Monthly Archives: July 2018

Starting August 1st, 2-Rod Licenses Valid on Coos Bay and Rogue River.

Anglers with two-rod validations, beginning August 1st, can use them to fish for salmon in Coos Bay and the Rogue River. On Coos Bay, the 2-rod licenses are valid from Aug. 1st through Sept. 30th and on the Rogue, the 2-rod validations are valid from Aug. 1st through Sept. 3rd.

The change is due to a temporary rule adopted by the ODFW and the two-rod validations are not legal to fish species in either Coos bay or the Rogue River.
Check myodfw.com for the areas where salmon anglers can legally use the 2-rod validations.

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Fishing Report

The current water level on the Potholes Reservoir is 1033.70 –dropping over two feet this past week. The water temperature on the main Reservoir is in the mid-70’s and in the mid upper 70’s back in the sand dunes.
The Largemouth fishing is very good back in the sand dunes and the stretch between MarDon Resort and the State Park. Now is the time to start fishing square billed crankbaits in the dunes. Top baits include – Strike King 2.50 Square Billed crankbait, Spro Popping Frogs, Wacky Rigged Senkos and Texas Rigged Chigger Caws. Smallmouth are being caught on the rock piles off Goose Island and along the face of the dam as well as around the face of the dunes. Use crankbaits, 3½” tubes, swimbaits, and Senkos for the Smallmouth.
The walleye bite has been tough this past week. It does not appear that they have moved out of the sand dunes and weeds yet. Several good walleye reports did come in from anglers throwing Rat-L-Traps over weed beds back in the dunes. As the water drops and temperatures rise, the walleye will move out of the weeds and into the channels and to the face of the dunes. The crankbait bite will turn on. Concentrate on the main channels and face of the dunes as the water drops. Troll #7 or #5 Flicker Shads, Bagleys and Rapalas, slow troll Slow Death rigs with Smile Blades and Butterfly Blade rigs as well as traditional spinner/crawler harnesses.
The trout fishing on the Potholes Reservoir has been surprisingly good this past week. Anglers have been catching big trout trolling #5 and # 7 Flicker Shads and Shad Raps and Mack’s Wedding Ring Rigs with a worm and bottom bouncer in 10-20 feet of water. Concentrate in front of the State Park and along the face of the dunes.
The crappie fishing is great early and late in the day off the MarDon Resort dock. The crappie limit is 25 fish per person with a 9” minimum size on the Potholes Reservoir. Crappie and bluegill fishing has picked up on the face of the sand dunes. Troll a #5 Flicker Shad or Rapala along the weedlines on the main channels. From a boat or from the dock use a 1” Berkley Gulp Alive Minnow, VMC Wingding jig, VMC Probe jig, as well as Trout Magnets. A few perch are being caught off the dock and around Goose Island.
Only registered guests of MarDon Resort allowed to fish off the dock.
Call the MarDon Store for the latest fishing info and to make reservations at 509-346-2651.
Upcoming Events:
August 2nd DP Artz – Sunset Paint Night
August 11th Paul Sweeney – Live Music

Rob Harbin, who has worked at MarDon for over 30 years holds up a 5-pound Smallmouth caught in the sand dunes on a drop shot bait.

Dennis and Sue Ballas of Bothell with a mixed bag stringer of walleye, trout and crappie caught on the Potholes Reservoir.

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WDFW News – Hatchery Chinook Retention to Reopen in Marine Area 9.

Action: Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) will reopen for four days to the retention of hatchery chinook salmon.

Effective date: 12 a.m. Thursday, July 26, through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, July 29.

Species affected: Hatchery chinook salmon.

Location: Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet).

Reason for action: The fishery was closed to hatchery chinook retention July 23 through July 25 to allow fishery managers to evaluate the catch and determine available quota.

Through Sunday, July 22, anglers had caught 79 percent of the available hatchery chinook quota. Sufficient quota is available to reopen Marine Area 9 to the retention of hatchery chinook salmon for a limited duration.

