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Monthly Archives: December 2018
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has released a Statewide Elk Conservation and Management Plan. The plan has undergone extensive public review and will help guide state wildlife managers’ efforts to maintain healthy elk herds. The plan builds on the success of efforts to reestablish elk in suitable historic ranges, and management practices that have resulted in robust elk populations throughout the state. It includes objectives for providing public educational and recreational opportunities, habitat enhancement and restoration, and minimization of conflicts on private property.”This plan demonstrates CDFW’s commitment to build upon its strong foundation for the continued conservation of this iconic species for future management of California’s elk populations,” said CDFW Wildlife Branch Chief Kari Lewis.There are three sub-species of elk in California: Roosevelt (Cervus canadensis roosevelti), Rocky Mountain (Cervus canadensis nelsoni) and Tule (Cervus canadensis nannodes). California’s 22 Elk Management Units (EMUs) collectively comprise the distribution of all three species within their respective ranges in the state. The plan addresses historical and current geographic range, habitat conditions and trends, and major factors affecting all three species statewide, also in addition to individually addressing each EMU. The EMU plans include herd characteristics, harvest data, management goals, and management actions to conserve and enhance habitat conditions on public and private lands.More information about California’s Elk Management Program can be found on CDFW’s website.
The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Recovery Program activities in the Mexican Wolf Experimental Population Area (MWEPA) in Arizona, including the Fort Apache Indian Reservation (FAIR), San Carlos Apache Reservation (SCAR), and New Mexico. Additional program information can be obtained by calling (928) 339-4329 or toll free at (888) 459-9653, or by visiting the Arizona Game and Fish Department website at www.azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at www.fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf. For information on the FAIR call (928) 338-4385 ext. 226 or visit www.wmatoutdoors.org. Past updates may be viewed on these websites. Interested parties may sign up to receive this update electronically by visiting www.azgfd.com and clicking on the E-news Signup tab on the top left corner of the webpage. This update is a public document and information in it can be used for any purpose. The Mexican Wolf Recovery Program is a multi-agency cooperative effort among the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD), USDA Forest Service (USFS), USDA-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services (USDA-APHIS WS), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT).
To view semi-monthly wolf location information please visit http://arcg.is/0iGSGH.
Please report any wolf sightings or suspected livestock depredations to: the Alpine wolf office at (928) 339-4329, Pinetop wolf office at (928) 532-2391 or toll free at (888) 459-9653. For sightings or suspected depredations on the FAIR, please call the FAIR wolf office in Whiteriver at (928) 388-4385 ext. 226. To report incidents of take or harassment of wolves, please call the AZGFD 24-hour dispatch (Operation Game Thief) at (800) 352-0700.
Overall Mexican Wolf Recovery Program Monthly Update
On November 30, USFWS personnel attended the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish Commission meeting to discuss the 2019 Initial Release and Translocation Plan, during which the Commission approved cross-fostering as outlined in the plan.
Numbering System: Mexican wolves are given an identification number recorded in an official studbook that tracks their history. Capital letters (M = Male, F = Female) preceding the number indicate adult animals 24 months or older. Lower case letters (m = male, f = female) are used to indicate wolves younger than 24 months. A lower case letter “p” preceding the number is used to indicate a wolf pup born in the most recent spring. The capital letter “A” preceding the letter and number indicate breeding wolves.
Definitions: A “wolf pack” is defined as two or more wolves that maintain an
established territory. In the event that one of the two alpha (dominant) wolves dies, the remaining alpha wolf, regardless of pack size, retains the pack status. The packs referenced in this update contain at least one wolf with a radio telemetry collar attached to it. Studbook numbers listed in the monthly update denote wolves with functioning radio collars. The Interagency Field Team (IFT) recognizes that wolves without radio telemetry collars may also form packs. If the IFT confirms that wolves are associating with each other and are resident within the same home range, they will be referenced as a pack.
