Monthly Archives: May 2016

Washington Angler Breaks State Record For Black Rockfish.

Steven Charles Orr of Rochester, Washington, has set a new state record for the largest black rockfish caught in Washington state waters, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed today.

The 10.72 pound fish measured 26.15 inches and was caught May 15 in Marine Area 1 near Ilwaco, Pacific County, while Orr was bait fishing with herring.

“I thought I had a ling cod,” Orr said. “It was like fighting a big king salmon, and when I got it up to the boat, it absolutely dwarfed a 6 to 7 pound sea bass we had onboard. It was definitely a fighter.”

The new record exceeded the previous black rockfish record by almost half a pound. That record was held by Joseph Eberling for a fish he caught in the Tacoma Narrows area of Puget Sound in 1980.

Steven Charles Orr's ten pound, ten ounce black rockfish beat the previous Washington state record by almost eight ounces.

Steven Charles Orr’s ten pound, ten ounce black rockfish beat the previous Washington state record by almost eight ounces.

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Umpqua River Pinkfin Update

Moe Dubois, owner of the Stockade Market in Winchester Bay will be holding his second annual “pinkfin” contest over Memorial Day Weekend. As I am writing this, the final details of the contest rules and prizes are being decided. But the contest will definitely be bigger than last year – and the prizes more impressive.

A number of boat limits of redtailed surfperch were taken this weekend at Winchester Bay and it seems like the Umpqua's famed pinkfin run is finally going full-bore.

A number of boat limits of redtailed surfperch were taken this weekend at Winchester Bay and it seems like the Umpqua’s famed pinkfin run is finally going full-bore.

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Anglers Get 3 More Days Of Columbia River Chinook Fishing.

Anglers will get another three days of Chinook salmon fishing starting Friday, under rules adopted today during a joint state hearing of fish and wildlife officials from Oregon and Washington.

The season opens on Friday, May 20 and continues through Sunday, May 22.

The open area is from Tongue Point approximately 19 miles upstream from the river mouth, to Beacon Rock, located approximately four miles below Bonneville Dam. Only bank angling is allowed from Beacon Rock upstream to Bonneville Dam.

This is the second time in the past two weeks that fishery managers have reopened the spring Chinook season on the Columbia. Today’s action was based on updated run size and harvest data.

The catch during last weekend’s reopening was lower than expected, according to Tucker Jones, ODFW’s Columbia River Program manager.

“While there is still some uncertainty around the size of this year’s run, we have enough fish left to provide a few more days of fishing before the next run update,” he said.

Jones said the size of this year’s Chinook run will be updated again next week, and he is hoping the numbers will support another opening Memorial Day weekend but that will depend on the updated run size. Fishery managers are planning to meet again on Tuesday.

The daily bag limit is two fin-clipped adult salmonids per day of which only one may be a Chinook. Retention of fin-clipped Chinook jacks is also allowed. Retention of jacks is allowed. Sockeye salmon must be released.

For more information, visit ODFW’s website at

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Trout Stream Fishing Opens May 22nd In Many Areas.

Trout fishing enthusiasts can turn their attention to Oregon’s rivers and streams on Sunday when many of the state’s moving waters open for retention of trout.

Dozens of rivers and streams, including some of the state’s lesser known and explored tributaries, will open for trout fishing on Sunday, May 22.

While many lakes and some rivers are open year around, or opened earlier this spring, additional waters will now be available for trout anglers to explore.

Some popular fisheries opening this Sunday include:

The Kilchis, Nestucca, Three Rivers, Salmon, Siletz, Siuslaw, Trask, and Wilson rivers in the Northwest Zone.
Estacada Lake, Faraday Lake, North Fork Reservoir, North and South Santiam, Small Fry Lake, Tualatin River and tributaries, and Yamhill River and tributaries in the Willamette Zone.
The Applegate, Chetco, Coos, Illinois, Rogue, and Umpqua rivers in the Southwest Zone.
Popular stretches of the Deschutes and Metolius rivers in the Central Zone.
The lower Williamson, Spring Creek, and Clear Creek in the Southeast Zone.
“Already there’s been some great fishing happening in many of the waters that opened in April,” said Mike Gauvin, ODFW Recreational Fisheries Program Manager for Inland Fisheries. “Now there are additional opportunities for beginning and experienced anglers to pursue.”

