We are re-issuing this press release because a previous version was incorrect in stating there is “no minimum size limit” for trout caught on the lower South Yamhill River. In fact, the minimum size limit is 8 inches. We apologize for the error and any inconvenience this causes.
CLACKAMAS, Ore. – The South Yamhill River just upstream of Willamina will be stocked with approximately 2,000 rainbow trout prior to the May 22 opening day of trout season, and again two weeks later.
This is the second year ODFW has released hatchery trout in the South YamhillRiver to provide additional angling opportunities in this area. The South Fork Yamhill trout fishing seasonrequired special consideration and approval by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission. The upper limit of the stocked section is at the Gold Creek Road Bridge, located about two miles downstream of Fort Hill. The trout were reared over the past winter at ODFW’s Roaring River Hatchery near Scio and range from 8 to 12 inches long.
Trout stocking in Oregon’s rivers was common 20 years ago. However, the practice has nearly ceased out of concern over possible impacts to threatened salmon and steelhead populations. Since the late 1990s, trout stocking has taken place almost exclusively in lakes and ponds, where trout do not compete with salmon and steelhead for food and cover.
Tom Murtagh, District Fish Biologist for ODFW’s North Willamette Watershed, believes that it is important for kids to get to know their local rivers, and fishing is a great way to help them do that.“ I just remember how much river fishing meant to me when I was a kid,” said Murtagh. “The whole purpose of this program is to re-connect people from local communities to the rivers in their back yards and the wonderful opportunities they can find there.”
By carefully planning the timing of releases so as not to overlap with the outmigration of steelhead smolts and by using triploid trout, which are biologically unable to reproduce, Murtagh was able to garner the support of NOAA Fisheries and key stakeholder groups. Managers carefully planned the releases to occur after most winter steelhead smolts have departed to the sea. Support for the new trout season was possible because Yamhill winter steelhead are not critical to the overall recovery of upper Willamette River winter steelhead.
The South Fork Yamhill trout fishery will be open May 22 through Oct. 31 from its confluence with the North Yamhill near McMinnville, upstream about 20 miles to Rock Creek near Grand Ronde. Anglers may harvest up to five hatchery trout. Hatchery trout have had their adipose fin removed for easy identification. In addition, ODFW recently adopted a Temporary Rule allowing anglers to keep two wild trout, 8 inches or greater in size in all tributary streams in both the Tualatin and Yamhill basins. Therefore, anglers fishing in the South Yamhill near Willamina have the unique opportunity to retain five trout, of which three may be hatchery trout, and two may be wild trout or hatchery trout. In addition, fishing will be limited to artificial flies and lures to protect native fish.
Murtagh said the trout will be released in multiple locations between Gold Creek Road Bridge and Willamina because that is the stretch of the South Fork Yamhill that has the most public access. Yamhill River Road runs parallel to much of this section and provides adequate turnouts and parking at several locations near the river. The remaining 15 miles of river open to trout fishing has some public access but also meanders across private lands. ODFW reminds anglers to be aware of and respectful toward private property rights along the river.