Monthly Archives: March 2014

California’s Dominance Of Freshwater Bass Records Continues

It is fairly common knowledge among serious freshwater anglers that California dominates the list of largemouth bass legally taken and officially weighed with more than 70 percent of the all-time heaviest largemouths being caught in California.

It is a lesser known fact that California has also produced the heaviest smallmouth bass caught in the United States in recent years – a 9 pound 13.5 ounce giant taken from Lake Pardee near the central California coast. In the last few years Pardee has given up other jumbo smallmouths weighing at least 9 pounds.

To be fair, Lake Pardee has a close rival when it comes to producing giant smallmouths and that is Dworshak Reservoir in southwest Idaho.  In recent years, Dworshak has given up several smallmouths weighing at least 9 pounds with the heaviest weighing 9 pounds 11.5 ounces. Dworshak and Pardee currently hold the state recors for smallmouth bass for Idaho and California respectively.

That alone should put California first when it comes to producing jumbo bass, but where California really stands out is when it comes to producing jumbo spotted bass.

The “non-California” world record for spotted bass is an 8 pound 15 ounce fish – a former world record holder from Alabama. However, California has about a dozen waters that have produced spotted bass weighing at least 9 pounds including three that have given up spots weighing ten pounds (Pine Flat, Whiskeytown and New Melones).

In fact, during the first week of March, Bullards Bar Reservoir had a terrific bite by jumbo spotted bass where numerous fish weighing from seven to more than 9 pounds were taken.

When it comes to producing record class bass, whether it be largemouth, smallmouth or spotted – California is in a class by itself.

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ODFW Sets Sturgeon Seasons

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington today set the summer retention sturgeon fishing seasons and adopted a new sturgeon spawning sanctuary in the Columbia River behind Bonneville Dam.

Retention of legal-sized sturgeon will be allowed on June 13-14 and June 20-21 on the Columbia River between Bonneville and The Dalles dams. The seasons were adopted during a joint state hearing of the Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife.

The states also adopted a new sturgeon spawning sanctuary in Bonneville reservoir, extending from The Dalles Dam downstream 1.8 miles. All angling for sturgeon will be prohibited in the sanctuary from May 1-July 31. The lower boundary of the sanctuary extends from the upper end of the boat ramp at the Port of The Dalles on the Oregon side of the Columbia perpendicular across the Columbia to a marker on the Washington shore. Previously, catch-and-release sturgeon fishing was allowed in this area. However, fishery managers decided the restriction was appropriate based on evidence this is prime spawning habitat and that handling sturgeon during the May-July period could adversely impact their spawning success. The new sanctuary will become a part of ODFW’s permanent fishing rules.

“Given our precautionary approach to managing sturgeon fisheries I believe this is the right balance between conservation and fishing opportunity,” said Tony Nigro, manager of ODFW’s Ocean Salmon and Columbia River Program. Similar protective sanctuaries are already in place on the Columbia below Bonneville, John Day, and McNary dams and on the Willamette River below Willamette Falls.

Retention sturgeon fisheries are currently under way and will continue seven days a week in The Dalles and John Day reservoirs 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 Reservoir and 43-54 inches fork length upstream of The Dalles Dam.

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CDFW to Host Second Public Meeting on Klamath River Salmon Sport Fishery

he California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) invites the public to attend an informational meeting Thursday, April 3 to review regulatory options for the 2014 fall Chinook Klamath River sport fishing seasons, areas closures and bag limits. Information used to formulate current fisheries management options will be discussed along with the 2013 Klamath fall Chinook run estimates. The department hosted a similar meeting in Eureka earlier this month.

The meeting is scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Board of Supervisors Chambers, Suite 100, Del Norte County Administrative Building, 981 H St., Crescent City.

The 2014 lower Klamath regulation options range from status quo to complete closure of the spit (mouth of the river). The public is encouraged to provide input to the California Fish and Game Commission on potential fishing season options.

