Tag Archives: tillamook bay

Remembering Fishing Guide Bob Toman

By Buzz Ramsey (with help from Bill Monroe)

Bob Toman, an iconic Pacific Northwest fishing guide, fisheries advocate and my longtime friend, passed away in early December of 2019, just shy of his 71st birthday.

BOB TOMAN, 2011. (VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

Born Robert Norris Toman, Bob grew up near Oregon’s Clackamas River where his father instilled in him a passion for fish and fishing. After his graduation from high school, Bob attended a year of college and guided in British Columbia before being drafted into the U.S. Army and deployed to Vietnam. Stationed at a forward fire base near the demilitarized zone, Bob earned two Purple Hearts before his honorable discharge.

Upon his return home, Bob worked many years for the old Wigwam Store and Larry’s Sports Center (now Fisherman’s Marine & Outdoor) in Oregon City, Oregon. It was during this time, in the mid-1970s, that I met Bob and when he began guiding on the Willamette, Clackamas, Columbia and Deschutes Rivers and Tillamook Bay.

BUZZ RAMSEY AND TOMAN WITH A WILLAMETTE SPRINGER, 1980. (VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

He was tireless in his effort to find a way to catch more and bigger fish. I remember him tracking every conceivable factor in a log book whenever he and/or a client landed a fish. That book had columns for every conceivable aspect: air and water temperature, turbidity, water level, time of day, overcast, cloudy, sunny, rainy, barometric pressure, humidity and other variables I can’t remember. After a few years he had some computer expert (remember this was back in the 1980s) enter all the data in an effort to discover what environmental factors triggered fish to bite.

When I later asked him what all the data revealed he laughed and said, “When they bite, they bite; and when they don’t, they don’t.”

It was his constant tinkering with lures that did make a difference, though. He was the only salmon and steelhead angler I knew who experimented with plug design. Back when I worked at Luhr Jensen we often relied on Bob for his input on lure design or modifications to improve existing ones.

But it wasn’t just plugs, Bob understood spinners and had dissected them to the point he had discovered that the right number of blade revolutions per minute appealed to fish more than a blade revolving outside the desirable range. His designs proved so effective that Yakima Bait began marketing a series of Bob Toman-branded spinners.

One spinner blade that he called Thumper was designed to drag more so that he could get it out and away from the boat when trolling shallow-water estuaries on the coast — all while maintaining the right number of revolutions per minute, of course.

TOMAN WITH A STEELHEAD CAUGHT ON THE DESCHUTES, 2010. (VIA BUZZ RAMSEY)

It was Bob’s influence that inspired me to take the lead on plug and lure design. Given my belief that two heads are better than one, I’d often send lures to Bob for his evaluation before committing to the final tooling.

He was always experimenting with lure color. After all, as most fishermen know, there are days when having the right color has everything to do with success. Working for a company that makes fishing lures we were/are always in need of high-quality photos. Bob would often send me images of fish he’d caught but in a color Yakima Bait didn’t offer. I finally said, “Can’t you catch one on a color the company actually makes?” He did send me a few images, but never quit experimenting by painting his own.

Bob tirelessly supported conservation, restoration and both wild and hatchery fish, and worked with many state, federal and private biologists to better understand fish and improve runs. His endless curiosity and expertise on fish and fishing were frequently tapped by his many friends, fellow fishing guides, and me.

ODFW Forming New Tillamook Bay Clam Advisory Committee, Taking Applications

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

ODFW seeks applicants for membership on the Tillamook Bay Clam Advisory Committee.

The Committee will provide recommendations to ODFW on balancing commercial and noncommercial take of bay clams, physical boundaries for commercial activities, and other rules related to bay clam harvest in Tillamook Bay. The Committee is mandated by Senate Bill 1025, passed earlier this year.

(ODFW)

People interested in serving can attend an informational meeting and get an application. The meeting is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 16 from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Oregon Department of Forestry Tillamook District Office, 5005 3rd St., Tillamook

Applications can also be downloaded at  this link or requested in-person at ODFW’s Tillamook, Astoria or Newport offices. The deadline to apply is Jan. 31, 2020.

