Monthly Archives: January 2019

WDFW will appeal Wenatchee ruling denying mitigation for mule-deer impacts.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) plans to appeal a decision by the City of Wenatchee that denies the department’s bid to require mitigation for impacts to mule deer from a 13-acre subdivision under development in the Wenatchee Foothills.

The department intends to file its appeal in Chelan County Superior Court next week, said Jim Brown, WDFW regional director. 

Brown said WDFW is concerned about the loss of prime mule deer habitat and the potential for human-wildlife conflicts resulting from the Black Rock Terrace development, located near Skyline Drive within Wenatchee’s city limits.

He noted that the land under development for a subdivision is designated by the state as priority mule deer habitat and supports the largest herd of wintering mule deer in Chelan County.

“We’re not trying to stop the project, but we do ask that the developer help to mitigate potential conflicts with deer and for lost wildlife habitat,” Brown said. “At minimum, we would expect conflicts to include an increase in collisions with deer and complaints about damage to landscaping around homes from deer eating ornamental plants.”

Mitigation measures sought by WDFW include:

  • Clustering development in order to maintain migration corridors for mule deer;
  • Adding signage cautioning drivers to watch for deer; 
  • Installing deer fencing around the development to minimize human-deer interactions; 
  • Shielding lights to reduce glare and light; 
  • Using cattle guards across ungated driveways to keep deer out of yards;
  • Installing native shrub-steppe vegetation to provide a functional strip of habitat; 
  • Requiring that pets be leashed when they’re outside fenced yards; and
  • Minimizing disturbance of vegetation on the property and controlling invasive and noxious weed species. 

A city hearing examiner denied WDFW’s mitigation request at a hearing Dec. 14, 2018, and again on reconsideration Jan. 7, 2019. 

Brown said WDFW designates the area scheduled for development as priority habitat for mule deer, and the City of Wenatchee’s comprehensive plan calls for “appropriate mitigation and enhancement measures” for development in habitat conservation areas. 

The city acknowledged WDFW’s priority habitat designation in its Mitigated Determination of Non-significance environmental statement for the Black Rock project, but Brown said the only mitigation it required was installation of a six-foot fence.

Brown said the city relied on the applicant’s mitigation plan, which relied on an outdated 2010 report to characterize the project site as a “low” priority area for mule-deer habitat. More recent information that reflects the significant impact of recent wildfires on that area, he said. 

“The project’s consultant has since said the site is frequently used by mule deer for winter foraging,” he said. “We simply want to work with the city to reduce the impacts of the project on mule deer and area residents before the development moves forward.”

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Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Recreation Report.

 The current water level on the Potholes Reservoir is 1041.48 feet – rising .71 feet over the past two weeks. The water level has come up 14.77 feet since low pool on September 14, 2018.  The water temperature on the Reservoir is in the low to mid-30s. The Potholes Reservoir is ice free and we have highs in the mid to low 40’s with lows in upper 20’s forecast for the next 10 days. 

The walleye fishing has picked up over the past two weeks with several limits being reported and at least two fish over 10 pounds being caught. Vertically jig or cast Blade Baits over humps topping out at 18-25 feet of water. Fish the tops of the humps down to about 40 feet. 

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.

There are ducks in the area – but the mild weather is making the hunting unpredictable and the birds are educated at this time of the year.  The warm temperatures and lack of ice is making it difficult to pattern the birds. Goose hunting continues to be very productive – with several Snow Geese being taken!

Duck Taxi trips and several guided goose hunts are still available for the end of the season. Call the MarDon Store for the latest fishing and hunting info and to make reservations at 509-346-2651.

Hope Cusack of Ellensburg caught this beautiful 10-pound Potholes Reservoir walleye this week jigging a Blade Bait. This was her very first walleye! 
Mason Meseberg of MarDon Resort shows his first Snow Goose!
Spud Brown of Royal City, Mike Meseberg of MarDon Resort, and party with the results of a very successful goose hunt. 
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California Outdoors Q&As.

