Monthly Archives: April 2014

Meeting Planned For New Oregon Chapter Of Coastal Conservation Association At Winchester Bay

The Oregon Coastal Conservation Association, much more than a fishing club, is an advocacy group for fishermen. There is tremendous power in the membership of thousands of salt and freshwater anglers that spans seventeen coastal states. CCA’s unmatched breadth and depth of volunteer involvement has made it the largest group of its kind. Its grassroots network and unique combination of membership, fundraising and advocacy have enacted positive change on all levels of coastal marine conservation and management.

Currently, there are ten chapters of the Coastal Conservation Association in Oregon, and the South Coast Chapter located in Winchester Bay makes it eleven. Chris Cone, Executive Director of the Oregon Coastal Conservation Association, states that the membership in Oregon alone is at two thousand and growing.

Many of us in Reedsport, Winchester Bay, Gardiner, Elkton and surrounding towns are avid anglers and would like to an effective voice in dealing with ODF&W and State Government. Join CCA Oregon and add your voice to those taking a stand for sustainable recreational fisheries. The new South Coast CCA Chapter will meet on May 5th at 6:30 PM at the Marina Activity Center, 263 Marina Way, Winchester Bay. Chips and salsa will be provided! For additional information contact Chris Cone 541-213-1464 or email him at (gro.nogeroaccnull@enoc.sirhc). Alternatively, call Steve Godin at 541-255-3383.

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Pete Heley Outdoors – 4/30/2014

Shad were reported caught at both Yellow Creek and Elkton last week. If the Umpqua River stays relatively clear, shad fishing should be good. However, Sawyers Rapids may offer the best fishing if the river undergoes a major drop.

Despite light fishing pressure, several Chinook salmon were caught near the Umpqua River Bar last week.

Very warm midweek temperatures should signal a major improvement in largemouth bass fishing in area lakes. Umpqua River smallmouth fishing should show steady improvement as long as the river remains relatively clear.

Many of the lakes south of Reedsport were stocked this week  with legal rainbows including: Bluebill (2,000); Bradley (3,000); Eel (3,000); Millicoma Pond (500); Powers Pond (3,000); North and South Tenmile lakes (3,000 each; Saunders (3,000) and Butterfield (2,000). Some of the fishing spots that opened last Saturday were expected to produce excellent trout fishing with the best fishing expected to come from Crane Prarie and Wickiup reservoirs and Howard Prairie and Hyatt lakes.  Anglers wanting to keep their trout should consider Diamond Lake which is open all year and boasts Oregon’s most liberal trout limit (8 trout daily).

The first of the redtailed surfperch run on the Umpqua River above Winchester Bay could show up any time and usually happens by mid-May. sand shrimp and Berkely Gulp are the preferred baits.

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission set the 2014 sport and commercial halibut seasons during its meeting today in North Bend.

The Pacific halibut seasons set today are concurrent with those recently adopted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission and the National Marine Fisheries Service, and are similar to 2013 seasons. Though the 2014 U.S. West Coast halibut quota is essentially the same as last year, Oregon anglers will notice four changes that affect sport fisheries:
·        In the Columbia River subarea, the open days will be Thursday through Sunday during the all-depth season – an expansion of the Friday through Sunday open days last year.
·        Also in the Columbia River subarea, a nearshore fishery has been established to allow more groundfish anglers to retain incidental catches of halibut.

·        In the Central Coast subarea, the nearshore fishery will start July 1 and be open seven days a week.  This compares to the 2013 season that started May 1 for three days a week. The goal is to provide more fishing opportunity in July when all-depth fisheries are generally closed.

·        The former South of Humbug subarea has been separated at the Oregon and California border, and the Oregon portion is now known as the Southern Oregon subarea.  This will allow the Oregon and California fisheries to be managed separately. As with all other subareas, the Southern Oregon subarea will now close once the quota has been attained.

The final 2014 Pacific halibut sport seasons are on the ODFW website.

