Patrick Perry

Umpqua Bass Bash - A bashing good time!

Wack! Wack! That’s the sound of a small wooden stick dispatching multiple smallmouth bass this past weekend on the mainstem Umpqua River. On Saturday, July 16th, 35 adults, three kids, and six dogs gathered for the first annual Umpqua Bass Bash to bring awareness to the issues surrounding invasive smallmouth bass! Folks traveled from all over western Oregon to join us for a day filled with fishing, community, and of course, bass fish tacos!

Anglers used both conventional and fly gear to remove over 265 invasive smallmouth bass during the event. How did they do it? Chartreuse and white lures and flies had great success! Those who used the traditional nightcrawlers also found their fair share of fish. No matter what method was used, the fishing was great, and the catching was lights out!

Participants brought drift boats, kayaks, and even a jet sled to chase these aggressive warm water fish. Bank anglers also had great success, harvesting fish from locations such as Yellow Creek boat ramp and the Umpqua Riverside campground where the event was held.

There were laughs, splashes, lost flies, high-fives, missed fish...and nothing but good times! At the end of the fishing day, NFS staff and volunteers gathered to assist in filleting fish and prepared a gourmet fresh fish taco dinner accompanied with cold beers courtesy of Ninkasi Brewing! The day made for a wonderful opportunity to come together in support of the Umpqua River and the native fish that call it home.

What happened to all the bass that weren’t eaten or vacuum-packed for future meals? Excess fish scraps and carcasses were donated to Phoenix School of Roseburg to help fertilize their school garden.

While NFS team and supporters gathered on the Umpqua, other river advocates were also out removing invasive smallmouth bass on the Coquille River. The Coquille Tribe, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Roseburg Forest Products, Timberline Taxidermy, 3J Ranches, and Spruce Street Bar and Grill will be hosting another bass event this coming Labor Day.

Although the Umpqua Bass Bash is over, we encourage everyone to get out and help make a difference by continuing to remove this invasive species. There are multiple rivers in the state of Oregon struggling with the harmful effects of non-native smallmouth bass, including the Umpqua, Molalla, Deschutes, and John Day. You can also help collect data to better understand their impact by participating the CitSci project organized by Northern Oregon Regional Coordinator Liz Perkin. It’s quick and easy - just download the app and record what you catch! Follow the link here to learn more.

Don’t worry if you missed out on our epic first-ever Umpqua Bass Bash - next year we’ll be back even bigger and better! As always, Native Fish Society will continue our work to protect and restore our native fish species to benefit the fish, rivers, and communities of the Pacific Northwest.

If you have any questions about this work or invasive smallmouth bass, contact our Southern Oregon Regional Coordinator, Kirk Blaine at today!

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