Monthly Archives: July 2018

Pete Heley Outdoors 7 / 18 / 2018

As I am writing this, the ocean salmon results through July 8th are available on the ODFW website. In one way, the most productive port was 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 the zone’s best.

Newport, Garibaldi and Winchester Bay were the three busiest recreational ports with 912, 890 and 818 angler/trips respectively and Winchester Bay has the best success rate with .35 kept salmon per angler/trip. Over half the kept cohos have been caught out of Winchester Bay. Brookings still leads in kept chinooks, but almost all of those were caught on the opening weekend and the port is down to .15 kept salmon per angler/trip.

On an encouraging note, ocean salmon fishing success does seem to be improving – especially when the wind lays down and ocean conditions allow serious sustained effort. Lower Umpqua River boat and bank anglers are catching just enough chinook salmon to be considered a “Plan B” when the ocean is inaccessible. Through July 8th, slightly less than one percent of the finclipped ocean coho quota had been kept.

The Central Coast Spring All-Depth Halibut Season is closed, as not enough quota remains for additional back-up days. During the July 6-7 opening, total landings were 18,663 pounds. Which brought the total landings for the Spring All-Depth Season to 127,774 pounds, leaving 7,968 pounds of the spring all-depth quota remaining which is not enough for any additional back-up dates to be open.

The redtail surfperch run in the lower Umpqua River is still ongoing, but the fishing is either feast or famine with poor fishing being the normal situation. More and more surfperch anglers are returning to the beaches to catch their perch.

Smith River striped bass fishing has improved somewhat after a very slow June following a very good May. One encouraging note is that stripers of all sizes seem to be represented in the catch. The Umpqua River remains completely overlooked by striper anglers. The Coquille River is still giving up some stripers, but the fishing isn’t nearly as good as it was two and three years ago. Most of the Coquille River striper catches are fish weighing less than six pounds.

There are no scheduled trout plants in our area for the next several weeks. Trout anglers should target heavily stocked waters or larger lakes that have fair numbers of native or carryover trout. Good choices would Cleawox, Munsel and Upper Empire lakes that should have fair numbers of uncaught stocked trout left in them and Tenmile Lakes, Siltcoos, Eel and Sutton lakes that contain fair numbers of both native and carryover trout as well as some searun trout.

Anglers fishing worms at Eel Lake are still making mixed-species catches of bluegills, rainbow and cutthroat trout, largemouth bass and even a few black crappies and brown bullheads. Tenmile Lakes has been fishing fair for largemouth bass and brown bullheads as well as small to medium-sized yellow perch. Some good-sized rainbow trout are also being caught, but Tenmile Lakes’ bluegill and black crappie catches have been pretty much confined to Coleman Arm.

It’s too early to tell if the reduction in the daily bottomfish limit is having the desired effect of avoiding a complete closure. It is definitely helping, although fishing pressure directed at bottomfish remains very high. Long leader bottomfishing at depths beyond 240 feet seems safe for the forseeable future as the target species seldom enter the catch when using conventional bottomfishing methods.

Virtually all the jetties in our area are producing fair bottomfishing with striped surfperch, greenling, lingcod, rockfish and now cabezon being caught.

Crabbing is slowly improving and dock crabbing is becoming more productive as ocean crabs slowly move farther upriver. Crabbing is also improving in the upper portions of Coos Bay. Complaints about empty crabs seem to be decreasing in numbers.

It continues to be a good year for tuna off the central and southern Oregon coasts. Tuna are being caught inside 40 miles, but the best catches are being made farther out. Wind and ocean conditions are very important as the faster tuna anglers can travel – the more time they can spend actually fishing.

For the people that enjoy outdoor recreation, but do not have a hunting, fishing or shellfish license – they can harvest bullfrogs and crayfish without needing a license. There is no limit on bullfrogs and the daily limit on crayfish is 100.

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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WDFW News – Exam of Cougar Linked to Bicyclist’s Death Shows No Abnormalities.

