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Anglers urged to bypass warm-water spots

Hot July days mean stress to trout in warm-water streams, enough so that biologists and trout advocates urge anglers to take a break from some fishing.

When the hot sun cooks water temperatures above 74 degrees, trout can die from the stress of catch-and-release angling.

That has led the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, as well as several fish-conservation groups, to ask anglers to steer clear of the hot-water spots and instead fish in the cooler mountain streams.

Locally, the warm-water trout streams open for angling are few, says David Haight, a fisheries biologist in the ODFW's Central Point office.

— The Applegate and Illinois rivers have stretches that can eclipse 74 degrees during hot spells like this week. Also, owners of private ponds should consider giving their fish a siesta for a while.

While many lakes could have surface temperatures at or above the 74-degree threshold, the trout in those lakes likely will dive for deeper, cooler waters, Haight says.

Generally, when the water gets that warm, fishing will be pretty poor, anyway, Haight says.

The warning likely will be more relevant east of the Cascades, particularly in desert streams where fishing for Lahontan cutthroat trout or redband trout are popular, Haight says.

Anglers fishing in these warm-water areas are urged to fish only in the morning, when water temperatures tend to be lower. Also, they can help by using barbless hooks that often reduce the amount of handling needed to release a caught fish, keep the fish in the water as much as possible and avoid touching their gills.

In an environment stressed by warm water, fish tend to gather in what cool water is available, making them vulnerable to over-fishing.

The ODFW's warning comes in conjunction with Oregon Trout, Trout Unlimited and the Native Fish Society.

Oregonians who want a greater say in how license money is spent on hunter-access and habitat improvement have a chance to influence the process.

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking applicants for volunteer positions on its Access and Habitat Program state board as well as some regional advisory councils, including southwest Oregon.

The Access and Habitat Program funnels some hunting-license fees to individuals, corporate landowners and conservation organizations for wildlife habitat improvement and hunter access projects throughout the state.

The program was created in 1993 and is funded by a &

36;2 surcharge on hunting licenses. A similar program Restoration and Enhancement Program uses surcharges on angling licenses and commercial poundage fees to fund fish-related habitat and access projects.

The Access and Habitat Board and six regional advisory councils each are composed of seven citizens, including three hunter representatives, three landowner representatives and one at-large member who also serves as chair.

Advisory council members review grant proposals from their regions and forward recommendations to the state board. The board reviews them and forwards recommendations to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission for final grant approval.

State board members also review program policies and make recommendations for auction and raffle hunt tags. Board and advisory council members meet three or four times a year.

The board currently has vacancies for two landowner positions and one hunter position. Three seats are vacant on the southwest regional advisory council ' the chair, one hunter representative and one landowner representative.

Other openings exist on the North Willamette, Deschutes-Klamath advisory councils.

Applications for the state board openings must reach the ODFW by Oct. 1. Applications for the council positions must be received by Oct. 15.

For more information on the program and to receive membership applications, call Susan Barnes, the Access and Habitat Program coordinator, at 503-872-5260, extension 5349.

Reach reporter Mark Freeman at 776-4470, or e-mail