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WDFW and Wild Fish Conservancy Settle Lawsuit Over Early Winter Hatchery Steelhead Releases

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today it has reached an agreement with the Wild Fish Conservancy that will stop litigation against the department over its Puget Sound hatchery programs for 2½ years and permit the release of hatchery steelhead this spring into the Skykomish River.

No early winter steelhead will be released into other Puget Sound rivers in 2014.

The agreement is reflected in a federal court consent decree signed by WDFW Director Phil Anderson and Conservancy Executive Director Kurt Beardslee. The decree is designed to settle a lawsuit filed by the Conservancy last month in U.S. District Court in Seattle.

In its March 31 complaint, the Duvall-based non-profit group claimed the department’s Puget Sound hatchery steelhead programs violate the U.S. Endangered Species Act (ESA) by impairing the recovery of wild steelhead, salmon, and bull trout. All three species are listed as “threatened” under the ESA.

While acknowledging that certain hatchery practices may pose risks to wild fish productivity and recovery, WDFW officials denied the Conservancy’s claim and said the department has taken numerous steps based on current science to ensure its hatchery operations protect wild steelhead and other listed fish species.

The department’s Hatchery Genetic Management Plans (HGMPs) are designed to ensure that all steelhead hatcheries support wild fish recovery, but those plans are still under review by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS).

“While I am disappointed the agreement does not allow for the release of more of the early winter hatchery steelhead we have on hand into Puget Sound rivers, I am gratified that we were able to reach agreement to release fish from our Skykomish hatchery in 2014 and support a popular recreational fishery,” Anderson said.

He added that the most important element of the agreement is the 2½-year suspension of lawsuits initiated by the Conservancy over the department’s Puget Sound hatchery programs. The suspension will allow the department to work with tribal fishery managers to resubmit HGMPs for other species raised in Puget Sound hatcheries for NMFS’ review and approval.

The federal court agreement includes the following provisions:

WDFW may release up to 180,000 hatchery steelhead in 2014 and again in 2015 into the Skykomish River, which flows into the Snohomish River near Monroe.
The Conservancy will not sue WDFW over its Puget Sound hatchery programs during the next 2 ½ years, or until NMFS approves those programs, whichever comes first.
WDFW will refrain from planting early winter (Chambers Creek) hatchery steelhead into most rivers in the Puget Sound region until NMFS completes its review.
A 12-year research program will be established in the Skagit River, during which no early winter steelhead will be released into the watershed.  In cooperation with the Conservancy, WDFW will work with tribes to evaluate and potentially implement a steelhead hatchery program in the Skagit River using native steelhead.
The department may release hatchery steelhead into other rivers around Puget Sound when NMFS approves the department’s HGMPs. This provision will not apply to the Skagit River watershed, which will not receive early winter hatchery steelhead releases during the 12-year study period.
Early winter steelhead from WDFW hatcheries that cannot be released into Puget Sound-area rivers will be released into inland waters that have no connection to Puget Sound. The department will give the Conservancy 14 days’ advance notice of those releases.
WDFW will pay the Conservancy $45,000 for litigation expenses.
Jim Scott, who heads the WDFW Fish Program, said that until the Conservancy filed the lawsuit, the department had planned to release about 900,000 juvenile steelhead this spring into several rivers that flow into Puget Sound. The settlement means that hatchery steelhead will continue to be released into the Skykomish, while the remaining steelhead will be used to enhance the state’s inland trout fishing programs, he said.

When the lawsuit was filed, WDFW officials said the department was vulnerable to litigation because its hatchery steelhead operations had not been approved by NMFS following the ESA listing of Puget Sound steelhead in 2007. Scott said WDFW worked with tribes to revise and update its HGMPs for all Puget Sound steelhead hatcheries, and resubmitted them to NMFS earlier this year.

With the litigation settled, Scott said the department will work with tribal and federal officials on an aggressive schedule to complete the NMFS review.

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Washington Outdoor News – Deadline To Apply For Special Hunt Permits Is May 22

Hunters have through May 22 to apply for special hunting permits for fall deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep, and turkey seasons in Washington state.

