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Crawdads for Steelhead

February 14, 2010 By: Marshall Cutchin

Bill Barker still prefers pre-sunrise fly fishing for steelhead on Oregon’s Umpqua. But memories of fishing with his dad — who used a combination of bladed lures and whole crawdads, which they caught using baited burlap sacks — once spurred him to try the technique himself.
“The river was full of large Cutthroat which, being highly carnivorous, didn’t hesitate to nab an attractive crawdad. These big guys later disappeared, along with crawdads – their prime food source – when gill netting nearly exterminated the runs of salmon. Salmon carcasses, after spawning, provided food for crawdads and other organisms they thrived on – a nasty little ecological domino effect that nobody was aware of until much later.” In the Gazette Times.