Monthly Archives: November 2013

Some Problems Associated With Giving a Weekly Fishing Report

I received a comment not so long ago taking exception with one of my fishing reports. The guy had enjoyed very good fishing for several days on the Umpqua River and wanted to know why I was reporting the fishing as inconsistent.

This is a common mistake made by individual fishermen – where they equate their personal fishing success with the success of the entire fishing public. At the same this person was having a good week of fishing, I was getting report after report of of anglers having poor or inconsistent fishing success.

I absolutely hate giving a fishing report that gives anglers an overly-optimistic, yet unrealistic idea of their probably fishing success. At the same time, if there is a chance of their having a decent outing, I don’t want to discourage them. It’s a fine line to walk and it is made more diffficult by the time lag between when a fishing report is written and when it is actually published.

That is a major reason why I over-use such words as however and possibly.

Of course, anglers could do a better job of being aware of fishing success beyond their own immediate sphere. When fishing is tough, it seems that many anglers do everything they can do to not notice the fish catches made by anybody else.

I once fished a productive sand dunes lake near Hauser (North of North Bend) and caught and released sever nice-sized bass on buzzbaits while the the angler I was introducing to the lake fished 20 yards away. As soon as I set the hook, he would quickly turn his float tube so his back was to me.

In response, I made sure to allow each bass to make as much commotion and noise as possible, yet when we finished the two hour trip, the angler asked me if I had had any “bites”.

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WDFW News – Columbia River Hatchery Program To Be Evaluated

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is seeking public comments on a proposal to formally end releases of hatchery steelhead in three tributaries of the lower Columbia River to support the recovery of wild fish.

That approach, recommended by three WDFW advisory groups over the past two years, would eliminate the release of all hatchery-raised steelhead on the East Fork Lewis River and the North Fork Toutle/Green River watershed as early as next year.

It would also prohibit future releases of hatchery steelhead in the Wind River, which has not been stocked with steelhead since 1997.

The department will hold a public meeting to discuss the proposal Dec. 5 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the WDFW Region 5 office in Vancouver, Wash., 2108 Grand Blvd. Comments will also be accepted through Dec. 13 at http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01559/ , where the advisory groups’ recommendations are posted for review.

Cindy Le Fleur, WDFW regional fish manager, said the proposal would create several “wild stock gene banks” in the lower Columbia River, where wild steelhead populations have been listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act since 1998.

“The goal of this proposal is to preserve key wild steelhead populations by minimizing interference by hatchery-produced fish,” Le Fleur said. “Research has shown that those interactions can range from interbreeding to competition for food and habitat.”

Gene banks are one of a number of management strategies endorsed by the department’s Statewide Steelhead Management Plan, adopted in 2008. WDFW established the state’s first official steelhead gene bank last year in the Sol Duc River on the Olympic Peninsula.

Under the recommendations for the lower Columbia, WDFW plans to plant 35,000 steelhead smolts currently earmarked for the East Fork Lewis River in the Washougal River and 20,000 in Salmon Creek. The department is still looking for a place to relocate the 25,000 smolts currently scheduled for the North Fork Toutle/Green River watershed, Le Fleur said.

Final recommendations on the plan to create gene banks in the basin be forwarded to NOAA-Fisheries, which oversees salmon and steelhead recovery on the Columbia River.

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Potholes Reservoir Still Offering Multiple Outdoor Options

For the last several years ice has been as issue for Potholes Reservoir duck hunters by the end of November. This year we have been lucky to have no ice as of November 28, 2012 in the sand dunes. Our area is holding lots of ducks and geese, if you venture outside around dawn or dusk you can listen to all the geese in search of a corn field or some fresh water. We have been socked in with fog every day for that last week but that typically clears up by lunch time.  Our area is enjoying the best hunting season and, other than the fog, mild weather conditions in years.  If you are in need of a current hunting or weather report please give us a call (509) 346-2651.

Current Fishing Report:

We have had reports of Perch being caught in front of the Potholes State Park.  Trout and Perch are still being pulled out of the Medicare Beach Area from shore or a boat.  Some early signs of some Crab Creek Walleye are being seen but it is still fairly slow for what we typically see this time of year.

Shelby, Tanys and Katie Ross had a fun family hunt on the sand dunes on Potholes Reservoir.

Shelby, Tanys and Katie Ross had a fun family hunt on the sand dunes on Potholes Reservoir.