The meeting will be hosted by staff from ODFW’s shellfish program. This program works to assess, monitor, and manage shellfish resources and their habitats to provide sustained ecological, commercial, social, and recreational benefits for present and future generations. For more information visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/shellfish/

NMFS Shares Salmon Habitat Gains, Flood-threat Reduction From Tillamook Estuary Work

THE FOLLOWING IS A NEWS STORY FROM THE NATIONAL MARINE FISHERIES SERVICE

NOAA’s work with community partners restoring estuary habitat in Tillamook Bay, Oregon is revitalizing tidal wetlands for threatened Oregon Coast coho salmon, and helping reduce flooding in the surrounding communities and farmlands.

The project’s benefits to fish were realized immediately—443 acres of different estuary habitats critical to juvenile salmon are now available, including mud flats, open water with vegetation, marsh and others. Often called “nurseries of the sea,” estuaries offer unique conditions, like slow moving water and tides that bring in nutrients, which keep fish safe and allow them to grow.

BEFORE AND AFTER IMAGES FROM THE TILLAMOOK ESTUARY PARTNERSHIP SHOW THE EFFECT OF REMOVING LEVEES AND TIDE GATES NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE TRASK RIVER. (TILLAMOOK ESTUARY PARTNERSIHP VIA NMFS)

A recently published report also confirms the project’s flood reduction goals were achieved. Shortly after project completion, in October 2017, a flood occurred at the site. Our restoration work resulted in widespread reduction in flood levels and duration including along Highway 101, a key commercial and transportation corridor. In total, about 4,800 acres around the project site showed reductions in flood levels.

This project, like many others we work on, shows how restoring habitat back to its natural functions can help coastal communities be more resilient against severe weather. Nature-based approaches are being shown to provide these, and many other economic benefits, along both the the east and west coasts of the United States.

Almost 90 percent of the Tillamook Estuary’s historic tidal wetlands have been lost to development and agriculture. Like many other species relying on estuary and wetland habitats, loss of these areas is a primary contributor to the decline of Oregon Coast coho salmon.

Additionally, Oregon’s winters bring storm surges, heavy rainfall, and snow melt. Combined with high tides, this often causes flooding in the area. Flood losses in Tillamook County exceeded $60 million from 1996 – 2000.

ESTUARIES ARE IMPORTANT HABITAT FOR COHO SMOLTS ALONG WITH THE YOUNG OF OTHER SALMON SPECIES. (ROGER TABOR, USFWS)

To achieve the mutually beneficial project goals, old levees, fill, and tide gates were removed to create tidal estuary habitat. This functions as a “flow corridor,” allowing flood waters to move freely and quickly away from the town of Tillamook. Now, nearby properties and more than 500 structures are protected from flooding. It’s estimated that $9.2 million in economic benefits will accrue from avoided flood damages over the next 50 years.

The project reconnected hundreds of acres of marsh habitat and restored 13 miles of new tidal channels. This will significantly benefit Endangered Species Act-listed Oregon Coast coho salmon. Historically, more than 200,000 of these salmon would return to Tillamook Bay each year. That number was down to just 2,000 in 2012. This habitat is critical for juvenile salmon to feed and grow, and will help with the broader goal of species recovery along Oregon’s entire coast.

The Southern Flow Corridor Project is the result of tremendous community support and collaboration. NOAA Fisheries’ Restoration Center, within the Office of Habitat Conservation, and the West Coast Regional Office, worked with more than a dozen local, state, federal, tribal and private partners on this effort.

BRYCE MOLENKAMP PREPARES TO NET A SALMON ON TILLAMOOK BAY. (MARK VEARY)

Key partners include the Port of Tillamook Bay, Tillamook Bay Habitat and Estuary Improvement District, Tillamook County, the State of Oregon, FEMA, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Institute for Applied Ecology, and the Tillamook Estuaries Partnership. We provided funding for the project through the Community-based Restoration Program and the Pacific Coastal Salmon Recovery Fund, and on-the-ground technical assistance.