Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

SAFE For Salmon Bill Still Needs Help

June 6, 2011

Sportfishing leaders are saying keep the support coming as a work session in Salem last week neither moved the SAFE For Salmon bill to the full House for a vote — nor killed it.

In particular they’re saying that anglers should support HB 3657-3 which, if passed out of the House and Senate and signed, would strengthen sport fishing opportunities on the lower Columbia River during the spring and summer Chinook runs.

That amended version would also ban gillnetting between January 1 and July 31, except for in off-channel areas near Astoria.

Both fleets share the nontribal salmon allocation on the Columbia.

Last Thursday afternoon’s hearing before the Rules Committee drew many supporters, according to Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association in Portland, who thanked those who showed up during a workday or sent letters.

She says that anglers should continue to talk with Reps. Phil Barnhart, Tim Freeman and committee co-chair Andy Olson about the bill, pointing out that Oregon businesses prosper with more sport days on the water and gillnetters could continue to be able to work Youngs Bay, Tongue Point, Blind Slough and other downriver fisheries supported by hatchery releases there.

The trio can be reached at:

Andy Olson: rep.andyolson@state.or.us; 503-986-1415
Phil Barnhart: rep.philbarnhart@state.or.us; 503-986-1411
Tim Freeman: rep.timfreeman@state.or.us: 503-986-1402

May 24, 2011

NORTHWEST SPORTSMAN JUNE 2011 TABLE OF CONTENTS

What’s Fishin’ In Oregon (4-6-11)

April 6, 2011

Check out my recent blog entries and it’s all springer this, springer that, springer, springer, springer.

I say, enough with those fickle finners!

There is more to Oregon — and life — than delicious, delectable …

MARK (LAST NAME UNKNOWN) SHOWS OFF A STEELIE AND A SPRINGER CAUGHT OFF THE OREGON SHORE BEFORE THE COLUMBIA BELOW BONNEVILLE CLOSED EARLIER THIS WEEK. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

Sorry about that.

As I was saying, as April gets rolling, the fishing opportunities seem to multiply by the day across the Beaver State.

For the latest highlights, we turn to ODFW’s weekly Recreation Report. To wit:

SOUTHWEST ZONE

  • Several area lakes and reservoirs have been stocked this spring.
  • Striped bass, stripers, are moving into tidewaters for spawning on the Coquille, Smith and Umpqua rivers.
  • Spring chinook fishing has been good on the lower Roque River.
  • In spite of high flows, fishing for winter steelhead in the middle and upper Rogue has picked up for anglers willing to adjust their angling tactics to higher flows.

NORTHWEST ZONE

  • Cape Meares, Smith, Tahoe, Lytle, North, South, Town and Hebo lakes, and Lorens and Nedonna ponds were scheduled to be stocked the week of April 4. Stocking at North and South Lake is contingent upon access to the lake as snow continues to linger in the higher elevations of the coast range.
  • Coffenbury Lake, Lost Lake, and Vernonia Pond are scheduled to be stocked the week of April 11.
  • Trask River: Fishing for steelhead was poor over the weekend as high flows brought muddy river conditions. The river should be in good shape by early to mid-week. The catch has been a mix of hatchery and wild fish. Fish are distributed through all open areas. Good bank access is available along Trask River Road in places. The north and south forks closed to angling at the end of March.
  • Wilson River: Fishing for winter steelhead was very good last week before the river blew out. Fishing should continue to be good for a couple more weeks when water conditions allow. Good numbers of fish are in the system throughout the open fishing areas. Angling pressure has been high. The upper river will clear sooner and should provide good opportunities. Drifting brighter colored presentations near the bottom has been the most productive, but bobber and jig will become more effective as the water clears. Boaters need to use extreme caution around MP 6 due or avoid that section of river due to a large tree partially blocking the river.

WILLAMETTE ZONE

  • The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host free Family Fishing Events this Saturday at Cottage Grove and St. Louis Ponds. The department will be stocking these systems with trout ranging from 8 inches to upward of two pounds. Staff and volunteers will be on hand from to provide equipment and instruction to participating youths.
  • Henry Hagg Lake will be stocked this week with 12,000 legal-sized rainbow trout, and Detroit Reservoir will be stocked with 10,000 legal-sized trout.
  • A few confirmed reports of spring chinook landings in the Willamette River have been reported and angler effort is increasing.
  • While sturgeon retention on the Willamette River closed March 17, the river remains open to catch-and-release fishing.

CENTRAL ZONE

  • Blue wing olive hatches on the Crooked River can be big in April, but be sure to check water levels before planning a trip.
  • Kokanee fishing continues to be good on Haystack Reservoir near Madras.
  • Spring hatches have begun on the lower Deschutes River near Maupin, offering good dry fly opportunities during mid-day.
  • Trout fishing on the Metolius River has been good.

SOUTHEAST ZONE

  • Trout fishing in Klamath and Agency Lakes has been good at the spring areas as well as along shorelines. Wild redband trout from 4 to 10 pounds have been reported caught.
  • While cold water temperatures in some water bodies may have slowed the trout bite, Ana Reservoir and River remain at relatively constant temperatures throughout the year and can be good choices in winter and early spring.
  • Unity Reservoir was producing 12 to 16-inch rainbow trout the first weekend of April.
  • The ice is melting quickly on many area lakes and reservoirs, which can lead to some good fishing in open waters but dangerous conditions on unsafe ice. Anglers should use caution.

NORTHEAST ZONE

  • Surplus hatchery steelhead have been stocked in Marr and Wallowa Wildlife ponds – fishing for them and holdover trout has been fair.
  • Peach and Roulet ponds have been stocked with surplus steelhead.
  • ODFW and local partners will be hosting a fishing event for kids at the McNary Channel Ponds near Hermiston on Saturday, April 9 from 10 a.m. to noon. The event is open to kids from 2 to 12 years old.

BROWNLEE ZONE

MARINE ZONE

  • Ocean conditions did allow some charter boats to go out on bottom-fishing trips last weekend and they returned with good catches of rockfish and limits or near limits of lingcod.

Colville Man Wins WA Moose Raffle

March 22, 2011

If you’re a moose hunter and live in a town starting with the letter C, make sure you buy a raffle ticket for next year’s drawing.

Colville’s Lloyd Hoppner was drawn as this year’s winner of the Washington moose permit, raffled off by the Inland Northwest Wildlife Council this past Sunday.

Last year, Harry Williamson of Chattaroy won it, the first given away that way.

Hoppner’s hunt will run Sept. 1-Dec. 31 and he can chase bulls — or cows or calves should he so desire — in all of the state’s open moose units. He can use any legal weapon.

Tickets were on sale for $10 and were available at INWC’s office and the Big Horn Show. Proceeds go to WDFW and help fund the club’s big game, upland bird, hunter ed and other projects.

Winners are also still be eligible to get drawn for WDFW’s once-in-a-lifetime special permits, according to INWC executive director Wanda Clifford.

Willamette, Channel Sturg Retention Closed

March 16, 2011

(OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE)

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced today that the sturgeon retention season on the lower Willamette River downstream from Willamette Falls, including Multnomah Channel and the Gilbert River, is now closed.

AMONG THE LAST KEEPER STURGEON RETAINED ON THE WILLAMETTE SYSTEM, THIS ONE, CAUGHT LAST WEEKEND. RETENTION SEASON IS NOW CLOSED. (MARK VEARY)

ODFW closed the season following creel survey analysis that indicated harvest was at or near the pre-season guideline of 2,550 sturgeon following the last fishing day on March 12.

The season had been open three days a week since Feb. 17.

Catch-and-release sturgeon fishing is still allowed on the lower Willamette River, and retention is still allowed on the Columbia from the mouth of the river upstream to Bonneville Dam and from The Dalles Dam to McNary Dam.

Anglers are reminded that all sturgeon fishing, including catch-and-release, is prohibited between the I-205 Bridge and Willamette Falls from May 1 through Aug. 31 because that section of the river has been designated as a sturgeon spawning sanctuary.

North-central WA Fishing Report (12-28-10)

December 28, 2010

(REPORT COURTESY ANTON JONES, DARRELL & DAD’S GUIDE SERVICE)

What’s hot is trolling the deepwater for big Lake Trout on Lake Chelan as well as jig and bobber fishing the Upper Columbia for Steelhead.

Fish on Lake Chelan up by the Yacht Club with Silver Horde’s Kingfisher Lite spoons in glow and UV patterns.  Worden Lure’s T4 Purple Glow Flatfish are also a great choice.  Mack’s Lures big Squid Rigs in Glow colors also work great.  The odd landlocked Chinook has been a bonus.

YOU'LL NEVER FIND THE WOMEN IN WADERS AT LAKE CHELAN IN WINTER, BUT YOU WILL FIND THE BYRD GIRLS -- CHAR, ANITA, NICOLE AND RACHAEL. THEY'RE PICTURED HERE WITH LAKERS TO 17 POUNDS. (DARRELL & DAD'S GUIDE SERVICE)

Fishing for Steelhead with a jig and bobber from Pateros to Bridgeport has been great.  Putting 10 to 15 fish in the net per days fishing has been the norm.  Fish baited jigs under slip bobbers baited with pink shrimp.  The depth that we hung those jigs varied from as shallow as 3 feet to as deep as 28 feet.  Worden’s Maxi-Jigs in 1/8 oz Calypso has been “lights out”.  Mack’s Lures Glo-Getters in pink and orange have also caught fish.  Baiting those jigs with shrimp that have been cured in Red Pautzke’s Fire Cure has been the ticket.  Move that slip knot deeper and work in deeper water if the flow is slow and the river is down.  If it is moving get in the shallow part of the runs.  Triploid escapees from Rufus and even native Bull trout have been a bonus.  Remember, it is mandatory to keep adipose clipped Steelhead.

At Rufus, try casting Worden’s Black or Green Roostertails in 1/8th to ¼ ounce to shoreline points especially where big chunk rock is present. If this works you can catch and release fish.  Remember that if you fish with bait, the first 2 fish are your “limit” whether or not you release them.

Your fishing tip of the week is to spool up your downriggers with 200 pound test Power Pro to get enough downrigger cable to get at those monster deepwater fish.  Sometimes when we are making a deepwater turn in 400 feet of water, we have over 550 feet of cable out!

The kid’s tip of the week is to be like a professional infantry squad leader when you are out with the little ones.  Physically check their fingers and toes every half hour.  If they feel cold to you, take corrective action to get them warmed up.  Kids are amazingly unaware of how cold they are until it erupts in cranky behavior.

The safety tip of the week is to stay off of Roses Lake until the ice is at least 4” thick.  We are in the thin ice period of the winter.  I know you can’t wait to get at those recently stocked rainbows, but be patient.  It is not worth a dunking!  There is plenty of great angling to be had on Chelan, Rufus and the Upper Columbia.

(www.darrellanddads.com or 866-360-1523)


SW WA Fishing Report (11-29-10)

November 29, 2010

(REPORT COURTESY BIOLOIGST JOE HYMER)

SALMON/STEELHEAD

Cowlitz River – Boat anglers are catching coho and steelhead around the trout hatchery while bank anglers are catching coho around the salmon hatchery.

