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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: May 2014
After “coasting for more than a week, the Umpqua upriver redtailed surfperch bite heated up in a major way Saturday morning. Al Kettle watched for two hours in the mid-morning as boats were hauling out of the Umpqua River at the East Basin Boat Ramp. He reported that during that time, virtually every boat leaving the river had boat limits of redtailed surfperch or “pinkfins”.
The run should last several more weeks and fishing success should be much improved now that many more perch seem to be in the river.
Some of the most popular fishing opportunities are available for anglers in the coming weeks, including trout in hundreds of rivers, crab in south Puget Sound, chinook in the Columbia River and salmon in ocean waters along the coast.
Sound like fun? Prospective anglers who are interested in fishing but don’t have a fishing license can get in on the action during Free Fishing Weekend, scheduled June 7-8.
During those two days, no license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in Washington state. In addition, no vehicle access pass or Discover Pass will be required that weekend to park at any of the 700 water-access sites maintained by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
“Free Fishing Weekend is a great time to try fishing in Washington, whether you are new to the sport, thinking about taking it up or looking to introduce a friend or family member to fishing,” said Chris Donley, WDFW inland fish program manager.
While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, other rules such as season closures, size restrictions and bag limits will still be in effect.
In addition, all anglers will be required to complete a catch record card for any salmon, steelhead or halibut they catch that weekend. They also must fill out a catch record card for crab, which is open only in South Puget Sound (Marine Area 13) during Free Fishing Weekend.
Catch record cards and WDFW’s Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet are available free at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state.
Of course, this month’s fishing opportunities don’t begin and end with Free Fishing Weekend. Other key dates for anglers include:
May 31 – Selective fisheries for hatchery chinook salmon open in marine areas 1-4.
June 1 – Crab fishing opens in Marine Area 13 south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
June 7 – Trout fishing opens in hundreds of rivers across the state.
June 14 – Traditional recreational ocean salmon fisheries for chinook and hatchery coho get under way in marine areas 1-4.
June 16 – Fishing for summer chinook and sockeye salmon opens on the Columbia River from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to Priest Rapids Dam.
July 3 – Crab fisheries open in most areas of Puget Sound, including the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
For more information about fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing available this month, see the Weekender Regional Reports posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/ .
SALEM, Ore.-The Fish and Wildlife Commission will meet Thursday and Friday, June 5-6 in Salem to consider changes to hunting and trapping regulations and adoption of the Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan.
An agenda and background materials for the meeting can be found online <http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/minutes/14/06_june/index.asp> . Both day’s meetings kick off at 8 a.m. at ODFW Headquarters,
4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE, Salem. Thursday’s meeting is devoted to hunting and wildlife issues and Friday’s deals with fish management.
On Thursday, the Commission is expected to adopt final tag numbers for 2014 fall big game controlled hunts. ODFW wildlife managers propose a total of 134,319 controlled hunt tags, including the first ever Rocky Mtn goat tag for a non-resident hunter (Elkhorn #2).
The Commission will also consider concepts for 2015 big game hunting regulations; final regulations won’t be adopted until October. Changes under consideration include:
* Add days to Western Oregon deer rifle general season in some units in SW Oregon where deer numbers are good.
* Allow spike harvest in some NW Oregon units during Western Oregon general season by changing the bag limit to “One buck with a visible antler” (currently bag limit is “One buck deer having not less than a forked antler”).
* Change the bag limit for 600 series deer hunts in some or all areas from “Antlerless or Spike” to “Antlerless.”
* Offer nine-day controlled archery deer hunt in the Wenaha, Mt Emily and Walla Walla Units (where tags are currently restricted to archers who also have an elk tag) and tie antlerless archery tags to population trends, not the number of antlerless rifle tags. These recommendations are from the Archery Review Public Advisory Committee <http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/archery/2014_ARPAC.asp> .
Trapping regulations are also up for renewal. ODFW staff are recommending that the annual bobcat limit in eastern Oregon be reduced from five to three to reduce harvest levels.
