Oil spill impacts local fly fishing businesses

Local fly fishing shops are hurting as crews continue to clean the McKenzie River.

Posted: Mar 27, 2018 6:34 PM

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – Local fly fishing shops are hurting as crews continue to clean the McKenzie River.


Officials with the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality said on March 13th, about 200 gallons of hydraulic oil leaked from the International Paper Facility in Springfield into the McKenzie River.

KEZI spoke with Jason Mitzner, who owns Home Waters Fly Fishing Shop in Eugene. He said since the oil spill, business has been pretty slow. Mitzner said during this time of year, it's usually thriving, but that's not the case right now because of the oil spill.

However, Mitzner said he is optimistic moving forward.

"Fortunately it was at the beginning of the season and we can get this thing wrapped up and cleaned up, we got a long spring and summer ahead of us,” said Mitzner. “So I really don't see this affecting us long term and look forward to booking many trips and selling a lot of flies here in the next few months."

Lane County officials said the river will be closed to all boat traffic between the Hayden Bridge Boat Ramp and the Mohawk River. They said boaters should avoid that area. The Hendricks Bridge and Bellinger Boat Ramps are also closed while crews cleanup the area.

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality officials said they will continue to monitor the river and plan on running more tests on the pipe on Wednesday to see if there is any sheen in the water.

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