Fishing trip tainted by lack of fish, lots of trash

With a downpour of rainy weather on Saturday, fishing was not the most popular activity on a dismal day in May.

Mother’s Day was good, but Monday was great.

On yet another unsuccessful fishing excursion, the boys and I this time recruited the help of a good angler, my step-dad Steve, who also came up empty-handed on a lake where we fished when I was a kid and usually came home with bucket-loads of fish.

But as most of us know, that was the past and now, in present times, only one of us was lucky – my 4-year-old Preston caught his own fish all by himself on his own pole for the first time.

He let me know about it

Fishing with Papa Steve was a good time for my sons, one that I’m sure we will all never forget.

I got to see him hand down some lessons that seemed very familiar, about fishing and the outdoors. One thing I have to say is I caught myself doing is feeling a slight case of déjà vu as I listened to some of the things about fishing that I have heard for years. But this time it is being told to my sons instead of me.

When the discussion of trash at the fishing hole came up, I was surprised at the interest the boys had in it. One of the questions from my 5-year-old was, “Daddy, when you were a kid, was there this much garbage here?”

I don’t know if, because I was a kid I didn’t notice as much garbage as I do now, but I think you probably wouldn’t notice as much garbage if you were coming home with a bucket-load of fish.

Even then, I don’t remember so much disrespect and neglect by other outdoormen.

It is disturbing, the amount of trash that is on the shores of our local lakes and other outdoors visiting spots. I saw a blender, a mattress, a chair, a couple of tires, pots and pans, silverware, empty bags of chips, empty beer cans.

Out of five stops we made, the one thing my kids focused on first was the amount of trash at each stop.

I’m realizing that it is up to me to ensure a place for my kids to take their kids and be able to fish or visit.

With all the stocking that’s going on, you’d think that all you’d have to do is show up. With bags of trash and only one fish, we filled the garbage can, not the refrigerator.

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The flurry over fish food at state hatcheries being tainted by melamine, the chemical that has caused problems in dog and cat food and been the subject of many recent news reports, seems to be for naught here at our local South Santiam Fish Hatchery.

Although state officials reported that some of the tainted food had been delivered to the local hatchery, hatchery personnel said that it had not been.

The feed in question is primarily a starter feed fed to juvenile salmon and trout, according to ODFW officials. It typically would be used only for a few weeks before the fish are put on a different feed formula.

Rick Hargrave of the ODFW’s Salem office said that because melamine is a water-soluble chemical, “it passes right through the fish.”

He said that,based on information from the federal Food and Drug Administration, the risk to human health is “extremely low.”

* * * * *

Here are a few more local outdoors tidbits:

Green Peter is getting 6,000 trout and Foster was stocked with another 3,000 this week, according to the ODFW. Next week, Foster is scheduled for another 4,000 fish, and Quartzville Creek is supposed to get 2,000. Clear Lake got 1,250 larger trout last week in addition to 2,500 legal-sized fish.

Hunters are reporting limited success for spring black bears in both the Coast and Cascades. Hunters participating in the spring black bear hunts need to be persistent and spend time scouting for fresh sign to locate active bear feeding sites. Drive, walk, or bike areas with good bear habitat and look for fresh droppings or tracks. If you find fresh sign, hunt the area thoroughly.

Turkeys are tough to find in the North Willamette Watershed District and those hunters with access to private lands are having the best success. Hunters should not overlook the mid-day period when hunting turkeys. Hunters heading in for a late breakfast will leave the woods free of activity and allow the birds more freedom to be out and moving.

* * * * *

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is offering a unique fly fishing opportunity Saturday, May 19 at Wizard Falls Hatchery, along the beautiful Metolius River in Camp Sherman .

This hands-on workshop will provide an opportunity for folks to learn the basics to get them started in fly fishing. Topics to be covered include reading the water, basic knots for fly fishing, casting techniques, aquatic insects and gear.

“This is the perfect chance for those who want to try fly fishing before they invest a lot of time and money in equipment,” said Nancy Smogor , ODFW program coordinator. “This workshop will let people test the waters, so to speak, to decide if fly fishing is for them.”

Pre-registration is required for this event and space is limited. There is a nominal registration fee of $75 which covers breakfast, lunch, instruction, use of all necessary equipment and the chance to catch some incredible trout. Although offered as part of the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman program, the workshop is open to anyone 18 years of age or older.

For more information about this and other upcoming Becoming an Outdoors-Woman and Passport to the Outdoors programs, contact Nancy Smogor at (503) 947-6018. You can also check the ODFW Web site for additional information at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/outdoor_skills/

* * * * *

Deschutes basin fish managers are introducing summer steelhead in central Oregon rivers.

On Monday, May 12, approximately 175,000 summer steelhead fry were released to initiate reintroduction of summer steelhead in Whychus Creek from the confluence of the Deschutes River upstream to Indian Ford Creek.

“We are cautiously optimistic we can successfully reintroduce anadromous species into the upper basin,” said District Fish Biologist Steve Marx. “It will require management oversight and a number of generations for fish to adapt their life history to the unique characteristics of the upper basin.”

In December 2003, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted Oregon Administrative Rules that direct the department to restore anadromous fish, including Mid-Columbia summer steelhead, into portions of their historic range upstream from the Pelton-Round Butte Hydroelectric Project. Specific areas targeted for reintroduction include the Metolius River and tributaries, Deschutes River from Lake Billy Chinook upstream to Big Falls, Whychus Creek, and the Crooked River and tributaries upstream to Bowman and Ochoco Dams.

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As warmer weekends and summer vacations draw near, the number of Americans participating in outdoor recreational activities and sports increases. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the number of four-wheel all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) in use between 2002 and 2003 increased by 700,000 units (13 percent). Along with increased use, the size and power of ATVs has also increased resulting in more serious injuries. The number of injuries requiring emergency room treatment is reported to have risen 10 percent from 113,900 in 2002 to 125,500 in 2003.

As part of its nationwide Motorsafe campaign to promote safe motoring and raise public awareness about spinal cord injury, United Spinal Association reminds the public, especially parents, that in 2003, ATVs killed at least 111 children younger than 16 years of age accounting for 27 percent of all fatalities. Children under 16 suffered 38,600 serious injuries in 2003 which was 31 percent of all injuries. This age group received more serious injuries than any other group. Between 1985 and 2003, children under 16 accounted for 37 percent of all injuries.

United Spinal’s Motorsafe program stresses the following precautions:

– Always wear protective gear, such as a helmet and goggles.

– Never ride on public roadways, only on designated trails.

– Never ride if you’re intoxicated, tired, or on medication.

– Never carry a passenger on a single-rider vehicle.

– Ride an ATV that has the right specifications for your age.

– Riders younger than 16 should always be supervised.

– Ride at safe speeds.

– Take an ATV educational course.

For more information, or to download a free Motorsafe brochure and safety tips card, please visit http://www.unitedspinal.org and click, Motorsafe. For more information on United Spinal Association, call 800-404-2898 or visit http://www.unitedspinal.org.

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