Sunday, October 31, 2010

November/December Newsletter Available for Download

The latest (November/December) issue of the chapter newsletter is now available.  Click on the link to the right to download.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Volunteers needed for a Tualatin Valley Trout Unlimited work party December 11th

Our last work party of the year is scheduled for December 11th. We will be working on the Ecola creek watershed planting Cedars. Trout Unlimited has recently entered into a partnership with the city of Cannon Beach and this will be the beginning of work on a watershed that provides habitat for Wild Winter Steelhead,Fall Chinook, Cutthhroat Trout and Lamprey.  This event is weather dependent and if we get rained out we will re schedule for January.

There will be a carpool from Portland and possibly some fishing opportunities afterwards.

If you would like to participate in this work party please respond to Michael Ellis at

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Volunteer Opportunity

2010 Salmon Spawning Survey Training – October 16th at the Gales Creek Elementary School, 1925 NW Sargent Street, Gales Creek, OR
(GC Elementary School is approximately 7.5 miles from Forest Grove on Gales Creek Rd aka Hwy 8, or 2.3 miles south on Gales Creek Rd from the intersection of Gales Creek Rd & the Wilson River Hwy aka Hwy 6).  
Interested landowners and volunteers are invited to this hands-on training session with Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel on how to identify fall coho, winter steelhead trout, native cutthroat trout, spawning redds and other aquatic life in Gales Creek, its tributaries and other Tualatin basin tributaries. 
This is part of the spawning monitoring program ODFW and TRWC have initiated to gather information on important fish resources in the Tualatin basin. We are recruiting volunteers and landowners to conduct surveys in specified stream reaches from October 2010-December 2010 and from March 2011 through May 2011. 
Classroom: Information session and volunteer training: 10 am until 11:15 am  Field session: 11:15 am – 2:30 pm in upper main stem Gales Creek. 
Dress for the weather.  Chest or hip waders are required for performing surveys. 
Benefits: This is a great chance to get hands on experience in helping collect data about fish presence in various Tualatin basin streams to help us plan projects; learn how to recognize various fish species and spawning redds; and better manage these important fish runs.
More information:  503-846-4810 or 
 Engaging the community to sustain our watershed 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Volunteers install Circle Creek bridge deck

The volunteers, from left, Michael Ellis, Tom Scoggins, Bob May, Burt Went, Mike Gentry, Bobby Hayden, Tom Wolf, Alan Moore, Roy Caulfield. Not pictured, Troy Laws, ODFW
Photo by Troy Laws
On August 18, ten volunteers from The Rainland Flycasters, the Clackamas and Tualatin Valley chapters of Trout Unlimited, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, and, Save Our Wild Salmon met at Seaside golf course to continue work on the bridge to replace the culverts on Circle Creek.

We started by tightening the bolts on the crossbeams and laying out the support beams.

We had great cool weather and a spectacular group of volunteers. By the end of the work party the bridge was ready to have the approaches and railing installed. After that, the culverts come out.

This was a very rewarding day for all the volunteers. If you would like to be notified of upcoming volunteer restoration opportunities, send an e mail to Michael Ellis at and ask to be on the e mail volunteer list.

Thanks go out to Troy Laws for being the driving force behind this project as well as all the volunteers and other partners who have made this project come to fruition.


Michael Ellis

Friday, August 27, 2010

September / October Newsletter Now Available

The latest (September/October) issue of the chapter newsletter is now available.  Click on the link to the right to download.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Update on the Circle Creek culvert removal and volunteer opportunities

The work at Circle Creek continues. Here is Troy's update:

"Project update:  The footing work went very well, with the abutments now completely in place.  Wayne Fulmer’s dad passed away this past week so coordinating the next step in the construction sequence was put on hold.  Wayne is the Golf Course owner.  They had their memorial this past weekend so I will be getting in touch with him this week to further schedule this out.  Ideally, Wayne would like us to minimize disturbance of golf play so we must maintain a crossing as best as we can to keep play going.  I’m working on seeing if he will let us put the bridge approaches in as the next step (another volunteering opportunity) so we are ready for golf traffic onto the bridge right away once we are done with our decking work.  If allowed to do this way, I see us as being able to keep the heavy equipment on site to remove the culverted crossing once the bridge is put into play.  Also in the works is the Oregon division of state lands has our easement permit out for 30-day public review, with the comment deadline of August 28.  I am assuming we will get the easement approved with no problems so I am proceeding forward with construction as best as possible.  Right now, it is looking like the last week of August for our volunteer work party planning purposes."

