Monthly Archives: November 2014

Topping Washington’s Current State Record Fish

I wrote a similar article two years ago, thinking that at least a couple of Washington’s ten most beatable state fish records would be broken.

None were, but these same fish records are still begging to be broken – so once again, here they are.

Ten fish species will be covered in this article and the lower the number, the most likely that fish record is of being replaced. On the reverse side of Washington’s record fish is the brown bullhead record of 11.04 pounds, a record that will never be broken, since it almost certainly is a result of species mis-identification since the world record for the species is a Mississippi bullhead that weighed six pounds two ounces.

10 – Although Washington’s state record largemouth of slightly more than 11 pounds nine ounces is rather impressive, its about a half pound lighter than Oregon’s state record. Since Oregon is south of Washington, a lighter Washington largemouth record is understandable and perhaps meaningless, but the numbers of bass weighing more than ten pounds taken from Washington waters in recent years certainly isn’t. Additionally, some humungous largemouths have been netted over the years by fisheries personnnel. At some point, a pre-spawn lunker is going to topple the existing state record.

9 – Washington’s smallmouth record of eight pounds 12 ounces is generally considered to be the world record for smallmouth bass taken on a fly – making it a most impressive state record, but one destined to fall since a number of eight pound plus smallmouths have been taken in recent years from sections of the Columbia and Snake rivers as well as an eight pound ten ounce fish from Palmer Lake.

8 – Washington’s record yellow bullhead of 1.63 pounds is only one-third of the weigh of the national record from Georgia. Yellow bullheads, as far as bullheads go, average good size, but don’t seem to have as large a maximum size as do brown and black bullheads, both of which seem to average smaller than the yellow bullheads. The biggest problem with replacing this record is actually identifying a record yellow bullhead instead of assuming it is the more common brown bullhead.

7 – The state record black bullhead of one pound 12 ounces is rather anemic when compared with the national record fish from Michigan which weighed eight pounds 15 ounces. Black bullheads tend to average small, but vary greatly in size. Properly identifying a sizable black bullhead would be difficult since most of the state’s bulheads are brown bullheads.

6 – Washington’s record chinook salmon of 70 pounds eight ounces is a very impressive salmon, but it pales next to Oregon’s record chinook of 83 pounds, California’s record chinook of 88 pounds or British Columbia’s record chinook of 92 pounds. Since chinook salmon feed up and down the Pacific Coast, at some point these jumbo chinooks should be available to be caught in any state. This record will be broken, but barbless hook requirements in the ocean make it very difficult to land a sizable chinook in saltwater.

5 – While a white crappie weighing 2.80 pounds is an impressive fish, Washington’s state record white crappie pales when compared to Oregon’s record of four pounds 12 ounces or Idaho’s record of slightly more than three and a half pounds. There are definitely state record size white crappie swimming around Washington, but they need to be officially weighed and recognized rather than going straight to the stove and table top.

4 – Washington’s state record flathead catfish of 22.80 pounds is less than 19 percent of the weight of the national record flathead, a 123 pound fish from Kansas. Of more relevance, it is barely more than a third the weight of the 58 pound eight ounce flathead pulled from Brownlee Reservoir. Since Brownlee is on the Snake River, very close to Washington, and the lower reaches of the river are in southeast Washington – there is no reason why Washington shouldn’t be producing a new state record flathead in the near future.

3 – Washington’s record american shad weighed only 3.83 pounds – A very nice shad, but one that pales when compared to the world record of 11 pounds four ounces from Massachussetts. Closer to home, Washington’s record shad compares rather poorly with the Oregon record of six pounds six ounces ( 60%) or California’s record of seven pounds five ounces (52%). Since Oregon’s state record came from the Willamette River, a major tributary of the Columbia River which is shared with Washington – it is inexplicable that the disparity between the two state records is so large.