Last week Tacoma Power recovered 1,857 coho adults, 116 jacks, seven fall Chinook adults, one jack, 171 winter-run steelhead, six summer-run steelhead, and 17 sea-run cutthroat trout during four days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 423 coho adults, 63 jacks, and three winter-run steelhead into Lake Scanewa and 47 coho adults, five jacks, three cutthroat trout, and one winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 9,570 cubic feet per second on Monday, November 29. Water visibility is nine feet.

Kalama River – Bank anglers are catching some bright winter run steelhead and releasing dark coho.

Lewis River – Anglers are catching some bright winter run steelhead.  Most of the coho are dark and were released.

Flows below Merwin Dam are currently 5,400 cfs, down from the long-term mean of 8,000 cfs for this date.

Effective December 16, anglers will be allowed to fish from floating devices from Johnson Creek upstream. In addition, fishing for hatchery coho and hatchery steelhead opens from Colvin Creek upstream to the overhead powerlines below Merwin Dam.

STURGEON

Lower Columbia from the Wauna powerlines to Bonneville Dam – Effort and catches are light.  We sampled 13 bank anglers just below Bonneville Dam with no catch.  One of the seven boat anglers sampled at Port of Camas/Washougal had kept a legal.

– The preliminary catch for November is 169 legals kept from 4,510 angler trips (see attached). About 90% of the November catch occurred during the first two weeks of the month.An estimated 44 fish remain on this year’s guideline for the above Wauna powerlines area.

What’s Fishin’ In Oregon (11-3-10)

November 3, 2010

“They’re coming – and nothing’s stopping them.”

So writes Northwest Sportsman contributor Larry Ellis, stationed on the banks of the South Coast’s Chetco River, about this fall’s Chinook fishery, which has so far started off hot and heavy.

That’s not all there is to fish for around Oregon (see highlights from ODFW’s weekly Recreation Report below), but it’s definitely what we’re leading with here at What’s Fishin’ In Oregon.

Here’s more from Ellis as well as pics of a couple hog Chinook:

South Coast anglers have not been lacking for salmon this season, especially Chetco River groupies where limits were the rule on Saturday, October 30, when the river opened above River Mile 2.2,  one week earlier than scheduled.

In ODFW’s pre-season projections given in a Gold Beach meeting last March on all Oregon coastal streams, the Chetco was predicted to have the second highest percentage of escapement back to the river based on a 20-year average – 167-percent of average to be exact.

The department’s prediction of a higher-than-average amount 4-year-old Chinook also came to fruition when fish upon fish averaging between 30 and 50 pounds were filleted at the Port of Brookings Harbor’s cleaning station.

On Saturday, with a river averaging 3,500 cubic feet per second, and perfection visibility, anglers hooked kings on sardine-wrapped Kwikfish and MagLips.

“I went through a whole package of sardines,” said guide Joe Whaley of Joe Whaley’s Guide Service of Brookings.

Martin Thurber from Willakenzie Guide Service of Eugene brought plenty of sand shrimp with him for the opener and clocked limits of adults and jack Chinook for his clients as well. Thurber took top honors for opening day with Russell Cearney of Cottage Grove landing a 42-pound Chinook while back-bouncing roe.

RUSSELL CEARNEY OF COTTAGE GROVE CAUGHT THIS 42-POUND CHINOOK AT LOEB STATE PARK WHILE FISHING WITH MARTIN THURBER OF WILLAKENZIE GUIDE SERVICE WHEN THE CHETCO RIVER OPENED ITS DOORS ABOVE RIVER MILE 2.2 LAST SATURDAY. (LARRY ELLIS)

Andy Martin from Wild Rivers Fishing also hooked plenty of fish.

KATIE SELVOG AND WESTON WALKER OF KLAMATH FALLS HOLD A TROPHY CHETCO cHINOOK, CAUGHT ON HALLOWEEN WITH GUIDE ANDY MARTIN OF WILD RIVERS FISHING. THE SALMON BIT A SARDINE-WRAPPED MAG LIP PLUG. (ANDY MARTIN, WILD RIVERS FISHING)

George Morrison and Roland Robertson of Brookings hold a 44-pound Chetco River king salmon caught Nov. 3 while fishing with guide Andy Martin of Wild Rivers Fishing (www.wildriversfishing.com). The salmon hit a cluster of roe cured in Pautzke's pink BorxOFire fished with size 3/0 Lazer Sharp hooks and a Wright & McGill back-bouncing rod. (WILD RIVERS FISHING)

On Sunday the river blew out but by Monday anglers were catching fresh batches of chrome-bright 4-year-olds on a dropping river with Jack Hanson of Jack’s Guide Service putting one of his clients on a 45-pound monster king.

Tuesday also proved to be an excellent day for fishing guides when the Chetco also kicked out more fresh batches of silvery Chinook with Joe Whaley again limiting out his clients.

Bobber-and-egg or bobber-and-sand shrimp cocktail users (see November’s Rig Of The Month) are going to be stealing the show for the rest of the week and through the weekend, with a few baby-back-bouncers and plug-pullers taking fish from the South Fork put-in down to Social Security Hole.

If the river levels go below 1,000 cfs, Tide Rock anglers using the aforementioned bobber set-ups can also expect to score Chinook averaging over 30 pounds.  Bobbers-and-bait can also be employed in the softer water of back eddies and near the sides of the river where the river flow isn’t as robust.

Bank fishermen will find that drifting Corkies-and-roe, or Puff Balls-and-roe to be their best tactic until the river drops below 1,000 cfs, at which time bobbers-and-bait will be the go-to method.

Shore fishermen can expect to catch Chinook at the South Bank Pump house, the upper and lower ends of Social Security hole, the North Fork, Loeb Park and Miller Bar.

SOUTHWEST ZONE

  • Fishing is very good in Applegate Reservoir, which was recently stocked with large rainbow trout for fall fishing.
  • The Chetco River opened for fall chinook fishing a week early and anglers are already seeing some good fishing.
  • Trout fishing at Lost Creek Reservoir has been very good with reports of several 15 to 17-inch fish.
  • Steelhead fishing on the upper Rogue River is starting to heat up.

NORTHWEST ZONE

  • Alsea River: Fishing is fair to good with many fish moving up river.  Look to fish the falling river level later this week. Trolling, bait and bobber or casting lures can be effective this time of year in many river locations. The cutthroat trout season is closed for the season.
  • Kilchis River: Fall chinook fishing should improve as fish move upstream following recent storms. Fish should be available throughout much of the river. Bobber and bait should be effective in the deeper holes. Catch and release fishing for chum salmon should be fair. More fish will arrive in November.
  • Necanicum River: Angling for chinook salmon is fair in tidewater and in upstream areas. Try bobber and eggs/shrimp, or cast spinners in the deeper holes. Fish will be spread out after recent high flows.
  • Nestucca River: Angling for chinook is slow to fair, depending on river conditions. Fish are still available in tidewater, but many fish moved upstream with recent rains. Concentrate on the deeper holes where fish hold. Bobber and bait, or bait-wrapped plugs should produce some fish. Check regulations carefully as there are several closure areas and a new bag limit in effect this year. Fall chinook are being caught in Three Rivers, where angling has improved as more fish moved in. Summer steelhead angling in Three Rivers and the upper Nestucca is fair, with some improvement after the latest storm. Expect fishing to slow over the next few weeks. Spinners or bobber and jig are effective for steelhead.
  • Siletz River: Chinook and coho salmon angling is fair. A good portion of fish have moved up river above the angling deadline into spawning areas. Recent rain events should bring in a new batch of fish. Steelhead fishing is slow in the upper river. The cutthroat trout season is closed for the year.
  • Tillamook Bay: Angling for chinook has been fair. Fish are being caught throughout the bay. Trolling herring on the incoming tide in the lower bay is a good bet. Or try trolling spinners (red and white or green dot are popular colors) or plugs in the upper bay. Most hatchery coho have moved upstream. Wild coho have been quite large this year causing some anglers to confuse them for chinook. Make sure to positively identify your fish as to species. When the ocean cooperates, chinook are being caught trolling herring near the bottom in the terminal area just outside the bay. The ocean, including the terminal area, is closed for coho. The terminal area closes to salmon angling after Oct. 31.
  • Wilson River: Chinook are moving through the system and can be caught from tidewater upstream. Bobber and eggs and or sand shrimp are productive in the deeper holding areas. Bait wrapped plugs should produce some fish for boaters. Summer steelhead can still be caught, with many fish in the upper river. Fishing should improve somewhat after recent high waters. Anglers should be aware that an active slide is affecting a tributary to the Wilson River around milepost 20. Water clarity is likely to impacted by runoff after rain events, possibly for long periods of time. Check river conditions before you fish. The Vanderzanden boat slide on the Wilson River (approximately MP 9 on Hwy 6) is closed until further notice. The slide was damaged by a fallen tree, and is in need of repairs.

WILLAMETTE ZONE

  • Sturgeon retention fishing season resumes the Willamette River starting Nov. 1 with the usual Thursday, Friday, Saturday retention period and a fork length of 38-54”.
  • Coho are now distributed throughout the Willamette and its tributaries, and fishing prospects are looking up with the arrival of fall rains. Anglers are targeting coho at the mouths of the Clackamas, Tualatin, Molalla, Yamhill, and Santiam. Bright fish should be available for a couple more weeks.

CENTRAL ZONE

  • Trout fishing has been excellent on the Crooked River.
  • Summer steelhead season continues on the lower Deschutes River with more fishing moving above Maupin.

SOUTHEAST ZONE

  • Fishing on Thief Valley Reservoir has been good for even bank anglers.
  • The Ana Rivers offers good trout fishing opportunities throughout the fall and winter.

NORTHEAST ZONE

  • Trout fishing on Wallowa Lake has been good.
  • Steelhead fishing on the Grande Ronde and Imnaha rivers should improve with some significant rain.

COLUMBIA ZONE

  • Steelhead angling is good in the Columbia River above the John Day Dam.
  • Sturgeon retention is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday during October 1 – December 31 from Wauna Powerlines upstream to Bonneville Dam.

MARINE ZONE

  • Big waves and strong winds are the rule this time of year, but anglers who keep an eye on the ocean can find days when wind and wave abate enough to allow a little bottom fishing, which can be productive this time of year.
  • All shellfish is open along the entire Oregon coast from the Columbia River to the California border.
  • The consumption of whole recreationally harvested scallops is not recommended. However, coastal scallops are not affected by this closure when only the adductor muscle is eaten.

Reward For Info On Elk Killed In OR’s Yokum Valley

September 29, 2010

(OREGON STATE POLICE PRESS RELEASE)

The Oregon State Police (OSP) Fish and Wildlife Division troopers from the Klamath Falls Area Command office and Lakeview work site are asking for the public’s help to identify the suspect(s) responsible for an illegal elk kill late August in southern Lake County.  A reward of up to $500 is offered by the Oregon Hunters Association Turn in Poacher (T.I.P) reward program for information leading to an arrest in this case.

