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Monthly Archives: June 2014
he California Department of Fish and Wildlife reminds ocean sport anglers to be vigilant about properly identifying their salmon before keeping them. The ocean salmon fishing season in California is well underway and proper identification is critical for the survival of coho (or silver) salmon, a protected species.
Chinook (or king) salmon is the primary species targeted in California’s ocean waters. The retention of coho salmon, however, is prohibited in all California ocean fisheries in order to protect Central California coast and Southern Oregon-Northern California coast coho stocks. Both stock complexes are severely depressed and listed under both state and federal endangered species acts.
The current drought in California is likely adding further stress to these coho stocks. Thus, it is especially crucial this year to avoid any unnecessary mortality when handling and releasing coho salmon.
Ocean sport anglers will most likely encounter coho during early summer. Taking the time to correctly identify each salmon caught before removing it from the water can maximize survival of released coho. Netting or dropping a coho salmon onto the deck of a boat can cause both scale loss and trauma that will likely reduce its chance of survival when released.
The most reliable method for identifying coho is through examination of the lower mouth and gums. The gums at the base of the bottom teeth on a coho salmon are gray, whereas Chinook gums are all black. Another way to distinguish a coho from a Chinook is to rub a finger along the fin rays of the caudal (tail) fin. The fin rays on a coho will feel rough like the edge of a dime, whereas the fin rays on a Chinook are smooth.
To help avoid coming in contact with coho salmon, anglers should rig their trolling gear to fish deeper as coho are more often found in the top 30 feet of water. Using larger lures that select for the larger Chinook salmon will also reduce chances of hooking a coho salmon.
For complete ocean salmon regulations, please visit the Ocean Salmon webpage at: www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/oceansalmon.aspor call the Ocean Salmon Hotline at (707) 576-3429.
The most recent salmon fishing reports out of Winchester Bay continue to be that the salmon fishing is good – if anglers are able to cross the Umpqua River Bar and actually fish the ocean.
In a week, or two, the lower river should have fishable numbers of fall Chinook in it – making it a great “Plan B” for would-be ocean salmon anglers and a “Plan A” for shorebound anglers wanting to cast spinners or spoons for salmon. The early fish caught by bank anglers are almost always Chinooks.
When ocean conditions and the Umpqua River Bar cooperate, anglers fishing in the Winchester Bay Area have lots of options.
Chinook salmon have been providing fair to good fishing in the ocean a short distance out from the Umpqua River Bar. Actually, a few Chinooks have been caught in the lower Umpqua near the South Jetty. By the first week in July fall Chinook salmon will start ascending the Umpqua on their spawning run – and bank anglers casting spinners will have a chance to hook salmon from such spots as the South Jetty, Halfmoon Bay and Osprey Point.
Usually a little farther out, but often closer to the surface, are coho salmon and this early in the season, most of the cohos are finclipped keepable fish.
In the last week, the few who have tried crabbing in the ocean near the Umpqua River Bar have made good catches of dungeness crabs – although some of them have been soft.
If that isn’t enough to confuse outdoor recreationists as to what to do – the Umpqua’s popular run of redtailed surfperch is still going on. These feisty, very popular fish spawn in the two miles of river above the entrance to the East Boat Basin.
The Perch Fishing off the dock is really hot right now. Limits are common for crappie fishing as well and it is improving daily. Crappie jigs in white and yellow are the ticket for catching these fish. We have had people catching crappie off the MarDon Dock up to 14 inches and yellow perch up to 13 inches. With the warming water temperatures (68-70 degrees) the bass fishing is really good. There is a great frog bite for largemouth bass early in the day or in the evening. The smallmouth bite is hitting on Rapala Poppers all day long. The water is dropping rapidly making the dunes more accessible for any kind of fishing on the lake. Trolling Rapala Shad Rap’s off the face of the sand dunes in 20 to 30 feet of water you will catch some nice big rainbow trout 3 to 6 pounds. Using a needle fish in size 3 will also provide some nice rainbow trout. You can try Medicare Beach and the mouth of Frenchman’s Waste way at the Potholes State Park. Luhr Jensen Needlefish, Rapala Shad Raps and old fashion gang trolls like grandpa and grandma used with a night crawler are great baits to catch these fish. Corral Lake continues to also provide rainbow trout for both bank and shore fishers.
Walleye anglers are reporting Crab Creek Walleye up to 28 inches which computes to 9lbs. Walleye catchers are mostly trolling Double Whammy type two hook set ups with night crawlers on a Mustad Slow Death Hook.
