Archive | Fishing Access

Willamette Valley Projects Improve Fishing Opportunities

KokaneeThe Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and other organizations throughout the state, continue to improve boating and angling in Oregon lakes, rivers and streams. Here are a few highlights of recent and ongoing improvements in the Willamette Valley:

Mid-Willamette Watershed District
Detroit Reservoir– Nonprofit angling group Kokanee Power of Oregon is spearheading a project that began releasing larger fingerling Kokanee in the fall with the hope of improving fishing in Detroit Reservoir, said Elise Kelley, a District Fish Biologist for the ODFW. “We will release fish about four or five inches long in the fall over the next few years,” Kelley said, “rather than two to three inches in the summer.” Kokanee Power of Oregon is funding this initial pilot program and will survey anglers with “catch cards,” in order to help with assessing whether the new, larger kokanee are contributing to the fishery.

North Willamette Watershed District – Cascade Unit
Clackamette Park – The Clackamette Park boat ramp on the Clackamas River reopened in late 2016 after being closed due to damage caused by flooding in December 2013. The ramp is located near the mouth of the Clackamas River. Temporary repairs were made so it could be reopened. A much larger project to move the ramp location downstream and replace it is planned for later, likely in 2020 or 2021, said Todd Alsbury, district fish biologist.

Willamette Park – A popular bass, crappie and perch fishery and water recreation area on the Willamette River in Portland received repairs in late 2016. The last upgrade had been in 1997, and improvements were needed due to a large drop off at the end of the boat ramp and sediment accumulation. Boats were unable to use the ramp and boarding docks safely. This caused long delays in launching boats, especially during low-water conditions. Work, coordinated by several agencies, included repairs to the boat ramp toe and the debris boom, as well as dredging of the boat basin.  This project improved public access and safety for boaters launching and retrieving at this park.  Funding for the project was made available from Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife through U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration funds, Oregon State Marine Board, and City of Portland.

North Willamette Watershed District – Coast Range
Scappoose Bay Marine Park – Dredging around the boat ramp and short-term boat tie up area at Scappoose Bay Marine Park completed in November 2015 has improved conditions for boaters, who were previously grounding out in the channel at low tide. The site is located at the mouth of Scappoose Bay at confluences with the Multnomah Channel and Columbia River. It’s a popular area for outdoor recreation, including fishing for catfish, crappie, yellow perch, largemouth bass, bluegill and carp; boating; water skiing; paddle boarding and sea kayaking. The project was done cooperatively by the Oregon State Marine Board, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife through U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration funds and Port of St. Helens.

Upper Willamette (South Willamette Watershed District )
McKenzie River – A new boat launch makes it much easier for boaters to get their vessels in the Upper McKenzie River near Frissell Bridge. The U.S. Forest Service project was completed in 2015. The launch was planned as part of the 1992 Upper McKenzie River Management Plan. The river is designated a Wild and Scenic River and an Oregon Scenic Waterway, and this segment of State Highway 126 is a Scenic Byway. The new boat launch replaces an old boat slide that was upstream and on the opposite side of the river. The project was funded with a Federal Highway Administration grant. Now, experienced boaters can use the location for catch-and-release wild trout fishing, said Jeff Ziller, a district fish biologist for ODFW.

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Rhoades Pond Volunteers Keep Fishery Strong

Chinook SalmonEvery year in late summer, volunteers release approximately 100,000 Chinook salmon into the Nestucca River in Tillamook County.

They are the result of months of care and feeding by volunteers from the Nestucca Anglers, as well as investment in the past several years – using Restoration & Enhancement dollars – to restore and improve the facility where they’re raised and prepared for release.

Rhoades Pond is an important part of ensuring a local fishery for commercial and sports fishermen, even in leaner years for wild fish, said Ron Rehn, STEP biologist for the North Coast Watershed District.

“It provides an insurance back up should the fishery be restricted,” Rehn said, and adds to the overall fishery even in good years.

Significant impact

The pond, located about five miles east of the small town of Hebo, began as a trout pond on private property. ODFW began managing it in the early 1980s, using it as a satellite facility for Cedar Creek hatchery, Rehn said.

After program funding was cut, the nonprofit group Nestucca Anglers took it over in 1999. They’ve been raising Chinook salmon there ever since. Wild broodstock are caught by volunteers to create better hatchery fish, Rehn said.

Each spring, the tiny fry travel from Cedar Creek Hatchery to Rhoades Pond, usually in early April.

Volunteers feed them twice daily, and monitor the pond to ensure healthy conditions. Once the fish are large enough, volunteers – as many as 200 of them – gather to hold a large fin-clipping event on the second Saturday in June, so the fish can be easily identified as a hatchery fish.

By about September, they release about 100,000 smolts into the Nestucca River from two local sites: Cloverdale, Farmer Creek Wayside and Three Rivers, said Ron Byrd, who is president for Nestucca Anglers.

