Recreation

Corps, ODFW, Guides & new contractor pledge cooperation

Tom MacDonald pic

 

 

 

 

 

 

LEABURG: “Desert Hot Springs Trout Farm has been in business since 1985 and never had an outbreak of pathogens,” was a point stressed by Tom MacDonald last Friday. Speaking at a McKenzie Chamber of Commerce town hall meeting, he was part of a panel discussion on the future of angling in the McKenzie River region.
The session came about after the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers decided this year to end a long term agreement to get trout from the Leaburg Trout Hatchery. It asked for bids to deliver 277,000 pounds of fish to stock streams and lakes in the Willamette basin. Desert Springs was awarded a $1.3 million contract on August 2nd.
Shortly after that decision,  Tammy Mackey, the Corps’ Portland District Fish Section chief, issued a statement saying, “Desert Springs’ proposal met the federal government’s requirements at a cost that provides the best value to taxpayers,” it said. “They have worked with ODFW in recent years and we feel confident that they will provide good stock that will meet the expectations of Oregon anglers and fish managers.”

Sourcing of McKenzie fish has changed

Cat fish planting

 

 

 

 

 

LEABURG: People wondering about angling in the McKenzie River next year will have an opportunity to ask questions next Friday at a town hall meeting sponsored by the McKenzie River Chamber of Commerce. On the agenda will be potential changes related to a decision by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to defund and close the Leaburg Trout Hatchery.
The Leaburg Hatchery was built in 1953 to mitigate for the loss of trout production and habitat due to the construction of Cougar and Blue River Dams in the McKenzie Basin and operation of the Corps Willamette River Basin Projects. That mitigation involved 277,000 pounds of trout.

Forest Service Road 19 (Aufderheide Scenic Byway) to Reopen October 14

Firefighters and road crews have been working diligently to mitigate hazards such as fire weakened trees and unstable slopes along Forest Service Road 19 (Aufderheide Scenic Byway) to make the road safe again for travelers. The road is scheduled to reopen in its entirety on Saturday, October 14th, just in time for peak fall foliage viewing along the byway.

Private fish farm’s bid was $575,000 more than ODFW’s

Desert Hatchery

 

 

 

 

A private central Oregon trout farm received a $1.3 million annual contract to grow trout that eventually will be planted in the Willamette River basin. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers awarded the contract September 15 to Desert Springs Trout Farm in Summer Lake.
Previously, the trout had been produced at the Leaburg Hatchery on the McKenzie River. Owned by the Corps, but operated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the hatchery produced rainbow and cutthroat trout, as well as summer steelhead, as mitigation for losses due to Willamette River basin dams. Trout production at the Leaburg Hatchery is being phased out by the end of next year.
Corps officials said it had determined that trout mitigation could be done through a supply contract, such as those recently signed with ODFW, and that it does not need to operate a hatchery to acquire fish.

“Young adventurers” laid groundwork for tourism

Hand up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIDA: “About 1914 something kind of magical happened,” according to Randy Dersham, president of the McKenzie River Drift Boat Museum. The magic came about when log trucks replaced river drives as the most economical way of getting timber to sawmills combined with the creation of a graded road that drew recreationists up from Eugene who wanted to fish a pristine river.
“The young men that were log drivers in the homesteads around here at the time started to guide around 1920,” Randy told the gathering at last Saturday’s Eugene Symphony fundraiser.
The young entrepreneurs soon found the “Old Scow” design used to corral heavy logs wasn’t all that maneuverable when it came to avoiding rocks and rapids in fast water.
Credited with the first major advance in boat design was John West who opted for a wider craft that could seat two people side-by-side. Built out of fairly thick 3/4 inch boards and weighing around 500 lbs. It wasn’t a lightweight, except in comparison to the “Old Scows.”

3,200 cfs flows creating stronger McKenzie River currents

Basin map

 

 

 

 

 

 

BLUE RIVER: Increased water releases from Cougar and Blue River dams will limit access to some nearby recreation opportunities. The McKenzie River will also have higher than normal flows as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers reduces reservoir levels behind the dams to allow for maintenance and rehabilitation of the two dams’ spillway gates.
The road over Cougar Dam will remained closed through November 30th while spillway gate repairs are underway. Visitors accustomed to driving across the dam to get to the Echo day use area, boat launch and the East Fork lower trailhead will have a long (approximately two to three hour) drive to get to those sites. Access is via the Horse Creek (Forest Service Road 2638), spur road 356 and then onto 1993. FSR 19-500 past Slide Creek campground to access the Echo day use and boat launch sites is not suitable for passenger cars.

Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife helicopters stocking high lakes

Trout Heli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

More than 350,000 fingerling trout are splashing down in hundreds of high mountain lakes across the Cascade Range from Mt. Hood to Klamath Falls this week, as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife readies the waters along the Pacific Coast Trail for hikers, anglers, fly fishermen and backpackers. “Oregon is the only state that I know of that has such a robust high mountain fish stocking program,” said project leader Erik Moberly, ODFW fish biologist from Bend.

Summer forecasts are very low

Steelhead release

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facing some of the lowest steelhead returns on record, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has already curtailed steelhead fishing seasons throughout the Columbia River basin by adopting rolling season closures, reduced bag limits, and a night angling closure for all species.
Additionally, ODFW is asking anglers to further help the region’s steelhead by taking more care when the fish are out of the water.
“Positive voluntary efforts may reduce the necessity for future mandatory regulations,” said Tucker Jones, ODFW’s manager of Ocean Salmon and Columbia River fisheries. “If a person happens to intercept a wild steelhead, or any steelhead during a retention closure period for that matter, it is imperative that they do their utmost to ensure its survival by using best handling practices.”

Pages

McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.