CURRENT POPULATION STATUS
The year-end minimum population count for 2017 was 114 wolves in the wild in Arizona and New Mexico. Annual surveys are conducted in the winter as this is when the population experiences the least amount of natural fluctuation (i.e. in the spring the population increases dramatically with the birth of new pups and declines throughout the summer and fall as pup mortality generally occurs in this period). Thus, the IFT summarizes the total number of wolves in the winter at a fairly static or consistent time of year. Counting the population at the end of each year allows for comparable year-to-year trends at a time of year when the Mexican wolf population is most stable. At the end of November, there were 80 wolves with functioning radio collars that the IFT was actively monitoring. Not all of the wolves in the population are collared.
Bear Wallow Pack (collared AM1338 and f1683)
In November, the IFT documented the Bear Wallow Pack in their territory on the east central portion of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest (ASNF) and occasionally on the SCAR and the FAIR. Yearling f1683 and AM1338 were documented traveling separately.
Bluestem Pack (collared f1686)
In November, the IFT documented yearling f1686 in the pack’s traditional territory in the east central portion of the ASNF. Yearling f1686 made dispersal movements from the pack’s territory within the eastern portion of the ASNF.
Eagle Creek Pack (collared M1477)
In November, M1477 continued to be documented traveling with an uncollared wolf in a territory in the east central portion of the ASNF.
Elk Horn Pack (collared AF1294, f1668, m1671, mp1695, fp1696, and fp1697)
In November, the Elk Horn Pack was located within their traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. A male pup, 1695, was captured, collared, and released in November. The IFT started a diversionary food cache to reduce the potential for human-wildlife interactions near residences. The IFT conducted hazing efforts on the Elk Horn Pack on two occasions when the pack was observed within the community of Alpine.
Hoodoo Pack (collared AM1290, AF1333, m1677, m1681, and mp1789)
In November, the Hoodoo Pack was located within their traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. Yearlings, m1677 and m1681 and mp1789 were documented travelling separate from the rest of the pack in the east central part of the ANSF during a portion of the month.
Panther Creek Pack (collared AM1382)
Panther Creek AM1382 was not located during the month of November.
Pine Spring Pack (collared AM1394, AF1562, fp1794, and fp1825)
In November, the Pine Spring Pack was located within their territory in the north central portion of the ASNF and occasionally in the north eastern portion of the FAIR. The IFT continued to maintain a diversionary food cache for this pack to reduce potential for wolf-livestock conflict.
Prime Canyon Pack (collared AM1471, AF1488, mp1790, fp1791, and fp1823)
In November, the IFT documented the Prime Canyon Pack within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF. The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache for this pack to reduce the potential for human-wildlife interactions near residences.
Saffel Pack (collared AM1441, AF1567, m1661, and fp1792)
In November, the Saffel Pack was located in their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. Yearling m1680 continued dispersal movements in New Mexico and was found dead in New Mexico in November. The incident is under investigation. Yearling m1661 made dispersal movements from the pack’s territory in the south central portion of the ANSF in late November.
Sierra Blanca Pack (collared M1571 and F1550)
In November, the Sierra Blanca Pack was located in their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF.
Single collared F1489
In November, the IFT documented F1489 traveling in the north and east central portion of the ASNF.
Single collared M1574
In November, the IFT documented M1574 traveling in the east central portion of the ASNF, the SCAR, and the eastern portion of the FAIR.
ON THE FAIR:
Baldy Pack (collared AM1347 and F1560)
In November, the Baldy Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR and the north central portion of the ASNF. Yearling m1672 was not documented in November and is now considered fate unknown.
Maverick Pack (collared AF1291 and fp1828)
In November, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory on the FAIR and east central portion of the ASNF.
Tsay-O-Ah Pack (collared AF1283 and f1674)
In November, the Tsay-O-Ah Pack was located within their traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR. They were occasionally documented traveling in the east central portion of the ASNF.
Tu dil hil Pack (collared M1559 and F1679)
In November, the Tu dil hil Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR. M1559 was documented traveling with the Tsay-O-Ah Pack.
Single collared M1824
In November, M1824 was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR and the north central and north eastern portions of the ASNF.
