Monthly Archives: May 2018

WDFW News – Marine Areas 3-10 to Re-Open for halibut fishing; All-Depth Halibut Fishery in Marine Area 2 to Close.

Action: Marine areas 3 through 10 will re-open for halibut fishing Thursday, June 7, and Saturday, June 9.

In Marine Area 2, the all-depth halibut fishery is closed effective immediately while the nearshore fishery will open seven days per week beginning Saturday, June 2.

Effective dates and locations:

Marine Areas 3-10: Open recreational halibut fishing Thursday, June 7, and Saturday, June 9.

Marine Area 2 (Westport): Close the all-depth fishery effective immediately; open the nearshore area seven days per week beginning Saturday, June 2.

Species affected: Pacific halibut

Reason for action: There is sufficient quota remaining to continue the recreational halibut fishery in Marine Areas 3 and 4 (Neah Bay and La Push) and the Puget Sound region (Marine Areas 5 – 10) on Thursday, June 7, and Saturday, June 9, without risk of exceeding the quota.

Through May 27, the total catch in the all-depth recreational halibut fishery in Marine Area 2 was 41,258 pounds, which is 93 percent of the quota and does not leave sufficient quota to open the all-depth halibut fishery for another day. However, some quota is reserved in this area to allow for a nearshore recreational halibut fishery once the all-depth fishery is closed. The nearshore area will open to recreational halibut fishing on Saturday, June 2, seven days per week until the quota is taken. The quota will be adjusted to include the remaining quota from the all-depth fishery.

Other information: The nearshore halibut fishery in Marine Area 1 remains open seven days per week until further notice.

These rules conform to management actions taken by the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Information contact: Heather Reed, (360) 902-2487.

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WDFW News – Anglers Can Fish For Free June 9-10, 2018

– Each year, thousands of Washingtonians go fishing – legally – without a license on “Free Fishing Weekend,” scheduled for June 9-10.

During those two days, no license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in Washington state.

Anglers will also not need a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement, otherwise required to fish for salmon and steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries. Nor will they need a Two Pole Endorsement to fish with two poles in selected waters where two-pole fishing is permitted.

Also, no vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required during Free Fishing Weekend to park at any of the nearly 700 water-access sites maintained by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). A Discover Pass will also not be required on Washington State Parks lands throughout the weekend, but will be required on DNR lands both days.

“If you haven’t fished in Washington, or want to introduce fishing to someone new to the sport, this is the weekend to get out there,” said Steve Thiesfeld, WDFW inland fish program manager.

Options available on Free Fishing Weekend include:

Trout in lowland lakes, and in the many rivers opening to trout fishing June 2 throughout the state
Lingcod on the coast.
Bass, crappie, perch and other warmwater fish biting in lakes throughout Washington.
Shad on the Columbia River.
Hatchery steelhead on rivers on the Olympic Peninsula.
New anglers should check online for the “Fish Washington” feature at the department’s homepage ( The site provides details on lowland lake fishing, high lake fishing and marine area opportunities. Catchable trout stocking details, by county and lake, are available in the weekly stocking report on WDFW’s website at

For those who want even more fishing advice, the Fish Washington video page ( provides “how to” fishing videos designed to introduce techniques to both new and seasoned anglers.

Anglers who take part in free fishing weekend can also participate in the department’s 2018 Trout Fishing Derby and redeem green tags from fish caught over the weekend. Interested anglers should check for details online at

Before heading out, anglers should also check the current fishing regulations valid through June at In addition, the free “Fish Washington” app, available on Google Play, Apple’s App store and WDFW’s website (, is designed to convey up-to-the-minute fishing regulations for every lake, river, stream and marine area in the state. The exception, for now, is the app does not yet include information on shellfish and seaweed collection rules.

While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, it’s still important to check the regulations for other rules such as size limits, bag limits, catch record card requirements and area closures that will still be in effect, said Thiesfeld.

Catch record cards, required for some species, are available free at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state. See on the WDFW website to locate a license dealer.

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Free Fishing Weekend – June 2nd & 3rd

Oregonian’s can fish, crab and clam for free during Free Fishing Weekend, June 2-3. Events held around Southern Oregon give families an opportunity to try their hand at landing a trout.

