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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: January 2015
ROSEBURG, Ore. – Umpqua River system anglers should be aware of regulation changes in effect this year. The changes resulted from the Coastal Multi-Species Conservation and Management Plan<http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/CRP/coastal_multispecies.asp> (CMP) that was adopted by the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission in June 2014.
Mainstem Umpqua River – Spring chinook salmon
• Season runs Feb. 1 – July 31 Previously, the mainstem was open year-round for chinook; now it is delineated by spring and fall runs and is closed the month of January.
• Harvest limit is two wild spring chinook/day and five for the season to protect South Umpqua River wild spring chinook. The new regulation allows more wild springers to escape the mainstem fishery on their way to the South Umpqua which is always closed to chinook angling. Additional hatchery spring chinook can be retained.
Mainstem Umpqua River – Fall chinook salmon
• Season runs Aug. 1 – Dec. 31.
• Harvest limit is two wild fall chinook/day and up to 20 total in combination with all other salmon or steelhead on an angler’s salmon tag. Fish harvested in the Umpqua system and other rivers, such as the Coos, are counted in the aggregate. All salmon/steelhead harvested must be recorded. If an angler records a hatchery fish on their salmon tag, it counts as part of the 20 salmon/steelhead per year limit. Anglers can purchase a hatchery harvest tag to record their hatchery harvest separately.
North Umpqua River – Spring chinook salmon
• Season runs Feb. 1 – July 31.
• Harvest limit is two wild spring chinook/day and up to 10 for the season in combination with wild chinook harvested in the mainstem Umpqua River. Example: harvest four wild springers on the mainstem Umpqua and six wild springers on the North Umpqua. Additional hatchery springers can be retained.
Other changes in the CMP include an increase in hatchery production for the South Umpqua winter steelhead program to a release of 150,000 smolts. ODFW should meet this production goal in 2016.
As lined out in the CMP, ODFW is working to establish a sliding scale for wild coho, fall and spring chinook salmon harvest. This year’s season was set as an “average” year; future seasons will be set according to forecasted returns.
The CMP also created more catch-and-release trout fishing areas in the Umpqua basin.
Harvest areas for two trout/day:
• Tributaries to the mainstem Umpqua River.
• Tributaries to the Smith River.
• North Umpqua River and tributaries above Slide Creek Dam.
The following areas, previously a two trout per day harvest, are now catch-and-release only:
• North Umpqua tributaries from mouth to Soda Springs Dam.
• South Umpqua mouth to Jackson Creek.
• South Umpqua tributaries below Jackson Creek.
• Cow Creek to Middle Creek.
• Cow Creek tributaries and mainstem Cow Creek above Middle Creek.
Anglers should always check the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for date and gear restrictions and the map for areas in red closed to all angling year-round.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is closely monitoring the population of band-tailed pigeons for mortality this winter. Band-tailed pigeons are California’s only native pigeon. They spend their winter from central to Southern California primarily inhabiting oak woodland and conifer forests. In late winter into early spring, band-tailed pigeons will migrate north into northern California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. Band-tailed pigeons are a different species than rock pigeons (also called city, urban or barn pigeons), which were introduced into North America from Europe.
Large flocks of band-tailed pigeons, sometimes up to 200 birds, have been observed in numerous coastal locations from the San Francisco Bay Area south into Santa Barbara County and in the San Bernardino Mountains. Increased mortality has been reported in several of these areas since mid-December. CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Laboratory has evaluated carcasses from these locations and determined the cause of mortality to be Avian Trichomonosis.
Avian Trichomonosis is a disease caused by a single-celled microscopic protozoan parasite, typically Trichomonas gallinae, which only infects birds. The parasite lives in the mouth and throat of infected birds, causing caseous (“cheese-like”) lesions in the birds’ mouth or esophagus. The lesions eventually block the passage of food, causing the bird to become weak and emaciated. Infected birds die from starvation or suffocation if the lesions block the airway. Non-native rock pigeons are thought to be the source of infection for native bird species.
