Monthly Archives: January 2015

Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Recreation Report

Mid-January 2015 brings great optimism for outdoor enthusiasts due to an increase in waterfowl activity in Central Washington. Yesterday good Perch and Walleye action was reported from two retired fishermen from Yakima that launched at the MarDon Resort Boat Launch ($7 for a day launch pass unless a registered overnight guest) and fished the Medicare Beach area in 22 to 35 feet of water using blade baits. Some Jumbo Walleye have been caught off the face of O’Sullivan Dam using 6” Swim Jigs.

The MarDon Dock is open for day use fishers for a fee (Friday is free dock fishing all day, you must still stop by the store and get a pass). Overnight registered guests may fish all night if they choose. The fee if you are not staying at MarDon Resort is $4 for kids and seniors and $7 for adults. You may purchase a pass from 9am-6pm this time of year.

Ice conditions are covering most of the sand dunes stopping access into traditional hunting areas. The Frenchman’s Wasteway, Winchester Wasteway, and the Lind Coulee arm of Potholes Reservoir have been great hunting for waterfowl hunters. . Corn field duck hunting has been showing great hunts in Central Washington. Our goose hunters are limiting many days with more winter like weather temperatures. Duck and Goose Hunting Season is winding down with a little more than a week left in the season. If you are interested in getting in a last minute hunt give us a call and remember goose hunting is open for the whole last week of the season, not just its regular Wednesday, Saturday & Sundays.

For more information please call (509) 346-2651.

Hunter Fray of Buckley, Wa caught this beautiful walleye off the MarDon Fishing Dock. This fish weighed 16.1 lbs.

Hunter Fray of Buckley, Wa caught this beautiful walleye off the MarDon Fishing Dock.
This fish weighed 16.1 lbs.

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Ana Reservoir Gives Up Another State Record Hybrid Striper

The Oregon Bass & Panfish Club received an entry for a new Oregon State Record warmwater fish. OBPC is the official holder and certifier of Oregon State Warmwater Game Fish Records.

After verifying fish identification with Gary Galovich, ODFW Fish Biologist, this catch was certified by the Oregon Bass & Panfish Club Board of Directors as a new Oregon State Record Hybrid White Bass. This fish was caught on December 10, 2014 at Ana Reservoir using a Rapala.

The hybrid bass weighed 19.75 pounds (19 pounds, 12 ounces) and was 31 ½ inches in length. Girth was 24-inches. The new state record edged the old state record, also from Ana Reservoir (in 2009) by two and  a half ounces.

A springfed reservoir of less than 60 acres, Ana has produced the last several Oregon state record hybrids – most often taken on sandshrimp at night.

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CDFW Welcomes New Chief Of Law Enforcement

California wildlife officer David Bess has been appointed the new chief of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division, CDFW Director Charlton H. Bonham announced. The position was recently vacated by the retirement of 33-year veteran wildlife officer, Chief Michael P. Carion.

“California’s fish and wildlife and the sportsmen and sportswomen of this state owe Chief Carion a debt of gratitude for 33 years of selfless service,” said Director Bonham. “Along with his predecessor, Chief Nancy Foley, Chief Carion worked to increase the number of wildlife officers in the state. Today, the force is at its largest since 2000. We wish Chief Carion well in his retirement and look forward to continuing that progress with Chief Bess.”

Chief Bess gained a variety of experience in the Law Enforcement Division starting as a wildlife officer in Contra Costa County and the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta. He then joined the Special Operations Unit (SOU) of undercover wildlife officers who focus on illegal commercialization of California’s fish and wildlife. He eventually promoted to lieutenant to lead SOU. He promoted to captain and then assistant chief working on a variety of administrative tasks, including managing the Professional Standards Unit and legislative and regulatory duties.

Chief Bess brings a wealth of experience from running several businesses for more than 20 years. He sold his businesses and at age 43 followed his dream of going to the warden academy and becoming a wildlife officer. Chief Bess has a forestry degree from Humboldt State University, a degree in natural sciences from Sierra College, and has a lifelong passion for hunting and fishing.

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Court Mandates Minimum Water Flows For Owens River Gorge

After decades of court proceedings, the Owens River Gorge has begun to receive additional water to help restore historic fish populations and increase fishing opportunities.Ownes River gorge flow

The Mono County Superior Court recently approved an agreement between the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Mono County and the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power that will govern Owens River flows in the 19-mile reach between Crowley Lake and Pleasant Valley Reservoir. The agreement will not affect Crowley Lake for recreation and water storage. The new flows have already begun and will be fully phased in over a three-year period.

Owens River gorge

The Owens River Gorge was once known as one of the best brown trout fisheries in California. The fishery was eliminated by a system of hydroelectric power plants which did not provide bypass fish flows. Under the court order, restoration of higher flows and seasonal flow variation will breathe new life into the lower 10 miles of the gorge by expanding habitat for brown trout, scouring sediments that currently choke the pools and gravels, and promoting the establishment of riparian forest. Flows in the upper gorge below Crowley Dam will remain unchanged in the foreseeable future to protect Owens tui chubs, a native endangered fish.