Permit winners will be selected through a random drawing conducted by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) in late June. The special permits qualify hunters to hunt at times and places beyond those authorized by a general hunting license.

To apply for a special hunt permit, hunters must purchase an application and necessary hunting licenses for each species they wish to hunt and then submit that application.

Applications and licenses are available from license vendors statewide or on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/wdfw/special_permits.html . Applications must be submitted on that website or by calling 1-877-945-3492 toll-free.

Most special hunt permit applications cost $7.10 for residents, $110.50 for non-residents, and $3.80 for youth under 16 years of age.

The exception is the cost for residents purchasing applications for mountain goats, any ram and any moose, as well as “quality” categories for deer and elk. Those applications cost $13.70.

Instructions and details on applying for special-permit hunts are described on pages 86-87 of the 2014 Big Game Hunting Seasons & Regulations pamphlet, available at WDFW offices, license vendors, and online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations . Additional information is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/permits/faq.html .

Dave Ware, WDFW game division manager, reminds hunters to update their email and mailing address in the system when purchasing their special hunting permit applications and licenses. Each year, hundreds of special hunting permits are returned due to invalid addresses.

Results of the special-permit drawing will be available online by the end of June at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/wa/specialhuntlookup . Winners will be notified by mail by mid-July.

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Mardon Resort News

Looking for something fun to do the weekend of April 26 and 27?  CWFAC has purchased some Triploid’s and Rainbow Trout to release in Corral Lake.  We have purchased 800 Rainbow Trout 9”-11” and 256 Triploid Trout 9”-11” from Troutlodge.  You must have a valid fishing license and either the WDFW Car Pass that comes with a seasonal fishing license or a Discover Pass to drive to this lake, which is just across the street from MarDon Resort.  This lake is open to the public.  Please call (509) 346-2651 for more information.

This year was the 35 Annual Potholes Open Bass Tournament  and they had 109 teams that enjoyed 2 days of tournament action.  This year’s winners raised the bar by winning with a total two day weight of 53.80 lbs.

The team of Bob Steiner and Roger Mosely weighed in a bag of 28.01lbs on day one of competition in the Potholes Open Bass Tournament.  This year was the 35 Annual Potholes Open Tournament and they had 109 teams that enjoyed 2 days of tournament action.  This years winners raised the bar by winning with a total two day weight of 53.80 lbs.

The team of Bob Steiner and Roger Mosely weighed in a bag of 28.01lbs on day one of competition in the Potholes Open Bass Tournament. This year was the 35 Annual Potholes Open Tournament and they had 109 teams that enjoyed 2 days of tournament action. This years winners raised the bar by winning with a total two day weight of 53.80 lbs.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 4/23/2014

For quite some time, there has been an ongoing disagreement between the Clamdigger’s Association of Oregon and several govermental agencies regarding the management and testing of shellfish from Oregon’s coastal waters and from Coos Bay in particular.

I consider Bill Lackner, the president and founder of association (CDA), to be one of the most knowledgeable people I know on subjects related the Oregon outdoors – especially when it comes to matters regarding Oregon’s shellfish. Ifeel that many of the CDA’s concerns are valid and so far, have not been addressed in any transparent sort of way by the agencies that should be addressing these concerns.

In fact, some of these agencies have treated the CDA, and Bill Lackner in particular, in a manner that has been blatently disrespectful – perhaps in the hope that Bill and the CDA will simply go away. Knowing how tenacious Bill can be, I’m convinced that the smart move would to address these concerns and either prove them to be over blown or in the caseb that they are valid, start taking measures to combat the problems.

The bass tournament held last weekend at Tenmile Lakes resulted in some impressive bass catches with the top five teams all weighing in catches of more than 20 pounds. Many of the anglers targeted largemouths that were on or near the spawning beds prior to actually spawning. This may be the last week when bass anglers will be able to target pre-spawn largemouths in eastern Douglas County waters. Anglers fishing near the Oregon coast may be able to target the pre-spawn largemouths for a few more weeks.