The Limit Out Marine Big Bass Tournament held last weekend was a total success. 64 teams enjoyed two days of quality bass action. Some teams reported catching and releasing over 70 bass in the two day competition. The big bass for the weekend brought in $7000 to the winners. Each hour one team earned $300 for big fish and $150 for 2nd heaviest fish weighted in that hour. This new event with big fish being the focus was a new for many anglers. Russell Baker of Limit Out Marine and his fine staff will have a Big Fish Tournament in June 2015. We will have this on our website as soon as we have the dates at mardonresort.com or go to limitoutmarine.com.
The ocean coho salmon season opened last Saturday with a whimper due to rough ocean conditions and a severely restricted Umpqua River Bar. There are good numbers of Chinook salmon and finclipped coho salmon a short distance out of Winchester Bay and they should still be around when fishing conditions improve.
Many “would-be salmon anglers” were forced to go to a “Plan B” which was fishing for spawning redtailed surfperch in the Umpqua River above Winchester Bay – and although the fishing was erratic, a number of boat limits were caught. It won’t be long – possibly two or three weeks, when the “Plan B” for rough ocean conditions will be fishing the lower Umpqua River for early run fall Chinook salmon.
Halibut fishing during the last three day opener was very good and most area halibut anglers will be surprised if any additional fishing days are offered during the spring halibut season. The summer season will start August 1st and the open dates will be every other Friday and Saturday after August 1st and 2nd until the quota of 46,405 pounds is reached.
The nearshore halibut season for the southern Oregon coast(Humbug Mountain – California border) has, since May 1st, been open seven days per week inside the 40 fathom line. Additionally, starting on July 1st, the nearshore halibut season (inside 40 fathoms) for the central Oregon coast will start July 1st and remain open seven days per week until the quota of 22,274 pounds is reached.
Trout plants in our area lakes will nor resume until September, but some of the larger lakes, especially those with oceanbound outlets, have been providing fair to good trout fishing. While shad fishing is definitely winding down on the Umpqua River, the smallmouth bass fishing is very, very good – and improving. While smallmouth can be caught as far downstream as seven miles above Reedsport, the best fishing is in the many miles of the mainstem Umpqua between Wells Creek and Roseburg.
Loon Lake continues to produce well for largemouth bass and bluegill with some crappie, brown bullheads and rainbow trout also entering the catch.Tenmile Lakes has been fishing well for large and medium-sized bass and yellow perch. The yellow perch have caused problems for some bass anglers when they start hitting their bass-intended lures with enthusiasm.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) plans to conduct a broad-based survey this summer of elk with hoof disease in southwest Washington and will likely euthanize those with severe symptoms of the crippling ailment.
To help with the survey, state wildlife managers plan to enlist dozens of volunteers to assist them in assessing the prevalence and geographic distribution of the disease in the St. Helens and Willapa Hills elk herds.
To minimize the spread of the disease, WDFW is also proposing new regulations requiring hunters to leave the hooves of any elk taken in the affected area on site.
WDFW announced its plan two weeks after a 16-member scientific panel agreed that the disease most likely involves a type of bacterial infection that leaves elk with missing or misshapen hooves.
Members of the panel, composed of veterinarians and researchers throughout the state, agreed that the disease closely resembles contagious ovine digital dermatitis in sheep.
Dr. Kristin Mansfield, WDFW epidemiologist, said the panel’s diagnosis is consistent with the findings of the USDA National Animal Disease Center and four other independent diagnostic laboratories that have tested samples of elk hooves submitted by WDFW since last year.
Mansfield said treponeme bacteria have been linked to an increase of hoof disease in sheep and cattle in many parts of the world, but have never before been documented in elk or other wildlife.
Nate Pamplin, director of WDFW’s Wildlife Program, said the diagnosis limits the department’s management options, because there is no vaccine for the disease and no proven options for treating it in the field.
“At this point, we don’t know whether we can contain this disease,” Pamplin said, “but we do know that assessing its impacts and putting severely crippled animals out of their misery is the right thing to do.”
Since 2008, WDFW has received increasing reports of elk with misshapen hooves in Cowlitz, Pacific, Lewis, Clark, Wahkiakum and Grays Harbor counties, all within the range of the two elk herds.
Scientists believe the animals pick up and transmit the disease through wet soil, characteristic of the lowlands of southwest Washington.
“There is no evidence that the bacteria are harmful to humans, and tests have shown that the disease does not affect the animals’ meat or organs,” Mansfield said. “But treating infected animals has posed a real challenge for the livestock industry for nearly 30 years.”
Some livestock producers bathe the hooves of infected sheep and cattle in an antibiotic solution, but many become re-infected and are ultimately sent to market, Mansfield said.
“In any case, daily footbaths are not a realistic solution when you’re dealing with thousands of free-roaming elk,” she said.