According to OSP Senior Trooper Paul Randall, sometime shortly before August 24, 2010 a bull elk was killed, parted out and dumped near the Yokum Valley area in southern Lake County.  The suspect(s) are also believed to be associated with other crimes involving theft and vandalism in the area.

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is asked to call the T.I.P. (Turn in Poacher) line at 1-800-452-7888 or Senior Trooper Randall at (541) 891-1522.

The Turn-In-Poachers (T.I.P.) reward is paid for information leading to the arrest/conviction of person(s) for the illegal killing, taking, possession or waste of deer, elk, antelope, bear, cougar, big horn sheep, mountain goat, moose, upland game birds, and waterfowl. T.I.P. rewards can also be given for the illegal netting, snagging, or dynamiting of salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, or large numbers of any fish listed in Oregon Statute as a game fish. In addition, a reward may be issued for information that results in an arrest/conviction of a person who has illegally obtained Oregon hunting/angling license or tags.

What’s Fishing In Washington

September 1, 2010

Coho beginning to push into the Straits and Puget Sound, Chinook moving up the Columbia system, big numbers of steelies back in the Snake River again, trout biting up high, spinyrays down low, walleye fishing in “full swing” — there is a ton of fish to catch right now around Washington!

BRENT HEDDEN LATCHED INTO ONE OF THE LARGER MEMBERS OF THIS FALL'S KING RUN UP THE COLUMBIA RECENTLY, CATCHING THIS 30-PLUS-POUNDER AT THE MOUTH OF THE COWLITZ. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

Here’s more from WDFW’s now-monthly Weekender:

NORTH SOUND

Coho salmon are moving into Puget Sound in increasing numbers, with the bulk of the run expected to arrive from the ocean later this month. Anglers can also expect good fishing in several rivers and lakes.

“After Labor Day is when we usually see a big push of ocean coho move into Puget Sound,” said Steve Thiesfeld, a WDFW fish biologist. “We should see more and more of those ocean fish make their way into the Sound as the month progresses.”

Once those fish arrive, Point No Point, Jefferson Head, Possession Bar and Shipwreck should be good spots to hook ocean coho, Thiesfeld said. Anglers fishing those areas – or other waters of marine areas 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) – have a daily limit of two salmon but must release chinook. In Marine Area 10, anglers also must release chum salmon through Sept. 15, while those fishing in Marine Area 9 must release chum through Sept. 30.

Marine areas 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay) and 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner) also are open for salmon fishing. Anglers fishing Marine Area 7 can keep one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit, but must release wild coho and chum. Those fishing marine areas 8-1 and 8-2 also have a daily limit of two salmon but must release chinook.

Meanwhile, recreational crab fishing will close for a catch assessment in most areas of Puget Sound on Labor Day. Areas closing one hour after sunset Sept. 6 include Marine areas 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 8-1, 8-2, 9, 10, 11 (Tacoma/Vashon) and 12 (Hood Canal).

Marine Area 7 remains open on a Wednesday-through-Saturday schedule, plus the entire Labor Day weekend, through Sept. 30. Marine areas 4 (east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu) and 13 (South Puget Sound) remain open for crabbing through Jan. 2, seven days a week.

The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. Fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across. See WDFW’s sport-crabbing website ( http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/ ) for more information.

Crabbers are reminded that their summer catch record cards are due to WDFW by Oct. 10 and must be returned whether or not the cardholder caught or fished for crab during the season. Crabbers who fail to file catch reports for 2010 will face a $10 fine, which will be imposed when they apply for a 2011 Puget Sound crab endorsement. Completed cards can be mailed in or recorded online. Additional information is available on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/crc.html . Crabbers who continue to fish in an open area after Sept. 6 should record their catch on their winter catch card.

In freshwater, Thiesfeld said the best bet for anglers fishing for coho salmon in the region might be the Stillaguamish and Skagit rivers, where abundant runs are expected to return this year. The Stillaguamish and Skagit, as well as the Snohomish, Skykomish, Snoqualmie and Green (Duwamish) rivers open for salmon fishing Sept. 1.

Thiesfeld reminds anglers fishing the Green River that chinook salmon must be released.

Elsewhere, Lake Sammamish is open for salmon fishing, with a daily limit of four salmon, of which two may be chinook. All sockeye must be released, and fishing is closed within 100 yards of the mouth of Issaquah Creek. Sammamish Lake’s larger neighbor, Lake Washington, opens Sept. 16 to coho fishing. Anglers will be allowed four coho per day (minimum size 12 inches) from waters north of the Highway 520 Bridge and east of the Montlake Bridge.

SOUTH SOUND/PENINSULA

Salmon anglers on the coast are still catching fish as the ocean fishery enters the home stretch. Coho fishing is expected to peak in mid-September, as the bulk of the run moves through the Strait of Juan de Fuca into Puget Sound.

During the last week of August, anglers on the coast were still finding some bright chinook as the coho catch began to climb, said Doug Milward, ocean salmon manager for WDFW.

“I expect fishing to continue to be good for chinook and coho as we move into the final weeks of the fishery,” he said.

Salmon fishing is scheduled to continue through Sept. 18 in marine areas 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay), through Sept. 19 in Marine Area 2 (Westport-Ocean Shores) and through Sept. 30 in Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco). However, salmon fisheries in those areas could close early if catch quotas are reached. Milward reminds anglers to check for any rule changes at WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations .

Anglers fishing marine areas 1, 2, 3 and 4 can keep up to two chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit, but must release any chinook measuring less than 24 inches and hatchery coho less than 16 inches. Wild coho must be released unharmed. All four ocean marine areas are open to salmon fishing seven days a week.

In the Strait of Juan de Fuca, anglers fishing in late August were picking up a few ocean coho but the big push of silvers into Puget Sound isn’t expected until after Labor Day, said Steve Thiesfeld, WDFW fish biologist.

“By the middle of September, coho fishing should pick up in the Strait, as well as in areas of northern and central Puget Sound,” he said.

Anglers fishing marine areas 5 (Sekiu) and 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) have a two-salmon daily limit but must release chum, chinook and wild coho. However, anglers fishing Marine Area 5 will be allowed to retain wild coho beginning Sept. 16.

Farther south, salmon fishing opens Sept. 1 north of Ayock Point in Hood Canal (Marine Area 12), where the daily limit is four coho only. All other salmon species must be released. The same rules apply to Dabob and Quilcene bays, which opened for salmon fishing Aug. 16.

In the southern portion of Puget Sound, anglers fishing Marine Area 11 (Tacoma/Vashon) have a two-salmon daily limit, but must release wild chinook. Anglers fishing Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound), have a two-salmon daily limit, but must release wild chinook and wild coho.

JACOB CULVER'S BIG NARROWS BRIDGE BEACH CHINOOK. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

Because salmon fishing rules vary depending on the marine area, anglers should check the Sportfishing Rules Pamphlet ( http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ ) before heading out on the water.

Meanwhile, recreational crab fishing will close for a catch assessment in most areas of Puget Sound on Labor Day. Areas closing one hour after sunset Sept. 6 include Marine areas 6, 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 10 (Seattle/Bremerton), 11 and 12.

Marine Area 7 remains open on a Wednesday-through-Saturday schedule, plus the entire Labor Day weekend, through Sept. 30. Marine areas 4 (east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu) and 13 (South Puget Sound) remain open for crabbing through Jan. 2, seven days a week.

The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. Fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across. See WDFW’s sport-crabbing website ( http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/ ) for more information.

Crabbers are reminded that their summer catch record cards are due to WDFW by Oct. 10 and must be returned whether or not the cardholder caught or fished for crab during the season. Crabbers who fail to file catch reports for 2010 will face a $10 fine, which will be imposed when they apply for a 2011 Puget Sound crab endorsement. Completed cards can be mailed in or recorded online. Additional information is available on the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/crab/crc.html . Crabbers who continue to fish in an open area after Sept. 6 should record their catch on their winter catch card.

Several rivers around the region open to salmon fishing Sept. 1, including the Carbon River in Pierce County; Copalis River, Van Winkle Creek and Joe Creek in Grays Harbor County; the Bear and Niawiakum rivers in Pacific County; and Clearwater River in Jefferson County. Salmon fisheries on the Skokomish, Puyallup and Nisqually rivers are already under way.

On a portion of the Hoh River, anglers can now fish for salmon seven days a week and keep up to two adult salmon as part of their six-fish daily limit.

Before heading out, anglers should check the rules and regulations for all fisheries on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations .

SOUTHWEST

September is prime time for salmon fishing in the Columbia River Basin, as large numbers of fish move upriver and into tributaries on both sides of Bonneville Dam. Anglers fishing the lower river below the dam are expected to reel in nearly 30,000 fall chinook and 13,000 hatchery coho this season – most of which will be taken this month.

“Prospects are good for salmon fishing this month, but it’s important to remember these fish are on the move,” said Joe Hymer, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “As the month goes on, successful anglers will follow the fish upriver and into the tributaries.”

The retention fishery for chinook salmon ended Aug. 31 at Buoy 10, but hatchery coho should remain strong below Rocky Point throughout the month. Even so, the prospect of catching a hefty chinook salmon is drawing most anglers farther upstream.

Through Sept. 12, anglers may take one chinook per day as part of their limit from Rocky Point upriver to Bonneville Dam. Anglers fishing those waters have a daily limit of six fish, including two adult salmon or steehead or one of each. The retention fishery for chinook ends Sept. 12 below the Lewis River, but that section will remain open to fishing for hatchery coho, hatchery steelhead and hatchery sea-run cutthroats .

“Anglers targeting chinook do best in fairly deep water – 40 to 50 feet down,” Hymer said. “Some of the best fishing for both salmon and steelhead will be at the mouths of tributaries, where the fish hold up before heading upstream.”

As the month progresses, salmon fishing will heat up farther upstream in tributaries ranging from the Cowlitz to the White Salmon rivers, Hymer said. He reminds anglers of several new rules that will be in effect on those rivers this year:

* Wild chinook release:  New this year, all unmarked chinook (adults and jacks) must be released on the Cowlitz, Toutle, Green, Washougal, Wind and White Salmon rivers, plus Drano Lake and Camas Slough. Like last year, anglers must also release unmarked chinook on the Grays, Elochoman and Kalama rivers.
* Lewis River rule:  Hatchery fall chinook may be retained through September on the Lewis River, including the North Fork.  Beginning Oct.1, all chinook must be released and fishing from any floating device will be prohibited on the North Fork Lewis River from Johnson Creek upstream to Colvin Creek.
* Fishing closures:  Cedar Creek, a tributary of the North Fork Lewis River, is closed to all fishing in September and October. Lower Lacamas Creek, a tributary of the Washougal River, will also close to all fishing in September.

Like last year, anglers can retain up to six hatchery adult coho on all tributaries to the lower Columbia River with hatchery programs. Those rivers include the Cowlitz, Deep, Elochoman, Grays (including West Fork), Kalama, Klickitat, Lewis (including North Fork), Toutle (including Green and North Fork) and Washougal.

