In This Issue
January Events
Barbless Hooks on Columbia
Lower Columbia Fisheries Reform
2012 Year in Review
2013 Oregon Legislative Session preview
Upcoming Meetings


Association Monthly Executive Committee Meeting

6:30 pm Thursday, January 16 at the Association Office, 6641 SE Lake Road, Milwaukie.

NW Steelheader magazine

The Steelhead e-newsletter


Ifish thread


For more information contact ANWS President Joe Domenico at (503) 778-0151, 


Columbia River

General Meeting 6:30 pm Wednesday, January 9 at Pied Piper Pizza, 12300 NE Fourth Plain Rd., in Vancouver. Guest speaker Dave Calhoun of Fish First will do a presentation on Fish First, the North Fork Lewis river restoration project, and his new rod company, which is building rods on G. Loomis blanks.




Contact President Keith Hyde at 360-772-0996 or


Emerald Empire

General Meeting, 7 pm Wednesday January 2 at Veterans' Memorial Building, 1626 Willamette Street, in Eugene. Local guide and chapter member Curt Currey will discuss winter steelhead techniques applicable to our local waters.




Contact President Bill Robbins at 541-689-5075,



General Meeting, 7 pm Tuesday, January 8 at Denny's,

15815 S.E. 82nd Dr., in Clackamas. PGE biologist Doug Cramer will speak on Clackamas and Willamette Falls projects.

Contact President Carol Clark at 503-632-6974 or



General Meeting 7 pm, Wednesday, January 2 at Albany Senior Center, 489 Water Ave. in Albany. Longtime local guide Matt Halseth will talk about jig fishing, side-drifting, bobber-dogging, tackle and tying various setups. Also, Molalla River Chapter President Sam Wurdinger, owner of Dinger Jigs, will talk about his company's offerings.



Contact Bill Nyara at 541-401-9559,


Molalla River

General Meeting at 6:30 pm Thursday, January 17 at Farmstead Restaurant, 28313 S. Highway 213, in Molalla. Guest speakers are Marty and Mia Sheppard of Little Creek Outfitters guide service. This husband and wife tandem will be showing how to start Spey casting and get better as a Spey angler.



For more information contact President Sam Wurdinger at 503-932-8386 or


General Meeting 7 pm Tuesday, Dec. 11 at the Chehalem Senior Center, 101 Foothills Dr., in Newberg.


Contact President Kevin Hula at 503-781-9378,

North Coast

General Meeting 7 pm Thursday, January 24 at the ODFW Tillamook Office, 4907 3rd St. in Tillamook. Guest speaker is Josiah Darr, sportswriter for the Tillamook Headlight Herald and prolific writer for STS and IFISH.Net. He will make a presentation on winter steelhead fishing.

Contact President Bill Hedlund at 503-815-2737,

General Meeting 7 pm Tuesday, January 15 at the Keizer Community Center, 930 Chemawa Rd. in Keizer.
Guest speaker is Curt Currey of Currey Guide Service. Curt guides on coastal rivers as well as inland rivers for steelhead and salmon and will focus his presentation on fishing for winter steelhead in coastal rivers.




Contact President Jim Zelenka at 503-371-4063,


Sandy River

General Meeting 7 pm Wednesday, February 6 at the Sam Cox building in Glenn Otto Park, 1106 E Columbia River Hwy., in Troutdale.



Contact Howard Berg at 503-665-8008,


Tom McCall

General Meeting 11:30 am Wednesday January 16 at the Old Spaghetti Factory, 0715 SW Bancroft St., in Portland. Guest speaker is Tom McAllister.

Contact President Dave Reggiani at 503-657-5379,


Tualatin Valley

General Meeting 7 pm Thursday, January 10 at the American Legion Hall, 20325 SW Alexander in Aloha.



