Monthly Archives: December 2013

Pete Heley Outdoors 12/18/2013

Although dock crabbing at Winchester remains mediocer at best, there were some good crab catches made by people crabbing from boats last weekend. A party of three caught 20 legal dungeness crabs last Saturday in only two hours of crabbing at Half Moon Bay and two crabbers on Sunday ended up with seven dungeness and ten red rock crabs while crabbing in the Triangle.

Jim Spicklemeyer, an ex-fishing guide, ex-lure inventor from Idaho who has taken a liking to Winchester Bay is still catching yellow perch at Tenmile Lake. To make things a little tougher, Spicklemeyer has abandoned his high tech past and has recently been fishing with simple bamboo rods he makes from scratch. For a reel, he uses a small clamp attached to the butt of the rod on which he winds just enough line to reach the perch.

Some native steelhead have been caught from the Umpqua River between Family Camp and Sawyers Rapids. A few anglers have  been trying the catch and release sturgeon fishery above Wells Creek on the Umpqua River. Over all, it is still early for winter steelhead fishing and the fishing should be consistently better over the next few months.

Thanks to last week’s cold snap, most of Oregon’s traditional ice fishing spots are now safe to fish. The most popular ice fishing spot is, of course, Diamond Lake.

With rare exceptions, the salmon in our area that are still alive are dark and unfit for consumption. However,they are legal angling fare through the end of this month in the Umpqua as well as on Siltcoos, Tahkenitch and Tenmile lakes. A better bet would be to fish one of the smaller south coast streams as soon as they get a good rain.

A few anglers are fishing for uncaught planted rainbow at some of the smaller lakes in the area.If they are fishing some of the larger lakes, they have a chance at searun or native rainbow and cutthroat trout. Berkley Powerbait and to a lesser degree, nightcrawlers are the most popular baits. Ocean salmon fishing is completely closed.

Ocean bottomfishing is open at all depths through March and the lingcod are starting to enter their spawning season where they tend to move to shallower water – and may be more accessible to anglers. Cabezon, the legal angling season originally scheduled to close at the end of September has been extended through December. The marine fish daily bag limit is seven fish, of which no more than one may be a cabezon. There are separate daily limits for lingcod (two) and flatfish other than Pacific halibut (25).

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ODFW Sets 2014 White Sturgeon Seasons For Bonneville Pool

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington adopted a split-season management structure for the Columbia River between Bonneville and The Dalles dams in 2014.

The winter sturgeon season in this area was set for seven days a week from Jan. 1 through Jan. 19 in hopes of opening a summer sturgeon retention season in June, provided enough of the 1,100 fish annual guideline remains for an additional fishery at that time.

Managers expect anglers will harvest approximately 450-500 white sturgeon during the January fishing period, but admit catch rates can vary widely in this fishery. If catches are lower than expected, the winter fishery may be extended.

The season structure was based, in part, on support for a split season approach voiced by anglers during a public meeting in The Dalles on Nov. 26. At that meeting, anglers said they favored a 7-days-a-week winter fishing season and at least 2-3 days of summer fishing, when catch rates can be as high as 200 fish per day. Fishery managers will review harvest data on Jan. 14 to determine if the adopted winter season should be modified to balance the overall guideline between the winter and summer seasons.

Fishery managers also factored into their decision an expected 30 percent increase in angler effort above Bonneville Dam next year as anglers move upstream due to scheduled sturgeon season closures below the dam in 2014.

Retention sturgeon fisheries will open as planned in The Dalles and John Day pools on Jan. 1. Those fisheries will continue 7-days-a-week until harvest guidelines of 300 and 500 sturgeon, respectively, are achieved.

The bag limit in all three areas is one sturgeon per day and two for the year. Sturgeon must be between 38 and 54 inches fork length to be retained in Bonneville Pool and 43-54 inches upstream of The Dalles Dam.

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Hunting Takes Front Stage At Potholes Reservoir – Despite 14 lb Walleye Catch

With our low nighttime temperatures between 0 and 32 degrees the duck hunters are freezing up on most small bodies of water.  The sand dune on Potholes Reservoir are froze and some of the main lake as well.  But there is still a lot of the big body of water that is ice free.  Please feel free to call our tackle shop for a current ice update from 9am to 6pm daily.  The phone number is (509) 346-2651 or email moc.trosernodramnull@ofni

Goose numbers are very good between Moses Lake, Othello and Mattawa.  On a recent Meseberg Adventures Guided Goose Hunt a group of 8 collected 31 honkers from 8-10 pounds and one lesser.  Once the weather stabilizes some the Goose Hunting will only become more predictable and improve.

