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Fishing with drones a no-go in Oregon

I saw a fascinating video this morning on Facebook of two guys fishing for tuna off the bank with the use of a drone. One guy was flying a drone on which was attached a fishing line with a baited hook. The guy flew the drone over the ocean as a second guy free-spooled the line from a big reel attached to his rod. The pilot hovered over the ocean using a camera to spot a pod of tuna, then dropped the baited hook into the water. Sure enough, a tuna took the bait and the second guy eventually beached a beautiful tuna. I know we're not going to catch a tuna this way off the Oregon Coast, but is it legal to do this for surfperch or lingcod here?

— Ken, Medford

Well, Ken, we at Since You Asked Headquarters knew the answer to your question right away, but we spent a good half-hour looking for your video. Sure enough, we found it — and you're right, it was quite fascinating.

It's also quite illegal in Oregon.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission, which has a history of getting out ahead of new technologies that threaten what is called the "fair chase ethic" in the outdoors, banned drones for all hunting, fishing and trapping back in November.

The ban, which went into effect Jan. 1, was based on the commission's unanimous assertion that it is unfair to scope out fishing spots, scout for game animals and even look for fish regardless of how far in advance the flying occurs.

Before that, drones were covered under a decades-old hunting rule that says you can't hunt for at least eight hours after using aircraft to scout for animals. But that didn't cover fishing.

The state of Oregon has jurisdiction over ocean angling rules within three miles of shore, so it's clearly a no-go here.

— 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 youasked@mailtribune.com. To see a collection of columns, go to mailtribune.com/youasked. We’re sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.