Monthly Archives: August 2018

WDFW News – West Medical Lake fishing rules to change ahead of rehabilitation

Action: Allow retention of trout only, remove the daily catch limit for trout, and extend the fishing season.

Effective date: Aug. 31 through Oct. 7, 2018.

Species affected: Trout only.

Location: West Medical Lake (Spokane County).

Reason for action: West Medical Lake is scheduled to be treated with the piscicide rotenone for fish management purposes.

Additional information: West Medical Lake will be open to trout only with no daily catch limits. All other fish species must be returned to the lake. Closed to fishing for all species from Oct. 8, 2018, until further notice.

Information contact: Randy Osborne, District 2 fish biologist, 509-892-1001 ext. 302.

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WDFW News – Sturgeon Retention Season set in the Columbia River Upstream from Wauna Powerlines to Bonneville Dam.

Action: Allows a limited white sturgeon retention fishery in the Lower Columbia River. White sturgeon from 44-inches minimum to 50-inches maximum fork length may be retained.

Effective dates: Saturdays, September 15 and 22, 2018.

Species affected: White sturgeon.

Locations: The Columbia River from the Wauna powerlines to Bonneville Dam and all adjacent Washington tributaries.

Reason for action: Increased legal-size population over the past few years allows for a conservative retention fishery within the lower Columbia River.

Other information: Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon will continue to be allowed on all non-retention days.

Daily white sturgeon limit: One fish
Annual white sturgeon limit: Two fish
Retention of green sturgeon is prohibited.
Information contact: Region 5 office; 360-696-6211

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WDFW News – Kessina Lee Named WDFW Regional Director for Southwest Washington..

Kessina Lee has been named regional director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) southwest region based in Ridgefield.

Lee has worked as an aquaculture specialist for the state Department of Ecology since January 2017. She will begin her new job Sept. 1, overseeing all WDFW work in Region 5, covering Clark, Cowlitz, Klickitat, Lewis, Skamania, and Wahkiakum counties.

“We’re thrilled to bring Kessina aboard, and have no doubt she’ll be able to address the complex issues unique to southwest Washington,” said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind. “She brings a deep understanding of the region to the role, and a readiness to work closely with our partners there.”

With the Department of Ecology, Lee served as agency lead on the interagency investigation into the August 2017 collapse of an Atlantic salmon net pen in Puget Sound. She also led a team of hatchery water-quality permit managers statewide.

Before arriving at Ecology, Lee was a Sea Grant policy fellow engaged in ocean and coastal issues with the Oregon Legislature’s Coastal Caucus and for the office of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown. She also spent nearly a decade studying marine mammal strandings in the Pacific Northwest, as well as interactions between fish and sea lions on the Willamette River.

Lee said she is eager to develop productive relationships with WDFW’s stakeholders and gain a deeper understanding of the challenges the region faces.

“I’m excited to learn from people, and to listen,” Lee said. “What I really relish is the opportunity to confront 21st-century conservation challenges like elk-hoof disease or sea lion predation on salmon that are, in many ways, more complicated than anything we’ve faced before.”

Lee holds a master’s degree in biology from Portland State University in Portland, Ore., and has lived in the Pacific Northwest since 1989.

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8/30/18 ACTION NOTICE – Recreational Ocean Salmon.

NOAA Fisheries in consultation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, representatives from the recreational and the commercial ocean troll salmon fisheries, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council, has taken in-season action with respect to the recreational salmon fishery in the area from Leadbetter Point to Cape Falcon.


Within the Columbia River Ocean Salmon Management Area (Leadbetter Point, Washington to Cape Falcon, Oregon), recreational ocean salmon fishing will reopen for salmon angling on Sunday, September 2 and Monday, September 3.
There will be a repeat of the earlier transfer of 2,400 coho from the commercial troll salmon fishery to the recreational fishery in the Columbia River Area in order to insure there are enough coho available for the two days of fishing.
The two days of fishing will be open for two salmon per day, but all retained coho must have a healed adipose fin-clip. Minimum sizes of 24” for Chinook and 16” for coho.
Anglers that retain Chinook from the ocean fishery are reminded that they cannot continue to angle for any species within the buoy 10 fishery with a Chinook in possession. The Columbia River is currently closed to Chinook angling and retention.
RATIONALE AND NOTES: The recreational season in the area from Leadbetter Point to Cape Falcon closed at the end of the day on Sunday, August 12th. It was expected that the marked coho quota, including donations of 600 coho from the Westport recreational quota and 2,400 coho from the commercial troll quota would have nearly been exhausted by that time. The final week of the season saw lower fishing effort and catch than anticipated, and 558 coho remain from the original quota of 21,000 coho. By re-instituting the transfer of 2,400 coho from the commercial troll quota, it is anticipated that there will be an adequate number of coho available for the two open days of fishing. In addition, the limitation of no more than one Chinook in the daily bag limit was not necessary for the final two days as 5,777 Chinook remain on the guideline of 8,000.

