OSP Seeks Tips In Roseburg Whitetail Poaching

April 20, 2012


Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish & Wildlife troopers from the Roseburg Area Command office are asking for the public’s help to solve the poaching of a white-tailed deer found in a pasture northeast of Roseburg. A reward is offered by the Oregon Hunters Association for information that leads to an arrest and conviction in this case.

On April 13, 2012, OSP troopers found the carcass of a white-tailed doe deer shot and left to waste in a pasture near Whistler Lane Road about ten miles northeast of Roseburg.

A reward of up to $500 is offered by the Turn-In_Poacher (TIP) program for information related to this investigation. Lead investigators are Trooper Jason Stone and Senior Trooper Wayne Merritt. Anyone with information regarding this case is asked to contact Trooper Stone at (541) 817-4472 or email tips to Jason.A.Stone@state.or.us.

Pierce Co. Man Charged With Nearly 40 Counts Of Bear Baiting

April 20, 2012

A middle-aged Pierce County, Wash., man has an arraignment hearing in an Okanogan County court later this month on nearly 40 counts of illegally baiting in and killing multiple black bears in the upper Methow Valley over the past two years.

In either a testament of James Erickson’s innocence or a show of his attitudes towards game laws, photos of a very large bruin that game wardens allege he poached over food scraps still remained prominently and publicly posted on his Facebook page as of this morning.

“Killed over bait minutes before that shot,” says Sgt. James Brown of the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife. “The bait is about 30 yards to the right of the picture from the meat pole.”

He claims that Erickson would haul in a mix of restaurant scraps, day-old food and salmon to attract bears to his property backed up against the Okanogan National Forest in the Rendezvous area.

“It looked like he might have contacts in the restaurant industry,” Brown says.

Baiting bears has been illegal in Washington since 1996, when it was outlawed by a statewide initiative.

Erickson’s attorney says the state is making a mountain out of a mole hill and that he will enter a not-guilty plea for his client at the April 30 pro forma hearing in Okanogan.

All totaled, Erickson was charged last week with 34 counts of baiting, four counts of unlawful big game hunting in the second degree, and one count each of unlawful transport, second degree spotlighting, third-degree possession of stolen property – a trail cam – possession of a body-gripping trap, and possession of a duplicate tag.

Brown says WDFW also seized the large-caliber rifle the defendant allegedly used to kill the Facebook bear late last summer, and his 2007 Chevy Suburban which hauled the carcass to a Westside butcher as well as transported bait.

Erickson did not immediately respond to Northwest Sportsman’s request for a comment, but his attorney downplayed the charges.

“When the case comes to trial, most of the air will come out of the balloon,” says John Brangwin of Woods & Brangwin in Wenatchee. “I think (WDFW) cast too big of a net – there may be some violations, but it’s not the crime of the century.”

He says the case will turn on whether leaving out food which wildlife happens to come upon and feed on is illegal.

“What’s the crime – shooting the animal or putting the material out there?” Brangwin says.

He also suggested that wardens put so much time and money into watching Erickson that they had to justify it somehow, and thus all the charges.

FOR SIX YEARS, goings-on at the defendant’s “hunting” cabin between Little Cub Creek and Cub Creek, about 14 miles up the Chewuch River valley from Winthrop, have been on local game warden Cal Treser’s radar, says Sgt. Brown.

“Citizens had been telling the officer that the camp had a revolving door of participants, all Western Washington residents, who used the camp as a base of operations to commit big game violations, allegedly in and out of season,” he says.

Trying to get to the bottom of secondhand stories of deer poaching, an undercover officer made several contacts with the group over the years and was told about “many supposed violations,” but Brown admits WDFW also unable to see anything first hand.

Over time it also became clear that folks at the cabin were “keenly aware” of uniformed game warden presence in the area and “were taking many steps to avoid detection of their activities,” says Brown.

To break the case Treser needed a little luck.

That came last summer when Brown says Treser learned that a bear bait station on Erickson’s property could be seen from Forest Service land. That site also featured a trail cam, and since the possible violation was in “open view,” Treser was able to get a search warrant to access the camera and its card.

Brown says that that then gave Treser ample opportunity over a period of several months to check on what was happening at the site.

“Many of the pictures showed (Erickson) coming by and dumping baits out,” says Brown.

Photos also showed bears coming in and bears being killed, he alleges.

The images gave WDFW enough evidence to serve search warrants on Erickson’s cabin and his house in eastern Pierce County.

Forensic analysis of computer files, including “hundreds” of photos, eventually led to not only the charges against Erickson, but also three immediate family members.

They were charged with a total of six counts of baiting and four counts of unlawful big game hunting in the second degree.

Two other individuals, apparent family friends if Facebook photos are any indication, were also charged with a total of three counts of baiting and three counts of unlawful big game hunting in the second degree.

Another two people are mentioned in court papers but were not charged.

Arraignment dates have not been set for the family members or friends, according to information from Okanogan County.

Brown expressed disgust at the suspects’ alleged manner of bear hunting. He says that most of the animals were “shot from the comfort of an Adirondack chair on the porch of the cabin,” and that 20 pages of a 150-page-or-so diary recovered at the building also allegedly indicate that some bruins were killed before the shooters had even put on their shoes.

Under state law, baiting is a gross misdemeanor, subject to fines and hunting license revocation for up to five years.

Really, Stop Coming Here, Please!

September 1, 2011

I’ve gotta hand it to you: You are persistent, checking for updates on this page. Sometimes that can be a good trait. Take ad sales, for example.

But really, like I said before, I’m not going to be posting any new blogs over here.

It’s now all over at http://nwsportsmanmag.com/.

What have you been missing out on over there?

Here are some recent headlines:

Week On The Water Yields Plenty, Fun
Humpies Slayed, Smoked
Great Season At Buoy 10
Pinks Arrive, Wolves, Poachers, Discover Pass
Brian Lull Loves Humpies, Or, Hump-ageddon 2011 Begins
Floor: Get Ready For September ‘Salmon Crescendo’
SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (9-1-11)
Gorgeous Steelhead Image
Pend Oreille Pike Discussed At Meeting

Your time is your own, of course, but I think I’m even going to stop trying to move you towards http://nwsportsmanmag.com/. Some cats you just can’t herd in the right direction (I am example No. 1 on this front, so please don’t take offense).

Anyway, check it out, please.

Seriously, This Blog Page Is Just Gonna Wither Away

August 24, 2011

Still lurking around this page looking for fresh Northwest hook-and-bullet info?!?!

It’s just not gonna happen.

No more reading articles on Washington and Oregon salmon, steelhead, deer, elk, pike — the whole menagerie — here anymore. We’ve moved completely over to nwsportsmanmag.com.

Same content, just a new base of operations.

Move along now.




Beat it!


New Blog Site For Northwest Sportsman

August 23, 2011

Dearest NWSWordpress Reader,

Perhaps you came to this page today looking for the latest fishing or hunting news from around the Northwest.

Or maybe recent game warden follies (if we could only share what weren’t supposed to receive this morning).

Or changes to the regulations (they’re opening Snake Chinook!?!)

… And look at that, the lazy editor hasn’t posted a single new item since Aug. 19.

Three and a half days!

Eighty-four hours!


Over the weekend, Buoy 10 went completely off the fuh-reakin’ hook — numbers and size; guide Jim Stahl hauled in four 30-pounders on Sunday alone.

Pinks squirmed towards Seattle and Everett in bigger and bigger numbers, and they’re saying it’s the All Time Best Humpy Year out in Sekiu.

ODFW and egg-cure makers reached a voluntary agreement on sulfite levels in the companies’ mojo.

Pugetropolites can’t grasp the crabbing regulations.

Wolves are confirmed in the Mt. Emily Unit in Northeast Oregon.

Rosendo Guerrero handed out 500 grocery bags to anglers on the Puyallup and people are still leaving junk on the river’s banks.

And this page is silent?!

Bereft of comment?!

The editor can’t even manage to post a press release?!?!

What. The. Hell.

Ahem, OK, yeah, it looks like I’m slacking, but here’s the reason: Over the weekend our Tech Dude migrated our WordPress blog onto our revamped Web site, nwsportsmanmag.com.


For the past two and a half years and 1,739 blog entries, we typed here and the verbiage and photos would be posted here and somehow magically appear over there.

Now, we’re typing there and all the content will be published on that page.

Even better, that site now has an archive of all the stories that were here.

Before, they would just  … fall off that page after a couple weeks and be gone forever due to page-load optimizing that set limits on how many articles appeared online at any one time.

It was silly.

For the few folks who subscribed to this WordPress blog, or followed it on their lunch breaks or, heck, obsessively clicked on it through the day, thank you for reading, I do appreciate it.

We had good times, and saw some stories get crazy click counts … and a lot of others that I’ll forever wonder, why did I spend so much time on that?

But not much is going to happen here from now on. Again, the action will instead be over at nwsportsmanmag.com.

Same great (or at least marginally intelligible editor psycho babble) content, just a new home.

R.I.P., NWSWordpress.


Buoy 10 Producing

August 19, 2011

Northwest Sportsman is descending on Buoy 10 — Buzz Ramsey’s there for the weekend, Tim Bush is heading there, Terry Otto was out yesterday, Larry Ellis is coming up on Monday — and it looks like their timing is perfect!

And how’s the mouth of the Columbia fishing?

Otto just filed this report from Thursday’s action:

“We got four fish the first hour, two in the mid-day, and got five in a quick super bite in the afternoon,” says the Sandy, Ore., scribe.

He was fishing with Buzz and ended up keeping seven, including five Chinook and two clipped silvers.

“We also released two wild coho, one dark tule Chinook and a nice ‘Nook we caught after we all were limited on kings. Top fish was near 30; I hooked four of the ‘Nooks,” he says.


Otto’s first king bit not 30 minutes into the trip.

Meanwhile, somewhere else on the coast of the eastern Pacific, Mark Veary of Hillsboro, Ore., and a buddy were out in their kayaks at what is only described as “tidewater” and scored a pair of Chinook, including a 22-pounder.

“We had this place to ourselves and were home by noon,” the tight-lipped angler says.


WA Cougar Hunting Liberalized; WDFW Worker Dies; No Wenatchee Sockeye

August 19, 2011

A spate of news releases from WDFW out this afternoon, one following up on a story in The Columbian on the death of fish surveyor Mark Snepp yesterday:

A fisheries worker for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) died yesterday (Aug. 18) while participating in a steelhead survey on the Wind River.

Mark Snepp, 47, apparently died while walking the bank of the river and recording fish data reported by his diving partner, said Pat Frazier, southwest regional fish program manager for WDFW.

Team members called 911 and notified the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office, which is investigating the cause of Snepp’s death. An autopsy will be conducted within the next few days.

“This is a sad day for the department,” Frazier said. “Mark joined the department just last year and showed a real dedication to fish and wildlife stewardship.”


The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission approved amendments to cougar hunting regulations during a conference call today.

The commission, which sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), amended cougar hunting regulations in six counties in eastern Washington, where a pilot project authorizing cougar hunting with the aid of dogs was not extended by the Legislature this year.

That amendment increases cougar hunting opportunities without the aid of dogs in Klickitat, Chelan, Okanogan, Ferry, Stevens and Pend Oreille counties to continue to meet management objectives in those areas.

In addition, the commission modified the criteria for determining when cougars are removed to address public concerns about pet and livestock depredation and personal safety. The change allows for cougar removals when complaints confirmed by WDFW staff in a given game management unit exceed the five-year average.

WDFW game managers recommended the amendments to cougar hunting regulations as an interim measure until the 2012-14 hunting season package is developed. Public discussion of the 2012-14 hunting seasons is scheduled to begin this month. More information on those public meetings is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/release.php?id=aug1511a .

For more information about future commission meetings, visit WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/ .


The return of sockeye salmon to Lake Wenatchee is not strong enough to allow a recreational fishery in the lake this year, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today.

Although more than 185,000 sockeye have passed Bonneville Dam this year, only about 14,000 of them are expected to enter Lake Wenatchee, said Jeff Korth, WDFW regional fish manager in Ephrata.

That is well short of the 23,000-fish goal for spawning escapement in the lake, Korth said.

“We know this is disappointing news for anglers, especially since the lake has opened for sockeye fishing for the past three years,” Korth said. “But the number of sockeye counted between Rock Island and Rocky Reach dams is low, and very few are entering the Wenatchee River.”

While the overall run of sockeye to the Columbia River has been relatively high, most of these fish appear to be headed for the Okanogan River and on into Canada, Korth said.

“The four- and five-year old sockeye that make up the bulk of this year’s run to Lake Wenatchee were spawned in years with very low sockeye abundance,” Korth said. “So there’s good reason to believe returns will improve in the years ahead.”

A Little Too Much Coffee, Perhaps …

August 19, 2011
Outdoor reporters, sheesh, if they’re not hyper about some upcoming fishery, they’re declaring The End Is Near because some stat somewhere has their drawers up in a bunch.

Or, ahem, maybe that’s just me.

Just 19 days ago, with possibly the best one-day creel ever for a single dock at Sekiu, I was like, “I’m not quite ready to declare WDFW’s projection of a 6-million-humpy return null and void, but, ummm …”

Ummm, as in, “HOLY @#$%@% !@##% $!@#$%@$ @%$@$#%@$%@, THE HUMPIES ARE COMING!!!!!!!!!!!! ELEVENTY JILLION OF ‘EM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Fast forward two weeks and about 60 miles east to the catch hauled into Everett’s 10th St. launch last Sunday, 173, and I’m leaving voice mails along the lines of this to Steve Thiesfeld in Oly: “Hey, uhh, Steve, this is, ummm, Andy, Northwest Sportsman, dude, where are the humpies?!?!”

One hundred and seventy-three is just one-sixth of how many were tallied on the same mid-August Sunday in 2009’s run.

Pretty soon I’m searching Google News for “2011 pink salmon return,” “pink salmon return late?” “pink salmon return off,” “pink salmon run collapse,” “pink salmon biologists worried,” “pink salmon biologists fretting,” “pink salmon biologist found slumped over drunk in office, before noon,” “pink salmon biologist’s life remembered,” “pink salmon biologists flee to Canada en masse,” etc.

Canada is where we actually find Steve T. today — total coincidence, though.

