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Monthly Archives: March 2015
Despite the fact that no spring Chinook salmon have yet been entered in the Wells Creek Inn’s Spring Chinook Contest, the springer fishing on the Umpqua River is starting to show definite signs of improvement. Most of the reported catches have occurred between Scottsburg and Elkton. There was quite a bit of fishing pressure just prior to the high muddy water and hopefully the river will drop and clear before too many springers move through.
Action: Opens Langlois Lake (King County) to fishing for anglers participating in the Project Healing Waters fishing event.
Effective Dates: One hour before official sunrise to one hour after official sunset on April 18, 2015.
Species affected: All game fish.
Location: Langlois Lake (King County).
Reason for action: Project Healing Waters is dedicated to the physical and emotional rehabilitation of disabled active military service personnel and disabled veterans through fishing.
Other information: This is a one-day Project Healing Waters (PHW) event hosted by the Bellevue/Issaquah Chapter of Trout Unlimited and the North Bend Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Fish will be stocked three to four days prior to the event to acclimate them before the commencement of fishing. On the day of the event, pre-registered PHW Veterans will be permitted to fish throughout the lake from boats captained by Trout Unlimited Volunteers.
Information Contact: Justin Spinelli, Fish Biologist, Region 4, vog.aw.wfdnull@illenipS.nitsuJ or 360-466-4345 ext. 242.
Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW “Fishing in Washington” rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360)796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.
Action: Closure of steelhead and whitefish fishing on the upper Columbia River including the Wenatchee, Entiat, Methow, Okanogan, and Similkameen rivers.
Species affected: Steelhead and whitefish.
Effective dates: One hour after official sunset on March 31, 2015.
Mainstem Columbia River: From Rock Island Dam upstream to 400 feet below Chief Joseph Dam.
Wenatchee River: From the mouth to the Wenatchee River 400 feet below Tumwater Dam, including the Icicle River from the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.
Entiat River: From the mouth to approximately ½ mile upstream to a point perpendicular with the intersection of the Entiat River Road and Hedding Street.
Methow River: From the mouth to the confluence of the Chewuch River in Winthrop.
Okanogan River: From the mouth to the Highway 97 Bridge in Oroville.
Similkameen River: From the mouth to 400 feet below Enloe Dam.
Reason for action: The season is closed to minimize impacts to spawning steelhead.
Information contact: Travis Maitland, District 7 Fish Biologist (Wenatchee), (509) 665-3337; Ryan Fortier, Methow-Okanogan District 6 Fish Biologist, (509) 997-0316; Jeff Korth, Region 2 Fish Program Manager (Ephrata), (509) 754-4624, ext. 224
California’s recreational salmon season will open in ocean waters on Saturday, April 4, 2015, from Horse Mountain (40° 05’ 00” N. latitude) south to the U.S.-Mexico border.Chinook2
The daily bag limit is two Chinook per day and no more than two daily bag limits may be possessed when on land. On a vessel in ocean waters, no person shall possess or bring ashore more than one daily bag limit.
Between Horse Mountain and Point Arena (38° 57’ 30” N. latitude), the minimum size limit is 20 inches total length. For areas south of Point Arena, the minimum size limit is 24 inches total length.
For anglers fishing north of Point Conception (34° 27’ 00” N. latitude), no more than two single-point, single-shank barbless hooks shall be used, and no more than one rod shall be used per angler when fishing for salmon or fishing from a boat with salmon on board. In addition, barbless circle hooks are required when fishing with bait by any means other than trolling.
Additional ocean salmon fishing regulations for the 2015 fishing season will be decided next month by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) during its April 11-16 meeting in Rohnert Park, and by the Fish and Game Commission at its April 17 teleconference. Final sport regulations will be published in the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) 2015 Supplemental Fishing Regulations booklet, which will be posted online in May at www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations.
Three alternatives are currently being considered for California’s 2015 commercial and recreational ocean salmon regulations, including season dates, size limits, bag limits and quotas. The public is encouraged to comment on any of the proposed alternatives, which can be found at the PFMC website at http://goo.gl/OEmIuR.