The CDFW’s Wildlife Investigations Lab is asking residents to be on the lookout for band-tailed pigeons this winter and to report any sick or dead pigeons. This information helps CDFW determine how many pigeons die during these mortality events and consequently, how these events may impact the overall population. Mortality can be reported using the following link: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/Conservation/Laboratories/Wildlife-Investigations/Monitoring/Mortality-Report or by phone at (916) 358-2790.
If sick birds are observed, please contact a local wildlife rehabilitation center for advice. The list of CDFW licensed centers can be found at http://www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/WIL/rehab/facilities.html.
Additionally, residents can help reduce transmission of the disease by removing artificial sources of food and water (bird baths and fountains). Bird feeders and artificial water sources may increase disease transmission between individual band-tailed pigeons, and possibly other bird species, because it brings the birds into closer contact than is normal.
Steelhead fishing has generally improved with stable weather conditions and clearing water. Terry Newport braved heavy fishing pressure on the South Fork Coquille River to catch several finclipped steelhead. The mainstem Umpqua River fished very well last week for boat anglers running plugs in the right current speed to match the plugs they are using. For example, a kwikfish works best in slow current speeds, while a hotshot works best in faster water. Of course there are a number of plugs that work well in current speeds in between these two extremes. Some of the best Umpqua River steelhead fishing has been taking place above Elkton. The Umpqua River, with, rare exceptions, remains a catch and release wild steelhead fishery.
Tenmile Creek has been providing consistent steelhead action with most of the fishing pressure taking place at, or just below, Spin Reel Park since most of the steelhead caught are keepable finclipped fish. The stetch between Eel Creek and Tenmile is capable of producing very good steelhead fishing, but has very little fishing pressure since virtually every finclipped steelhead swimming up Tenmile Creek turns off and runs up Eel Creek. Fair numbers of steelhead have been observed in Eel Creek, but few anglers are willing to put up with the extremely snaggy conditions.
Don’t count on Eel Lake producing many steelhead in future years since the STEP Chapter now plants the steelhead they trap in lower Tenmile Creek after they are done with them. In years past, these fish were allowed to enter the lake and often remained in the lake until they were caught, when the lake’s Eel Creek outlet became quite low in the early spring. The same condition sometimes keeps coho salmon smolts in the lake when they want to begin their migration to the ocean. These fish, which may grow to well beyond eight inches in length are not legal to keep as are the legal-sized trout.
It may not result in anything positive, but I applaud the House in the Oregon State Legislature’s decision to allow the use of dogs to hunt cougars. Of course the House Bill still has to pass the Oregon State Senate and the governor for ratification and if it becomes state law it would allow Oregon counties to opt out of the state ban on using dogs to hunt cougars.
While it makes me quite nervous to allow Oregon counties to vote to ignore statewide law, in this particular case successful passage of the bill (LC 62) may allow some of Oregon’s rural counties to better deal with an expanding cougar population brought on by a ban on using dogs to hunt cougars that was voted in by Oregon’s most heavily urbanized areas that rarely have to deal with the problem.
In the meantime, Oregon remains the only western state without a human fatality due to a wild cougar. However, in November of 2013, a woman employee of Wildcat Haven in Sherwood was mauled and killed by a cougar when she entered the enclosure alone. At the was time the cougar was scheduled for relocation.
Looking back at the 2014/15 waterfowl hunting season it has been one of the best years yet! The Potholes Recreation Area offers hunters a fine local duck population to enjoy. They have been doing waterfowl, duck counts since 1955 up north. In 2012 they reported the most ducks ever counted. Every year after the count exceeded the year before ending with 2014 being the most every counted to date. Waterfowl hunters can look back and enjoy the memories of this past season and start to count down the days to October 2015 for the next season to begin.
Fishers are using blade baits fishing 22 to 64 feet of water to catch these monster walleyes
, your odds are good to also catch some nice perch fishing at these depths as well. This week swim baits have produced casting and using a slow retrieve method. We are seeing the aggressive pre-spawn perch as big as 12 inches long. Jig fishers are using Whistle Pigs tipped with a night crawler.