There are also places where you can get out and catch some impressive trout, including cutthroat, redsides, rainbows and browns. And don’t forget about bass, which are also now available in many of the streams that will open May 22.

The late spring trout opener is an important piece ODFW’s “Trout 365” strategy, which aims to recruit and retain anglers by focusing public attention on year-around trout fishing opportunities across Oregon. Those opportunities include more than 350 stocked ponds, high lakes trout fisheries, a new trophy trout program at five venues around the state, trout fishing “how to” videos, and family fishing events.

For a comprehensive listing, including open areas, bag limits, and gear/bait restrictions, please refer to the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations, which are available free in print form at ODFW license agents, or on-line.

For more information about trout fishing or fishing in general, please visit the ODFW website and click on the “Fishing” tab.

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19th Annual Family Fishing Event And Carnival Coming To Waldport.

Family fishing is coming to Waldport on Saturday, May 21 when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and First Baptist Church of Waldport will host a free fishing event at Eckman Lake.

The fishing event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. for youth ages 17 and younger. Each participant will be able to catch two rainbow trout from the fish enclosure and fishing gear and instruction will be provided free of charge.

“This is the most fun-packed family fishing event on the Mid Coast,” said Christine Clapp, ODFW biologist. “The First Baptist Church of Waldport hosts a carnival for children of all ages, and the fishing event is just across the street at Eckman Lake. Families are guaranteed to make memories that will last a lifetime!”

The event carnival is complete with bouncy house, obstacle course, target practice games, cotton candy and lots of other fun activities. Kids can also make their own fishing lures and flies, get some extra cast practice with a backyard game, and learn about fish anatomy and physiology while volunteers clean their catch.

Eckman Lake is located about 2.5 miles east of Waldport on Highway 34. The family fishing area will be set up at Nelson State Recreation Area across from the First Baptist Church parking lot.

The event is open to everyone, and no pre-registration is required. Participants should register at the church upon arrival to get their loaner fishing pole and goodie bag. Anglers 11 years old and younger do not need a fishing license, but 12-17 year olds will need a youth license, which can be purchased for $10 at any ODFW license agent, ODFW office or on-line at ODFW’s website ( Licenses will not be sold at the event. The youth license includes angling, hunting, shellfish and the Columbia River basin endorsement.

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It Seemed Like Such A Little Problem.

I started a fishing trip to Loon Lake last week with great anticipation – even though one of the swim fins I chose to use had a small tear in it.

After all, I had been using these fins for five weeks after the tear first appeared without any problems or a noticeable increase in the size of the tear – and I had been using my “River Rat” for 15 years without disappointment.

This trip was different. Within 20 minutes the swimfin tear grew dramatically – to the point where I had to repeatedly resecure the fin on my foot – which required me to lean forward in my River Rat. On my previous trip, the hinged tops to the wells on the device had simply worn out – leaving four small holes about an eighth of an inch in diameter above the waterline on the “rat”.

However, hindsight showed me that these tiny holes were not above the waterline while I was leaning forward resecuring my right swimfin.

So now I am paddling along on the road side of Loon Lake along an extremely brushy stretch where I cannot access the bank with a considerable amount of water that has “sneakily entered the River Rat when the right fin gives up completely.

For those of you unfamiliar with using swimfins, using a single fin is completely different than using a pair. What you can do gracefully with two fins is impossible with one. As I struggled along with one fin, the water inside the River Rat started sloshing back and forth – and weighed enough to threaten to topple me each time it went from one side of the inside of my rat to the other.

The more I struggled to use the single fin, the more severe the water sloshing back and forth became – until I ended up in the lake minus a lot of fishing gear. I was wearing neopreme chest waders and was able to recaptue my rat and drag it to a log about 60 feet from the bank – where I was able to, once again, sit in the water-filled device. But as soon as I tried to use the single fin that was still attached to my left foot, I found myself atop a “bucking bronco” and quickly found myself dealing with a lot more of Loon Lake than I wanted too.

So once again I find myself on the outer edge of a downed tree, with a broken fishing rod in my hands and still minus the two rods and reels I lost during the first time I was capsized.

Besides the fact that I could not see a way to reach the road through the thick shoreline brush, what kept me standing on a submerged tree branch, chest deep and about 40 feet from shore in Loon Lake was that I thought the digital scale, digital camera and cell phone in my chest pockets might still be good.

Surprisingly. a man walking along the road saw me and agreed to contact Dwayne Schwartz who was fishing out of a polyethylene pontoon boat a half mile up the lake.