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Oregon’s “Free Fishing Weekend” This Saturday and Sunday,

This coming weekend will be the third of Oregon’s four free fishing weekends this year.

Anglers will not need a fishing license to fish during those two days.

Crabbers and clammers will not need a shellfish license to crab and clam during those two days.

Salmon anglers will not need a tag to fish for salmon during those two days and if they catch and keep a legal adult salmon they will not have to enter it on a combined angling tag – nor will halibut anglers and Saturday is an all-depth halibut day (as is Friday).

Anglers must still obey all current regulations regarding open seasons, size and bag limits.

Anglers participating in the Labor Day Weekend STEP Salmon Derby will need a fishing license and salmon tag on Monday – but not on Saturday and Sunday.

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WDFW News – Marine Area 1 to Open for 2 more Days of Salmon Fishing During Labor Day Weekend.

Action: Marine Area 1 will be open Sunday, Sept. 2, and Monday, Sept. 3, for chinook and hatchery coho salmon fishing.

Effective date: Sept. 2 and 3, 2018.

Species affected: Chinook and coho salmon.

Location: Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco).

Reason for action: Sufficient quota is available for two more days of salmon fishing. Only a small amount of coho quota remained after the closure of Area 1 earlier in August; however a transfer of quota by the commercial troll fishery provided enough to reopen the recreational fishery.

Additional information: Daily limit of two salmon, release wild coho. The Columbia River Control Zone (Control Zone 1) is closed.

Marine Area 2 and 3 are open through Sept. 3 with a daily limit of two salmon, release wild coho.

Marine Area 4 remains closed to salmon fishing.

The Columbia River remains closed to chinook retention downstream of the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line, with the exception of the North Jetty, where Marine Area 1 rules apply while Area 1 is open for chinook retention. Anglers with chinook in their possession may not fish in areas that are closed to chinook retention.

Information contact: Wendy Beeghley, Ocean Salmon Manager, (360) 249-1215.

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Fishing Report

The fishing on the Potholes Reservoir has been fantastic this past week! The water level fluctuated about one foot this week but came back up to the current water level of 1028.47 – .41 feet lower than last week at this time. The water temperature on the main Reservoir is at 70-72 degrees.
The Largemouth bass fishing continues to be excellent! Both Largemouth and Smallmouth are back in the dunes, along the face of the dunes, and along the face of the dam. Top baits for Largemouth include – the Strike King 2.50 Square Billed crankbait, Wacky Rigged Senkos and Skirted Heart Throb XL’s fished on a 3/8th oz. football head and fishing a drop shot rig. 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 Flicker Shads, 3½” tubes, swimbaits, drop shot baits and Senkos for the Smallmouth.
The walleye bite continues to improve on the humps in front of the sand dunes and around Gooses Island. Troll #5 or #7 Flicker Shads or Rapalas along the face of the dunes in 5-15 feet of water and in the same depths around Goose Island. Smile Blade/Slow Death rigs fished behind a 2-ounce bottom walker are also producing. Use extreme caution boating and fishing between Goose Island and the face of the dam. There are rock hazards that are difficult to see until it is too late!
The trout fishing on the Potholes Reservoir remains a bit slow with the warm water – but trout are still being caught here and there by anglers targeting walleyes. Trout fishers have been catching trout trolling #5 and # 7 Flicker Shads and Shad Raps and Mack’s Wedding Ring Rigs with a worm and bottom bouncer in 20-40 feet of water. Concentrate in front of the State Park and along the face of the dunes and along Medicare Beach.
The crappie fishing is better than it has been in many years! Big crappies are being caught trolling #5 Flicker Shads and #5 Rapala Shad Raps along the face of the dunes, and jigging VMC Probe jigs and Wingdings. The MarDon Resort dock continues to fish well. Fish Trout Magnets and Gulp Alive Minnows off the dock on a 1/64th oz. jig head. Big bluegills are being caught around the mouth of Crab Creek. A few perch are being caught off the dock and around Goose Island. Fishing from the MarDon Dock is reserved for registered guests only.
Both Channel Catfish and Yellow Bullhead fishing has been very good over the past couple of weeks. We have had several Channel Cats in the 8-15lb. range come in this week. Anglers have been trolling walleye rigs with crawlers in the dunes, on the face of the dunes and around Goose Island. Bank fishermen have been doing well on Cats in Lind Coulee and at the mouth of Frenchman’s Wasteway using Magic Bait Catfish Nuggets and Crawlers.
Call the MarDon Store for the latest fishing info and to make reservations at 509-346-2651.
Upcoming Events:
August 31-Sept 3 – Labor Day Weekend September, 2, 2018 Karaoke September 1 MarDon Yard Sale September 7-9 Skagen Jet Boat Weekend September 14-16 Marathon Dock Fishing Tournament and Potluck

