ROSEBURG, Ore – Winter steelhead anglers are asked to return snouts from hatchery steelhead harvested in the Umpqua River basin. ODFW will scan the snouts for coded wire tags in the first of a multi-year research project to improve winter steelhead fishing in the South Umpqua River.
Anglers can deposit snouts in collection barrels at various boat ramps around Douglas County and at the ODFW office in Roseburg. Bags and tags with date and location of harvest are in the barrels.
Fish were coded wire tagged in February 2018 and released in March and April from the acclimation sites in Canyonville. Any of those fish returning this steelhead angling season are considered “one salt fish” after spending one year in the ocean.
ODFW STEP biologist Evan Leonetti said the agency will use the data collected from anglers and coded wire tags to adjust hatchery release timing to improve future hatchery winter steelhead fishing, particularly in the South Umpqua River.
“Getting the data from the coded wire tags will help us determine which releases have better returns for anglers. These fish were all in the four to five-inch range when released in Canyonville,” Leonetti said.
Leonetti is also asking for volunteers to interview winter steelhead anglers on the North and South Umpqua rivers. Volunteers can work a very flexible schedule and will be stationed at boat ramps throughout the two basins. Leonetti is looking for people with flexibles schedule that enjoy talking with anglers. He is also asking volunteers to assist with the collection of snouts.
This citizen science project collects information on the winter steelhead fishery including number of fish harvested, whether they are wild or hatchery, and fishing effort. This information will be used in conjunction with the coded wire tag data to better manage the hatchery fishery.
Volunteers must provide their own transportation and may be working alone or with a partner. The project runs the length of the winter steelhead season, ending about mid-April.
Anyone over the age of 18 who is interested in volunteering should call Leonetti at 541-464-2175 or email firstname.lastname@example.org