What Can I Do About a Hawk Eating Its Lunch in My Yard?
Question: How can we discourage hawks from eating their prey in our backyard? Two days ago we watched a hawk eat a dove, making a huge mess everywhere. It came back today with a different bird, leaving a bloody mess and two feet behind. Is there a way to properly haze them or otherwise shoo them away? (Tierney)  
Answer: It sounds like the raptor is just doing what raptors naturally do. If it’s not causing harm or damage to your property (other than just making a mess), one could argue that this is a rare opportunity to watch nature at work, up close, in your own backyard – in this case, predator/prey dynamics. If you really find the front-row view bothersome, you may be able to discourage the raptor from coming into your yard to eat its prey by putting up a plastic owl figure or placing reflective ribbons along your fence line, similar to deterrent techniques used in agricultural operations. If you’re currently using a bird feeder, take it down, as bird feeders will attract the smaller birds that are a common source of prey for some hawks.  Understand it’s a trade-off: if you do these things, you’ll also discourage other birds from coming into your yard.

 What is Legal to Collect for a Home Aquarium? Question: I’ve been doing some research to see if it is ok to collect marine animals and/or plants for a private tank aquarium, but have not been able to find much information. Is it ok to put any type of “fin fish” in an aquarium? Is it ok to put invertebrates (clams, rock scallops, sea urchin, octopus, shrimp, etc.) in an aquarium? What about legal-size California spiny lobster, or marine plants? (Garrett) 

Answer: The only finfish you may possess and display in your home aquarium are those purchased legally through a commercial aquarium vendor and/or pet supply business. Live finfish may not be collected from the wild for aquarium display because it is illegal to transport live “finfish” from the wild (California Code of Regulations Title 14, section 1.63).

Live marine invertebrates may be collected, but only under the authority of a sport fishing license, and only those species allowed under a sport fishing license may be taken. In addition, any species with sport fishing restrictions (e.g. bag, size, possession, season limits, methods of take) are still covered under those regulations, and so collectors must also abide by these laws.

Invertebrates collected under the authority of a sport fishing license may not be used to establish breeding colonies for sale or trade with other people. Any trading, selling or possession for sale or trade of these animals constitutes commercial marine aquaria pet trade activity and requires all parties to hold “marine aquaria collectors permits” authorizing this practice. A marine collector’s permit is also required for any animals on display for the public.

Marine plants or algae, with the exception of eel grass (Zostera), surf grass (Phyllospadix) or sea palm (Postelsia), may be harvested from the wild as long as they are not taken from state marine reserves. State marine conservation areas and state marine parks may prohibit take. The daily bag limit on all marine aquatic plants for which the take is authorized is 10 pounds wet weight in the aggregate.

 Can I Archery Shoot Near a Residence? 
Question:I am curious about the regulation restricting shooting within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling. Does that apply to archery-type shooting, where one would be shooting directly away from the dwelling? (George) 
Answer: California Fish and Game Code, section 3004 (a) states: It is unlawful for a person, other than the owner, person in possession of the premises, or a person having the express permission of the owner or person in possession of the premises, while within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling house, residence, or other building, or within 150 yards of a barn or other outbuilding used in connection with an occupied dwelling house, residence, or other building, to either hunt or discharge a firearm or other deadly weapon while hunting. The 150-yard area is a “safety zone.” This means that no firearm or other deadly weapon such as a hunting bow can be discharged while hunting within 150 yards of the stated buildings without “express permission” (assuming you are not the owner or tenant of the property), and no hunting can occur inside that 150 yard zone without meeting the above requirements. Shooting a firearm or bow for target practice would not be prohibited under section 3004 – but there could be city or county restrictions that apply, so it is incumbent upon you to check local ordinances. Section 3004 (b) also states that it is unlawful for a person to intentionally discharge a firearm or release an arrow or crossbow bolt over or across a public road or other established way open to the public in an unsafe and reckless manner. This applies to any type of shooting with a firearm or bow that is shot over a road.
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Pete Heley Outdoors 1 / 16 / 2019

The main outdoor-related topic of conversation continues to be the new licensing system the ODFW started this year. While the new system seems to be a major step backward from the previous system which was in effect through mid-December of 2018, the ODFW does seem to be doing a pretty good job of fixing the numerous “glitches” as they are pointed out. At some point, one would hope that the long waiting times to reach the help line would shorten greatly. Currently the recording on the help line states that it operates seven days a week – even though it is closed on Saturdays and Sundays – which is very bad news for somebody that needs to enter a SSN that is new to the system.


Where the new system will certainly cause much more grief is when the fall hunting seasons come around.

