Monthly Archives: March 2019

Southern Oregon Bass Photo.

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Mardon Resort / Potholes Recreation Report.

Reservoir is ice free – finally! Most launches are open – and the remaining couple will open up within a day or two. The water temp reports have varied from the mid-30’s to the low 40’s depending on where you are on the Reservoir. The sand dunes remain iced over out to the front – but should open up a bit this week. Most of the Seep Lakes have thawed – especially the ones that have water moving thru them.

Mardon Dock on March 28, 2019.

There have not been many anglers on the water as we were iced over several days ago, but there are a few reports of both Largemouth and Smallmouth being caught in the past day or two and trout are being caught in the Seep Lakes that have thawed and that are open.

Make sure you check the WDFW regulations before heading out. The regulations have changed on many of the lakes in the Columbia Basin Wildlife Refuge. We really don’t have the March 1 or April 1 opener this year. Most non-year around lakes in the Refuge have changed to the 4thSaturday in April opener. The year around lakes appear to have remained the same – open. Just double check!

The WDFW has produced a great app that allows you to check the current regulations on any body of water in Washington. Go to the app store and download it to your phone. It is interactive and a very useful tool.

There are still many Sandhill Cranes, Bald Eagles and Snow Geese in the area and with the weather improving we have a unique wildlife viewing opportunity in our area.

The fishing and the opportunity to fish is improving daily – call the MarDon Store for the latest and fishing info at 509-346-2651.

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WDFW approves 3-day razor clam dig beginning April 6

Razor clam diggers can return to various ocean beaches for a three-day opening beginning Saturday, April 6 and extending through the following Monday.

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig on morning low tides after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat.

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

  • April 6, Saturday, 8:05 a.m.; 0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • April 7, Sunday, 8:42 a.m.; 0.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • April 8, Monday, 9:20 a.m.; 0.0 feet; Mocrocks

Beachgoers should note a change from the tentative schedule announced earlier. Shellfish managers canceled the April 6 razor clam dig at Copalis and replaced it with a dig just down the road at Mocrocks beach.

“Our razor clam-loving population has been hitting Copalis beach hard in recent months,” said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “Based on our projections, we need to make this shift to ensure a healthy population of razor clams for the fall and coming years.”

Ayres recommends that diggers hit the beach about an hour or two before low tide for the best results.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2019-20 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. 2018-19 licenses will no longer be valid for this dig. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license (starting at $9.70) 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.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

WDFW is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities. WDFW razor clam digs support outdoor lifestyles and coastal economies.

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Sturgeon fishery opens May 13 in the Columbia River estuary.

Starting May 13, anglers will have an opportunity to catch and retain legal-size white sturgeon in the lower 40 miles of the Columbia River under rules approved by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

The fishery is scheduled Mondays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays through June 5 from the Wauna powerlines, which cross Puget Island near Cathlamet, downriver to Buoy 10 at the mouth of the Columbia River. Adjacent Washington tributaries will also be open for sturgeon fishing those days.

The fishery closes at 2 p.m. each of those days. Only white sturgeon measuring 44 to 50 inches from the tip of their nose to the fork in their tale (“fork length”) may be retained.

Laura Heironimus, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said anglers fishing in estuary will be allowed to harvest up to 2,960 of the estimated 160,250 legal-size sturgeon below Bonneville Dam.

“This year’s abundance estimate for legal-size sturgeon is similar to last year, and large enough for a decent fishery,” Heironimus said. “The guideline allows harvest on less than 4 percent of the legal-sized population. That’s important because the juvenile portion of the population is still well below desired levels – a concern for future fisheries.”

Catch limits during the season are one legal-size white sturgeon per day and two legal-size fish per year.

For additional information about the upcoming fishery, see the Fishing Rule Change at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=2296.

Two other sturgeon fisheries are currently underway farther upstream on the Columbia River:

  • Bonneville Pool: Anglers may retain white sturgeon measuring 38-54 inches (fork length) between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam until the catch reaches the harvest guideline of 500 fish. 
  • John Day Pool: Anglers may retain white sturgeon measuring 43-54 inches (fork length) between John Day Dam and McNary Dam until the catch reaches the 105-fish guideline.
  • The Dalles Pool: These waters are closed to retention fishing, but remain open to catch-and-release fishing
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Arizona Fishing Report 03 / 28 / 2019.