2 – The state record for blue catfish is only 17 pounds 12 ounces or less than 13 percent of the last couple of national records from the southeastern United States. In fact, this state record is so pathetic for its species that one cannot help thinking that Washington’s blue catfish are really off-colored channel catfish. If they are, indeed, blue cats, this record needs to be replaced pronto.

1 – The warmouth state record is only .53 pounds and came from southwest Washington’s Silver Lake which has produced a number of warmouths weighing around a pound, but have not been turned in for official recognition. Oregon’s state record warmouth of one pound 14.2 ounces was caught from a backwater on the Columbia River – which is, of course, shared by Washington. This state record is woefully smaller than it should be and will be replaced.

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Recreation Report

Walleye action using blade baits and swim jigs IS happening in a big way on Potholes Reservoir. YoYo jigging or a cast and retrieve technique is producing both walleye and bass. Last winter ice fishing was HOT at the Lind Coulee Arm on Potholes Reservoir. On Martin Luther King weekend there were over 250 fisherman enjoying catching perch, walleye, bass, burbot and channel catfish through the ice. Watch the weather and when it gets colder give us a call for current ice conditions.

Bank fishing at Medicare Beach has been producing rainbows to 7 lbs using Pautske eggs and power bait. Anglers are also reporting nice rainbows from Corral Lake, just south of MarDon. Corral Lake has triploids to 21” and as we look forward to next spring the lake will produce good action for bank fishers and trollers.

As we enjoy the holiday let us be thankful….Because some Northern waterfowl are migrating to thePotholes Recreation area. Northerns in groups of 50 or more mallards that react perfectly to duck calling have been enjoyed by recent hunters. Goose hunting will continue to improve as we finish November. Check out www.ducktaxi.com website for duck and goose hunting package discounts. Click on the 2014-2015 specials to review them. Book a trip to be remembered or buy a gift certificate for that hard to buy for hunter. Let’s do something fowl!!

The Royal Hunt Club (Boosters) offer fee access hunting on over 25000 acres of Royal Slope private property for pheasant, duck and goose hunting. No guides are allowed to operate on or use the Booster land. The Boosters’ ground holds excellent, but ignored goose hunting opportunities. The farmers that donate their farmland want these geese hunted or they, in many cases, have to re-seed their fields. Season passes are available or you can purchase a 3 day pass. Minors (18 and under) are half-price. www.royalhuntclub.org or call 509.346.2651, daily 9am-6pm

The 3 generation Doc Frenier party from Anchorage, Alaska enjoyed 3 days of duck hunting on Potholes Reservoir.  Doc is 87 years young and can still kick my butt.  Photo provided by Nathan LaFrance.

The 3 generation Doc Frenier party from Anchorage, Alaska enjoyed 3 days of duck hunting on Potholes Reservoir. Doc is 87 years young and can still kick my butt. Photo provided by Nathan LaFrance.

We had a field with over 2000 geese so gathered this handsome group for a memorable hunt.  Pictured here: Mark Graham, the Bill Hosko party, and the Williams party who joined Mike, Levi and the Baltzell twins.

We had a field with over 2000 geese so gathered this handsome group for a memorable hunt. Pictured here: Mark Graham, the Bill Hosko party, and the Williams party who joined Mike, Levi and the Baltzell twins.

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ODFW Art Contest Winners Announced

Salem, Ore – ODFW today announced winners of its 2015 Habitat Conservation, Upland Game Bird, and Waterfowl Stamp art contests. Winners were chosen this past weekend at an event at Duck Pond Cellars in Dundee.

Habitat Conservation Stamp Winner – Don Meinders of North Carolina with his painting of Tufted Puffins.
Upland Game Bird Stamp Winner – Shari Erickson of Beavercreek, Oregon with her painting of Gray Partridge.
Waterfowl Stamp Winner – Timothy Turenne of Minnesota with his painting of Northern Pintail.
People’s Choice Award Winner – Debra Otterstein of Cove, Oregon for her painting of the Northern Goshawk.
Turenne and Erickson will each receive a prize award of $3,000. Meinders will receive a prize award of $1,000. The paintings will be used to produce 2015 collector stamps and other promotional items to benefit Oregon’s species and habitats.

