Fish can be filleted at anglers' vehicles

I saw something on the Internet that California has a new law that bans fishermen from filleting salmon or steelhead until they get home. I hope Oregon doesn't follow suit and do something stupid like that. It will stink up whole neighborhoods during the spring chinook season.

— Buff Guy With The Flat-Top Haircutat Oz Fitness

Well, Flat Top. You and Since You Asked have bumped into each other for a few years at the gym, and never have gotten your name. You can call me Since, and I'll call you Top.

So, Top, that is California's new rule, and as with most rules it comes because a small minority of people ruin it for the masses. In this case, it was salmon anglers filleting their fish to sidestep creel checkers needing to inspect whole salmon on the Sacramento River.

Now, California's inland salmon and steelhead anglers must keep their fish intact until they get home.

Believe it or not, Oregon for decades had that same rule for all fish, and it was widely ignored by anglers who regularly filleted their fish before heading home.

In 2004, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission decided to make the traveling angler and his vacuum sealer legal. Now, anglers can fillet their fish when they reach their vehicle.

You still can't fillet your catch halfway down a float on the Rogue River, though, Flat.

Oregon went through its regular four-year review of angling regulations last year without anyone recommending a change.

"We have no plans to consider such a thing," says Jessica Sall, the Fish Division spokeswoman for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.

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