After the fishery closes at the end of Sunday, July 29, fishery managers will again evaluate catch. Should there be sufficient quota available, WDFW will announce when the fishery will reopen to hatchery chinook retention.

Additional information: The initial closure of hatchery chinook salmon retention in Marine Area 9 will remain in effect through 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, July 25. During this time, anglers must release both hatchery and wild chinook, chum, and wild coho, but may retain two salmon as part of the daily limit.

From July 26 through July 29, anglers fishing Marine Area 9 may keep one hatchery chinook as part of the daily limit of two salmon but must release chum, wild chinook, and wild coho.

Waters of Marine Area 9 south of a line from Foulweather Bluff to Olele point will remain closed to salmon fishing through August 15.

The Edmonds Fishing Pier is not subject to the closure for hatchery chinook retention. Regulations for the pier are as listed in the Washington Sports Fishing Rules pamphlet.

For specific regulations, anglers should consult the 2018-19 Washington Sports Fishing Rules pamphlet available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.

Anglers can check WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports_plants.html for the latest information on marine areas that are managed to a quota or guideline.

Information contact: David Stormer, Puget Sound recreational salmon fishery manager, (360) 902-0058; or Mark Baltzell, Puget Sound salmon manager, (360) 902-2807.

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Warm Water Leads to Restrictions on the Umpqua River.

Effective immediately, an emergency regulation protects wild summer steelhead and early returning fall chinook on the mainstem Umpqua River.

Emergency regulation, Scottsburg Bridge (Hwy. 38) to River Forks Boat Ramp:
Today through September 30, 2018, angling is prohibited within a 200 feet radius of all tributaries in the Umpqua River and in the tributaries themselves from the mouth to 200 feet upstream. This regulation is in effect from Scottsburg Bridge to River Forks Boat Ramp.

This emergency regulation protects wild summer steelhead and fall Chinook salmon that hold in and around tributaries looking for colder water. Currently, the Umpqua River has abnormally low flows and high water temperatures due to drought conditions.

“The Umpqua River at Elkton was 79 degrees this morning, and we know that temperature will be higher in the late afternoons. We believe the closure is needed to help protect our native fish that use these areas of cooler water,” said Greg Huchko, Umpqua District fisheries biologist. “Salmon and steelhead begin to have a tough time when water temperatures reach the upper 60’s, and we aren’t seeing a cooling trend any time in the near future.”

This emergency regulation was also in effect in late June 2015 and had public support.

Tips for hot weather angling:

Fish during the cooler early mornings.
Land your fish quickly to help increase survival rates.
Keep your fish in at least six inches of water while releasing it.
Revive the fish before release. Keep the fish upright facing into the current; if the current is slow, move the fish back and forth slowly to help oxygenate the gills.
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Contact:

Greg Huchko, 541-464-2177
Evan Leonetti, 541-464-2175

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Pete Heley Outdoors 07 / 25 / 2018

Oregon’s 157,000 boat owners may see a substantial hike in their biennial registration fees if the state Marine Board’s legislative wish list survives the next governor’s budget review. No fee increases are on tap for anglers and hunters, but the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife also has a long list of proposals, including one to make the Columbia River Endorsement fee permanent. Owners of registered boats may be asked for a 33 percent increase in their fees, from $4.50 to $5.95 per foot. And those with non-motorized, non-registered craft such as canoes, paddle boards, kayaks, etc. could be asked to replace the current $5 Aquatic Invasive Species permit with a new $17 Waterway Access permit. It would include the aquatic invasives fee, but would also fund new infrastructure for non-motorized craft. As with current law, registered boat owners already pay into the aquatic invasives program and wouldn’t be charged.

According to Larry Warren, the Marine Board director, “while registered boat numbers are down from their peak of about 200,000 at the turn of the century, use of the waterways has significantly increased – matching a national trend.”

According to an Oregon State Parks survey conducted in 2017, there were nine million trips in motorized boats and six million in non-motorized craft.

