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Trophy trout program getting bigger

03/08/16 -- Thousands of extra-large rainbow trout will be released in several Oregon fishing holes this spring as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife rolls out an enhanced “Trophy Trout” program created under a 2015 legislative directive.

More than 10,000 rainbow trout ranging in size from one to three pounds will be released at five locations around the state starting March 7 and continuing through May.

Nikki Hegna holding trophy trout, photo courtesy of ODFW
Nikki Hegna an ODFW hatchery technician with a trophy trout raised at Rock Creek Hatchery near Roseburg. Photo courtesy of ODFW

The trophy trout program isn’t new. ODFW has been releasing large trout for years into many lakes around the state. However, during the 2015 legislative session, Representative Greg Smith (R-Heppner) and ODFW came together to discuss the creation of a Trophy Trout Pilot Program that would select a handful of reservoirs to stock with trout in the one to three-pound range. The goal is to help boost economic development opportunities for regions that rely heavily on hunting and fishing tourism.

For 2016, ODFW raised an additional 10,500 large trout that will be will be released in the following five locations: Phillips Reservoir in Baker County, Willow Creek Reservoir in Morrow County, Timothy Lake in Clackamas County, Trojan Pond in Columbia County, and Garrison Lake in Curry County. Releases will start the week of March 7 and take place periodically until June. ODFW plans to further expand trophy trout fishing opportunities next year by producing 25,000 of the larger trout and releasing them in more locations (not yet determined).

“This is a great project that is not only perfect for the Willow Creek Reservoir, but the other locations as well,” said Rep. Smith. “I appreciate ODFW’s leadership and willingness to think outside the box in creating and sustaining economic opportunities in rural Oregon.”

“Fishing has been and continues to be a favorite recreational activity for many Oregonians,” said Curt Melcher, Director of ODFW. “The Trophy Trout Pilot Program will allow us to support the industry, support rural economies, and provide something new and exciting to generate enthusiasm.”

Trophy trout release locations and dates, ODFW

Trophy trout, which ODFW defines as those weighing one pound or more, comprise a small portion of the 2 million trout catchable trout that ODFW releases in more than 300 locations around the state every year. The vast majority of these are referred to in the agency’s trout stocking schedules as “legals” – which are released as soon as they are 8 inches long and meet the legal minimum size for retention fishing in Oregon. Fishery managers believe that shifting hatchery production to a higher percentage of larger fish may help spur interest in trout fishing in Oregon, which ODFW is promoting as a family-friendly outdoor activity through its Trout 365 campaign and 36 family fishing events.


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