Consideration of adoption of Klamath River fishing regulations is scheduled at the April 16 Fish and Game Commission meeting.

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Mardon Resort Fishing Report

On April 1, 2014 all the Seep Lake’s below O’Sullivan Dam except Warden Lake will open for fishing.  Hutchinson and Shiner Lakes produce some beautiful Rainbow Trout, Walleye, Perch, Crappie, Bluegil and Bass.  Another good option for Perch, Bluegil and Bass would be Hampton Lake.  (Remember no gas motors on the Refuge)

Carlos VillaCarlos Villia shows a nice trout he caught between MarDon and the Potholes State Park.

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Pete Heley Outdoors – 3/26/2014

The Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife wants to remind ocean anglers of two important regulation changes that begin April 1 and continue through the end of September.

Sport fishing for bottomfish offshore of the 30-fathom line (as defined by waypoints) is closed beginning April 1. In previous years the fishery was closed outside the 40-fathom line on April 1.

“The change is to reduce catch-and-release mortality of yelloweye rockfish,” said Lynn Mattes, ODFW sport groundfish project leader. “In recent years the bottomfish fishery has had to move from inside 40 fathoms to inside of 20 fathoms during the middle of the summer. By starting at 30 fathoms on April 1, hopefully impacts to yelloweye rockfish will be reduced enough that we can delay or even eliminate the 20 fathom restriction later in the season.”

Anglers may occasionally catch, but cannot keep, yelloweye rockfish while fishing for other species. Yelloweye rockfish, along with canary rockfish, are considered overfished by NOAA Fisheries and a certain percentage of those caught and released must be reported as mortality. Yelloweye rockfish generally live in deeper waters so bringing the fishery inside 30 fathoms is intended to decrease the catch rate of this species, while still allowing anglers to fish for other bottomfish such as black rockfish and lingcod. Additionally, yelloweye rockfish caught and released from shallower than 30 fathoms have a lower mortality rate, so savings are twofold.

Fishing the Triangle/South Jetty at Winchester Bay has been good for striped surfperch and fair for greenling and rockfish. Athough this is the time of year when the larger lingcod move to shallower water, relatively few have been caught by jetty anglers – but that may be because few anglers have been using the larger lures and baits that goodsized lingcod prefer.

Although the first Umpqua River spring chinook was caught more than three weeks ago, few other springers have been caught since then. However, April is usually a top month for springers and if the river stays fishable,the springer fishing should show major improvement.

Trout, bass and panfish anglers are enjoying improved fishing success and the improvement should continue for the next several weeks.

As for trout stocking, a number of Coos County lakes are slated to be stocked over the next two weeks. Empire Lakes was scheduled to receive 500 16-inchers this week, while Bradley was slated for 200 and Johnson was slated for 50. Next week, Bradley Lake, Saunders Lake, Johnson Mill Pond and Powers Pond are each slated to receive 3,000 legal rainbows. Middle Empire Lake is slated for 2,500 legal rainbows and Butterfield Lake is scheduled for 400 12-inch rainbows.

Next week is when Lake Marie is scheduled to receive 2,000 legal rainbows and Loon Lake 1,500. The next trout plants sceduled for Florence-area lakes won’t occur until the second week in April.

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ODFW News – Cormorant Hazing To Begin Soon

TILLAMOOK, Ore. – Hazing of double-crested cormorants is set to begin soon in several areas along the Oregon coast in an attempt to improve survival of juvenile salmon and steelhead as they migrate from inland waters to the Pacific Ocean.

Double-crested cormorants are large, fish-eating waterbirds that occur throughout Oregon, and are particularly prevalent in the state’s estuaries during April through September. Research suggests that cormorants may eat significant numbers of juvenile salmon and steelhead that migrate to the ocean during this time.

To reduce threat to young fish, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is working with several nonprofit and local governmental organizations to haze cormorants in six coastal estuaries over the next two to four months.

