Monthly Archives: October 2013

Hunting Possibilities Often Overlooked at Potholes Reservoir

Kelly and Morgan Ross, of Moses Lake, show a Goose they got on a Royal Slope Hunt this past weekend.

Kelly and Morgan Ross, of Moses Lake, show a Goose they got on a Royal Slope Hunt this
past weekend.

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Potholes Reservoir News

The most remarkable fish in my opinion gathered during the study on day one was this 15lb 4oz walleye.  Region 2 Fish Biologist, Chad Jackson, is holding this fish.

The most remarkable fish in my opinion gathered during the study on day one was this 15lb 4oz walleye. Region 2 Fish Biologist, Chad Jackson, is holding this fish.

The Fall Walleye Index Netting was held on Potholes Reservoir this week, this study is used to identify walleye populations and health.  The data is gathered also to help determine appropriate walleye limits.  Mark Peterson, Region 2 Fish Biologist, leads the team that conducts this study.  Volunteers help with this extremely laborious event.  The volunteers this year were from the Central Washington Fish Advisory Committee (cwfac.org) and the Hidas Valley Scouting Group from Ellensburg.

Late October weather has a great feel with daytime highs in the 60’s.  For quite some time walleye and perch fishing off the humps at the face of O’Sullivan Dam area has been producing limits.  Fishers trolling are also having excellent walleye fishing using a spinner and crawler combo, a Rapala Shad Rap, DC-13’s or Baby Hot Lips.  It’s a good time to gather some walleye dinners for family and friends.  With very little fishing pressure the MarDon Dock continues to produce limits of quality crappie up to 13 inches using mini jigs tipped with a small piece of night crawler or a maggot.

Duck and Goose Hunting are still just getting rolling.  There are lots of species available in the Potholes Sand Dunes but mainly just the local hatch and no Northerns’ are being reported at this time.  The Goose Hunting is improving with more and more geese moving into the area but due to our mild weather this hunting has been challenging.  With colder temperatures hunting will improve for ducks and geese.  Pheasant season opened last Saturday and we did receive positive reports from our Royal Youth Booster Hunters.

Remember every Friday is Free Dock Fishing Friday on the MarDon Dock.  You still have to come into the store and get a pass but there is no charge.  Call (509)346-2651 for more information.

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ODFW NEWS 10/24/2013 ODFW tracking juvenile salmon and steelhead in John Day Basin

JOHN DAY, Ore. — Biologists with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will be capturing and implanting radion transmitters in juvenile salmon and steelhead in the John Day Basin in order to follow their movements through the mainstem of the John Day River.

Biologists will target young chinook salmon and summer steelhead as they migrate from Canyon Creek, Beech Creek and the South Fork of the John Day River this fall and winter. Work is expected to begin in mid- to late October.

According to Jim Ruzycki, ODFW fish research Mid-Columbia program manager, these activities are designed to identify fall and winter habitat for juvenile salmon and steelhead in the John Day River.

“Knowing where juvenile salmon and steelhead spend these cold periods and how well they survive will help direct future conservation actions such as habitat improvement,” he said.

“People may see us driving slowly down roads with antennas protruding out of vehicles or floating the John Day River between the towns of John Day and Kimberly in small inflatable boats,” Ruzycki said. Biologists will be contacting landowners prior to launching and retrieving boats to request access to private lands where fish may be wintering.

The ODFW is conducting this work in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation and The Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs Reservation.

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ODFW News 10/23/2013 Deschutes River Fish Kill

Drought, migrating fish may have contributed to Deschutes fish stranding

BEND, Ore. – Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) fish biologists in partnership with the Oregon Water Resources Department (OWRD) investigated how a suite of unusual conditions, including drought, better than average fall flows in recent years, and fish migrating out of Wickiup Reservoir, may have contributed to the death of about 450 trout on the Deschutes River near Bend last week.

