There is a reservoir out in the middle of nowhere in Lake County Oregon. Spaulding Reservoir is 19 miles off the paved road and no houses are nearby. The state plants rainbows in there when there is enough water to insure the fish will survive the summer. I went to Spaulding last week scouting for an upcoming hunt. Of course I took the rod along to fish Spaulding's clear water and feisty bows. When I arrived I found that the gates to the reservoir had been left ajar and the cattle had a hayday messing up the water. What once was a fun place to visit is now just ugly.
However I still caught some trout on a wooly worm. I won't be going back this year. Hopefully things will be better next year.
A real shame the gate was left open. This situation reminds us all to leave gates as we find them. However, if the cattle had legal access to the water the ethical thing to do would be to build a tank and trough.
The land will not survive in good condition if we fail to care for it.
How about a call to the Fisheries people - they probably would like to know there is a problem. Be part of the solution.
Here is part of an E-mail sent to the ODFW yesterday.
Visited Spaulding several days ago. What a disappointment. What used
to be a reservoir with fairly clear water looked like a mud hole with
coffee colored water. However the fish seemed to be OK even though
they had not grown since my last visit about a month ago. The water
and the surrounding reservoir looked so ugly I could see why it was
not getting any fishing pressure. In fact there had not been any
vehicles up there since the last rain (3/4 days ago?).
The owner of those cows needs to be fined for the cost of the clean-up.
Originally Posted by Panman
It is likely that someone failed to properly close the gate. And it is likely that it was someone fishing the reservoir.
Originally Posted by Gigmaster
I wouldn't blame or fine the owner of the cattle for relying on others to be responsible. But that is a Western thing, and probably an attitude more from people with cattle ranching in the West in their personal history.
I will have to ask for forgiveness for my ignorance, but I don’t really understand what the big deal is. If I remember correctly the lakes on Ft. Apache in AZ are on open range with some cows and elk in the area. I grew up fishing in ponds usually dug to provide water for cattle. A little mud stirred up in on end of a pond or lake would not seem to do much harm. The cows are going to go very deep, foot and a half or two feet max in most cases.
The damage caused by a small herd of cattle like you see in a diversified farm may be minimal. However, the damage caused by several hundred head is significant. Would you want to fish the ditch liquor pool of a feed lot?
There a world of difference between a feed lot and pasture land. Looking at the photo, several hundred head of cattle would have to spread out over a very large area to find enough to live off of. Most of us forget about 2/3 or Oregon is high desert. It takes a lot of desert to feed a cow.
I am originally from Texas, so I still have that mindset. It used to be, in Texas, that if your cattle got loose, for any reason, you were responsible for any damage they cause, such as being hit by cars, damage to public land, etc...It was the same with dogs.
They did that because a lot of cattlemen would allow their cattle to 'escape', to graze on public land and use public waters without paying any Grazing Fees.
It got so bad for a while that they made a statute that if you found a cow on your property, or on public land, you could kill it and take it home. That stopped most of that nonsense. For a few years, we had a lot of free beef in our freezer.....
Originally Posted by JohnScott