Implementation of these new flows is a culmination of decades of scientific studies and negotiations. The settlement was influenced by and reflects recent developments in public trust law, especially deriving from the historic Mono Lake decision. In a time when fishing access is at a premium, this is great news for California anglers and anyone who enjoys the outdoors.

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California Anglers And Divers Need To In Catch Report Cards Before End Of January

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds anglers and divers that they are required by regulation to report or return their 2014 report cards.

Information collected from sport fishing report cards provides CDFW biologists with important data necessary to monitor and manage California’s diverse recreational fisheries, including preparing recommendations for sport fishing seasons and limits that allow for sustainable levels of take. This science-based management helps to ensure healthy populations of fish for future generations.  2014 report cards are due by Jan. 31, 2015 for steelhead, sturgeon, abalone and north coast salmon fisheries. Spiny lobster report cards must be returned or reported by April 30, 2015. Anglers and divers are required to report even if the report card was lost or they did not fish.  Cards should be reviewed carefully for accuracy before submission.

There are two ways to meet the mandatory reporting requirement. Online reporting (www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Fishing#758846-harvest-reporting) is easy, fast and free. Online reporting includes instant confirmation that the report has been received and accepted. Report cards may also be returned by mail to the addresses listed below.

North Coast Salmon Report Cards
CDFW – Klamath River Project
5341 Ericson Way
Arcata, CA 95521-9269

Abalone Report Cards
CDFW – Abalone Report Card
32330 N. Harbor Dr.
Fort Bragg, CA 95437-5554

Steelhead Report Cards
CDFW – Steelhead Report Card
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

Sturgeon Report Cards
CDFW – Sturgeon Report Card
P.O. Box 944209
Sacramento, CA 94244-2090

Any person who fails to return or report a salmon, steelhead, sturgeon or abalone report card to the department by the deadline may be restricted from obtaining the same card in a subsequent license year or may be subject to an additional fee for the issuance of the same card in a subsequent license year.

Please note that license sales agents cannot accept report cards. More information about report cards is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Licensing/Fishing.

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WDFW Announces Eight Days Of Razor Clam Digs Starting Jan. 17th

State fishery managers have given the OK for a second razor clam dig this month, this one scheduled from Jan. 17 through Jan. 24 on evening tides at various ocean beaches.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the eight-day dig after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat.

Low afternoon tides the first few days will allow diggers to hit the beaches in daylight, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. The best digging typically occurs one to two hours before low tide. No digging is allowed at any beach before noon.

Ayres noted the dig includes the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday on Jan. 19, providing an excellent opportunity to sneak away to the coast for a long weekend of clamming.

Under state law, diggers are required to keep the first 15 clams they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

Digging has been approved on the following dates, beaches and low tides:

Jan. 17, Saturday; 4:15 p.m., 0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis
Jan. 18, Sunday; 5:02 p.m., -0.6 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Jan. 19, Monday; 5:47 p.m., -1.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
Jan. 20, Tuesday; 6:30 p.m., -1.4 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
Jan. 21, Wednesday; 7:13 p.m., -1.4 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
Jan. 22, Thursday; 7:56 p.m., -1.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
Jan. 23, Friday; 8:40 p.m., -0.6 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Jan. 24, Saturday; 9:25 p.m., 0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis
WDFW also has proposed another dig in late January, tentatively set to begin Jan. 30 if marine toxin tests are favorable. That dig is tentatively scheduled on the following dates, beaches and low tides:

Jan. 30, Friday; 3:43 p.m., 0.5 feet Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Jan. 31, Saturday; 4:32 p.m., 0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis
Feb. 1, Sunday; 5:15 p.m., 0.0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Feb. 2, Monday; 5:53 p.m., -0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
Feb. 3, Tuesday; 6:27 p.m., -0.1 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
Feb. 4, Wednesday; 6:59 p.m., 0.0 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
Feb. 5, Thursday; 7:30 p.m., 0.2 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
Feb. 6, Friday; 8:00 p.m., 0.5 feet, Long Beach, Twin Harbors
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2014-15 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

WDFW has razor clam recipes as well as advice on digging and cleaning clams on its webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/ .

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WDFW To Replace Coho Salmon Fry Lost Due To Storm Damage At Grays River Hatchery

State managers of the Grays River Hatchery are well on their way to replacing 600,000 coho salmon fry lost after a water supply line failed during a heavy rainstorm last week.

On Monday (Jan. 12), the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) received 90,000 excess coho eggs from the Cascade Hatchery, operated by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife near Bonneville Dam.

Yesterday, the WDFW hatchery took delivery of 351,000 eyed coho eggs from the Eagle Creek Hatchery, owned by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) in Estacada, Ore.