The dead fish were found in a side channel of the river near Lava Island southwest of Bend. According to ODFW fish biologist Erik Moberly, the dead fish were reported last Thursday afternoon and on Friday morning volunteers and ODFW staff were able to rescue about 750 trout (a combination of redband rainbow and brown trout) and 500 sculpin that were still alive in a handful of water pools.

In addition to trout, about 1,220 mountain whitefish and a similar number of sculpin died when declining water levels left them stranded in the natural lava side channel, which normally has water only during higher flows. Redband rainbow trout are listed as a sensitive species by the state of Oregon. No other listed fish, including bull trout, were found.

All the dead fish were found within a ½ mile stretch of side channel.

Water levels in the Deschutes River normally decline this time of year as releases from Wickiup Reservoir are reduced by dam operators. Every year, the ramp down rate is conducted at a rate lower than the maximum ramp down rate set by the U.S. Forest Service Upper Deschutes Wild and Scenic River Management Plan, which was developed in collaboration with ODFW, OWRD, and irrigation districts.

Consistent with that plan, this year’s ramp down occurred at a slower rate than previous years. ODFW and OWRD will continue to investigate whether ramp down levels were a factor and if necessary, work with partners to make adjustments in the future. However, a slower ramp down rate is considered to be better for fish, leading water and fishery managers to look for other explanations why so many fish were stranded in the channel.

ODFW believes that two good years of water in 2011 and 2012, when the channel did not completely dry up, resulted in more fish in the side channel this year than would normally occur. In addition, there appears to be more fish in the river that emigrated from Wickiup reservoir, which was low this year due to drought conditions.

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ODFW News 10/23/2013 – Sturgeon Retention Comes To An End On the Lower Willamette River

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – With 820 boats counted on the lower Willamette River during Saturday’s sturgeon retention season and an average catch rate of 1.5 sturgeon kept per boat, the remaining sturgeon quota of about 1,000 was quickly achieved. Anglers reeled in an estimated 1,200 keepers Saturday, prompting fishery managers from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife to announce the lower Willamette River will remain closed to white sturgeon retention for the rest of the year.

Sturgeon retention remains open seven days a week on the Willamette River upstream of Willamette Falls with a size restriction of 38 to 54 inches fork length and on the Columbia River between The Dalles and John Day dams only with a 43-54 inches fork length restriction. Both of the retention fisheries are subject to a bag limit of one white sturgeon per day and two per year.

In all areas, catch-and-release sturgeon angling is allowed during non-retention periods.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 10/23/2013

Bait and bobber anglers conitinue to account for most of the salmon at Winchester Bay. A few salmon are still being taken by boat anglers and the Jerry’s brand of herring is once again available. The mist successful bait anglers are using both salmon roe and sand shrimp for bait. The few boats that are still trolling herring for salmon in the lower Umpqua River are fishing just inside the bar, since they can only keep Chinook salmon in the ocean and that will close at the end of October.

According to Gary at Snowy River Mercantile, a tackleshop in Wells Creek, fishing for both coho and Chinook salmon have has been good from below Wells Creek all the way to Tyee and above with the best bite occurring at daybreak – or shortly thereafter.

Bottomfishing at the South Jettyt and Triangle area has been largely ignored. There has been some fishing pressure at the offshore bottom fishing spots out of Winchester Bay. Scott Howard  of Strike Zone Charters got clients into  limits of sizable lingcod and and fair numbers of rockfish. Some of the lingcod have been big. Bob Carrier fished last week with some of his friends and one of the lingcod they landed weighed a few ounces less than 30 pounds – and that was after a couple of hours of dehydration and being bled  The jumbo lingcod certainly weighed more than 30 pounds when first caught.

The meat of a lingcod isn’t as dense as the meat of a salmon and any lingcod that actually weighs an honest 30 pounds is truly a gigantic fish.

Smallmouth bass fishing continues to be surprisingly good for this time of year. Afternoon fishing for largemouth bass can also be good – but low weedy water may limit lure options.

