Why are there new steelhead fishing regulations and fees on Rogue and South Coast rivers?
The new regulations and fees respond to public concerns voiced during development of the Rogue-South Coast Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan (adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in Dec. 2021). The new requirements are meant to maintain a unique, limited opportunity to harvest wild winter steelhead in Southwest Oregon and help fund wild steelhead monitoring in this area.
Why do I need to pay an additional fee to steelhead fish in this area?
The validation and harvest tag fees help fund wild winter steelhead monitoring in this area. Monitoring will give biologists additional data to manage winter steelhead and address the public’s concern about fishing impacts on wild steelhead.
What’s the purpose of the new winter steelhead validation?
The validation tells us how many people fish for winter steelhead in this area so we can then estimate and track trends in angling effort. That information will help us address a public concern that too many anglers fish certain rivers, affecting wild winter steelhead abundance and viability. Knowing how many anglers fish these rivers will help us better manage the fishery.
What’s the purpose of the new harvest tag, and why can’t I record wild winter steelhead harvest on my combined angling tag?
ODFW and stakeholders developed the harvest tag (only valid during the areas winter steelhead season Dec. 1 – April 30) to address public concerns about wild winter steelhead harvest reporting. Harvest is recorded automatically for anglers using electronic licenses and tags, but anglers using paper tags report harvest voluntarily.
In recent years, voluntary reporting dropped to very low levels, causing some people to question the accuracy of harvest data. Also, many anglers said daily licenses are abused by some people repeatedly buying daily paper licenses to harvest wild winter steelhead – reportedly allowing them to exceed the three-fish annual bag limit.
The wild winter steelhead harvest tag will provide more accurate harvest data through improved reporting and closes the daily license loophole because anglers can only purchase one harvest tag per winter steelhead season. ODFW will have the previous season’s harvest data before Dec. 1 when the next season begins.
Where do I report harvested wild winter steelhead?
If you electronically tagged on your ELS app, you’re done. If you have a paper tag, you have several options:
- Drop the tag off at any ODFW office.
- Call any ODFW office to report your harvest.
- Mail your tag to ODFW Headquarters: 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr. SE, Salem OR 97302.
- Report online by logging into your ODFW account.
What’s the minimum I need to fish for winter steelhead on these rivers?
You always need a license and combined angling tag to fish for winter steelhead.
This requirement continues, but anglers on the Rogue and South Coast rivers also must purchase a validation ($2 resident, $4 non-resident) to fish for winter steelhead. The validation lets you fish for winter steelhead and harvest hatchery winter steelhead. If you don’t want the opportunity to harvest wild winter steelhead, this is all you need. If you do decide to harvest a wild winter steelhead on these rivers, you also must purchase a harvest tag ($10 resident, $20 non-resident).