Seep lakes trout action already has begun. Many of the seep lakes are open year round on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge. Mitch Childress reported that his weekend his son landed a 4 pound trout on his first cast.
Call the MarDon Tackle Shop for more reports (509) 346-2651.
Cash Brown and Mason Meseberg enjoyed a Royal Slope Goose Hunt the last week of the season.
Referring to cougar sightings near playgrounds, school bus stops and under a minivan, the Oregon House narrowly approved a bill Tuesday that would overturn a voter approved ban on hunting the big cats with hound dogs.
The vote came after a spirited discussion that ranged from concerns about environmental balance to the vast difference between Oregon’s urban and rural counties. And there was even one up-close and personal scare story.
“I was stalked by a cougar when I was about 8,” recounted Rep. Caddy McKeown, of Coos Bay, one of a group of Democrats who joined every House Republican to give the bill the needed supermajority to pass.
House Bill 2624 would allow individual counties to opt out of the statewide ban on the use of dogs to hunt cougars if voters approve. A county commission could put the issue on the ballot, or it could get on by an initiative petition drive.
If approved, hunters in that county could again use dogs to track and tree cougars — a practice considered the most reliable for bagging cats but outlawed in 1994 by a statewide vote. The bill, approved 40-19, heads to the Senate. It had to get 40 votes — a three-fifths majority — because it changes a criminal sanction approved by voters.
“You should be able to do business the way you want to do business in your county,” said Rep. Sherrie Sprenger, R-Scio, who helped spearhead the bill through committee and onto the House floor. She said residents of some counties have become frightened by cougar encounters, and want the ability to hunt them with hounds.
“Please allow those of us in rural Oregon to address this issue the way we would like to,” Sprenger said.
Opponents said worries about public safety are overblown. They pointed to statistics that show the number of cougar sightings and complaints on the decrease, despite a hefty increase in their population. According to state estimates, the number of cougars in Oregon has gone from 3,000 to nearly 6,000 over the past two decades.
The law allows residents to kill cougars if they pose an immediate threat. And it gives the state leeway to hire hunters with hounds to dispatch cougars that have ventured too close to population centers.
“We’re not talking about keeping communities safe. We’re not talking about keeping children safe,” said Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland. “We’re talking about sport hunting of cougars with dogs.”
Debate over cougars has raged on and off in Oregon ever since the 1994 vote. An attempt in 1996 to overturn the ban was soundly rejected. In recent years, House lawmakers have voted three different times to change the law, only to see their efforts stymied in the Senate.
Rep. Brian Clem, D-Salem, a lifelong deer hunter, has been among those pushing for a change in cougar hunting policy.
“This is really about game management and deer population,” Clem said. The increase in cougars threatens deer and elk herds, which in turn hurts the sport of hunting in Oregon, he said.
“They need to eat something,” Clem said. “Fortunately it hasn’t been human beings; it’s been deer.”
Rep. Jeff Reardon, D-Portland, said voters deemed the practice of using dogs to hunt cougars as inhumane, regardless of county borders.
“I was not elected to override the voice of the voters,” Reardon said. Allowing some counties to opt out “is an exercise in unnecessary and high-handed legislation.”
Rep. David Gomberg, a coastal Democrat, said hunters go after the bigger cougars because “they make the best trophies,” and returning to the use of dogs would only upset the “delicate balance” that now exists.
That drew a response from Sprenger, who said she gets frequent calls and emails from people who have had close encounters with cats.
“Something is out of balance,” she said, “when a mom in Mill City walks out of her front door to get in the minivan and goes back in the house because a cougar is under her minivan.”
ODFW is looking for anglers to share their love of fishing with families and children by becoming volunteer fishing instructors.
The agency will be hosting angler instructor training in Bend on Saturday, Jan. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Office, 61374 Parrell Road, Bend, OR 97702. Lunch will be provided.