What is surprising is that a few other states plan to adopt Oregon’s new system – but I would be very surprised if they didn’t wait until quite a few more “bugs” are addressed and corrected in Oregon’s system.
In the meantime, there are numerous bills before the Oregon State Legislature that should be of concern to Oregon’s outdoor sportsmen. Describing the bills would require far more space than my column is currently allotted, but an internet search should prove interesting.

The bills are: HB 2068; HB 2071; HB 2072; HB 2251; HB 2361; HB 2370; House Joint Resolution 9; SB 5; SB 87; SB 244; SB 275; SB 310; SB 323; SB 340; SB 341; SB 398; SB 439; SB 501; SB 547; SB 580; SB 593. HB stands for House Bill and SB stands for Senate Bill – and these are bills before the Oregon State Legislature.


If any of these bills happen to be of particular interest to you – feel free to contact your state representatives.


Trout plants in our area begin early next month, but many local waters are multi-species lakes and are open all year.

Some of the best multi-species lakes are: (1) – Eel Lake – has rainbow and cutthroat trout, landlocked coho salmon, bluegills, black crappie, largemouth bass and a few brown bullheads and smallmouth bass.  Eel Lake is not frequently stocked with trout, but has fair numbers of native, searun and carryover trout. It’s warmwater fisheries typically get going in the late spring, but they caught a few largemouth bass last week. Landlocked coho in the lake are not legal to keep. The fishing dock in Tugman Park is one of the lake’s best fishing spots for warmwater fish.

(2) – Saunders Lake – Heavily stocked with rainbow trout, Saunders has an excellent yellow perch fishery and offers decent fishing for largemouth bass, crappies and bluegills.

(3) – Johnson Mill Pond – This very shallow 90 acre former log pond has a strong bluegill population along with fair numbers of crappies, yellow perch, brown bullheads and largemouth bass. The pond is stocked with rainbow trout and also receives some salmon and steelhead smolts when it is connected to the Coquille River during high water.

(4) – Cleawox Lake – One of the most heavily stocked lakes in Oregon, Cleawox’s crappies, yellow perch, bluegills and largemouth bass are largely ignored by the trout anglers. The north arm of the lake is nearly disconnected from the main body of the lake and therefore ignored by most anglers – and seems to have most of the lake’s panfish.

(5) – Empire Lakes – The most heavily stocked trout lakes in southwest Oregon,  the deeper Upper Lake now receives most of the trout and the more shallow and weedier Lower Lake now has the most warmwater fish which include yellow perch, bluegills and largemouth bass along with a few crappies and brown bullheads.

(6) – Loon Lake – often muddy into mid-spring, Loon Lake is one of Oregon’s best bluegill lakes. The lake also has a good largemouth bass population and the upper portion of the lake has fair populations of crappies and brown bullheads. Loon is also stocked with trout and they are seldom quickly caught out. The lake also has a population of pikeminnows that infrequently can be a nuisance to anglers seeking other fish species.

(7) – Woahink Lake – has an undeserved reputation as a producer of jumbo yellow perch, Woahink has almost equal populations of largemouth and smallmouth bass. Anglers concentrating on the lake’s weedbeds will also catch yellow perch, bluegills, rainbow trout and pikeminnows – along with a very few cutthroat trout, black crappies and brown bullheads.


Farther afield, Selmac Lake is located south of Grants Pass near the town of Selmac. The 148 acre lake has large areas of shallow water which warm up quickly in the spring. The lake is best known for having a fair population of hard-to-catch lunker largemouth bass to more than 11 pounds, but the lake’s best fishery is for bluegills. Selmac is heavily stocked with trout and has a fair population of crappies along with some brown bullheads. Anglers fishing for panfish will also infrequently catch a golden shiner or warmouth or green sunfish. Seemingly designed for fishermen – more than 80 percent of the lake’s shoreline is accessible to bank anglers. 


Even farther afield is Dog Lake, situated near Lakeview in southeast Oregon. The lake has a few cutthroat trout, but is best known for it’s yellow perch fishery which can reach at least 14-inches. Black crappie to 16-inches have been caught in recent years. The lake also has a fair largemouth bass population with fish to at least nine pounds caught in recent years. During the last few years the lake’s best fishery is for brown bullheads which can reach good size. Dog Lake also has small numbers of bluegills and even fewer numbers of redear sunfish.

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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More Winchester Bay Bottomfish.

Fishing the Tenmile Reef continues to be red-hot for lingcod and Bottomfish.