On Thursday morning we stocked Roosevelt Lake in the Tonto National Forest with 13,000 crappie. With all the recent inflows and newly inundated vegetation (the lake is at 70% full) this was the perfect time to stock
these crappie that averaged 6 inches (up to 10 inches).
 
 
 
 
 
The spawn is on. Early bird lakes Alamo and Havasu have had some pre-spawn action for bass for a couple weeks, and now reports are that there are bedding fish at Lake Pleasant.

At Saguaro Lake, bass are staging up on outside points leading into spawning bays, said Scooter Griffiths of Arizona Fishing Guides. Canyon Lake is primarily in pre-spawn, he said, and water temperatures at Roosevelt Lake remain too cold for many bedding fish. Bartlett Lake is 100-percent full and there should be some great pre-spawn action. Try reaction baits in shallow water.

Last we heard, crappie fishing was somewhat slow at Alamo Lake, but picking up at Roosevelt.

In the White Mountains region, we won’t stock until the roads are open and anglers can access the lakes. Tentative stocking dates are late April- early May, as roads open to vehicle traffic per the U.S. Forest Service, but that stocking schedule isn’t finalized yet.

Black Canyon Lake will be the first of the Rim lakes open and accessible to angling. Roads are open and it will be stocked in early April.

By the way, check out our spring “lake by lake” Fishing Forecasts for each region. This is the state’s most comprehensive source of fishing information for what can be expected for fishing each season.
Silver Creek regulations change April 1At Silver Creek, the regulations will change to the summer Statewide Regulations season on (April 1 through September 30) that allows bait fishing and a six trout daily bag limit. The upper section will be closed. During this catch-and-keep season in the spring and summer, only the lower 1.6 miles, downstream of the marked fence, may be fished. No unauthorized entry is ever allowed in the hatchery grounds.

Through March, Silver Creek is open to catch-and-release only. Visitors advised to avoid

AZGFD Outdoor Expo is this weekendArizona’s largest hands-on outdoor expo is this weekend and it’s free. Hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 30, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 31. To get to the Expo, take I-17 to Carefree Highway, turn west, and watch for the signs. See more information.Catch of the WeekSend your fishing reports and photos to vog.dfgzanull@gnihsiFB —
one will be selected for Catch of the Week

Papago Ponds  
Mark M. caught this reported 13-pound channel catfish on Saturday morning at Papago Park using Hog Wild stink bait balls.  He said he had 8- pound SpiderWire line on an Ugly Stik rod.
This week’s scheduled stockingsRainbow trout: Lower Lake Mary (52 degrees), Lower Salt River, Verde River (Camp Verde to Clarkdale, 56-58 degrees).

Channel catfish: Greenfield Pond (Mesa)

Sunfish: “Core” Community waters.Upcoming Family Fishing EventsNote: At these free fishing clinics, loaner rods are provided, bait is free, and no license is required for those who register at the AZGFD booth during event hours.

Saturday, April 6

Hook-to-Plate Family Fishing Event, 8 a.m-noon, Cortez Park, 3434 W. Dunlap Ave. Phoenix.

This Hook-to-Plate event will allow anglers to learn how to catch fish, clean the catch, and cook the catch!

The Breadfruit and Rum Bar will be on-hand for cleaning and cooking demonstrations. There will be a youth license giveaway (age 10-17) to the first 100 youth who sign up and attend the event; the Phoenix Sportsman’s Warehouse will hold a kids’ drawing for prizes and giveaways (including fishing gear); the Uptown Farmer’s Market will. have produce/farmer’s stand on site for people to purchase fresh, locally-grown produce that pairs well with fish to take home with their “catch of the day,” and the AZ Farm Bureau will provide recipe cards.

See more info and upcoming events.
Save time, buy online Grab a license online (that helps conserve all species of wildlife, not to mention provides funding that goes back into fishing opportunities) and go “Fish AZ”
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Pete Heley Outdoors 3 / 27 / 2019.

As I am writing this on Sunday there have yet to be any verifiable reports of a spring chinook salmon being actually landed on the Umpqua River. If it doesn’t happen soon, the Umpqua’s first shad may precede it.

The Umpqua’s first shad should arive in early April and river levels and water temperatures will have a lot to do with how well they bite. The best early fishing for them is usually in the Yellow Creek area, but during low river levels the shad often stack up below Sawyers Rapids and fishing can be incredible.


Perhaps the first Umpqua River springer will be caught by an angler fishing the ocean near the Umpqua River mouth.