Waiting was tough, since I had no way to know if the man was able to contact Dwayne, but when I saw Dwayne paddling towards me while not fishing, I knew he had got the message.

When Dwayne reached me, I handed him my broken fishing rod (complete with reel and my electronic devices. Dwayne then towed my water-filled River Rat to the East Bay Campground where he was able, with difficulty, to haul the rat out of the water and place it upside down so that the water could drain out of it.

In the meantime, I was able to swim to a shallow area next to shore and remove my chest waders and swimfin. I chose to remain standing in shallow water since the bushes I would have to actually reach shore appeared to be poison oak. But the water was shallow enough so that I could empty the water from my chest waders and I was sure I could get into my River Rat without putting more water into it.

Dwayne returned with my now empty River Rat and was able to tow me to the campground. Besides losing more than $400 worth of gear (all my electronic devices were kaput), the most regrettable thing was having to cut a fishing trip short when the bass were on a good bite

Pete Heley aboard his beloved "River Rat".

Pete Heley aboard his beloved “River Rat”.

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Cooper Creek Reservoir Showa Promise During Tough Fishing Trip.

A Wednesday fishing trip to Cooper Creek Reservoir was greeted with very tough fishing, but showed enough promise to merit a return trip.

Largemouth bass were scarce during the first three hours of the early morning trip and I switched to panfish mode and quickly caught a couple of 10 to 11-inch black crappies, several bluegills to seven inches, a seven inch yellow perch and an eight inch largemouth bass. In the meantime, Dwayne Schwartz, my fishing partner, started catching small largemouths on a rattle trap-type lure. He ended the day with a dozen bass to a pound and a half.

I caught a number of blugills and crappies, but could not hook the largest crappie I saw, a fish of at least 11-inches that was more interested in chasing bluegills than the crappie jig I offered it numerous times. Dwayne saw a much larger crappie that briefly followed his crappie jig, but would not bite. I did hook a nice-sized bass on a soft plastic jerkbait in a yellow perch pattern that weighed four pounds 12 ounces after a spirited five minute battle.

As we neared the earthfill dam at the lower end of the lake, we asked an angler if he had caught anything and he replied that he had caught a bass weighing ten to 12 pounds. He agreed to let us take a picture of it and weigh it for him. He said the bass was one of three that were cruising near the dam and spun around and inhaled a senko as it was sinking near it’s tail. He saif it appeared to be the smallest of the three.

As we got close to shore, we could see the lunker largemouth did not weigh ten pounds and I estimated the weight of the fish to add validity to the weight the digital scale would show.

I estimated the weight at seven pounds and 12 ounces – and somewhat surprisingly, the scale showed the weight to be seven pounds and 12 ounces.

Since the wind was picking up and storm clouds were looming, we decided to call it a day – even though Cooper Creek is known for its evening and nighttime fishing.

We’ll be back.

Pete Heley with a four pound 12 ounce Cooper Creek largemouth.

Pete Heley with a four pound 12 ounce Cooper Creek largemouth.

Dwayne's ten inch crappie was the smallest of the day.

Dwayne’s ten inch crappie was the smallest of the day.

Unfortunately, this jumbo largemouth will never reach nine pounds or get to spawn this year.

Unfortunately, this jumbo largemouth will never reach nine pounds or get to spawn this year.

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WDFW News – 2016 Citizen Awards

One volunteer built nest boxes and a global following of wood duck conservation enthusiasts over three decades, while another helped pilot a state-wide hunter education effort oriented toward women and girls.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) recognized the contributions of these and other top volunteers during its 2016 citizen awards ceremony today in Olympia.

Wood ducks are just one of many species to benefit from the dedication of Volunteer of the Year, Dale Schielke. Working with colleagues at the Richland Rod and Gun Club for more than 30 years, Schielke’s nest boxes have provided a window on annual duckling jumps, in which new ducklings jump from their nest boxes to delight viewers around the world via live video (

“Dale always has a smile, whether he is providing shelter for wood ducks, organizing fishing days for thousands of young people in Central Washington, or working in fish slime from dawn to dusk at Ringold Hatchery,” said Jason Fidorra, a WDFW wildlife biologist.