Contact President Mark Hutchinson at 503-649-1028,

January events

Boater Card Class and Exam

Saturday, January 19, 9:15 am-4:30 pm Fisherman's Marine and Outdoor, 1120 N. Hayden Meadows Drive, Portland. Cost is $10. For more info, 503-629-2026 or


Molalla Chapter Winter Steelhead Fish-along

Saturday, January 26, 7 am, starting at Wagon Wheel Park.

Get your chrome on! This event is very dependent on water conditions. Please bring your favorite tackle for winter steelhead, wet weather and cold weather gear, waders, and boots. The chapter will cover lunch and drinks. Should be done just before dark. Drift boats and rafts are needed. Max participation is 12 boats or 30 participants, first come first served. To join the fish-along, contact Chapter President Sam Wurdinger, 503-932-8386,

Barbless hooks required on the Columbia River and select tributaries

Beginning Jan. 1, 2013, on the Columbia River from the mouth to the Idaha boarder and the following tributaries, both Washington and Oregon anglers will be restricted to barbless hooks when fishing for salmon, steelhead and trout in the Columbia.

  • Youngs River from Hwy 101 bridge upstream to markers at confluence with Klaskanine River.
  • Lewis and Clark River from confluence with Youngs Bay upstream to Alternate Hwy 101 bridge.
  • Walluski River from confluence with Youngs Bay upstream to Hwy 202 bridge.
  • Gnat Creek from railroad bridge upstream to Aldrich Point Road.
  • Knappa/Blind Slough select areas.
  • Willamette River mainstem below Willamette Falls, includes the Multnomah Channel and Gilbert River.
  • Lower Clackamas River upstream to Hwy 99E bridge.

Under the new rule, anglers may still use single-point, double-point, or treble hooks, so long as any barbs have been filed off or pinched down.

WDFW Commission votes on Lower Columbia River management reform January 12


In December, the ODFW Commission voted to affirm the Joint State Workgroup recommendations to reform Columbia River fisheries by moving gillnets off the mainstem Columbia and prioritizing salmon allocation in the mainstem to sport anglers. The proverbial ball is now in the court of the WDFW Commission, which votes on whether or not to adopt the proposed changes at their meeting on Jan. 12 in Olympia.The agenda and location are available HERE.


This is a very important WDFW Commission meeting, and Steelheaders leadership will be in Olympia to provide testimony. If you can't make the trip yourself, please send the Commission a quick note encouraging them to adopt the draft policy. To contact the Commission, e-mail To read the draft policy, click HERE.


Here are few brief talking points:

  • I applaud you and your staff's efforts to work in cooperation with your counterparts in Oregon to craft this historic change, and we thank you for doing it quickly, efficiently and publicly.
  • I am thankful for and support the movement to selective commercial gear in the mainstem Columbia, as well as the allocation shifts to sport priority in the mainstem. These changes are long overdue, and Washington has led the charge for them for some time. Thank you.  
  • The proposed summer chinook fishery changes are outstanding. The summer sport fishery is one of the largest opportunities for increased recreational opportunity and economic gain, and you deserve kudos for pushing for 100% sport allocation in this fishery. I encourage you to stick with that recommendation and work with Oregon to ensure this fishery moves to 100% sport for anglers of both states after the interim period. 
2012 Year in Review: Steelheaders see growth and success


It's never been a better time to be a Steelheader! What an exciting time to be a member in one of the Pacific Northwest's longest-standing fish groups. Whether you've been involved for 40 years, four years or four months, be proud to be a Steelheader.


Looking back on 2012, we see a year of incredible achievement and leadership by the Steelheaders to improve salmon and steelhead runs, protect their habitats, and enhance fishing opportunity. Your support helped the organization's income and membership grow, be a more effective voice for fish in both Oregon and Washington, and provide more fun events and meaningful volunteer opportunities to members.


The real (or reel) highlights of 2012 are the fishing experiences you had with your family and friends. That's why Steelheaders do what we do. Our Government Affairs Team is in the trenches with politicians, our chapters are leading volunteer activities, and our grassroots organizers are raising public support, because we love the sport of angling, care about the fish we catch, and want to be able to pass that fishing heritage on to our children and grandchildren.  