Striped bass anglers are the most close-mouthed of all area anglers, but the fishery on the Smith River and to a lesser extent on the Umpqua River typically starts in late March with the best fishing occurring in the upper several miles of tidewater – and stripers are definitely more active at night than during daylight hours, but the increased difficulty of fishing at night might come close to evening the score – “catch-wise”.


Some very good catches of largemouth bass were made during the warmest days of last week. Cooler weather is projected, but sunny afternoons with low wind should have the bass active in any shallow lake or pond.

Tenmile Lake receives most of the area’s bassfishing pressure, and rightfully so as it is a very productive nationally esteemed bass fishery. But I feel that Tenmile Lake’s biggest value is ensuring virtually every other bass fishery in our area is relatively underfished.


My favorite early season technique for smallmouth bass on the Umpqua River  is to target significant indentions or backwaters. If the upper ends of a backwaters is upriver from where it meet the river – so much the better, because the amount of cooler river water entering such backwaters will be greatly reduced and the upper ends can easily be several degrees warmer than the lower ends. There are a number of these spots in the Yellow Creek area – but no matter where they are located, they always seem to productive early season smallmouth spots.

 
Crappies have yet to show up at the upper end of Loon Lake and the lower end of Eel Lake.

Loon Lake was recently planted with legal-sized rainbow and a few anglers have used trout-imitating swimbaits to catch some sizable early season largemouts following Loon’s initial trout plants in year’s past. Because the BLM Campground is not yet open and the lake’s Mill Creek outlet is at the lower end of the lake – Loon Lake’s trout are planted at the boat ramp at the lake’s upper end.


I fished the upper end of Loon Lake for less than an hour last Sunday and found a few sluggish bluegills near the old Fish Haven/Ducketts dock and the first one I caught measured 8.5-inches. There were a few even larger bluegills present, but they were inactive and will likely move to deeper water with this week’s cooler weather. Ten casts with the same lure I was using for bluegill, a one-inch section of a white Berkley Gulp trout worm on a 1/64 ounce jighead – netted me five 9 – 10-inch recently planted rainbow trout.


Eel Lake is scheduled to receive its initial trout plant this week. The 2,500 legal rainbows may increase fishing pressure enough that a few warmwater fish may be caught. It seems that many of the lake’s anglers seem unable to tell the difference between Eel Lake’s trout, which are legal to keep and the coho salmon that don’t leave the lake which are illegal to keep.


After several last-minute changes to the ODFW stocking schedule, it appears that both Upper and Lower Empire Lakes received 400 trophy rainbows last week. Other trout plants made last week include Johnson Mill Pond (Coquille) with 50 trophies; Garrison Lake (Port Orford) with 200 trophies; Bradley Lake (Bandon) with 200 trophies; Lake Marie with 2,000 legals and Loon Lake with 1,500 legals. Cooper Creek Reservoir in Sutherlin, which received 1,500 legal rainbows last week, also contains fair numbers of stocked coho salmon which are legal to keep – if they are at least eight inches long.


Crabs are still being caught in the lower end of Coos Bay near Charleston – but it isn’t hot by any means. Boat crabbers crabbing the lower end of Half Moon Bay in Winchester Bay have made some decent catches, but crabbing off the old Coast Guard Pier – only a few hundred yards farther up the Umpqua River, is much tougher. 


Jetty anglers are still enjoying good fishing for lingcod and mosy likely will continue to do so until late April when the lingcod that have taken up temporary residence to spawn move back out to deeper water leaving only resident lings for anglers to target.


The ODFW has initiated a program designed to connect hunters with landowners who complain about or report problems with wild turkeys. The program will initially deal with property owners on the outskirts of Eugene, Springfield and Corvallis.


Oregon occasionally makes me quite proud – such as when they recently enacted a ten year ban on fracking in the exploration for oil and and natural gas – so it appears that Oregon’s groundwater will be safe, or at least safer, for the next decade – and hopefully longer.


It’s sad, but kind of ironic that Wickiup Reservoir is going to be full this spring mere months after being drawn down to the river bed. So central Oregon is going to have a very rich 11,000 acre reservoir – with almost no fish in it. Also of interest are the many thousands of rainbow trout, brown trout, brown bullhead catfish and largemouth bass that ended up in the Deschutes River below the dam.


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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Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Recreation Resort.