According to Shahab Farzanegan, ODFW angling education coordinator, the day will in include basic fishing skills, stewardship, aquatic resources and water safety.
“Potential volunteers will also learn about upcoming events in their area and how they can get involved,” Farzanegan said. “The great thing about completing training this time of year is that new instructors will be ready to participate in upcoming fishing events this spring.”
Preregistration by Jan. 14 is required. To register, contact Darlene Sprecher at (503) 947-6025 or by e-mail at email@example.comD.
This waterfowl season has been one of the most memorable in recent years. Each cold blast created lifetime memories for our customers and our guides. The harsh cold temperatures forced birds from the north to escape mother-nature’s harshness. During these arctic conditions our tenacious guides dealt with high wind and cold weather conditions in the sand dunes on Potholes Reservoir. We are still almost completely iced up in the sand dune area but the main lake is still open for walleye fishers to come out and enjoy the catch. Fishers are using blade baits fishing 22 to 64 feet of water to catch these monster fish, your odds are good to also catch some nice perch fishing at these depths as well. This week swim baits have produced casting and using a slow retrieve method. We are seeing the aggressive pre-spawn perch as big as 12 inches long. Jig fishers are using Whistle Pigs tipped with a night crawler.
Although fishing success is largely dependent on water clarity, winter steelhead fishing was very good on the Umpqua River last week. Retired Lakeside postmaster James Thurber fished with Bryan Gill of the Umpqua Angler and landed several steelhead including one finclipped fish. They were fishing above Elkton using plugs.
Bank anglers have been having fair success for steelhead on Tenmile Creek. Most of the fishing pressure has been at, or just below, Spin Reel Park with fair numbers of finclipped keepable fish.
There has been a few surprisingly good catches of largemouth bass taken recently at Tenmile Lakes. The key is to fish slowly near the bottom and some fish have been caught on spinnerbaits, crankbaits, jigs or plastic worms and to not get discouraged since bassfishing in the winter can be very slow. Dwayne Schultz, who spends a fair amount of time in our area despite living near Portland reported catching yellow perch to 11-inches off the fishing dock at the county park on South Tenmile Lake in Lakeside. He may have been more impressed with his own catch if an angler fishing near him hadn’t caught a 15-inch perch while he was fishing. The lucky angler measured the jumbo perch, but didn’t weigh it. Dwayne stated that the perch, which was obviously in pre-spawn condition, was extremely fat.
Oregon’s state record yellow perch weighed two pounds and two ounces and was caught way back in 1971 from a Columbia River slough near Astoria and it appears that this particular perch, had it been actually weighed, would have seriously threatened that record.
Ana Reservoir, a small springfed reservoir in eastern Oregon, with less than 60 surface acres, is about the size of Saunders Lake. Last month, the reservoir gave up the latest of several state records for striped bass-white bass hybrids. This fish, caught on December 10th, but only recently certified by the Oregon Bass and Panfish Club, which keeps track of Oregon’s warmwater fish records.
While most of Ana’s jumbo hybrids are taken on baits such as sand shrimp, this fish struck a rapala and measured 31.5-inches with a girth of 24-inches. At a weight of 18 pounds and 12 ounces, it topped the previous record by a mere two and a half ounces.
The most surprising thing about Ana’s jumbo hybrid stripers is not that they grow fast since the reservoir has a tremendous forage base of tui chubs, but that the hybrid stripers can remain uncaught long enough to reach state record size since virtually any spot in the reservoir can be reached by a long cast from shore.
Many fishing tackle and ODFW retailers now display an ODFW flyer detailing the changes in bottomfish limits that went into effect on January 15th. If you haven’t seen it, the regulations state that China, copper and quillback rockfish are illegal to keep and only three blue rockfish may be kept as part of the seven bottomfish daily limit).
According to Bryan Gill of the Umpqua Angler improving river conditions on the Umpqua has spurred the winter steelhead bite. James Thurber fished with Bryan this week and landed six steelhead. The effective technique was to anchor the boat and let diving plugs work about 25 feet downstream of the boat.