A report by Washington State University (WSU) about the examination of the carcass of the cougar believed to be involved in the death of a bicyclist this spring near North Bend revealed no abnormalities that might have contributed to the animal’s unusual behavior, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said today.

The report by the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at WSU in Pullman was released today in response to public disclosure requests. The report is available on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/news/attach/jul1618a.pdf.

Dr. Kristin Mansfield, WDFW wildlife veterinarian, said the examination produced no significant findings to indicate why the cougar attacked the bicyclist and a companion on May 19.

She said wildlife managers are “highly confident” that the cougar was involved in the incident, because it was found so close to the attack site and because of the relatively low density of cougars in Washington. However, WDFW is awaiting the results of DNA analysis to confirm that conclusion. Those results are expected within the next month, she said.

Mansfield said the cougar was estimated to be about 3 years old. The animal was lean, but its weight and body condition fall within a normal range for a cougar of its age. She said the examination found no indication of rabies or other diseases that would pose a risk to humans.

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WDFW News – WDFW Invites Public to Webinar to Discuss Agency Long-Term Funding.

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has scheduled a public webinar for 7 p.m. Monday, July 23, to discuss current funding challenges and opportunities for the State of Washington to invest in fish and wildlife management and conservation of lands and habitat.

To take part in the webinar, the public should visit this link (https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8360838542216730371) — also available at wdfw.wa.gov — and follow the instructions there to register. Registration via the website is available now through Monday.

Alternatively, for those who only wish to listen in, please call +1 (415) 655-0052 after 6:45 p.m. Monday and enter code 281-297-953 to participate.

During the webinar, Nate Pamplin, WDFW policy director, will describe the work of independent consultants and the agency’s Budget and Policy Advisory Group to explain the causes of a projected $30 million gap in funding faced by the department over the two-year budget cycle that begins in July 2019.

Pamplin will describe planned budget cuts and proposed funding increases that are designed to eliminate the shortfall and ensure the department has adequate funding in the future.

He said several factors have caused the shortfall, including:

Several one-time funding patches approved by lawmakers in recent years will expire soon.
WDFW revenue from the sale of recreational licenses has not kept pace with spending authorized by the Legislature for managing fish, wildlife, and their habitat.
The department still has not fully recovered from the deep cuts imposed during the recession, and license fees have not been adjusted since 2011.
To meet the challenge, the department is preparing a set of proposals to the Governor and Legislature and is exploring options for recreational license fee increases to avoid reducing service to the public and to fulfill its conservation mission.

Documents describing spending and revenue proposals are available on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/budget/development/.

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WDFW News – Salmon Limits Revised on Columbia River, Tributaries Between Priest Rapids Dam and Chief Joseph Dam.

Action:

Release all adult chinook salmon
Increase daily sockeye limit to 3 fish
Species affected:Adult chinook salmon and sockeye.

Locations and effective dates:

Priest Rapids Dam to Rock Island Dam: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through August 31. Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained. Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
Rock Island Dam to Wells Dam: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 15. Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained. Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
Wells Dam to Hwy 173 Bridge at Brewster: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through August 31. Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained. Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
Hwy 173 Bridge at Brewster to Chief Joseph Dam: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 15. Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained. Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
Wenatchee River (mouth to Icicle Road bridge): August 1 through September 30. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
Chelan River (from railroad bridge upstream to Chelan P.U.D. safety barrier below the powerhouse): July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 31: Daily limit 4 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
Okanogan River (from mouth upstream to Hwy. 97 Bridge immediately upstream of mouth): July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 15. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
Okanogan River (from Hwy. 97 Bridge immediately upstream of mouth to the second Hwy. 97 Bridge in Oroville): July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through September 15. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
Similkameen River (from mouth upstream to 400 feet below Enloe Dam): July 16 through September 15. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
Reason for action: The summer chinook run was downsized to a total of 44,000, which is 35% below the preseason forecast. This reduction in the chinook run decreased the allowable catch in recreational fisheries above Priest Rapids Dam. Anglers are expected to catch their allocation by July 15, 2018.

