1-  Establish a summer stocking program for channel catfish for western Oregon. Washington began planting channel catfish in southwest Washington waters more than ten years ago. The number of stocked channel cats was not all that large, but many of lakes that received them produced fish weighing more than 20 pounds. In fact, Round Lake, a 30 acre lake attached to Lacamas Lake in Camas, produced a catfish recently that weighed well over 30 pounds. Channel catfish can provide some waters their only realistic chance at producing trophy-sized fish.

2- Place more importance and strive for greater usage of the redear sunfish. The redear sunfish, in prime environments, can grow surprisingly large. In fact, last year a redear weighing more than five and a half pounds was pulled from Lake Havasu. Redear sunfish seem to be much less prone to overpopulation than are bluegills and most other sunfish species and a major portion of their diet consists of small crustaceans and snails. So this panfish would provide some control over such alien invaders as quagga and zebra mussels.

3- Re-introduce brook trout to central Oregon’s East Lake. The addition of the Atlantic and kokanee salmon is wonderful, as is the enhancement of the lake’s brown trout population, but without the brookies, which averaged very good size in East Lake, something seems to be missing.

4 – Consider the establishment of searun brown and brook trout populations on a single suitable very small coastal stream.

5- Consider taking crayfish, native to Oregon, and establishing crayfish populations in the coastal lakes that presently do not have crayfish populations. Many of these lakes tend to have rather skinny bass that would be more robust if they had a more fatty forage source – like crayfish.

6- Consider imitating Washington’s very successful hybrid muskie program. I know that they are already considering on a trial basis, but these toothy predators live about ten years and I would like to catch a big one while I am still able to do so. Surprisingly, the trout fishing has improved in virtually all of the Washington waters that now contain hybrid muskies.

7 – Find a replacement water for Thompson Reservoir when it comes to establishing a hybrid striped bass program. Hopefully, it will be a non-gamefish-infested water in western Oregon that won’t require a six hour drive to reach (Ana Reservoir).

8- Strengthen the warmwater fisheries along the Oregon coast by establishing fisheries in small waters that currently do not contain fish and, if necessary, provide a sanctuary of somewhat deeper water to increase the chance of fish surviving several years and reaching good size.

9- Take a good look at such, now closed, fisheries such as Mill Creek, a tributary of the tidewater Umpqua River, and the Deschutes River above Wickiup Reservoir. These could reopen under special regulations such as flyfishing only with no fish retention. Mill Creek could produce catch and release fishing for coho and chinook salmon and summer steelhead  that enter the lower stream to rest before continuing up the Umpqua as well as a fair population of smallmouth bass. As for the Deschutes River above Wickiup Reservoir, it could be flyfishing only in the stream section that now closes on August 1st and harbors large trout, mostly browns, prior to them moving farther upstream to spawn.

10- In general, take advantage of possible niche fisheries that could, when taken as a whole, could reduce fishing pressure on the state’s more heavilty used, better known waters.

Please keep in mind, these are only suggestions, that should be considered, but discarded, if too many problems exist. The complaint that such a regulation of fishery would be difficult to enforce should not trump the public’s right to prove that they can handle such additional angling opportunities. Take the regulation or fishing opportunity away – but please, so not always assume that such a fishery would be abused – cell phones, some with cameras make it easier for law-abiding anglers to report those that are not.

About Pete Heley

Writes and self-publishes Oregon and Washington fishing books.

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