Many of the lakes in central Oregon open this Saturday (April 26th). Some of the more productive ones include Crane Prairie Reservoir, Wickiup Reservoir, Howard Prairie Reservoir and Hyatt Lake. Diamond Lake is open all year, but fishing should improve over the next several weeks as the water warms

Spring Chinook fishing upriver of Scottsburg has slowed way down and the the ocean salmon the commercial fisherman are targeting are pretty much unreachable by sport anglers with the recent rough ocean conditions.

However, Keldon Blair,, of Springfield, who I reported in a previos column as having caught four springers last season while flinging spinners from the bank at Half Moon Bay in Winchester Bay., hooked a couple of salmon last week while using the same technique. The one he landed was a bright 12 pounder.

There were some good catches of dungeness crabs made by boat crabbers at Half Moon Bay last week – including at least one boat limit. Dock crabbing remains relatively slow.

Trout plants this week included 6,000 legal rainbows evenly split between Middle and Lower Empire lakes.

The Florence area lakes that were stocked this week include: Alder (850 legal, 225 foot long and 36 16-inches); Buck (850 legal, 200 foot long and 36 16-inchers; Cleawox (350 foot long and 36 16-inchers); Dune (850 legal, 225 fooit long and 36 16-inchers); Elbow (600 foot long); Erhart (200 legal); Georgia (150 legal); Lost (500 foot long); Mercer (2,250 foot long); Munsel (3,150 foot long and 150 16-inchers); North Georgia (150 legal); Perkins (250 legal ans 200 foot long); Siltcoos Lagoon (850 legal, 350 foot long and 106 16-inchers); Siltcoos (1,000 foot long) and Sutton (1,500 foot long).

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California Outdoor News – CDFW Eastern Sierra Wardens to Conduct Wildlife Checkpoint

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will be conducting a wildlife checkpoint operation in late April to promote safety, education and compliance with law and regulations.

CDFW law enforcement division will be conducting the inspection on southbound Hwy 395, south of Bishop on Monday, April 28, 2014 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The wildlife checkpoint is being conducted to protect and conserve fish and wildlife, and to encourage safety and sportsmanship by promoting voluntary compliance with laws, rules and regulations through education, preventative patrol and enforcement.

All anglers and hunters will be required to stop and submit to an inspection. CDFW officers will also be providing informative literature about the invasive quagga mussel and New Zealand Mudsnail.
CDFW Eastern Sierra Wardens to Conduct Wildlife Checkpoint

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News From The Clamdigger’s Association Of Oregon

For quite some time, there has been an ongoing disagreement between the Clamdigger’s Association of Oregon and several govermental agencies regarding the management and testing of shellfish from Oregon’s coastal waters and from Coos Bay in particular.

I consider Bill Lackner, the president and founder of association (CDA), one of the most knowledgeable people I know on subjects related the Oregon outdoors – especially when it comes to matters regarding Oregon’s shellfish. Ifeel that many of the CDA’s concerns are valid and so far, have not been addressed in any transparent sort of way by the agencies that should be addressing these concerns.

In fact, some of these agencies have treated the CDA, and Bill Lackner in particular, in a manner that has been blatently disrespectful.

Perhaps they hope that Bill, and the CDA, will, at some point, simply go away.

But despite Bill’s poor health, I am very doubtful that will happen.

Instead, these agencies shoud start addressing the CDA’s concerns (in a transparent way) and “bragging up” the properly administered test results that pass and start addressing or dealing with the ones that don’t.

In the long run – and I’m not talking that long, the shellfish fom Coos Bay could be held in higher esteem than they are now.

In all fairness to Coos Bay, it has some areas of concern that few other coastal communities have to deal with.
(1) – Heavy industrialization; (2) – Frequent visits from ocean-going ships and pretty much only (3) – tidal currents to flush the bay.