Additional information:

The decline in this year’s projected summer chinook run size also prompted the closure of summer chinook fisheries below Priest Rapids Dam earlier this month. The following sportfishing seasons are in effect for salmon and steelhead on the mainstem Columbia River:

Megler-Astoria Bridge to Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco: Salmon and steelhead, July 7-July 31: Daily limit 6, up to 2 adult salmon or hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack chinook and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.

Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco to Priest Rapids Dam: Salmon, July 7-August 15: Daily limit 6, up to 2 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack chinook and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.

The Entiat River salmon season will remain unchanged and as described in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet. The fall chinook seasons between Priest Rapids Dam and Rock Island Dam will remain unchanged and as described in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet. Anglers are reminded that the Colville Confederated Tribe will be out capturing chinook for hatchery broodstock with their purse seiner.

Information contact: Region 2-Ephrata (509) 754-4624 or Wenatchee (509) 662-0452

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WDFW News – Anglers May Retain Two chinook Daily in Neah Bay Beginning July 14.

Action: Anglers will be allowed to retain two chinook as part of their salmon daily limit in Marine Area 4 beginning Saturday, July 14. The current limit is two salmon, no more than one of which may be a chinook, release wild coho.

Effective date:July 14, 2018.

Species affected:Chinook.

Location: Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay).

Reason for action:The fishery in Neah Bay has caught a significant portion of its coho quota, and sufficient chinook remain in the area’s guideline to allow retention of two chinook per day.

Additional information: In accordance with previously announced rules, release wild coho. Beginning Aug. 1, anglers fishing west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line in Area 4 must release chum while those fishing east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line must release chum and chinook.

Regulations for Marine Areas 1, 2, and 3 remain unchanged.

The daily limits in Marine Areas 1 and 2 remain at two salmon, no more than one of which may be a chinook, release wild coho.

The daily limit in Marine Area 3 remains two salmon, release wild coho.

Anglers can check WDFW’s webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/ocean/ for updates on the recreational ocean salmon fisheries.

Information contact: Wendy Beeghley, ocean salmon manager, (360) 249-1215.

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WDFW News – Boat Angling for Salmon in Marine Area 11 Limited to Fridays Through Mondays.

Action: Closes salmon fishing from a boat in Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island) weekdays from Tuesdays through Thursdays.

Salmon fishing will remain open daily in Marine Area 11 from fishing piers and shorelines.

Effective date: Effective 12:01 a.m. Tuesday, July 17.

Species affected: Salmon.

Location: Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island).

Reason for action: Preliminary estimates indicate that under the current daily catch rates, the harvest quota will be exceeded prior to the Sept. 30 season closure. This action is being taken to increase the likelihood of providing a season-long fishery while ensuring compliance with conservation objectives.

Additional information: Anglers can fish for salmon in all other Puget Sound Marine Areas except for Area 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay), and Area 8-2 (Port Susan/Port Gardner).

Marine Area 11 fishing piers that remain open daily through Sept. 30 include Dash Point Dock, Les Davis Pier, Des Moines Pier, Redondo Pier, and Point Defiance Boathouse Dock.

For specific regulations, anglers should consult the 2018-19 Washington Sports Fishing Rules pamphlet available online at http://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, (360) 902-0058.

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Central Coast Spring All-Depth Halibut Season CLOSED, Not Enough Quota Remains for Additional Back-Up Days.

Spring All-Depth season—During the July 6-7 opening, total landings were 18,663 pounds. This brings the total landings for the Spring All-Depth Season to 127,774 pounds, leaving 7,968 pounds of the spring all-depth quota remaining which is not enough for any additional back-up dates to be open. Therefore, the Spring All-Depth season is CLOSED, No Additional Back-up Dates.

