Woke up the other morning and read this article from the Medford Mail Tribune. It seems some rogue River fishing guides are upset that the mud from the removal of Gold Ray dam has messed up their fishing. They want to sue the county which is already cash strapped, for lost trips wages.
The Gold Ray dam removal was expected to cause muddy water and it did. Basically the river was muddy or off-color most of the summer all the way to the Pacific ocean. In fact one of our later river trips down the wild and scenic stretch of the rogue was done in muddy water conditions.
I think suing the county over lost wages is ridiculous, however. The dam was removed in order to better the fish habitat and fish survival. In a couple of years the boon in returning fish will be huge. Sure this summer was hard on fisherman, but there are other places to fish…like upstream of the construction.
I realize the wild and scenic stretch of the rogue was tough to fish, the trip we did, I didn’t even bring my fly rod, because I knew it would be muddy and unfishable. But I think it’s asking too much for the county to pay them back for what the guides are saying is a botched job of taking the dam out.
They did make some mistakes, like the early and unexpected breeching of the temporary dam, but it was going to be released anyway and the mud situation would have been the same.
Maybe they could have started the dam de-construction earlier to avoid some of the fishing season, but there were delays due to disgruntled river property owners trying to stop the process with injunctions. Perhaps they could have done the work later, but then they would have risked working in possibly wet weather and would have to deal with the fluctuating river flows brought on by winter storms, making the project more dangerous.
It was an unfortunate time for river guides, there’s no doubt about that, but in the long run they will benefit from the dams removal. I have no doubt there will be better numbers of fish returning in a few years, possibly record numbers.