While no fee increases are under consideration for anglers and hunters, there is a proposal to eliminate the sunset law on the Columbia River Endorsement fee, making it a permanent permit for those who fish for salmon, steelhead or sturgeon anywhere in the Columbia basin. The proposal would also dedicate the fee to hatchery propagation and monitoring.

One ODFW proposal would have one day fishing licenses also include a shellfish license – which should be very popular, especially if any fee increase is modest.

In an act guaranteed to put hunters, even completely legal ones, in a less favorable public view, a federally protected wild burro was seen wandering around Reche Canyon in southern California in the foothills of the San Jacinto Mountains with an arrow stuck in its head. Even wounded, the burro was able to escape volunteers trying to assist it – despite being hit with two tranquilizer darts. During the chase the arrow fell out, but the head wound was clearly visible and bleeding. Here’s hoping for happy conclusion to an otherwise sad ongoing saga.

Anglers are, once again, able to float the lower Deschutes River after a severe fire burned virtually everything down to the riverbank. Anglers fishing from shore have to deal considerable ash and may be at risk if they already have respiratory problems. However, anglers fishing the lower Deschutes have reported normal fishing.

During the last halibut opener, anglers fishing 35 miles offshore reported being checked by Oregon State Police. While it is commendable that they made the effort to check these offshore anglers – they only checked to see if they had combined angling tags and if any halibut on board were properly tagged. What they did not do, after traveling all that distance, was check to see if any boat had the legally required descending devices on board – which tells me that they were only concerned with revenue collection and not with the health of the offshore fishery.

As an agency supposedly in a partnership with the ODFW, I would expect them to do a “better job”.

As I am writing this, the ocean salmon results through July 15th are available on the ODFW website. In one way, the most productive port continues to be Bandon which had six retained salmon (3 cohos + 3 chinooks) for six angler trips. Not a lot of salmon or fishing effort, but the one retained salmon per angler/trip is still the zone’s best.

Brookings continues to be the busiest port with 2,048 angler trips and also leads with 308 retained chinook salmon. But almost all of those chinooks were caught on the season’s opening weekend and with only three retained coho so far, Brookings has been remarkably unproductive since the opening weekend.

Although ocean salmon fishing success is improving from Charleston northward, no ports have success rates above .30 salmon per angler trip, except for Winchester Bay which has .46 salmon per angler trip.

Ironically. while many ports are reporting as many kept chinooks as coho salmon, less than 25 percent of the kept salmon at Winchester Bay have been chinooks and the port has accounted for more than 40 percent of the retained cohos caught in southern Oregon. Winchester Bay anglers wanting to catch a chinook salmon might do better to fish the lower Umpqua River which contains fair numbers of chinooks.

Although no ocean-caught salmon have yet been reported, southern Oregon’s hottest salmon fishing has been the first four miles of the Rogue River above Gold Beach.

As for the ocean finclipped coho season – After two and a half weeks, with six weeks remaining, only 2.7 percent of the quotas 35,000 cohos have been caught.

Consistent, strong winds have reduced fishing pressure along the Oregon coast, but crabbing success is improving and reports of crabs with low meat content are increasingly uncommon.

Some striped bass are still being caught in the Smith and Coquille rivers with almost all the catches occurring at night on bait.

The spawning run of female redtail surfperch in the lower Umpqua River above Winchester Bay has rebounded strongly with good catches the rule all last week.

Tenmile Lakes trout fishing has dropped off, but fishing for largemouth bass and yellow perch has been fair to good. Eel Lake continues to offer the best mixed-bag freshwater fishing with largemouth and smallmouth bass, rainbow and cutthroat trout, black crappie, bluegills and brown bullheads taken last week.

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WDFW News – Shooting Range Closed to Reduce Wildfire Risk at Methow Wildlife Area.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) closed the Methow Wildlife Area shooting range today until further notice to reduce the risk of wildfire.