Walleye action off the MarDon Dock has been limited.  This past week we did have a report of an overnight guest catching a 14 lb walleye.

Rob EndsleyRob Endsley of the Outdoor Line comes over from the Seattle Area with a group of friends every Season to stay at MarDon Resort and hunt with the Meseberg Adventures Guide Service.  Here is a picture from their Goose Hunt.

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Eastern Oregon Pronghorn Antelope Herd Relocated

Nearly 40 pronghorn antelope were captured and relocated from the Umatilla Chemical Depot (UMCD) to Malheur County yesterday.

Pronghorn were long-time residents of the UMCD and even featured on the facility’s logo. They were originally captured near Brothers, Oregon in 1969 and placed on the Depot to serve as a nursery population for other transplant operations in eastern Oregon. The population on the Depot peaked at more than 350 animals in 1986 and has been used to supplement populations throughout Oregon and in Nevada.

Fencing around the Depot kept them enclosed in the 19,000-acre installation. The original agreement between UMCD and ODFW called for the pronghorn to be removed if the Depot ever shut down. Adjacent agricultural land and industrial development make the area unsuitable for the pronghorn once Depot fences are removed.“We are going to miss the pronghorn. We’re all sad about them going,” said Michele Martin, BRAC environmental coordinator at the Depot.

Don Gillis, the former natural resources manager at UMCD, remembers the whole Depot’s affection for the animals. “We all liked to watch them and we would take visitors here out to show them the pronghorn,” said Gillis. “Everyone was always talking about where the pronghorn were, especially the babies.”

Former ODFW Heppner District Biologist Glenn Ward recalled when the pronghorn were first put on the Depot in the late 1960s. At that time, the closest antelope were near Aldrich Mountain in Grant County. “Everyone was elated to have pronghorn in the area,” Ward said. “Now, we have antelope scattered all over Morrow and Gilliam counties.”

Fish and Wildlife Commission Chair Bobby Levy was raised in Hermiston and now lives in Echo. She said that while the Depot was closed to the public, its pronghorn were often seen from the highway. “We all knew they were there and enjoyed seeing them.”

Pronghorn are the fastest ungulates in North America and can reach speeds of up to 40 miles an hour. ODFW used a helicopter to herd the pronghorn into long wing fences and finally a corral trap.

During winter, antelope are even more likely to spend time collectively as a herd, and scouting in the days prior to the operation made them easy to find Tuesday morning. Once the 38 pronghorn remaining on the Depot were in the corral trap, each was individually captured and processed (blood-sampled, disease tested, vaccinated, ear-tagged).  Finally, the pronghorn were put in a trailer and driven to Malheur County for an evening release on public land in the Beulah Wildlife Management Unit.

A total of 37 animals were released in Malheur County (eight adult males, 22 adult females, and seven young). One pronghorn captured was euthanized because of its poor condition.

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What The Washington Department Of Fish And Wildlife Did Right

When the WDFW started their hybrid musky program, virtually no one envisioned it to be as successful as it is today.

Even though the hybrids, better known as tiger muskies are only in seven Washington waters, they offer a lot of recreation. Most muskies are caught several times in their approximately ten year life span since Washington regulations require all tiger muskies shorter than 50-inches to be promptly releases.

Washington tiger musky anglers are so used to releasing all the muskies they catch that even muskies large enough to be legally kept have been caught and released

The planted tiger muskies have effectively preyed on non-gamefish species that either feed on trout or out compete stocked trout that in almost every case, tiger muskie plants have resulted in improved trout fishing.

The sterile tiger muskies will not reproduce to the point where they effect multiple fish species that share the waters they are in and are very difficult to controll – like what happened with northern pike in eastern Washington’s Pend Oreille River.

While this tiger musky from Newman Lake is a big one - it still isn't big enough to legally keep. Photo courtesy of Craig Dowdy of YJ Guide Service.

While this tiger musky from Newman Lake is a big one – it still isn’t big enough to legally keep. Photo courtesy of Craig Dowdy of YJ Guide Service.





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Washington’s Newman Lake A Top Spot For Tiger Muskies

Over the last few years, Newman Lake has moved to the top of the list when it comes to fishing for  hybrid muskies – more commonly referred to as tiger muskies. Washington offers some of the nation’s best fishing for tiger muskies.

The tiger muskies, which are present in seven Washington lakes and reservoirs are essentially a catch and release fishery – since they illegal to keep when less than 50-inches in length.