WDFW’s Puget Sound Salmon Manager is up in Richmond, B.C., for a Pacific Salmon Commission Fraser River Panel meeting, and this morning forwarded me an 16-page document with all sorts of catch stats, charts, tables, eye-catching colored lines, etc., etc., etc

It’s just a total blizzard of scientific and mathematical data that, for a Wazzu English major, is almost totally inscrutable, but it boils down to: pink salmon movement through the Strait of Juan de Fuca is on the upswing, the massive Fraser run is on schedule, and, seriously, breathe through your nose, Walgamott, before hassling overworked state staffers.


“I suspect that some of the stocks might be a bit late, but will be increasing shortly,” Thiesfeld says. “If they are lower than forecast anywhere, it would be the northern S rivers, as catches have been fairly good in Area 11 so far.”

There are also interesting signs off the Washington coast. The inseason catches out of Westport and LaPush are well over tallies for the entire 2009 and 2007 seasons and above 2007 at Neah Bay though about 2,500 below ’09’s total catch.

Those fish are probably headed to the Northern S’s — the Skagit, Stilly and Snohomish systems, once the epicenter of Hump City for Pugetropolis residents.

That’s shifted south in recent odd-years, to the Central and South Sound. Area 11 is off Tacoma, where over 900,000 are expected back to the Puyallup, Nisqually and smaller streams. Just over 2.75 mil are forsoothed to return to the S’s.

Another 2.2 million are forecast for the Duwamish/Green, a fishery which begins today — and hey, look at that, somebody is all excited about it on the front side.

Give it about a week and then you’ll probably get some hits googling “pink salmon editor fretting.”

DNR Buys 2,845 Acres Near Lake Roesiger

August 19, 2011

One of my friends lives in a clearcut — it’s not as bad as it sounds — in central Snohomish County. House on 5 acres out in the country, can’t see any of his neighbors in the development, lots of wildlife, nice place.

Not too far to the south, the state Department of Natural Resources recently bought 2,845 acres, a move that, in part, keeps homes from ever similarly dotting the logged-over uplands just west of Lake Roesiger.

At one point, the owner of the property wanted to put a monstrous 6,000-home mini city in there. But two years ago, the plan for what was later called “one of the worst development ideas in county history” fell apart.

Earlier this year, DNR pooled their money with the county, and now the agency will hold a media tour next Tuesday to showcase the buy for which it contributed $6.58 million.


According to a press release sent out yesterday, the forest “will be managed to provide revenue for public school construction, habitat, and clean water plus providing additional opportunities for public recreation.”

While a master plan is developed, the site will be closed, but DNR spokesman Bryan Flynt says it will be accessible on foot by hunters — not that state foresters think there’s a lot of game, he says.

A PowerPoint document from a DNR commission meeting shows that there are over 1,300 acres of Doug firs 25 years old or less — that thick, closed-canopy stuff that doesn’t make for good habitat — and another 1,000 acres of alders and other deciduous trees the same age. About 58 acres are 25 to 31 years old.


“There are not a lot of tall trees; harvesting is decades away,” says Flynt.

That said, with how many critters creep around my buddy’s place up the road and “flying” over parts of the land in Bing Map’s “birds eye” view, my sadomasochistic desire to hunt blacktail has been reignited.

It’s Official: Record July Steelie Catch

August 19, 2011

Lower Columbia steelheaders bonked a record number last month, and just missed topping the all-time “handle” mark for July as well.

According to fisheries biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver, Washington and Oregon anglers kept 8,549 steelies in July 2011 from Bonneville Dam down to the mouth, over 300 more than the previous record set in that monster run year, 2009.

That year saw 8,221 retained while last July fell just eight fish short of tying that mark.

“Last month’s 15,897 total steelhead handled (kept and released) missed the record by just 37 fish — 15,934 in 2009,” Hymer adds.

The incredible fishing has continued right into August. Earlier this week he announced that fishermen had handled 11,639 steelhead, a record for August by 590 fish (a mark also set in 2009).

It’s likely that this year’s higher, cooler Columbia is making the fish more available to bank anglers, and that we’re also dialing in how to fish dyed prawns.

Pink-a-geddon About To Hit Seattle

August 18, 2011

First two things that happened at the office this morning: A pink-salmon-fishing-report request for the Snohomish, and a pink report from the as-yet-to-open Duwamish.

Relax, Cenci, the latter was just word that our Brian Lull saw a couple splashing there this morning, the first time he’s seen jumpers along the Seattle river on his way back and forth to work this summer.

The Duwamish opens this Saturday, Aug. 20, from the 1st Ave. South bridge upstream to I-405, and if it’s like other Puget Sound rivers, plenty of humpies are already in and have somehow escaped the notice of Eagle Eyes Lull.

Sharp eyes inspecting the regulations pamphlet will also see that the inner Elliott Bay fishery below 1st St. opens tomorrow for Friday-Sunday fishing, and I have a sneaking suspicion it will be busy — especially the famous/infamous Spokane Street Bridge scene.

“Everyone lined up at Lincoln Park (in West Seattle) is waiting for it to open,” says Tim Bush at Outdoor Emporium (206-624-6550), a hop, skip, jump and couple leaps from Spokane Street and our office.


There, the trick is to cast and jig back 1/4-ounce leadhead jigs with a pink skirt, or small, holographic pink or straight pink Buzz Bombs.

Out on Elliott, spot jumpers and cast that tackle, or just drag small glo or pink hoochies 15 to 16 inches behind a white 8- or 11-inch flasher.

As with elsewhere in Puget Sound, single, barbless hooks are required in the saltwater and up to 1st St. Bridge.

While Ebay offers room to roam, it will be much more crowded at Spokane Street, charitably described as an “urban combat fishery.”

Asked about it, the local game warden Eric Olson laughs and says, “Spokane Street is …”

“It’s a zoo. It’s a blood bath. It’s ugly,” adds his boss, Mike Cenci, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Deputy Chief for enforcement. “It’s not much of an experience.’


He warns that his officers will be doing emphasis patrol there — “We’re already down there,” adds Sgt. Russ Mullins — and we can almost guarantee that the media will be shining a klieg light on the scene, as in this 2009 TV report that found its way all the way to stations in the Lilac City.

“It’s 100 to 130 yards long and you get 200-plus people all fishing on it at the same time,” says Olson, who is Seattle’s lone fish and wildlife enforcement officer. “Every officer in the area dreads it.”

Game wardens are at Spokane Street because it marks the pinch point between a low return of ESA-listed Chinook that led fishery managers to close king retention in the river and Elliott Bay for sport anglers; a massive 2-million-strong run of pink salmon; the first place bankies can really access humpies; crabbers; shady crabbers; thousands upon thousands of hooks; upstanding anglers hoping to limit out; fishermen of lesser character; illegal fish sellers and buyers; and other unsavory sorts who nonetheless may/will be painted by the media as us.

They’re not.

“Probably the biggest problem is the snagging,” says Cenci. “It’s essentially unsportsmanlike conduct when you’re snagging next to someone who is fishing legitimately. We’ve seen a few (snagged) Chinook that walk off.”

Unlike 2009, the last time the odd-year pinks came through, this season Chinook are off-limits altogether and anglers may not use bait or hooks that are wider than 1/2 inch from point to shank.

And there are additional rules — a night closure, forage-fish jig-gear ban, anti-snagging rule and stipulation that only salmon hooked inside the mouth can be kept from the 1st Ave. South bridge downstream to an imaginary line between SW Hanford Street on the mainland and Harbor Island.

There are similar restrictions on up the Duwamish/Green as well to be aware of.

Officers with excellent optics are there to make sure everything is on the up and up — or as much as they possibly can.

“We try and ensure an orderly fishery,” says Cenci.

Already this humpy season, there have been some lowlights at Browns Point Park near Tacoma.

“People have been leaving garbage, hooks, broken glass and even defecating in people’s yards!” reported Tom Pollack at Sportco (253-922-2222) in Fife on SalmonUniversity.com.

WDFW sent three officers out, and Cenci says that the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office “graciously” tasked several deputies to work the area as well.

Perhaps that took care of the problem, perhaps the arrival of pinks in the Puyallup River around the corner did.

“It’s been outstanding,” reports Randy Anderson, also at Sportco. “In the river, they’re doing really well.”

The “loads and loads of people” are doing best drift-fishing Corkies and yarn, primarily in pink shades, he says.

A few kings have been hooked as well, making quick work of trout-sized tackle.

As for Snohomish River pinks that I mentioned at the top of this blog, a buddy emailed this morning wondering about where to hit it this weekend. According to Ted’s Sports Center (425-743-9505), it’s fishy throughout, from Langus Waterfront Park in Everett up to the Highway 522 bridge.

“In the lower river, 2 and 21/2 inch Buzz Bombs and Wannabees have been overall the lure of choice. In the upper portion of the river pink lead head jigs with pink, pink and white or white tails of marabou or lead heads with squid bodies of the same color combinations,” the Lynnwood shop’s blog reports.

That said, last weekend’s catches out of Everett at the mouth of the Snohomish were, well, on par with 2007. On a mid-August Sunday at this point of 2009’s whopper run, six times as many were brought back to the 10th St. ramp (1,070 on Aug. 16, 2009 vs. 173 on Aug. 14, 2011).

The Everett Herald‘s longtime outdoor reporter Wayne Kruse reports the big run may be stalled out of Port Angeles and the eastern Straits. A Canadian news service speculates that the return to southern BC waters may be two weeks late.

With the Duwamish opening and more pinks entering the Puyallup and Snohomish Rivers, we anglers have the opportunity to improve upon our tarred image from 2009’s salmon runs.

Even if the TV reporters are distracted by the latest news of the moment and pay us not a lick of attention, pick up yours and others’ trash, don’t poop anywhere but in a pooper, don’t snag, don’t overlimit.

Follow the rules, don’t trespass, be courteous to fellow fishermen, landowners and other river users, don’t take crap from those who would cloud our reputation.

In short, be a good sportfishing ambassador.

Ocean Salmon Fishing Update (8-17-11)

August 17, 2011


Columbia Ocean Area (including Oregon)
The all-species recreational salmon fishery in the area between Cape Falcon, OR and Leadbetter Point, WA opened on June 26 operating under a sub-area quota of 33,600 coho and a sub-area guideline of 7,400 Chinook.  During the week of August 8, a total of 7,232 coho and 1,908 Chinook were landed. Through Sunday, August 14, 16,765 coho (50% of the sub-area quota) and 3,729 Chinook (48% of the sub-area guideline) have been landed.   Two total pink have been landed in this area during the season.

The all-species recreational salmon fishery in the area between Leadbetter Point and the Queets River opened on June 26 operating under a sub-area quota of 24,860 coho and a sub-area guideline of 16,900 Chinook.  During the week of August 8, a total of 2,880 coho, 5,296 Chinook, and 324 pink were landed.  Through Sunday, August 14, 8,812 coho (35% of the sub-area quota) and 14,396 Chinook (82% of the sub-area guideline) have been landed.

La Push
The all-species recreational salmon fishery in the area between the Queets River and Cape Alava opened on June 26 operating under a sub-area quota of 1,700 coho and a sub-area guideline of 1,350 Chinook1.  During the week of August 8, a total of 236 coho, 233 Chinook, and 260 pink were landed.  Through Sunday, August 14, 997 coho (59% of the sub-area quota) and 1,068 Chinook (76% of the sub-area guideline) have been landed.

Neah Bay
The all-species recreational salmon fishery in the area between Cape Alava and the US-Canada border opened on June 26 operating under a sub-area quota of 6,990 coho and a sub-area guideline of 3,200 Chinook.  During the week of August 8, a total of 295 coho, 490 Chinook, and 1,014 pink were landed.  Through Sunday, August 14, 2,512 coho (36% of the sub-area quota) and 2,245 Chinook (67% of the sub-area guideline) have been landed.


RMEF Issues 2011 Elk Hunting Forecast

August 17, 2011

We’re still hoping to hear back from some Northwest big game biologists for the latest news, but this morning the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation released its annual hunting forecast.

It says that while harsh winter, habitat issues and wolves are driving numbers of wapiti down locally, the Missoula-based organization is “optimistic” about 2011’s hunts, which begin as early as Aug. 27 in Oregon and Sept. 6 in Washington for general-season bowhunters.


And looking at the broader, longterm picture of recovery and expansion of elk herds and hunts across North America and the “surge” of record trophies in recent years, RMEF says this “may indeed be the Golden Era of elk hunting.”

As for those wolves, the organization includes a special note in its forecast, noting that in recent years, animal-rights activists have “blatantly” misrepresented its statistics “to prop up their argument for keeping wolves perpetually on the Endangered Species List.”

RMEF Fires Back On Wolf Groups’ ‘Disingenuous’ Use Of Its Data

“It’s a fact that where wolves are concentrated, elk herds are being impacted,” maintains RMEF. “Calf survival rates in certain areas are too low to sustain herds for the future. Wolves must be managed, same as elk. In spite of the misuse, RMEF believes these data are valuable to hunters and will continue to provide them.”

Here are RMEF’s forecasts for Northwestern states and British Columbia:

British Columbia
Elk Population: 63,000
Bull/Cow Ratio: 25-30/100
Nonresidents: $180 license plus $250 elk permit, must hire a guide
Hunter Success: N/A
Highlights: Rocky Mountain elk herds are thriving, with the agricultural zones in the Peace River region a great bet. For a backcountry experience, look to the Omineca region in north-central BC. If you’ve always dreamed of hunting a trophy Roosevelt’s bull, the stars are aligned for a great season. No limits or quotas have changed since last season, and limited-entry tags are still a tough draw at roughly 35/1. Outfitters are allotted a percentage of those tags and you can bypass the long odds by booking a hunt. The $430 cost for a license and permit is a relative bargain. Visit http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/fw.

Elk Population: 103,000
Bull/Cow Ratio: 23/100
Nonresidents: $155 license, $417 elk tag
Hunter Success: 19 percent
Highlights: The Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness is being hammered by wolf predation exacerbated by a long slide in forage quality. Elk populations are far below management objectives in the Lolo and Selway zones and slightly below objectives in the Sawtooth zone. Elk and hunting aren’t what they used to be in the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, either. Statewide, elk tag sales fell from 92,565 in 2008 to 84,765 in 2010–a decline of about 8 percent. But not all the news from Idaho is bad. Populations at or above objectives in 20 of 29 elk hunt zones, and the statewide population actually broke a long plummet and grew by 2,000 animals from last year. Hunters should look to the southern and western portions of the state, as well as areas like the Owyhee-South Hills Zone, where hunters can now chase antlerless elk August through December. Visit http://www.fishandgame.idaho.gov.