Extremely dry conditions in Okanogan County warrant the closure, said Brandon Troyer, WDFW manager of the area. The Methow Valley has been especially prone to wildfires in recent years, and the Washington Department of Natural Resources considers the area to be a high fire risk.

The shooting range closure will remain in effect until conditions improve and the risk of wildfire decreases. The closure does not affect legal hunting on the area.

Like all of WDFW wildlife areas and water-access sites across the state, the Methow Wildlife Area is also under other restrictions adopted last month, affecting campfires, smoking and the use of chainsaws.

All areas also have year-round prohibitions on fireworks and incendiary devices, including tracer rounds and exploding targets, to reduce the risk of wildfire. For more information about restrictions in effect see https://wdfw.wa.gov/news/jun2918a/.

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WDFW News – Counts of Summer Chinook Salmon Prompt Reopening Fishery in Upper Columbia River.

Stronger-than-expected returns of summer chinook salmon moving past Priest Rapids Dam have prompted fishery managers to reopen chinook fishing in select mainstream pools and tributaries of the upper Columbia River.

Starting July 25, anglers can again catch and keep hatchery adult chinook from Rocky Reach Dam to Wells Dam, and in the Wenatchee and Chelan rivers. In addition, the chinook fishery will open Aug. 1 from Wells Dam to Chief Joseph Dam, including the Okanogan and Similkameen rivers.

The daily limit of hatchery adult chinook is two fish per angler. Additional regulations are described in the Fishing Rule Change at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=2174.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) closed area chinook fisheries earlier this month after the summer chinook run was downgraded from a preseason projection of 67,300 fish to 44,000 fish. Based primarily on counts at Bonneville Dam, that assessment indicated that this year’s run size was one of the lowest on record since 2000.

“The counts at Bonneville Dam indicated a very low return, so we were compelled to take the precautionary step of closing the fisheries until additional information was available,” said Bill Tweit, WDFW Columbia River management unit leader. “But more recent fish counts of summer chinook passing Priest Rapids Dam farther upstream indicate that the run is stronger than expected.”

Tweit noted that the overlap of spring and summer chinook passing Bonneville Dam can make it difficult to get an accurate estimate of the summer chinook return. Recent counts of summer chinook passing Priest Rapids Dam provide a more accurate assessment of this year’s return, he said.

Based on current projections of summer chinook passage over Priest Rapids Dam, state fishery managers are now confident that there are surplus fish from the Chelan Falls, Entiat, and Chief Joseph hatchery programs available for harvest.

“Hatchery fish produced from these programs are solely intended for harvest,” said Chad Jackson, WDFW Region 2 fish program manager. “Removal of surplus hatchery fish will also help achieve conservation objectives by reducing hatchery-wild interactions on the spawning grounds.”

Jackson said the area above Wells Dam will open later to give the Colville Confederated Tribes (CCT) time to collect broodstock for their Chief Joseph Hatchery. Normally, July water temperatures in the lower Okanogan River are high enough to create a thermal barrier to migrating salmon. These fish gather just outside the mouth and are easily collected by tribal staff. This year the thermal barrier formed later and the CCT are behind collecting broodstock.

While WDFW is able to reopen this year’s summer chinook fishery, low jack counts indicate an even weaker run next year, Jackson said. At Priest Rapids Dam the jack count is just 10 percent of the 10-year average.

“Jack counts are usually a very good predictor of adult returns the following year,” Jackson said. “It appears we’ll face some additional management challenges next year.”

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WDFW News – Retention of Hatchery Chinook Allowed on the Lower Klickitat River.

Action: Retention of hatchery chinook is open under permanent rule on the lower Klickitat River.

Effective dates: Immediately through July 31, 2018

Species affected: Chinook salmon

Locations: The Klickitat River, from the mouth (Burlington Northern Railroad Bridge) to Fisher Hill Bridge.

