Brookings, OR. -- On November 17, the Oregon State Marine Board will hold an open house to look for solutions to crowding, user conflict, and competition for productive angling areas.
"The Chetco is popular because it is a great fishery with good access," said Randy Henry, Boating Safety Program Manager for the Marine Board. "There's competition between boat and bank anglers, motorized and non-motorized boating anglers, and guides and non-guides. Typically, the most problems occur when good water conditions coincide with the big three-day weekends or holidays in January and February."
The Board rejected a petition in 2016 to restrict boat operation because, said Henry, "boats were just one part of the problem and shouldn't bear the entire solution." He said, "I think we can do a better job putting law enforcement on the river during those busy times in addition to improving signage as well. The Marine Board wants to engage the community to find ways to get along without regulating one group or another off the river."
Ideas discussed in a February meeting included a mix of restrictions on boating and fishing, changes to fisheries management, and increased law enforcement with a focus on apprehending illegal guides.
"You may not know they're there, but the Marine Board will have more law enforcement on the river in 2018," said Henry. "They'll be looking for unlicensed guides, people interfering with angling, or who are menacing or threatening assault. Etiquette is a two-way street. Showing courtesy and patience are essential on crowded waterways. It doesn't take much to cross the line." The Marine Board will have an online fillable form set up for public reporting and will respond to complaints.
The meeting will be held at the Southwestern Oregon Community College, 6082 Lone Ranch Pkwy, in Brookings on November 17, beginning at 3 pm in rooms 138 A & B.