IN NEW MEXICO:
Copper Creek Pack (F1444)
During November, F1444, the only wolf with a functioning collar in the Copper Creek Pack, was documented making wide dispersal movements outside the pack’s traditional range.
Dark Canyon Pack (collared AM1354 and AF1456)
During November, the Dark Canyon Pack was documented traveling together within their traditional territory, in the west central portion of the Gila National Forest (GNF).
Datil Mountain Pack (collared M1453 and F1685)
During November, the Datil Mountain Pack continued to travel in the western portion of the Cibola National Forest (CNF).
Frieborn Pack (collared AF1443 and fp1702)
During November, the Frieborn Pack was documented within their territory in the east central portion of the ASNF in New Mexico and Arizona. The IFT maintained a food cache to support cross-fostered pups and to reduce the potential for wolf-livestock conflict. In November, AM1447 was located dead in New Mexico. The incident is under investigation.
Hawks Nest Pack (collared F1473)
During November, the Hawks Nest Pack was documented traveling together in the Hawks Nest territory in the north central portion of the GNF. In November, AM1038 was located dead in New Mexico. The incident is under investigation.
Iron Creek Pack (collared AM1240, AF1278, M1555, M1556, f1670, m1821, fp1721, and mp1710)
During November, the Iron Creek Pack continued to utilize their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness and the southern portion of the GNF. The IFT maintained a food cache to support cross-fostered pups and to reduce the potential for wolf-livestock conflict.
Lava Pack (collared AM1285 and AF1405)
During November, the Lava Pack was located within their traditional territory in the southeastern portion of the GNF.
Leopold Pack (collared AM1293 and AF1346)
During November, the IFT documented the Leopold Pack within their territory in the northern portion of the Gila Wilderness.
Luna Pack (collared AM1158, AF1487, and f1684)
During November, the Luna Pack remained in their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache for the Luna Pack to reduce potential for conflict with livestock. In November, a private trapper in New Mexico caught f1684 and contacted the IFT. The IFT responded, replaced the wolf’s collar, and then released f1684 on GNF.
Mangas Pack (collared AM1296, AF1439, and f1705)
During November, the Mangas Pack was located within their territory in the northwestern portion of the GNF. The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache for the Mangas Pack to reduce potential for conflict with livestock.
Prieto Pack (collared AM1398, AF1251, F1565, m1669, m1678, and mp1827)
During November, the Prieto Pack was located within their traditional territory in the north central portion of the GNF. The IFT maintained a diversionary food cache for the Prieto Pack to reduce potential for conflict with livestock. In November, fp1826 was located dead in New Mexico. The incident is under investigation.
San Mateo Pack (collared AF1399, f1578, and fp1822)
During November, the San Mateo Pack continued to utilize their territory in the north central portion of the GNF.
Sheepherders Baseball Park (SBP) Pack (collared AF1553)
During November, AF1553 continued to use the traditional territory of the SBP pack in the north central portion of the GNF.
Squirrel Springs Pack (collared F1788)
During November, the Squirrel Springs pack was located in the north central portion of the GNF. The IFT continued efforts in November to maintain a consistent presence in the pack’s territory, as well as haze the pack away from livestock to decrease conflict due to a confirmed depredation in October.
Single collared M1486
During November, M1486 was located dead in New Mexico. The incident is currently under investigation.
Single collared M1673
During November, M1673 continued to travel in the western portion of the GNF.
During the month of November, the following wolves were located dead in New Mexico: AM1447 of the Frieborn Pack, fp1826 of the Prieto Pack, AM1038 of the Hawks Nest Pack, m1680 of the Saffel Pack, and Single M1486. All of the incidents are currently under investigation by USFWS Law Enforcement.
From January 1, 2018 to November 30, 2018 there have been a total of 17 documented wolf mortalities.
During the month of November, there were six confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock. There were two nuisance incidents in November. From January 1, 2018 to November 30, 2018 there have been a total of 66 confirmed wolf depredation incidents in New Mexico and 31 confirmed wolf depredation incidents in Arizona.