Weather was not cooperative on Friday, July 6, however Saturday, July 7 turned out to be pretty nice with many anglers able to get out on the ocean up and down the coast. Success varied by port with an average of approximately 50% success rate coastwide with anglers out of Depoe Bay and Newport having the highest success rate (about 60%). Coastwide the average size was approximately 29 pounds round weight per fish. For the spring all-depth season, the overall average weight was approximately 27 pounds round weight.

Summer All-Depth Season—opens August 3-4, with an initial quota of 53,866 pounds. This fishery is open every other Friday and Saturday until October 31 or the quota is caught, whichever comes first.

Nearshore Season— opened June 1, seven days per week. Through July 8 there has been a total of 8,790 pounds landed, leaving 17,066 pounds (66%) of the quota remaining. The average weight of landed fish so far this year has been approximately 30 pounds round weight. The average weight of fish landed last week were a bit smaller at approximately 25 pounds round weight.

South of Humbug Mountain subarea—there has been a total of 1,177 pounds landed. This leaves 7,805 pounds (87%) of the quota remaining. Average weight of fish landed so far has been approximately 35 pounds round weight.

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WDFW News – WDFW Plans Public Meetings on Rules for Suction Dredging Permit Process.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is inviting people to share their views at four public meetings focusing on the development of new rules for permitting suction dredging in state waters.

At the meetings, WDFW will also invite suggestions on ways to prevent the spread of aquatic invasive species by suction dredges used for recreational mining for gold and other minerals.

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission, a nine-member citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for WDFW, directed the department in April to develop new rules to address those issues.

Current state rules allow people to operate a small suction dredge as long as they carry – and follow – the Gold and Fish pamphlet, which outlines state regulations. To promote greater accountability, the commission called on WDFW to develop rules that require everyone who wants to use a suction dredge in Washington state to apply for an individual permit.

Randi Thurston, WDFW Habitat Program Protection Division Manager, said the commission is tentatively scheduled to act on a new permitting requirement for suction dredging early next year.

“The department is reaching out to citizens who have an interest in how the rules are developed,” said Thurston said. “Commissioners have emphasized that the department’s rule development must be open to public involvement. We are very early in the process, and we are seeking the public’s help in shaping the development of these rules.”

The public meetings are scheduled at the following times and places:

Wenatchee – July 16 from 7-9 p.m., Port of Chelan County Confluence Technology Center (Methow and Teanaway Rooms), 285 Technology Center Way.
Spokane Valley – July 17 from 7-9 p.m., CenterPlace Regional Event Center Auditorium, 2426 North Discovery Place.
Olympia – July 19 from 7-9 p.m., Natural Resources Building Room 172, 1111 Washington St. S.E.
Everett – July 25 from 7-9 p.m., Everett Community College, Jackson Conference Room 2000 Tower St.
Information about the upcoming rule change process is available at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/hpa/rulemaking. Comments can also be submitted by email to the department at vog.aw.wfdnull@seluRAPH

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Fishing Report

The curr

Congratulations to Keegan Anderson and JR Clark for a 1st Place finish in the Limit Out Performance Marine Shoot Out Tournament!

ent water level on the Potholes Reservoir is 1037.6 – 1.6 feet lower than this time last 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 Potholes Reservoir continues to produce excellent largemouth bass fishing as was seen at this past weekend’s Limit Out Performance Marine’s Shootout Tournament. Congratulations to Keegan Anderson and JR Clark for taking 1st Place with a five fish weight of 22.74 pounds and the big fish of the tournament weighing 6.89 pounds! They took home $5,000 for their effort! The Largemouth fishing continues to be very good back in the sand dunes and the stretch between MarDon Resort and the State Park. Top baits include – Spro Popping Frogs, Wacky Rigged Senkos and square bill crankbaits and Texas Rigged Chigger Caws. Smallmouth are being caught on the rock piles off Goose Island and along the face of the dam. Use crankbaits, 3 ½” 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 the water drops. Troll #7 Flicker Shads 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 continues to be very 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 continues to be very good off the MarDon Resort dock. The Crappie limit is 25 fish per person with a 9” minimum size on the Potholes Reservoir. Reports of crappie being caught back in the dunes are coming in as well. Use a 1” Berkley Gulp Minnow in Black Shad, Emerald Shiner 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.
Upcoming Events
July 14, 7:00pm – Live Music – Paul Sweeny
July 14-15 Northwest Bass Tournament

