A Vancouver angler has created a new website — www.theanglersvoice.com — to survey sportsmen regarding their wishes for lower Columbia River fishing regulations.
The site is the work of Winston Falls, a Cascade Park resident, who fishes the Columbia River extensively from March until late October.
Falls said he feels the current system of the Washington and Oregon departments of Fish and Wildlife relying heavily on the bistate Columbia River Recreational Advisor Group for public input is not enough.
The group includes about 20 members from both sides of the Columbia. Some members represent organizations, while others are unaffiliated.
Still, it’s too few voices, Falls said.
“There were 180,000 salmon and steelhead endorsements (at $8.75 in addition to a fishing license) sold in Washington to fish in the Columbia River,” he said. “They deserve a voice in the fishery they are paying for.”
So, out of his own pocket, Falls paid for www.theanglersvoice.com.
It has a three surveys one each regarding spring chinook, summer chinook and fall chinook regulations.
While the process of developing Columbia River angling regulations is public, most of the meetings are during daytime hours on weekdays, which makes attendance difficult for ordinary, working sportsmen, he said.
“The goal of his website is to simply get a lot more voices heard,” Falls said.
The site asks anglers to fill out the survey only one time to prevent skewing the results.
“Validity is crucial if we’re to get the states to consider this data,” he said.
Falls is a longtime member of the Vancouver Wildlife League but said the league has no connection to the website.
He said initially he will update the survey results daily, then switch to weekly later.
The questions will change in subsequent years as various angling regulation options evolve, he added.