CDFW reminds anglers that retention of coho salmon is prohibited in all ocean fisheries. For complete ocean salmon regulations in effect during April, please visit CDFW’s ocean salmon webpage at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/oceansalmon.asp or call the Ocean Salmon Regulations Hotline at (707) 576-3429.
I almost had an anxiety attack when I heard that Laura Jackson was retiring at the end of this month. It was Laura, a District biologist out of the Roseburg office, who had called me back after I had called the Roseburg ODFW office expressing my concern about having to tag Umpqua River fall Chinook salmon as spring Chinook during the month of July starting this year. She stated that it was an oversight and was pretty certain that the “problem” would be properly handled in a department meeting prior to the fall Chinooks actually showing up in the river.
So when I found out that she was retiring and I had not heard anything, I thought the worst. However I got a quick call back from Laura’s supervisor who seemed very aware of the potential problem and assured me that an April meeting would “correct” it – so, although it is not yet official, it definitely appears that anglers fishing the lower Umpqua River for salmon in July will be able to tag their Chinook salmon as fall Chinooks. August and later fall months were never the problem.
Like many ODFW missteps, this “problem” was the result of good intentions – a desire to protect a very weak run of spring Chinooks that run up the South Umpqua River. The ODFW has been very protective of this small run to the point of closing the South Umpqua River to all fishing during some of its best times to catch big smallmouth bass – but the ODFW seems to be finetuning their regulations and I feel that South Umpqua bass anglers have more opportunities than they had in the past.
While on the subject, there a few other “no brainer” steps the ODFW could take. I realize that Mill Creek, the Umpqua River tributary that is the outlet to Loon Lake was closed because a few “anglers” were snagging salmon and steelhead that often rested in the stream’s lower reaches before resuming their journey up the Umpqua. But it kind of bugs me that there is a healthy population of smallmouth bass and a few largemouths that cannot legally be fished for. Since anadromous fish cannot reach the upper reaches of Mill Creek, which has always had a healthy populatiom of largemouth bass, I can’t think of any valid reason for that section of stream being closed. Simply opening up the short section between Loon Lake and where Mill Creek Road crosses the stream would allow anglers to to fish the two large holes that offer the best bassfishing and increase the water available to bankbound anglers visiting the lake by about 20 percent.
Cleawox Lake is by far the most heavily stocked lake on the Oregon coast north of Coos Bay and consequently gets alot of fishing pressure. But there are a couple of options that can reduce the competition. Boat anglers can go through the shallow narrow section that divides the lake’s north arm from the main lake. In years of normal or near-normal water levels fair numbers of the smaller stocked trout enter this narrow, nearly two mile long arm and receive very little fishing pressure once they do.
Lilly Lake, the small nearly two acre lake between the parking lot and the RV Park on the south side of Cleawox is seldom, if ever planted with trout, but offers pretty good fishing for bluegill and largemouth bass – and it receives almost no fishing pressure. It is easily fished with a float tube with the easiest access from the parking lot on thr south side of Cleawox Lake.
Californians around the state can now use an online tool to report incidents of fish and wildlife mortality directly to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). By contributing to CDFW’s growing database, citizens can help state environmental scientists gather important information necessary to monitor and evaluate wildlife populations and help prevent and control emerging di
“The CDFW Wildlife Investigations Lab is asking for this information so we can be one step ahead of a potential disease outbreak or other health concern,” said CDFW Environmental Scientist Lora Konde. “If we don’t know about it, we can’t do anything about it.”
CDFW is particularly interested in reports of dead animals with no visible injuries, sick or dead animals in unusual locations and/or more than five sick or dead animals at one location.
There are three ways to submit information:
Online: The preferred method is to submit information using the new mortality reporting form found at wildlife.ca.gov/living-with-wildlife. From the “Living with Wildlife” webpage, click on the purple box, “Report Dead Wildlife,” to access the form. The form asks for such information as: observation date, the reporter’s name and contact information, what kind of animal, where the animal was located and estimated mortality date. Photographs may be uploaded as well. The form is meant to be submitted online, but can also be filled out manually, printed and faxed to the Wildlife Investigations Lab at (916) 358-2814.
