CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Anglers have a new opportunity to harvest stray hatchery trout, starting May 23 when trout season opens on the lower Clackamas River.
This year fishermen will be permitted to keep up to two adipose fin-clipped trout per day caught in a 20-mile stretch of the river from its confluence with the Willamette River upstream to North Fork Dam.
Previously, the lower Clackamas was a catch-and-release only trout fishing area.
The new trout season was adopted last fall by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission as part of the 2009 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations. The decision was based on recommendations of biologists who had observed increases in the number of resident hatchery trout present in the lower Clackamas the past two years.
Biologists recommended the new regulations as a way to increase opportunities for anglers while reducing impacts of hatchery fish on native steelhead and salmon that occupy the lower Clackamas. They believe the increasing population of fin-clipped trout is comprised of hatchery steelhead that are not migrating to the ocean and rainbow trout that are escaping downstream from the reservoirs above Rivermill Dam.
“We have been seeing adipose fin-clipped trout in the lower river,” said Todd Alsbury, district fish biologist for ODFW’s North Willamette Watershed. “We don’t want large numbers of hatchery trout competing with native steelhead, cutthroat trout and salmon so we changed the regulations to allow anglers to harvest these trout.”
Alsbury said fin-clipped trout should available to anglers using lures, spinners and artificial flies. He cautioned that any fish with an adipose fin must be released as quickly and gently as possible.
There will be no hatchery trout stocked in the lower Clackamas to support his fishery, according to Alsbury, so anglers should expect relatively low numbers of fish to be widely distributed through the lower river.
The Clackamas River from its confluence with the Willamette River upstream to North Fork Dam will be open for trout angling from May 23 to Oct. 31. Anglers may retain two adipose fin-clipped trout per day with no limit length, except in that section of the river between Rivermill Dam and Hwy. 211, where a five fish bag limit and 8-inch minimum length apply. See Page 50 of the Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for details.
Anglers are reminded that rainbow trout over 20 inches in length are considered steelhead and can only be retained if the angler possesses a Combined Angling Tag or Hatchery Harvest Tag.