Elk Population: 150,000
Bull/Cow Ratio: 5-25/100
Nonresidents: $812
Hunter Success: 16 percent
Highlights: The biggest news for nonresidents is the 37 percent jump in the price of an elk permit. A ballot initiative last November abolished 5,500 outfitter-sponsored licenses and forced all nonresident hunters into the drawing. For those who drew a bull tag in the Bear Paws or Big Snowies, the higher fees could be money well spent, as the bulls there are growing old and big. Winter was tough in parts of central and eastern Montana, but elk in the legendary Missouri River Breaks came through fine. Hunters would be smart to look at Region 3, which yields almost 50 percent of the annual elk harvest, including some big bulls. Wolves have taken a brutal toll on some herds. In the Danaher Basin of the Bob Marshall Wilderness, cow/calf ratios are just 9/100, down from a long-term average of 24/100. Herds in the West Fork of the Bitterroot and the lower Clark Fork watershed are in steep decline, and the famed northern Yellowstone herd continues to plummet. Visit http://www.fwp.mt.gov.

Elk Population: 125,000 (65,000 Rocky Mountain, 60,000 Roosevelt’s)
Bull/Cow Ratio: 19/100 Rocky Mountain, 13/100 Roosevelt’s
Nonresidents: $141 license, $501 tag
Hunter Success: 16 percent Rocky Mountain, 12 percent Roosevelt’s
Highlights: Much of eastern Oregon saw record snowfall in the mountains, and biologists are hopeful that elk populations came out unscathed. Bowhunters can prowl most of the east side with only a general tag. For rifle hunters, nearly everything east of the Cascades is permit-only, save for a second-season rifle hunt in a few units of the northeast. Roosevelt’s elk tags are still over-the-counter (except for the far northwest and southwest corners), herds are strong and there are some beasts on the hoof. This season, hunters 17 and under are required to wear a hunter orange hat or vest when hunting any big game with any firearm. Visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us.


Elk Population: 55,000-60,000
Bull/Cow Ratio: 12-20/100
Nonresidents: $434 (will increase to $497 before season starts)
Hunter Success: 8 percent general, 39 percent for special limited-entry permits
Highlights: The state’s elk population is divided about evenly between Roosevelt’s in the west and Rocky Mountain elk to the east. In the famous Blue Mountains of southeast Washington, resident and nonresident hunters alike will find over-the-counter spike tags readily available. Highly-prized permits for branch-antlered bulls will be far tougher to come by. The Yakima herd has improved and this year the area has increased antlerless permits. In the Mount St. Helens area, managers are still trying to decrease herd numbers with more special permits for antlerless elk. Both nonresident and resident hunters should take note that elk tag fees will jump nearly 15 percent effective September 1 to help cover budget shortfalls. Visit http://www.wdfw.wa.gov/hunting.


Elk Population: 120,000
Bull/Cow Ratio: 23/100
Nonresidents: $591 permit, $302 cow-calf permit, $1,071 special permit
Hunter Success: 44 percent
Highlights: Last year, hunters harvested 25,600 elk, up from the five-year average of 21,000. Biologists say mature bulls continue to thrive in most hunting units and the statewide population remains above management objectives. The dark exception is the state’s northwest corner. Elk numbers in the Clark’s Fork and Cody herds are still down due to predation and poor habitat. The Jackson herd that summers in Yellowstone is well off the mark, too, and managers are being conservative on tags. Roughly half the hunting units just outside the park have set quotas, one is closed and rest are limited to antlered elk only. Visit http://www.gf.state.wy.us/wildlife/hunting.

For longer versions of each state’s forecast, and for states and provinces beyond our region, go to RMEF’s Web site.

Fishing License Check On Willamette Turns Up Woman Wanted On Multiple Warrants

August 17, 2011

As we detailed in the September 2010 issue of Northwest Sportsman, our game wardens sometimes come across some pretty unsavory characters while patrolling Washington’s and Oregon’s woods and waters.

While almost all angler and hunter checks do go smoothly because for the most part we’re upstanding, law-abiding citizens, sometimes the subjects contacted turn out to be convicted felons with guns, people wanted on nationwide extradition warrants, men on the lam from rape and strangulation charges.

So it went yesterday morning during a routine fishing license check on the banks of the Willamette at Sellwood Park.

OSP trooper Matt Fromme asked Kimberly Lynn Staats, 40, and her boyfriend for their angling licenses — neither had one, according to an agency spokeswoman — and ended up arresting Staats for multiple outstanding warrants, including, according to the agency:

 * Fugitive from Justice out of Clark County, Wash., where she was wanted on a felony Forgery warrant.
* Felony warrant for identity theft (five counts) and forgery in the second degree (five counts) out of Multnomah County, Ore.
* Misdemeanor warrant for fail to appear on assault, harassment and attempt to coercion charges out of Washington County, Ore.


An OSP press release says that the Southeast Portland woman was arrested without a problem and put up in the Multnomah County jail.

Staats and her boyfriend were also cited for no nonresident fishing license.

Fish and wildlife enforcement officers point out that while police typically respond to known situations, they often go into situations not knowing who or what they will find.

King Catch, Effort Ramps Up At B10

August 17, 2011

The latest catch estimates from the Lower Columbia show a near-tie for Chinook this month between the Buoy 10 fishery and the 130 miles of river from just above Astoria to Bonneville Dam as the fall run begins to push in.

A total of 622 kings have been landed between the buoy that marks the mouth of the big river and the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line about 14 miles upstream, with 564 of those caught last week. The first week’s tally was 58.


Effort also ramped up there. Between Aug. 1-7, there were 1,049 angler trips while last week there were 3,662.

A total of 39 coho have been kept at Buoy 10 for the season as well.

All that according to a fact sheet put out this morning by the Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife.

Managers expect us to catch 10,950 kings and 7,000 silvers there.

In the Columbia from east of Astoria to the dam, a total of 649 kings have been conked — as have 6,795 steelhead.

Angler effort there was 14,265 over the month’s first week, 14,213 in its second.

Managers model around 20,730 kings and 1,000 coho caught in this long stretch of the river.

New ‘BroadHead Protector’ For Archers From 2-hunters.com

August 17, 2011


2-Hunters.com — the company and Web site — were created to provide avid hunters like us a place to purchase new and inventive hunting gear and accessories at a fair price. At 2-Hunters.Com we will continue to find, invent and produce products made only in the United States that every hunter needs to make hunting safe, easier and more enjoyable.

The new Fixed Blade BroadHead Protector comes in a package of six, are easy to install and can be used while broadheads are installed on arrows; to protect bow-strings from nicks and cuts while transporting arrows in your bow-case.

The protectors will not come off during transport. The protector can also be used as a broadhead wrench to safely install, remove and store your broadheads while keeping them sharp and protecting them and all of your other archery equipment from damage while in your gear box.


Westport Returns To 5-day-a-week Salmon Fishing

August 17, 2011


Effective immediately, the salmon fishery off Westport will once again be restricted to five days a week – Sundays through Thursdays.

Anglers have been allowed to fish daily off Westport (Marine Area 2) since early August, but a significant increase in the recreational catch prompted a return to the Sunday-through-Thursday schedule, said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“Since opening ocean waters off Westport to daily fishing, the number of anglers has dramatically increased and we saw record numbers of chinook caught,” Pattillo said. “Making this change now is necessary to keep the chinook fishery off Westport open.”

Anglers can still fish for salmon daily off Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) La Push (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4).

Last week, fisheries managers also made the decision to limit anglers fishing off Westport and Ilwaco to one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit. That change went into effect Sunday (Aug. 14).

Pattillo reminds anglers fishing in ocean waters off La Push and Neah Bay that they can keep up to two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit. Anglers fishing marine areas 3 and 4 are also allowed one additional pink salmon each day.

Ocean salmon fisheries are currently scheduled to continue through Sept. 18 in marine areas 2, 3 and 4, and through Sept. 30 in Marine Area 1.

Fishery managers will continue to monitor the ocean salmon fishery throughout the season, and announce any other changes on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/ .

Additional information on the ocean fishery, including minimum-size limits and area catch guidelines, is available in WDFW’s Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations .

Aug. Columbia Steelhead Catch Already A Record

August 16, 2011

If you’re a Northwest state fish and wildlife agency that, oh, say, decided to pimp the summer steelhead fishery on the Lower Columbia this year, you hit a home run.

The month is only half over, but there’s already a new record “handle” on the big creek.

So far in August, Oregon and Washington anglers have caught 11,639.

And that comes on the back of a possible record-tying July fishery.

It tops the previous high mark for August set in 2009, The Year Of The Monster Run, by 590 fish.

Not all 11,000-plus fish have been retained, of course. The stats include hatchery steelhead kept as well as unclipped ones anglers are required to release.

Fisheries biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver reports that last week sport fishermen caught 6,295 summer-runs, keeping 3,826 and releasing 2,469.

July’s handle was also estimated to be pretty high and creeping towards the record of 16,000, but final numbers have not come in yet, he says.

Earlier this year, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife set up a Web site targeting the fishery, with maps of hot beaches and expert tips. Northwest Sportsman has also been running articles in our magazine and blog on the scene.

Hymer says it’s probable that higher, cooler flows this year may be keeping steelies within range of bank anglers in the lower river. Typically by this time of year, warmer water pushes them deeper.

“In addition, I think anglers are getting it dialed in with the dyed prawns,” he adds.

Since July 1, a total of 195,231 steelhead have gone over Bonneville Dam. The run forecast is for 390,000 A- and B-runs destined for the upper Columbia, Eastern Oregon and Snake system.

However, the Columbia’s flows appear to be slowing fisheries further upstream.

“I spent the day in the (Columbia) Gorge last Thursday, checking out three fisheries — Drano (Lake), White Salmon (River) and Herman Creek. None of them has the anywhere near the numbers of fish that there should be, and the steelhead that are being caught are being taken at the mouths, and not up in the streams,” reported Northwest Sportsman contributor Terry Otto today.

Hymer says that overall last week Lower Columbia anglers made 14,213 fishing trips, landing 498 Chinook and releasing eight silvers.

“In general, boat angler effort is increasing and steelhead bank angler effort downstream of Longview is decreasing: however, steelhead catches increased last week overall,” he told fishheads in an email blast this afternoon.

Lower Columbia Fishing Report (ODFW, 8-16-11)

August 16, 2011


Anglers are beginning to catch a few fall chinook in the lower Columbia and the steelhead catch rates continue to be good as well.  In the gorge boat anglers averaged 0.07 fall chinook and 1.53 steelhead caught per boat, while anglers fishing the Portland to Longview area averaged 0.31 fall chinook and 0.41 steelhead caught per boat.  In Troutdale boat anglers averaged 0.05 fall chinook and 0.35 steelhead caught per boat.  Catch rates for bank anglers in the gorge are good but slow elsewhere.  At Buoy 10 this past weekend anglers averaged 0.15 fall chinook and 0.02 coho caught per angler.

Gorge Bank:

Weekend checking showed 23 adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus 22 unclipped steelhead released for 150 bank anglers.

Gorge Boats:

Weekend checking showed one fall chinook adult and 13 adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus 10 unclipped steelhead released for 15 boats (39 anglers).

Troutdale Boats:

Weekend checking showed three fall chinook adults, one fall chinook jack and 12 adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus 11 unclipped steelhead and one sockeye released for 65 boats (136 anglers).

Portland to Longview Bank:

Weekend checking showed four adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus one unclipped steelhead released for 105 bank anglers.

Portland to Longview Boats:

Weekend checking showed 43 fall chinook adults, one fall chinook jack and 45 adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus 12 unclipped steelhead and two unclipped coho released for 140 boats (313 anglers).

Estuary Bank (Jones Beach to Clatsop Spit):

Weekend checking showed one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept for two bank anglers.

Estuary Boats (Tongue Point to Buoy 10):

Weekend checking showed 68 fall chinook, five adipose fin-clipped coho, and one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus five fall chinook and 14 unclipped coho released for 168 boats (486 anglers).

Buoy 10, Lower Columbia, SW WA Fishing Report (8-15-11)

August 15, 2011

The number of anglers at Buoy 10 is beginning to ramp up and the latest catch stats show about a half a Chinook a boat.

A pair of Northwest Sportsman readers actually did better than that last week.

Spencer and Andrew Davies of Longview spent three days fishing near the mouth of the Columbia and report hooking seven and bringing three over the side.

“We were using green Delta Divers and green flashers with Bob Toman spinner (white/orange with a pink squid) and also a Spinner Dave’s (green/chartreuse w/chartreuse squid and chartreuse/orange w/chartreuse squid),” says Spencer via email.


Meanwhile, kings and a TON of steelhead are being caught further up the Columbia, according to the latest dispatch from fisheries biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver. To wit:


Cowlitz River – Steelhead are being caught throughout the river with the best catches around the trout hatchery.  Sea run cutthroats are being caught on the lower river.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 44 spring chinook adults, 25 jacks, 33 mini-jacks, 631 summer-run steelhead, three sea-run cutthroat, one fall chinook adult, and two sockeye salmon during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 51 spring chinook adults, 16 jacks, and one fall chinook adult into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek, 63 spring chinook mini-jacks into Riffe Lake at Mossyrock Park, three sea-run cutthroat into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, and one summer-run steelhead and two sockeye salmon adults into the Cowlitz River at the Barrier Dam boat launch.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 4,720 cubic feet per second on Monday morning, August 15. Water visibility is 13 feet.

Kalama and Lewis rivers – Some steelhead are being caught.

Wind River – Light effort with just a couple boats daily at the mouth.

Drano Lake – Boat anglers averaged about ½ steelhead per rod last week.  Effort is increasing with up to 45 boats counted last Saturday morning.

White Salmon River – Bank anglers are catching some steelhead.  About 30 water craft here early Saturday morning; no report on angling success.

Buoy 10 – Chinook catches are slowly improving with nearly ½ chinook per boat average yesterday.  A few more coho are also showing in the catch.  Daily sampling summaries can be found at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/buoy10/.

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled just over 2,700 salmonid anglers (including 313 boats) with 58 adult and 16 jack fall chinook, 1,151 steelhead, and 1 sockeye (released).  We still haven’t sampled our first coho.  691 (60%) of the steelhead were kept.  All the adult fall chinook were kept and a few “small” jacks were released.