Regulations for these and other fisheries are described in WDFW’s Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .

There are, of course, a variety of other fishing opportunities besides salmon available to area anglers this month. Smallmouth bass are coming on strong above John Day Dam, and trout fishing is still an option at Skate Creek, Tilton River and a number of lowland lakes, including Swift Reservoir.

But for anglers who don’t mind a hike, September is a great time to head for the high wilderness lakes around Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens. Hymer points to three such lakes – Goose, Council and Tahkalhk – that even offer drive-in access.

“The mosquitoes should die down around the high mountain lakes after the first frost arrives,” Hymer said. “Sure, the fish are usually small, but the leaves are beginning to turn, the air is crisp and you can really experience the change of season.”

EASTERN

The Snake River steelhead catch-and-keep season opens Sept. 1 and it promises to be another good one.

“Steelhead are returning to the Snake in large numbers again this year,” said Glen Mendel, WDFW’s southeast district fish biologist. “We have seen very strong early returns throughout the summer so far.”

Mendel said about 375,000 fish are expected to return this year – not as many as last year, when about 600,000 entered the Columbia River. But this year’s projected return is still large enough to provide good fishing opportunities, said Mendel.

“Snake River water temperatures are currently warm and that may slow the bite when the steelhead retention season opens Sept. 1,” Mendel said. “But water temperatures should drop soon with cooler weather ahead, and then the action should pick up.”

Mendel notes that the mouths of the Snake’s tributaries, such as the Tucannon and Grande Ronde, and the confluence with the Clearwater River on the Idaho border, are usually most productive at the start of the season. He reminds steelheaders that barbless hooks are required and the daily trout catch limit of six fish includes up to three hatchery-marked steelhead (healed scar at clipped adipose or ventral fin).

Trout fishing throughout the region usually picks up as fall approaches, said Chris Donley, WDFW district fish biologist, who reminds anglers that several of the best-producing trout lakes near Spokane close Sept. 30.

“This is the final month for fishing Badger, Williams, and Fish lakes in southwest Spokane County and Coffeepot Lake in Lincoln County,” Donley said. “Badger and Williams have both cutthroat and rainbow trout, Fish Lake has brook and tiger trout, and Coffeepot has rainbows plus yellow perch and black crappie .”

Donley said September can also be good for yellow perch fishing at southwest Spokane County’s Downs Lake, which also closes Sept. 30. Amber Lake, near Badger and Williams, is also good for cutthroat and rainbow trout fishing, Donley said. Selective gear rules are in effect at Amber Lake through September.

GET IN ON SUMMER'S LAST BASS BITES! JANELLE SIDEBOTHAM CAUGHT THIS HAWG AT SOUTH TWIN LAKE, ON THE COLVILLE RESERVATION, A MONTH AGO OR SO. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

Clear Lake, near the town of Medical Lake, has brown trout and usually produces good catches of crappie and largemouth bass in late fall. Like a number of other waters throughout the region, Clear Lake remains open through October.

Year-round waters that produce well in the fall include Lake Roosevelt and Sprague Lake, both of which offer good-size rainbows.

In the north end of the region, access to the Boundary Dam reservoir on the Pend Oreille River is limited this month because of a drawdown for maintenance of the Seattle City Light dam. Beginning Sept. 1 and lasting up to 11 days, the reservoir will slowly be drawn down 40 feet to an elevation of 1,950 feet.

The low water condition is expected to prevent access at all boat launch facilities Sept. 9-16 on the Boundary reservoir, including the Boundary Forebay, Metaline Park, and Campbell Park immediately below Box Canyon Dam. The Boundary Dam campground and boat launch will be closed Sept. 11-19 to accommodate the maintenance project. For more information about this project, see http://wdfw.wa.gov/about/regions/region1/ .

NORTH-CENTRAL

Several popular Okanogan County trout lakes that have been under catch-and-release rules in past years will open Sept. 1 for a new “catch-and-keep” season. Those waters include Davis, Cougar, and Campbell lakes in the Winthrop area, where anglers will have a five-fish daily trout limit and bait will be allowed.

Rainbow trout are the predominant species, Jateff said, and anglers should expect fish in the 10- to 12-inch range, with carryovers up to 15 inches, said WDFW Okanogan District Fish Biologist Bob Jateff. Anglers should also note that, effective this year, there will be no gas-powered motors allowed on Davis Lake due to a new county ordinance.

Jateff said trout fishing has been good at the Methow River, where catch-and-release and selective-gear rules are in effect. The Methow River from Lower Burma Road bridge upstream to the McFarland Creek bridge will close Sept.15. The rest of the river upstream to Foghorn Dam (Winthrop area) will close Sept. 30.

“September is also a good time to hike up to one of many alpine lakes in Okanogan County,” Jateff said. “There are many waters with predominately cutthroat trout , which can be a good change of pace from lowland lake fisheries during the fall. Just be aware of fire restrictions this time of year.”

Jateff also said salmon fishing on the Columbia River near Brewster/Bridgeport has been fair, with a few more chinook starting to show up in the catch. “Most of the fish are being picked up in the 40- to 50-foot depth while trolling with spinners tipped with a whole shrimp,” he said. “Sockeye are still being caught as well.”

The salmon fishery from Wells Dam to the Highway 173 Bridge in Brewster closed Aug. 31, but other portions of the Columbia, Okanogan and Similkameen rivers remain open through Sept. 15 or into October. For all rules, see the special regulation online at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=925 .

DON

JUST IN CASE YOU NEED ANY MORE IDEAS, PERHAPS YOU'VE HEARD OF RUFUS WOODS? THAT'S WHERE DON ERIKSEN HOOKED THIS NICE RAINBOW IN EARLY AUGUST. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

Anglers looking for information about steelhead fishing on the upper Columbia River and its tributaries should watch the WDFW website for any special openings that are not in the sportfishing regulations pamphlet.

SOUTH-CENTRAL

Counts of chinook salmon and steelhead passing McNary Dam have been climbing day by day, setting the stage for popular fisheries throughout the region. While those fisheries often start out slow, they can ramp up quickly by mid-September as more fish pass the dam.

“There’s a lot of anticipation out there right now,” said Paul Hoffarth, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “Anglers are catching fish here and there, but they know there are a lot more headed our way. By the middle of the month, we could have a couple thousand upriver brights in the Hanford Reach.”

According to the preseason forecast, 664,900 fall chinook salmon will enter the Columbia River this year, and about two-thirds of them are headed past Bonneville Dam.

Most of the Columbia River is open for salmon fishing, and the Yakima River opened for salmon fishing on Sept. 1 from the Columbia River upstream to Prosser Dam. The area around the Chandler Powerhouse will remain closed as in previous years. “The best fishing on the Yakima is in October, but some fish will start moving in this month,” Hoffarth said.

Fishing for hatchery steelhead should also pick up throughout the month, he said. Catches were slow in late August on the Columbia River, which is open for steelhead fishing from the Highway 395 Bridge (Blue Bridge) downstream. Effective Sept. 1, the Snake River opened for hatchery steelhead fishing with barbless hooks.

“As with salmon, look for fishing to improve as the water cools and more fish move upriver,” Hoffarth said. “Steelhead move fast. They don’t stay in one spot very long, so anglers have to be there when they arrive.”

Meanwhile, the month began with walleye fisheries in full swing, producing nice catches in the Columbia River above and below McNary Dam, as well as in the Snake River. Sturgeon fishing is restricted to catch and release in most of the Columbia River, including Lake Wallula and the Hanford Reach.

Trout fishing remains available in many southcentral region rivers and streams, including the Yakima, Naches, Little Naches, and Bumping rivers in Yakima County, and the upper reaches of Taneum Creek, Naneum Creek, Manastash Creek, and the forks of the Teanaway in Kittitas County. Most rivers and creeks have special regulations like selective gear rules that prohibit bait. Most also have statewide trout catch limits of two trout with an 8-inch minimum size. Anglers should check the regulation pamphlet for all details.

Thinking about catching kokanee in Rimrock Reservoir? Sooner is better than later, advises Perry Harvester, regional WDFW habitat manager. Water drawdowns began at the reservoir in late August and will likely render the launch ramps useless for larger boats by mid-September. “Car-top boat should still be fine, but it’s going to be tough to get larger boats in the water with the ramp high and dry.”

Subpar Sturgeon Fishery Extended

June 25, 2010

(WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE)

Anglers will get at least 15 more days to catch white sturgeon in the Columbia River estuary, beginning June 27.

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon, in a joint state meeting Thursday, agreed to extend the fishery after assessing catch data for the year to date.

The states’ action rescinds a closure scheduled June 27 and allows anglers to catch and retain legal-size white sturgeon through July 11 between the mouth of the Columbia and the Wauna powerlines near Cathlamet.

Those additional fishing days are designed to give anglers an opportunity to catch an estimated 6,550 sturgeon still available for harvest in the recreational fishery, said Brad James, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The catch guideline for that season is 9,600 fish.

“Both angler participation and sturgeon catch has been below expectations for the season,” James said. “That left room for some extra fishing days.”

As during the regular season, the daily catch limit is one white sturgeon, with a fork-length measurement of 41 inches to 54 inches. All green sturgeon must be released. Fishery managers will review the catch data after July 11 to determine if additional fishing opportunity is available under the catch guideline.

RMEF Blasts Defenders

April 12, 2010

As a battle of letters heats up, the latest from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation blasts the Defenders of Wildlife and Western Wildlife Conservancy for contradictory stands.

“On one hand you trumpet the success of the overall elk populations in [Montana, Idaho and Wyoming]  (which are managed by those states, I might add),” writes RMEF president M. David Allen in an April 9 letter, “and on the other hand you reject those same three states’ ability to manage wolves. That is a curious contradiction. Either these states know what they are doing or they don’t.”

The wildlife advocacy groups are at odds over elk and wolves in the Northern Rockies where numbers of the introduced and naturally returning predators have met federal recovery goals every year since 2002 and increased their overall numbers for 15 straight years.

However, lawsuits and Wyoming’s inadequate management plan kept regulated hunts from occurring until this past fall and winter. Montana hunters killed 72 wolves, Idaho’s 188; both states’ seasons were considered successes, at least by state managers.

This skirmish in the greater wolf war began in early February. RMEF data was cited in an opinion piece written by Kirk Robinson of the Western Wildlife Conservancy and published in a Utah newspaper to argue that elk populations have continued to climb in Idaho despite 1995’s reintroduction of the species to the central core of the state.

That and other statements hit a nerve with Allen, who fired back at WWC, DOW and “others for their disingenuous use of data on wolves and elk” in late February.

High elk numbers overall gloss dramatic declines in some herds in recent years, such as those around Yellowstone and on the Idaho-Montana border in the Lolo-Bitterroot region where there appear to be plenty of wolves, though hunters on the Gem State side were unable to meet the local quota, possibly due to thick country.

DOW came back with a March 30 letter arguing that the recovery goals of 100 to 150 wolves in Montana, Idaho and Wyoming don’t ensure long-term sustainable populations, and the species faces continued resistance to recovery all the way up to the Governor’s Mansion in some areas.