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Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Opens December 1st In Northern California

The Northern California Dungeness crab season will open on Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013 north of the Mendocino County line. The Director has established a 64-hour gear setting period for the season when crab trap gear can be set no earlier than 8 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 28. Quality tests conducted in the Northern California region in October and November indicate that California Dungeness crabs are ready for harvest. Despite incomplete testing data from the Eureka port area, data collected on Nov. 9 from this area indicated a high degree of probability that the crab would be ready for harvest by Dec. 1 and no data suggests low quality or soft-shell conditions. Fish and Game Code Section 8276.2 requires the Director to open the season on Dec. 1 unless the crab are soft-shelled or of low quality. Oregon and Washington Dungeness crab seasons are delayed pending future testing results. In addition, FGC Section 8279.1 prohibits anyone who fishes for crab in California, prior to the delayed openings in Oregon and Washington, from participating in those crab fisheries for 30 days following the opening of the crab fisheries in those states.

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ODFW News – 2014 Regulation Booklet Has Incorrect Price For Senio Citizens

Salem, Ore. – An error in the 2014 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations incorrectly lists the price of a senior combination license with a Columbia River Basin endorsement.

The error occurs on page 5 of the regulation pamphlet where the price of a Senior Citizen Combination Angling/Hunting License with Columbia River Basin Endorsement is listed as $32.25. It should read $35.25.

2014 fishing licenses, tags and endorsements go on sale Dec. 1, 2013.

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ODFW News – Oregon Commercial Dungeness Crab Season Delayed

NEWPORT, Ore. – The opening of the ocean commercial Dungeness crab season in Oregon will be delayed through at least Dec. 15, fishery managers announced today.

The commercial Dungeness crab season along the Oregon coast normally opens Dec. 1, but can be delayed to ensure a high-quality product to consumers. The testing measures the percentage of meat in the crab, by weight. Delaying the season allows the crab to fill with meat.

Coast-wide testing showed some areas did not meet minimum pre-season test criteria. Fishery managers from Oregon, Washington and California met today and decided to delay the season opening from Klipsan Beach, Wash., south to the Oregon/California border through at least Dec. 15, pending further results. Testing is still underway in Northern California to determine the season status from Point Arena to the Oregon/California border.

Recreational harvest of crab in the ocean off Oregon will open as scheduled on Dec. 1. The recreational harvest of Dungeness crab in Oregon’s bays and estuaries is open year round.

About the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife: ODFW’s mission is to protect and enhance Oregon’s fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations. The department’s policies are set by the Fish and Wildlife Commission.  ODFW is headquartered in Salem and works through a regional management structure that allows for fish and wildlife management at the local level.

ODFW’s Marine Resources Program manages Oregon’s commercial and sport saltwater fisheries and has stewardship over our state’s marine environment.

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ODFW News -2014 Fishing Regulations Now Out

The 2014 booklet on Oregon fishing regulations is now out. It’s free and excepting regulations on the Columbia River – there are less changes than in most years. The big news is the endorsement required to fish for salmon, steelhead or trout on the Columbia River and major portions of Columbia River tributaries.

The endorsement costs $9.75 when added to a yearly license and can also be purchased daily.

 

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California Outdoor News – CDFW Director Makes Statement on Recent Legal Victory

RecentCalifornia Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham made the following statement after Judge William Orrick of the U.S District Court, Northern District dismissed a case regarding CDFW’s fish stocking program: “In an era in which some prefer to litigate instead of pursue decision-making through the public process, I’m encouraged by this legal victory. Though we expect an appeal that could jeopardize our legacy statewide fish stocking program, it’s a big win for today.” The court found that CDFW’s practice of stocking fish into lakes in California does not amount to adding a pollutant to the water in violation of the Clean Water Act, as alleged by two nongovernmental organizations, one from Montana and one from Oregon.

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California Outdoor News

CDFW Officers Snag Diver off Catalina Island

November 19, 2013 by

California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) officers cited a 46-year-old Ventura County man for using rubbing alcohol to force fish out of rocks and capturing them to sell. The diver was cited for two Fish and Game Code violations: use of chemical while collecting marine aquaria and unlawful take of marine aquaria at Catalina Island, which is prohibited by law.

On the afternoon of Nov. 13, officers from the patrol boat Thresher observed a large recreational sailboat with commercial fishing license numbers painted on the stern anchored in Emerald Bay on the northeast coast of Catalina Island. Officers boarded the boat and found a man sport fishing. The angler told the officers that his partner was SCUBA diving.

Officers entered the 62-degree water and observed a diver squirting a liquid (later determined to be rubbing alcohol) from a bottle into cracks of rocks. The liquid was forcing small fish, Blue Banded Goby (Lythrypnus dalli), into the open water where the man then caught them with a small aquarium fish net and immediately put them in a small plastic receptacle attached to his SCUBA gear. The warden used a mask and snorkel from just below the water’s surface to watch the diver squirt the bottle twice. The warden then dove down, showed the diver his warden identification, and directed the diver to come to the surface. Before ascending, the diver left one of his squirt bottles on the rocks and attempted to drop a small, mesh bag containing another squirt bottle. A warden retrieved both squirt bottles and the mesh bag.

