2020 and 2021 were especially hard years in the fishing guide community. Especially so in the Pacific Northwest where the effects of COVID-19, rapid river closures, and exceptionally poor fish returns left many guides in tough financial situations. However, the Oregon State Legislature seems to be doing the right thing by approving millions of dollars in relief funds that will “will provide direct financial support to Oregon-registered private, for-profit, and nonprofit outfitters and guides.” You can learn more about the relief funding in the post from the Deschutes River Alliance below, and in this article from the Statesman’s Journal!
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From the Deschutes River Alliance:
“Earlier this week, the Oregon House of Representatives and Senate passed a wide-reaching bill that included $10 million in relief for Oregon’s outdoor recreation outfitters and guides. This one-time expenditure will provide direct financial support to Oregon-registered private, for-profit, and nonprofit outfitters and guides.
This was a much-needed victory for the lower Deschutes’ guides and the whole North Central Oregon region. They were hit especially hard this past year, as 2021 saw the lowest number of returning adult steelhead on record. And the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (ODFW) missteps made the situation worse. Despite months of poor forecasts, that the lower Deschutes, among other rivers, would be closed to most recreational fishing for the remainder of the season. Guides were unable to plan around the closure on such short notice and, as a result, lost out on significant business. All this while the Columbia River remained open to commercial gillnet fishing.
The DRA was heartened to see the legislature take an interest in river guides after our advocacy. Throughout the summer’s heatwaves, we worked to strike a balance between protecting the LDR’s native fish and keeping recreational fishing open. DRA also raised these issues with representatives from the Governor’s office and State Senator Bill Hansell. Since mid-summer, we have continued to raise the issue to decision-makers through letters to state agencies and testimony at public hearings.
We’re glad to see this relief approved for guides and will continue to work to protect the lower Deschutes and those who rely on it for their livelihoods.”