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Pete Heley Outdoors 7 / 11 / 2018

Ocean salmon fishing has been slow, but seems to be slowly improving. Most of the salmon reported caught seem to be chinooks and less than one-tenth of one percent of the ocean coho quota was caught during the opening weekend (34 cohos kept). 446 chinook salmon were caught and kept on the opening weekend with 57 percent of them caught out of Brookings. The ocean salmon catch report usually appears on the ODFW web site on Tuesdays with catch data through the previous weekend. At present, legal ocean salmon are chinooks at least 24-inches in length and finclipped coho salmon at least 16-inches in length. All ocean salmon that are kept must be tagged.

Anglers fishing for salmon off the south side of the “Triangle” must abide by ocean salmon regulations – barbless hooks and a 16-inch minimum size on finclipped cohos which must be marked on an angler’s combined angling or salmon tag and a 24-inch minimum size on chinooks which must be “tagged”.

Salmon anglers fishing in the Umpqua River off the South Jetty or other river locations can use barbed hooks and can keep finclipped cohos between 15 and 20-inches without tagging them and can keep five chinook salmon per day measuring between 15 and 24-inches rather than the daily ocean salmon limit of two fish.

An increasing number of chinook salmon are being caught in the Umpqua River by both boat and bank anglers.

It’s already been a good tuna year as tuna have been caught by anglers launching at Winchester Bay – which hasn’t always been the case – and a few salmon have been caught on the return trips. Wind is a major consideration for tuna anglers and a lot of trips are aborted.

Draw results for fall big game hunts are now available at the Hunter Information page, https://or.outdoorcentral.us/or/hunterreport. Hunters will need their Hunter/Angler ID#, which is printed on all licenses and tags and stays the same from year to year. Hunters who can’t find their Hunter/Angler ID# or don’t have internet access can call 1-800-708-1782 or (503) 947-6000.

The Umpqua River pinkfin run is far from over, but on most days the fishing has been tough. It seems that the intense fishing pressure directed at this run has resulted in surfperch behavior that makes them more difficult to catch. The majority of the redtail surfperch that haven’t “adjusted” have already been caught and kept. There has been just enough “hot fishing days” to keep the surfperch anglers trying, but on most days they earn their fish.

The Umpqua River shad run is essentially over – except at Sawyer’s Rapids, which is still giving up a few good catches. Smallmouth bass are biting well and much of the river above tidewater can easily be fished from the bank.

Striped bass angling on both the Smith and Umpqua rivers improved last week. Even when the stripers seem active, the bite has been tough and bait has been working better than artificial lures – and the stripers are far more active at night than they are in the daytime.

Crabbing is gradually improving at Winchester Bay, but at least half the crabs are less than full. Boat crabbers can usually catch enough crabs to end up with several relatively full legal crabs.

There are no upcoming trout plants for our area. The next scheduled trout plant will be Lake Marie during the last week in August when it gets its annual pre-Labor Day plant of trophy trout.

Tenmile Lakes is producing fair fishing for rainbow trout, largemouth bass, brown bullhead catfish and yellow perch. The hoped for improvement in the lakes’ bluegill and crappie fishing still hasn’t happened. Eel Lake is being heavily used for all types of water-based recreation, but currently has heavier fishing pressure than it ever had when it was strictly a trout lake.

Two of the lakes I would most like to fish an night close the access routes at dusk due to vandalism. Olalla Creek Reservoir, a very clear reservoir located between Newport and Toledo seems to be a natural for nighttime bass fishing – but the access gate is locked at dusk. The same holds true for Ben Irving Reservoir as the park host , because of repeated vandalism, decided to start locking the gate at dusk – when the reservoir’s prolific crappie population is biting best.

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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