Hunter access and habitat improvement projects will be considered for funding by the Access and Habitat program, and 2015 auction and raffle big game tags will be allocated among sportsman conservation groups.
Finally on Thursday, the Commission will be briefed on the proposed 2015-17 agency budget.
On Friday, the Commission turns to fish-related issues, including the adoption of the proposed Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan.
If approved, the plan will become the state of Oregon’s working document that describes the status and management actions for the conservation and utilization for salmon, steelhead and trout along most of the Oregon coast.
A key, and sometimes controversial, element of the plan has been a “portfolio” approach to identify different management objectives in different locations for the different species, and the corresponding increases and shifts of some hatchery releases to reflect changes in emphasis.
“While this portfolio approach has never been used before in our planning efforts, it was uniquely suited to Oregon’s coastal rivers where most of our wild populations are healthy. We want these fish to be conserved for future generations but, along with our hatchery programs, they can also support fisheries now,” said Tom Stahl, ODFW Conservation and Recovery Program manager. “The portfolio approach recognizes that not every river can be everything to everybody.”
Instead, Stahl said, the plan balances wild fish emphasis areas with other areas emphasizing hatchery programs, as well as areas with and without the harvest of wild fish. The plan also calls for aggressive actions to manage the predators of juvenile and adult salmon, steelhead, and trout, as well as to improve their habitat.
The Commission also will be asked to authorize the purchase of 10 acres on the Alsea River for future development of a boat ramp. The $330,000 purchase would be funded by the Oregon State Marine Board, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Oregon Wildlife Heritage Foundation, and would provide access to a popular fall salmon fishery. ODFW would partner with Lincoln County to pursue additional grants for construction of facilities.
In other business, the Commission will be asked to:
* Set the July 2014 through June 2015 commercial sardine seasons.
* Adopt permanent rules for the 2014 ocean salmon seasons, many of which are currently underway under temporary regulations.
The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. Public testimony before the Commission will be held first thing Friday morning. Persons seeking to testify on issues not on the formal agenda may do so by making arrangements with the ODFW Director’s Office, at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, by calling 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044.
Reasonable accommodations will be provided as needed for individuals requesting assistive hearing devices, sign language interpreters or large-print materials. Individuals needing these types of accommodations may call the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.
Members of the public unable to attend the meeting can see a live-stream video of the meeting at the ODFW Commission <http://www.dfw.state.or.us/agency/commission/> page.
Although the Umpqua River’s unique run of redtailed surfperch – commonly called “pinkfins” is going well, it hasn’t yet peaked and should last for several more weeks.
The surface water temp on Potholes Reservoir is between 63 and 70 degrees. We have had reports of 30 to 50 fish days from fishermen this week. Pop R’s and Frogs have been hitting for the top water bite and Senkos and Tube Baits will also work great below the surface fishing.
The walleye catch have been at levels that are the best we have ever seen this time of year. Your best bet to catching these fish would be pulling a slow death hook with spinners and crawlers. Lind Coulee and the Crab Creek have both been producing nicely but anywhere on Potholes Reservoir can produce these tasty fish.
Trout action has been fair fishing off Medicare Beach or fishing between MarDon Resort and The State Park. If you are trolling your best bet will be to use a Rapala number 5 or 7 or a needlefish at trolling 3 to 5 MPH and these fish will be 3 to 6 lbs when you catch them.
The Perch fishing is slow but improving with warmer weather. Goose Island and the rock piles near O’Sullivan Dam have perch.
The MarDon Tackle Shop has a special on Fetha Stix Walleye and Bass Rods. WE are selling these for $150 each. They usually retail for $270 – $325 each. We are offering a price of $100 each if you buy three rods or more.
Bass fishing has been very good in most of ponds and lakes in the area with the best fishing taking place in the early morning for small to medium-sized bass. For the most enjoyment, use light tackle and smaller ribbontail plastic worms in dark colors, which seem to work especially during the warm summer months.