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Mexican Wolf Update

Due to the federal government shutdown, updates for the month of December were only available for Arizona and the FAIR.  Program updates for New Mexico from the month of December were not available from the USFWS at the time this report was prepared.
The following is a summary of Mexican Wolf Reintroduction Project (Project)
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
azgfd.gov/wolf or by visiting the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website at fws.gov/southwest/es/mexicanwolf. For information on the FAIR call (928) 338-4385 ext. 226 or visit wmatoutdoors.org
Past updates may be viewed on these websites. Interested parties may sign upto receive this update electronically by visiting 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
Due to the federal government shutdown, updates for the month of December were only available for Arizona and the FAIR at the time this report was prepared.

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. Year-end population counts for 2018 continued during the month of December. 

IN ARIZONA:
Bear Wallow Pack (collared AM1338 and f1683)
In December, 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 December, the IFT documented yearling f1686 making dispersal movements from the pack’s territory within the eastern portion of the ASNF.  
Eagle Creek Pack (collared M1477)
In December, the IFT continued to document M1477 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 December, the Elk Horn Pack was located within their traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. The IFT continued to maintain 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 one occasion when the pack was located in the community of Alpine. Male mp1695 was documented traveling separate from the rest of the pack in New Mexico.
Hoodoo Pack (collared AM1290, AF1333, m1677, m1681, and mp1789)
In December, the Hoodoo Pack was located within their traditional territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. Yearling, m1677 was documented traveling separate from the rest of the pack in the east central portion of the ASNF. Male mp1789 was documented making dispersal movements from the pack’s territory in the east central part of the ANSF in December.

Pine Spring Pack (collared AM1394, AF1562, fp1794, and fp1825)
In December, 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 December, 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, and fp1792)
In December, the Saffel Pack was located in their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF. Yearling m1661 was found dead in AZ; the incident is currently under investigation.
Sierra Blanca Pack (collared M1571 and F1550)
In December, the Sierra Blanca Pack was located in their territory in the northeastern portion of the ASNF.  
Single collared F1489
In December, the IFT documented F1489 traveling in the north and east central portion of the ASNF.  
Single collared M1574
In December, the IFT documented M1574 traveling in the east central portion of the ASNF, the SCAR, and the eastern portion of the FAIR. 
Single collared AM1382
In December, the IFT documented AM1382 traveling in the east central portion of the ASNF.

ON THE FAIR:
Baldy Pack (collared AM1347 and F1560)
In December, the Baldy Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR and the north central portion of the ASNF. 
Maverick Pack (collared AF1291 and fp1828)
In December, the Maverick Pack was located within their traditional territory in the eastern portion of the FAIR and east central portion of the ASNF. 
Tsay-O-Ah Pack (collared M1559, AF1283 and f1674)
In December, 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. M1559, from the Tu dil hil Pack, has been documented traveling with the Tsay-O-Ah Pack since September 2018 and is now considered part of the Tsay-O-Ah Pack.
Single collared F1679
In December, F1679 of the Tu dil hil Pack was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR.  
Single collared M1824
In December, M1824 was documented traveling in the eastern portion of the FAIR, north central and north eastern portions of the ASNF and the northwestern portion of the Gila National Forest in New Mexico.
IN NEW MEXICO:

Updates for wolf packs in New Mexico from the month of December were not available from the USFWS at the time this report was prepared due to the federal government shutdown.
MORTALITIES
During the month of December, yearling m1661 of the Saffel Pack was located dead in Arizona. The incident is under investigation. December mortality data for New Mexico was not available from the USFWS at the time this report was prepared due to the federal shutdown. 
INCIDENTS

During the month of December, there were no confirmed wolf depredation incidents on livestock in Arizona. There was one nuisance incident in Arizona. December depredation and nuisance data for New Mexico was not available from the USFWS at the time this report was prepared due to the federal shutdown. 
On December 8, the IFT hazed the Elk Horn Pack after locating the wolves in an open pasture in Alpine, AZ near residences. 
On December 5, WMAT investigated a dead calf on the FAIR.  The investigation determined the calf was a confirmed dog kill.

COMMUNICATION AND COORDINATION

There were no communication/coordination updates from Arizona during the month of December.​​​​​​​
PROJECT PERSONNEL

In December, Emily Schafsteck and Jared Black joined the Mexican Wolf Recovery Program to work for the Arizona Game and Fish Department as wolf technicians.  Welcome Jared and Emily.