Rob Harbin of the MarDon Tackle Store with a very nice Potholes Reservoir Crappie!

Levi Meseberg of MarDon Resort caught this huge Largemouth back in the sand dunes!

Alex Baker of Marysville, WA shows a healthy Channel Cat caught while night fishing off the MarDon Resort dock!

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Umpqua River Early Morning Chinooks

The Umpqua River’s early morning bite below Reedsport seems to be improving. Photo courtesy of Bryan Gill and “The Umpqua Angler”.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 8 / 29 / 2018

It’s time to start thinking about the annual S.T.E.P. Salmon Derby put on each year by our local Gardiner-Reedsport-Winchester Bay S.T.E.P. Chapter over Labor Day Weekend.

This year’s contest will mark the 25th consecutive year the contest has been held and as far as salmon derbies go, this one is very successful. A major strength of this derby is its simplistic consistency. The derby runs from daylight to 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday (Sept. 1st and 2nd) and from daylight until noon on Monday (Labor Day- Sept. 3rd).

The derby is cheap – only costing $10 for an individual and only $25 for a boat (which may include three or more people and these tickets are good for the entire derby – if purchased beforehand and for the remaining portion of the derby – if purchased during the contest.

Cash prizes for the derby are $150 for the heaviest salmon turned in each day with the heaviest salmon turned in during the derby receiving an additional $500 ($650 total). Each salmon weighed in during the contest gets the person who caught it a chance at being a “blue ticket” winner and there will be three such $100 cash prizes awarded during the contest. There is also a “ticket stub” drawing of $100 and a $100 cash prize for the lightest legal salmon weighed during the tournament.

While the cash prizes, with the exception of the one for the lightest legal salmon, have been consistent for years, there have been major changes in the number of derby sponsors and the value of the merchandise being given away via raffles.

Tickets are available for purchase now at the Stockade Market in Winchester Bay and Ace Hardware in Reedsport. They may also be purchased during the derby at the East Basin Boat Ramp in Winchester Bay and the Rainbow Plaza Boat Ramp in Reedsport.

Specific sponsors for this year’s derby include Gerhard Goorhuis D.D.S in Reedsport (Saturday’s big fish); North Coast Lures & Flies in Florence (Sunday’s big fish) and Fred Wahl Construction in Reedsport (Monday’s big fish). The heaviest salmon of the derby is sponsored by the Y Marina and the smallest legal salmon is sponsored by Jeremy’s Automotive and Offroad.

Other derby sponsors include Sportsman’s Warehouse; BJ’s Ice Cream; Fishermen’s Seafood Market; Englund Marine; Kathy Clemens Coastal Properties; Kevin Ladd Electric; Recreation Station; Salmon Harbor Landing Motel and Umpqua River Inn & Suites.

Fishing guides contributing to the derby include local guides Norma Evans of “A Bent Rod” and Bryan Gill of “The Umpqua Angler” as well as Gary Lewis Guide Service; Grey Ghost Guide Service and Next Adventure.

In past years, it seems everyone waited until Saturday morning to purchase their Derby tickets which resulted in long lines and later starts to their fishing trips – and in one recent derby, the heaviest salmon was hooked in the the first half hour of Saturday morning.

By the way, Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day Weekend are free fishing days – which means that fishing, crabbing and clamming can be enjoyed without needing a license or even a salmon or halibut tag. . However all size and bag limits and other regulations and restrictions must be obeyed.