Most of the fishing pressure directed at yellow perch has been at Tenmile Lakes, but Saunders Lake can be a “sleeper” for perch. However those tropy rainbows recently planted in Saunders seem to be pretty much caught out.

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Alligator Snapping Turtle Captured in Oregon

The first alligator snapping turtle found in the wild in Eastern Oregon was removed from Prineville Reservoir last week. The species, which is native to the southeastern United States, is considered invasive in Oregon. It can be very aggressive and eats primarily native fish but can capture other animals such as ducklings.  And it is a safety hazard to people—it has quite a bite.

According to Simon Wray, ODFW Conservation Biologist, it was probably released into the reservoir by someone who kept it as a pet. “People get these turtles when they are small and release them when they get too big and aggressive to keep as pets,” he said. “It’s a poor choice for a pet and the environment.”

Rick Boatner, ODFW Invasive Species Coordinator, said alligator snapping turtles are rare in the western part of the state but have been reported. “I’d hate to see these turtles get established in Oregon. We already have problems in the Willamette Valley with common snapping turtles.”

If you see an alligator or common snapping turtle, contact your local ODFW office. If you have an unwanted pet turtle, contact ODFW so it can be humanly euthanized and kept out of Oregon’s waters.

An angler fishing on Prineville Reservoir reported the nonnative turtle to ODFW and biologists captured it the following day. The alligator snapping turtle (Marcroclemys temminckii) is the largest freshwater turtle in North America and can grow to 250 pounds.

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Fishing Report From Mardon Resort

Late October weather has a great feel with daytime highs in the low 60 degree range.  For quite some time walleye and perch fishing off the humps at the face of O’Sullivan Dam area has been producing limits.  Fishers trolling are also having excellent walleye fishing using a spinner and crawler combo, a Rapala Shad Rap, DC-13’s or Baby Hot Lips.  It’s a good  time to gather some walleye dinners for family and friends.  With very little fishing pressure the MarDon Dock continues to produce limits of quality crappie up to 13 inches using mini jigs tipped with a small piece of night crawler or a maggot.

 

Tim Larson, of Kirkland, shows some nice walleye and a perch caught on a day out fishing this fall.

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Bass Fishing at Potholes Reservoir Still Very, Very Good

Like every other fish species at Potholes Reservoir, some of the largemouth bass are real lunkers

Like every other fish species at Potholes Reservoir, some of the largemouth bass are real lunkers

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Pete Heley Outdoors 10/16/2013

The salmon fishing at Winchester Bay for boat anglers has definitely slowed down. There has been some success for anglers fishing just inside the Umpqua River Bar for cohos and a few chinooks, but the hottest bite has been enjoyed by bank anglers fishing bobbers and bait in the East Boat Basin. It appears that Winchester Bay’s bobber fishery has really taken off with a number of limits taken last week. A few salmon are being taken each day by shore bound spinner flingers, but bait fishing is taking over.

Although a few anglers are still fishing near the bridge over Winchester Creek, most of the recent fishing activity
has been taking place on the channel connecting the East Boat Basin to the Umpqua River (0n the side opposite the Coast Guard Station). Although both sand shrimp and salmon roe are popular baits, the most successful anglers are using both baits at the same time.

Rough ocean and bar conditions have limited the number of anglers bottom fishing out of Winchester Bay (the deeper areas only became legal to fish on October 1st).

An increasing number of anglers are starting to fish the smaller south coast salmon steams which host late runs of salmon. Those fisheries have yet to peak, though.

The lakes that received plants of trophy rainbows last week still have some left. Both Empire Lakes and Powers Pond seem to have more trout left in them than does Saunders Lake. Other fishing possibilities include Tenmile Lakes for yellow perch, rainbow trout and largemouth bass and the Umpqua River for smallmouth bass. Tenmile Lakes has a good, very much overlooked cold weather fishery for brown bullhead catfish in water at least 15 feet deep with night crawlers being the most commonly used bait.

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