Bonneville Pool – Good catches of steelhead outside the mouths of Drano Lake and the White Salmon River.  About 20 boats each morning off the White Salmon and similar numbers off Drano.


Lower Columbia from the mouth to the Marker 82 line – Only a few anglers were sampled during the current catch-and-release only fishery.


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Some walleye are being caught by boat anglers from Woodland to the gorge.

Puyallup Pinks: Switch ‘Flicked’ On

August 15, 2011

Total wild guess: There will be pinks in the lower Puyallup when it opens tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 16.

OK, so that’s not exactly crazed speculation.

A) There are copious amounts of humpies in the saltwater below the mouth of the Pierce County river.

And B) Anglers are already catching ’em in the glacial-flour waters of the Puyallup above there.

Jason Brooks, Northwest Sportsman‘s Tacoma-area detector of all things fishy, was on the open stretch of the river near Meridian Street bridge in the town of Puyallup with his buddy and their young sons and reports a number hauled away to local barbecues and smokers.

WDFW’s freshly minted weekly catch stats today show 457 brought back to the Redondo ramp and 249 to the Point Defiance launch on Saturday.

If I’m reading the state creel data correctly — and I’m warning you, the burger I had for lunch is making me pretty drowsy and this cup o’ Joe ain’t kicking in very fast so I could be wrong — the Redondo tally might be the best for this time period all the way back through 2001.

Other areas of Puget Sound are seeing strong catches as well, though maybe behind 2009’s.

While the Puyallup from Freeman Road to the Carbon River has been open since Aug. 1, the stretch from the 11th St. Bridge just off Commencement Bay up to Freeman opens manana. Here’s Brooks report from just above there:

“It’s like somebody flicked a switch on!

I hit the Puyallup River on Saturday morning for an hour near the confluence of the White River and only saw one fish hooked up, and lost by a fellow fisherman. Then on Sunday afternoon I got a call from my fishing buddy, Brian Chlipala, who said that the hole a bit lower in the river off of North Levee Road just downstream of the Meridian Street Bridge was on fire.

I was like, yeah, right, I’ve heard this before — after all yesterday sucked.

Sure enough, droves of fisherman were lined up shoulder to shoulder and several had fish on!



We let the boys hang out on the beach, throwing rocks, poking guts, and splashing in the shallows, which is what kids are suppose to do in August (not sit inside and play video games, thanks Mother Nature for this crappy summer…). It wasn’t long and Brian — who thought it would be fun to use a trout rod — hooked up.


At the end of the day I went two for four … I must say so far this year these pinks are a bit bigger than the last run that came through in ’09. Adam had a heck of a time holding up the two fish for a photo, but he was all smiles.


A few guys on the river even handed their rods off to Adam to reel in some fish for fun, and stated, “That’s what pink fishing is all about.”

It is already your usual combat fishery in the open waters above Freeman Road. But when the lower river opens tomorrow it should give the fisherman a bit more elbow room, and let’s hope nobody flips the switch off.

Brooks explains that the advantage to tomorrow’s opener is “two-fold” — first crack at fresh fish milling around the river and the chance for a bit more elbow room for anglers above there.

As for what he was using yesterday, he ran a test between two ways to drift fish, one more legitimate than the other.

“I used a size 12 red rocket Corky and a piece of cerise glo bug yarn on a size 2 hook and about 3 feet of leader. I then refused to sweep my gear or yank on the slide, and man they hammered it! I only set the hook once the grab was so strong that I had to set it to keep my rod from being yanked from my hands,” Brooks says. “All four fish I hooked were inside the mouth, not on the outside. I will admit, even in the glacial silty water I was a bit surprised.”

He says that the man next to him hooked 10, but on a long leader with a sliding weight setup.

Taking River Fishing, Part 3

August 12, 2011

I’ve been hesitant about getting River into fishing – a strange admission for an outdoor magazine editor to make, I know.

Here I am giving you all sorts of ideas on where to go with you and yours, and neglecting– nay, avoiding – to take my 4-year-old out.

It’s been over two years since our first trip (Northwest Sportsman July 2009). Our second was this past April.

Then again, if you read about that trip on this blog, you may have had the same reaction another hardcore angler had to my peripatetic son: “Your kid is cute as heck, but you have effectively scared me from breeding.”

For me, fishing is largely a solitary pursuit, alone time in the outdoors where I move at my own pace, go where I want, eat and drink when I need.

Fishing is freedom.

And frustration.

Memories from my early angling career center around inscrutably tangled fishing reels. Surely “Zebco” must be the name of Minoan and Makah deities who’ve bedeviled fishermen through the ages.

Do I want to relive my father’s hassles? I haven’t been so sure.

River, though, has shown increasing interest in angling.

For awhile now he’s picked up sticks and used them as rods to catch invisible fish. So it was time.

Around 2:30 or so that May day, we went down to Seattle’s Green Lake and rented a rowboat, dudded up in our lifejackets and pushed off from the breakwall.

After tying on a streamer pattern that has been good to me in the past at the lake on similar overcast days, we began trolling.

As you might imagine, however, there’s not much to do in a bare-bones, 8-foot-long plastic tub for a squirmy kid – especially one who didn’t bring his Thomas trains or books. The bubbles trailing behind the boat held his attention for only so long and then he needed to investigate what it was like to sit next to me.

No fun, it turns out, when an oar hits you in the chest.

He was quickly off to the front of the boat.

And then next to me again – at least until an oar swept him back into the stern.

Green is well-stocked, so after about 15 minutes I gave up on the Bugger and tied on a leech, and when that didn’t work, went to a Carey Special. It didn’t work either, even though we were in a spot that did me good last spring.

Hmmm, I thought, checking my watch – we were due back at the boat rental at 4 p.m. – might just have to go with metal. With that I tied on a Dick Nite, cast out and grabbed the oars.

I don’t mean for this to sound like an ad for the lure maker, but the rainbows quickly began grabbing the red-and-white spoon. The first slipped the hook on River, but the second he reeled to the boat by himself.

I lifted it in, showed it up close to a very excited son, took the hook out and then released the gasping fish back into the lake.

River immediately and loudly wailed.

“What?” I said, dumbfounded.

He’d wanted to keep it, he sobbed.

Then it hit me: I’d just let my kid’s first fish go.

His first ever.

The one you bonk – no matter its size or species or how it was caught – take a picture and send it to grandparents and magazines and post on Facebook.


I tried to rationalize. River, it’s too small, it’s still a baby, it needs to grow, we can’t keep all of them.

It sorta worked – or at least the tears quit – but now I had to catch another and was up against the clock. It was just before 4 and I knew Amy would be waiting back at the dock. I began to paddle us that way, but my hopes were low: We’d covered this water already with nary a strike.

But the spoon got bit again. I handed the rod to River, but as he reeled, the fish got away.

So did the next.

And the next.

The hour and dock grew closer.

We lost yet another.

I was getting desperate – at least River was fighting fish, but criminy, what had I done?!? If our luck didn’t change, his takeaway from the day probably would be that fishing is just a grand tease without reward!

There was no turning back either: I could see Amy on shore and we were already late.

We cruised into the shallows and I – the worst outdoor dad in all of history – gave up hope.

But then, by a miracle, one last rainbow bit. I set the hook hard and River determinedly reeled and reeled, the fish splashed and ran, Amy and I cheered him on, and then, as we hit the bulkhead, with a quick lift, I brought the fish into the boat.


Turning to Amy, River proudly exclaimed, “Mama, I caught a fish!” and in that distracted moment, I thumped the 8-incher – the toughest, best catch I’ve ever been a part of.






We took a mess of pics with it draped over his arm – he didn’t want to hold it – and then he announced he wanted to put it in the bathtub and keep it as a pet.

It took awhile to convince River the trout was now dead – but he readily ate it up for dinner.

It’s trite, but in turning his first fish back as well as failing on our first two trips, I think we both caught something larger in the end.

WDFW Dials Back Westport, Ilwaco King Limit

August 12, 2011


Starting Sunday (Aug. 14), anglers fishing off Westport and Illwaco will again be restricted to one chinook salmon as part of their daily limit of two salmon off the state’s southern coast.

State fisheries managers increased the daily limit to two chinook last week, but a sudden surge in the recreational catch prompted a return to the one-chinook rule in Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco) and Marine Area 2 (Westport), said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW),

“The number of anglers fishing out of Westport this week increased dramatically and their success in catching chinook was better than any week in recent history,” Pattillo said. “While we’re reluctant to go back to one chinook a day, this change is necessary to keep this fishery open for a full season.”

Pattillo noted that the new chinook catch limit will apply only to marine areas 1 and 2.  Anglers fishing off La Push (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) can continue to catch and keep two chinook as part of their daily limit – which also allows them to keep one additional pink salmon per day in those areas.

Prior to last week’s decision to increase the chinook limit off Westport and Ilwaco, WDFW found that catch rates were lagging well behind last year’s pace, Pattillo said. But that changed abruptly this week, when the number of anglers fishing those areas jumped 30 percent over the same period last year.

“We couldn’t ignore that much of a change in the fishery,” he said.

Ocean salmon fisheries are currently scheduled to continue through Sept. 18 in marine areas 2, 3 and 4, and through Sept. 30 in Marine Area 1.

Fishery managers will continue to monitor the ocean salmon fishery throughout the season, and announce any other changes on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/ .

Additional information on the ocean fishery, including minimum-size limits and area catch guidelines, is available in WDFW’s Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations .

Closely Watched By Waterfowlers, Willapa NWR Releases Final Plan

August 12, 2011


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) today released the final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Impact Statement (CCP/EIS) for Willapa National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Washington. The CCP/EIS outlines the management goals, objectives and strategies that will guide the Refuge for the next 15 years.

The CCP/ EIS was developed to provide scientifically grounded guidance for improving and managing the Refuge’s habitats for the long-term conservation of migratory birds, native plants and animals. The planning team modified the plan and the preferred alternative to reflect the many comments received during the public comment phase of the draft CCP/EIS. A Record of Decision formally finalizing the CCP/EIS will be signed in 30 days. Implementation of the long-term management actions and projects depends on the availability of funding over the next 15 years.

The final plan includes a new section describing public comments and concerns expressed regarding the draft CCP/EIS during the public comment period and the Service’s responses to public comments.

Changes to the wildlife and habitat sections based on public feedback include:

In the South Bay Units, the number of acres of diked impoundments targeted for restoration to historic estuarine habitats (open water, intertidal flats, and salt marsh) was reduced from 749 acres to 611 acres; On the Riekkola Unit, 93 acres of short-grass fields will be managed for Canada geese and Roosevelt elk instead of being removed, as proposed in the draft plan; The amount of late-successional forest was increased by two acres, for a total of 6,180 acres with proposed habitat restoration of the current headquarters facility site.

Priority public use programs are expanded in the final plan and include opportunities for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, photography and environmental education and interpretation. Other changes to the preferred alternative specific to the wildlife-dependent public use opportunities include:

Revised location of the new parking area, which will include year-round access to a new car-top boat launch at Dohman Creek; Expansion of waterfowl hunting on South Bay Units (5,570 acres) and regulated goose hunting on Riekkola Unit (100 acres) to include three blinds for goose hunting (including one barrier-free blind) and two blinds for waterfowl hunting (including one barrier-free blind), concurrent with tidal restoration; Development of a new hiking trail to Porter Point that will be open year-round to all Refuge visitors, concurrent with tidal restoration; Outside the hunting season, the blinds on the Riekkola Unit may be used by all Refuge visitors for wildlife viewing and photography.

The plan identifies actions necessary for enhancing, protecting and sustaining the Refuge’s natural resources, including a strategic land protection plan for future land acquisition, a forest management plan, improvements to habitats, migratory bird populations and threatened, endangered or rare species.

When Congress amended the National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act (Act) in 1997, it incorporated an underlying philosophy that “wildlife comes first” on refuges. The Act provided the Service with guidance for managing refuges to ensure the long-term conservation of fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats. It also established six priority public uses on National Wildlife Refuges: wildlife observation and photography, hunting, fishing, interpretation and environmental education. The Act also requires all lands within the Refuge System to be managed in accordance with a CCP to ensure that the management of each refuge reflects the purposes of that refuge and the mission, policies and goals of the Refuge System.

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1937 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife, and for conservation purposes in and around Willapa Bay. Subsequent acquisition of lands over the last 70 years has expanded the refuge to approximately 16,000 acres. Current wildlife and habitat management activities include wetland restoration, stream and riparian restoration, salmon reintroduction, grazing and pasture management, invasive species and weed control, forest management, and migratory bird and endangered species management and monitoring.

Willapa National Wildlife Refuge includes several rare remnants of old-growth coastal cedar forest. The Refuge preserves habitat for spawning wild salmon, hundreds of thousands of migrating shorebirds, and threatened and endangered species such as the marbled murrelet. The Refuge preserves a number of unique ecosystems including diverse salt marshes, rich tide flats, rain-drenched old growth forest, and dynamic coastal dunes. The Refuge is a great place to see what the Pacific Northwest looked like 100 years ago.

Visitors to the refuge can enjoy viewing a wide variety of wildlife, from spawning salmon in the Refuge’s numerous streams, Roosevelt elk on Long Island, and the tens of thousands of migrating shorebirds that crowd the beaches at Leadbetter Point and shores of Willapa Bay.

The final CCP/EIS is posted on the Refuges’ Web site at http://www.fws.gov/willapa/  The printed document is available at the Astoria Public Library in Oregon, and these Timberline Regional Libraries: Ilwaco, South Bend, Naselle, Ocean Park, and Raymond.

If It’s A Pink Year, It’s Time To Stock Up On Peterson Pucks

August 10, 2011

Peterson Manufacturing Company was founded with their first patented product, the Lumber Crayon Holder. They are currently located in Longview, Wash., and since 1924 have been manufacturing quality wood products and continually striving to make things simpler and less expensive for consumers.

And now with their newest product, the Peterson Smoker Pucks, they have done it again. They are able to bring to you a 100-percent wood product that can be used in nearly any type of smoker or grill for adding a wood flavor at a lower cost than any other smoke fuel.

Not only is the cost of this product unrivaled and its ease of use astounding, it is also a byproduct of kiln-dried wood used in manufacturing and contains no binders or release agents, which makes it the cleanest smoking product on the market. These factors give birth to product of significant value.