Here are a few highlights from 2012 along with a look into 2013 that showcase how the Northwest Steelheaders is giving back to the resource:


Improved sportfishing and conservation in Lower Columbia River fisheries

In 2012, the ODFW Commission made a historic vote to move non-tribal gillnets off the mainstem Columbia River and to prioritize mainstem fisheries for sport opportunity. The decision is the start of the biggest change to Columbia River fisheries in the 40 years since the Steelheaders succeeded in making steelhead a game fish. Many Steelheaders led the charge through decades of hard work and focused effort over the last six months. The Commission's decision was historic, but the process is far from over, and all Steelheaders are encouraged to take action when called upon at key times in 2013 to ensure these monumental reforms are fully implemented.


Conservation areas on Oregon State Forests

In 2012, the Oregon Board of Forestry made a historic vote to revise the Forest Land Classification System to create high value conservation areas on state forests. This represents a first in the state of Oregon and means better protections for fish habitat on revered North Coast salmon and steelhead rivers like the Nehalem, Wilson, Trask, Kilchis, Salmonberry, and Miami. Steelheaders led the effort, hiring grassroots organizers in Tillamook and Clatsop counties to raise a strong local voice in support of fish habitat.


River Ambassador Program

In 2012, the Steelheaders hosted our first-ever RAP event for wounded warriors on the Deschutes River. The River Ambassador Program helps active duty military who recently returned from a war zone develop new skills and ways of responding to the inevitable stress that accompanies returning to civilian life, helps participants feel respected and valued, and teaches about preserving wildlife and natural habitats. Steelheaders are now doing two RAP events a year, and, in 2013, we plan to expand the program by taking wounded warriors on one-day fishing trips on the Columbia.


Protecting the Prey Base

Thanks in part to our "Protect the Bait" forage fish campaign, the Pacific Fishery Management Council in 2012 voted to adopt a Fishery Ecosystem Plan, which is a historic accomplishment for little fish and the larger fish that depend upon them. This public comment period on the FEP will happen in 2013, and you can expect to hear from the Steelheaders on how to take action to protect the prey species that grow our salmon and steelhead in the ocean.


New Chapter

In just a few short months, the Steelheaders' newest chapter, the Molalla River Chapter, has grown from a handful of individuals to a thriving group. The chapter's youthful energy has translated into several activities to enhance the Molalla River, including spring chinook acclimation, twice-annual river cleanups, nutrient enhancement, fish population monitoring, fish-a-longs, and kids' fishing days.


Expanding into Washington

The Columbia River (Vancouver) Chapter was started in 2011, and has grown quickly to more than 100 members. In 2012, we structured the Association's Board of Directors to include a Washington Government Affairs Director, and in 2013 we plan to hire a lobbyist for Washington to work on Columbia River issues in the Emerald State.


Support hatchery reform while ensuring our hatcheries are funded and utilized to enhance sportfishing

Our hatcheries are at the most risk they have ever been from recent lawsuits. Steelheaders led the way in 2012 by providing comments on Hatchery Genetic Management Plans, and in 2013 we will institute a legal and public education campaign in an attempt to get favorable legal rulings.


True Cost of Coal Report

Steelheaders are concerned that the coal export terminals proposed in the region pose a direct threat to the health of Oregon's salmon and steelhead runs. In 2012, in cooperation with the National Wildlife Federation, the Steelheaders coauthored a report outlining the potential negative impacts to Columbia River salmonids. Our efforts have borne fruit, as the Army Corps of Engineers is conducting Programmatic Environmental Impact Statements to get concrete scientific answers regarding the impact of coal dust on the Columbia River before the proposed projects move forward.


Connecting kids and families with the resource

In 2012, Steelheaders was once again a leader in connecting kids and families with the outdoors and salmon. We expanded our involvement in the Eggs to Fry Program by purchasing equipment to add schools in Eugene, and we are reaching the home stretch of our joint project with ODFW STEP to create a volunteer guide, videos, and materials to expand volunteer participation in the program. In addition, the Steelheaders supported numerous kids' fishing events, river cleanups, nutrient enhancement, tree plantings, and other volunteer activities to engage the younger generation. We also hosted two Pre Free Fishing Weekend events in 2012.


