Fly fishing

Bill Monroe: the stars align for the 2022 salmon runs

Despite its Ground Hog Day feel, with the COVID variants and all, the New Year brings some Christmas cheer to Oregon’s outdoor outlook in 2022.

Eric Schindler, project manager for the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife’s Oceanic Salmon Management Program, told me about a month ago that he was “cautiously optimistic” for 2022 salmon runs, but ” It is too early to tell “.

In the wake of the coho glut in 2021, he made a hesitant prediction: 2022 could also be good, but not as good.

Schindler can gloat over a chart of ocean indicators released towards the end of the year for biologists to look into as they piece together a puzzle of seasonal predictions.

This year’s trends are the most promising since 2008 and a marked improvement over the 20 teens.

The news is so good that, in fact, Seattle Times reporters Hal Bernton and Lynda Mapes (both former Oregon writers) have teamed up to report an astonishing resurrection of cold-water copepods, tiny creatures. resembling shrimp near the base of the food chain. They are eaten by both baby salmon and baitfish that feed on larger salmon and rainbow trout.

The largely green (“good”) and only four yellow (“correct”) boxes on the graph have no red (“poor”) neighbors this year, as has dominated reports in previous years.

This is largely the result of the return of upwelling, which brings cold water and nutrients from the bottom to the pelagic areas closer to the surface.

While the news looks – is – great for 2022 and could also suggest an acceptable year in 2023, scientists continue to warn of warming. Each year of change for the worse seems to bring record heat to the ocean.

But… 2022 promises to be much better than “cautiously optimistic” for this eternal bearer of a half-full glass.

Idaho biologists have so far not reported any additional cases of chronic wasting disease near the western border with Oregon. Courtesy of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Chronic wasteful optimism? The jury is still out on Idaho’s intense testing for chronic wasting disease in mule deer a relative stones throw from the Snake River / Oregon border.

However, Eric Barker, an outdoors writer for the Lewiston Tribune, reported just before Christmas that the Idaho Department of Fisheries and Game had collected samples from 561 animals taken during the hunting season and one hunt. emergency organized in the epicenter where two cases of chronic wasting were diagnosed.

The disease has not appeared in 288 samples tested so far, which is somewhat reassuring to some.

The final results will not be known for weeks, warn biologists.

Meanwhile, officials from the Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife are on high alert along the Idaho and Washington borders in the northeast.

A new Oregon law comes into effect Jan. 1 requiring everyone to stop at a chronic wasting disease checkpoint, and biologists are stepping up efforts to test road-killed animals.

Bottom of trout: Did you know that you can go fishing every day of the year in Oregon with a decent chance of catching something?

To make sure, the Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildlife runs an active trout stocking program, even in winter and spring.

The trucks will start rolling on January 10.

While the restocking schedule is posted on the ministry’s user-friendly website, a more specific version can be found under each region in the Recreation Weekly Report, also posted on “MyODFW” every Wednesday. Click on “Fishing”, then on the region of the map that interests you.

You want to know more ? The department offers introductory fishing and hunting seminars throughout the year, also published on the “MyODFW” site.

And the show season is upon us, starting Friday with the Willamette Sportsman Show in Albany (Linn County Fairgrounds), January 7-9.

On its heels will be the Portland Boat Show Jan. 12-16 at the Portland Expo Center, featuring the largest public boat show on the West Coast and, this year, more inventory for this volatile market.

Then, of course, come the Sportsmen shows: Puyallup, Washington, February 2-6; Portland February 16-20 and central Oregon (Bend) March 10-13.

All the fairs offer seminars for beginners and experts.

Christmas for the coho: Don’t throw that tree away!

You paid dearly for this Christmas tree, so do more by donating it to Trout Unlimited‘s Christmas For Coho Project on January 8th and 15th.

Trees will be picked up at Northwest Fly Fishing Outfitters on NE Halsey in the Gateway neighborhood and at the old West Linn Fire Hall in West Linn near Willamette Drive. The hours are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Organizers suggest a $ 10 donation to help pay for transporting the trees to a staging area, where they will be stored until they are placed in tributaries for salmon and rainbow trout for provide cover for juvenile fish.

– Bill Monroe for The Oregonian / OregonLive