I grew up in the Umpqua valley. I remember opening of general trout fishing season in the rivers. It was a time anxiously waited for by me and friends. One such season I could not sleep waiting to head out to fish the Reston Ridge area. Other times we would load up the camper and spend the weekend fishing for planted rainbow. It was sometimes like fishing the hatchery as 10–12-inch planted rainbow clobbered the worm about the time it hit the water. To us it was great times with fond memories to cherish years later.
Now we have groups of environmentalists and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife saying that we need to preserve the wild species for future generations. I fly fish the North Umpqua that is a targeted area protecting the wild native trout, steelhead, and chinook. Paying attention to the return of summer steelhead I do not see large numbers of summer steelhead. What is also not seen is visitors from around the country and world fishing the North Umpqua. The result of native fish restoration is lost income.
What is a native fish? The definition is non clipped fish spawned in the river system it returns to. It baffles me that anyone would consider fish as native today. Decades of planting smolt from rivers across Oregon as altered native fish genetics. I do not see the point of preserving genetically breeched species as native fish. The money lost to the businesses and people of the North Umpqua communities does not help anyone. Douglas County could use an economic boost. Stock the river with steelhead lower sections with trout and draw money to the area. That sounds like the best utilization of resources.
Robert Wayne Cooper