These are the only fall Chinook salmon released into the Nestucca each year, Rehn said.

In the many years that the Nestucca Anglers have reared fish at Rhoades Pond, they have released a total of more than 1.2 million smolts into the Nestucca basin, with the fish comprising 20 to 25 percent of fish caught there according to creel studies.

“It is definitely working. It’s a huge contribution to the angling community,” Byrd said. “And, obviously, it takes the pressure off the native fish also.”

Many improvements

The Rhoades Pond site has been made better in recent years by repairs and improvements that have included re-lining the pond with a new concrete liner. The old liner had been damaged by flooding and elk in past years.

The intake and supply line at the river needed to be replaced. The outlet structure also required replacement.

“The intake is the structure that collects water at the river, and the supply line sends it to the pond,” Rehn explained. “The outlet is a screened structure that lets water out and keeps fish in.”

Other essential improvements included adding netting to prevent birds from eating the tiny fish, and an electric fence to keep otters out of the pond.

New tables, a trough, cover and lighting in the clipping area add efficiency to the volunteer-run project.

Additional improvements included upgrading electricity, replacing the pump house, demolishing an old caretaker’s house and installing a monitoring alarm to notify ODFW if water flow to the pond is lost.

So many people are involved in the Rhoades Pond efforts to raise fish that when a local angler catches one, they don’t say they caught a hatchery or fin-clipped fish, Byrd said, but a Rhoades Pond fish.

“You spend the time and energy to raise these fish,” Byrd said. “It’s a pretty big kudos to be able to catch one of them.”

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Eastern Oregon Fishing Access Improvements

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and other organizations throughout the state, continue to improve boating and angling in Oregon lakes, rivers and streams. Here are a few highlights of recent and ongoing improvements in the Eastern part of the state:

Deschutes Watershed District
Camp Sherman – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is creating a new pond in Camp Sherman at a former fish hatchery site. It will be a half-acre in size and stocked with rainbow trout, said STEP Biologist Jen Luke. Planned improvements include a parking lot, fencing and a restroom. The pond, which should open about spring 2018, will be designated as a fishing site for youths 17 and younger. It will be open from late May through Oct. 1 each year. ODFW will use the site in winter to acclimate young salmon.
Continue Reading →

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North Oregon Coast district infrastructure improvements

ADA Platform - north oregon coast watershed enhancements

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and other organizations throughout the state, continue to improve boating and angling in Oregon lakes, rivers and streams. Here are a few highlights of improvements in the Northwest part of the state in recent months:

North Coast Watershed District

Nehalem River – In May, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife completed a boat ramp improvement project at the Pittsburg Boat Launch located on the upper Nehalem River north of Vernonia. “A contractor excavated accumulated silt and added gravel on the ramp down to the launch, making the ramp much more accessible for boaters who fish for cutthroat trout and winter steelhead,” said Robert Bradley, district fish biologist. Continue Reading →

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Southwest Oregon Access Projects

Howard Prairie reservoir - southwest oregonThe Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and other organizations throughout the state, continue to improve boating and angling in Oregon lakes, rivers and streams. Here are a few highlights of improvements in the Southwest part of the state in recent months:

South Coast Fish District

Garrison Lake – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has designated this lake as a trophy rainbow trout fishery, said District Fish Biologist Todd Confer. In Spring 2016, staff stocked the lake with 1,000 trout that were 2 pounds or larger in size, about six times larger than the typical fish stocked in that area. They will add another 1,300 trophy trout next spring.

Sixes River – In August, nonprofit Curry Citizens for Public Land Access improved the ODFW Mid-Drift Angling Access on the Sixes River. They cleared brush, and graded both the parking area and the access area onto the gravel bar. This will improve access for launching and landing drift boats during the fall Chinook salmon and winter steelhead fishing seasons. Continue Reading →

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Whetstone Pond: Improved access for all

Whetstone PondLocated in the Denman Wildlife Area, Whetstone Pond provides access to fishing in a rural setting close to Medford. It is the only ADA accessible site in the Rogue Valley where anglers can fish for warm water species.

This project increased accessibility for everyone to fish and view wildlife. It also maintained the existing trail system. Previous fishing access was often crowded, so this project opened up more bank access for anglers.

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Morgan Creek STEP Hatchery officially dedicated

morgan creekUnder construction since 2006, Morgan Creek STEP Hatchery was officially dedicated on November 3 before a crowd of over eighty-five volunteers and local dignitaries. Because of the vision of STEP biologist Tom Rumreich, Morgan Creek became a reality through a unique combination of extensive local grant funding, a very active regional STEP group, the local community’s dedication to the project, and Rumreich’s passionate leadership.

A Coos County mainstay for over 33 years, Morgan Creek Hatchery has evolved into a world-class multi-generational facility that positively impacts the region’s environment and economy, while bringing a unique educational experience to hundreds of children annually. Continue Reading →

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