Monthly Archives: July 2017

Butterfield Lake – Oregon’s Overlooked Coastal Jewel.

Being planted with rainbow trout for the last several years coupled with yellow perch becoming established in the lake is bad news for the 25 acre lake’s once healthy bluegill and crappie populations. Warmouth have existed in lake in very low numbers for decades.

Dwayne Schwartz’s 6 pound six ounce post-spawn buzzbait lunker proves that not all of Butterfield’s largemouth bass are small and thin.

Pete Heley battles a feisty Butterfield rainbow planted several months earlier.

Pete Heley holds up the rainbow prior to releasing it.

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ODFW News – Salem Meeting To Adopt 2018 Angling Regulations.

SALEM, Ore.—The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Friday, Aug. 4 at ODFW Headquarters in Salem, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE.

The meeting will also be livestreamed over ODFW’s Twitter and Periscope (@MyODFW) accounts. It begins at 8 a.m. and follows this agenda.

The Commission is expected to adopt 2018 sport fishing regulations. Some of the proposed changes include:

Allow anglers with a two-rod endorsement to use up to five rods only when ice fishing (statewide).
Additional spring Chinook opportunity by allowing retention of hatchery spring Chinook from Jan. 1- July 31 in some NW Zone streams including the Wilson, Trask, Nestucca, Kilchis River(s).
Remove bag and size limit for bass in the lower Deschutes River.
Change the kokanee bonus daily bag limit in Wickiup Reservoir and Lake Billy Chinook to 5 kokanee per day in addition to the daily trout limit (so anglers can take up to 10 kokanee per day).
The Commission will be briefed on a draft updated Cougar Management Plan though no action on the Plan will be taken until a future meeting. Last updated in 2006, the Plan guides management of cougars in Oregon. The draft updated Plan incorporates new scientific literature and Oregon-specific research about cougars, including a genetics and habitat analysis, but does not propose major management changes. The updated Plan will continue to stress coexistence with Oregon’s more than 6,000 cougars.

The Commission will be asked to approve grant funds for nine Restoration and Enhancement Projects to improve angler access or facilities or enhance fisheries.

Finally, the Commission is expected to appoint a Landowner Representative to the Access and Habitat Board, which provides grants for projects that improve hunter access or wildlife habitat on private land.

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.

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Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Fishing Report.

The fishing on the Potholes Reservoir fair for most species and good for largemouth bass. The water level has dropped just over a foot and a half this past week and is currently at 1034.25 feet. This brings the Reservoir to a level 11.05 feet lower than the high mark this year. The water temps back in the dunes are reaching the mid 80’s during the day with the main lake surface temps moving into the low 80’s.
The trout fishing has slowed slightly with the warm water temperatures. Fish in the 2-5 pound range are still being caught. Anglers have been long lining Flicker Minnows and Rapala Shad Raps in 15-30 feet of water from the MarDon Resort to the State Park and along Medicare Beach.
The walleye are still holding in the weeds in 5-18 feet. Storm GT 360s, #5 Flicker Shads, Smile Blade – Slow Death Rigs, and crawler harness/blade combinations have been the top producers. Top colors are orange and chartreuse, and perch patterned crankbaits. Early is best in this heat- 4:30 am – 8:30am. The bite can be tough due to the amount of bait available right now and the fact that there is still a fair amount of water giving both the walleye and bait a lot of cover to hide in.
Not many crappie reports form the Reservoir this week. The MarDon Resort dock fishing has been good for numbers with fish to 11 inches being caught The Trout magnet in green -red flake and in white & chartreuse are working well as are yellow and white crappie jigs and Gulp Minnows in the Emerald Shiner color. The bluegill fishing off the dock has been very good this week. Use Trout Magnets and crappie jigs tipped with maggots or small pieces of worm. The perch fishing has picked up on the Reservoir. Perch are being caught in 10-22 feet of water using a variety of panfish jigs and Gulp Minnows, and worms around Goose Island. Dock fishing is only available to registered guests staying at MarDon Resort.
The Channel Catfish and bullhead fishing has been very good this past week. A lot are being caught while trolling for walleye or fishing a worm on the bottom. Several Channels over eight pounds have been caught this week. Fish around Goose Island, the face of the dunes, and up Lind Coulee for the Channel Cats.
Largemouth fishing in the dunes continues to be good. The fish are hitting SPRO Frogs – early, spinnerbaits, and creature baits such as the Keitech Crazy Flapper pitched to the edges of cover with a ½ oz. tungsten weight. The smallmouth are hitting Flicker Shads, tubes, and Keitech Custom Leeches along the face of the dam in 6-20 feet of water on rock. This is a great time to get your kids out fishing! There are a lot of smaller smallmouth and perch that are very willing to bite.