The current water level on the Potholes reservoir is remaining fairly steady in the 1043.5-foot range. The Potholes Reservoir remains iced over and no launches are available yet. The Bureau did open the Potholes Canal several days ago – so water is flowing thru the system. With the warmer temperatures the ice should be off the Reservoir around April 1.

There are plenty of sandhill cranes in the local fields and in the Columbia Basin Wildlife Refuge to watch as they make their annual stop-over on their way to Southern Alaska.

Along with the Sandhill Cranes, there are thousands of Snow Geese in the area as well. They are awesome to watch as they raft up on the Potholes Reservoir or set down in a field. The not so good side is that the Snow geese are  forcing the farmers in the area to replant fields as they eat differently than Canada geese. The Snow geese will grub thru the ground not only taking the above ground growth but the roots as well – thus clearing the ground of the crop. The Canada geese typically will graze on the above ground foliage leaving the roots intact allowing the crop to survive.

The not so good side is that the Snow geese are  forcing the farmers in the area to replant fields as they eat differently than Canada geese. The Snow geese will grub thru the ground not only taking the above ground growth but the roots as well – thus clearing the ground of the crop. The Canada geese typically will graze on the above ground foliage leaving the roots intact allowing the crop to survive.

Call the MarDon Store for the latest and fishing info at 509-346-2651.

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WDFW News – WDFW seeks input on proposed rules for fishing guide industry

 The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public comments on proposed rules that would require that fishing guides regularly report their fishing activities. 

Under the proposed rules, fishing guides would provide WDFW with information such as the date and location of each guided fishing trip, the number of anglers onboard, and the number and type of fish species caught per trip. 

Currently, WDFW relies on individual anglers to report their catch information but does not have a means of tracking whether the activity was part of a guided fishing trip, said Kelly Cunningham, deputy assistant director for WDFW’s Fish Program. 

“This information will help us understand the role the guide industry plays not only in terms of helping recreational anglers to access fisheries, but also in providing economic benefits to local and state economies,” Cunningham said. “We also have heard concerns about issues such as over-crowding and will use the information to understand if and where this is happening.”

Draft rules are posted for public review on the department’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/commercial/guide-logbook. WDFW will accept public comments submitted through 5 p.m., June 7, on that website, by email to vog.aw.wfdnull@rotanidrooC.seluR, or by postal mail to Scott Bird, WDFW Rules Coordinator, 600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

Cunningham noted the agency held more than a dozen meetings with fishing guides around the state to discuss guiding activities and requiring guides to record essential information about each trip. 

“We’re working with fishing guides to develop a reporting mechanism that works for them and provides the agency with timely information that will help us manage fisheries,” Cunningham said.

The department initiated a review of the guiding industry following a directive from the state Legislature in 2017. The stated objectives were to: 

  • Improve the fishing experience and ensure equitable opportunity for both guided and non-guided river anglers, 
  • Manage fishing pressure to protect wild steelhead and other species; and 
  • Ensure that recreational fish guiding remains a sustainable economic contributor to rural economies.

In 2018, the Legislature gave the department the OK to require fishing guides to report trip information. 

WDFW staff will present their proposal to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission at its April 5-6 meeting in Olympia. The commission is scheduled to take public comment on the proposal at its June 14-15 meeting in Port Angeles before making a decision during the Aug. 2-3 meeting. 

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CDFW Marks One-Year Anniversary of Nutria Eradication Effort – More Than 400 Nutria Captured.

One year after launching an Incident Command System and a formal effort to eradicate invasive nutria from the state, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reports significant progress in combatting the destructive, South American rodents – though much work remains. 

In the early 1900s, nutria were imported and farmed in California for the fur trade. Following the market collapse, escaped and released nutria established small populations that were eventually eradicated by the late 1970s. In 2017, nutria were again discovered within the San Joaquin Valley. Nutria pose a “triple threat” to California’s future as a top-rated agricultural pest, a destroyer of critical wetlands needed by native wildlife, and a public safety risk as their destructive burrowing jeopardizes the state’s water delivery and flood control infrastructure. CDFW has formed partnerships with both the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Food and Agriculture to survey and eradicate nutria from the state. To date:  