With the Peterson Pucks, anyone operating a smoker can load up a typical chip pan with up to six pucks (though three or four is usually all that is needed) and never have to change the pan to add more smoke. The pucks will transfer heat to one another, so for longer lasting smoke, stack them two deep.

On a barbecue, be it gas, propane or charcoal, one Peterson Smoker Puck can add a wood smoke flavor by being placed directly on the grate, in a smoker box, in tin foil or a tuna can near the flame. Peterson Pucks can also be used in lieu of charcoal as your primary cooking fuel.

Peterson Smoker Pucks are also able to self-sustain. This makes cold smoking possible by turning off your heat source once the pucks are emitting a good amount of smoke.

You can visit Peterson Smoker Pucks Web site at Petersonpucks.com to find a list of their dealers and more about this product.

B10 Catch Up To 58 Kings; Steelie Fishing Strong

August 10, 2011

A fact sheet from Columbia River fishery managers out late this afternoon shows that for the first week of the Buoy 10 season, a total of 58 Chinook and two coho were kept while another 16 kings were released.

It’s early yet at the mouth of the big river, of course, and the better fishing is well above there, and for a different brand on the Oncorynchus label — steelhead.

Stats show that just under 3,000 summers were kept from the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line up to Bonneville while another 2,376 were released from August 1-7.


According to fisheries biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver, over 40 percent of the action occurred up in the Gorge west of the dam.

Though the run started out slow, over the past two weeks, over 96,000 have gone over Bonneville, topping the 10-year average for that period by nearly 20,000 fish.

Another 151 kings were also retained in that water.

Anglers made an estimated 1,116 trips to the Buoy 10 salmon fishery, 14,265 to the combined salmon-steelhead fishery in the Lower Columbia.

Managers expect us to catch 10,950 kings and 7,000 coho at B10 and 20,730 Chinook and 1,000 coho from Astoria to the tailrace.

Ocean Salmon Update (8-10-11)

August 10, 2011


Columbia Ocean Area (including Oregon)

The all-species recreational salmon fishery in the area between Cape Falcon, OR and Leadbetter Point, WA opened on June 26 operating under a sub-area quota of 33,600 coho and a sub-area guideline of 7,400 Chinook.  During the week of August 1, a total of 2,983  coho and 713 Chinook were landed. Through Sunday, August 7, 9,533 coho (28% of the sub-area quota) and 1,821 Chinook (25% of the sub-area guideline) have been landed.   Two total pink have been landed in this area during the season.


The all-species recreational salmon fishery in the area between Leadbetter Point and the Queets River opened on June 26 operating under a sub-area quota of 24,860 coho and a sub-area guideline of 16,900 Chinook.  During the week of August 1, a total of 1,218 coho, 3,156 Chinook, and 297 pink were landed.  Through Sunday, August 7, 5,932 coho (24% of the sub-area quota) and 9,100 Chinook (54% of the sub-area guideline) have been landed.

La Push

The all-species recreational salmon fishery in the area between the Queets River and Cape Alava opened on June 26 operating under a sub-area quota of 1,700 coho and a sub-area guideline of 1,350 Chinook1.  During the week of August 1, a total of 140 coho, 326 Chinook, and 287 pink were landed.  Through Sunday, August 7, 761 coho (45% of the sub-area quota) and 836 Chinook (62% of the sub-area guideline) have been landed.

Neah Bay

The all-species recreational salmon fishery in the area between Cape Alava and the US-Canada border opened on June 26 operating under a sub-area quota of 6,990 coho and a sub-area guideline of 3,200 Chinook.  During the week of August 1, a total of 257 coho, 325 Chinook, and 1,763 pink were landed.  Through Sunday, August 7, 2,218 coho (32% of the sub-area quota) and 1,756 Chinook (55% of the sub-area guideline) have been landed.

Pend Oreille Pike Briefing Today

August 10, 2011

Fishery biologists from the Kalispel Tribe of Northeast Washington will today brief members of the Northwest Power & Conservation Council on the “exponential” growth of northern pike in the Pend Oreille River.

They estimate that there are now from 8,000 to 10,000 in Box Canyon Reservoir between Ione and Newport alone, up from 300 or so in 2004.

Citing data that shows the average length of sampled fish has declined from 33 inches in 2006 to 19 inches this year, tribal biologists also say “the ‘glory days’ of trophy pike are behind us.”

Now, the worry is that the voracious and easy to catch predators will “undermine” massive investments in the restoration of native species in the basin, affect the tribe’s largemouth bass program, and move further down the Columbia system.

Indeed, a roughly 3-year-old pike was landed in Lake Roosevelt last month and the tribe’s Jason Connor doesn’t think it was the only one in the massive reservoir.

According to a PowerPoint presentation to be given to the NPCC at the Northern Quest Resort in Airway Heights, Wash., this morning, the Kalispels hope to secure long-term funding for pike suppression and population monitoring, get northerns designated as an invasive species, promote and reward harvest, and make retention mandatory.

Some of that would require cooperation with the state Department of Fish & Wildlife, which is watching developments closely.

At the same time, interest in the rare fishery has skyrocketed. Angler use of the reservoir has grown from an estimated 4,000 hours a year in 1990 to 76,000 hours in 2010, according to tribal stats. And variations of “Pend Oreille pike” are among the search terms bringing the most viewers to our WordPress site’s archived articles.

In summer, fishing’s good from boat or bank whether you’re dangling dead baitfish under a float or throwing anything from high-dollar stickbaits to broomsticks with hooks.

And it is drawing fishermen from as far away as Puyallup.


That’s where Kevin Bye is from. He made a mid-July run over, catching a couple in Tacoma Slough on spoons, and plans on making a return trip in the next month.

But at the same time that he’s hoping to hang a 20-plus-pounder, he’s also concerned about overpopulation and other issues.

“On one hand, it’s a great fishery and certainly offers up something unique that the rest of the state doesn’t have,” Bye said via email yesterday. “On the other hand, I’m concerned about what impact they could have if and when they make it into the Columbia. I figure it could take some time for them to get through (Lake) Roosevelt and I agree with the article in Northwest Sportsman about the northerns having a difficult time reproducing in there. There certainly are some big northerns hanging out in the river, but there needs to be some serious thinning of the herd with the juveniles.”

NWS Kayak Guys Catch Tuna, Shark 50-plus Miles Out

August 9, 2011

UPDATED 7:49 A.M. AUG. 11, 2011 WITH PICS: Conditions on the open Pacific were “sporty,” but yesterday three anglers fishing in their kayaks over 50 miles out of Newport, Ore., caught albacore tuna, a successful end to the first time the tactic of “mothershipping” has ever been attempted on this part of the ocean.

“The weather was marginal but we pulled it off,” reports Mark Veary of Hillsboro, Ore., today. “Bryce is the man — first blood and most fish.”

Bryce would be Bryce Molenkamp of Shoreline, Wash. He hauled two tuna aboard his yellow pedal-powered Hobie, the first while actually just letting line out, Veary says.

We can’t say with absolute certainty, but that probably makes Molenkamp the first angler to ever catch an albie from a ‘yak in the North Pacific.

Allen Sansano picked up one too, and while Veary had also dreamed of hooking into a “30-plus-pound edible outboard motor,” he settled for battling a 4- or 5-foot blue shark.

Still, it’s likely that that catch is a first for a Northwest kayak angler as well.

“Beautiful animal up close,” Veary adds.

He and Molenkamp write a kayak fishing column for Northwest Sportsman magazine. In the current issue, Bryce talks Puget Sound pink salmon, and in September’s, Mark details the quiet approach to Oregon estuary coho.




The culmination of four years of thinking and planning that began while Molenkamp gave seminars during the Seattle Boat Show, the trio and a camera crew rode out of Yaquina Bay early yesterday morning aboard a “mothership,” the 43-foot Ambush, captained by Dick Pickett. It’s an approach that is used by some San Diego, Gulf Coast and Florida charters to put kayak anglers onto pelagic species.

“There have been a lot of captains in the past who said they were open to give it a shot,” Molenkamp said for our blog announcing the trip late last week, “but something always fell through in the end.”

This trip’s big question mark was the weather. While conditions closer to Newport on Monday were good enough that my wife took our two sons, ages 4 years and 20 months, out on a successful whale-watching charter off South Beach, further out the seas were more active.

“Winds were consistent 10 to 15-plus knots, ocean was 4 to 5 feet at 8 seconds or less — confused seas with a herds of sheep roaming from time to time,” says Veary.

Much of the trip was spent searching for a good bite. When one was finally located, the kayaks were dropped onto the ocean and the men fished out of them for an hour and a half.

And how did it feel fishing over something like nearly a mile of water and with Sapporo the next landfall?

“The distance from shore definitely plays into all your anxieties leading up to the moment you step off the swimdeck” of the charter boat, says Veary. “Once I was in my kayak, I felt right at home.  The only thing on my mind was getting my gear in front of a fish.”

That said, support from the mother ship was “critical” for the trip, and he lauds the skipper’s work.

“I can’t say enough good things about Capt. Pickett and his wife Peggy. He had thought through the logistics well and worked with us to optimize the time we had. His enthusiasm for fishing and for what we were doing was palpable,” Veary says.

Fishing out on the open ocean in small boats is not new in the Northwest. After all, Makah whalers of old are said to have rowed their cedar canoes up to 100 miles off the Washington coast. But as the sport of tuna fishing has grown over the past decade, the only choice for anglers wanting to do battle with albacore was whether they were going to do so standing up in a big charter or a large sport boat.

Now, with Molenkamp, Veary and Sansano proving that albacore can be caught from and tow around glorified Tupperware boats, a whole new tactic may blossom out of one of the newest fisheries to develop in the Northwest.

As the guys say, enjoy the sleigh ride.

NSIA Joins Businesses Asking For ‘Decisive Change’ On Columbia-Snake Salmonid Restoration

August 9, 2011


The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association (NSIA) joins over 1,000 American businesses that have come together to ask President Obama for decisive change in failed policy to restore endangered wild salmon and steelhead in the Columbia and Snake Rivers.

Over 200 sportfishing businesses have joined the letter released today, following U.S. District Judge James Redden’s ruling on August 2, 2011, which found the Administration’s current salmon plan illegal.  Salmon are a mainstay of economies and jobs for the entire west coast and critically important for thousands of Northwest outdoor and sportfishing businesses.

Other letter signers also include commercial fishing businesses; outdoor retailers and equipment makers; food, farm, restaurant and tourism businesses; and clean energy businesses.

“My family owned and operated stores and all the sportfishing businesses we purchase from in the Northwest and along the West Coast are at risk if the government’s 20-year failure to restore endangered Columbia/Snake salmon doesn’t change,” said Dan Grogan, co-owner of Fisherman’s Marine and Outdoor with three stores and headquarters in Oregon. “We need President Obama to comply with the court’s ruling, and to work with Northwest business leaders to correct his salmon policy and save jobs and those dependent on them.”

“It’s not just about fish, this is about all the family-wage jobs and all the industries these fish help support including the sportfishing industry. We need a transparent and science based approach to Columbia/Snake salmon recovery efforts,” said Scott Weedman, co-owner of Three Rivers Marine and Tackle in Woodinville, Washington. “We need a plan that works for both salmon and people in the region. We don’t have that yet, but I am confident we can get there with good leadership.”

The 1,000-plus businesses ask the President to begin collaborative talks among all stakeholders including sportfishermen “to craft a lawful, science-based plan that restores salmon, protects this important food source, puts thousands of people to work, and helps to build a cleaner energy future.”

Their letter is also being delivered to members of Congress.

NSIA was founded in 1993 by a collection of sport fishing industry business leaders who understood the need for a strong voice in the local, state, regional and federal governments. NSIA is not a sports club but an industry lobby group, with lobbyist in both Washington and Oregon, representing the business interests of the many members that depend on the sport of fishing for their livelihoods. NSIA is involved in every major salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and shellfish fisheries issue across the region.  For more information go to nsiafishing.org

RMEF Tips For Field Judging Bull Elk

August 9, 2011


MISSOULA, Mont.–A trophy bull can turn up almost anywhere in elk country but opportunities to take one are rare. When a monster steps out, a hunter often has no time to count antler points, much less compute scores. But not always. Sometimes there’s ample chance to really focus and size up an elk in your search for the bull of a lifetime.

Will you know a world-class trophy if you see one?

“All elk hunters are fascinated by antlers, but not everyone recognizes what it takes to grow trophies. Big headgear is a product of genetics, age and nutrition provided by great habitat,” said David Allen, president and CEO of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. “Learning to field judge antlers will help you understand even more about the elk you’re looking at, whether it’s one for the record books–or one to let walk away and grow up.”

RMEF offers the following general guidelines adapted from material provided by Boone and Crockett Club. For details, read “A Boone and Crockett Club Field Guide to Measuring and Judging Big Game.” Visit http://www.boone-crockett.org.


Counting Points–Most mature bull elk are 6x6s. An elk’s first antlers are usually spikes. In good habitat, a bull may have a 5-point rack as a 2-1/2-year-old and then a small six-point rack as a 3-1/2-year-old. Its best antlers, however, usually come at age 9-1/2 to 12-1/2, so remember that not every 6×6 is a trophy. Instantly identifying a six-point bull is not difficult. The fourth point, sometimes called the dagger point, is normally the longest point and most distinctive feature of an elk rack. If the main beam goes straight back from the dagger you’re almost certainly looking at a five-point antler. If there’s another point rising upward behind the dagger, perhaps making a horizontal “Y,” then you’re looking at a six-point antler.

A perfect, typical trophy rack has a combination of long points, long beams, good mass and a wide spread. However, some of these criteria are more important than others. Let’s look at each.

Beam Length–Most great elk have long main beams. In the all-time records book, the average beam length of the top 10 typical heads is over 58 inches. However, the average beam length of the bottom 10 is 55-4/8 inches–not much difference. If a bull appears able to “scratch his rear-end with his antlers,” it likely has the frame to be a trophy. No need to spend much more time considering beam length.

Inside Spread–Boone and Crockett records show a wide variation on spreads of trophy elk. Interestingly, the narrowest head in the book outscores the widest, which should be enough to tell you that spread isn’t everything. The top 10 typical entries range from 38-2/8 to 53 inches of inside spread for an average of 46-2/8 inches. The bottom 10 range from 38 to 49-4/8 inches for an average of 42-4/8 inches. Again, not a significant difference. In the field, simply look for a spread that stretches well outside the ears. This should indicate a spread somewhere in the low to mid-40s, and that’s really all you need be concerned about.

