Fishing is a terrific way to get the family together. Waiting for a line to jiggle with a baited hook at the end will teach a child patience. The act of casting of a fishing line will also develop hand-eye coordination. Conversations while at the water’s edge may not be many but what is said can be remembered for years.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has four weekends for free fishing in 2020. On those days no one will need a license, tag, or endorsement for fishing, crabbing or clamming. Other regulations on area closures, limit, etc., will remain in effect. Those dates are:
- February 15-16 (Saturday and Sunday) of President’s Day Weekend
- June 6-7 (Saturday and Sunday)
- August 15-16 (Saturday and Sunday)
- November 27-28 (Friday and Saturday) of Thanksgiving Weekend
Licenses and possibly tags are needed for the rest of the year. To learn more and to get fishing and safety tips, please visit the ODFW website, https://myodfw.com/
On the day of your adventure, be sure to tell someone where you’re going, pack a big lunch, carry extra coats and blankets (just in case), and enjoy! After a long fun day at the gravel pit, or a local stream, please do not toss any unused living bait into the water. Some people use goldfish as bait, and in the past some that escaped hooks or were discarded have wreaked havoc in Harney County streams and lakes. In 2010, ODFW chemically treated Mann Lake to kill 200,000 goldfish and fathead minnows who were eradicating the Lahontan cutthroat trout.
Other people use worms and discard the still live ones on the bank, thinking it’s not a big deal. It is. The worms used for fishing aren’t native to this area and they “substantially alter forest soils, change carbon and nitrogen nutrient cycles, transform microbial processes, ‘and greatly affect populations and communities of other flora and fauna’ in the woods. Arthropods, salamanders, small mammals, and ground-nesting birds are some of the fauna affected. (Source: https://daily.jstor.org/maybe-earthworms-arent-so-great-for-soil-after-all/?fbclid=IwAR03_i25ZtMjjhJ-8UU2QbAG1PCYk4MYjLdrmHe6NZPIQ-xwI2uhOB-vxHA)”
And…before you hop into the rig to head home be sure to check your equipment and pets to make sure invasive weed seeds haven’t latched on to drop off somewhere else.
Keeping live non-native bait out of streams and lakes and brushing off equipment and pets may seem like a small step but it can make a huge difference in the future health of our waterways and land.