creek, Petersen Creek and Elkhorn Creek. Trees will also be placed in the Alsea Basin along Horse/Meadow Creek, Lobster Creek, Little Lobster Creek and Preacher Creek.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cape Perpetua Sitka Spruce designated Oregon Heritage Tree

Last month the Oregon Travel Information Council designated a giant Sitka Spruce on Cape Perpetua an "Oregon Heritage Tree".

The Salem Statesman Journal wrote up an article last week about the hike and the tree. "The two-mile round-trip hike from the Cape Perpetua visitor center to the Sitka spruce is a great winter walk, even if it's raining sideways, because it's in a protected canyon along a gurgling creek through a carpet of ferns and mosses."

It's not the biggest Sitka Spruce though. The biggest is in Klootchy Creek Park and was damaged in the 2006 storms. The heritage tree program is taking donations to help save the tree.