Hazing will take place as early as March 27 and continue in most areas through May 31 in the Nehalem, Nestucca, and Coquille river estuaries and in Tillamook and Alsea bays. The program could continue through July 31 in Astoria, where the Clatsop County Fisheries Project manages a salmon rearing program.

Hazing generally will take place during the morning and evening hours, when cormorants feed most actively, in the bays and estuaries where young fish tend to linger as they make the transition from fresh to salt water.

Hazing will involve driving at the birds in small boats and, in some estuaries, firing at them with small pyrotechnics. Hazing workers are being provided by the Clatsop County Fisheries Project, Port of Nehalem, Port of Bandon, North Coast Salmon and Steelhead Enhancement Fund, and Alsea Sportsmen’s Association. ODFW will provide a portion of the funding and program oversight.

Hazing is designed to disrupt the birds’ feeding patterns long enough to give the young fish a chance to pass through the estuaries unharmed. The outbound migration of juveniles of several species of salmon and steelhead peaks in springtime. Some of these spring migrants, such as coho salmon, wild steelhead, and chum salmon, are listed by the state as sensitive species that are at some degree of conservation risk. Coho salmon are listed as “threatened” in Oregon under the Endangered Species Act. Cormorant hazing is expected to benefit both listed wild fish and hatchery fish, which are not listed but are vital to commercial and recreational fisheries on the coast.

In a separate but related project, ODFW staff will collect up to 50 double-crested cormorants each in Tillamook Bay and at the mouths of the Rogue and Umpqua rivers. This is part of an ongoing study that will assess the diet of double-crested cormorants in Oregon estuaries. Oregon has a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that allows for limited collection of double-crested cormorants, a protected species under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

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COASTAL MULTI-SPECIES CONSERVATION AND MANAGEMENT PLAN

The comment period for the Public Draft of the Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan (CMP) ended on March 10.  ODFW appreciates the thoughtful comments provided during the comment period.  Comments received during the comment period are being used to revise and update the CMP.  ODFW intends to present the resulting revised draft to the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission at its April 25 meeting in North Bend.  The revised Commission Draft of the CMP will be available for review and comment approximately two weeks prior to the Commission meeting; it will be posted on the project website: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/CRP/coastal_multispecies.asp.   The Commission will take public comments about the revised draft but will not be making any final decisions about the CMP on April 25.  It is tentatively anticipated that decisions about the CMP will be made at the Commission’s June 5 – 6 meeting in Salem.

For questions about the CMP or Commission meeting, please contact Kevin Goodson at 503-947-6250.

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Umpqua River Still Producing Steelhead

The Umpqua River has dropped and cleared to the point where it’s offering fair to good steelhead fishing. However, a major plus for Umpqua River anglers is the chance to incidentally catch several other fish species while fishing for winter steelhead.

Although it is still early, spring chinook salmon are in the river and have entered the catch. Several times each decade, spring chinook weighing 50 or more.

But late spring anglers fishing the Umpqua River also have a chance to catch such other fish as striped bass, american shad, or smallmouth bass while using steelhead or salmon gear.

According to Bryan Gill of The Umpqua Angler, incidental smallmouth catches are becoming more common. Pictured is Lane Plumb of Drain with his best ever smallmouth taken on an Umpqua steelhead trip with Bryan Gill/The Umpqua Angler.

Another Umpqua River steelhead – photo courtesy of Bryan Gill – “The Umpqua Angler”.

NCM_0224NCM_0225

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Potholes Reservoir Fishing Report

Walleye fishing on Potholes Reservoir has been amazing using blade baits.  The best way to do this is by culling in 44 to 56 feet of water. The Rainbow Trout fishing is also really hot right now.  Trout up to 28 inches have been landed behind the MarDon Office this past week.  And we are hearing reports of trout being caught off Medicare Beach as well.

With no ice in the Lind Coulee arm of Potholes Reservoir boaters are reporting good yellow perch action.  The surface water temperature has been reported around 40 degrees.

All the seep lakes below O’Sullivan Dam on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge will open to fishers on April 1, 2014.  The Refuge Lakes close on October 1 each year and Warden Lake Opens April 26, 2014.  All other seep lakes are open year round.

