March 28, 2022
New Zealand Opens Back Up to Tourism
Beginning on May 1, 2022, fully vaccinated tourists from “visa-waiver” nations, including the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom, will be welcomed back to New Zealand after years of COVID-related travel bans. New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the updates last week. This reopening comes a bit ahead of schedule–it was originally planned to open to visa-waiver nations in July, 2022. New Zealand is regarded as on of the best trout-fishing destinations in the world.
"Closing our border was one of the first actions we took to stop COVID-19 two years ago. It did the job we needed. But now that we’re highly vaccinated and predicted to be off our Omicron peak, it’s now safe to open up," Ardern said.
Visitors will still be required to self-test upon arrival.
Click here for more information.
Madison River Work Group Discusses Limiting Traffic
At a meeting last Thursday, the Madison River Work Group, tasked with addressing crowding on the world-famous Montana trout stream, met largely to discuss the idea of limiting outfitter trips.
Several different potential options were discussed, including limiting guided fishing trips during peak season, the creation of a second type of permit–one for peak season and one for peak season, putting a moratorium on new outfitters for the Upper Madison, and changing the existing rule to allow outfitters to transfer or lease allocated trips to other outfitters who could use them to allow for business growth under the potential new limits. The idea of limiting non-commercial use adding a "river ambassador" program were also discussed.
The Madison River Work Group is comprised of 12 representatives from a variety of backgrounds that have interests in Madison River management that make informed recommendations to the Fish and Wildlife Commission, which has the power to make rules.
No final decisions were made at the meeting, but the group plans to meet again on April 28. Read more about the work group here.
Upper Delaware River Civilian Climate Corps
Friends of the Upper Delaware River is seeking to hire workers to head up its newly created Civilian Climate Corps (CCC). The CCC, in collaboration with Trout Unlimited, will seek to improve flood resilience, improve habitat and protect biodiversity, and enhance recreational opportunities. It also hopes to engage the younger generation to develop river advocates for our future. Work is slated to begin this summer in the Neversink River drainage.
Read more here.
Oregon Solicits Comments for Steelhead Regs
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) is seeking public input on steelhead management in the Columbia River watershed. Comments are being accepted by way of a survey which can be found at https://oregonstate.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_bJYqhcM8W5y1Ne6, until April 11.
Results of the survey will be addressed at a webinar on April 19, along with possible ways to address the recent low steelhead runs here. The webinar will be livestreamed on ODFW's YouTube channel and will include a Q-and-A session where fisheries biologists will answer questions submitted during the livestream.
"We want to better understand the perspectives and concerns of those who are interested in the management of summer steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries including the Deschutes, John Day, Walla Walla, Umatilla, Imnaha and Grande Ronde Rivers," Shaun Clements of ODFW said. "So we really appreciate everyone interested in this issue taking the time to complete the survey."
Read more here.
New Fly-Fishing Travel Company to Offset Carbon Footprint
Hatch Adventure Travel, a new entry to the fly-fishing travel-agency market, recently opened its doors with a new appeal for itinerant fly anglers. Hatch will pay to offset 150 percent of the carbon footprint of all flights taken that are booked through Hatch at no extra costs to travelers.
It was the brainchild of industry veterans Hatch-magazine founder Chad Schmukler, photographer Earl Harper, and writer Chris Hunt. The group is offering trips to Argentina, Chile, the Bahamas, Belize, Greenland, Iceland, and Idaho.
“Travel broadens our horizons and fills our souls,” Hatch's website states. “It fuels local economies around the globe, providing livelihoods for countless families and individuals. In many rural and remote areas, it drives conservation, by offering alternatives to destructive, extractive industries and supplying incentives to preserve natural environments. But travel also has an impact. And that’s something that even those of us in the travel industry can’t—or at least shouldn’t—ignore.”
Read more here.