CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Anglers will be allowed to keep wild trout they catch on the Tualatin and Yamhill rivers this year under special regulations adopted by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Effective May 22 through Oct. 31, anglers will be allowed to keep up to two trout per day on the Tualatin and Yamhill rivers and all of their tributaries. Previously, most of these streams were limited to catch-and-release trout fishing.
The decision to open the Tualatin and Yamhill basins to trout retention was supported by information that showed healthy populations of native cutthroat trout are widely distributed throughout both watersheds. These rivers, like most in western Oregon, were previously restricted to catch-and-release trout fishing to protect winter steelhead listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
“Oregonians have consistently told us they would like more streams where they have the opportunity to catch and keep trout,” said Tom Murtagh, fish biologist for ODFW’s North Willamette Watershed District. “This change represents a step forward in our commitment to reopen trout fisheries in Oregon’s streams and rivers while protecting native fish populations.”
Habitat improvement in both basins have also contributed to wild trout health in these basins, according to Murtagh, who noted that over the past decade, private landowners, ODFW, watershed councils and other stakeholders have implemented several stream restoration and fish passage projects to enhance stream habitat for native fish.
Last year, the Yamhill earned the distinction of becoming one of the first streams in Oregon where trout stocking resumed since this practice ended in the 1990s to reduce potential impacts on federally protected steelhead. After working closely with landowners, conservation groups and federal fishery managers, ODFW reopened a 20-mile stretch of the South Yamhill River to retention of fin-clipped hatchery trout. That fishery began in the spring of 2009 with a daily bag limit of five fin-clipped trout in the South Yamhill from its confluence with the North Yamhill near McMinnville upstream to Rock Creek near the town of Grande Ronde.
The lower South Yamhill remains the only place in the basin where the bag limit is five trout, although under the new special regulation up to two of the five fish may now be wild fish. Hatchery trout can be identified by the absence of an adipose fin. In the remainder of the Yamhill basin and the entire Tualatin basin, the bag limit is two 8-inch or larger trout, and they may be either wild or hatchery fish. Fishing in most of these areas is restricted to the use of artificial flies and lures; exceptions are in the Yamhill from its mouth upstream to the confluence of the North and South Forks and in the Tualatin from its mouth upstream to the Highway 210 Bridge, where use of bait is permitted.