Stop by the Tacoma RV Show March 20-23.  MarDon Resort will be in booth number 918 all weekend.  509) 346-2651

Upcoming MarDon Resort Events

March 28-30 Othello Sandhill Crane Festival

April 19-20 Potholes Open Bass Tournament

April 26-27 Corral Lake Tag Fish Tournament (A CWFAC Event)

May 3-4 Spring Walleye Classic (A CWFAC Event)

May 17-18 MarDon Open Bass Tournament (A CWFAC Event)

May 23-26 Memorial Day Weekend (1/2 Price Monday Night, 4th night only)

May 25 Kamp Karaoke

June 7-8 Washington Free Fishing Weekend

June 14-15 Camp Chef Father’s Day Bowfishing Tournament

June 14-15 Limit Out Marine Big Bass Classic ( A CWFAC Event)

June 21 Sammie Bash Golf Tournament (A CWFAC Event)

Walleye limits caught on Potholes Reservoir for four.  Brian Baltzell, Mason Meseberg & Levi Meseberg ( Mike Meseberg taking picture)  show a nice days catch out on the lake.  (2 people not pictured)

Walleye limits caught on Potholes Reservoir for four. Brian Baltzell, Mason Meseberg & Levi Meseberg ( Mike Meseberg taking picture)
show a nice days catch out on the lake.
(2 people not pictured)

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Pete Heley Outdoors – 3/19/2014

The ocean chinook season opened as usual on March 15th, but with very little press or participation. In most years, almost all of the Umpqua’s spring chinook are caught above the bridge at Scottsburg, however last year the Umpqua was muddy when most of the springers moved upriver resulting in a poor catch and reduced fishing pressure.

That may be why enough people tried for springers in the ocean and lowermost river to actually catch some. I would not recommend fishing these spots as a “Plan A”, but these spots definitely qualify as a viable “Plan B” – especially if the Umpqua River muddies up as an angler can find reduced turbidity around high tide.

According to the folks at the Wells Creek Inn, who sponser a contest each year for the heaviest Umpqua River spring chinook, as of Sunday nobody had turned in a springer for this year’s contest – even though about 30 people had signed up for the contest.

Signing up for the contest is relatively easy and simply consists of purchasing one of the T-shirts or hooded sweatshirts produced for this year’s contest.

This is the time of the year when some of the heaviest largemouth are landed and over the next month they will be gradually moving into ever more shallow water – as they approach the time that they actually spawn. The Umpqua River’s smallmouth bass should also be approaching the spawn and the quickest places to warm up will be those coves or bank indentions that have little or no current in them.

The yellow perch that have actually spawned usually move to somewhat deeper water than they were in just before or while spawning.

Lots of lakes are scheduled to be stocked this week – including Lake Marie and Loon Lake each of which is slated to receive 2,000 legal rainbows. Most of the Florence-area lakes are also scheduled to be planted this week including Alder (850 legals, 100 12-inchers and 36 16-inchers), Buck (850 legals and 36 16-inchers), Carter (2,500 legals), Cleawox (3,000 legals and 186 16-inchers), Dune (850 legals. 100 12-inchers and 36 16-inchers), Elbow (200 12-inchers), Erhart (200 legals), Georgia and North Georgia (150 legals each), Lost (400 12 inchers), Mercer (1,500 12-inchers), Munsel (2,250 12-inchers and 150 16-inchers), Perkins (250 legals),  Siltcoos Lagoon (850 legals, 450 12-inchers, 106 16-inchers), Siltcoos Lake (1,000 12-inchers) and Woahink (1,000 12-inchers)

Roseburg-area lakes slated to be stocked this week include Ben Irving and Plat I reservoirs (1,000 legals each) and Cooper Creek and Galesville  reservoirs (2,000 legals each). A number of lakes in the Waldport/Newport area are also scheduled to receive rainbow trout plants.

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