The following events held are Saturday, June 2 unless noted:

Coos County:
Eel Lake at Tugman State Park, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. At a series of stations, kids will learn how to identify fish, tie knots, and cast along with fishing courtesy and water safety. Kids 12 and under can have the chance to catch trout out of a net pen. Lunch is provided.In addition to recently planted trout, the crappie and bluegill fishing off the fishing dock has been much improved.

Curry County:
Arizona Pond, Sunday, June 3 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. The annual Elk River Hatchery free fishing event moved to Arizona Pond located 15 miles south of Port Orford on Highway 101 across from Prehistoric Gardens. This event is open for youth age 17 and under and is hosted by Elk River Hatchery and Oregon State Parks. Rods, reels, bait and tackle will be provided for the event, along with ice and bags so kids can take their fish home. Volunteers can help young anglers and Port Orford Rotary is providing lunch and refreshments. A raffle will be held at noon. ODFW is stocking 800 legal-sized and 300 trophy trout. Information: David Chambers, 541-332-7025.
Libby Pond, 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. This event is for kids 13 and younger. Sign-up for prizes begins at 8 a.m., and the event features lunch, prize drawings, and loaner fishing equipment. Adults are encouraged to help their young ones fish. Help will also be on hand from Curry Anadromous Fishermen, Oregon South Coast Fishermen, ODFW and the U.S. Forest Service who are all sponsoring the event. Libby Pond is about eight miles up North Bank Rd., Gold Beach.

Douglas County:
Cooper Creek, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. This popular event has a kiddie pond stocked with trout for kids up to 12 years old, loaner rods and reels, casting lessons, and a fish cleaning station. Once kids go through an education station, they get a ticket for raffle drawings. Free hot dogs and Pepsi. ODFW is stocking 2,000 larger sized trout just before the event.
Diamond Lake, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. This fishing derby is for kids 17 and younger. Check-in begins at 6 a.m. at the resort’s Marina. There will be prizes for biggest fish by different age classes so kids should check in their trout for measurement at the Marina by 2 p.m. There will be door prizes and hot dogs in front of the resort after check-out concludes. Any tiger trout caught must be released.
Lake Marie, Sunday, June 3 from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. for kids 14 and under. Registration begins at 9 a.m. Rods and reels will be available, along with help for first-time anglers. Kids can enter a casting contest and get a bounty for picking up litter. Kids can also try out Gyotaku, or fish printing. Hot dogs and soda are free to kids with a nominal charge for adults to help pay for next year’s event. ODFW recently stocked 2,000 larger sized trout for the event.

Jackson County:
Fish Lake, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. The BLM and USFS will have rods, tackle and bait on a first come, first served basis. It’s not going to be much fun making a young angler release a tiger trout.

Josephine County:
Lake Selmac, 7:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Josephine County’s only Free Fishing Weekend event is sponsored by the Middle Rogue Steelheaders and ODFW’s Angler Education program. Rods and reels are available for loan and bait is provided. There’s a fishing contest for the biggest fish caught by youth, donated prizes, a free BBQ 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., and a 50/50 raffle.

All other regulations apply including bag limit and size restrictions. People who already have a combined tag for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and halibut are encouraged to use it as it provides data for fish managers.

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WDFW News – Salmon Fishing Opens June 1 in Marine Area 10.

Action: Opens salmon fishing in Marine Area 10.

Effective Date: Effective 12:01 a.m., Friday, June 1, 2018, through July 15, 2018.

Species affected: Salmon.

Location: Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton Area).

Reason for action: This emergency rule modifies fisheries listed in the 2017-18 Washington Sportfishing Rules pamphlet to reflect fisheries agreed to during this year’s North of Falcon, the annual salmon-season setting process.

Other information: Marine Area 10 opens June 1 for salmon fishing. Through July 15, anglers have a daily limit of two salmon but must release chinook and chum. Anglers should check the 2018-19 Sportfishing Rules pamphlet (effective July 1, 2018-June 30, 2019), for fishery regulations after July 15. The pamphlet will be available mid-June at license dealers and sporting goods stores, as well as online at

Information contact: Mark Baltzell, (360) 902-2807

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Pete Heley Outdoors 5 / 30 / 2018

It’s wise to be wary about things that sound too good to be true – but the free National Parks Pass available to fourth grade students in the United States and their families is a “no brainer”. The pass is available from the “Every Kid in a Park” website to U.S. 4th Graders (including home-schooled and free-choice learners 10 years of age) and is valid for the duration of the 4th grade school year and through the following summer (September – August).