Based on Troy's update, Tualatin Valley Trout Unlimited is planning a work party for Saturday August 28. There will be fishing opportunities before and after. I plan on trying for the (to me) as yet elusive Searun Cutthroat Trout. The work will start at 10 AM. Plan on bringing a lunch and gloves and appropriate clothing. I'll send out updates as plans solidify. 

It would be nice to have an idea how many can come so please reply to Michael Ellis at if you can attend.

It is possible to float tube from the ODFW put in on Hwy. 101 and float to the mouth of Circle Creek. With fishing it could take 3 hours at least. This would be great after the work party! I hope to see you there.


Michael Ellis

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Culvert replacement work at Seaside golf course begins

After over a year of delays our chapter was able to start work on the culvert replacement at Circle Creek last Saturday, July 17. TVTU Members Mike Coddington, Alan Moore, Mike Gentry, Bill Schoen, Tom Wolf, and, Michael Ellis joined Troy Laws of ODFW and two members of the Rainland Fly Casters, Bob May and Ernie Rose to clean up the main support beams for the bridge.

We pulled nails, removed bolts and pressure washed. Troy, with Bob and Ernie's help, measured and cut the beams to length. More work will be needed this summer/early fall to install the deck surface and restore the area where the culverts have been removed.

Most of the crew, from the left,: Mike Gentry, Alan Moore, Bill Schoen, Tom Wolf, Troy Laws, Mike Coddington, Michael Ellis. Managing to escape being photographed are Bob May and Ernie Rose.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Next work party set for July 17/18

Our next work party will be the weekend of July 17 and 18 and will be a weekend long event planned around fishing for native Sea Run Cutthroat trout!  We can begin gathering Friday evening. The schedule will be fishing early and late, with  work in the middle of the day. You can camp or stay in a motel and there will be a hosted barbecue Saturday night. Stay tuned to this site for more information, or, e mail and ask to be put on the e mail list for the next work party/fishing trip.

I hope we will be working on the bridge at Circle Creek, but if that doesn’t work out we will work at either the Thompson Creek site or at Neitzel Farms.  This should be a great opportunity to help improve habitat and go fishing too!

I hope to see you there.


Michael Ellis

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July/August Newsletter Available

The latest (July/August) issue of the chapter newsletter is now available.  Click on the link to the right to download.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Neitzel Farms work party a huge success

Eleven members and friends of the Tualatin Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited met at Neitzel Farms near Seaside Saturday, May 15 to further the restoration of this stretch of the Necanicum river. In attendance were Site Manager Doug Ray, as well as one of the Neitzel family, Les, who dedicates countless hours to maintaining the restoration work on the farm. Our volunteers included Jeff VanHoy, Don Kaster, Mike Coddington, Bill Schoen, Jeff Disney, Sharon Cook, Tyrone Snelling, George Wilson, Alan Moore, Michael Ellis, and, the man who attends EVERY work party, John Burger.

We planted several hundred Cottonwoods along the off stream wetland and about eighty Ninebark plants near the mainstem of the Necanicum. We also maintained some previous plantings of conifers by mowing and mulching. The weather was most cooperative. It didn’t rain or get too hot. As you can see from the before and after photos, the entire crew came through with all limbs and body parts intact in spite of the fact that several were operating power tools! 

We all had a great time listening to Doug’s plans for the Necanicum and how the work we are doing will help shape the restoration of the watershed. There are some exciting opportunities coming up on the Necanicum and it is exciting to be involved in this restoration work. 

The Coho fry that over wintered in the off channel area are gone now and have been replaced by the this years hatchlings. It was really nice to see the structure being used by the fish.

Mowing non native vegetation

Planting Cottonwood trees

Planting Ninebark

Spreading mulch

After the work was done, Doug took us over to the North Coast Land Conservancy's Circle Creek property and showed us some primo Steelhead and Sea Run Cutthroat runs. This kind of info is just a side benefit of participation in these work parties.
Our next work party will be in mid July and will be a weekend long event planned around fishing for native Sea Run Cutthroat trout! Stay tuned to this site for more information, or, e mail and ask to be put on the e mail list for the next work party/fishing trip.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

We really need to do a fishing survey of Spirit Lake.