Smartphone: There is not a smartphone “app” available, but the mortality reporting form on the CDFW website is phone-enabled and can be filled out and submitted directly from a smartphone. To access the form, go to the main CDFW website (wildlife.ca.gov) and type “mortality reporting” into the search engine. The first suggested link that appears will redirect you to the form and submission page.
Email: Reports can also be sent via email to the Wildlife Investigations Lab email at vog.ac.efildliwnull@baliw.
CDFW’s database does not include small animals (cats, dogs, skunks, possums, etc.) killed by cars or other mechanical means. These can be reported to the California Roadkill Observation System, www.wildlifecrossing.net/california/. However, please contact your local CDFW office (www.wildlife.ca.gov/regions) if you observe a deer, mountain lion or bear that has been hit by a car.
For health reasons, do not touch a sick, injured or dead animal. If you find an injured or sick animal, you can contact a local licensed wildlife rehabilitation center (www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/wil/rehab/facilities.html) for advice.
Local animal control agencies can also assist with sick animals that may need help or small dead animals that should be removed.
Public contributions to state scientists’ efforts (dubbed “citizen science”) is encouraged and greatly appreciated by CDFW. “When people are going about their daily activities and they keep an eye out in the field for sick or dead animals and take the time to report it to us, it is very helpful. The public’s input is an extra resource to support this monitoring effort and keep wildlife populations healthy,” Konde explained.
Though still relatively new, the online submission feature is already proving to be useful. In January 2015, CDFW began closely monitoring the population of band-tailed pigeons for signs of disease. Many Californians who observed increased numbers of dead birds took the time to share that information with CDFW.
“We were grateful that the public responded enthusiastically and provided us with a lot of useful information through this online reporting method,” said Konde. “This makes the process of gathering data easier and more efficient. The faster we know about an outbreak, the faster we can analyze it and take action.”
California’s popular red abalone sport fishery season will open April 1 in most waters north of San Francisco Bay. However, new regulations effective last year closed parts of Fort Ross State Historical Park to the take of abalone. A map of the closed area can be found online at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=42101&inline=true.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) also enacted regulations last year that changed the start time from one-half hour before sunrise to 8 a.m. People may travel to fishing locations before 8 a.m. but may not actively search for or take any abalone before that time. The limit on abalone cards was also reduced from 24 to 18, but only a total of nine can be taken from Sonoma and Marin counties.
The changes were made because abalone abundance at eight index sites monitored by CDFW has declined over the years and the Abalone Recovery and Management Plan required a reduction in take. The 8 a.m. start time was proposed by CDFW wildlife officers who were witnessing large numbers of fishermen every low tide, and because it was becoming more difficult to find legal sized abalone (seven inches or greater measured along the longest shell diameter). During the search for legal sized abalone, increasing numbers of undersized abalone were being removed for measurement. It is likely that many abalone do not survive handling. The later start reduces the number of low tide days available for taking abalone, as well as the numbers of abalone taken and the number of undersized abalone killed during the search for legal sized abalone.
A complete list of abalone fishing regulations is available in the 2015 Ocean Sport Fishing Regulations booklet, which is available wherever fishing licenses are sold or at www.dfg.ca.gov/marine/sportfishing_regs2014.asp.
Abalone licenses and report cards may be purchased online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing .
Cards should be returned to CDFW’s Fort Bragg office, 32330 North Harbor Dr., Fort Bragg, CA 95437-5554. The return deadline is Jan. 31, 2016 but cards can be submitted early. The licensing webpage linked above also has a tab for reporting abalone catch online which may be done in place of returning the card by mail.
Abalone report cards must be returned even if no abalone were taken or no attempt was made to take abalone.
Abalone cling to rocks, from wave-swept intertidal ledges to deep ocean reefs, where they feed on kelp and other algae. It can take 12 years or more for abalone on the north coast to grow to legal size for harvest and biologists have concerns about the ability of the fishery to sustain current catch rates. Similar to rockfish, abalone are a long-lived species but have generally low rates of reproduction. The last major recruitment event for red abalone occurred more than 25 years ago and recent dive surveys have recorded lower densities of abalone at eight index sites.