“Strong, balanced, science-based federal and state plans are necessary to overcome this opposition to wolf recovery,” write Mike Leahy, Rocky Mountain director of Defenders of Wildlife, and Robinson. “Through your publicity campaign against us, RMEF appears to be trying to benefit from increasing the conflict over wolves, even as you accuse us of the same. Our proposed solution, however, is not more conflict but more collaboration. We have called for a scientific review of wolf recovery criteria to incorporate the best available science, followed by a regional stakeholder process to guide development of state plans that meet wolves’ biological needs while addressing the legitimate concerns of affected people and communities.”

Another scientific review, Allen wonders. Why, by who and what the heck’s wrong with the plans in place now?

“Why isn’t the wildlife science of three of the leading western states (Wyoming, Montana and Idaho) and the USFWS credible? Is it that you are not getting the answers you are looking for? If so, that is not subscribing to science that is manipulating it to get a desired answer,” Allen writes. “We live within the rules and game management policies of all the state agencies and when we have differences of opinion we go to them and work it out like adults. The United States has the best system of wildlife management in the world, yet you reject the system of states managing their wildlife. Among your tactics are filing lawsuits to stall and extend the process and then point fingers at others like RMEF and say we are polarizing the conflict! Managing wildlife in court is a recipe for disaster.”

Allen calls for “sensible balance” and says that “current wolf numbers have long since crossed over the tipping point.”

He says that wolves should be managed like any other predator on the range, and now that they’re considered recovered by the Feds, managed by state agencies.

“This wolf amnesty program is poor wildlife management. The American sportsmen deserve better respect for all they have contributed to wildlife while groups like yours play games with the system,” he writes.

Allen says this isn’t the Old West anymore, it’s a region populated by millions and facing increasing habitat challenges.

“Man must manage wildlife and we have done so very successfully for over a century,” Allen says in a press release. “We’re long past the day when wolf populations can be left unchecked. Right now this is simply a wolf amnesty program and the results are becoming alarming.”

Allen does extend an olive branch to meet with Leahy and Robinson at RMEF’s Missoula offices, and for their part, Leahy and Robinson say they don’t oppose hunting — so long as there’s a regionally sustainable population of wolves.

But Allen says that if their “organizations do not begin to subscribe to sound wildlife management soon, this disaster will lay squarely on your hands for history and the public to judge.”

Wolf Shot On Palouse Just East Of WA Border

March 18, 2010

A farmer shot and killed a young wolf on the Palouse just east of the Washington-Idaho border near the small town of Farmington.

The incident occurred in early March, according to regional conservation officer Mark Hill of the Idaho Department of Fish & Game.

The man, believed to be a Washington farmer, was checking out his property about 2 miles from the state line at the time. Hill says the man says he threw a stick at the wolf, but it was reluctant to move.

Hill says that the man claimed his dogs were eager to tangle with the animal so he shot the wolf to protect them.

The officer describes the wolf as a 60-pound female; its carcass was being shipped to Boise.

Hill says the man was issued a warning because he didn’t report the kill within 72 hours as required by Idaho law. However, he was probably not aware of the requirement either, he adds.

It’s not unusual to have wolves on the edge of Idaho’s Palouse, Hill says, but the proximity to the Washington border makes it noteworthy.

The two states do share a pack of wolves, the Diamond group, which denned in extreme Northeast Washington last spring and spent approximately 90 percent of its time in the Evergreen State, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service’s 2009 report.

Washington has one other confirmed pack of wolves and probably shares a pack with Oregon in the Blue Mountains.

The USFS is investigating reports of wolves above Lake Chelan. A spokeswoman in Spokane told Northwest Sportsman earlier this week that the Department of Fish & Wildlife continues to get reports of tracks, howling, scat and glimpses of animals in Eastern Washington, and says she wouldn’t be surprised to see new packs this summer in North-central, Northeast and Southeast Washington.

The state is working on a management plan to recover the species.

SW WA Fishing Report

January 26, 2010

(JOE HYMER, PACIFIC STATES MARINE FISHERIES COMMISSION)

SALMON/STEELHEAD

Cowlitz River – 39 bank anglers kept 2 steelhead while 3 boat anglers had no catch.

Last week, Tacoma Power recovered 102 winter-run steelhead, nine coho adults, three jacks and one cutthroat trout during four days of operation at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. During the week Tacoma Power employees released three coho adults, one jack and three winter-run steelhead into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and eleven winter-run steelhead, four coho adults and one jack into Lake Scanewa behind Cowlitz Falls Dam. 

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 10,100 cubic feet per second on Monday, January 25. Water visibility is nine feet.

Salmon Creek (Clark Co.) – High effort but no catch was observed.

The Dalles Pool – Light effort though some steelhead are being caught.

John Day Pool – Bank anglers are catching some steelhead.

STURGEON

Lower Columbia mainstem from the Wauna powerlines to Bonneville Dam – 2 boats/4 anglers in the Cowlitz/Kalama area and 2 boats/4 anglers in the Vancouver area had no catch as did 3 bank anglers in Longview and 15 just below Bonneville Dam.

Bonneville Pool – Over half the boat anglers sampled had kept a legal size fish.  Bank anglers were also catching some legals.

The Dalles and John Day pools – Light effort and no legal catch was observed.

WALLEYE AND BASS

Bonneville, The Dalles, and John Day pools – Generally little to no effort.  Boat anglers are catching some walleye in The Dalles Pool.  No effort was observed for bass in the three pools.

TROUT

Silver Lake near Castle Rock – Low effort and no catch was observed.

Kress Lake near Kalama – Average effort and catch.

Klineline Pond – 29 bank anglers kept 8 brood stock rainbows and 3 catchable size rainbows.  Water level is high – most catch in the swimming area.  Planted with 210 brood stock rainbows averaging 4 pounds each Jan. 20.

Horseshoe (in Woodland), Battleground, and Vancouver lakes – No effort.  Battleground Lake was planted with 3,029 catchable size rainbows Jan. 19.

Kidney Lake near North Bonneville – Planted with 1,000 rainbows just under ½ pound each Jan. 19.

SMELT

Lower Columbia mainstem – 2,000 pounds were landed from the commercial fishery last week.

Washington tributaries – Unconfirmed reports of recent birds/seal activity in the Deep, Grays, and Cowlitz River.  The Cowlitz remains closed to sport dipping until Feb. 6; all other tributaries will remain closed.

Cascade Set To Reopen

January 8, 2010

(WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE NOTICE)

Action: The lower section of the Cascade River that was previously closed will re-open to fishing for game fish.

Effective dates: Jan. 10, 2010.

Species affected: All gamefish.

Location: Cascade River from the mouth upstream to Rockport-Cascade Road Bridge.

Reasons for action: Hatchery winter steelhead broodstock collection has been achieved.

Other information: Please see the Sport Fishing Rules 2009/2010 Pamphlet Edition, FISHING IN WASHINGTON, for a complete listing of fishing seasons and regulations.

More Cuts To WDFW?

November 29, 2009

Allen Thomas of The Columbian reports on Phil Anderson’s remarks that more painful cuts are coming to his agency, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Report: ’09 Skagit King Run Best Since ’74

November 13, 2009

UPDATED: Northwest Fishletter is reporting that this year’s Skagit River summer/fall Chinook run was the best since 1974.

They say that “around 25,000” wild kings returned to the North Puget Sound river.

However, WDFW biologist Brett Barkdull says final surveys haven’t been completed. The 25,000-count comes from a Seattle City Light press release.

WDFW does report that at least 94 summer Chinook also returned to the Marblemount Hatchery.

The preseason forecast called for 24,039 hatchery and wild fish.

This year was also the first time the Skagit was open for summer/falls since 1993, though catches weren’t spectacular during the split-week recreational and tribal fisheries.

State managers actually struggled with opening a season too. It was the first directed fisheries on wild Chinook in Puget Sound since the stocks were listed for protections under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1999.

“We are going after wild stocks and that was a struggle, so that’s why the fishery is so conservative,” WDFW Puget Sound Salmon Manager Steve Thiesfeld told me for a July issue article.

Of this year’s forecasted return of 24,039 Chinook, only 639 were expected to come in with clipped adipose fins; typically in the Northwest, it’s the other way round, hatcheries outnumbering wilds.

State biologists also worried why last year’s forecast unexpectedly missed wide left.

“For some reason the 4-year-olds didn’t come back,” noted the river’s biologist, Brett Barkdull. “Something like that makes you doubt your models.”

But over the past 15 years, there’s no doubt that spawner escapement trends to the brawny North Cascades river have been upwards. In the 1990s, it was routine to get 5,000 kings back, but this decade has consistently seen returns double that. And three of the past five years have seen a whopping 20,000 or more on the gravel.

Then-interim WDFW manager Phil Anderson is credited by Skagit tribes with working out a deal to open last summer’s fishery.

Puget Sound Rockfish Comment Extended

November 13, 2009

(WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE)

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has extended the public comment period on a new draft conservation plan for rockfish in Puget Sound and has scheduled three additional public meetings to discuss the plan with the public.

Under the new timeline, WDFW will accept comments on the draft conservation plan through Jan. 4, 2010. The draft conservation plan is the preferred alternative among several presented in a draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS), which is required by the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA).

The DEIS and draft conservation plan are available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/management/rockfish . Those who would like a copy of the plan on a compact disc or in print can call (360) 902-2844.

“We decided to extend the deadline and add additional public meetings after receiving numerous requests from people to allow for more time to review the plan and provide comments,” said Craig Burley, WDFW fish division manager.

The draft conservation plan provides the framework for new strategies and actions in areas including fisheries, monitoring and education to conserve and protect rockfish populations in Puget Sound. Three species of rockfish in Puget Sound – bocaccio, yelloweye and canary rockfish – currently are being considered for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Comments can be submitted by email to SEPAdesk2@dfw.wa.gov , by FAX to (360) 902-2946, or by U.S. Mail to: WDFW SEPA Desk, 600 Capitol Way N. Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

In addition, people can submit comments, as well as discuss the draft plan with WDFW staff, during public meetings scheduled for:

* Nov. 30 – From 7-9 p.m. at the Bremerton City Hall, 345 6th Street, Bremerton .
* Dec. 2 – From 7-9 p.m. at the Seattle Aquarium , 1483 Alaskan Way, Seattle.
* Dec. 3 – From 7-9 p.m. in Angst Hall at Skagit Valley College’s Mount Vernon Campus, 2405 East College Way, Mount Vernon .

‘I’m Gutting A Moose’

November 2, 2009

What happens when you call up fishing or hunting guides during the day?

You connect with them while they’re on the water or in the field.

And sometimes you get them while they’re fighting a fish, or, well, we’ll just let the following conversation play out:

(Phone dials number)

Rich Lindsey, Blue Ribbon Charters: “Hello?”

AW: “Hey, Rich, this is Andy Walgamott, I’m the editor of Northwest Sportsman magazine. We’re doing a story on Priest Lake Mackinaw in an upcoming edition and I was curious if you had any photos you could send me.”

