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Monthly Archives: February 2015
The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Friday, March 6 in Salem to be briefed on the 2014 Annual Wolf Report.
The meeting at ODFW Headquarters (4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, Salem), begins at 8 a.m. and follows this agenda.
ODFW documented 77 known wolves in Oregon in 2014, including 26 pups which survived through the end of the year. Eight of Oregon’s nine known wolf packs were “breeding pairs,” meaning they had at least two pups born in spring that survived through the end of the year. More details are available in the Oregon Wolf Conservation and Management 2014 Annual Report.
The Commission will also be asked to appoint a Landowner Representative to the Access and Habitat statewide board and approve continued funding for several A&H projects that provide public hunting access to private land.
The Commission will also consider funding $755,093 for 14 enhancement and one restoration projects recommended by the Fish Restoration and Enhancement Board. The Commission also will be asked to approve a combined 2015-17 budget for the R&E and Salmon Trout Enhancement programs.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. People wanting to testify about issues not on the formal agenda may do so by making arrangements with the ODFW Director’s Office, at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, by calling 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044. Testimony for issues not on the agenda is held Friday morning, immediately following the expenditure report.
Reasonable accommodations will be provided as needed for individuals requesting assistive hearing devices, sign language interpreters or large-print materials. Individuals needing these types of accommodations may call the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.
Spring chinook salmon are moving into the lower Columbia River, several eastside lakes open for trout fishing March 1, and razor clam digs are scheduled this month – including the first dig of the season on morning tides.
These fisheries are just the first of many set to open in the weeks ahead, and the year’s first hunting seasons aren’t far behind. A spring wild turkey season for hunters under age 16 is scheduled April 4-5 prior to the start of the general spring turkey hunt April 15.
With a new season of outdoor adventures about to begin, Washingtonians might want to consider purchasing 2015-16 fishing and hunting licenses before current licenses expire at midnight March 31.
“We encourage people to renew their fishing and hunting licenses early, so they can take advantage of all the great recreational opportunities available throughout the year,” said Joe Stohr, deputy director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
The cost of fishing and hunting licenses currently remain the same as last year. All fees included, a resident adult freshwater fishing license is $29.50; saltwater is $30.05; and a combination license is $54.25. Resident hunting licenses vary with package options, ranging from a small-game license at $40.50 to a deer/elk/cougar/bear combination license for $95.50.
Most annual licenses include a WDFW vehicle access pass, which gives people access to more than 700 WDFW water access sites throughout the state. Or, for $35, individuals can purchase an annual Discover Pass, which also provides vehicle access to state parks and other state lands.
Fishing licenses, hunting licenses and the Discover Pass are all available online ( https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/ ), by phone (1-866-246-9453) and from license dealers around the state.
For more information about outdoor activities coming up this month, see the Weekender Regional Reports athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/. These reports are updated throughout the month to provide current information about recreational opportunities around the state.
At the annual salmon informational meeting held in Santa Rosa today, state and federal fishery scientists presented encouraging news for sport and commercial salmon anglers. Forecasts suggest there are 652,000 adult Sacramento River fall Chinook salmon in the ocean this year, along with 423,800 adults from the Klamath River fall run. Fish from these runs comprise the vast majority of salmon taken in California’s ocean and inland fisheries.
These forecasts, which were higher than last year, will be used over the next few months by fishery managers to set sport and commercial fishing season dates, commercial quotas, and size and bag limits.
“The forecasts are encouraging and suggest that California fisheries may see salmon seasons in 2015 that have increased opportunities over last year,” said Melodie Palmer-Zwahlen, a senior environmental scientist with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Chinook salmon that will be harvested in ocean fisheries in 2015 hatched 2-4 years ago and, as a result, have not been highly impacted by California’s drought. Starting next year, it is anticipated that future ocean salmon fishing opportunities may be impacted by the ongoing drought.
Season dates and other regulations will be developed by the Pacific Fishery Management Council and California Fish and Game Commission over the next few months. For more information on the salmon season setting process or general ocean salmon fishing information, please visit the Ocean Salmon Project website at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/oceansalmon.asp, or call the salmon fishing hotline at (707) 576-3429.
ODFW will host several free seminars about controlled hunts in March and April in Redmond, Tualatin, and Salem.
During the seminars, ODFW staff will cover the basics of tag distribution, preference points, draw success rates, and considerations for making a hunt your first or second choice. We’ll also share tips and tricks to maximize your hunting opportunities year after year.
Dates and times of seminars follow. Visit ODFW’s calendar to find other fishing and hunting events.
Tualatin Cabela’s (7555 Nyberg Street)
March 14, 15, 28 and 29 from 5:30-7 p.m. Free and no pre-registration is required.
Redmond Central Oregon Sportsman’s Show
Green Theater/North Sister Building, Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, 3800 SW Airport Way, Redmond.
Seminar free with paid admission to show, no pre-registration required.
March 6, 12:30-1:30 p.m.
March 7, 1:30-2:30 p.m.
March 8, 10:30-11:30 a.m.
Salem ODFW Headquarters (4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE)
April 16, 6:30-7:30 p.m. Free but pre-registration required. Go to ODFW’s license sales page to register.
All rifle deer hunting and much elk hunting in eastern Oregon is “controlled” or limited-entry. Hunters need to apply for a controlled hunt by May 15 each year.
The upper Columbia River in British Columbia and northern Washington is very much overlooked as a producer of lunker rainbow, cutthroat and bull trout The fishing can be very inconsistent, but occasionally very, very good.
