Soapbox Update: Honor the Bi-State Agreement! by Bob Rees March 17th, 2017

Sport Anglers Deliver

Now It’s Time for Commission to “Honor its Commitments”
On January 20, the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission betrayed the sport fishing community in a big way by abandoning the bi-state Columbia River Fisheries Reform Plan. But like a fresh-from-the-salt upriver bright fall Chinook, a unified sport fishing community refused to go down without a fight! We made calls, sent out letters, emails and action alerts, and held rallies and meetings. We appeared on T.V. and radio and showed up in force at a “reception” for the Commission at the Sportsmen’s show.
And, of course, the Steelheaders launched a petition drive requesting Governor Brown to:

  • Direct the Commission to implement the reform plan and enact regulations concurrent with the State of Washington
  • Remove gill net lobbyist turned Commissioner Bruce Buckmaster from the Commission.


We did all this to make sure our elected officials knew we were mad as hell and wanted action. And guess what – it’s working!
On February 7, Governor Brown admonished the Commission that its January 20 decision was “unacceptable,” and directed it to “honor th[e] commitments” made in the bi-state reform plan, adhere to the intent of Senate Bill 830 (which affirmed the reform plan), and adopt rules that are concurrent with the state of Washington.
And on Thursday March 9th, the Steelheaders delivered to Governor Brown our petition signed by 5,891 citizens, with a renewed request that she ensure the Commission keep the promises made to sport anglers in the reform plan and adopt rules consistent with the state of Washington.
Read the letter we provided to Governor Brown!


We thank all of you who signed our petition, wrote letters and emails, attended meetings and rallies, and called your elected officials. But our work is not done . .


Now the ball is in the Commission’s court. Following the Governor’s instruction, the Commission will meet on March 17 in Corvallis to reconsider its ill-conceived decision on the Columbia River reform plan. And once again we’ll be there – and we need you there too – because there are storm clouds on the horizon.
In a March 7 letter, Oregon Fish & Wildlife Commission Chair Michael Finley requested the Washington Fish & Wildlife Commission to compromise its already compromised policy on Columbia River fisheries reform. Washington’s policy delays full implementation of the reform plan by two years by allowing gill nets to remain on the mainstem in the fall and by reducing the priority allocation to sport anglers. But the Oregon Commission wants even further concessions in favor of commercial fisheries – the use of tangle nets in the mainstem on spring Chinook and further reduction of the fall Chinook allocation to sport anglers.

  • If you’re an Oregon resident, or purchase a license here – please attend the March 17 Commission meeting – or send a letter or email ( if you can’t come – telling the Commission to “honor the commitments” made in the reform plan and enact rules consistent with the state of Washington’s policy.
  • And if you live or purchase a license in Washington, call or email ( your Washington commissioners and ask that they NOT MOVE AN INCH on Chair Finley’s letter. They have already compromised, and sport anglers will not budge an inch more! You should add a link to Governor Brown’s letter to the commission that the Washington policy is acceptable. Governor Brown’s letter can be found here.


The Governor’s directive to the Commission is the direct result of a unified and engaged sport fishing community – including Steelheaders, CCA, NW Sportfishing Industry Association, NW Guides and Anglers Association, and others. And the only way we’ll see this campaign through is to stay unified and engaged.


So please join us in Corvallis on March 17 to show your support. And wear your “No Broken Promises” hats and other Steelheader apparel.

Date: Friday, March 17

Time: The meeting starts at 8am.

Where: Guerber Hall 110 SE 53rd Street Corvallis, Oregon 97333

The next fishing license and tag fee increase is only 9 months away, will you get what you’re paying for?

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