Central Oregon trout season

March 29, 2012
Central Oregon trout season

Tribal permits give Central Oregon anglers more access for fishing

By Mark Morical / The Bulletin
Published: March 29. 2012 4:00AM PST

As trout season approaches, anglers in Central Oregon should be aware that tribal permits are required to fish certain waters on or bordering the Warm Springs Indian Reservation.

These waters include four areas:

• Area 1: High lakes on the reservation, including Long Lake, Dark Lake, Island Lake, Trout Lake and Boulder Lake.

• Area 2: West bank of the Deschutes River from Dry Creek to Trout Creek.

• Area 3: Lake Simtustus.

• Area 4: The Metolius arm of Lake Billy Chinook.

Permits are available for the season ($35), for three days ($23) and for one day ($12) at Wholesale Sports in Bend and at Centwise, Big R and Fin & Fire in Redmond. They are also available at various bait and tackle stores in Madras, Culver, Terrebonne and Warm Springs.

Permits can be purchased online at www.tribalpermit.com. The season and three-day permits cover all four areas.

Areas 1 through 3 are open April 28 through Oct. 31. Fishing on the Metolius arm of Lake Billy Chinook opened on March 1, and angling for bull trout has been fair, according to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Mark Manion, harvest manager for the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, says the most popular tribal permit area is the 6-mile stretch of the Lower Deschutes from Dry Creek to Trout Creek, especially during the salmonfly hatch in late May and early June. The area is open to fishing April 28 through Oct. 31. (A permit is not required to fish from the east bank of the river in this stretch.)

“You can tell when the hatch is going to be, based on the permit sales,” Manion says.

The only ways to access the west bank of the Lower Deschutes from Dry Creek to Trout Creek are via foot or bicycle, as the area is closed to motorized vehicles.

“The idea is to ensure the quality of the experience by keeping vehicles out of there,” Manion explains.

Area 1 is typically the least-fished tribal-permit area, according to Manion. Trout Lake is the only one of Area 1's five high lakes that is accessible by automobile.

“We'll probably do some surveys this year and see what the trout population is like up there, and use that to determine management,” Manion says of the high lakes on the reservation.

If caught fishing without a tribal permit, anglers could face a fine of up to $500 for each infraction and confiscation of equipment, including boats, according to Manion.

Money generated from sale of the permits goes to the general fund for the tribes. The permit system has been in place for at least 40 years, Manion notes.

“For me, not being a tribal member, I consider it limited access to sacred ground,” Manion says. “It's special permission to go to a place normally you'd never be able to go to.”

For more information, visit www.tribalpermit.com or call 541-553-2001.

— Reporter: 541-383-0318, mmorical@bendbulletin.com

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