RL: “I’d love to, I’ve got tons of pictures, but guess what, Andy? I’m gutting a moose right now. My hands are covered in blood.”

AW (Note to self: Bring glove to handle Rich’s phone if fishing with him this fall/winter): “Oh, OK, well … maybe I’ll just email you my request?”

RL (to hunter): “Are you saving the heart?”

AW: “Yeah, that’s what I’ll do.”

Tacoma Power, WDFW Unveil Cowlitz Hatchery Production Tweaks

October 30, 2009

Win, lose, draw.

There’s a little bit of everything for Cowlitz River anglers in the proposed changes to hatchery salmonid production unveiled by Tacoma Power and WDFW last night in Centralia.

Spring Chinook smolt releases could rise by over 330,000 and summer steelhead by 150,000 under the various alternatives.

Fall king releases could also rise from 5 million to 5.3 million — or drop to 3.2 million. And late winter steelhead releases may drop by some 70,000 or bump up 37,000 from 363,000.

Sea-run cutthroat trout levels may remain at 157,000 a year — or be cut almost in half. But coho production would drop from 1.8 million to 1.1 mil, and early winter steelhead releases could be done for all together.

The proposals are part of an update to Tacoma Power’s fisheries and hatchery management plan for the big Southwest Washington river. Under an agreement on operating the Mayfield and Riffe dams, smolt production is to be cut 20,000 pounds to 650,000 a year, which is reportedly 35 percent lower than it’s been in peak years.

Mark LaRiviere, Tacoma Power’s senior fisheries biologist, says the goal is to recover natural-origin fish populations, while WDFW regional fisheries manager Pat Frazier says that conforming with ESA requirements for listed species in the basin is driving the state’s actions.

The next step, according to LaRiviere, is for the Fisheries Technical Committee — made up of state, federal and tribal agencies, sport and guide groups and others — to give a final recommendation on release levels.

That will be put into an update of Tacoma Power’s existing plan and forwarded to FERC, the federal department that oversees dam licensing.

FERC will also hold public meetings on the updated plan, and could approve, reject or amend it, LaRiviere says.

If the plan speeds through the process, there’s a possibility broodstock collections could be affected as early as next fall, he says, but perhaps not until fall 2011.

Anglers wouldn’t see differences in fish numbers for several years after that.

“The actual affect on adult runs would be three or four years out,” says LaRiviere.

While LaRiviere was happy with discussions with the 45 or so people who turned out last night, Eric Schwartz of the Centralia Chronicle reports that anglers fear what will happen to the Cowlitz’s solid runs of hatchery salmon, steelhead and trout.

“The way they’re going and what they’re saying, they’re heading to eliminate (hatchery) production altogether,” Don Glaser of Barrier Dam Campground just below Mayfield Dam told Schwartz in an earlier article.

For updates — LaRiviere says there’s likely to be another public meeting on the Cowlitz in early 2010 — watch cowlitzfish.net.

Big Coho Run On Now Up Willamette

September 18, 2009

(OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH & WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE)

Fishery managers for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife were expecting banner returns this year, but the number of coho passing over Willamette Falls is exceeding even the most optimistic forecasts.

For the past week, ODFW’s fish monitoring station at Willamette Falls has been logging some of the largest returns since the facility began keeping records in 1946.

As of Sept. 13, 2,979 adult coho had crossed the falls on their way to spawning grounds in the upper Willamette and its tributaries.

(ODFW)

(ODFW)

“We have more fish over the falls already than we typically see for the whole year,” said Chris Kern, assistant fisheries manager for ODFW’s Ocean Salmon and Columbia River Program.

Fishery managers believe that if the current trend continues, the number of coho crossing into the upper Willamette could exceed the previous high of 17,900 adults counted in 1970.

What is more remarkable than the sheer number of fish is the type of coho that are returning to the upper Willamette. Almost all the fish counted at Willamette Falls were produced by natural spawning in the wild. The last time ODFW released hatchery-reared coho in the upper Willamette basin was in 1998, and the high returns in the early 1970s were generated from massive releases of hatchery coho fry and presmolts nearing 10 million annually.

“We’re not sure why, but for some reason they’re doing really well up there,” said Kern. “It looks like habitat restoration and other efforts are paying off.”  Coho are also known to be very adaptive and able to utilize habitat not used by other fish.

The large coho returns expected throughout the Columbia River and its tributaries prompted ODFW to raise the bag limit on coho to three fish per day in many areas, including the upper Willamette and its tributaries. Above Willamette Falls, anglers are allowed to keep three coho, regardless of whether they are fin-clipped or unclipped fish.

Biologists expect the coho return in the upper Willamette will continue through mid- to late-October.  Early on, angling for these coho will be best in the mainstem Willamette, particularly around the mouths of the larger tributaries like the Tualatin, Molalla and Yamhill rivers.  Once fall advances, and cool rain elevates tributary flows, the coho will move into tributary streams, where they will be more accessible to bank anglers.  ODFW advises that anglers read the 2009 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for information on gear restrictions and areas to fish.

“By the end of October it should be tailing off,” said Kern. “In the meantime, there should be lots of good opportunities for people to get out and catch these fish.”

Jack Kings Outnumber Adults At LGD

September 18, 2009

Here’s a new one: nearly 10,000 more jacks than adult fall Chinook have been counted at Lower Granite Dam this summer.

Since August 18, 18,329 two-year-old fall kings have passed the fourth dam on the Snake while 8,698 adults have.

The jack run so far is 8,000 more than the previous record, which was set last year, and more than 10 times the 10-year average, the Columbia Basin Bulletin reports.

Biologists are stumped about why so many immature fall kings are coming back.

“The Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission’s Stuart Ellis said that the reason for the jack surge is a mystery for now. Fisheries officials will take a look at the situation after the season ends,” CBB reports.

Asked if jacks outnumbering adults has occurred often, Joe Hymer, a supervisory biologist with the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission said, “Not typically, no.”

Then again, Columbia River jack counts have been off the Richter scale this year. Over 85,000 fall jacks have passed over Bonneville Dam through Sept. 15, three times the 10-year average, and this spring, over 81,000 passed the plug, over five times typical run sizes over the last decade.

However, Hymer points out that on the flip side, fall coho jack counts are low.

The Chinook jacks went out to sea last year while coho went out this spring, and they may have met very different conditions in the ocean.

“There may be some changes going on” off Washington and Oregon, Hymer says, pointing to reports of warmwater species such as Humboldt squid at Sekiu, Wash., and mackeral inside the mouth of the Columbia.

5-Steelie Limit Coming To Snake?

September 15, 2009

Just got off the phone with Glen Mendel. He’s a Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife fisheries biologist for the Snake River.

He was returning my call from late last week. I wanted to know, with that massive return of A-run steelhead heading up the Columbia right now, whether he had any plans to bump limits on the Snake this fall.

“We’re looking at going to maybe five a day,” Mendel tells me.

That, however, is contingent upon whether the Snake River comanagers — i.e. the states of Idaho and Oregon, and Nez Perce and Umatilla tribes — buy into it, and NOAA-Fisheries signs off on it, he says.

A-runs return through Washington’s Snake River to Idaho’s Clearwater, Salmon and Boise rivers and Oregon’s Imnaha as well as Washington and Oregon’s Grande Ronde.

Mixed in with all those fish are threatened wild steelhead, which is why Federal approval would be required.

The current limit on the Snake is three hatchery steelhead a day.

“We don’t want most of those to spawn,” says Mendel.

Last week, managers updated the A-run forecast to 565,000, twice the preseason estimate.

Talks on bonus limits have begun with Idaho managers, Mendel says.

“We should know within two or three weeks,” he adds.

Humpy Wrastlin’ Good Times

September 14, 2009

So I went to the circus this past Saturday, and by that I don’t mean the Puyallup or Skokomish rivers, though I did fish for salmon.

Amy, River and I hit the big top in Everett — elephants, tigers, nutso acrobats, clowns, women fired out of a cannon, the whole shebang.

Pretty fun, actually — but it was a pretty close thing that it wasn’t me getting fired out of the howitzer.

I don’t mean to sound dramatic, but in a sense, my life has become a circus act itself, with me tightrope walking between magazine job, pregnant wife, being a dad and expecting No. 2 around Thanksgiving.

On Saturday, I figured I had just enough time to take my high-wire act to the Skykomish to fish for humpies for about an hour, hour and a half –maybe an hour and 45 minutes if I was lucky and there were no complications.

The first major hurdle was getting River to sleep for his two-hour midday nap. No nap and he’d be our own little caged lion at the circus, which started at 3:30.

Still, it’s fairly easy to get him to fall asleep. Drive car, play soothing music, maybe sing a lullaby or two, River nods off.

Only this time he didn’t so easily. I had to keep driving up Highway 522 further than I wanted before he finally fell asleep and I could turn around to drop him off at my parents’ place. Where he woke up.

Argh.

I laid the 26-month-old on the couch and covered him up. He watched me with tired eyes, so I shooed my mom out of the room in hopes he would nod off as I made a quick sandwich.

He still was laying down as I made for the door — but he was also still awake. I told mom to maybe hold his hand to help him get to sleep, then prayed he would drop off.

I was already 15 to 20 minutes behind where I’d wanted to be, meaning even less time to fish, so I zipped out to Tualco on the Skykomish below Monroe and bounced across the farmer’s field/parking lot to its far corner where I jumped out of the car at precisely 11:42 a.m.

There were more than a half dozen rigs there, which didn’t bode well, but all I needed was a rock from which to wail on the pinks. I skinnied under the barb-wire fence and then held onto my two float-rigged rods with one hand and a green rope with the other and rappeled down to the river.

There were three guys in my spot — but all in the wrong spot.

Well, “wrong” spot may be too strong as they had a pair of bonked pinks in the shallows.

But they were also fishing with a big, ol’ downed tree in the water in front of them. Puzzling, especially considered there was an open rock downstream.

Oh, well, it was mine now.

I hopped aboard and started running my crappie-jig/speed-fishing routine.

At this particular hole, and with this particular setup — bobber, 1/2-ounce egg sinker, 30-inch leader, 1/16- or 1/32-ounce jighead and pink/light pink crappie tube jig — you can make three, maybe even four casts a minute because you’re really only fishing about a 20- to 30-foot stretch of the river, and only fishing, at most, 10 feet out.

Any further out and the setup becomes ineffective, possibly because of depth and current speed affecting its presentation. Run it too far downstream and you’re wasting your time with a wrist-reeling exercise.

At least that’s what I’ve discovered in extensive test fishing here in previous seasons.

Probably having a billion fish in the river helps too, no?

Indeed, pinks were splashing their way upriver, past the gang of anglers on the bank about 30 yards further down, past the guys in the drift boat, flat bottom, kayak and, yes, float tube. They splashed on past me, up towards the horde at Hanson’s, and then towards Monroe and beyond. The Sky was pink, pink, pink.

So it wasn’t too long before I had my first takedown — and first completely lost setup, a result of a bad knot-tying decision (an embarrasingly common occurence, I must admit).

