Winter steelhead anglers are being asked to return snouts from hatchery steelhead harvested in the Umpqua River basin, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said Friday.

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 and released in March and April from the acclimation sites in Canyonville. Any of the fish returning this steelhead fishing season are considered “one salt fish” after spending one year in the ocean.

Evan Leonetti, an ODFW STEP biologist, 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,” Leonetti said. “These fish were all in the four to five-inch range when released in Canyonville.”

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.

He said he is looking for people with flexible schedule that enjoy talking with anglers. Volunteers will also assist with the collection of snouts.

This citizen science project collects information on the winter steelhead fishery. It includes the number of fish harvested, whether they are wild or hatchery, and fishing effort. 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 work alone or with a partner. The project runs the length of the winter steelhead season, ending about mid-April.

Info: Leonetti, 541-464-2175 or by email at evan.leonetti@state.or.us.

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