The Roseburg branch of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is looking to reward anglers for going fishing.

Again.

The agency announced Thursday that any anglers who harvest a hatchery winter steelhead and return the snout to an ODFW collection barrel have a chance to win a $50 gift card if their fish is coded wire tagged. Monthly prize drawings run through April 2021.

Collection barrels are located at boat ramps around the Umpqua Basin and in Roseburg at Sportsman’s Warehouse and outside the ODFW office on North Umpqua Highway. Bags for the snouts and tags with date and location of harvest are in the barrels.

This is the third year the ODFW has asked anglers to turn in snouts from their catches. The ODFW is asking anglers to turn in snouts as part of a study to track movements of hatchery fish.

Hatchery winter steelhead were coded wire tagged this past spring and released in four groups at acclimation sites in Canyonville, each at a different time. ODFW scans collected snouts for the tags which contain the release date and group. This information informs which release timing is the most beneficial to anglers, particularly those fishing the South Umpqua River.

ODFW began getting that data during the 2018-19 winter steelhead angling season with anglers returning about 200 snouts. That number doubled during the 2019-20 season.

“We expect to collect harvested hatchery winter steelhead snouts for at least another five years. The longer length of this study gives us a better picture of the fishery and what, if any, adjustments need made to the release timing,” Evan Leonetti, ODFW STEP biologist, said.

Leonetti said it’s too early in the study to make management adjustments and encourages anglers to continue returning snouts from their harvested hatchery winter steelhead.

Jon Mitchell is a page designer, photographer and writer for The News-Review. He can be reached at jmitchell@nrtoday.com, or at 541-957-4214. Or follow him on Twitter @byJonMitchell.

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