ROSEBURG, Ore – Empire Lakes anglers have a chance of taking home a $50 VISA gift card if they land a specially tagged rainbow trout.
Empire Lakes is a popular coastal rainbow trout fishery, and ODFW biologists need anglers to help them keep it that way by reporting tagged fish they catch.
Fisheries biologist Gary Vonderohe said ODFW is tagging 1,700 hatchery rainbows through June. He asks anglers to report tags on fish they catch even if they don’t harvest them.
Fish with a specially marked four-digit tag number will net the angler a $50 VISA gift card when the angler brings it to the Charleston ODFW Field Office. All other tags can be reported by calling the field office.
“We stock a lot of trout here, and we want to make sure we’re giving anglers a quality fishery to enjoy. Tag reporting helps us know how many fish are being caught and what size of fish provides the best fishery for the anglers,” Vonderohe said.
The Empire Lakes tag reward project costs about half of a traditional angler creel survey, saving ODFW $5,000 in this case. Vonderohe said he will get generally the same information with the exception of angler effort.
ODFW stocks 40,000 rainbow trout each year in Empire Lakes. This year, 1,600 legal and 100 trophy trout are being tagged, with about 130 of those specially marked for a gift card.
Anglers who harvest a trout with a specially marked tag can visit the Charleston Field Office at 63538 Boat Basin Drive daily between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. to collect their gift card. All other tags can be reported to ODFW at 541-888-5515.