  • CDFW and USDA have taken or confirmed the take of 410 nutria in five counties – 330 from Merced County, 65 from San Joaquin County, 12 from Stanislaus County, two from Mariposa County and one from Fresno County. Nutria have also been confirmed in Tuolumne County. 
  • The eradication efforts have prioritized the one known nutria population in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta in order to limit their spread and impact on California’s most important water resource and the heart of the state’s water delivery and infrastructure. Of the 65 nutria taken from San Joaquin County, 64 were captured within Walthall Slough near Manteca. Survey crews have not detected nutria elsewhere in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. 
  • Nutria are a semi-aquatic species never far from water. CDFW has identified approximately 1.8 million acres of habitat suitable for nutria in California, mostly in the state’s central regions. CDFW so far has assessed more than 300,000 acres in three counties: Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin. 
  • In suitable nutria habitat, CDFW and its partners set up trail cameras to monitor for nutria presence and deploy traps to catch the nutria once their presence has been confirmed. Over the past year, the project has set up 487 camera stations, conducted more than 1,600 camera checks and deployed 995 trap sets for a total of 12,930 trap nights. 
  • CDFW’s eradication efforts have the broad support of the state’s agricultural community. As a top-rated agricultural pest, nutria threaten California’s nearly $50 billion agricultural industry. San Joaquin Valley farmers have donated five tons of sweet potatoes to use as bait to trap nutria. 
  • Nutria have been documented on federal, state and private property. Gaining access to private property is key to eradication efforts and to prevent isolated populations from re-infesting the state. More than 2,400 private property owners have granted CDFW written permission to survey and trap nutria on their land, which CDFW does at no cost to property owners. 
  • CDFW has received widespread public support for its eradication efforts. CDFW’s Invasive Species “hotline” and corresponding e-mail account has received 357 nutria reports from the public over the past year. While most of these have turned out to be false reports – either sightings of other wildlife mistaken for nutria or reports that lack enough information to confirm – public reporting will continue to be important to determine the full extent of the infestation. When possible, reports should be accompanied by photos and videos. CDFW’s toll-free reporting hotline is (866) 440-9530. The e-mail address to report nutria sightings is vog.ac.efildliwnull@sevisavni. CDFW’s nutria eradication webpage at www.wildlife.ca.gov/nutria offers references for distinguishing nutria from other similar aquatic animals. 
  • Public education and outreach are key components of CDFW’s eradication efforts. In addition to numerous nutria presentations in front of scientific, agricultural and community organizations, CDFW has partnered with the Delta Stewardship Council to produce a nutria identification pocket guide. The guide is available at http://deltacouncil.ca.gov/nutria-pocket-guide
  • CDFW has secured more than $3 million in state and federal grants to support nutria eradication. The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Conservancy has awarded CDFW $1.2 million over three years; California’s Wildlife Conservation Board has awarded CDFW $600,000 over three years; and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s State Wildlife Grant Program has awarded CDFW $1.25 million over three years. 
  • Future CDFW nutria efforts include using detection dogs to help locate remnant nutria or confirm their absence. CDFW also is in the early stages of developing a “Judas nutria” project where surgically sterilized nutria, which are social animals, are outfitted with radio telemetry collars and released back into the environment to lead biologists to other nutria. 
  • CDFW’s eradication efforts are modeled after those in the Chesapeake Bay in the 2000s. That ongoing effort is led by the federal government and has removed more than 14,000 nutria from 250,000 acres in the Delmarva Peninsula. Though nutria are established in more than a dozen U.S. states, including Washington, Oregon, and, most notably, Louisiana, the Chesapeake Bay effort remains the only successful, large-scale nutria eradication in U.S. history.
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Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Recreation Report.

The current water level on the Potholes reservoir is remaining fairly steady in the 1043.5-foot range. The Potholes Reservoir remains iced over and no launches are available yet. The Bureau did open the Potholes Canal several days ago – so water is flowing thru the system. With the warmer temperatures the ice should be off the Reservoir around April 1.

The Sandhill Crane festival begins today and runs thru the weekend in Othello. There are plenty of birds in the local fields and in the Columbia Basin Wildlife Refuge to watch as they make their annual stop-over on their way to Southern Alaska.

Along with the Sandhill Cranes, there are thousands of Snow Geese in the area as well. They are awesome to watch as they raft up on the Potholes Reservoir or set down in a field. The not so good side is that the Snow geese are  forcing the farmers in the area to replant fields as they eat differently than Canada geese. The Snow geese will grub thru the ground not only taking the above ground growth but the roots as well – thus clearing the ground of the crop. The Canada geese typically will graze on the above ground foliage leaving the roots intact allowing the crop to survive.

Call the MarDon Store for the latest and fishing info at 509-346-2651.

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