On November 14, Wildlife Services investigated two dead calves in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined one calf was a confirmed wolf kill and the other calf died of unknown causes.
On November 16, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.
On November 17, Wildlife Services investigated a dead cow in Catron County, NM. The investigation confirmed the cow was killed by wolves.
On November 17, Wildlife Services investigated a dead goat in Catron County, NM. The investigation determined the goat was killed by a domestic dog.
On November 17, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigated confirmed the calf was killed by wolves.
One November 20, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Catron County, NM. The investigation confirmed the calf was killed by wolves.
On November 21, Wildlife Services investigated a dead calf in Apache County, AZ. The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed wolf kill.
On November 24 and 25, Wildlife Services hazed the Elk Horn Pack after locating the wolves in an open pasture in Alpine, AZ near residences.
COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION
On November 15, USFS personnel provided a poster presentation at the Second International Wildlife Reintroduction Conference. The conference was attended by approximately 150 people.
There were no personnel updates for the project during the month of November.
The USFWS is offering a reward of up to $10,000; the AGFD Operation Game Thief is offering a reward of up to $1,000; and the NMDGF is offering a reward of up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the shooting deaths of Mexican wolves. A variety of non-governmental organizations and private individuals have pledged an additional $46,000 for a total reward amount of up to $58,000, depending on the information provided.
Individuals with information they believe may be helpful are urged to call one of the following agencies: USFWS special agents in Mesa, Arizona, at (480) 967-7900, in Alpine, Arizona, at (928) 339-4232, or in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at (505) 346-7828; the WMAT at (928) 338-1023 or (928) 338-4385; AGFD Operation Game Thief at (800) 352-0700; or NMDGF Operation Game Thief at (800) 432-4263. Killing a Mexican wolf is a violation of the Federal Endangered Species Act and can result in criminal penalties of up to $50,000, and/or not more than one year in jail, and/or a civil penalty of up to $25,000.
As expected, there have been numerous glitches in the ODFW’s new licensing system – one of which is that the audio on the licensing agent training video is turned down so low as to make it almost unusable. Hopefully, things will be running much more smoothly by January 1st.
Checking the fees other states charge for fishing and hunting licenses is a lot like comparing apples and oranges since the license and tag choices offerred by different states are seldom exactly alike, but it appears that Oregon’s fees are a relative bargain – even before the ODFW passed on raising such fees for 2019.
Washington’s fishing license season runs from April 1st through March 31st and a resident adult pays $29.50 for a yearly license – which sounds like a bargain compared to Oregon’s $41.00 – until you realize that it only covers freshwater and a yearly license to fish saltwater costs an additional $30.05 for a total cost of $59.55. Washington’s resident shellfish license costs $17.40 and also covers seaweed, but does not include razor clams. So Oregon’s $10.00 resident shellfish license sounds like a bargain – especially whenever razor clams are legal shellfish fare in Oregon. Washington’s nonresident fishing licenses cost $84.50 for freshwater and $59.75 for saltwater (for a total cost of $144.25).
Idaho’s basic fishing license for residents costs $30.75 ($25.75 + $5.00 mandatory access fee) and the cost for a nonresident license is $108.25 ($98.25 + $10.00 mandatory access fee). The access fee helps compensate ranchers and farmers for allowing access to fishing spots.
Like Oregon, both Washington and Idaho are not planning fee increases for 2019.
California, which makes price adjustments each year based on California’s cost of living, charged $49.94 for a resident fishing license in 2018 and $134.74 for a nonresident fishing license. Both licenses also include shellfish (but not lobster or abalone).
One of the things I like about the ODFW licensing system is that it runs on a true calender year (except for waterfowl which is under federal control regarding open seasons). But Oregon could break up the season so that both portions of the season are in separate calendar years. Of course, such a move would involve some cooperation from the feds, which may not be forthcoming. I do know that waterfowl hunting is a major source of confusion for people hunting in Oregon.
Another thing I like about the ODFW is that it keeps the hunting licenses and tags separate – unlike a number of other states which sell hunting licenses and tags together for varying amounts of money.
