The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is recommending a rule change making barbed hooks legal inside certain areas of the lower Willamette River as well as Youngs Bay and Gnat Creek near Astoria.
Barbless hook requirements in Oregon have been mandatory since 2013. The intent of barbless hooks was to reduce the mortality rate among salmon and steelhead caught and released by anglers. However, data has shown there are high proportions of hatchery fish caught in these areas and the ODFW has more flexibility in how it manages fish in the lower Willamette. Interactions between anglers and California sea lions in the Willamette during the spring Chinook fishery season prompted a potential trade-off between the use of barbless hooks and angler satisfaction in areas with a high proportion of hatchery fish. The ODFW will meet January 9th to consider the change, as well as an update on the implementation of Colombia River fisheries management reforms.
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