While the reality of the situation may be somewherte between the two opposing viewpoints – here is a list of  the CDA’s recommendations regarding shellfish from Coos Bay.

(A) – Do not eat the clams or mussels taken from Coos Bay. That being said:

B) – Do not eat softshell clams taken from Coos Bay.

(C) – Do not eat either the clams or mussels taken from the docks and piling anywhere from Coos Bay

(D) – If you dig clams from Coos Bay only dig them from tidal areas north of the Charleston Bridge to a line crossing the bay above Clam Island.

(E) – If you eat the clams taken from Coos Bay discard everything except the neck.

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Potholes Reservoir/Mardon Resort News

Quality walleye action has been reported from both blade bait fishers and people trolling using mono-philament spinners,Mac’s Lures double whammy’s and many others).  The Medicare Beach area has been better than ever for walleyes up to 21 inches.  The Crab Creek area where it flows through the sand dunes has produced walleye up to 6lbs this past week using Wally Pops.  Any day now Upper Crab Creek and the Lind Coulee arm of Potholes Reservoir east of the “M” Street Bridge will be showing 25 inch plus Jumbo Walleye.

Now the spring pattern is in place on Potholes Reservoir.  Smallmouth Bass up to 4lb 10oz have been reported from the Goose Island area on Jerk Baits.  Surface water temps have been reported up to 57 degrees in the sand dunes in shallow water with a southern exposure after 5pm.  We are excited for the 35th year of the Potholes Open Bass Tournament this upcoming weekend.  Fishing will take place on Saturday and Sunday April 19 and 20.  For weigh in times please call (509) 346-2651.

Good trout action can be expected at Upper Goose Lake trolling and bank fishing.  And we have the Warden Lake opener coming up Saturday, April 26.

Looking for something fun to do the weekend of April 26 and 27?  CWFAC has purchased some Triploid’s and Rainbow Trout to release in Corral Lake.  We have purchased 800 Rainbow Trout 9”-11” and 256 Triploid Trout 9”-11” from Troutlodge.  You must have a valid fishing license and either the WDFW Car Pass that comes with a seasonal fishing license or a Discover Pass to drive to this lake, which is just across the street from MarDon Resort.  This lake is open to the public.  Please call (509) 346-2651 for more information.

Kevin Reccia, of MarDon, shows this nice bass caught back in the sand dunes.

Kevin Reccia, of MarDon, shows this nice bass caught back in the sand dunes.

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Anglers Get One More Day To Catch Spring Chinook On Lower Columbia

nglers will have one more day – Saturday (April 19) – to fish for spring chinook salmon on the lower Columbia River prior to an updated assessment of the run size.

The chinook fishery will be open to boat and bank fishing from Buoy 10 upriver to Rooster Rock. Bank fishing will also be allowed from Rooster Rock upriver to the fishing boundary below Bonneville Dam.

Anglers may retain one hatchery chinook salmon as part of their daily catch limit. Barbless hooks are required, and any salmon or steelhead not visibly marked as a hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin must be released.

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon approved the one-day extension after a week in which anglers caught 6,500 upriver spring chinook, boosting the total catch for the season in the lower Columbia River to 7,880 upriver fish

One more day of fishing is expected to bring the catch levels up to 95 percent of the initial harvest guideline of 10,157 fish, said Ron Roler, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“Catch levels tend to skyrocket at this time of the year,” Roler said. “As in years past, fishing started out slow this season, but you wouldn’t know that by what we’re seeing out there right now.”

Prior to the start of this year’s fishing season, fishery managers estimated that approximately 227,000 upriver spring chinook salmon would return to the Columbia River this year.

Anglers may get additional opportunities to catch spring chinook salmon later this spring, depending on how that estimate compares to the updated forecast planned in the next few weeks, Roler said.

“If the fish return at or above expectations, we will look at providing additional days of fishing on the river later this spring,” he said.

The extended fishing season in the lower Columbia River does not affect the spring chinook season above Bonneville Dam, currently open through May 9 under regulations described on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .

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