As part of the ODFW Art Show, visitors were encouraged to vote for their favorite artwork out of the 73 entries on display as part of the People’s Choice Award contest. Otterstein’s Northern Goshawk received the highest number of votes, with Rob Stine’s Ringtail and Mickey Schilling’s Coastal Cutthroat Trout coming in second and third place.

November 22 marked the second year the art contest was held at Duck Pond Cellars. The winery partners with ODFW’s Conservation Program by crafting unique blends of Pinot Noir that feature winning artwork from the Habitat Conservation Stamp contest and donating $5 from the sale of each bottle to the Conservation Program.

“We greatly appreciate the partnership with Duck Pond Cellars and their support of the ODFW Conservation Program,” said Andrea Hanson, Oregon Conservation Strategy Coordinator. “We had a great turn-out at the event this year with many wonderful art entries to enjoy.”

Conservation Cuvee – Lot 1, released last year, features the Western Meadowlark artwork of the winning 2012 Habitat Conservation Stamp contest by Sara Stack. This year’s Conservation Cuvee – Lot 2 features the 2014 Habitat Conservation Stamp winning artwork of Western Painted Turtles by Timothy Turenne. The wine can be purchased at Duck Pond Cellars, through its website, and at select restaurants and wine shops.

This year’s art contest was judged by Greg Wolley, ODFW Commissioner; Bill Monroe, The Oregonian; Dan Edge, Oregon State University; Bruce Taylor, Oregon Habitat Joint Venture; and Leslie Bliss-Ketchum, The Wildlife Society. 112614_Winning_UP_Artist_Shari_Erickson

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Pete Heley Outdoors – 11/26/2014

The Umpqua River should have fair numbers of winter steelhead in it below Elkton.  Now that it’s winter, It will be important to keep track of water levels and clarity. This week’s rain will put lots of salmon and a few steelhead in the Elk, Sixes anf Floras Creek, but expect the Elk and Sixes to be very crowded. Both of these streams recover fairly quickly from heavy rains, but the Elk will recover the quickest.

A few anglers are hedging their bets at Tenmile Lakes by bassfishing with spinnerbaits or colorful crankbaits. This tactic is fine but violates the intent of the salmon regulations for Tenmile which prohibits salmon fishing in the channel connecting North and South Tenmile lakes during October, November and December.

A rare crappie was caught last week from the fishing dock at the county park on South Tenmile Lake and a few coho salmon have been caught near Lakeside Marina where Tenmile Creek leaves South Tenmile Lake.

Don’t forget to report your hunt results no later than Jan. 31, 2015 for most hunts. Report online or by phone (1-866-947-6339).

Hunters need to complete a report for each deer, elk, cougar, bear, turkey and pronghorn tag purchased (or picked up as part of a Sports Pac) — even if they didn’t hunt or weren’t successful. Deer and elk hunters who don’t report will have to pay a $25 fine to get a 2016 hunting license.

With the arrival of colder air temperatures, fishing pressure on on virtually all fish species has undergone a major dropoff. Some of the options that are being ignored are: ocean bottomfishing; fishing the surf for redtailed surfperch; fishing the jetty for bottomfish; fishing for largemouth bass and yellow perch at Tenmile lakes or fishing for planted trout at Saunders or Empire lakes.

Diamond Lake is a possibility for ice fishing. Make sure to check at the resort for ice thickness. The best conditions for ice formation is cold temperatures and minimal winds.

Saunders and Empire lakes were last stocked with trout in early October and many, if not most of the trout have been caught, but there should be enough to merit a fishing trip for an optimistic angler. Eel and Tenmile lakes which have native, carryover and searun trout might be a better bet.

