Monday, September 29, 2014

International Fly Fishing Film Festival (IF4) at Whiteside Theater

International Fly Fishing Film Festival at Whiteside Theater

Trout Unlimited Bluebacks Volunteers
survey the South Fork Siletz for
Native Steelhead Redds
If you were fortunate enough to squeeze into a packed house at least year's Fly Fishing Film Tour showing at the Whiteside, you already have some idea of what's in store for this year's event on October 11th, featuring international film-makers from all over the globe. This year, the local Bluebacks chapter of Trout Unlimited is bringing the International Fly Fishing Film Festival (or dubbed IF4 for short) to the big screen. The Festival hosts five featured films and a handful of short films starring April Vokey, Camille Egdorf, Frank Moore, Steelhead, Arctic Char and trout from British Columbia to Spain.

The Corvallis screening sponsored by Nectar Creek Honeywine and Ninkasi Brewing will be a charity event for the local Bluebacks Chapter of Trout Unlimited. All proceeds will go towards funding ongoing habitat restoration projects on the Siletz River.
Last year's proceeds from the Whiteside Theater's F3T screening funded a survey on the South Fork of the Siletz River conducted alongside by volunteers with the Bluebacks Chapter. 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 has been considering rebuilding the dam to pull drinking water for residents. The surveys have collected data that show the area of the South Fork above the old dam site is still 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.

Last year around the same time the BlueBacks organized the FT3 screening, Ted Taylor published an article in the Eugene Weeky about the Soda Springs Dam on the North Umpqua "River Be Dammed" that 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.

Last year's survey was 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 along with a professional rapid bio assessment conducted by Bio Surveys LLC. While some major river systems are monitored using electronic sonar to track fish passage, the survey used the eyes of contractors and volunteers to spot spawning redds of South Fork Siletz fish. The future of the program will monitor the progress of woody debris habitat restoration conducted by ODFW and funded by the Bluebacks, so buy a ticket and give a smolt a home!

Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased on the IF4 website Cash in your drink tickets for a frosty beverage from the event sponsors in a souvenir pint glass. Doors open at 6:30pm for pre-party socializing, gathering and friend-making. Film starts promptly at 8pm, please remember to turn off your electronic devices. Tight lines...

Published by September 30th, 2014:

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