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OSP fish and wildlife troopers: Beware of snagging

Oregon State Police fish and wildlife troopers have discovered fish with embedded hooks, sliced fins, circular scabs, and other evidence of illegal tactics, while assisting ODFW hatchery staff during the spring salmon spawning season.

Snagging occurs when a person hooks, or attempts to hook, a fish anywhere on its body other than inside the mouth. Although snagging is an unlawful practice with steep consequences, many people still engage in this unethical behavior, according to OSP F&W Trooper Cameron Jamison.

“Indicators that a person may be attempting to snag fish include quickly and repeatedly ripping large lengths of line through the water, repeated yanking of the fishing rod from water level to over the shoulders or head and failing to release fish which have been hooked anywhere on their fins or body,” Cameron said.

Evidence of snagging and other injuries becomes apparent during annual collection processes, when hatchery workers collect and sort salmon and steelhead for spawning.

During the collection process, hatchery staff, with assistance from OSP F&W Troopers, check for tags that indicate when and where each fish was released as a smolt, along with other tracking information. The data from these collections is used to determine the health of the fish populations and to assist in determining future rules and regulations.

Salmon and steelhead then go into holding ponds until the hatchery accumulates the number of fish necessary to repopulate that hatchery and river system. When hatchery workers reach a target number of salmon and steelhead, they contain the fish in holding ponds for spawning.

Steelhead in good condition after spawning are released back into the lower sections of the same river in hopes that they will head back out to the ocean and have another opportunity to return to the hatchery next year to spawn again. Salmon and steelhead at the end of their lifecycles are placed in streams to decompose as part of the stream enrichment program.

By the time salmon and steelhead return to the hatchery they’ve typically reached the end of their lifecycle. Seventy percent of salmon and steelhead harvested in Oregon originate from a hatchery, and 95% of the salmon and steelhead harvested in the Willamette River originate from a hatchery.

In 2022, hatcheries estimated returns of about 142,000 salmon and 27,000 steelhead.

If you observe behavior that you believe to be snagging, you are urged to contact Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife at *OSP (*677) or the Turn-In-Poachers (TIP) Line at: (800) 452-7888.”

Kids Fishout at Green Peter

Kokanee Power will host a Kids Fishout at Green Peter Reservoir Saturday, June 17.

The event is open to youngsters ages 3 to 18. All kids will be entered in a free raffle. Prizes will be awarded for Biggest and Smallest Fish in age groups 3-6, 7-9, 10-14 and 15-18. Other prizes include Captain With Most Kids On Board and Captain With Most Fish Caught Per Boat.

A lure-making contest will be held for all kids who want to participate.

A free barbecue will be served at Sunnyside Campground to kids; adults are $10 each. Tickets can be purchased at http://www.kokaneepoweroregon.com, where more information on the event can be found.

Caution: Keep Away from Seals, Sea Lions

It’s a busy time of year on the Oregon coast with visitors sharing the beaches with seals and sea lions.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is asking beachgoers to keep away from seals and sea lions resting on the beach or rocks.

Pacific harbor seal pupping season is in full swing, A harbor seal mother often leaves her pup alone on shoreline rocks or the beach while she feeds in the ocean. This is an important time for her to refuel and later feed her pup, but she is unlikely to rejoin her pup if there is activity nearby.

Other marine mammals seen on beaches in summer include California sea lions stopping to rest during their journey south to breed. And elephant seals are molting now – while it isn’t pretty, these animals are not sick.

All marine mammals are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act. It is a violation of federal and state laws to harass, touch, or feed marine mammals.

The Oregon Marine Mammal Stranding Network is primarily a volunteer organization. It generally does not provide rehabilitation services to harbor seals, elephant seals, and California sea lions in accordance with ODFW’s policy on marine mammal rehabilitation .

If a marine mammal is obviously injured, sick or being harassed, people can report to the Oregon State Police TIP line at 1-800-452-7888.

Corvallis, Newport Host Presentations

The Department of Land Conservation and Development’s Oregon Coastal Management Program (OCMP) is teaming up with various organizations in the coastal and valley regions to co-host a series of presentations about Oregon’s unique beach and dune environments.

The series will begin in May and continue throughout the summer.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

The most local presentation will be from 6 to 7 p.m. on Sept. 6 at Old World Deli, 341 SW 2nd St., Corvallis.

Another presentation will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 20, at Hatfield Marine Science Center, 2030 SE Marine Science Drive, Newport.

During the presentations, information will be shared about the importance of Oregon’s beaches and dunes and how they have changed over time. The beaches and dunes of the Oregon coast make up about 72% (or 262 miles) of the coastline and have undergone intense periods of change over the last 100 years, due to both natural and human-caused processes.

Some of the factors contributing to change are: the rapid expansion of non-native beach grasses; development and management activities in foredune areas; rising sea levels and increased storm activity; and substantial shoreline changes around estuaries controlled by jetties.

The presentation will dive into some of these changes, while highlighting the many benefits of Oregon’s beaches and dunes. Beaches and dunes provide a buffer against erosion and flooding, store blue carbon, and provide essential habitat. An overview of the state policies aimed at protecting the values of beaches and dunes, as well as reducing exposure of people and development to coastal hazards will also be discussed.

Additional event details can be found at the Oregon King Tides website at oregonkingtides.net/events. Registration is not required to attend.