Salmon restoration efforts are reaching the tackle boxes of Northwest anglers, with the start of the New Year. That means no more using barbed hooks to catch salmon, steelhead and trout.
The new barbless hook rules cover hundreds of miles of river: from the mouth of the Columbia to McNary Dam in Umatilla County. Major tributaries are affected, too, like the Willamette River, from North Portland to Oregon City, and the lowermost portion of the Clackamas.
Jessica Sall, with Oregon Fish and Wildlife, said new rules are meant to spare threatened wild salmon the injuries that barbs can cause.
“In a fishery where you have anglers that are releasing wild fish that they catch, there’s a sense that using barbless hooks makes releasing those fish easier and less stressful on the fish,” she said.
Sall said the only piece of equipment the new rules should require is a pair of pliers – to disable barbs on hooks already in use.
Oregon’s Fish and Wildlife Commission approved the changes on Dec. 7.