Duwayne Wolf with a big 10.80 pound Channel Cat!

Dylan Roberts and Jessie Koon of Tacoma, WA fished worms off the MarDon Resort dock for this nice stringer of Bluegill.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 7 / 26 / 2017

Ocean salmon fishing is improving except along the northern edge of our zone. Through July 16th, Garibaldi continues to lead in number of chinook salmon harvested, but produced virtually no chinook last week. Winchester Bay continues to lead in ocean salmon fishing trips and number of finclipped coho salmon kept and is up to .40 kept salmon per angler-trip. However, Charlston with .52 kept salmon per angler-trip has been even more productive and has produced 13.6 percent more retained chinook salmon with only 36.4 percent as many angler-trips. One advantage that Winchester Bay anglers have is that if the bar is uncrossable or the ocean unsafe, the Umpqua River is giving up enough chinook salmon to serve as a viable “Plan B”. Chinooks to more than 30 pounds have been caught between the Umpqua River Bar and Reedsport with the mile below Reedsport recently the most productive.

As of July 16th, only 10.1 percent of quota had been caught and kept and since the ocean finclipped coho season ends on July 31st, the season will not close early due to quota fulfillment. However, the salmon fishing is definitely improving – especially along the central Oregon coast and it appears that when the nonselective ocean coho season, where both clipped and unclipped cohos can be kept, opens on September 2nd the 6,000 salmon quota might be reached very quickly – unless the salmon move even farther off shore or ocean, bar or weather conditions limit fishing access or success.

Only a few anglers have been trying to catch salmon at Winchester Bay by casting spinners off the bank, but both Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point have given up chinooks to 25 pounds. Very few cohos have been caught and they have been chasing forage fish and have been unclipped and unkeepable. It may be a little awkward during the nonselective ocean coho season when unclipped coho are legal to keep in the ocean, but not in the river. Fifteen to 20-inch cohos are considered jack salmon in rivers and don’t have to be tagged while cohos of 16-inches or longer are considered adults in the ocean and have to be recorded on anglers’ combined angling tags.

It’s been a problem all year long, but it’s especially noticeable during mid to late summer when the numbers of people crabbing and fishing skyrockets and large numbers of 12 to 17 year olds cannot take advantage of the fishing/hunting/shellfish licenses available to them for $10.00 – because their social security numbers are not in the ODFW licensing system. This is the best deal Oregon has ever offered youthful outdoor recreationists, even nonresident ones, but it is a yearly license and is only available for purchase at license vendors with online machines – after their SSN’s are in the system. Youths of 12 to 17 years of age can also purchase for only $5.00 the same combined angling tag that costs someone 18 years old or older, $35.00 if a resident or $55.00 if a nonresident – if their SSN is in the system.

The Umpqua River pinkfin run is not over, but appears to be winding down and becoming even more inconsistent. Fishing for surfperch in the surf along area beaches is more consistent, but some people just like to use their boats.

Umpqua River shad fishing is pretty much over, but smallmouth fishing is very good with the bass even fatter than usual. Some sections of the river have more of a weed problem than others, but fishing topwater lures minimizes the problem. A few other lures and retrieval techniques can also lessen the weed problem.

Fishing for bluegills at Loon Lake continues to be very good, but weed growth has somewhat curtailed bankfishing options. Early morning fishing for largemouth bass can be fair to good and evening crappie fishing has been fair. Ever since the water at Tenmile Lake got very low last summer, Eel Lake has been busier than ever. But much of the usage doesn’t involve fishing. Those that have been fishing are catching some bass and trout and a very few bluegills and crappies.

Saunders and Butterfield lakes have been relatively overlooked and are capable of providing decent fishing for anglers using light tackle. Butterfield still has a few planted rainbow trout left as well as largemouth bass, crappies, bluegills and a very few warmouths. Saunders lacks the warmouths, but has the other fish species as well as lots of yellow perch.

Crabbing at Winchester Bay has been a little inconsistent, but generally very good. Last week, one boat that was crabbing just outside the Umpqua River Bar reported that 48 of the 52 crabs they caught were legal males. Both salmon fishing and crabbing should continue to improve over the next several weeks.

Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.

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CDFW News – Central Valley Fish Trafficking Ring Sentenced After CDFW Bust.

Three Fresno men face jail time and fines after being caught poaching and unlawfully trafficking sport-caught fish, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) announced.