One thing the ODFW has improved on this year was their timliness in posting the 2019 trout stocking schedule to their website. For the last few years, the schedule was not posted until after some trout plants had already taken place. The first trout plant for Douglas County in 2019 will take place in Cooper Creek Reservoir during the fourth week in January. Since the landlocked coho plants that used to go into Galesville Reservoir are now going into Cooper Creek – fishing should be good when Cooper Creek gets its initial 2019 trout plant of 1,500 legal rainbows.
It seems like the hunters and anglers in every state believe that their fish and wildlife department is worse than any other. Of course, most of these complainers know very little about the fish and game departments in other states. One complaint that is almost always invalid is how expensive licenses and tags are becoming. When I purchased my first fishing license in 1963, it cost me $6.00 – a far cry from the $41.00 a basic fishing license now costs, but based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the equivalent of six 1963 dollars is almost $49.00.
Quita a few lakes in western Lane County will receive their first trout plants for 2019 during the first week in February and 2019’s first trout plants for Coos County will take place in Mingus Pond and Powers Pond during the fourth week in February.
Some cohos are still being caught in Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes and a few of them are not dark. Most of the Tenmile Lake coho run is still in the lagoon where some of them are turning dark. Unless we get a decent amount of rain rather quickly, anglers fishing lower Tenmile Creek for winter steelhead are going to have to deal with a bunch of coho salmon which they cannot keep. A few coho will be caught from these three lakes up till the December 31st season closure by which time virtually all of the cohos will be quite dark.
Small to mid-sized streams along the south coast offer anglers their best chance for late-run fall chinook. These streams normally close to salmon fishing on December 31st and include the Elk River, Floras Creek, Hunter Creek, Pistol River, Sixes River and Winchuck River.
By mid-December most of the streams in our area will have some winter steelhead in them, but Eel Creek, the major tributary of Tenmile Creek does not open for hatchery steelhead until January 1st.
Offshore bottomfishing continues to be very good with almost everybody using standard bottomfishing tactics which allow them to keep lingcod. Rough ocean conditions have limited jetty fishing opportunities, but fishing has been good when conditions allow relatively safe fishing.
Recreational ocean crabbing has been legal since December 1st and fairly productive when conditions allow ocean access. The commercial crab season has been delayed until at least January 1st because of low meat content in crabs tested from both the southern and northern portions of the Oregon coast. Should the meat content in one of these “problem” areas were to improve, it would allow the Oregon Dungeness Crab Commission to draw a single line to separate open and closed commercial crabbing waters along the Oregon coast. However the commission will not draw two such lines to delineate open commercial crabbing waters.
Dock crabbing has been fair, at best, but boat crabbers on the Umpqua River below Winchester Bay and in the lower portions of Coos Bay have been making some good catches.
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.
The current water level on the Potholes Reservoir is 1038.76 feet – rising 1.40 feet over the past two weeks. The water level has come up 12.05 feet since low pool on September 14, 2018. The water temperature on the Reservoir has dropped to the upper 30s – low 40s over the past week. There is no ice as of today – but with the colder forecast it won’t take much to put ice in the dunes.
Very few anglers on the water this week. Blade bait and jigs are your best bet for walleye this time of year. Vertically jig blade baits or a jig head with a 4 or 5” curl tail grub in 25-50 feet of water. Fish the deeper humps on the face of the dunces and the rocks around Goose Island.
A few bass are being caught on the humps in front of the dunes and along the face of the dam. Hula grubs, Drop Shot rigs, Blade Baits and swim baits in 20 – 30 feet are catching both Largemouth and Smallmouth bass. Fish habitat boxes and along the face of the dam. For Smallmouth – fish the face of the dam and the rocks around Goose Island.
Trout anglers are concentrating on the Medicare beach area either trolling wedding ring rigs with a worm or Needlefish. From shore – fish Power Bait or a marshmallow/egg combination.