Student must have a a paper voucher printed from the “Every Kid in a Park” website to obtain the Annual 4th Grade Pass. Digital versions of the voucher (such as smart phones or tablets) will not be accepted. The pass covers entrance to Fish and Wildlife Service and National Park Service sites that charge Entrance Fees, and Standard Amenity Fees at Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and US Army Corps of Engineers sites.

The pass is non-transferable and admits the pass owner and any accompanying passengers in a private non-commercial vehicle at a per vehicle fee area, or the pass owner and up to 3 adults at sites that charge per person.

For those of you that like to keep your fishing licenses in your vehicle or on the person of another member of your fishing party, you should be aware of an incident last week where an Umpqua River shad angler at Yellow Creek was ticketed when an enforcement officer decided that leaving his fishing license in his vehicle did not meet the definition of “in possession”. While the fine may be reduced, or even thrown out at the angler’s court appearance – should he attend – there will be inconvenience and fuel costs. While practicing outdoor recreation, you should always remember that law enforcement officials are individuals and how they react to perceived violations may vary greatly.

Decent Umpqua River Bar conditions last week allowed some boat crabbers to try ocean crabbing, but success was inconsistent. The same can be said for crabbing at Half Moon Bay. The recently renovated Coast Guard Pier has offered the best dock crabbing at Winchester Bay – most likely because it is closer to the ocean and salty water.

Umpqua River shad fishing is still the hottest thing going, but the river’s smallmouth bass fishing is a close second. The question on many anlers’ minds is when is the Umpqua River’s legendary pinkfin run going to happen. The run is already three weeks late, but a few boats caught at least three dozen perch last weekend and most boats made good catches last Sunday.

Crappie fishing at Tugman Park on Eel Lake continues to gradually improve with black crappies exceeding ten inches in length being caught last week. The best crappie fishing in Loon Lake has moved to the summer home side of the bottom half of the lake. Bass fishing has been fair and bluegill fishing has been excellent.

Several small striped bass were reported caught on the Smith River last week – which is very good news since a lack of spawning success is the biggest obstacle to any improvement in the river’s striper population.

Tenmile Lake was very good this past week for rainbow trout weighing from two to more than five pounds. Ringo, at Lakeside Marina, reported that one angler trolling “cowbells” or “Ford Fenders” saw his success improve when he trimmed the rudder at the front of his trolling gear to making it smaller and less noticeable.

Tenmile Lakes seems to have replaced Siltcoos Lake as the coast’s top spot to catch rainbow trout weighing more than four pounds. There are two major reasons for this. (1) – During the course of the year, Tenmile receives several planted trout per acre, while Siltcoos Lake receives less than one planted trout per acre and (2) – Siltcoos receives more salmon fishing pressure in the fall than does Tenmile Lakes and more of Siltcoos’ potential lunker rainbows are caught, incidentally, by salmon anglers before they reach true lunker sizes.

Both North and South Tenmile Lakes are each slated to receive 3,000 legal rainbows this week.

Other local waters receiving trout plants this week include: Lower and Upper Empire Empire Lakes with 1,000 trophy trout each. Loon Lake (1.000 legals); Plat “I” Reservoir (1,500 trophy rainbows); Cooper Creek Reservoir (2,000 legals) and the West Fork of the Millicoma River (500 legals). Were also stocked this week.

Diamond Lake was stocked with 20,000 legal rainbows this week.

Newport-area trout fisheries were heavily stocked this week. Big Creek Reservoir #1 received (500 legals and 3,050 trophies); Big Creek Reservoir #2 received (2,000 legals and 4,450 trophies) and Olalla Creek Reservoir was stocked with 6,200 trout (2,000 legals and 4,200 trophies).

Those five inch long rainbows planted last June in Lake Marie by our local STEP Chapter have already grown to a healthy 11-inches.

More bad news regarding shellfish in the Pacific Northwest – concerns mussels in Puget Sound. It seems that people in the greater Seattle area are consuming so many opioids that, for the first time, scientists have detected traces of the drugs in mussels from three of 18 locations in Washington’s Puget Sound. Mussels tested positive for the opioid oxycodone, according to the Puget Sound Institute at the University of Washington Tacoma. The mussels were contaminated because sewage from opioid consumers ended up in the sound after being treated at wastewater plants. The researchers said the mussels they study typically test positive for other pharmaceutical drugs, as well as illegal drugs such as cocaine – but they hadn’t tested positive for opioids until now.