Although there doesn’t seem to be any correlation between the number of heavy salmon caught in the week before the derby and the weight of the winning fish, Sam Cook, a past winner of the derby, recently landed a 48-inch chinook salmon while fishing the Umpqua River below Reedsport.

As for the ocean finclipped coho season, through August 19th, slightly more than 10,000 finclipped cohos had been caught and kept – or 29.4 percent of the quota. Even with a major improvement in the ocean coho salmon fishing, when the ocean season ends on on September 3rd, less than half of the 35,000 finclipped coho quota will have been caught. To date, the top ports have been Newport and Pacific City with .59 retained salmon per angler trip. However when the nonselective ocean coho season starts on September 7th, the biggest improvement should be in Winchester Bay and Charleston which have produced the most unclipped cohos. Brookings should also show a major improvement since 97 percent of the port’s coho catch have been unclipped and unkeepable.

When half the quota was caught during the first 2-day opener of the central Coast’s summer all-depth season, it appeared the summer season might consist of only two openers, but only 4, 624 pounds were caught during August 17th and 18th – the second two day opener, which brings the summer all-depth catch total to 31,298 pounds. 22,568 pounds or 41.9% of the quota remains, so there will be a third opener on Friday, Aug. 31st and Saturday, Sept. 1st.

As for the nearshore halibut fisheries, in the central Oregon Coast Subarea, there were 344 pounds landed Last week, bringing the total landings to 20,549 pounds. This leaves 5,307 pounds, or 20.5% of the nearshore quota. Average weight of fish landed this year in this fishery has been approximately 25 pounds round weight.

In the Southern Oregon Subarea: there were 103 pounds landed last week, bringing the total landings to 3,337 pounds. This leaves 5,645 pounds or 62.8% of the quota remaining. Average weight of landed fish in this fishery has been approximately 33 pounds round weight for the season.

Despite an ODFW report that Lake Marie was to be stocked last week with 800 trophy rainbows, it appears that the plant will occur this week – when it was originally slated for.

The nation’s top fishery for lunker yellow perch may be in trouble. It seems that an angler recently caught an adult walleye in the 30,000 acre reservoir. Yellow perch are primary forage for walleyes and if walleyes are established in the lake, Cascade’s trout and smallmouth bass populations may be negatively impacted. Since Idaho’s nearest walleye fisheries are more than 200 miles from Cascade Lake, whoever “helped” the walleye reach the lake went through a lot of trouble. Even worse, walleyes in Cascade Lake could easily “invade” the Payette and Snake river systems where eradicating or even controlling them would be nearly impossible.

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 – Most of Puget Sound Closes to Crabbing Sept. 3; Summer Catch Reports Due Oct. 1.

Most areas of Puget Sound will close to recreational crab fishing on Labor Day (Sept. 3), when anyone harvesting crab from a boat must retrieve their gear by one hour after sunset.

Crabbers fishing from shore or from piers have until the end of the day on Sept. 3 to retrieve their gear.

All sport fishers licensed to fish for Dungeness crab anywhere in Puget Sound have through Oct. 1 to submit summer catch reports to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

The only two areas of the Sound that will remain open to crab fishing after Labor Day are marine areas 7-North and 7-South near the San Juan Islands. These two areas will remain open Thursdays through Mondays each week through Sept. 30. Sport fishers who crab in those two areas after Sept. 3 must record their catch on winter catch record cards, which are available at sporting goods stores and other license vendors across the state.

Crabbers are reminded that marine areas 11 and 13 are not open for crab fishing to allow Dungeness crab populations to rebuild.

Summer catch record cards can be submitted to WDFW by mail at CRC Unit, P.O. Box 43142, Olympia, WA 98504-3142. Crab fishers can also report their catch online at from Sept. 4 through Oct. 1.

Crabbers who fail to file their catch reports on time will face a $10 fine when they purchase a 2019 Puget Sound crab endorsement.

“Catch reports play a major role in determining how much crab is still available for harvest during the winter season,” said Bob Sizemore, WDFW’s shellfish policy lead. “It’s important that we receive reports from everyone licensed to fish for crab in Puget Sound – whether or not they caught crab this year.”

Sizemore said WDFW will announce winter crab seasons for Puget Sound in early October, after completing its assessment of the summer fishery.

For more information about recreational crabbing in Puget Sound, see WDFW’s website at

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