Currently, the only ongoing abalone fishery in California is in the northern region of the state, which has remained productive for nearly 60 years. In 2013, the last year numbers are available, the catch estimated from abalone cards and telephone surveys was 230,000. The average catch has been about 254,000 annually for the past 12 years.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has completed its draft Deer Conservation and Management Plan, which is now available for public comment and review. The plan can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/deer/.
CDFW is proposing to develop 10 large-scale deer conservation units, which will assess how recent landscape and environmental changes have impacted deer population and habitat.
The draft plan also covers five important areas: unit plans, population management, habitat conservation, monitoring and outreach. Each unit will prepare separate plans, which will also be available for public comment and review at a future date.
In addition, movement corridors, winter and summer ranges and holding areas will be mapped and used to develop long-term conservation objectives. Areas needing restoration or rehabilitation will also be prioritized in order of importance to conservation and management objectives.
The deadline for comments is April 30, 2015. Interested parties can submit comments via email at vog.ac.efildliwnull@nalPreeD, or by regular mail sent to Deer Plan, 1812 Ninth St., Sacramento, CA 95811.
The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has awarded grants to fund 20 conservation projects that will improve more than 23,000 acres of wildlife habitat in the state of Oregon. The grants total $279,733 and directly benefit Crook, Douglas, Grant, Harney, Jackson, Klamath, Lake, Lincoln, Linn, Tillamook, Union, Wallowa and Yamhill Counties.
“Oregon is home to some great elk country,” said David Allen, RMEF president and CEO. “This grant funding will pay for prescribed burning, aspen and meadow restoration, noxious weed treatments and other projects that will enhance habitat for elk and other wildlife.”
Allen thanked Oregon’s volunteers for carrying out banquets, membership drives and other events that raised the money for the on-the-ground projects in their own backyard.
“We see it again and again in Oregon and all around the nation. Our volunteers and members care so much and work so hard for the benefit of elk country. To them we say ‘Thank you,’” added Allen.
Here is a sampling of Oregon’s 2015 projects, listed by county:
Grant County—Treat 450 acres of weed infestations across a 13,000 acre landscape that includes crucial winter range to complement an ongoing program of spring development, forage openings, fuels reduction and wet meadow protection on private land that allows public hunting adjacent to the Bridge Creek Wildlife Management Area.
Harney County—Rehabilitate and protect a rare, large, wet meadow along Alder Creek in the Stinkingwater Mountains by constructing a series of engineered check dams and fill to stabilize and rehab the stream channel. In addition, a 110-acre exclosure will be built to keep livestock out of the meadow (also affects Grant County).
Jackson County—Apply prescribed under-burning to 425 acres on the western slope of the southern Cascade Mountains in a recently commercially thinned area to jumpstart early seral recruitment in order to increase forage quality and quantity for elk on yearlong habitat and reduce the threat of catastrophic wildfire on the Rogue River National Forest.
Lake County—Thin 800 acres within aspen stands in a larger project area to reduce conifers and improve habitat on elk summer range and birthing areas on the Fremont-Winema National Forest .
For a complete list of Oregon’s projects, go here.
Partners for the Oregon projects include the Fremont-Winema, Ochoco, Rogue River-Siskiyou, Siuslaw, Umatilla, Umpqua, Wallowa-Whitman and Willamette National Forests, Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, private landowners and various sportsmen, wildlife, civic, tribal and government organizations.
Since 1986, RMEF and its partners completed 791 conservation and hunting heritage outreach projects in Oregon with a combined value of more than $53.6 million. These projects have protected or enhanced 768,210 acres of habitat and have opened or secured public access to 28,463 acres.
Our nice weather has come early in Central Washington. With this early spring weather we are enjoying some very good early season fishing for walleye and perch. The trout are showing for bank fishers all over Potholes Reservoir. Trout fishers are also doing well fishing the seep lakes below O’Sullivan Dam.
The time for bass fishing on Potholes Reservoir has begun. This past week bass fishers have reported some huge largemouth from the sand dune area. I have talked to numerous bass anglers that had a successful day of fishing for bass and the occasional bonus walleye on a bass lure.
Walleye trollers are doing fare on pre-spawn Lind Coulee and Crab Creek Walleye. These pre-spawn walleye are almost all aggressive males under 22 inches.
Please call the MarDon Tackle Shop for a fishing report (509) 346-2651