Thirty years ago Mount St. Helens exploded and reconfigured the landscape, and transformed Spirit Lake. Here's a link to a fascinating story from National Geographic about the remaking of the lake, and the mysterious reintroduction of rainbow trout--which are now averaging only 2 1/2 pounds, down from 4-5 pounds. The lake is still off-limits, despite a 95-1 Washington house vote in favor of opening up a limited number of annual permits for fishing. Someone ought to call SW Washington Fish & Game biologist, John Weinheimer, about doing a creel survey soon. It's all in the name of science.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Circle Creek work party undergoes metamorphosis, becomes Neitzel Farms work party

Well, the permits for the bridge are still stuck waiting for some engineering work and it looks like we won't be able to work on the bridge project May 15, but wait! Fortunately TVTU is involved in more than one restoration project in the Seaside area, so, the Circle Creek  work party has morphed into the Neitzel Farms work party. Same date and time, even the same general area and I hope that you all will be able to come. 

We will still carpool from Portland. I don't have good directions to Neitzel Farms yet, but will provide them within a week or so If you want to meet at the work site. Here are my woefully lacking directions for your amusement: From Portland Neitzel Farm is on highway 26 on the North side before the junction to Cannon Beach. Look for the trees with their root wads in the air! 

There is mulch to spread, native plants to plant, and canary grass to be removed so a pleasant time is guaranteed for all! Plus, you will be able to meet Doug Ray, the Project Manager for Neitzel Farms, who will be delighted to fill you in on the details of his plan for this project.  Doug is thinking on a very long term time line and it is incredibly interesting to hear him talk about the work we are doing.

If you want to carpool from Portland, meet at the Sunset  Fred Meyer, 22075 NW Imbrie Dr. Hillsboro, Oregon, by the can return area, at 8:30 am May 15. We would like to have an idea of how many people will attend, so, please respond by e mail to Michael Ellis ( ) if you are interested.
Bring gloves, a lunch,  and  appropriate clothing (raingear).

As for the Bridge at Circle Creek, I am hoping that it will get done this season and am starting to plan for a work party in July, permits pending.


Michael Ellis

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Jeff Gottfried presents Self-Guided Alaskan Tours at May 12th meeting.


I am looking forward to presenting a talk on self-guided fishing trips in Alaska at the next chapter meeting of Tualatin Valley Trout Unlimited on May 12.

I have taken 13 trips to Alaska with groups of friends. The trip that I will be highlighting in my presentation will be a 90- mile rafting journey on the Kisaralik River in the lower Kuskokwim watershed.

On this trip each of our four anglers caught 10 species of fish on flies and caught at least one of every species on an egg-sucking leech! We saw lots of bears (black and brown), musk oxen, caribou, beaver, moose, is the wilderness trip of a lifetime for me.

The Kisaralik allows no guides, so if you choose to make this trip, you are on your own. I'll be showing images telling our story and giving suggestions for self-guided trips.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ecologically speaking, beavers don't totally suck.

As it turns out, beavers are actually good for something besides hats no one wears anymore, or knocking over on your way to the Rose Bowl. Below is a nice story from the North Coast Land Conservancy Stewardship Director, Celeste Coulter, about how beavers can lend a hand and their big buck teeth in improving native habitat. Huzzah, beavers!

Are You a Beaver Believer?
by Celeste Coulter, Stewardship Director

February 8, 2010, 11 a.m.:
Running late, I turn off Lewis and Clark Road and park next to our property called Thompson Falls (80 acres), located on the northeast side of Seaside. I’m meeting NCLC board member Doug Ray of Carex Consulting and Alan Moore from Trout Unlimited.

A cacophony of sound surrounds me as I step out of the car. It could only be one thing: the Pacific chorus frogs are breeding. Although one of the smallest frogs in Oregon, the Pacific chorus frog (Pseudacris regilla) has one of the loudest calls. Male chorus frogs call throughout the lengthening daylight hours during warm rain showers when breeding is taking place and females are laying eggs. The calls are produced by a dark gray inflatable throat patch that develops on males during the breeding season, allowing them to serenade their female companions with loud “ribbets” and seductive, high-pitched trills. Studies have found that one male frog will act as a chorus master by leading the others males to begin calling. My attention is fixed on this seasonal symphony when Doug drives up in his truck. As usual, he greets me with a big smile, brimming with excitement over the project we are about to discuss.

Before Seaside became a coastal settlement, Thompson Creek used to flow down through the canyons of the Coast Range, meandering out into the flat, coastal terrace of the estuary. Today the floodplain is filled with reed canary grass (an invasive introduced species) and resembles a vacant lot. We’re hoping to change that, which is the reason for our meeting. Alan soon catches up with us and we begin wading through the grass toward beaver territory. Beavers discovered Thompson Creek in 2005. One of the largest beaver dams in the area is on a creek just south of here measuring over 100 feet in length. Because of these dams, native plants are beginning to thrive and non-native plants are decreasing in abundance. The Thompson Falls property is unique in that it is dissected by a housing development. The unusual property boundaries were determined to maintain the site’s ecological integrity—in other words, to make sure that the existing streams, tributaries, swales, and ponds are all connected to each other.