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Oregon Fishing – ODFW Seeks New Board Member

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is seeking a new Board member to represent the independent science community on the Oregon Hatchery Research Center Board. As directed by HB 3441, the independent science member shall have scientific background related to fish management and the propagation of hatchery fish. The successful candidate will serve a four year term.

The Board is charged with advising the OHRC Director on operational, budget and research priorities at the research center. Additional details about the Board’s responsibilities can be found in HB 3441, available on the ODFW web site.

Candidates must submit an application and provide three references by Dec. 24, 2014. The ODFW Director will appoint the new member by Jan. 10, 2015. The application is available on the ODFW web site.

The OHRC is a cooperative research project between ODFW and OSU. The center’s mission is to develop an understanding of the mechanisms that may create differences between hatchery and wild fish, and devise ways to reduce and manage the differences so that hatcheries can be used responsibly in the conservation and management of Oregon’s native fish.

For more information about the OHRC Board or how to apply, please contact Heather Thomas at ude.etatsnogeronull@samohT.rehtaeH or (541) 757-5101. For more information about the OHRC, visit OHRC’s Web site at www.dfw.state.or.us/OHRC

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Washington Fishing – Ellensburg Angler Breaks State Bluefin Tuna Recrd

Sam Ellinger of Ellensburg has set a new state record for the largest Pacific bluefin tuna caught off the coast of Washington, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed today.

The 39.20 pound fish measured 41 inches and was caught 28 miles offshore southwest of Grays Harbor, while bait fishing with anchovies.

Ellinger, a student at Central Washington University, said he began the day early and was fishing, “from the crack of dawn until it got dark.”

“Catching a fish this size was pretty exhausting,” added Ellinger.  “We didn’t know what we hooked until we got it on the boat.”

The new record exceeded the previous record Pacific bluefin tuna weight by 2.71 pounds. That record was held by Patrick Fagan on a fish caught 35 miles offshore from Westport in 2012.

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Washington Outdoors – Hotline Available For Reporting Dead, Sick Or Injured Swans

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has re-established a hotline to report dead, sick or injured swans in three northwest Washington counties as part of its ongoing effort to assess the impact of lead poisoning on trumpeter swans.

People can call (360) 466-4345, ext. 266 , to report dead, sick or injured swans in Whatcom, Skagit and Snohomish counties. Callers should be prepared to leave a message including their name and phone number, and the location and condition of the swans.

The hotline is available 24 hours a day through the end of March.

Some trumpeter swans in those three counties, and in southwestern British Columbia, die each winter from lead poisoning after ingesting lead shot in areas where they feed.

Lead shot has been banned for waterfowl hunting in Washington for more than two decades. But swans can still pick up and ingest lead shot while foraging in shallow underwater areas in fields and roosts where lead shot is still present.

People who observe dead, sick or injured swans are advised not to handle or collect the birds, said Paul DeBruyn, WDFW wildlife biologist for Skagit and Whatcom counties.

Instead, people should call the hotline, he said. WDFW and Puget Sound Energy employees, as well as volunteers from the Trumpeter Swan Society, will pick up the birds.

WDFW and other agencies and organizations have been working since 2001 to locate sources of toxic lead.

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Fishing And Hunting Report

The flights of Northern Waterfowl are coming to the Columbia Basin Daily. Our goose guides are reporting new birds in different fields every day. The duck hunting on Potholes Reservoir has been cold, foggy, and tough. Many waterfowl hunters will soon enjoy an improved duck opportunity on Potholes Reservoir with the weather man reporting that the stagnant air will be gone on Friday (11-21-14). Pheasant hunters continue to work hard for just a few roosters. Many pheasant enthusiasts have commented on the public hunting areas on the Lind Coulee, Frenchman’s, and Winchester Wasteway’s. One option for fee access pheasant hunting is the Royal Hunt Club (www.royalhuntclub.com)

Bank fishers on the face of O’Sullivan Dam, especially the South Shoreline, are using swim baits for walleye up to 31 inches long. We are just amazed with our fishery improvement this past year. Bank fisherman are been reporting rainbow trout up to 26 inches using Power Bait or Pautzke’s Eggs.

