Fly Fishing Film Tour Casts Off at Whiteside Theatre

flytourSince 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 as venues upgraded, to accommodate audiences. The Corvallis screening will be a charity event for the local Bluebacks Chapter of Trout Unlimited. Last year’s 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. 

The Whiteside Theatre’s screening of the Fly Fishing Film Tour (dubbed F3T for short) will fund an ongoing survey on the South Fork of the Siletz River conducted by the Bluebacks. In 1984, the Valsetz Dam, which was blocking access to spawning grounds of Native steelhead and salmon populations, was removed. But now 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.

While dams are put in place for a reason, there are several common problems with them that result in 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 the dams create. Dams not only block access to higher spawning grounds, but they also affect the spawning grounds downstream by diminishing fresh gravel, woody debris and nutrients. These constrictions of spawning habitats 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 Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW). 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 the spawning redds of South Fork Siletz fish. In addition, the program will monitor the future progress of woody debris habitat restoration conducted by the ODFW and funded by the Bluebacks.

Tickets for the film tour on Saturday, February 15th, at the Whiteside are $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Advance tickets can be purchased on the F3T website www.flyfilmtour.com or from Cascadia Fly Shop at 900 NW Kings Boulevard Cash in your drink tickets for a frosty beverage from the event sponsors in a souvenir pint glass. Doors open at 7 p.m. for pre-party socializing, gathering and friend-making

For more information on F3T please contact Kyle Smith at 509-432-9302 or kms2159@gmail.com.

by Randall Bonner

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