According to one researcher, the level of oxycodone found in the mussels was much smaller than a therapeutic human dose “So you’d have to eat 150 pounds of mussels in that contaminated area to get a minimal dose.” The trace amounts of oxycodone likely haven’t affected the mussels, which don’t appear to metabolize the opioid ― but they could affect fish. Zebrafish, commonly used for research, have apparently learned to dose themselves with opioids. Scientists worry that the oxycodone could affect juvenile chinook salmon and other species in Puget Sound. Puget Sound mussels have also tested positive for Besides oxycodone, mussels tested this year showed levels of antidepressants, heart drugs, antibiotics and the common chemotherapy drug melphalan, which is a potential carcinogen.

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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Umpqua River Pinkfin Run Update

A month late, good catches of retail surfperch have been rare – but in the last week there has been several catches where one boat has caught at least three dozen pinkfins while surrounded by boats catching few or none.

So the run is still yet to happen with any seriousness, but there will likely be a few good catches made each day as the run improves to its usual level of mania.

Most of the early anglers are fishing near Marker 12 (about 1.5 miles above the Coast Guard Station), but on any given day, the best fishing may be anywhere from straight across the East Boat Basin entrance at Winchester Bay upriver as far as three miles to just below Gardiner.

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Eel Lake Crappie Fishing Steadily Improving

Crappie fishing near the fishing dock in Tugman Park effectively ended last season after the first week in November – after showing up in numbers in early June. The crappies started showing up in small numbers two weeks ago and the fishing has been gradually improving.

Most of Eel Lake’s crappies are smaller than this nine inches.

Most of the crappies measure five to six inches, but there has been a few measuring eight to 11-inches. Last year, the largest crappies were quickly caught and kept – leaving smaller crappies to dominate the catch by late summer. A similar scenario seems likely this year.

Bluegills and largemouth bass are not yet showing well and any bluegill bites have been tentative and the fish are difficult to hook.


Pete Heley Outdoors 5 / 23 / 2018

Crabbing in Coos Bay near Charleston and in the Umpqua River at Winchester Bay has been fair for boat crabbers and poor-to-fair for dockbound crabbers. A few crabbers without boats have been enjoying fair crabbing success using crab snares on fishing tackle off the South Jetty and the Triangle. As continued dry weather allows the Umpqua River to drop, crabs should gradually move farther upriver allowing an improvement in dock crabbing

Spring Chinook fishing continues to be very slow between Wells Creek and Roseburg, but has enjoyed a slight improvement in the ocean near the Umpqua River Bar and at Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point in Winchester Bay. Don’t misread this – it has not been a good spring chinook season on the Umpqua River – or the Rogue River either – for that matter. The heaviest springer turned in at the Wells Creek Inn continues to be the 29 pound nine ounce fish that is currently leading their contest.

The second three-day all-depth halibut opener of the spring season for the central coast subarea will run from Thursday through Saturday (May 24-26. The following two openers, June 7-9 and June 21-23 are fixed and any future openers will depend on whether the quota has been reached. The inshore halibut season for the central coast subarea will start on June 1st. Working, easily accessible descending devices are mandatory for all halibut trips.

Loon Lake is slated to receive 2,000 legal rainbows this week, but the only other lakes in our area scheduled for trout plants this week are Alder Lake (461 trophies); Ben Irving Reservoir (1,000 legals); Buck Lake (461 trophies); Cleawox Lake (1,900 trophies) and Perkins Lake (225 trophies). Water levels and temperatures may affect trout plants scheduled for later this summer.

The hottest fishing in our area continues to be Umpqua River shad fishing. The river has dropped enough so that Sawyers Rapids, and not the Yellow Creek area, now offers the best fishing. Shane at the Sawyers Rapids RV Park said that recent shad fishing is the best in years and daily catches of more than 100 shad have been made. Shane also stated that many of the larger smallmouth bass are still on or near their nests and hoped that anglers would release these fish after catching them. However the recent hot shad fishing has very much overshadowed the river’s very good smallmouth bass fishing.

Largemouth bass have finished spawning along the I5 corridor between Sutherlin and Medford, but still have not spawned along the Oregon coast. Loon Lake’s crappies have spawned, but its bluegill haven’t. Some of the crappie starting to show up at the lower end of Eel Lake have not yet spawned. Crappies and bluegills have recently become established in Bradley Lake and are still very much overlooked.