Mass–Most really big elk have heavy antlers that carry good mass through the length of the main beam. However, mass is very hard to judge. It’s unusual to have a lot of time to look at a big bull and mass is not where you should spend most of it. Just remember that very few elk considered “big” in the more visible characteristics have thin antlers. When hunting, quickly look for antlers that are visibly as large or larger in circumference than the ear bases, which are about 9 inches around. More importantly, the antlers should maintain that thickness to at least the fifth point.

Tine Length–If you have time to study a bull, really look at the tines. Length of the points is the single most important trophy criteria. The good news is that point length is one of the easiest things to judge because there is a yardstick. On a big American elk, the distance from the burr of the antler to the tip of the nose is about 15-4/8 inches. Let’s start at the bottom of the antlers and work up. A curved brow tine that appears to reach the end of the nose will be about 18 inches long. The next two points are usually shorter, but they still need to approach the burr-to-nose yardstick. Now comes the truth-teller, the dagger point. The dagger point is usually the longest point, and on a monster bull it will be half-again longer than the burr-to-nose yardstick, or even almost double that measurement. On a 6×6, the last point matters a lot. It has to be strong, at least 8 or 10 inches. This is less important if the bull is a 7×7, but you still need some inches in the top of the rack.

For a typical American elk, Boone and Crockett requires a minimum of 360 points to enter the Awards Book, and 375 points for entry into the All-time Records Book. For most bulls, inside spread is only 10-15 percent of its score. Mass is usually less than 20 percent. Beam length is worth close to 25 percent. This math means tine length accounts for about 40 percent of the score, sometimes more but rarely less.

So let’s look through the spotting scope at a really good 6×6 American elk. Get your notebook out. The bull seems to have really long beams, almost scratching his rump. Estimate 55 inches on each side: 110 points. Spread is fairly wide but not noticeably splayed out. Figure 45 inches of inside spread: 45 points. Mass isn’t huge, but pretty good. It starts at a normally heavy 9 inches and keeps it pretty well, maybe 30 inches of circumference on each antler: 60 points. So far, the bull is totaling 215.

Now let’s work out the points. The brow tines curve nicely and seem to pass the tip of the nose, about 18 inches each: 36 points. The next two points are about 16 inches each on both sides: 64 points. The daggers are quite good, about half again longer than the burr-to-nose yardstick. Let’s give them 22 inches each: 44 points. The back fork is also pretty good, about 8 inches on each side: 16 points.

Assuming both sides are equal, with no deductions for lack of symmetry, and you’re looking at a bull that will score 375–a Boone and Crockett-class typical bull!

Pinks Pushing Into Sound

August 8, 2011

Big pink salmon catches continue in the Straits, and now anglers are picking up fair numbers deep into Puget Sound.

On Saturday, 171 were brought into the Redondo ramp halfway between Seattle and Tacoma, and yesterday 163 came in to the Point Defiance launch, 82 at Ballard’s Don Armeni Ramp, 55 to Everett’s 10th St. Ramp and 41 to Cornet Bay on northern Whidbey Island.

By comparison, 466 were counted at just one of Olson’s docks in Sekiu on Sunday.

The figures come from the latest creel sampling done by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.

For the week and first seven days of August, 318 were counted at five Central Sound ramps, 225 at a half-dozen or so launches in the North Sound, 535 in the South Sound and Hood Canal, and a whopping 3,413 in the Straits.

23-plus Pounder Wins SKC-PSA Salmon Derby

August 8, 2011


Approximately 380 anglers took to the water Saturday, August 6th in search of a $3,000.00 fish.  In the end it was Dennis Graham who boated a 23lb 9oz Chinook off Jefferson Head that would claim the top prize in the 10th Annual South King County Puget Sound Anglers Salmon Derby.

A total of 57 fish were weighed in between Marine Areas 10, 11 and 13 with most fish coming from MA 11.

“We’re very proud of the fact that all participants who weighed a fish and showed up to the ceremony walked away with a prize valued at a minimum of $50.00 for their efforts” said Co-chairman Terry Wiest.

“Because of our generous sponsors we had prizes lined out through 50th place totaling over $10,000 which included $3,000, $1,500 and $1,000 for the top three fish”.

The top 5 fish were:

1st           Dennis Graham                 23lb 9oz                $3,000

2nd          Andrew Clark                     22lb 15oz             $1,500

3rd           Jerry Holly                           22lb 6oz                $1,000

4th           Rick Owens                         21lb 9oz                Electric Downrigger

5th           Bart Mahugh                      19lb 12oz             Fetha Styx Rod

*  The top 3 prizes were cash, after that it was an open prize lot with the fisherman/woman choosing the prize of their choice.

“We’re already working on next year” said Co-chairman Bill Lee, “we want to be able to carry on the tradition of providing a top quality derby, providing top quality prizes and most importantly being able to donate the proceeds to our designated charities.”

King Co. Man Poached Elk, Deer, WDFW says

August 8, 2011

A tip last week led Washington game wardens to the residence of a central King County man who they allege illegally killed a cow elk as well as several mule deer in Okanogan County last fall after hunting season closed.

The case began when WDFW Officer Jason Capelli got a fourth-hand report of a possible elk poaching in the Selleck area of the upper Cedar River watershed. That eventually led to wildlife officers obtaining and serving a search warrant on the suspect at his house.

According to Deputy Chief Mike Cenci, the search and interrogation by five officers turned up more on the closed-season cow killing and “an attempted closed season elk, possession of wildlife found dead, and five illegal mule deer harvested in the Okanogan in November of 2010.”

Four of the five deer were bucks. Their racks were seized as was elk meat, a van and six firearms.

“One of the most telling pieces of evidence was the loaded .22 rifle and spotlight on the seat of the van that was parked next to the house but the owner of the van didn’t know anything about those items,” Cenci says.

SW WA, Lower Columbia Fishing Report (8-8-11)

August 8, 2011



Cowlitz River – 11 bank anglers at Blue Creek kept 1 steelhead while 2 boat anglers near the mouth kept 1 adult fall chinook.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 35 spring chinook adults, 31 jacks, 45 mini-jacks, 767 summer-run steelhead, three sea-run cutthroat and one fall chinook adult (the first of the season) during five days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 12 spring chinook adults and 16 jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at the Lake Scanewa Day Use Park, 13 spring chinook adults and 14 jacks into the Cispus River near the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek, and 72 spring chinook mini-jacks into Riffe Lake at Mossyrock Park.  Also during the week they released two sea-run cutthroat into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and one sea-run cutthroat and one summer-run steelhead into the Cowlitz River at the Barrier Dam boat launch.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 4,760 cubic feet per second on Monday morning, August 8. Water visibility is 13 feet.

North Fork Lewis River – 19 bank anglers kept 4 steelhead.

Drano Lake – Effort and catch is beginning to increase.  41 boat anglers kept 18 steelhead and released 20.  Boat counts increased from 25 on Friday morning to 45 on Saturday.

Buoy 10 – Some fall chinook and a few coho are being caught.  Effort remains relatively light.

WA daily creel sampling summaries are available @ http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/buoy10/.

Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Last week we sampled 2,445 salmonid anglers (including 214 boats) with 23 adult and 5 jack fall chinook, 775 steelhead, and no coho.  448 (58%) of the steelhead were kept.  Most of the fall chinook were kept though a few were “small” jacks or tule adults were released.


Nearly 1,000 salmonid bank anglers and 400 boats were observed on the lower Columbia mainstem last Saturday (Aug. 6).

Bonneville Pool – 42 boat anglers kept 55 steelhead and released 36.  Most of the effort was off Drano Lake and the White Salmon River.


Lower Columbia from the mouth to the Navigation Marker 82 line – We only sampled 1 angler last week during the current catch-and-release only fishery.

During last Saturday’s effort flight count, sturgeon effort was just a dozen and a half for both boats and bank anglers.


Lower Columbia below Bonneville Dam – Some walleye were kept by boat anglers in the Camas/Washougal area.

Ten walleye boats were counted from Camas/Washougal upstream to the gorge during last Saturday’s effort flight count.


Last week’s report stated Swift Power Canal was planted with 1,700 rainbows averaging five pounds each and 1,416 averaging 1.5 pounds each on July 18. Actually, those fish were released into Swift Reservoir. 


On the lower Columbia this past weekend there were 382 salmonid boats and 184 Oregon bank anglers counted from Bonneville Dam downstream to Tongue Point on Saturday’s (8/6) flight; and 36 salmonid boats fishing Buoy 10.  Anglers fishing in the gorge continue to have good catch rates for steelhead, where boat anglers averaged 1.17 steelhead caught per boat and bank anglers averaged 0.54 steelhead caught per angler.  Fall chinook are beginning to show up in the lower river.

Gorge Bank: Weekend checking showed 25 adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus 21 steelhead released for 85 bank anglers.

Gorge Boats: Weekend checking showed one fall chinook and nine adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus 18 unclipped steelhead and one pink released for 23 boats (63 anglers).

Troutdale Boats: Weekend checking showed three fall chinook adults, one fall chinook jack and 17 adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus 27 unclipped steelhead released for 86 boats (186 anglers).

Portland to Longview Bank: Weekend checking showed one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus one unclipped steelhead released for 75 bank anglers.

Portland to Longview Boats: Weekend checking showed two fall chinook adults and 10 adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus one fall chinook and 13 unclipped steelhead released for 64 boats (148 anglers).

Estuary Bank (Jones Beach to Clatsop Spit): Weekend checking showed no catch for 16 bank anglers.

Estuary Boats (Tongue Point to Buoy 10): Weekly checking showed 32 fall chinook kept, plus nine chinook and three unclipped coho released for 149 boats (399 anglers).

Bonneville Pool:  No report

Increased Fees — And A New Op From Fees

August 5, 2011

Call it the stick and carrot approach, but WDFW fired off a pair of news releases late this afternoon that A) warned Washington sportsmen to brace for higher license fees as of Sept. 1 and B) highlighted a summer Chinook river that was recently opened thanks, in part, to a special fee anglers must pay to fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia.

While only maybe a dozen guys or so a day have been hitting the Wenatchee since August 1’s first-time-in-28-years opener, WDFW manager Jeff Korth expects that number to climb as flows drop, more kings arrive and anglers begin to dial it in.

Here are those press releases in full:

Increased Fees

Starting Sept. 1, the base cost of most Washington hunting and fishing licenses will increase.

This is the first general recreational license fee increase in more than a decade.

The 2011 Legislature approved the new fees to help meet rising costs and a shortfall in revenue for managing hunting, fishing and the fish and wildlife populations that are the focus of those activities.

Not all license fees will increase, and some will decline, including those for youth, seniors and persons with disabilities.  New license fee prices are available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/license_fees.html .

“The new fees are critically important in maintaining fishing and hunting opportunity and make it possible for the department to fulfill its dual mission of conserving species while providing sustainable fishing, hunting and outdoor recreation across the state,” said WDFW Director Phil Anderson. “The fees reflect the cost of managing specific fisheries and hunts, and are competitive with fees charged in neighboring states. At the same time, we made an effort to encourage broad participation through youth and senior discounts.”

The new fees are expected to generate about $8 million annually for activities that support hunting and recreational fishing. Recreational license and permit revenue is used to manage fisheries and hunting seasons, produce trout and steelhead for recreational fisheries, enforce regulations, monitor fish and game populations and help maintain wildlife lands.

Revenues from the license fee increase will replace a temporary 10 percent license sale surcharge that expired in June, and will fill a projected deficit in the account that funds fishing and hunting activities. Without the license fee increase, WDFW would have been forced to make major cuts in hunting and fishing seasons and opportunities.

“Fishing and hunting contribute more than $1.4 billion a year to the state’s economy, benefitting local communities, small business owners and the people they employ,” Anderson said. “Maintaining fishing and hunting opportunity is vital to Washington’s economy and quality of life.”

Increased opportunity

The Wenatchee River salmon fishery–recently opened for the first time in at least 25 years–is the latest result of the Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement program.

Since April 2010, all anglers 15 years and older fishing for salmon or steelhead on the Columbia River or its tributaries have been required to purchase an $8.75 endorsement to support management of those fisheries. The endorsement pays for Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) fishery management activities including scientific monitoring and evaluation, data collection, permitting, reporting and enforcement.

The endorsement has generated more than $1 million annually to avert recreational fishery closures and increase fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River basin.

“This program has made it possible to maintain existing opportunity and open new fisheries such as the Wenatchee River hatchery summer salmon season,” said WDFW Fish Program Assistant Director Jim Scott.

The Wenatchee River fishery opened Aug. 1 from the river mouth at the confluence with the Columbia River to 400 feet below Dryden Dam. Anglers are allowed to retain two hatchery-marked (adipose-fin-clipped) adult and jack summer chinook salmon per day. The season runs through Oct. 15 with selective gear rules and night closure in effect. Anglers are required release fish other than hatchery chinook salmon.

Another section of the Wenatchee River, from the mouth of Peshastin Creek to the Icicle Creek road bridge west of Leavenworth, will open Sept. 1 through Oct. 15 for retention of hatchery summer chinook salmon under the same rules.

Season and rule details are listed on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=1077 .

The Wenatchee River fishery is allowed because hatchery summer chinook returns to the river are expected to exceed spawning escapement needs, WDFW’s Northcentral Regional Fish Program Manager Jeff Korth explained. Hatchery summer chinook are not listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, but Upper Columbia River spring chinook are listed as endangered and steelhead and bull trout are listed as threatened. The majority of spring chinook and bull trout have already migrated to the upper Wenatchee River, but a few steelhead remain in the area of the recently-opened fishery.

“Monitoring the impacts of the fishery on listed stocks is essential, but monitoring and other management activities for this fishery are expensive,” Scott said.

Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement program was created by the 2009 Washington Legislature (Senate Bill 5421). A board of citizens representing four regions within the Columbia River basin reviews fishery proposals and has been instrumental in the success of the program.

Besides the Wenatchee River fishery, the endorsement program also supported salmon or steelhead seasons on other rivers in the Columbia River system, including the Snake, Entiat, Methow, Okanogan and Similkameen.

Donoho Case DA Named OR ‘Wildlife Prosecutor’ Of 2010

August 5, 2011

A deputy county attorney whose work has led to a number of southern Willamette Valley poachers being thrown in the clink with huge dents in their wallet has been selected as Oregon’s fourth “Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year.”