 

perch and walleyePaul Miller, of Shelton, caught these nice walleye and trout trolling off Medicare Beach using a Fisher Brothers Walleye Rig.

Sam Williams, of Seattle, enjoyed a Royal Slope Goose Hunt with Meseberg Adventures.

Sam Williams, of Seattle, enjoyed a Royal Slope Goose Hunt with Meseberg Adventures.

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ODFW News – Report Big Game And Turkey Tags

Don’t forget to report your hunt results no later than Jan. 31, 2015 for most hunts. Report online or by phone (1-866-947-6339).

Hunters need to complete a report for each deer, elk, cougar, bear, turkey and pronghorn tag purchased (or picked up as part of a Sports Pac)—even if they didn’t hunt or weren’t successful. Deer and elk hunters who don’t report will have to pay a $25 fine to get a 2016 hunting license.

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Mentored Youth Hunts – Kids Age 9-13 Who Haven’t Passed Hunter Education Yet Can Still Go Hunting Under the Mentor Youth program.

The time shared between a youngster and a mentor is invaluable. There simply is no better way to introduce a young person to safe, ethical and responsible aspects of hunting than with the close supervision of an adult mentor that the Mentored Youth Hunter Program provides.

The Program allows youth 9 through 13 years of age to hunt without first passing an approved hunter education program. It gives unlicensed youngsters the opportunity to receive mentored, one-on-one field experience and training on the ethics, safety, responsibility, and enjoyment of the hunting while closely supervised by a licensed adult.

As an incentive to participate in the mentored youth hunting program, youth will receive one mentored youth preference point for each year the youth registers for the program. Once the department receives the youth’s registration form, if the youth does not have a hunter identification number, a number will be assigned and a mentored youth preference point updated in the system.

Call 503-947-6000

Youth Participation

A youth may participate in the mentored youth hunter program, without first passing an approved hunter education program, provided the youth:

Noah Frank
Noah Frank with his first buck.
-Oregon Fish and Wildlife- Is 9 through 13 years of age. At age 14, a youth is no longer eligible to participate in the mentored youth hunting program. From age 14 through 17, a youth must pass an approved hunter education program and possess his or her own license and/or tags.

Hunts while accompanied by a supervising hunter who is 21 years of age or older and who has a valid license and tag(s) for the dates, area and species being hunted.

Annual registration is required.

Has in possession proof of registration.

Reviews and acknowledges understanding of material on safe hunting practices provided by the department by signing form.

Follows all regulations regarding hunting in the given wildlife management unit, management area or location

Remains under the immediate control of the supervising hunter at all times while the youth is in possession of any legal weapon for the hunt

The supervising hunter shall:

Have a valid hunting license and tag(s) valid for the dates, area and species being hunted.

Maintain immediate control of the mentored youth hunter at all times while the youth is in possession of any legal weapon for the hunt.

Ensure that all Oregon hunting regulations are followed. The supervising hunter shall be responsible and accountable for all actions of the mentored youth hunter while engaged in hunting.

Supervise only one mentored youth hunter at any given time while engaged in hunting.

Review information on safe hunting practices provided by the department with the youth.
Safety

While engaged in mentored youth hunting activities:

The supervising hunter shall maintain immediate control of the mentored youth hunter at all times while the mentored youth hunter is in possession of any legal weapon for the hunt.

The supervising hunter shall not accompany more than one mentored youth hunter at any given time while engaged in hunting.

The supervising hunter and the mentored youth hunter shall not collectively possess more than one weapon legal for the hunt at any given time while engaged in hunting.

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