Archive | R&E

Descending devices keep fisheries robust

Yelloweye Rockfish - Descending story
It’s good resource stewardship, when releasing bottomfish and halibut, to descend them to a deeper depth so they can survive.

Now, it’s also a requirement meant to keep the fishery robust.

A new Oregon Administrative Rule began on Jan. 1 for bottomfish and will start for halibut on May 1, when the season opens. It requires that recreational anglers have a descending device on board for ocean fishing, and that they use it.
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Fish Eggs to Fry program teaches kids throughout Oregon about fish biology and life cycles

Oregon Fish Eggs to Fry

When an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife volunteer or employee walks into a sixth-grade classroom with a small blue cooler, the students watch with wide-eyed attention to see what will happen next.

In the weeks ahead, the students will take daily temperature readings and calculate how long it will be until the fish are mature. They will learn about the life history of fish as they observe the eggs hatching and transforming into “sac fry” before becoming tiny salmon. Soon, the students will take a field trip to a local creek, stream or river to learn about habitat and set these one-inch fish free.

The Fish Eggs to Fry program gives students in classrooms from kindergarten through high school a way to observe the biology of salmon, steelhead or trout first-hand and participate in the life cycle in a hands-on way. It brings to life and reinforces what they’re learning in their lessons. The project also lends itself to a broad variety of additional subject areas, including math, chemistry, writing and art. Continue Reading →

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Bucket biology and its impact on Oregon’s fisheries (Part 2)

Bucket Biology

At Howard Prairie reservoir in Southern Oregon, there once was a robust rainbow trout fishery.

“They grew really well and the trout fishery absolutely thrived,” said District Fish Biologist Dan Van Dyke, about the 350,000 rainbow trout released into the reservoir each spring.

Then, about 2005, fishing in the reservoir, located just 18 miles east of Ashland, crashed.

The culprit was the illegal introduction of a surprisingly large list of invader fish: golden shiners, brown bullhead, black crappie, and both largemouth and smallmouth bass.

It’s a story that’s been repeated throughout Oregon for decades, when carefully managed fisheries of native or stocked fish are greatly damaged because of illegal introductions.

In these cases, individuals dump leftover live bait, possibly not realizing the harm. Others purposely add a different breed of fish in an attempt to alter the fishing grounds. Some also abandon fish and other sea life from a home aquarium or school project.

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Coos Umpqua Propagational Renewal

Eel Lake - umpqua propagational renewalEvery year on a Saturday in June, more than 250 children in the Reedsport area get to experience the thrill of fishing for themselves.

At the Eel Tenmile STEP Association’s fishing clinic, the kids also learn knot tying, fish identification, water safety, and how to cast with spinning rods and fly rods. The reward at the end is fishing for their own rainbow trout from a net pen attached to the dock at Eel Lake.

The objective is to teach kids practical skills and the lesson that fishing can be a fun hobby, one they can do throughout their lives. Continue Reading →

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North coast High School program teaches students fisheries biology

North Coast High School Program

Not every 16-year-old kid knows how to work with spawning salmon, incubate a freshwater fish egg, rear the juveniles and then release them into a river or bay.

Yet quite a large number of teenagers in Clatsop County have learned exactly that in the past several decades thanks to hatchery programs at both Astoria and Warrenton high schools.

In these programs, science isn’t found only in textbooks, but in real-life examples.

“A lot of the kids are really craving that. …They want to see and experience it,” said Lee Cain, a science teacher at Astoria High School. “Once they get up close and personal with living organisms, a lot of kids are really hooked.”

Cain teaches the aquatic biology program at Astoria High.

The program began on a much smaller scale in the early 1970s, when teacher Eldon Korpela began working with students to rear salmon eggs in buckets, Cain said.

Now the program has a classroom, a data lab, a research lab and a wet lab, as well as tanks and ponds.

Students can take semester-long fisheries biology and marine biology classes.

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Bucket biology and its impact on Oregon’s fisheries (Part 1)

bucket biology

In the cool waters of Diamond Lake, anglers can fish for rainbow trout surrounded by the beauty of Diamond Peak and the encompassing forest.

In eastern Oregon’s Ontario, at a location accessible by car, entry-level anglers can find easy fishing success thanks to a schooling blue gill population.

And in the mountainous areas of Central Oregon, fisheries for kokanee, brown trout and rainbow trout are alive and well in Paulina and East lakes, part of the Newberry Crater.

Yet these fisheries and many others like them throughout Oregon are always at risk thanks to a silent danger that could at any time begin lurking below their surfaces.

Invasive species introduced to the lakes and reservoirs by individuals who dump leftover live bait into the water, not realizing the harm, or by others who want to change the fishing grounds themselves, take over.

This so-called “bucket biology” is harmful to fisheries, disappointing for anglers who count on getting a good catch at their favorite lakes, and it’s illegal with a hefty fine for those who are caught.

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ODFW R&E Board position open

ODFW R&E ProgramEvery year, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Restoration and Enhancement Program gives $2 million to $3 million to fishery projects that benefit sport and commercial fisheries. The projects aim for a balance of both restoration and enhancement, to continually improve our state’s fishing grounds.

The program’ board studies proposed projects, listens to public comment on them, and makes recommendations for funding to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission.

One of the people helping to make these important project recommendations could be you.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking applicants for the board’s public-at-large position. The position is one of seven, with the others divided evenly between the commercial and sports fishing interests.

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Treating Northeast Oregon Ponds with Rotenone

RotenoneWhen people release illegal fish ­­– goldfish, crappie, bass and bullheads – into lakes or streams, they reduce the survival rates and growth of stocked trout. This was the case with several bodies of water in northeastern Oregon including Balm Creek Reservoir, Kinney Lake, and ponds called Lugar, Boundary, Keyhole, Yellowjacket, Granite Meadows, and Goldfish. Continue Reading →

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