Kue Her, 36, Leepo Her, 33, and Michael Vang, 31, all of Fresno, all pled guilty to charges of illegal poaching of wildlife for profit. Kue Her was sentenced to 52 days in county jail and four years probation, with a court-ordered lifetime fishing license revocation. Leepo Her was sentenced to serve nine days in county jail, four years probation and a $1,050 fine, with a court-ordered lifetime fishing license revocation.

Vang was sentenced to one day in county jail, six hours community service, four years probation and a $1,050 fine, with a court-ordered lifetime fishing license revocation.

Over the course of a year, CDFW wildlife officers made contact with the three men on multiple occasions as they were fishing throughout California’s Central Valley. The men were frequently found in violation of various laws, including possession of gross overlimits and retention of undersized striped bass. The egregious nature of their poaching activities led wildlife officers to suspect they might be selling fish on the black market.

Wildlife officers analyzed the suspects’ citation history and began a focused investigation into their activities. The investigation uncovered an abundance of evidence that the men had made thousands of dollars through the illegal sale of wild-caught striped bass and other local fish species. The investigation culminated in multiple search warrants served in December 2016, where wildlife officers located live crappie and bluegill in an aquarium, frozen striped bass, marijuana and evidence of a marijuana cultivation and sales, and methamphetamine and evidence of methamphetamine sales.

“The cases are a result of wildlife officers’ recognition of each independent poaching offense for the egregious offenses they were as a whole,” said Assistant Chief John Baker, Central Enforcement District, Fresno. “From there it was good old-fashioned investigative work.”

The Fresno County District Attorney’s Office and Deputy District Attorneys Sabrina Ashjian and Adam Kook prosecuted the case. Ashjian displayed particular vigilance, perseverance and tenacity in her handling of this case. These efforts, along with multitudes of other environmental and poaching prosecutions, contributed to her selection as the 2016 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year by the California Fish and Game Commission.

Anyone with information about unlawful fishing, hunting or pollution is encouraged to contact CalTIP, CDFW’s confidential secret witness program that encourages the public to provide wildlife officers with factual information leading to the arrest of poachers and polluters. The CalTIP number, (888) 334-2258, is printed on the back of every hunting and fishing license. Tips can also be relayed by text to 847411 (tip411). Text messages allow for a two-way conversation with wildlife officers, while preserving the anonymity of the tipster. Texts should begin with the word “CALTIP,” followed by a space and the message. There is also an app for smartphones that works similarly. For more information on the program and the CalTIP app, please visit

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WDFW News – State Seeks Input On Teanaway Community Forest Recreation; Survey Available Through Aug. 24.

The public is invited to participate in a survey about recreation in the Teanaway Community Forest as part of the State’s long-term recreation planning process.

The Teanaway Community Forest is an important source of water and wildlife habitat, as well as a statewide recreation destination in the heart of the Cascades with opportunities for fishing, camping and taking in expansive views of the Teanaway Valley.

The 50,241-acre forest, located in the Yakima River Basin headwaters, is managed through a partnership between the state departments of Natural Resources (DNR) and Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). The departments want input from the forest’s many visitors and nearby neighbors on current and future recreation priorities.

“Whether you’ve pulled off I-90 for the views or were lucky enough to snag a first-come, first-serve spot at one of the camping areas during a summer weekend, we want to hear from you—and all who help make up the shared story of Teanaway Community Forest,” said Glenn Glover, acting statewide recreation manager.

The agencies, along with a 20-member advisory committee, value public feedback as they develop a recreation plan intended to guide long-term recreation priorities in the community forest.

“It’s crucial we hear from people who value the Teanaway as we develop a recreation plan consistent with the watershed protection and conservation objectives that were key to establishing this community forest,” said Mike Livingston, WDFW south central regional director.

To take the survey, visit before close of business Thursday, Aug 24.

Teanaway Community Forest: An enduring partnership

The forest is managed through a partnership between DNR and WDFW, with input from the advisory committee, the local community and interested stakeholders. The plan will lay a foundation for the preservation and development of recreation opportunities consistent with watershed protection, the Teanaway Community Forest Management Plan and other priorities identified by state lawmakers.

The 2013 acquisition of the community forest was the single largest Washington state land transaction in 45 years and reflected more than a decade of collaboration.

The property is Washington’s first state-managed community forest under the terms of legislation enacted in 2011. That law empowers communities to partner with DNR to purchase forests to preserve land in danger of conversion, and to support local economies and public recreation.

Acquisition of the Teanaway was one key step in implementing the Yakima Basin Integrated Plan – an initiative developed by a coalition of public and private organizations to safeguard the basin’s water supply, restore fisheries, conserve habitat, preserve working lands and enhance recreational opportunities.