This Newman Lake tiger musky needs to be more than a foot longer to be legal to keep - photo courtesy of Craig Dowdy (YJ Guide Service).

This Newman Lake tiger musky needs to be more than a foot longer to be legal to keep – photo courtesy of Craig Dowdy (YJ Guide Service).


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Washington Outdoor News – Master Hunter Permit Program To Begin Accepting Applications

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will accept applications for its Master Hunter Permit Program from Jan. 1 through Feb. 15, 2014. The program is designed to promote safe, lawful and ethical hunting, and to strengthen Washington’s hunting heritage and conservation ethic.

WDFW enlists master hunters for controlled hunts to remove problem animals that damage property. Master hunters also participate in volunteer projects involving increasing access to private lands, habitat enhancement, data collection, hunter education, and landowner relations.

“To qualify for the program, applicants must demonstrate a high level of skill and be committed to lawful and ethical hunting practices,” said David Whipple, WDFW Hunter Education division manager.

Hunters enrolling in the program must pay a $50 application fee, pass a criminal background check, pass a written test, demonstrate shooting proficiency, provide at least 20 hours of approved volunteer service and meet other qualifications described on WDFW’s website at .

Whipple encourages individuals who enroll in the program to prepare thoroughly for the written test, because applicants are allowed only one chance to re-take the exam.

There are about 1,850 certified master hunters currently enrolled in the program, which is now administered by WDFW’s Wildlife Program.  Enrollment was closed during calendar year 2013 to allow WDFW time to review the program, clarify its role, and identify strategies to better engage members in high-priority volunteer work.

Approved volunteer work conducted during 2013 will be honored for individuals applying in 2014

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Kayak Angler Survives Encounter with Great White Shark Near Charleston

An angler fishing from a kayak off Simpston Reef near Charleston survived an encounter with a great white shark estimated to be 13 feet in length. Chris Hyde, a seriouis kayak angler who started a facebook group for kayak anglers encountered the shark while fishing from his kayak and was able to move close enough to a larger boat that the shark left. The incident is well covered in the Marine Zone of the fishing report section of the ODFW web site. Hyde felt that the shark might have been attracted to the blood from some of the bottomfish he caught and cleaned while in his kayak. The more complete recounting of the incident on the ODFW website makes for interesting reading.

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California Outdoor News – Bear Poachers Receive Stiff Penalties In El Dorado Court

Two northern California men have been sentenced to fines and jail time for unlawfully killing bears and selling their gall bladders and other parts for profit. Peter George Vitali, 56, of Pioneer and Arthur Martin Blake, 59, of River Pines, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor charges of illegally taking wildlife for profit in an El Dorado County courtroom last month.

The court ordered Vitali to pay a $12,500 fine and Blake to pay a $5,000 fine. Both men will be required to serve 30 days in jail and were sentenced to an additional 36 month probationary period.

“This case is an example of the challenges our officers face,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Lt. Stacey LaFave. “Heavy fines and jail time send a strong message to poachers who unlawfully take and profit from California’s natural resources.”

Vitali and Blake were arrested by CDFW wildlife officers in April 2013, after they were found to be in possession of 20 large bear claws and three bear gall bladders in the El Dorado National Forest.

Evidence developed during the investigation suggested the suspects recently killed three bears, likely a sow and two cubs. The claws, liver and gall bladder had been removed from the sow and only the liver and gall bladder were removed from the younger two bears.

California Fish and Game laws forbid the sale, purchase or possession of any bear part, including claws and gall bladders. The bile contained inside bear gall bladders is believed by some to have medicinal properties and is sold on the black market. Under California law, possession of more than one bear gall bladder is prima facie evidence that the bear gall bladders are possessed for sale.

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ODFW News – Commercial Crab Season To Open December 16th

Fresh Dungeness crab is back on the menu for holiday feasts after fishery managers determined the fishery was ready to open Dec. 16 on the Oregon coast.

The commercial Dungeness crab season on the Oregon coast is scheduled to open Dec. 1 each year, but was delayed this year because crab on some parts of the coast did not measure up during pre-season testing. The testing measures the percentage of meat in the crab, by weight, and is used to ensure a high-quality product for consumers. Delaying the season allowed the crab to fill with meat.

Coast-wide crab quality testing showed all areas now meet minimum test criteria. Fishery managers from Oregon, Washington and California met today and mutually decided to open commercial crabbing from the Oregon-California border to Klipsan Beach, Wash., on Dec. 16.

Commercial crabbers are allowed to set their gear three days before the season opens, so ocean watchers will see the lights of crab boats off most of the coast as early as Dec. 13.

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

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