Reason for action: Fishery co-managers have indicated that the majority of the spring chinook run has passed above Lyle Falls into the upper river, making continued closure of the hatchery chinook fishery in the lower river unnecessary. Chinook retention was closed by emergency rule June 16 in the stretch of the Klickitat River noted above due to low returns to the Klickitat Salmon Hatchery.

Additional information: Retention of hatchery spring chinook remains closed above Fisher Hill Bridge to allow hatchery chinook migrating through this area to return to Klickitat Salmon Hatchery for broodstock needs. Chinook retention in the upper river will reopen under permanent rule on Aug. 1, 2018.

Information contact: Matt Gardner Region 5 District Biologist, (360) 906-6746

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Fishing Report

The current water level on the Potholes Reservoir is 1035.86 –dropping just shy of two feet this past week. The water temperature on the main Reservoir is just above 70 degrees and in the mid 70’s back in the sand dunes.
The Largemouth fishing is very good back in the sand dunes and the stretch between MarDon Resort and the State Park. Now is the time to start fishing square billed crankbaits in the dunes. Top baits include – Strike King 2.50 Square Billed crankbait, Spro Popping Frogs, Wacky Rigged Senkos and Texas Rigged Chigger Caws. Smallmouth are being caught on the rock piles off Goose Island and along the face of the dam as well as around the face of the dunes. Use crankbaits, 3½” tubes, and Senkos for the Smallmouth.
The walleye fishing slowed a bit this past week, but with the heat and rapid dropping of the water level, it should be picking up quickly. As the water drops and temperatures rise, the walleye will move out of the weeds and into the channels and to the face of the dunes. The crankbait bite will turn on. Concentrate on the main channels and face of the dunes as the water drops. Troll #7 or #5 Flicker Shads, Bagleys and Rapalas, slow troll Slow Death rigs with Smile Blades and Butterfly Blade rigs as well as traditional spinner/crawler harnesses.
The trout fishing on the Potholes Reservoir has been steady this past week. Anglers have been catching big trout trolling #5 and # 7 Flicker Shads and Shad Raps and Mack’s Wedding Ring Rigs with a worm and bottom bouncer in 10-20 feet of water. Concentrate in front of the State Park and along the face of the dunes.
The crappie fishing is good off the MarDon Resort dock. A fair amount of fish just under the legal size have showed up – so make sure to measure your crappie before keeping them. The crappie limit is 25 fish per person with a 9” minimum size on the Potholes Reservoir. Crappie and bluegill fishing has picked up on the face of the sand dunes. Troll a #5 Flicker Shad or Rapala along the weedlines on the main channels. From a boat or from the dock use a 1” Berkley Gulp Alive Minnow in Black Shad or Luma Glow on a 1/80th -1/32nd ounce jig head or fish the Strike King Lightning Shad in the Electric Chicken color, as well as Trout Magnets. A few perch are being caught off the dock and around Goose Island.
Only registered guests of MarDon Resort allowed to fish off the dock.
Call the MarDon Store for the latest fishing info and to make reservations at 509-346-2651.

A happy angler with a beautiful Rainbow trout caught while fishing the Potholes Reservoir!

Bob Earle of Cour d’Alene with a couple of quality Potholes Reservoir perch.

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Mission Accomplished, I Think?

I am quite proud (and pleased) to announce that last week (July 13th) my fishing website, peteheley.com, finally surpassed one million visitors. There have been numerous “stumbles” in the last 5+ years, but the biggest one was a stroke I suffered five years ago.

There have also been many web site glitches, but they have always been promptly handled my my site’s administrator, Teri Volk of Lakeside (Volks-Web) – who usually only charges me a rather lengthy “scold-lecture” whenever I goof up.

The site is totally free and “content-wise” is a one man operation. Although there is a lot of work involved, enough people drop by the Stockade Market in Winchester Bay (where I work part-time) to thank me for doing my blog to ensure that I keep doing it.

My main goal is dispensing fishing information and I hope that I am successful at doing exactly that.

Keep fishing – and thank you!

Sincerely,
Pete Heley

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