Alan walks a few paces behind Doug and me while we chatter back and forth. Our enthusiasm soon infects Alan as we share the information we learned at a recent conference on beaver ecology. Research has repeatedly shown that beavers are able to restore wetlands and juvenile fish habitat in a way that far exceeds any human-engineered project—and at a fraction of the cost. The project currently under way at Thompson Falls is a beaver habitat enhancement project. We had planned to install startup dams made out of logs and stumps to entice beavers to colonize the lower meadow and thereby restore the Thompson Creek floodplain, but to our surprise, the beavers beat us to it. We reach the southern boundary of the property where a large drainage ditch has been dug to divert water from the pasture (floodplain). Standing on the edge of the ditch, we view signs of beaver activity: carefully stripped stems of blackberry and Scotch broom, fallen red alder saplings, and, of course, beaver dams. At Thompson Falls, beavers use what is available, and because blackberry is the most common woody shrub, beavers are making good use of its canes. The dams are packed with mud, blackberry, Scotch broom, and what little red alder and willow the beavers can find.

Our excitement grows as we find two more dams. Doug and I discuss the possibilities. With the current beaver activity, the wood placement is sure to succeed. But it doesn’t take long for all of us to be sobered by the abundance of non-native plants at the project site. Unless there is enough food for the beavers to eat, they won’t stick around and reproduce, which means they won’t restore the floodplain back to a wetland meadow. To make this project work, we’ll need to plant a lot of willow—in fact, thousands of willows if we’re going to keep a colony of beavers happy. That’s where Alan can help. Unless we can protect the plants until they can become well established, the beavers will wipe out the entire planting effort. Trout Unlimited adopted Thompson Creek as a project site a few years ago when they discovered that one of the largest runs of coho salmon along the North Coast spawn in the upper reaches of the creek every year. Since then, our partnership with Trout Unlimited has brought volunteers from the Tualatin Chapter out to the coast to remove blackberry and Scotch broom and to plant native plants. Without their support, much of the work that has been accomplished at Thompson Creek would not have been possible.

A herd of elk, flushed out of a nearby dune ridge, suddenly interrupts our conversation. At least 40 large animals stampede by us to get to safe ground. Our habitat development plans will not only help beavers and coho, but other wildlife such as elk will thrive in the native shrub-scrub habitat and in the open meadow habitats we hope to establish. The sudden rush of elk stills our movement as the afternoon sunlight warms our backs and chorus frogs sing in the distance. Thompson Falls is only going to get better; signs of beavers have sealed our fortitude. We are beaver believers. Our conversation turns to the future of this floodplain, where native plant communities intertwine with slow winding channels intercepted by beaver lodges and willow thickets, providing a place where people and wildlife alike can thrive.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Volunteers needed for a Tualatin Valley Trout Unlimited work party at Circle Creek

The permits are still being worked out and construction schedules still need to be finalized, but, we are planning a work party on May 15 (alternate May 22 in case of severe weather) to help replace culverts on Circle Creek a tributary of the Necanicum River at the Seaside Golf Course. The culverts will be replaced with a donated bridge. Tualatin Valley Trout Unlimited has provided funding to help restore the bridge but there is a lot of labor involved also. We will be either building forms, pouring concrete, or, replacing/restoring the deck of the bridge.
This is an exciting project because it will open up more rearing habitat for Coastal Coho Salmon, as well as restoring the influence of tides to the creek. Circle Creek is already one of the most productive tributaries of the Necanicum for juvenile production and removing these culverts will increase that productivity by a large amount.
It was recently determined that tidal influence penetrates much further up Circle Creek than was previously known. Removing the culverts will not only allow passage up the creek for Coastal Coho, Cutthroat Trout, Steelhead and Chinook Salmon but will allow the juveniles to “ride the tides” in and out of the creek as these species once were able to do.
If you want to carpool from Portland, meet at the Sunset  Fred Meyer, 22075 NW Imbrie Dr. Hillsboro, Oregon, by the can return area, at 8:30 am May 15. You can also just meet us at the Seaside Golf Course (451 Ave. U, Seaside Oregon) at 10 am.We would like to have an idea of how many people will attend, so, please respond by e mail to Michael Ellis ( ) if you are interested.
Bring gloves, a lunch,  and  appropriate clothing (raingear).