The seep lakes below O’Sullivan Dam are showing nice trout. All the seep lakes are open except the lakes on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, Warden Lake and South Warden Lake. Warden and South Warden Lake open the last Saturday in April and the lakes on the National Wildlife Refuge open April 1, 2015.
The best bet for bank fishers in the Potholes Recreation Area is to use Powerbait, Pautzkees Salmon Eggs or just a big night crawler. These tried and true baits may be used alone or in combination with each other. Blythe Lake has had very little pressure with rainbow trout being reported around 20”. Both Lower and Upper Goose Lake are good boat fishing options for trout, bass, crappie and walleye. Lower Goose has good bank fishing by the boat launch and has a healthy population of Channel Catfish. As the Potholes Recreation Area warms with spring weather the seep lakes provide not only good trout action but also some early season bass opportunities. Most fish are caught this time of year in the shallow warm water in the part of the seep lake that looks like a swamp and has numerous cattails. Bait on the bottom or under a bobber produces some action as well. Casting a Roostertail, Mepps Spinner or a Vibrax Spinner can produce good early season fish near the flow of water that appears to look like a swamp.
Walleye action has been fair this last week. Blade Baits used on the humps in 22’-45’ of water continue to be your best bet. Surface water temperatures have been reported at 54 degrees from the west arm of the sand dunes near the Job Corp Dyke. But the main reservoir is still much colder than that.
Successful north coast steelhead and salmon anglers could catch a $10-50 reward for returning their fish tags this season. Of the more than 4,500 fish that were tagged, 3,000 are eligible for a cash reward.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) uses information gathered from the tags applied to Chinook, coho and steelhead in the Trinity River system to calculate harvest and help biologists estimate population size of steelhead and salmon runs. Only tags returned to CDFW in the same season they are obtained can be used in estimates. The timely return of tags to CDFW is critical because the data is also needed for the annual season setting process.
Reward tags are clearly marked, though any tag returned is appreciated. The information non-reward tags is equally important to the process. When the tag is returned, CDFW will send you information about where and when your fish was tagged, in addition to any reward for which you might qualify.
Anglers can download the tag return form at dfg.ca.gov/fish/Fishing/Monitoring/FTag/.
Tags should be taped to the completed form and returned to:
CDFW – TRP
5341 Ericson Way
Arcata, CA 95521
Please remove the knot from the tag to ensure your envelope makes it through the USPS mail sorting process intact.
Tags need to be received by about the end of April, but the sooner the better for the Chinook tags. For additional information, please contact Mary Claire Kier at vog.ac.efildliwnull@PRT.
State and tribal fish managers are winning the battle against invasive northern pike on a section of the Pend Oreille River in northeast Washington, but they don’t expect to declare victory anytime soon.
For the fourth straight year, crews from the Kalispel Tribe Natural Resources Department (KNRD) will use gill nets to remove non-native pike from Box Canyon Reservoir and work with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) to monitor the results.
As in previous years, the netting operation will run five days per week through March and April, even though fish managers estimate they have already removed more than 90 percent of the northern pike from the reservoir.
“Northern pike are voracious predators that pose a significant threat to native and game fish species,” said Bruce Bolding, WDFW warmwater fish program manager. “We can’t stop these fish from moving into Washington waters from Idaho, but we’re going to do everything we can to keep their numbers as low as possible.”
A key goal is to keep northern pike from moving downstream from the Pend Oreille River into the Columbia River, where they could affect salmon and steelhead populations, Bolding said.
Surveys conducted by WDFW and KNRD between 2004 and 2011 documented a rapid increase in the number of pike in Box Canyon Reservoir and a significant decline in abundance of other fish species.
Bolding said gillnetting during early spring has proven to be the most effective method of reducing northern pike. Between 2012 and 2014, more than 16,000 fish (38,000 pounds) were removed by netting.
In addition, anglers harvested a total of 334 northern pike during “PikePalooza” fishing derbies sponsored by KNRD, which offered more than $20,000 in cash and prizes over the past three years.
Jason Olson, KNRD Fisheries Conservation Program Manager, said the tribe will not conduct similar fishing derbies this year, because the numbers of northern pike have been reduced so far.
“We expect sport angler catch rates for northern pike in Box Canyon Reservoir to remain low,” Olson said. “However, bass fishing can be exceptional, and populations of brown trout and panfish are showing signs of rebounding.”
State and tribal fishery managers encourage anglers to harvest as many northern pike as they can from both Box Canyon and Boundary reservoirs. Under state law, any northern pike that is caught must be killed before it is removed from the area in which it was taken.
While the Box Canyon Reservoir has the state’s largest population of northern pike, anglers have also reported catching them in the Columbia River just north of the Canada border, near Northport and Kettle Falls, and in the Spokane River from Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho to Long Lake in Spokane County.
Bolding said problems with northern pike started with illegal releases of the fish into the Flathead, Bitterroot and Clark Fork river systems in Montana, where they migrated downstream into Idaho’s Lake Pend Oreille and into Washington.
For more information about northern pike in Washington and annual summaries of the project see http://wdfw.wa.gov/ais/esox_lucius/ .
According to Steve Fleming 0f Mah Hah Outfitters, a February 19th float on the John Day River produced smallmouths to 19-inches as well as three steelhead for Steve Brown. Almost all the Master Angler smallmouths (20+-inches are taken in the early season.