Educator of the Year, Cathy Lynch certified 369 students, or more than 10 percent of hunter education students in the North Puget Sound region, in 2015. She also helped train and certify 24 new volunteer hunter education instructors. When asked if she would assist in classes oriented toward women hunters, she quickly secured a venue and an all-female teaching team to make it happen months ahead of schedule.

“Cathy sees what needs to be done and does it,” said Steve Dazey, a hunter education and volunteer coordinator with WDFW. “The classes oriented toward women have been so well received by the public that we decided to expand the program statewide.”

Other citizen awards announced by WDFW included the following:

Terry Hoffer Memorial Firearm Safety Award: Bill Vincent was recognized with the Terry Hoffer award for his outstanding contributions as a hunter education instructor. He also currently serves on the Instructor Advisory Committee, and has served on the Master Hunter Advisory Group and the Fish and Wildlife Commission’s Americans with Disabilities Act advisory committee.

“Serving hunters in remote communities, as well as youth, tribal and military populations, Bill has done it all,” said David Whipple, hunter education division manager. “He is a versatile, involved leader who is helping to ensure a bright future for hunting in Washington.”

The award honors Wildlife Agent Terry Hoffer, who was fatally wounded by a hunter accidentally discharging his firearm in 1984.
Organization of the Year: The 15 independent chapters of Puget Sound Anglers were recognized for thousands of hours spent volunteering at hatcheries, organizing kids fishing events and educating anglers on release techniques to protect wild salmon, steelhead and rockfish.

“Puget Sound Anglers consistently support policies that are critical to stewardship of Washington’s fish and natural resources, mark selective fisheries and hatcheries, and many other conservation efforts,” said Larry Phillips, WDFW inland fish manager.
Landowner of the Year: Murray Benjamin and his daughter, Jenna Benjamin, were recognized for committing over 240 volunteer hours to organize people and equipment to prevent elk damage on agricultural lands in the Skagit Valley.

“The Benjamins helped organize a community group to address elk damage concerns, said Scott Witman, an environmental specialist with WDFW. “This led to WDFW and tribal managers implementing landowner proposed habitat and fencing solutions to reduce elk damage in the valley.”
WDFW Director Jim Unsworth said citizen volunteers around the state logged nearly 60,000 hours on WDFW projects in 2015.

WDFW welcomes volunteer help in activities that benefit fish, wildlife and habitat. For more information, visit the agency volunteer page at

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Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Fishing Report

Our water is warming and fish are done spawning. The Walleye bite has just begun to kick in. Some fishers are limiting on walleye, and some are catching under the limit. Bass are spawning all over Potholes Reservoir. Crappie have been caught in the shallow back waters of the sand dunes. Perch spawned several weeks ago. The middle of May 2016 is looking so good. Rainbow are hitting on needlefish at Medicare Beach as well.
The CWFAC has received another gracious donation of $300, from our local Columbia Basin Walleye Club, in Moses Lake, Thank you for your support.
This weekend the Limit Out Marine group, headed by Russell Baker will present the Big Bass Tournament Trail, Bass Tournament on Potholes Reservoir. All persons may enter Friday night with registration at Mardon Resort. Come out and watch the weigh-in on Saturday May 14, and Sunday May 15 (call for weigh-in times).

Under the Mardon dock crappie are showing almost one month early.  It started on Friday May 6, 2016.  Some crappie are being caught.

Under the Mardon dock crappie are showing almost one month early. It started on Friday May 6, 2016. Some crappie are being caught.

Renton resident  Moses came to Mardon with his dad and grandfather.  They fished on and around the Mardon Fishing dock.  Young Moses used a football leadhead  jig and hula skirt grub to catch this nice bass.

Renton resident Moses came to Mardon with his dad and grandfather. They fished on and around the Mardon Fishing dock. Young Moses used a football leadhead jig and hula skirt grub to catch this nice bass.

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ODFW News – Controlled Hunt Deadline Is May 15th.

Fall may be months away but it’s time to start thinking about big game hunting. Don’t forget to apply for a controlled hunt or one of Oregon’s new Premium Hunts by May 15, which falls on a Sunday this year.

Apply online, at a license sales agent or ODFW office that sells licenses, or by mail/fax order. The cost is $8 per application and hunters need a 2016 annual hunting license to apply.

Last year, more than half of the 407,402 applications were submitted in the last week before the deadline, including nearly 66,000 on deadline day. Many hunters wait till the last minute to apply, which can cause long lines at license sales stores and ODFW offices.