I reached for the other rod, which sported a size 1 half-and-half Dick Nite under a bobber. I’ve had fantastic luck on DNs in the past, mostly drift-fishing (earlier that day, and a bit below where I now fished, a friend hooked and released 15 on them), but I’ve found that they occassionally work underneath a float.

With limited time, I gave it about five minutes, but without any takedowns, I set that rod aside and retied another crappie jig on the other.

What followed was approximately 1 hour and 14 minutes of humpy wrastlin’ good times.

Pink after pink bit (yes, bit; the hook was in the tip of their snout or upper jaw every time). I easily missed more strikes and lost more fish on than I got to shore. It was ridiculous, and I didn’t want to leave, even though the sun had moved well around on my left cheek and was beginning to peer accusingly into my eyes.

Yes, I know, it’s getting late, now go away!

I was starting to get bit another way and wanted to experiment with it. At the tail end of some drifts, as I either clicked the thumb-release over or began to reel up, fish were biting, probably as the jig swung up in their faces.

I gave it another dozen last casts.

And then another dozen more.

But by now my fairly fine-tuned inner clock was starting to scream it was getting late. I’d budgeted about an hour of driving time between the river, River and home again, where I needed to pick up Amy before going to the circus, and the damned clock said I was pushing it.

So, after a final satisfying battle with a humpy that got away at shore, I called it a day.

As I walked past, one of the three anglers who’d been fishing above me (and catching fish) said, “You were thumpin’ them down there.”

“Yeah,” I said, “but it almost wasn’t fair. I could see them coming through in big schools right in front of me.”

I climbed up through the brush, jumped in the car and saw I’d used up every single available minute of fishing time. It was 1:33. I had 57 minutes to get River and meet Amy to go to the circus.

River never did fall asleep at my folks’, but as I prepared for a pretty serious and deserved evil eye from Amy, I lucked out again. Junior zonked out JUST as we got back to our place, picked Momma up. And then he awoke fully refreshed as we arrived at the circus 40 minutes later.

Phew, close one for AW.

Otherwise, yours truly might just be blogging about his new life as a clown working for Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey.

Diamond Lake Resort: ‘Sept. Usually One Of The Better Months’

September 2, 2009

(DIAMOND LAKE RESORT PRESS RELEASE)

Fall just may be making its official entrance with cool, windy, and even some wet weather here at the start of September. By the way, September is usually one of the better fishing months as trout begin to feed heavily in anticipation of the coming winter.

The bite is still moving around as trout graze on concentrations of underwater insect larva. Look for groups of boats working a hot bite.

HUNTER AND BAILEY ELLIS OF KLAMATH FALLS DID WELL AT DIAMOND AUG. 22. (DIAMOND LAKE RESORT)

HUNTER AND BAILEY ELLIS OF KLAMATH FALLS DID WELL AT DIAMOND AUG. 22. (DIAMOND LAKE RESORT)

As the fish return to shallower water the south end of the lake fishing near Short and Silent Creeks is becoming better and better.

Power Bait in Chartruse and Rainbow colors remain good baits. As the water cools night crawlers floated by a marshmallow become popular. Small bait presentation is a must. Make the Power Bait ball just large enough to float the hook and leader off the bottom. Use about 1/3 of a night crawler with a garlic flavored marshmallow to float it off the bottom.

Trolling is also picking up near shallower water. Needlefish, Flatfish, and Wedding Rings are favorite late season lures. Old fashioned Lake Troll Flashers trailed by a chunk on night crawler is accounting for as many fish as anything else.

Fly anglers are still making good catches near the south end of the lake. Wooly Buggers and leaches in black, brown, and olive are favorite patterns. — Rick Rockholt

What’s Fishin’ In Oregon

September 2, 2009

No catch limits on two lakes, another stocked with excess steelhead, bonus Labor Day trout stockings, crabs, tuna, more summer-runs than you can shake a stick at — yeesh, if you’re not out fishing over this three-day weekend in Oregon, yer nutz!

Here are highlights from ODFW’s latest recreation report:

CENTRAL ZONE

  • ODFW has temporarily lifted all daily catch limits, possession limits and minimum length requirements for Antelope Flat Reservoir and Walton Lake from Sept. 1 to Oct. 18. Both lakes will close Oct. 18 for chemical treatment to remove illegally introduced bullhead catfish.
  • Along with earlier stocking of legal trout, Kingsley Reservoir has received many excess summer steelhead that have returned to the Hood River.
  • Trout fishing on the Crooked River is picking up. Don’t be afraid to go after them with a dry fly.
  • There are lots of summer steelhead in the Deschutes River. Gear anglers have been having the best success in the turbid waters below the White River. As temperatures cool, look for visibility to improve. Reports are starting to come in of steelhead being caught above Sherars Falls.

SOUTHWEST ZONE

  • Fishing for fall chinook salmon continues to be good in Coos Bay with jacks making up much of the catch. The best fishing has been around the Marshfield Channel and in lower Isthmus Slough.
  • Several area lakes and reservoirs will be stocked with lunker trout in anticipation of Labor Day weekend. These include Ben Irving Reservoir, Cooper Creek Reservoir, Hemlock Lake, Lake of the Woods and Lake Marie.
  • Trout fishing reports have also been very good for Fish Lake and Lost Creek Resevoir.
  • The best fishing on the Rogue River continues to be in the estuary, but chinook salmon and steelhead are beginning to move into the lower and middle parts of the river. Look for fishing to improve.

WILLAMETTE ZONE

  • West Salish Pond will be stocked this week with 667 trophy class trout in what has become a Labor Day weekend tradition in the North Willamette Watershed.
  • More than 16,000 legal-sized rainbow trout will be released into North Fork Reservoir this week in preparation for the Labor Day weekend holiday. This is the largest release of the year in the North Willamette Watershed District.
  • Coho are returning in such large numbers that ODFW has bumped the bag limit to three fish on the Willamette, Clackamas, Sandy, Molalla, Santiam, Yamhill and Tualatin rivers and Eagle Creek.

SOUTHEAST ZONE

  • Lofton Reservoir and Lake of the Woods will be stocked with legal and trophy-sized trout in time for the Labor Day weekend.
  • The Chewaucan River just above Paisley has been producing good catches of 8 to 12-inch rainbow trout.
  • Rainbow and cutthroat trout are available in Piute Reservoir and recent fishing reports have been very good.

NORTHEAST ZONE

  • The John Day pool on the Columbia River offers some great late summer and fall fishing for walleye. The area also provides world class smallmouth bass angling, the smallmouth go on a fall feeding being as juvenile shad begin their outmigration which is happening right now.  As water temperatures begin to cool the smallmouth action will continue to heat up.
  • Steelhead anglers should be checking their gear and practicing their casting because a near record number of steelhead are heading up the Columbia River and will be entering the rivers of eastern Oregon in late September October.

BROWNLEE ZONE

  • Crappie fishing has picked up again but the fish are 20 feet deep and have have a very soft bite.  Red and white jigs are working well. Catfish angling is very good with some large fish being taken. Bass angling has picked up and some legal sized bass are being caught. Some perch are starting to bite as well.  The water level is 23 feet below full. Call Idaho Power Company’s recording at 1-800-422-3143 to get information on access at recreational sites or visit their Web site under the “Rivers and Recreation” heading.

COLUMBIA ZONE

  • The B run steelhead population destined for the Clearwater River is currently migrating through the lower Columbia River.
  • Action for coho is good at Buoy 10.
  • The river is full of fall chinook between Tongue Point and Bonneville Dam, with an average of 9,800 passing through the Bonneville ladder daily.
  • Walleye fishing is good near Troutdale and in the Gorge.
  • As temperatures continue to fall, walleye and smallmouth bass fishing will continue to heat up in the John Day Pool.

MARINE ZONE

  • Tuna fishing continues to be hot as ocean conditions allow. With the second highest angler effort since ODFW started keeping records this year is on track to be the second best tuna year on record behind 2007’s record year.
  • Sport fishing for salmon in the ocean between Leadbetter Point, Wash., and Cape Falcon, Ore., closed Aug. 31. Along the rest of the coast coho fishing was poor with only one fish caught for every four anglers.
  • Halibut fishing is closed off the central Oregon coast will not reopen this year.
  • The Columbia River sub area, from Cape Falcon (30 miles south of the Columbia River) to Leadbetter Point, Wash. (north of the mouth of the Columbia River), remains open Fridays through Sundays. Fishing will continue every Friday through Sunday until the quota is taken or Sept. 27, which ever occurs first.
  • Fishers landed an average of between two and three rockfish coast wide. Lingcod were harder to come by with fewer than two in 10 anglers finding success.
  • The coast averaged between three and four crab per crabber, except out of Garibaldi, Winchester Bay and Pacific City where crabbers harvested between seven and nine crab. Many male crabs have recently molted so return soft-shelled crabs to the ocean so they can fill out. Crab that have recently molted are not filled out with meat and are considered of lower quality.

2008 Deer Harvest Lowest In 10 Years

August 21, 2009

Washington’s buck harvest dropped last year relative to 2007’s general seasons and was among the lowest of the last 10 years, new figures from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife show.

According to their 2008 game harvest report, 31,581 deer were taken by 138,137 riflemen, archers and muzzleloaders last year, including 25,980 bucks and 5,601 antlerless animals, for a 22.9 percent success rate.

That’s off by over 1,465 bucks — though the antlerless harvest grew by around 50 — and down nearly 1 percent of success rate from the previous fall.

It’s also the lowest antlered take since 1998’s 23,672, which followed the bitter winter of 1996-97. That year, 1998, also saw the lowest all-deer take of the last decade, 27,407.

While over 2,000 fewer hunters purchased a deer tag in 2007, 1,000 less actually took to the field in 2008. By comparison, last year still saw 4,000 more hunters than 1997, the lowest year stats were immediately available for, but 14,000-plus fewer than 1999.

Rifle hunters saw the biggest misfire in 2008. We shot 1,831 fewer deer, including 1,629 fewer bucks. A total of 22,003 bucks were taken last season.

Best all-weapons harvest since 1997 was 2004, when 33,656 bucks and 39,359 deer died.

Depoe Shark ‘Drowned’ In Crab Gear: Paper

August 11, 2009

An Oregonian story posted last night details how that 12-plus-foot great white shark brought back to Depoe Bay last weekend became entangled in a fisherman’s crab gear and drowned.

“There was no movement,” skipper Dick Teeny told the newspaper. “It was just laying limp on top of our crab pots. A pot was stuck between the fins and the two gills. The shark had gone down on the crab pot and crushed it and when he did that he caught in the lines, which form a pyramid. He got his head in there and when he collapsed the pot, if he backed up, his gills were caught and if he went forward his fins were caught in the line.”

Teeny and crew had been out tuna fishing and stopped on their way back to port to check his crab pot.

GREAT WHITE BROUGHT BACK TO DEPOE BAY. (OREGON STATE POLICE)

GREAT WHITE BROUGHT BACK TO DEPOE BAY. (OREGON STATE POLICE)

The Oregon State Police are still investigating; we are waiting on a call-back.

