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While browsing through the current edition of the “Lakesidetonian,” Lakeside’s free monthly newsletter, I noticed a letter written by Jerry Reiss. Jerry, along with his wife Cathy, owns Lakeside Marina and he is also a member of the Tenmile Lakes Association. His letter concerned itself with the problems caused by the lakes’ historic low water levels over the last several years. After reading the well-written letter, I was reminded of a situation more than four decades earlier where a small water level dam was proposed on Tenmile Creek.

While property owners’ concerns are always a factor in any such project, a primary reason the dam was never built was because a student activist group (OSPIRG) strongly opposed the dam and took out several newspaper ads stating “Save Our Salmon — No Dam on Tenmile Creek.” Their campaign was successful and the dam proposal was dropped.

But a small dam, perhaps only three foot tall, with a fish ladder and a gate to deal with winter water flows was just what Tenmile Creek needed. At that time, there was a shallow sand bar spanning the entire width of Tenmile Creek where Eel Creek entered Tenmile Creek. More often than not, coho salmon have a difficult time entering the lagoon and lower reaches of Tenmile Creek. The sand bar at Eel Creek was a major obstacle to the already stressed salmon and searun cutthroats that were intent on reaching the lake and its tributaries. Some years I observed coho salmon swimming into Eel Lake in early March — much too late to successfully spawn.

The sand bar at Eel Creek no longer exists, but not only would a small dam help anadromous fish ascend Tenmile Creek and enter Eel Creek, it could also deliver a timely flush to help salmon get into Tenmile Creek. Additionally, the dam could keep the lake levels higher during summer and fall.

The coho salmon populations in Tahkenitch and Siltcoos lakes, both of which have dams on their outlets, seem to have held up better than the coho population in Tenmile Lakes.

Low water levels at Tenmile Lake have literally “forced” anglers and water-based recreationists to rediscover Eel Lake which has been “busier” than ever the last few years.

Eight Oregon legislators, at the request of the Humane Society of the United States, have introduced a bill that would ban all contests related to the take of wildlife. The bill currently defines wildlife to exclude fish, but Senate Bill 723 could be a first step toward more onerous legislation. However, people claiming the bill will lead to the banning of bass tournaments are nothing more than “alarmists.”

The Oregon Environmental Quality Commission has approved new smoke rules for Oregon that will allow more planned burns to reduce wildfire risk by getting rid of underbrush and dead trees.

The Oregon Marine Board is proposing fee increases for licensing kayaks, rafts and other small non-motorized craft.

Rogue Rods has gone the way of the buffalo. Arguably the best combination of quality and affordability in locally made fishing rods, the company was supposedly bought out by another company, possibly for their equipment, or to reduce competition — but not to continue manufacturing the line.

Oregon’s Beverage Recycling Co-operative reported that approximately 90 percent of the containers covered by the plan were redeemed (returned for cash) in 2018.

Crabbing has slowed down, but seems to better than normal for this time of year. A dock crabber last Friday caught a red rock crab in addition to a couple of legal-sized male dungeness crabs while crabbing off Winchester Bay’s “A” Dock. Red Rock Crabs, while fairly common inside the “Triangle,” are very seldom caught in the lower Umpqua River.

Winter bassfishing at Tenmile Lake is getting more consistent and should show noticeable improvement with stable weather and warming temperatures.

While the lakes that received trout plants this week (Alder, Carter, Cleawox, Dune, Lost, Munsel and Siltcoos Lagoon) should have plenty of trout left in them — some are receiving additional plants this coming week. Munsel Lake is to receive 500 trophy rainbows while Alder Lake will receive 566 legals, Cleawox is slated for 1,332 legals and tiny Dune Lake is getting 332 legals.

Upcoming sportsman shows include:

Feb. 6th – 10th: Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show. at the Portland Expo Center (2060 North Marine Dr, Portland). 

February 15th – 17th: Roseburg Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreation Show, at the Douglas County Fairgrounds (2110 Frear St, Roseburg). 

Feb. 22nd – 24th: KVRD Sportsmen and Outdoor Recreational Show, at the Jackson County Fairgrounds (1 Peninger Rd, Central Point). 

Feb. 23rd: Lower Umpqua Flycasters Fly Fishing Expo, at the Reedsport Community Center (451 Winchester Avenue, Reedsport). 

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