Duck hunting has improved this week as the cooler weather has brought more birds in. There are big numbers of geese in the area including Honkers, Lessers and Snow Geese.
Call the MarDon Store for the latest fishing and hunting info and to make reservations at 509-346-2651.
WDFW News – Fishers released in North Cascades: Elusive carnivores once considered extinct in Washington state.
State, federal, and partner biologists released six fishers today in the Skagit River watershed of Ross Lake National Recreation Area, a unit of the North Cascades National Park Service Complex, as part of an effort to restore the species to Washington state. This is the first release in the North Cascades.
Fishers are about the size of a house cat and are members of the weasel family. They were eliminated from Washington by the mid-1900s through over-trapping and habitat loss. Fishers are currently listed as an endangered species by the state, and are being reviewed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act.
A voluntary fisher conservation program is available to private forest landowners that provides regulatory assurances should the species become listed. To date 49 landowners have enrolled 2.98 million acres in fisher conservation. Fisher reintroduction efforts occurred in recent years on the Olympic Peninsula and near Mount Rainier in the South Cascades.
The five females and one male released today were captured in Alberta, Canada as part of a multi-year project to reintroduce approximately 80 fishers to the North Cascades. They underwent veterinary checkups at the Calgary Zoo and were equipped with radio transmitters to track their movements over time. Conservation Northwest supports ongoing fisher monitoring with volunteers and remote cameras through its Citizen Wildlife Monitoring Project.
In late 2015 and early 2016, 23 fishers, including 11 females and 12 males were released in Washingtons southern Cascades in Gifford Pinchot National Forest (GPNF). In late 2016 and early 2017, 46 fishers were released in nearby areas of GPNF and in Mount Rainier National Park. Since then, monitoring efforts show released animals have successfully established themselves throughout the Olympic Peninsula and the southern Cascades, and have begun to reproduce.
Joining the partners in todays event were representatives from the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, Lummi Indian Nation, and Nooksack Indian Tribe. Staff from the offices of Senator Cantwell and Representative DelBene were also in attendance.
Watching the fishers return to their native forests of North Cascades National Park Service Complex after a long absence was inspiring, said Karen Taylor-Goodrich, North Cascades National Park Service Complex Superintendent. It was an honor to have the Upper Skagit Indian Tribe, the Sauk-Suiattle Indian Tribe, Lummi Indian Nation, and Nooksack Indian Tribe attend, bringing their blessings and songs.
We are excited to work with so many committed people to reintroduce fishers into another area where they have lived historically, said Hannah Anderson, WDFWs listing and recovery manager. Fisher enthusiasts ranging across nations have come together to work toward robust wildlife populations with the reintroduction of these animals in Washington.
Fishers are related to wolverines and otters and are native to the forests of Washington, including the Cascade mountain range. This elusive carnivore preys on various small mammals mountain beavers, squirrels and snowshoe hares and is one of the few predators of porcupines.
The North Cascades are a wild and iconic piece of the Pacific Northwests natural heritage and today theyre wilder and healthier with the return of the fisher to North Cascades National Park Service Complex, said Mitch Friedman, Executive Director of Conservation Northwest. Were thrilled to be a part of this historic reintroduction effort, and thankful to all the scientists, agencies, and supporters who made it possible.
As one of Canadas leading conservation organizations, we are delighted to lend our expertise in the field of reintroduction science to this international collaboration focusing on this endangered species, says Dr. Clément Lanthier, president and CEO, Calgary Zoo. Fishers know no borders and it is only we when work together without divisions that we can truly make a difference for species at risk around the world.
The state recovery and implementation plans for fisher reintroduction in the Cascades can be found at: http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisher/reintroduction_cascades.html
Support and funding for fisher reintroductions comes from WDFW, NPS, Conservation Northwest, Calgary Zoo, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Forest Service, Washingtons National Park Fund, Northwest Trek, Pittman-Robertson Funds and State Wildlife Grants, and State Personalized License Plates, among others.
The 2019 regulation booklets are now out for both hunting and fishing and the good news is that the rumors of no fee increases were absolutely true and 2019 licenses and tags can now be purchased – in several different ways.