“The deadline falls on a Sunday this year, which is a good reason to get your application in early,” said Deanna Erickson, ODFW license sales manager. ‘ODFW offices will be closed on May 15 and license sale agents may also be open fewer hours or closed on a Sunday.” Hunters can also apply online until 11:59 p.m. PT on Sunday, May 15.

Erickson also urged hunters to avoid common mistakes on applications. “Double check your hunt number against the 2016 Big Game Regulations, and make sure your party leader number is correct,” she said. “And before you walk out of the store or ODFW office, check your application to be sure it’s correct.”

ODFW limits the number of tags for some hunts (all rifle deer and most rifle elk hunting in eastern Oregon, plus all pronghorn, Rocky Mtn goat and bighorn sheep hunting) to fairly distribute tags and control hunting pressure. Hunters who apply for a controlled deer, elk or pronghorn tag and don’t draw their first choice receive a preference point for that hunt series, which increases their chances the following year.

While the most sought after hunts can take more than 10 years to draw, every hunter has a chance to draw each year. Only 75 percent of tags are awarded based on preference points; the remaining 25 percent are awarded randomly among first choice applicants. Find out more about how the process works on ODFW’s Controlled Hunts page.

Proposed tag numbers will be announced next week and adopted by the Fish and Wildlife Commission at the June 9-10 meeting in Salem, but expect numbers to be very similar to 2015. Generally, deer and elk populations came out of the 2015-16 winter in good condition, with average over-winter survival for most herds. Oregon’s snow pack is in much better shape this year and the improved water supply for the summer months is good news for habitat and wildlife.

Get more information about the fall season and how big game herds and game birds are doing by attending one of ODFW’s public meetings being held around the state in early May, or join us for a live Twitter chat with @MyODFW on Thursday, May 5 from noon-2 p.m. (use #askODFW hashtag). Local district wildlife biologists will present tag information, wildlife survey results, discuss potential changes to the regulations and answer questions during these meetings and the Twitter chat.

2016 Big Game Public Meeting Schedule
City Date Time Location
Lakeview May 3 6 – 8 pm Eagles Lodge
27 South “E” Street, Lakeview OR
Redmond May 3 6 – 8 pm Redmond High School
Community Room, 675 SW Rimrock, Redmond OR
Ontario May 3 6 pm MDT OSU Extension Office
710 SW 5th Ave, Ontario OR
Burns May 4 7 – 9 pm Harney County Community Center
484 N Broadway, Burns OR
Heppner May 4 6 – 9 pm ODFW Heppner District Office
54173 Highway 74, Heppner OR
Twitter Chat May 5 12 – 2 pm Live Twitter chat with @MyODFW, use #askODFW hashtag
Klamath Falls May 5 7 pm Shasta Grange Hall
5831 Shasta Way, Klamath Falls OR
La Grande May 5 6 pm Cook Memorial Library
2006 4th St, La Grande OR
The Dalles May 5 6 pm The Dalles Screen Shop
3561 Klindt Dr, The Dalles OR
John Day May 10 5:30 – 7 pm John Day District State Forestry Office
415 Patterson Bridge Rd, John Day OR
Roseburg May 10 6 – 7:30 pm ODFW Roseburg District Office
Conference Rm, 4192 N Umpqua Hwy, Roseburg OR
Springfield May 10 6:30 – 8:30 pm Oregon Dept. of Forestry
3150 East Main St, Springfield OR
Seaside May 10 4 – 7 pm Seaside Civic & Convention Center – Seamist Rm
415 First Ave., Seaside OR
Charleston May 10 6:30 – 8:30 pm North Bend Public Library
1800 Sherman Ave, North Bend OR
Clackamas May 11 5:30 – 8 pm ODFW Clackamas District Office Bldg 16
17330 SE Evelyn Street, Clackamas OR
Grants Pass May 11 7 pm Elmers Restaurant
175 NE Agness, Grants Pass OR
Pendleton May 11 4 – 7 pm Pendleton Convention Center
1601 Westgate, Pendleton OR
Newport May 12 6 – 7 pm ODFW Marine Resources Program Office
2040 SE Marine Science Dr, Newport OR
Salem May 12 7 – 9 pm ODFW Headquarters Office
4034 Fairview Industrial Dr SE, Salem OR
Medford May 12 7 pm The Eagles Lodge
2000 Table Rock Rd, Medford OR
Photos of big game and other wildlife available at Please credit ODFW.

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