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Discussion Starter #1
Hello GF'ers, its been awhile. I thought this might be worthy of dropping in and posting. I think I've been avoiding GF because the kokanee pics make me insanely jealous. Those lil buggers are candy in the smoker...now on to the news.

There were rumors about a secret meeting, a last minute behind the doors political deal. Well I snuck in, and found out that there was no secret meeting. Just concerned business people in attendance who are supported by recreational fishing. They wanted updates on the process and to give input as to how the season and the allocation process would be affecting their income. I attended because rumors had escaped the barn, and I figured it would be helpful for the department for someone to report what actually happened.

In attendance:

Director Koening
Deputy Director Phil Anderson
Fran Sant (misspelled I'm sure), representative from State Senator Sweeker's office
Toby Muck, Sidewinder Charters. Responsible for asking for this meeting
Eva Edmond
Bob Schucht (Bob's)
Dan Lorentsen, representing Elochoman Marina
Guy Norman, WDFW regional Director
Pat and Dan, representing Nasalle RV Park
JimB
VHawk, representing himself as an amateur reporter

Half the meeting was informational in nature. The deadlocked commission vote was discussed, as well as the upcoming WDFW commission vote this Friday. That vote will be done by teleconference and the general public will be able to listen in at the Vancouver, Montesano, Olympia, and Mill Creek regional offices. No input from the public at those listening stations. As stated before, send your emails to [email protected].

The limiting factor in springer seasons is typically the upriver component of ESA listed fish. This year we are expecting a somewhat vigorous return of upriver fish, and our 2% impact limit would normally allow for a generous recreational season.

The other typical limiting factor is what percentage of the allocation of that 2% impact goes to sporties versus the commercial guys. There is some disagreement this year about increasing the portion that recreational anglers get from 57% to 65%. An extra 8% would probably buy a few extra days in April on the fishery below Bonniville...normally.

Here's what is limiting us this year; a poor return on the Willamette of both wild and hatchery springers. Near record low return expected. Hatcheries are barely expected to meet broodstock needs. And so the Columbia river was expected, and for apparently good reason, to be closed below I-5. However during this meeting I learned something that I probably should already have known...

Oregon is considering a season on the Willamette even though the lower Columbia river is potentially being shut down to protect Willamette fish. They are estimating a surplus of about 6,000 hatchery fish. Oregon is considering using 500 of those fish to be used for a short season on the Lower Columbia. The rest will be used up in the Willamette river fishery.

Let me rephrase that, the Oregon commission is considering closing down the Lower Columbia river so that Portland can have its own springer fishery on the WIllamette.

WTF?

Imagine closing the Lower Columbia River because the Kalama and the Lewis were expecting barely enough fish to meet broodstock needs, but then opening up a season on the Lewis and Kalama instead.

Time to take the bus from Portland to Salem to give the ODFW commissioners some testimony. Or send them your emails. Let them know you buy Oregon licenses, that you spend money in Oregon. That if they don't allocate some of that quota of Willamette fish for the Columbia, they'll be screwing over a chunk of Oregon business in the Astoria area.

email: [email protected]

I work 48 hours over the next 4 days. I won't be able to attend. I will be able to send them my comments however. I encourage others to do the same.

I did make one suggestion. That the Select Area FIsheries in Youngs Bay be used to collect broodstock for Willamette river hatcheries. The springers that were released from those net pens are WIllamette hatchery stock. If a couple of gillnetters wrapped up 500 more springers in tangle nets, that might buy the whole region of the LCR from Warrenton to St Helen's an extra week of fishing. The other option would be to set up a weir on the Klaskanine river to trap strays. Guy Norman said that the idea had been floated around between ODFW and WDFW, but that for some reason it was never fully explored.

It would probably be worthy of consideration of a compromise with the commercial fleet to give them a 60% recreational/40% commercial split if they can assist in securing broodstock for the Willamette hatcheries and pressure the ODFW to allocate more of the Willamette fish to the lower Columbia fishery.

My fear is that with a short season on the LCR, the overcrowding on the few launches between I-5 and Bonniville, the lack of parking, the lack of overall facilities to accommodate all the anglers normally spread out over 140 miles (which is still crowded on the weekend), will be fearfully packed into 40 miles of river. And of course the fear downstream will be a loss of up to 20% of some businesses annual revenue, according to the information given by Dan Lorensten Elochoman Marina.

The meeting ended with those subjects having been thoroughly discussed. I shook the Directors hand, looked closely for any demonic markings (He has a small birthmark on his scalp shaped like Bermuda Island), or for signs of a pointy tail. I didn't see anything too alarming, but I'm not dropping my guard.

VHawk
 

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VHawk,
Thanks for that information. You are a good resource to have in these turbulent times. Tup: Thanks for serving on our side.
 

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Vhawk, you crack me up! Inviting yourself to that meeting is priceless! You my friend have brass ones. Thanks for the update, and your no nonsense reporting methods! clap:
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Elkrun said:
Vhawk, you crack me up! Inviting yourself to that meeting is priceless! You my friend have brass ones. Thanks for the update, and your no nonsense reporting methods! clap:
Your welcome. The wife wanted to know as well how it was I could invite myself to a private meeting. I was a bit nervous about just showing up. I still was not as nervous as I was when I interrupted the meeting on Saturday and asked why the hell all of us gave up a day of fishing to attend the meeting just to hear the commissioners were going to postpone the vote until Friday. I didn't want to be the crazy person who gets thrown out of a public meeting dressed like a tampon.
 

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Thank you Vince for the report and your involvement. Tup:
 
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