Unprecedented closures leave some guides on hook

first_img Receive latest stories and local news in your email: The Northwest sportfishing industry has been rattled by unprecedented salmon fishing closures this year, and the closures just won’t quit.Recently the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) closed all the rivers on the state’s north coast to the retention of Chinook salmon starting today.The main stem Columbia River was closed to all salmon and steelhead fishing in September to protect disappointing runs. Almost every Columbia River tributary has been closed to fishing for Chinook.For the fishing guides, hotels, gear manufacturers, and other businesses that depend on salmon fishing dollars, these closures have been hard to take. Many communities depend on this money, and when it isn’t there the effects ripple through the local economies. Subscribe Today “We are going to have these down times, but we are making it worse,” Fisher said.He is very critical of the smolt plant reductions driven by native fish proponents and their attacks in the courts on hatchery production.“We are planting 130 million less smolts in Washington state, and that makes a bad down turn even worse.”As for the hatchery cuts and restructuring, supposedly to help wild salmon?“This little experiment did not go well,” he said.Most experts believe the good times will return, but until then communities and businesses that depend on salmon dollars will have to tighten their belt.Guides ListGone Catchin’ Guide Service, Cameron Black (360) 921-5079,Lance Fisher Fishing: (866) 936-7041,Bill Monroe Outdoors: (503) 702-4028 By Terry Otto, Columbian staff writer Published: October 31, 2018, 11:28pm He thinks that these closures will hit newer, less established guides harder.Cody Clark of Bob’s Sporting Goods in Longview reports that fishing gear sales at the retail outlet have really suffered, but other lines of gear have picked up.“It’s the worst year in fishing sales since I’ve been here,” Clark said, “but our archery and hunting sales have made up for it.”“The Cowlitz has always been our plan B, but it was closed this year for Chinook, so we had no plan B.”Clark believes that anglers, tired of closures and empty rivers, have given up for the year. Rising sales of camouflage clothing and other hunting gear suggest that would-be anglers are turning to hunting instead this fall. Liz Hamilton, the executive director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association (NSIA), agrees that the average fishermen may be done for the year.“It’s tough for the dedicated angler,” Hamilton said. “They hear the word closure, and they hang it up.”She added: “I think this is nearly uncharted waters for this generation. The geographic scope of these closures is huge. Closing the Columbia on Sept. 12 was like canceling Christmas.”August and September are the money months for Columbia River guides that target the popular Chinook. The Columbian is becoming a rare example of a news organization with local, family ownership. Subscribe today to support local journalism and help us to build a stronger community. Share: The north coast bays and tidewater areas will remain open, and that will give Oregon fishermen some opportunities.ODFW also reduced the daily bag limit to one Chinook per day, and dropped the yearly limit from ten Chinook to three.Popular local guide Cameron Black of Gone Catchin’ Guide Service said he has canceled some trips, but he is still doing okay.“I tell people how it is out there, that we are just getting a couple fish a day, and I let them decide whether to cancel,” Black said. By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.center_img GO [email protected] Unprecedented salmon fishing closures have left businesses and communities that depend on salmon dollars are feeling the pinch. Terry Otto/The Columbian Photo Gallery Share: Unprecedented closures leave some guides on hook Many anglers have given up for the year “That main stem Columbia closure hurt a lot of guys bottom lines,” guide Bill Monroe Jr. said “It’s been tough.”Monroe was preparing to fish Tillamook Bay’s rivers this month, but the closure of those streams kick in on Thursday, just as the fishing is heating up.“Lots of guides were ready to spend November fishing in the rivers (of Tillamook Bay). Now they aren’t going to be able to do that,” Monroe said.Still, he is supportive of the closure in light of the poor returns.“A lot of the guides pushed for this,” he said, noting that they wanted to protect the salmon on the spawning grounds. 2 Photos Terry Otto Columbian staff writer She notes that sport anglers have been hammered for years. There was the drought of 2015, the blob of warm, nutrient-poor water across the northern Pacific that did not break up until 2016, and the floods of spring 2017, which kept anglers off the Columbia River.The economic costs of the closures are significant. According to a study commissioned by the NSIA and prepared by Southwick Associates of Florida, anglers spend an average of $115 on expenditures for each fishing trip.That figure includes gas, food and other expenditures, but does not include the money spent on durable goods, such as boats, electronics, and gear, which are the economic engine that drives the industry.According to the WDFW, sportfishing generates $1.1 billion each year for the state’s economy.Lance Fisher, long-time fishing guide and host of The Northwest Outdoors radio show, thinks the established businesses will probably endure, but it has not been easy. He also does not mince words about the state’s management of the troubled fish.last_img read more