The Oregon State Marine Board, in coordination with the Curry County Sheriff’s Office, will conduct checkpoints on popular southern coastal rivers, looking to calm the waters between fishermen competing for winter steelhead.

The dates are not announced, said Sheriff John Ward.

“There are a few key weekends each year that generate a lot of complaints if the rivers are in good shape,” said Randy Henry, the Boating Safety Program manager for the marine board. “For the last three years we’ve conducted (these) patrols to help ensure all fishing guides are licensed, boats are registered, and conflict between boat and bank anglers is minimized. These efforts seem to help.”

Southern Oregon is a draw for out-of-state guides and popular with bank and drift anglers.

The marine board partners with the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon State Police and volunteer organizations to patrol the waterways in years where there are good water and good fish returns. “We just want people to get along, share the water and be good neighbors,” Henry said. “People get pretty excited when the fish are in. Each year we get reports of illegal guiding, fights between boat and bank anglers, and even between operators of motorboats and non-motorized boats.”

In recent years, the marine board hosted meetings to discuss the issues with fishermen to avoid having to implement new restrictions on the water, he said.

Henry noted fishermen are interested in ferreting out unlicensed guides.

“Licensed guides introduce people to safe, legal fishing opportunities, and many take their stewardship responsibilities very seriously,” he said. “Unlicensed guides put their clients at risk; they may not have adequate insurance, they’re teaching unethical and illegal behavior and setting a poor example for the profession. Ethical guides and local recreationists want them off the river.”

Fisherfolk who witness illegal guides on the rivers are encouraged to record their boat registration information and other basic details and report them.

“We’ll investigate,” Henry said. “We’re watching.”

To issue a complaint, visit https://www.oregon.gov/osmb/Pages/Guide-Complaint.aspx.

For more information about the marine board, outfitter guide registrations and partnerships with marine law enforcement, visit https://www.boatoregon.com.

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