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WDFW News – Night Fishing Closure Modified On Columbia River.

Action: Stipulates that night “angling” is closed in the lower Columbia River.

Effective dates: Immediately until further notice.

Species affected: All species.

Location: The Columbia River from Buoy 10 (opens Aug. 1) upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge.

Reason for action: This change allows night time bow hunting for carp.

Other information: The only other exception to the night fishing closure is for anglers enrolled in the Pikeminnow Sport-Reward Program and actively fishing for pikeminnow.

Information contact: Region 5 office/ 360-696-6211.

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WDFW News – WDFW Plans To Take Lethal Action To Change Wolf Pack’s Behavior.

State wildlife managers plan to remove members of a wolf pack that has repeatedly preyed on livestock in Stevens County since 2015.

Jim Unsworth, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) authorized his staff to take lethal action against the Smackout wolf pack, based on four occasions where wolves preyed on livestock since last September.

Unsworth said that action, set to begin this week, is consistent with Washington’s Wolf Management Plan of 2011, which authorizes WDFW to take lethal measures to address repeated attacks on livestock.

It is also consistent with the department’s policy that allows removing wolves if they prey on livestock three times in a 30-day period or four times in a 10-month period, said Donny Martorello, WDFW’s lead wolf manager.

That policy was developed last year by WDFW and its 18-member Wolf Advisory Group, which represents the concerns of environmentalists, hunters, and livestock ranchers.

“The purpose of this action is to change the pack’s behavior, while also meeting the state’s wolf-conservation goals,” Martorello said. “That means incrementally removing wolves and assessing the results before taking any further action.”

The Smackout pack is one of 20 wolf packs documented in Washington state by WDFW in 2016. At that time, the pack was estimated to consist of eight wolves, but it has since produced an unknown number of pups.

Martorello noted that the state’s wolf population is growing at a rate of about 30 percent each year.

The pack’s latest depredation on livestock was discovered July 18 by an employee of the livestock owner who found an injured calf with bite marks consistent with a wolf attack in a leased federal grazing area.

During the previous month, the rancher reported to WDFW that his employee had caught two wolves in the act of attacking livestock and killed one of them. The department has since determined that those actions were consistent with state law, which allows livestock owners and their employees to take lethal action to protect their livestock in areas of the state where wolves are no longer listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

Over the past two months, radio signals from GPS collars attached to two of the pack’s members have indicated that those wolves were frequently within a mile of that site during the previous two months, Martorello said.

“This rancher has made concerted efforts to protect his livestock using non-lethal measures,” Martorello said. “Our goal is to change the pack’s behavior before the situation gets worse.

Since 2015, WDFW has documented that wolves have killed three calves and injured three others in the same area of Stevens County.

Gray wolves are classified as “endangered” under Washington state law, but are no longer protected in the eastern third of the state under the federal Endangered Species Act. The state’s wolf plan sets population recovery objectives and outlines methods for minimizing wolf-livestock conflicts

For more information on WDFW’s action, see Update on Washington Wolves at

WDFW’s Wolf-Livestock Interaction Protocol is available at

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WDFW News – Anglers Can Keep Two Chinook Salmon Off Westport Beginning July 22.

Action: Anglers fishing off Westport (Marine Area 2) will be allowed to keep up to two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit.

Effective date: July 22, 2017.

Species affected: Chinook.

Locations: Marine Area 2 (Westport), marine waters stretching from the Queets River to Leadbetter Point.

Reason for action: The fishery has sufficient chinook remaining within the guideline to increase the chinook daily limit from one chinook to two without much risk of having to close early. Through July 16, anglers had caught 7.3 percent (1,553 fish) of the 21,400 chinook guideline for Marine Area 2.

Anglers fishing in Marine Area 2 have a two-salmon daily limit and must release wild coho salmon.

Other information: The changes announced today do not affect ocean salmon fisheries off Ilwaco (Marine Area 1), La Push (Marine Area 3) or Neah Bay (Marine Area 4).

The daily limit in Marine Area 1 remains at two salmon, only one of which can be a chinook, release wild coho.

The daily limits in marine areas 3 and 4 remain at two salmon, release wild coho. Release chum in Marine Area 4 beginning Aug. 1.

Information Contact: Wendy Beeghley, ocean salmon manager for WDFW, (360) 249-1215.

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More Umpqua River Chinooks

Seven year old Hayden never gave up and got his 18# Umpqua River chinook with J.Standifer Guide Service – 541-729-2482.

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