Steelhead anglers have complained for years that the bulk of the fish they catch are wild and generally must go back in the river unharmed. The hatchery fish they can take home to eat, however, don’t bite.
A growing body of evidence is showing that experience is not some fish story, but the result of natural selection.
Prodded by fishermen, the Oregon Hatchery Research Center has agreed to see if it can breed the bite back into hatchery steelhead.
Results won’t be known for at least four years, but one thing is certain: It makes no sense for the state to spend $25 million a year to produce fish for fishermen to catch, if those fish won’t bite.