Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chetco River, 20 pound steelhead caught and released

Kudos to John Sellers and guide Tony Sepulveda for their decision to release this beautiful 20-pound wild Chetco River steelhead on January 18th. The Chetco, with almost half of its watershed in the Kalmiopsis Wilderness and 78 percent in National Forest or BLM lands, has proven it's priceless once more. The river was recently featured in a New York Times Guest Opinion A Mining Law Whose Time Has Passed, co-authored by fisheries scientist Robert Hughes.

Guide Tony Sepulveda (left) and John Sellers with 20 pound Chetco River steelhead.

FishWithJD describes the discussion to release the fish to keep its genetics in the gene pool:
Congratulations are in order for John…fish like that don’t come every day. And to that end, he thoughtfully opted to release it, despite the ridiculous regulation in Oregon that allows for the retention of wild steelhead.
“John’s a relative newcomer to steelhead fishing, catching his first on the Eel with me last winter,” says Tony. “With his big fish resting in the net, we talked about the importance of keeping those genetics in the gene pool. John was immediately on board. We took a few pictures and sent him on his way. We ended the day by 1:00 pm with 6 landed out of 10 hooked, a 20 pounder and a double hookup. Not a bad day!”
Ready the full post and comments at FishWithJD.  Most comments included kudos for releasing the steelhead.

Representative Peter DeFazio and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley introduced the Chetco River Protection Act in 2011.  The legislation would provide greater protection for the National Wild and Scenic Chetco River in the face of eight plans of operation to mine almost 20 miles of the river itself with suction dredges weighing up to a ton.