REWARDS OFFERED

The USFWS is offering a reward of up to $10,000; the AZGFD 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.

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CDFW News – CDFW Releases Guidance Document for Delta Conservation Planning.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) today released the Delta Conservation Framework as a comprehensive resource and guide for conservation planning in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta through 2050.

 The framework provides a template for regional and stakeholder-led approaches to restoring ecosystem functions to the Delta landscape. It incorporates feedback from a series of public workshops initiated in 2016, prior planning efforts and the best available science on Delta ecosystem processes.  “The history, culture, politics and ecosystems of the Delta are complex. The Delta is also connected in many ways to the lands, watersheds and communities that surround it,” said CDFW Delta Policy Advisor Carl Wilcox. “If the Delta Conservation Framework is used as a guide toward future conservation project planning and implementation, it is possible to achieve the vision of a Delta composed of resilient natural and managed ecosystems situated within a mosaic of towns and agricultural landscapes, where people prosper and healthy wildlife communities thrive.”

 The Delta Conservation Framework includes broad goals that acknowledge the importance of effective communication, community engagement and education, making decisions based on science, and working collectively on conservation permitting and funding. The framework suggests multiple strategies that could be used by all Delta stakeholders to move conservation forward. CDFW initiated the process to develop the Delta Conservation Framework to maintain and increase conservation momentum in the Delta.

More information about the process used to develop the framework, materials presented in the public workshop series, and electronic copies of the Delta Conservation Framework, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Watersheds/DCF

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Remembering Darrel Gabel

Darrel passed away on December 17th in Lakeside and will be greatly missed by those who knew him. Being less than a year apart age-wise, Darrel and I were certainly the two most “fishing-crazy” youths growing up in Lakeside – although Darrel was also an enthusiastic and accomplished hunter.

As a young adult, after having completed a hitch in the army, Darrel and I shared many fishing trips and I certainly learned a lot about striped bass angling from him, but did hook my largest Tenmile Creek coho salmon behind his family’s home on Tenmile Creek.

While Darrel was well known for catching and guiding people to striped bass (up to 65 pounds), he also held the unofficial largemouth bass record on Tenmile Lakes for a number of years with a seven pound 12 ounce bass he caught on a black plastic worm. He also caught hybrid stripers (wipers) to nearly 17 pounds from Tenmile Lakes.

I benefitted greatly from knowing Darrel Gabel and I tried to make him aware of any fishing hotspots I discovered. But I was a long way from evening the “informational exchange”.

It was painful watching Darrel’s health deteriorate – to the point where he could no longer do the “outdoorsy” things he was so good at. When it came to hunting and fishing instincts, Darrel stood apart.

A memorial service will be held for Darrel  at 12 p.m., Friday, Jan. 18, at Dunes Memorial 2300 Frontage Road in Reedsport.

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Winchester Bay Bottomfish Update.

Tenmile Reef is still producing red-hot fishing for lingcod and rockfish in slightly more than 300 feet of water.

A quick boat limit of lingcod and Bottomfish made these anglers quite happy. Photo courtesy of Bryan Gill and “The Umpqua Angler”.
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WDFW News – WDFW approves 5-day razor clam dig starting Jan. 17.

 – The next round of evening razor clam digs will run Jan. 17-21 at various ocean beaches, including the first opening of the season at Kalaloch.

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig on evening low tides after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat. No digging will be allowed on any beach before noon. 

The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates, and evening low tides: 

  • Jan. 17, Thursday; 3:39 p.m.; 0.4 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 18, Friday; 4:30 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors
  • Jan. 19, Saturday; 5:18 p.m.; -1.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
  • Jan. 20, Sunday; 6:05 p.m.; -1.6 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Kalaloch
  • Jan. 21, Monday; 6:51 p.m.; -1.8 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, recommends that diggers hit the beach about an hour or two before low tide for the best results.

“Diggers should always keep an eye on the surf and come prepared with good lighting devices for the digs that occur after dark,” Ayres said.

Ayres said the department has also tentatively scheduled a dig in early February, pending the results of another round of marine toxin tests. If those tests are favorable, that dig will run Feb. 1-3.

More information on planned digs can be found on WDFW’s razor clam webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2018-19 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

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