The award was given yesterday to Lane County’s Jay Hall, who recently prosecuted several members of the Donoho clan of Springfield as well as the illegal killing of four bull elk near Cottage Grove early last year.


“Deputy District Attorney Hall has a passion for wildlife and is a sportsman himself.  He is dedicated to the protection of Oregon’s natural resources through the vigorous prosecution of those who violate wildlife and other criminal laws,” said Captain Jeff Samuels of the Oregon State Police’s Fish and Wildlife Division, one of several members of the Oregon Sportsmen’s Coalition which sponsors the award.

A former deputy sheriff in Deschutes County, Hall was hired in late 2009, has been on several ride-alongs with game wardens, is said to be an “excellent communicator” with them, and was nominated for the award by troopers who work with him on wildlife cases.

“ODFW appreciates Deputy D.A. Hall’s work prosecuting wildlife cases in Lane County,” said Steven Marx, the agency’s South Willamette Watershed District Manager in Corvallis. “His efforts, and others in district attorney offices around the state, is helping to ensure the safety of our wildlife and the protection of our natural resources.”

According to OSP, his first significant case was one involving the shooting of four elk by John K. Atwater, then 50, on private land and out of season in October 2009. Atwater and five men who assisted him in attempting to move the bulls all pled guilty, with Atwater getting 40 days, $6,000 in restitution to ODFW and $6,675 in fines.


Hall also prosecuted the first case under Oregon’s new “Trophy Law” involving new restitution penalties that took effect January 2010 for the unlawful take of trophy-class animals.  In February 2010, a Cottage Grove area resident was arrested for the unlawful taking of a four-point buck for which he later pled guilty.  He was sentenced to pay the entire $7,500 restitution to ODFW, additional fines, 10 days in jail, 18 months probation, and ordered to serve 100 hours of community service.

And he was the lead prosecutor in the Donoho poaching case, which we’ve reported on here and in Northwest Sportsman magazine. According to OSP, he assisted in writing and executing a search warrant for and prosecuted the case which began in 2010 and involved the take of about 300 deer and elk over five years and other criminal offenses. All nine suspects were convicted, with the ringleader Shane Donoho getting 360 days in jail and fines of $42,000 due to ODFW and $3,200 to OSP.

Hall is quoted by the Eugene Register-Guard as saying, “What used to be hunting season is now jail season” about Shane and his father Rory’s unique sentence where both men will serve four 90-day stints in jail just as fall deer hunts begin for law-abiding Oregon sportsmen, a sentence that begins this October and runs through 2014.


Past winners of the award include:

2009: Tillamook County Deputy District Attorney Joel Stevens
2008: Wallowa County District Attorney Mona K. Williams
2007: Columbia County Deputy District Attorney Dale Anderson

Other members of the Sportsmen’s Coalition include:

Oregon Hunters Association; Oregon Federation for North American Wild Sheep; Izaak Walton League;
Oregon Duck Hunters; Oregon Mule Deer Foundation; Oregon State Shooting Association; Safari Club International;
Oregon Falconers Association; National Wild Turkey Federation; National Rifle Association; Oregon Guides and Packers; Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation; Oregon Bow Hunters; Traditional Archers of Oregon; Oregon Association of Shooting Ranges.

Tuna Mothership To Depart Newport With NWS Kayak Guys

August 5, 2011

UPDATE 4:39 P.M., AUG. 10, 2011: The fellas made their run, and we detail the results here.

Pass over the Yaquina Bay Bridge and you just might see a charter boat zapping out into the open Pacific with an unusual cargo: six kayaks.

The Ambush will be carrying the sea-worthy shells out to where blue and green water mix and the signs and surface temperatures are right, and then Capt. Dick Pickett and crew will throw the fledglings overboard.

Scrambling in afterwards will be my kayak columnists, Bryce Molenkamp of Shoreline, Wash., and Mark Veary of Hillsboro, Ore., as well as four other anglers.

There, perhaps some 50 miles or more out and with no land in sight, the swarm of yellow and blue boats and dry-suit-dudded guys will then go on the hunt for tuna.

While practiced out of San Diego, the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico, it may be the first time this approach has ever been tried by Washington and Oregon’s growing fleet of ‘yak fishermen.

“As far as I know, this will be the first attempt at mothershipping out of the Northwest for albacore,” says Bryce. “As a matter of fact, if Mark can back me up, I think this will be the first mothership out of the Northwest at all.”

“I’m hoping to tie in to a 30-plus-pound edible outboard motor.”

–Mark Veary

Somewhere in the mid-2000s I became aware of kayak fishing in our region. One September the Everett Coho Derby offered prizes for the biggest silver caught aboard one, and in my initial post-derby blog for the now-defunct Washington Fishing & Hunting News I failed to note the category whatsoever.

If I recall correctly, Allen Sansano — he of the insane Alaskan salmon shark quest — emailed about my oversight, and afterwards, intrigued, I ran a two-part Q&A series in the magazine on the sport. One of the guys I interviewed was Bryce who at 6-foot-7 might also be the world’s tallest kayak angler.


One of Northwest Sportsman‘s original columnists, he began writing for me in early 2009 and was joined later that year by Mark. Together they’ve detailed how to approach almost everything that swims or crawls in Northwest waters, from the finer points of hauling Dungeness crab pots aboard to trolling spinners and prawns for spring Chinook in the Multnomah Channel, from braving the legend of Buoy 10 for fall brights to dodging debris for winter sturgeon in the Willamette, and from yarding lingcod out of the nearshore rocks to how to kause extreme krappie karnage from a kayak.

Bryce’s latest piece in our August issue is all about catching pink salmon in Puget Sound while in our upcoming September issue, Mark details the quiet approach to coastal coho.

Indeed, they and the boyz at Northwestkayakanglers.com have shown that there’s not much you can’t harvest out of Tupperware. It doesn’t count in the Web site’s angler of the year contest (Bryce finished first last year, Mark fourth), but this spring Bryce brought in an octopus, of all things, and last winter Mark found several gents who use their craft for duck hunting.


But there’s one species that’s always been a wee bit out of paddling range, even on the years when the warm currents have brought the tuna schools within sight of the jaws at Westport and that pinchneck of a port known as Depoe Bay.

“A venturesome minority will always be eager to get off on their own, and no obstacle should be placed in their path; let them take risk, for God sake, let them get lost, sun burnt, stranded, drowned, eaten by bears, buried alive under avalanches-that is the right and privilege of any free American.”

Adventure is just bad planning.”

–Edward Abbey and Roald Amundsen quotes prominently displayed on the home page of Northwestkayakanglers.com

Bryce says he’s been thinking about loading a boat full of kayaks and kayak anglers for the past four years or so, but it hasn’t come together until this summer.

“There have been a lot of captains in the past who said they were open to give it a shot, but something always fell through in the end,” he says.

Weather or mechanical issues could always scrub this attempt too, says Mark, but anticipation runs high.

“This week has been a wash at work,” says Bryce, a graphic designer by trade, owner of a clothing and gear company called The Slayride and a regional editor of Kayak Angler magazine. “I’m just too damn excited.”


Same goes for Mark, a process engineer and father of three young kayak anglers.

“I’m looking for a wake-throwing sleigh ride,” he says. “Most of the fish we catch in the Northwest either sound or make short, drag-burning runs. I’m hoping to tie in to a 30-plus-pound edible outboard motor.”

Citing potential competition, they’re on the cagey side about certain details of the trip, but we can say that they’ll be packing their gearstows with plugs like Rapala’s big X-Raps to cast as well as iron jigs and plastic swimbaits to drop in front of hungry albies.


That’s the rough game plan anyway.

“We know how to attack this with a boat, but the kayaks are really going to make us have to adapt to a new strategy,” says Bryce. “It’s the first time this has been done so it’s really uncharted waters for everyone on the trip.”

Odds of success? Shoot, I dunno (knocking on wood). But one thing is for sure, I’m glad I’ll be pedaling my Hobie because it’s able to handle the most challenging conditions that can be thrown at a kayak angler.

–Bryce Molenkamp

Adds Mark, “If all goes well, this trip will pave the way for other charters to add mothershipping trips. I know there are a lot of Northwest kayak anglers chomping at the bit for these doors to be busted down.”

While the guys will assuredly be wearing floatation gear and taking all the necessary precautions, here’s hoping that on their trip the Pacific echoes the meaning of Bryce’s 2 1/2-year-old daughter Kylah’s name: “gentle ocean.”

Bears, Kings, Bass And More

August 4, 2011

I’m on deadline, again, but with the Blue Angels bombing around Seattle, I thought I’d take a little break and post some reader pics that have arrived at Northwest Sportsman World HQ of late.

The hunter hunted — or at least successfully avoided: For the past few weeks Devin Schildt has been sending me a mess of trail cam shots of his well-populated deer and bear honey hole somewhere in the Greater Monroe, Wash., area.

Last night he was wandering around the clearcut a bit after dinner time looking to fill his bear tag. As he walked past the cam, it fired off an image of him at precisely 6:38:40 p.m.

Looks like Devin’s heading into bigger timber, and what should come rumbling down his trail but his quarry. Barely — forgive the pun — 20 minutes later, a bruin can be seen standing almost exactly where he was, hanging out for 10 minutes or so.



Persistence pays off: She sat in a springer boat five weekends in a row with nary a nudge from a ‘Nookie, but that didn’t dampen Mandie Arai-Greene’s interest in fishing with hubbie Alex Greene. The Camas couple packed up the fish rig and headed for Idaho’s Horsethief Reservoir recently, and there Mandie landed her very first fish.

“She has been putting in an honest effort to try and understand why I enjoy it and spend so much time on the water,” reports Alex.

We think the smile shows they’ll enjoy many more times on the water.


Tapped in: Kevin Bye found some superb tiger muskie fishing at Washington’s Lake Tapps last Friday.

The Puyallup angler reports boating three of the notoriously hard to catch hybrids over four hours of fishing, with son Brett even getting to tussle with the toothy ones.

“Fishing near weedbeds seem to be the ticket,” Bye reported. “I was using a crankbait but I’m guessing that many other lure options will do the trick.”

He also sent along a shot of a muskie that went 43 inches by 19 inches and which he caught at Tapps in late July.


Give and yee shall receive (steelhead): A few weeks back Jason Harris was cool enough to share some of his hot spots on the Nestucca to a wandering hook-and-bullet magazine editor, and the Oregon coastal river repaid him with a nice summer-run.

“This chromey weighed just shy of 8 pounds and 24.5 inches. He hit — rather inhaled — a sand shrimp tail with a small pink Corky. Hooked and lost a second one an hour later,” the McMinnville angler says.


Shades of green at Silver: My buddy Chris Spencer has been sending me updates throughout the spring and summer on his bass fishing adventures — well, at least his adventures anyway.

Bassin’ in Southwest Washington and on the Lower Columbia has been a little tough this year what with cool weather and water.

But the Longview ironworker finally got it dialed in up on Silver Lake. Fishing right after a local club’s derby he got seven bites, including some follows on a big ol’ Sebile swimbait I sent him, before sticking a 3-4 pound largie on a Senko.

“One thing I learned last time I went out is it doesn’t hurt to park the boat and stay put for awhile. If it looks fishy, it probably is fishy. Take your time and try a couple confidence baits in several presentations and you’re going to get bit,” Spencer says.


Shades of bronze on the Ump: While Spencer was slowly working his way through the weeds in Washington, Justin Falk and Sara Crawford were floating the Umpqua, bronzing their bods while casting for bronzebacks. They ended up with a nice stringer.



B10 Schmee-10, A-10’s where it’s at (at least for a moment): Never mind how his “buddy” described his fish-finding skills (it has to do with a certain type of bushy-tailed tree-dwelling rodent and a type of seed), Clay Schurman can now claim to be among the relatively few anglers who caught Chinook during the first half of this season’s Central Puget Sound mark-selective fishery.

He landed this nice one on a flasher and hoochie off Jeff Head in Area 10 last Saturday.

Tim Bush at Outdoor Emporium reports that the best gear this season has been glow-in-the-dark squids and glow Ace Hi Flies.


Zimm’s summer: Then there’s Stacy Zimmerman of East Wenatchee who caught her first-ever salmon, this summer king, near Rocky Reach Dam while fishing with friend (and big buck killer) Garrett Grubbs.

“It was a little hectic at first with just me and her in the boat, trying to get all the gear in, control the boat,” Grubbs reports. “She did great reeling in the salmon and did well when it was time to net it.”


Something didn’t agree with him?: And to bring this full circle back to bears, the trail cam of a friend of mine captured this pint-sized compost-pile raider whose meal of rotten lettuce, stale coffee grounds and lord knows what else Eric stuffs in there appears to have caught up to it rather quickly.

More On Judge Molloy’s Ruling On Wolf Delisting

August 4, 2011

There are a host of articles and press releases out today on yesterday’s ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy against a lawsuit contending that the Congressional delisting of wolves in Montana, Idaho and parts of Washington and Oregon this spring was unconstitutional.

The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has just fired off a news release terming it and a tentative agreement between the Feds and the state of Wyoming “two good steps towards wolf management.”

Wolf advocates think the ruling lays out a groundwork for, yep, further appeals.

The judge himself, bound by precedent, doesn’t exactly agree with what he decided, writing, “The way in which Congress acted in trying to achieve a debatable policy change by attaching a rider to the Department of Defense and Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act of 2011 is a tearing away, an undermining and a disrespect for the fundamental idea of the rule of law.”

Here’s a roundup of info and comments:

Rob Chaney, The Missoulian: Molloy upholds delisting of wolves in Montana, Idaho

Matt Volz, Associated Press (Helena Independent Record): Congress’ action on wolves upheld

Eric Barker, Lewiston Morning Tribune: Judge upholds congressional wolf rule for Idaho

Barring a last-minute appeal, Idaho and Montana wolf hunts will proceed this year.

Ocean Salmon Fishing Update (8-4-11)

August 4, 2011


Columbia Ocean Area (including Oregon)*
The all-species recreational salmon fishery in the area between Cape Falcon, OR and Leadbetter Point, WA opened on June 26 operating under a sub-area quota of 33,600 coho and a sub-area guideline of 7,400 Chinook.  During the week of July 25, a total of 1,375 coho and 127 Chinook were landed. Through Sunday, July 31, 6,550 coho (20% of the sub-area quota) and 1,108 Chinook (15% of the sub-area guideline) have been landed.   Two total pink have been landed in this area during the season.

