Here is an update after the Warm Water Working Group meeting yesterday (6/19):

First, it was not a meeting seeking input from the warm water community. It was a meeting to convince us that this was their plan, and the department will move forward with it. The plan is to remove ALL warm water bag limits on the Columbia River, Umpqua River, and John Day River. To clarify, that is ALL bass, walleye, catfish, and panfish. There was a Washington DFW employee there to lay out Washington's plan, and to begin the session.

It is important to note that, to their credit, the department (Bruce McIntosh) was clear in telling us that this WAS NOT a scientific plan, but a policy (read: political) change.

As you might imagine, there was considerable rebuttal to this proposal. When asked why the John Day River was included, the reply was that smallmouth were moving into the upper reaches, and it needed to be stopped. There was no conversation regarding why the SMB were moving up, as in: water warming due to riparian removal, water degradation, etc. It was just that the fish were moving, and the department is going to attempt to destroy a WORLD CLASS smallmouth fishery.

Several studies were referred to, showing a lack of scientific basis, but were rebutted with the fact that this was a policy change.

There will be more work done to smooth out some of the areas, but that, in a nutshell, is what is coming.

Considerable time was spent on trying to convince us that this was a good move, and that the warm water community should get on board and enjoy the ride. I don't think I need to relate to you what the response to that was, nor would it be appropriate in an open e-mail.

My thoughts:

We all know that this move will not significantly change the fishery in the relatively short term. What this does is disrespect the fishery, and the people who enjoy them.

There is a OFW Commission meeting in Salem on August 7th. At that meeting, the Commission will be briefed on the regulation changes. I WILL be there to testify, and I need help. We need to arrive in numbers sufficient to show our opposition to this plan. There will be no rulings on the plan or our testimony at this meeting, but we need to get our opinion and opposition on the official record when the plan becomes generally known. (As a side note: I wonder what the response would be if the ODFW parking lot was filled with bass boats, walleye boats, fishing boats in general?)

The ruling on the plan will be at the September 4th meeting, in Seaside. I WILL be there to voice our opposition, once again. I will need supporting testimony at that meeting, also.

IF WE SIT ON OUR HANDS, WE ARE STUCK WITH THIS PURELY POLITICAL MOVE. The message is: Warm water fish, and in turn, warm water anglers just don't matter! I disagree, do you?

Please respond to this e-mail! Unlike Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife, I want your input and honest, unvarnished opinion and thoughts.

Thank you, and Tight Lines!

      Lonnie Johnson

                Conservation Director

             Oregon BASS Nation

    (541)479-4834 H ~ (541)659-1832 C