(1) – You can purchase your licenses and tags the way you always have from your usual ODFW license retailer, ODFW regional office or print at home (after visiting the ODFW website) -which will provde you with hard copies of the items purchased. (2) – You can purchase digital licenses, tags, endorsements or validations that can be displayed on your smart phones. The ODFW website (myodfw.com) can offer assistance with this type of purchase.
If opting for the smart phone option, keep in mind to keep your phone fully charged – as the purchased documents must be immediately available upon request.
Different law enforcement officials may have different ideas of “immediately available” and last spring an angler fishing for shad at Yellow Creek was ticketed for keeping his fishing license in his car – less than 100 yards from where he was fishing.
There were very few changes in the 2019 fishing regulations, but the one that jumped out at me was the removal of numbers and size limits on striped bass. The stated reason was to simplify Oregon’s angling regulations, but what it tells me is that fish species that have been in Oregon for only 130 years – are just not very important.
Since I had not heard anything about the tiger muskies and tiger trout that had been stocked for several years in eastern Oregon’s Phillips Reservoir, I decided to call Tim Bailey, the District Biologist for the ODFW office in LaGrande. Tim informed me that both programs were pretty much failures and in the process of being discontinued or had already been terminated.
When I suggested that perhaps the ODFW’s efforts were somewhat “half-hearted”, since several other states were enjoying major success with both fish species, Tim quickly assured me that lack of effort was definitely not the case. Over a five year period the ODFW had planted about 50,000 tiger muskies into Phillips Reservoir – a body of water of about 2,200 surface acres when full – and had very few of them caught by anglers. Most of the early muskie plants were of five-inch fish. The later plants were of ten-inch fish, but both fish sizes suffered extreme mortality – most likely from fish-eating birds like mergansers and cormorants and with the ten-inch planted muskies, ospreys.
The average size of the tiger muskies stocked by Washington state in their very successful tiger muskie program is 12-inches. The Washington tiger muskie program is basically a catch and release fishery since the minimum size for retention is 50-inches. Even the first tiger muskie exceeding 50-inches that was landed, although legal to keep, was promptly released. Both that muskie and the current state record of 37.88 pounds were pulled from Curlew Lake in eastern Washington.
According to Wikipedia, much better survival rates for larger stocked tiger muskies translates into the larger planted muskies being more cost-effective. Western states that have tiger muskie stocking programs include: Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
As for Phillip’s Reservoir’s tiger trout – the reservoir simply was not suitable habitat for them. More suitable are Diamond Lake and Fish Lake (Medford area), which currently have catch and release fisheries for tiger trout with a few of the hybrids exceeding 18-inches in length.
We’ve had enough rain to get coho salmon into the three coastal lakes that allow fishing for them. Recently, Siltcoos Lake has been providing the best salmon fishing. Tahkenitch Lake got some fresh salmon after a very slow three weeks and Tenmile Lake finally received fishable numbers of coho salmon. The Bite’s On Tackleshop in Empire reported that one of their customers trolling South Tenmile Lake last week, hooked and landed a 25 pound chinook salmon.
A good salmon fishing strategy is to fish near where tributary streams enter all three of these lakes as it is late enough in the season for the salmon to actually enter these spawning tributaries should we get more rain. However, the actual tributaries are closed to fishing during salmon season.
Tenmile has also been giving up fair numbers of decent-sized yellow perch and some of the more serious bass fishermen have been having fair, if inconsistent success, on largemouth bass.
South coast streams such as the Elk and Sixes rivers both have good numbers of chinook salmon in them and anglers familiar with these rivers adjust their fishing plans almost daily as the Elk River tends to clear more quickly than does the Sixes.
Recreational ocean crabbing is now legal and while crabbing in Oregon’s bays and the lower portions of Oregon’s coastal rivers is definitely slowing down, some decent catches are still being made. Winchester Bay’s South Jetty has been offering fair fishing for striped surfperch, greenling, rockfish with some lingcod when it has been calm enough to actually fish it.
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.