Now is not only a great time to be a Steelheader, but it's also a great time to get involved. Make your voice and actions count in 2013 for fish and fishing! Talk to your legislators, participate in volunteer events, join one of our many online forums and social media sites, come to a chapter meeting, and/or attend an event. However you decide to give back, please do so. Ask any Steelheader old-timer, and they will tell you that fishing is more fun when you know you've done something to give back to the resource you enjoy.


Best wishes and many fishes in 2013 and beyond,

Steelheaders staff and board


2013 Oregon Legislative Session to have many issues affecting anglers


The next long legislative session kicks off on January 14 when committees are organized and begin working. At the statehouse in Salem your ANWS Government Affairs Team will be seeking public policy changes deemed to be important for salmonids and fishing. As individuals within your local communities and chapters, it is important to follow key issues and be prepared to communicate with your own lawmakers. Legislators tend to listen closely to their own constituents. 


It is important for ANWS members to work with a wide range of legislators and interest groups. The Democrats will now be the majority party in both houses but keep in mind that some major actions like certain fiscal matters will require votes from both parties in order to pass. Often times the legislators who are most involved in our natural resource issues are ranking Republicans. The legislature sets the future policy agenda for state agencies. Many of these items involve such things as fish resources, watersheds and the well being of our outdoor environment. Here are a few Steelheaders' potential session priorities already on our radar:


High on the money agenda will be helping Governor Kitzhaber to implement and fund his directive to remove gillnets from the mainstem of the lower Columbia River. Related budget issues involve maintaining adequate numbers of high quality hatchery fish, and providing Oregon anglers with effective fish management programs. We will identify problems and opportunities as natural resource agencies like ODFW present their budgets to lawmakers. State funding for many purposes will again be tightly stretched this session. In conjunction with the ODFW budget, Rep. Krieger will be working with the Steelheaders to support trial programs and activities to further address the giant problem of fish predation, targeting cormorants and other such offenders. In relation to several agency budgets ANWS will be consulting closely with Secretary of State Brown as she works to establish the first part of a state river users program.


In numerous, substantive committees, especially ones like environment and agriculture, Steelheaders will be addressing additional priorities. As one example, Sen. Dingfelder will be working with us and others to curtail destructive hobby-mining practices involving suction dredges (Legislative Concept 2125). Rep. Kennemer is working with the Steelheaders on a bill that we initiated and helped craft in cooperation with ODFW staff (LC 1193) to increase stream nutrients for fish by expanding and legalizing the appropriate use of fish carcasses in streams by anglers. Rep. Witt has agreed to once again introduce the bill/vehicle that will allow good regulation of woody debris and fill removal along waterways (old HB 2831). Other key bills might involve such things as reducing stream pollution and agricultural run offs, improving water quality and overseeing new water storage proposals , increasing the protection of beds and banks of state lands, continuing to call attention to problems relating to genetically modified fish, increasing unique angling opportunities, etc.


It is sure to be a busy session for the Steelheaders. We have worked hard to further improve our political relationships so that they translate into wins for fish and fishing. Please let Oregon Government Affairs Director Norm Ritchie ( or Policy Advocate Bob Oleson ( know when you have comments or suggestions; and we would appreciate receiving copies of your issue- or bill-related communications with legislators and other public officials.

  Northwest Steelheader Activities
Sandy River Chapter member Dan Drazan with a gorgeous Clackamas winter steelhead caught in December.
Winter steelhead rod demo by pro guide Dave Johnson during the December North Coast Chapter meeting.

Columbia River Chapter member Kristin Dunn caught this December winter steelhead on the Humptulips.

We hope you enjoyed this edition of "The Steelhead," which is sent to all ANWS members monthly. For questions and comments, please e-mail For more information, please click on a linked button below.  

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