Once on the sailboat, the suspect told the officers he was a licensed marine aquaria collector and his buyers were paying him $10 per fish.  He stated that he did not know it is illegal to use rubbing alcohol to catch the small fish, or that it is illegal to partake in marine aquaria collection operations off Santa Catalina Island.

The diver had 63 goby fish in the plastic receptacle attached to his gear. During the interview, officers saw another plastic sealed container underneath the boat. The second container was holding an additional 109 goby fish.  The fish were counted, photographed and returned to the sea.

The man’s dive gear was seized and charges will be filed with the Los Angeles County District Attorney.

The marine aquaria laws that protect Catalina Island prevent collectors from depleting local species around the island. Collecting marine aquaria from the ocean is legal with the proper permits.

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ODFW News – $25 Penalty for Hunters Who Failed to Report Deer and Elk Tags Begins December 1st

November 18, 2013

SALEM, Ore.—Nearly 34,000 hunters who failed to report results of their 2012 deer or elk tags by the deadline (Jan. 31, 2013 for most hunts) will be required to pay a $25 penalty fee before they can purchase a 2014 hunting license.

Year 2014 licenses go on sale Dec. 1, 2013. Hunters who failed to report will be prompted to pay the fee when they try to purchase a 2014 license, which can be done online, at a license sales agent, or at an ODFW office that sells licenses. Hunters must have a 2014 hunting license to legally hunt most wildlife from Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2014.

About 29,000 deer and 17,000 elk tags went unreported by deadlines, out of 298,000 deer and elk tags sold. Some hunters purchase both tags, so the estimated number of hunters who will need to pay the penalty to purchase a 2014 license is 33,600. The penalty fee is charged on a hunting license and hunters only need to pay it once, regardless of how many tags went unreported.

Hunters needed to report results for each and every tag purchased, even if they didn’t go hunting or weren’t successful. Hunters who can’t remember if they reported on time may visit the My Hunter Information webpage or call 1-866-947-ODFW (6339) to check. They need their Hunter/Angler ID# which is printed on all licenses and tags and stays the same from year to year.

The financial penalty was put in place by the Fish and Wildlife Commission in October 2012 because although reporting has been “mandatory” since 2007, just 41 percent of tags were reported by deadlines in 2011.

To let hunters know about the requirement, ODFW has printed it on the cover of the annual Big Game Regulations and on all licenses and tags for several years. A postcard reminder went out in early January 2013 to any hunter who hadn’t reported 2012 tags yet. The reporting requirement is also mentioned in ODFW’s weekly recreation report, news releases, advertising in sportsman magazines, and elsewhere. Finally, as an incentive to report on time, ODFW has offered the chance to win a special big game tag to three randomly drawn hunters who report on time each year.

“We really didn’t want to start penalizing hunters for not reporting, but despite heavy promotion of the requirement and an incentive program, our reporting rate without a penalty was too low to use the data,” said Tom Thornton, ODFW Game Program Manager.

“The harvest and effort information hunters provide is critical for setting tag numbers and seasons. But it’s become more and more difficult to get through our traditional phone surveys,” continued Thornton. “Hunters have moved, screen their calls, or don’t provide phone numbers so there is no way to reach them for this information.”

After a penalty was announced in October 2012, reporting rates went from around 40 percent or less for deer and elk tags from 2007-2011 to 80-85 percent for 2012 tags. This higher rate brought enough confidence in the data for ODFW to actually use it to help set seasons and in annual hunting statistics, which now represent a far larger sampling of hunters than old survey methods and include antler point information about animals harvested.

The new higher reporting rates should allow ODFW to phase out its traditional phone call surveys over the next few years, saving the department time and money. (ODFW is surveying by phone for some hunts this year. Hunters contacted by ODFW are still required to report their 2013 tags.)

While hunters are also required to report results for pronghorn, cougar, bear and turkey tags purchased, penalty fees only take effect for unreported deer and elk tags. These results provide the most critical information because of the high number and demand for deer and elk tags. Most big game hunters have a deer and/or elk tag and ODFW expects they will report on other species the same time they report for deer and elk. If reporting rates for other species are too low in the future, the penalty could be extended to those species.

The deadline to report is always Jan. 31 of the following year for all tags with seasons that end by Dec. 31 or April 15 of the following year for the few hunts that extend into the next year. To not face a penalty on their 2015 license, hunters with 2013 deer and elk tags need to report by either Jan. 31, 2014 (for hunts that end by Dec. 31, 2013) or April 15, 2014 (for hunts ending Jan. 1-March 31, 2014).

Hunters can report online at reportmyhunt.com (also found thru ODFW’s Hunting Page) or call 1-866-947-ODFW (6339) to speak with a customer service representative who can take their information over the phone. Remember to report for each and every tag purchased, even if you didn’t go hunting or were not successful.

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