By JAYSON JACOBY
Of the Baker City Herald
Anglers who enjoy eating trout as much as hooking them might have a new favorite river and reservoir.
The Malheur River from Warm Springs Dam downstream to the South Fork confluence.
And Malheur Reservoir, south of Bridgeport.
Starting Saturday, these waters will have no daily bag limits.
If you catch 50 legal-sized fish (at least 8 inches long) and have a sharp filleting knife and an empty freezer, you can keep every single slippery one.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) decided to suspend bag limits for the river and reservoir through Dec. 1 due to the continuing drought in Eastern Oregon.
Biologists expect many fish in the reservoir and in that reach of the river will die this summer due to low water that gets too warm.
andquot;It's a chance for anglers to harvest a few extra fish that are likely to die anyway,andquot; said Wayne Bowers, an ODFW fish biologist in Hines. andquot;The water level at Malheur Reservoir is very low, and fish are starting to get stressed.andquot; Warm Springs Reservoir also is dropping rapidly, Bowers said, leaving little water in the Malheur River downstream.
andquot;When the water level drops like this, large numbers of game fish and flushed from the reservoir into the river, water temperatures skyrocket, and we lose a significant number of fish,andquot; he said.
Temporary rules for the two bodies of water include:
o Malheur Reservoir no daily catch or possession limits for hatchery trout.
o Malheur River from Warm Springs Dam downstream to confluence of South Fork Malheur no daily catch or possession limits for all game species.
In addition, anglers can catch fish with their hands, dip nets or with traditional rod and reel.