Slower speed limit returns to Diamond Lake


When fishing in Diamond Lake went belly up because the bait fish tui chub crowded out the trout, the boating speed limit was raised to 45 mph. Water-skiers and other boat sports enthusiasts moved in and flourished.

But in 2006, the lake was poisoned to kill off the tui chub &

an estimated 90 million of them.

And last year, Diamond Lake was stocked with thousands of fingerlings and trophy trout. The fishery rebounded, and the fishermen flourished.

Now, the speed limit is returning to 10 mph, its historic level and one the Legislature requires for some fishing lakes.

The Oregon State Marine Board is taking comment on the new speed limit, which will be sent to the Legislature next year.

But in the meantime the lake will open this spring with the new limit in place.

"There are a handful of lakes where the speed limit is set in statute" because they're prized for their fisheries, said Randy Henry, operations policy analyst for the board.

Rick Rockholt, director of marketing and events at Diamond Lake Resort, said that when the fishing was coming back, anglers and boaters did not clash over the faster speed.

Rockholt says the 10 mph speed limit is archaic. Newer boats make smaller wakes at cruising speed and ride on an engineered "pad," he said.

Rockholt also says fishermen like the 45-mph speed limit because they can reach far-flung fishing holes faster, "without it taking half an hour."

And, he said, boaters tend to be out at midday in high summer, while fishing is best early and late in the day, during the fall and spring.

When the 45 mph speed limit was in place, a 10-mph limit remained within 200 yards of docks, swimming areas, boat ramps, campgrounds and living quarters. And personal watercraft were banned, as they continue to be.

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