The shark was seized and transported to the Hatfield Marine Science Center down the road in Newport.

Just don’t head for the Oregon Coast hoping to get in on The Next Big Fishery. It’s illegal to fish for or possess great whites in Oregon and the rest of the U.S.

“It’s the first white shark I recall being brought back to shore in Oregon,” adds Eric Schindler, who has been with ODFW’s marine sampling program for 25 years.

A YouTube video shows the shark in the water at the harbor in Depoe Bay. It’s then hauled out and across the launch ramp behind a boat which it was tethered to. After someone sits on the fish and pulls its head back exposing teeth, a small porpoise is extracted from it. The video had been viewed nearly 16,000 times as of early this morning.

There have been other reports of sharks off the coast in recent days, according to the Oregonian

What’s Fishin’ In Oregon

July 28, 2009

UPDATED WEDNESDAY, 1 P.M. From corner to corner, you’ll find fishing action all around the Beaver State. Here are highlights from ODFW’s latest Recreation Report:

MARINE ZONE

  • A coldwater upwelling event pushed tuna farther offshore last week and put salmon and rockfish off the bite. If weather forecasts hold true, ocean conditions should improve fishing by Friday.
  • Sport ocean salmon fishing opened June 20 south of Cape Falcon and June 28 between Cape Falcon and Leadbetter Point (Wash.) Visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/salmon/Regulations/OceanSport2009.asp for season details.
  • The summer all-depth season Pacific halibut starts Aug. 7 off the central Oregon coast and the Columbia River.
  • A few halibut are still being caught inside the 40-fathom line on the central coast. This fishery continues to be open seven days a week until a separate quota of 14,407 pounds is attained or Oct. 31, which ever comes first.
  • Anglers had a low success rate with lingcod and rockfish last week.
  • In most Oregon ports last week crabbers averaged between about three crab, with crabbers out of Charleston, Winchester Bay and Pacific City getting an average of six.

COLUMBIA ZONE

  • Summer steelhead is reaching a peak in the lower Columbia River, and boat and bank anglers are catching them in near record numbers.
  • Fall chinook and coho opens Saturday, Aug. 1.
  • Walleye fishing is improving near Troutdale and in the gorge..

SNAKE RIVER ZONE

  • BROWNLEE RESERVOIR: Crappie fishing has slowed but night fishing with lights is the most productive. Generally the best jigs to use are chartruese, red & white, or yellow & white. If fishing during the day for crappie, the fish are deep with a very light bite. Catfish angling is good.  Bass angling has been fairly slow this year.  The water level is 15 feet below full.  Call Idaho Power Company’s recording at 1-800-422-3143 to get information on access at recreational sites or visit their Web site under the “Rivers and Recreation” heading.
  • OXBOW RESERVOIR: Crappie fishing is fair.  Catfish angling is good.  Bass fishing is slow-fair.
  • HELLS CANYON RESERVOIR: Crappie fishing has slowed from a few weeks ago, but may pick up after the spawn.  There have also been water fluctuations in the last week which may have turned the bite off.  Bass fishing has been slow.  Fishing for 12 inch catfish has been good with some large fish being caught as well. Trolling for trout is fair-good.

CENTRAL ZONE

  • Anglers are catching summer steelhead on the lower 25 miles of the Deschutes River.
  • Taylor Lake is a great spot to catch carp with flies; look for carp in the shallows as water temperatures warm to summer temperatures.

SOUTHWEST ZONE

  • With quite of few of the lowland lakes warming up, consider heading up the mountains to Laird and other high-elevation lakes where the weather cooler but the trout fishing is still hot
  • Chinook fishing on the lower Rogue continues to be good with anglers averaging one fish per boat.
  • Fishing for rockfish and greenling in the lower Coos Bay estuary has been good.

WILLAMETTE ZONE

  • July is a good time to get into the high lakes to do some trout fishing. Trails are free of snow and the fish are active. Remember to take mosquito repellant.
  • Prospects are good for chinook and steelhead on the tributaries of the mid and upper Willamette.
  • Summer steelhead fishing is fair on the Clackamas River.
  • Fishing for bass and other warmwater species is picking up on the Willamette River and other locations throughout the region.
  • A few summer steelhead and spring chinook are being caught on the Sandy River

NORTHWEST ZONE

  • Spring chinook and summer steelhead are available the Nestucca and Tillamook basins. Prospects are fair as water conditions are low and clear. Fish early for best results.
  • Angling for sea-run cutthroat in tidewater areas should be improving.

SOUTHEAST ZONE

  • Water temperatures in Ana Reservoir stay fairly consistent during the warm summer months, making it a good option when other reservoirs start to wilt in the heat.
  • Crappie fishing off the docks at Wolf Creek and Unity reservoirs has been good.

CENTRAL ZONE

  • After recent population surveys, redband trout populations appear to be healthier than in recent years; good fishing is expected throughout the summer.
  • Anglers are catching summer steelhead on the lower 25 miles of the Deschutes River.
  • Taylor Lake is a great spot to catch carp with flies; look for carp in the shallows as water temperatures warm to summer temperatures.

Wolves Elude State Trappers

July 27, 2009

Attempts to capture members of a suspected pack of wolves in Northeast Washington’s Pend Oreille County have so far been unsuccesful, but efforts continue.

According to WDFW spokeswoman Madonna Luers in Spokane, teams have been out since last Thursday.

She says biologists are having to take a “couple extra steps” while trying to trap the wolves with leghold devices because of another large predator species in the area: grizzlies. The big bears might “trash” the traps if they’re caught in one, Luers says.

It’s still possible the Pend Oreille pack might be part hybrid, but a hair sample from at least one suspected member caught on camera rolling in a bait station came back from a DNA lab as pure gray wolf.

Another image from a remote camera shows pups, Luers says.

If confirmed, it would be Washington’s second known pack of wolves, joining the Lookout Pack near Twisp, which had another litter of pups this spring. The Pend Oreille pack won’t be named until confirmed as gray wolves.

We’ll have far more on Canus lupus in our September edition — including why a planned wolf hunt in Idaho may backfire on Washington.

Weldcraft Launches Cuddy King to Overtake the Ocean of Offshore Designs

July 7, 2009

Weldcraft takes the aluminum offshore hull to new lengths with the introduction of two new Cuddy King models, the 280 and 300. With ocean fishing opportunities expanding each season, Weldcraft dealers were clamoring for something shoppers couldn’t find elsewhere: a true open-water design that not only looks good, but performs in challenging sea conditions and offers exceptional room.

260 CUDDY KING_1

The Cuddy King lineup includes 24-, 26-, 28- and 30-foot models, each available with multiple cabin lengths and flexible configurations. Both the 240 and 260 Cuddy King models feature a trailerable 81?2-foot beam, ¼-inch bottom and tall 40-inch sides for plenty of comforting freeboard.

“Most builders are adding offshore hulls to their line, but this one is different. Don’t expect to see an adaptation of our other hull designs. We approached the Cuddy King with a clean sheet of aluminum and integrated the best attributes of offshore designs from around the globe,” said Jerry Wooley, Executive VP and COO of Renaissance Marine Group.

In addition to the advanced new hull design, Cuddy King overcame another shortcoming buyers have voiced. Storage is always in great demand and short supply in other brands. The Cuddy King, however, won’t get lumped into that category. Under-floor storage runs the full length of the cabin and V-berth. The rear deck’s floor fish box is large enough for limits of tuna, halibut and bottomfish. A transom bait box with split cutting-board lid keeps every essential angling tool in close reach. Depending on the model, there are up to a dozen additional compartments and storage features.

For that discriminating boat buyer who demands performance, and the attributes missing in other offshore hulls, the Weldcraft Cuddy King is worth a look, worth a ride, and worth the investment.

Weldcraft Marine Industries, Inc. has been the leader in building quality welded aluminum boats since 1968. Today, Weldcraft manufactures and distributes through independent marine dealers a full line of boats from 17 to 30 feet. Weldcraft is a Renaissance Marine Group, Inc., company.
For more details and dealer information please visit: www.weldcraftmarine.com.

What’s Fishin’ In Oregon

June 2, 2009

Kokanee on Billy Chinook, shad  on the Willamette, stripers on the Coquille — those are just some of the bites going on around the Beaver State.

Here are more highlights from ODFW’s weekly recreation reports, out this afternoon:

CENTRAL ZONE

  • On the lower Deschutes River the salmonfly hatch has peaked in the Maupin area but continues strong in the Trout Creek and Warm Springs areas.
  • Green drakes are just starting to appear on the Metolius River, and anglers can look forward to some good action on the surface over the next few weeks.
  • Angling for bass and kokanee has picked up on Lake Billy Chinook.

WILLAMETTE ZONE

  • Free Fishing Weekend across Oregon. Fishing licenses are not required this weekend, and ODFW will stock a number of lakes, ponds and streams.
  • Shad fishing is picking up on the Willamette River
  • Fishing for bass and other warmwater species is picking up on the Willamette River.
  • Passport to Fishing clinic for youths 12 and under will take place Saturday at Bonneville Dam.
  • Summer steelhead fishing is slow to fair on the Clackamas and Sandy rivers.

SOUTHWEST ZONE

  • The best bets for native cutthroat trout fishing are the Chetco, Elk and Sixes rivers.
  • Striper bass fishing has been good on the Coquille River.
  • Diamond Lake is fishing well with many people getting limits, and an average of two trout per angler.
  • Weekly trout stocking has begun at campsites and key access points along the Rogue River upstream of Lost Creek Reservoir. Trout releases will continue through Labor Day to support the Rogue’s premier summer trout fishery.

SOUTHEAST ZONE

  • Fly-fishers should watch for black drake spinner falls on Long Creek and the Upper Williamson River.
  • Phillips Reservoir, Lake of the Woods and Delintment Lake should offer good fishing for rainbow trout.

NORTHEAST ZONE

  • Kinney Lake opened on Saturday and should provide good trout fishing.
  • Willow Creek Reservoir was recently stocked and fishing should be good.
  • Expect good fishing on the recently stocked Umatilla Forest ponds in the north Ukiah and south Walla Walla Ranger Districts.
  • Wallowa Lake is providing good angling for rainbow trout and kokanee.

BROWNLEE RESERVOIR

  • Crappie are biting very well on jigs about 2-8 feet down. Generally the best jigs to use are chartruese, red & white, or yellow & white. Perch were biting well all over but are now spotty and in schools. Catfish and bass angling is fair but should pick up as the water warms. The reservoir is rising and the level is at 10 feet below normal. Call Idaho Power Company’s recording at 1-800-422-3143 to get information on access at recreational sites or visit their Web site under the “Rivers and Recreation” heading.

COLUMBIA RIVER ZONE

  • Shad catches are picking up below Bonneville Dam.
  • Sturgeon catch rates are improving in the Astoria area.

ODFW To Close 94-y.o. Trout Hatchery

April 27, 2009

Mark Freeman reports on the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife’s plan to close Butte Falls Hatchery, in the business of providing stocker trout for Southwest Oregon waters for only 94 years.