Oregonians who bought the new two-rod license last year might not have doubled their efficiency in filling trout limits, but they did discover that two rods are better than one if used judiciously.
Perhaps the best thing about fishing with two rods is that it allows anglers more freedom to experiment to see what's working best on a given day.
Different baits, different lures, various bait-and-lure combinations — and even a little meat fishing while casting a fly — are all strategies that can help anglers get their money's worth.
Last year, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife sold 11,470 two-rod validations, which cost $17. Most were sold from March through June, during the start of the year's trout-fishing season, says Jessica Sall, Fish Division spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Through the first week of April this year, the agency had sold 5,559 of the validations, Sall says.
Perhaps the most obvious use of the two-rod validation comes when anglers troll alone or with one other person. Trolling with two rods allows someone to try, for instance, a Wedding Ring lure spiced with a worm on one rod, and a Triple Teaser on the second.
Besides helping anglers decide which colors, lures or baits are working best that day, the two-rod option can help anglers more quickly figure out where in the water column the trout are suspended. Trout aren't always on the bottom, so trolling at Lost Creek Lake with one lure at 15 feet and another at 30 feet will help solve that puzzle faster.
Likewise, an extra rod goes far for those casting bobbers and worms along lake shores. Set one rod with a worm 4 feet under a bobber and another 8 or 9 feet deep. You'll find that one depth gets more action than the other.
Two-rod anglers at Diamond Lake followed a pretty standard pattern last year: Put PowerBait on one rod and toss a worm under a bobber with the other. Some days the big fish at Diamond Lake hit worms better than PowerBait, so the shift would be on.
At Diamond Lake's southern end, some anglers used a different strategy. Many boat anglers anchored near the Pizza Parlor would cast and retrieve flies, such as chironomids and woolly buggers, while casting a worm under a bobber off the other side in search of a few plump 18-inchers for the barbecue or smoker.
The two-rod validation is legal only in lakes, ponds and reservoirs. It does not allow anglers to use two rods at once while fishing rivers, streams, estuaries or the ocean.
The validation was created by the 2009 Oregon Legislature, which has sole authority for setting angling and hunting license and tag fees in Oregon.
Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 541-776-4470, or e-mail email@example.com.