A 5.46 pound crappie was recently caught in a pond near Paint Rock, Tennessee. If DNA tests confirm that the jumbo fish was a black crappie, it could be a new world record – although the fish is also heavier than the world record white crappie. Years ago, Louisiana had a dubious state record black crappie of six pounds that was listed as a sac-a lait.

A dozen members of a suspected poaching ring in the Pacific Northwest are facing charges for killing hundreds of animals illegally just for the “thrill” of it, officials in Oregon announced this week. Twelve people linked to the group were charged Tuesday in Oregon, CNN reported. Thirteen were charged late last year and early this year in Washington.

Authorities said the accused poachers killed animals including deer, elk, bobcats, bears and cougars in loosely organized operations, then shared photos of themselves on social media dappled with animal blood or posing with animal heads. Some reportedly referred to themselves as the “kill ’em all boys.” They allegedly left many of the animal carcasses to rot in the woods. “A part of it was the thrill of the kill,” Lt. Tim Schwartz, from the Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division, told CNN. He said social media exposure and a desire for attention partly fueled the bloodlust as the members bragged about their kills.

“For some of these people, it was kind of a demented social club,” Oregon State Patrol trooper Craig Gunderson told The Seattle Times. “For some, it was about ego and bravado — who could kill the biggest, the most.” Now their social media posts will be used as evidence against them.

The suspects face a total of 200 charges that could result in fines or jail time ― including waste of wildlife, hunting with an artificial light, use of dogs or bait to hunt, and aiding or sharing in a wildlife violation. Though the animals they’re accused of killing weren’t necessarily protected, they were allegedly hunted out of season or using illegal methods. The case is notorious both for the number of people involved and the number of animals they killed.

“I’m completely disgusted,” Mike Cenci of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife told Fox-12 News last year. “These people are wholesale natural resource murderers.”
Oregon State Police originally launched an investigation into the ring in 2016 after game wardens found decapitated deer. Officials set up surveillance cameras and used the photos to track a truck. After seizing the suspects’ cellphones, authorities found photos, videos and text messages that led to some 20 kill sites and other poachers, investigators said.

Last week one mountain biker was killed and another seriously injured in attacks by a single cougar near Snoqualmie, Washington.. Authorities killed the cougar, which was standing over the body of its deceased victim when they caught up with it.. The injured man was taken to the hospital in serious condition but was quickly upgraded to stable condition.

Oregon remains the only western state without a fatality due to a wild cougar attack – although an employee at a wild animal park near Sherwood was killed by a cougar, on the premises, several years ago.

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.


Oregon Halibut Update

Halibut Update through week 19 (May 13)

Columbia River Subarea

All-Depth—CLOSED, not enough quota remains for additional openings.

Nearshore—there have been no landings in the Columbia River Subarea nearshore fishery yet. The remaining quota from the all-depth season has been added to the initial quota for a total of 1,217 lbs. Also beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, May 24, the nearshore fishery will be open 7 days per week until the quota is caught, or September 30, whichever is earlier.

Central Oregon Coast Subarea

Spring All-Depth season— through the first opener, May 10-12, the total landings are 6,194 pounds. This leaves 129,548 pounds or 95.4% of the spring all-depth quota remaining. The remaining “fixed” openings are May 24-26, June 7-9, and June 21-23.

Weather for the first set of fixed dates was not ideal and limited effort. For those that did make it out, fishing was reported to be a bit scratchy, with average success rate approximately 50%. Coastwide the average size was approximately 23 pounds round weight per fish.

Summer All-Depth Season—opens August 3-4, if quota remaining, can be open every other Friday and Saturday.

Nearshore Season— opens June 1, seven days per week; however June 1-3 are all-depth days, so the all-depth regulations have to be followed (no retention of most species of groundfish).

South of Humbug Mountain subarea—there has been a total of 90 pounds landed. This leaves 8,892 pounds (99 %) of the quota remaining.

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Possible World Record Crappie Taken in East Tennessee.

A 5.46 pound crappie was recently caught in a pond in Paint Rock, Tennessee. If DNA tests confirm that the jumbo fish was a black crappie, it could be a new world record – although the fish is also heavier than the world record white crappie.

Years ago, Louisiana had a dubious state record black crappie of six pounds listed as a sac-a lait.
Congratulations to Jam Ferguson and his absolutely huge crappie.

5+ pound crappie are extremely rare.

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