The all-species recreational salmon fishery in the area between Leadbetter Point and the Queets River opened on June 26 operating under a sub-area quota of 24,860 coho and a sub-area guideline of 16,900 Chinook.  During the week of July 25, a total of 667 coho, 1,938 Chinook, and 196 pink were landed.  Through Sunday, July 31, 4,714 coho (19% of the sub-area quota) and 5,944 Chinook (35% of the sub-area guideline) have been landed.

La Push
The all-species recreational salmon fishery in the area between the Queets River and Cape Alava opened on June 26 operating under a sub-area quota of 1,700 coho and a sub-area guideline of 1,350 Chinook.  During the week of July 25, a total of 78 coho, 107 Chinook, and 119 pink were landed.  Through Sunday, July 31, 621 coho (37% of the sub-area quota) and 509 Chinook (38% of the sub-area guideline) have been landed.

Neah Bay
The all-species recreational salmon fishery in the area between Cape Alava and the US-Canada border opened on June 26 operating under a sub-area quota of 6,990 coho and a sub-area guideline of 3,200 Chinook.  During the week of July 25, a total of 312 coho, 320 Chinook, and 1,321 pink were landed.  Through Sunday, July 31, 1,961 coho (28% of the sub-area quota) and 1,431 Chinook (45% of the sub-area guideline) have been landed.

* Editor’s note: As of Sunday, Aug. 7, these two Washington marine areas switch to 2-king daily limits.

Areas 1, 2 To Go To 2-King Daily Limit

August 3, 2011

I have JUST figured out how to get this pesky salesman out of my hair as I grind on the September issue: Get WDFW to open up South Coast Chinook fishing to two-a-day limits.

And, wallah!

The agency JUST sent out this press release:

Beginning Aug. 7, anglers fishing in ocean waters off of Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) and Westport (Marine Area 2) can keep up to two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit.

With that change, anglers will be allowed to keep two chinook per day in all four ocean areas. Anglers fishing La Push (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) have been allowed to keep two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit since Aug. 1.

All ocean areas are open to salmon fishing seven days a week. Wild coho must be released in all four areas. Anglers fishing marine areas 3 and 4 are also allowed one additional pink salmon each day.


Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the department initially limited anglers coastwide to one chinook as part of a two-salmon daily limit to ensure that the fishery would remain open for the entire season.

“But after five weeks of fishing, enough of the quota remains to allow anglers two chinook per day in the four marine areas without exceeding the recreational catch quota,” Pattillo said.

Ocean salmon fisheries are currently scheduled to continue through Sept. 18 in marine areas 2, 3 and 4, and through Sept. 30 in Marine Area 1.

Fishery managers will continue to monitor the ocean salmon fishery throughout the season, and announce any other changes on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/ .

Additional information on the ocean fishery, including minimum-size limits and area catch guidelines, is available in WDFW’s Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations .

LMT: Molloy Rules Against Wolf Advocates

August 3, 2011

The Lewiston Morning Tribune is reporting that U.S. District Court Judge Donald Molloy in Missoula has ruled against predator advocates’ contention that the Congressional delisting of gray wolves in the Northern Rockies this spring was unconstitutional.

The two-sentence article posted to the paper’s Web site also says that the decision will thus allow Idaho and Montana’s fall hunts to proceed.

The latter state has a quota of 220 wolves while the former’s hunt will largely be an open general hunt with harvest limits in certain zones, trapping and hunters and trappers required to report their take within 72 hours.

There were a minimum of 566 wolves in Montana and 705 in Idaho at the end of 2010.

The reported decision comes a day after another U.S. District Court judge, this one in Portland, ruled that salmon mitigation plans by Federal agencies in charge of the Columbia hydropower system were too vague and sent it back for yet another reworking.

WDFW Puts Out Trail Cams Outside Colville

August 3, 2011

WDFW has placed trail cameras in an area of central Stevens County where two weeks ago or so, free-roaming canids confronted kenneled dogs.

A landowner who lives in the Sprouty Loop Road area east of Colville feels the animals challenging his were wolves.

State spokeswoman Madonna Luers confirms wolves are one possibility, as are coyotes, feral dogs — like two killed in earlier this summer elsewhere in the county — and wolf-dog hybrids.

“We’re looking into it and taking it seriously, but we don’t have anything definitive to say, ‘It was wolves,'” she says.

The episode came to light after a local hunting outfitter posted information online last week.

The location is roughly 4 miles east of Colville on Highway 20. The nearest known pack, the Smackout wolves, are 20 air miles away, a distance which is nothing for a roaming wolf.

A biologist and enforcement officer interviewed the landowner then placed remote photographic equipment nearby in case anything came back.

As for those two marauding animals killed in June, one looked enough like a wolf or hybrid that WDFW considered sending hair samples to a California lab, but ultimately did not.

“We ended up not sending in a sample because everyone was sure they were dogs,” says Luers. “It’s several hundred dollars to run a DNA analysis. It was determined not to bother.”

Free-roaming dogs have been a problem in Stevens County for awhile.

‘Redden’s River’ Backs Feds’ Salmon Plan Up, Again

August 3, 2011

The Columbia River was named for the ship of merchantman/explorer Robert Gray way back in 1792, a time when it ran thick with runs of Chinook, coho, steelhead and sockeye.

These days, with much diminished returns, in some circles the big crick is being renamed Redden’s River, for the U.S. District Court judge in Portland who yesterday once again threw the Feds’ plan to mitigate salmon recovery in the face of hydropower generation back at the agencies for yet another try.

Liz Hamilton of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, who may have coined the Columbia’s new moniker, says the Bonneville Power Administration and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration just took a “major legal thumping.”

Redden told them to come back within two and a half years with a better take.

Here’s a roundup of articles:

Columbia Basin Bulletin: Redden Orders New Salmon BiOp By 2014; Says Post-2013 Mitigation, Benefits Unidentified

The Oregonian: Federal judge shoots down plan for Columbia River Basin dams and salmon for third time

The News Tribune (Tacoma): Judge Rejects Protection Plan

And here’s reaction from U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris-Rogers (R-Spokane) as reported by Rich Landers of the Spokesman-Review:

“I am extremely disappointed with Judge Redden’s ruling which threatens to preempt years of hard work by our stakeholders in order to serve a narrow special interest. The BiOp represents a longstanding consensus by experts at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, public utilities, municipalities, and tribes. Contrary to the Judge’s opinion, we’ve seen record fish runs in many parts of the Snake River as a result of the measures put in place at a cost of hundreds of millions of dollars. The fact of the matter is, dam removal should not be an option.”

Baker Sockeye Count A Record

August 2, 2011

Sockeye are still on their way, but the latest numbers from the Baker River show that the 2011 run already has topped all previous years.

“It is officially the best ever,” confirms local fisheries biologist Brett Barkdull this afternoon.

Through Sunday, 24,201 have returned to the trap on the Skagit River tributary, nearly 4,000 better than the previous high mark, 2003’s 20,235.

A total of 15,915 have been hauled up to and released into Baker Lake, where anglers have begun to dial in the fishery which opened for the first time last summer.

“It’s better than a fish a rod. It’s better than the best it got last year in terms of fish per rod,” says Barkdull. “There’s a higher percentage of guys catching fish this season.”

The inaugural season saw a few “haves” and many “have nots,” he says.

Cooler water temps and higher reservoir levels this year have spread the fish out; a thermocline has not formed, he says.

The season is open until further notice.

The count at the trap will continue to grow, but Barkdull says the run is “over the hump.”

The Lake Washington sockeye run has also exceeded the preseason forecast by roughly 8,000 fish.

The Tumwater Dam count below Lake Wenatchee is at all of 18 fish; the 10-year average for this date is 17,565.

Good things are expected to continue at Baker Lake, where new juvenile fish collection equipment and other measures have yielded great outmigrating classes. Dam operators anticipate returns of 50,000 to 75,000 sockeye a year in the future.

NW Salmon Advocates Buoyed By Judge’s Ruling

August 2, 2011

Liz Hamilton of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association is declaring victory after word that US District Court Judge James Redden in Portland has made a ruling on Federal dam operations in the Columbia River.

An AP story by Jeff Barnard says:

A federal judge in Oregon ruled Tuesday the Obama administration’s attempt to make federal hydroelectric dams in the Northwest safer for protected salmon violates the Endangered Species Act.

In a sternly worded ruling, U.S. District Judge James Redden in Portland, Ore., wrote that the plan, known as a biological opinion, is too vague and uncertain on specific steps that will be taken in future years to improve salmon habitat.

Redden added that he doesn’t think the government can meet the standards of the Endangered Species Act by habitat improvements alone, and it is time to consider new options, including removing some of the dams.

The judge left the plan in place through 2013, when federal agencies must come up with more specific projects to help salmon through 2018.

Scott Learn of The Oregonian reports:

The decision sends the exhaustive planback to federal agencies for a redo for the third time, with a focus on habitat improvement after 2013. The current plan stays in place until 2013, the judge said.

It’s a partial victory for environmental groups, the state of Oregon and the Nez Perce tribe, which opposed the plan.

It’s a partial loss for the federal government, a coalition of other Northwest tribes and river user groups, including irrigators and farmers.

$2,750 In Rewards Offered For Damascus Buck Poaching Info

August 2, 2011


With the help of the Oregon Hunters Association and The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and the Humane Society Wildlife Land Trust, two rewards are offered for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for illegally killing a blacktail deer near Damascus in late July.  Rewards of up to $2500 by the HSUS and $250 by the Oregon Hunters Association are offered to help solve this case.


On July 20, 2011 at approximately 10:15 p.m. several shots were reported being heard in the area of SE 242nd Avenue and SE Bohna Park Road.  A dead deer was found in a field and the preliminary investigation by Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish & Wildlife Division Trooper Mark Schoenborn indicates the deer was killed using a small caliber rifle.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to contact Trooper Schoenborn at (503) 490-4856 or Trooper Chris Boeholt at (971) 313-1172.

New Name For Clarkston Boat Maker

August 2, 2011


Northwest Jet Boats, owned and operated by Renaissance Marine Group, Inc., has completed a name and logo change. The new name, Northwest Boats, was adopted to better align the brand’s current model line up and changing perceptions within the heavy gauge aluminum boat industry.  “70% of current models produced are traditional outboard motor styles,” says President and COO Jerry Wooley, “It continued to surprise us how many customers mistakenly believed we only manufactured true “jet” boats.”

Today, the Northwest Boats line includes the Freedom, SeaStar, and Lightning outboard models and Freedom, Northstar, Lightning and Signature inboard jet models.  The diversity of the Northwest Boats line truly offers an exceptionally designed model for everything from fishing to wakeboarding to navigating whitewater rapids.  While each has its unique set of features and benefits, every Northwest Boats model shares the impeccable quality and finish details Northwest Boats has built its solid reputation around. The roots of Northwest Boats date back nearly 25 years when the company made huge waves with supremely capable inboard jet models that quickly became a mainstay on rugged Snake River in Hells Canyon.

To promote the changeover to Northwest Boats as fluidly as possible, Renaissance Marine Group designed a new logo and launched a print and internet ad campaign to spread the word among consumers. Print ads will begin running in Salmon Trout Steelheader, Northwest Sportsman, and Salmon Steelhead Journal in August and continue into the fall. The Northwest Boats website, http://www.northwest-boats.com features the new identity prominently. All previous domain names, including http://www.northwestjetboats.com will continue to function and redirect web traffic to the new site.


“We’re confident the boating market will respond very favorable to the new look and name.” say Marketing Director, Bruce Larson. “Our primary goal is to make certain dealers and consumers recognize that only the name has changed. The design, manufacturing process, and performance attributes of these premiere aluminum boats has not, and will not, change.”

Renaissance Marine Group, Inc., founded in 2000, is the parent company and manufacturer of Duckworth and Weldcraft brands of heavy gauge welded aluminum boats from 17’ to 30’ that are sold through a network of over forty independent marine dealers primarily in the Western U.S. and Canada. Renaissance Marine Group, Inc., acquired Northwest Boats from its original founder, Larry Whitten, in early 2010 and currently manufactures all models in its Clarkston, Washington headquarters.

Ruger Wins Handgun, Rifle Of Year Awards

August 2, 2011

Sturm, Ruger & Company, Inc. (NYSE: RGR) is proud to announce the Ruger® LC9™ has been named the 2011 Handgun of the Year by the Shooting Industry Academy of Excellence. Ruger has received this honor four years in a row – an unprecedented accomplishment in the firearms industry. Ruger also received the “Rifle of the Year” award for the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle, a second testament to the innovative design work at Ruger.


“The industry has once again recognized Ruger for the high-quality, innovative product designs that we have produced in direct response to our Voice of the Customer program,” said President and CEO Mike Fifer. “Our top priority is to make the products our customers are asking for, and the LC9 and Gunsite Scout Rifle were designed on this premise. The fact that we have now won the Handgun of the Year award four consecutive years, and a record setting seven times total, demonstrates our transition to the leading American handgun manufacturer,” Fifer concluded.

“We could not be more pleased to have two of our firearms receive product of the year recognition,” said Vice President of Sales & Marketing Chris Killoy. “The Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle was created in conjunction with world-class training center Gunsite Academy and has proven to be a credible and affordable rendition of Col. Jeff Cooper’s Scout Rifle concept. We want to thank our retailers and other industry partners for this tremendous recognition.”

Ruger is especially honored that the Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle received this special recognition as this was the final firearm designed by Roy Melcher, one of the most prolific and talented designers the firearms industry has ever known. Over the years, Roy had made significant contributions to the Ruger product line, providing design guidance on the Mini-14®, Redhawk®, GP100®, 77/22®, M77® MKII, and P85®. Roy lost his battle with cancer in December 2010 and is greatly missed by his friends at Ruger and across the industry. Recognizing his final contribution to the firearms community with the “Rifle of the Year” award is a fitting tribute to a great designer.


The awards were presented during the 9th Annual Shooting Industry Masters on July 22-23, 2011 at the Rockcastle Shooting Center, Park Mammoth Resort in Park City, KY. The Academy, a 500-member group consisting of manufacturers, editors, writers, distributors and retailers from within the shooting industry, votes to honor outstanding achievements in product design and service to the industry.

For more information on the Ruger LC9 and Ruger Gunsite Scout Rifle, along with the extensive line of award-winning pistols, rifles, revolvers and shotguns, visit www.Ruger.com or Facebook.com/Ruger