Crappie fishing is fair at Loon Lake and the bluegill fishing is excellent with lots of seven to eight-inch fish. Now that the coastal streams are open, some interesting float trips available on Tenmile Creek and Siltcoos River. On Tenmile Creek, one can take a nearly five mile long float from Lakeside downstream to the “old highway 101 bridge” and then one person can make the one mile hike along the railroad tracks back to their parked vehicle. Fishing is good for small largemouth bass and fair for trout.
The float on the Siltcoos River features fewer, but larger fish with a chance at both rainbow and cutthroat trout topping 18-inches and largemouth bass weighing up to five pounds. The best stretch for fishing is between Siltcoos Lake and the dam on Siltcoos River – a distance of about three miles. The best place to park a car at the downstream end of the float is at the picnic area located just below the dam on the Siltcoos Beach Access Road. But the stream is big enough and slow enough so that someone could paddle or motor back upstream.
The Siltcoos River is a nationally acclaimed scenic waterway that sees numerous canoeists and kayakers each year – many bird watching, taking photographs or simply getting exercise. It always amazes me how few of these people bring their fishing gear along.
The redtailed surfperch run on the Umpqua River above Winchester Bay is now in full swing and so far, most of the fish are being caught during mid-tide periods of considerable water movement. As fishing pressure takes off and boat traffic increases, early morning fishing may become more important.
The proposed fee increases by the ODFW is slated to to be voted on this summer. While the proposed fee increases are to start in 2016, some of the more severe increases involve the combined angling tag, senior fishing licenses and pioneer licenses. However, virtually all rthe licenses will show healthy increases and if the proposal is enacted, there will be nearly across the board increases every two years.
I believe that most of Oregon’s hunters and anglers will continue to purchase their hunting and fishing licenses – despite their vows to do otherwise, but I and some of my friends purchase ODFW licenses each year that we do not use – thinking the ODFW can use the financial assistance – and these license purchases are likely to stop. In my case, each year I purchase a shellfish license, a combined angling tag and a second rod license that I could easily do without. For more information, visit the budget section of the ODFW website.
Pleasure Cove Resort and Marina on Lake Berryessa in Napa recently reeled in top honors in Take Me Fishing’s Top 100 List of Family-Friendly Places to Boat and Fish in America.
California also notched seven other places on the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) inaugural Take Me Fishing Top 100 list of best places to fish in U.S. state parks and recreation areas, including Lake Chabot Regional Park in Castro Valley (7), Lake Del Valle State Recreation Area in Livermore (11), Moonlight State Beach in Encinitas (13), Clear Lake State Park in Kelseyville (17), Dockweiler State Beach in Playa del Rey (28), Echo Park in Los Angeles (33) and Millerton Lake State Recreation Area in Friant (75). The entire list can be viewed at http://takemefishing.org/community/americas-top-family-fishing-and-boating-spots/.
“The inclusion of eight California sites in the Take Me Fishing Top 100 list is a welcome recognition of the array of alluring recreational opportunities that exist in our state for anglers and boaters,” said California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Director Charlton H. Bonham.
RBFF is a nonprofit organization that seeks to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. RBFF’s Take Me Fishing campaign initiated the nationwide vote to provide families and outdoor enthusiasts with a recommended list of the best family-friendly places to experience boating and fishing. Criteria included having a public body of water within an hour of a major city and good fishing opportunities.
“We enlisted the help of state fish and wildlife agencies to identify popular locations, and asked fishing and boating enthusiasts who belong to our communities to vote on their favorite spots that are easily accessible and where the fish are known to bite most often,” said RBFF President and Chief Executive Officer Frank Peterson.
With 1,100 miles of ocean coastline, 220,000 square miles of ocean waters, 4,172 lakes and reservoirs, 29,664 miles of streams and rivers and 1,800 miles of bay and delta waters, California has more fishing opportunities than any other state in the country. For more information on fishing in the Golden State, please visit www.wildlife.ca.gov/Fishing.aspx