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Oregon adopts 2021 Sport Fishing Regulations

SALEM, Ore. — The Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted 2021 Sport Fishing Regulations today, including rules regarding Columbia River thermal angling sanctuaries.

Some of the changes to 2021 fishing regulation follow:

Columbia River Zone: Adopted rules identifying time and area boundaries for Columbia River Thermal Angling Sanctuaries in cold water habitat areas to protect upriver summer steelhead. Commission provided guidance directing ODFW to implement sanctuaries based on upriver steelhead forecasts unless there are other factors to consider.

Southwest Zone: The use of bait will be allowed May 22 – Oct. 31 when fishing on the Coquille Valley Wildlife Area.
Willamette Zone: Next year’s regulations will – Add a bonus bag limit of 5 kokanee per day to the daily trout limit in Detroit Lake. Limit the time period for when the use of bait is allowed in the Santiam River to provide additional protection for wild winter steelhead. Clarify angling sections in McKenzie River. Close the Gilbert River to sturgeon harvest for the entire year and only allow the use of artificial flies and lures from April 16 – May 15 when angling for other species.

Southeast Zone: A number of changes were adopted to provide additional conservation protections for rainbow/redband trout. These changes will: Only allow catch-and-release with the use of artificial flies and lures in Agency Lake and the Link River. Allow the harvest of only one rainbow trout over 15 per inches per day in the Sprague River. Allow the use of only one single point hook in all sections of the Williamson River.

Commissioners also gave staff the flexibility to consider allowing two-rod fishing on the Willamette during spring seasons. (This concept was not adopted by the Commission when proposed for permanent regulation for the 2020 season.)

While the 2020-21 Game Bird Hunting Regulations were adopted by temporary rule in May after rule-making scheduled for the April Commission meeting was cancelled due to COVID-19, Commissioners permanently adopted the regulations into rule today. See the regulations at http://www.eregulations.com/oregon/game-bird/.

The Commission also changed the monitoring schedule for myxobolus cerebralis (the parasite that causes Whirling Disease) by reclassifying it from a Category 2 to a Category 3 pathogen and changing the testing schedule from 60 fish per facility annually to testing every three years at facilities in non-endemic areas. Whirling Disease has not caused fish loss in ODFW Hatcheries.

The Commission approved a request submitted by The Joint Water Commission and the City of Hillsboro for an exemption to Fish Screening requirements at their Springhill Pumping Plant located on the Tualatin River; other mitigation that will provide a net benefit to fish in the Tualatin River Basin will occur instead.

In other business, Commissioners further discussed the scope of a review of trap check regulation and beaver management they initiated in June, including panelist makeup, list of questions that will be considered and the use of a professional facilitator. They also discussed future commission meetings, with Director Melcher noting he expected meetings to remain virtual at least through the end of the year due to Covid-19.