Sunday, February 2, 2014

Fly Fishing Film Tour at Whiteside Theater

Since 2007, the Fly Fishing Film Tour has reached over 50,000 anglers nationwide, growing in size to the point that new cities have been added as well upgraded venues to accommodate viewing audiences. The Corvallis screening sponsored by Nectar Creek Honeywine and Ninkasi Brewing will be a charity event for the local Bluebacks Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Last year's film screenings raised over $250,000 for fishing and habitat-related conservation efforts. The collection of short films features fly-fishermen co-starring with everything from brook trout to tarpon. 

Trout Unlimited Bluebacks Volunteers
survey the South Fork Siletz for
Native Steelhead Redds
More importantly, the proceeds from the Whiteside Theater's  Fly Fishing Film Tour (dubbed F3T for short) screening will fund an ongoing survey on the South Fork of the Siletz River conducted by the Bluebacks. Rewind to 1984, when the Valsetz Dam which blocked access to spawning grounds of Native Steelhead and Salmon populations was removed. Fast forward to present day when Polk County is considering rebuilding the dam to pull drinking water for residents. The purpose of the survey is to prove that the area of the South Fork above the old dam site is actively being used as a spawning ground for native anadromous fish, as well as surrounding tributaries that would also be affected by the rebuilding of the dam.

Ted Taylor's recent article in the Eugene Weeky about the Soda Springs Dam on the North Umpqua "River Be Dammed" addressed several common problems with dams that create major obstacles for spawning fish. Water flows and temperatures are altered, impacting sensitive species in the food chain. Migratory fish passage, even with the addition of fish ladders, is reduced or even completely eliminated, affecting the entire ecosystem and its nutrient cycle. Insects birds and mammals are also affected by the kinks in the food chain dams create. Dams not only block access to higher spawning grounds, but affect the spawning grounds downstream by diminishing fresh gravel, woody debris and nutrients. The constriction of spawning habitat hurt recreational and commercial fishing, both in rivers and the ocean.

The survey is a less accurate but very low-budget version of fish counting methods, based on volunteers organized by the Bluebacks and trained by the Oregon Deparment of Fish and Wildlife. While some major river systems are monitored using electronic sonar to track fish passage, these ten volunteers will meet every other weekend until May, spotting spawning redds of South Fork Siletz fish. In addition, the program will monitor the future progress of woody debris habitat restoration conducted by ODFW and funded by the Bluebacks.

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased on the F3T website or from Cascadia Fly Shop at 900 NW Kings Blvd. Cash in your drink tickets for a frosty beverage from the event sponsors in a souvenir pint glass. Doors open at 7pm for pre-party socializing, gathering and friend-making. Film starts promptly at 8pm, please remember to turn off your electronic devices. Tight lines...

This blog was published in the 2/13/14 issue of the Corvallis Advocate:

For more information on F3T please contact Kyle Smith at 509-432-9302 or

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