The primary focus of WDFW’s work this summer will be to assess the geographic spread of the disease and the proportion of the herd that is affected, Pamplin said. The department will enlist the help of volunteers to run survey routes and report their observations.
Information gathered from the survey will be compared against sightings of diseased elk reported by the public since 2010 using WDFW’s online reporting system, he said. Reports can be filed at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/health/hoof_disease/reporting/ .
Next winter, WDFW will capture and fit elk with radio-collars to determine how the disease is affecting area elk populations, survival rates and calving. Wildlife managers will likely remove elk showing severe symptoms of hoof disease to end their suffering, Pamplin said.
In a separate measure, the department has proposed new regulations requiring hunters to leave the hooves of any elk taken in the affected area on site. The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission is scheduled to hear public comments and take action on that proposal in August.
Pamplin noted that hoof disease is one of a number of illnesses without a cure affecting wildlife throughout the nation. Chronic wasting disease, epizootic hemorrhagic disease and tuberculosis all take their toll on elk and deer each year in other states.
“Bacterial hoof disease in elk presents a huge challenge for all of us,” Pamplin said. “We will continue to work with scientists, hunters and local communities to assess its toll on area elk herds and determine our course of action.”
Each year the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife successfully stocks 7 million legal-sized trout in lakes, ponds and reservoirs all across Oregon. However, finding an affordable way to evaluate the effectiveness of these stocking efforts has been challenging.
To address this challenge, the agency will try something new this year to help quantify the harvest, movement and growth of these stocked fish, said Josh McCormick, ODFW fish biometrician. The pilot program will undergo an initial test on Wallowa Lake this spring, and on Henry Hagg and Lake of the Woods this winter and spring 2015.
Previous evaluations of stocking programs have depended on creel surveys – interviewing anglers – efforts that have been limited due to time and expense.
As a result, McCormick said, “We know anglers are catching a lot of fish, but we don’t always know if we are at optimum stocking levels or using the best fish stocks to maximize harvest.”
So beginning on Wallowa Lake this spring, the agency will tag and release a known number of fish into the lake and ask anglers who catch a tagged fish to return them to or notify ODFW with the tag information.
“If every angler who catches a tagged fish returns it, we’ll know the proportion of the total population of fish that were caught,” McCormick said. “However, we can’t assume that every tagged fish that anglers catch will be returned.”
So to further fine tune the sample, a prescribed number of fish will have a reward tag that will earn the lucky angler who catches a tagged fish a $50 reward.
According to Jeff Yanke, ODFW fish biologist in Enterprise, biologists will release 2,050 tagged fish into the lake, including 100 $50 reward tags.
“We hope this program will help us determine if we are stocking the appropriate number of fish to provide anglers ample harvest opportunities,” Yanke said. Managers would also like to learn if fish move away from the stocking sites before they’re caught, and if they overwinter and are available to anglers the next year.
For anglers, it’s a chance to participate in fishery management and, perhaps, to come away with $50 for that help.
If you catch a tagged fish:
Tagged fish can be harvested or released. If the fish is released, cut the tag off at the base rather than try to rip the tag out.
Anglers can report non-reward tags in person, by mail, by phone, or by using the tag-reporting page on the ODFW website. Go to www.odfw.com, Fishing Resources.
Reward tags must be returned to ODFW, preferably the District Office where the fish was caught, either in person or by mail.
Look for “Tag Team” posters at the boat ramps for further project and contact information.
This pilot program will be funded through a grant from the ODFW Fish Restoration and Enhancement Program.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife today announced it has doubled the daily bag limit on trout and bass at EE Wilson Pond near Corvallis.
Under the new rules, effective today through June 30, anglers are permitted to keep up to 10 trout and 10 bass.
The rules were enacted to give anglers the opportunity to remove extra fish before the pond is drained to facilitate removal of excessive aquatic vegetation in the pond, according to Elise Kelley, ODFW district biologist in Corvallis.
“We encourage anglers to remove trout as well as bass, bluegill and other warmwater fish from the pond while it is draining,” said Kelley.
Surviving fish not harvested by anglers will be collected and taken to another holding facility. Once the pond has been drained it will not reopen to fishing until next year. The pond is typically open from Feb. 1 through Sept. 30.
The pond is located in the EE Wilson Wildlife Area next to Hwy. 99W 10 miles north of Corvallis, at 29555 Camp Adair Road, Monmouth, OR 97361. The 1,788-acre wildlife area is owned and managed by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and is a popular hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing area. Parking permits are required on the wildlife area and are available online at www.odfw.com and at all ODFW field offices and license agents for $7 daily or $22 annually. The permits are good at all 21 ODFW wildlife areas.