Jim Scott, assistant director for the WDFW fish program, said he is optimistic that USFWS can supply enough additional coho eggs or fry to replace all the fry lost after the water-line failure at the Grays River Hatchery.

“We really appreciate the support we’ve received from our fellow fish managers,” Scott said. “These salmon support sport, commercial and tribal fisheries in the Deep River, the Columbia River and ocean waters.”

All state and federal permits required to transfer fish eggs to the Grays River facility have been approved, Scott said.

Cindy LeFleur, regional WDFW fish manager, said the fry lost last week suffocated Jan. 9 due to lack of water. The supply line that runs water to the hatchery from a nearby creek was damaged in the storm, and the alarm system designed to alert staff to the problem failed, she said.

Scott noted that the Grays River Hatchery, built in 1960, often has problems during high-water events.

“Unfortunately, neither maintenance nor capital funding has kept pace with the need for renovation, repair and replacement of many of our state’s aging hatcheries,” he said

LeFleur said the coho salmon eggs now being moved to the hatchery will eventually be transferred to net pens in Deep River and released as smolts in 2016.

In addition to coho, the facility rears chinook salmon, chum salmon and winter steelhead. None of those fish were affected by the faulty water line, LeFleur said.

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WDFW Police Featured On Animal Planet’s “Rugged Justice”.

Animal Planet’s new documentary series ‘Rugged Justice’ follows Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) police as they patrol mountains, coasts and city streets, protecting natural resources and serving the people of Washington.

The six-episode series premieres Sunday, Jan. 18, at 8 p.m. on Animal Planet.

“Our participation in the series provides an opportunity for WDFW’s Law Enforcement Program to promote the department and the dedicated professionals that carry out our mission of protecting our natural resources and the public we serve,” said WDFW deputy chief Mike Hobbs. “Policing the outdoors presents unique challenges, and this show helps to inform the public about our critical role in preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems in Washington.”

WDFW officers enforce all state laws, including those related to fishing and hunting, licensing and protecting natural habitat. Officers also provide first response to incidents involving potentially dangerous wildlife, including bear and cougar, and other public safety issues.

“‘Rugged Justice’ provides a window into the vital, varied and sometimes harrowing work of officers as they protect nature and people in Washington,” said Steve Crown, WDFW enforcement chief.

The WDFW enforcement program has 144 officers deployed statewide.

Officers appearing in ‘Rugged Justice’ were not paid by the show’s producers or Animal Planet for their participation.

For broadcast schedules, interested viewers should visit http://www.animalplanet.com/schedule/ .

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Pete Heley Outdoors 01 / 14 / 2015

Proving that a snowball can conceivably exist in Hell, the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PBC) lowered the cost of both resident and nonresident annual fishing licenses. for this year. The price decrease was only one dollar, but anglers can lock in the reduced price by purchasing three and five year licenses for savings of three and five dollars respectively.

The reason for the price reduction was the commission’s desire to emphasize just how affordable fishing in Pennylvania is and convince ex-anglers who had let their fishing licenses lapse or expire to purchase current licenses and begin fishing again.

A spring Chinook salmon was caught last Thursday (Jan. 9th) on the Willamette River below Willamette Falls. Upon hearing of this, my first thought was if the fish was even legal to keep – since spring Chinook season on the Umpqua doesn’t legally start until Feb. 1st. However, a call to the ODFW office in Charleston straightened me out. Finclipped spring Chinook salmon are legal to keep all year on the lower Willamette River. While the Umpqua River spring Chinook season, for both clipped and unclipped fish runs from Feb. 1st through July 31st, the same season on the Rogue River opens Jan. 1st. Although the first spring Chinook on the Umpqua is usually caught before the first Rogue River springer,  the ODFW most likely was more cautious when setting the springer season on the Umpqua to better protect a weak springer run on the South Umpqua.

Every year at about this time I find myself fighting depression, most likely due to reduced amounts of daylight and limited opportunities for my favorite types of angling. At some point I find myself  googling up a chart showing the daylight hours of each day for an entire year.

The first date I look up is for the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice (Dec. 22nd) which had nine hours and ten minutes of daylight. Then I look up how much daylight there was in a current day such as Jan. 15th) which has nine hours and 16 minutes of daylight. The extra six minutes of daylight may not seem like much, but it does indicate a trend in the right direction. Other dates worth looking up are when the amounts of daylight and darkness are equal (March 17th) and the first day there is a full 15 hours of daylight (May 22nd).

The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission met last week and set the 2015 harvest specifications and season structures for recreational and commercial groundfish that include significant changes to the composition of the seven fish daily bag limit for marine fish.

For the first time since 2004, anglers will be able to retain one canary rockfish as part of the daily bag limit beginning as early as March, thanks to on-going efforts to rebuild the stock. The exact date for the new rule will be announced following approval of a parallel federal harvest rule.

However, due to a decrease in federally determined harvest guidelines, anglers will be limited to three blue rockfish per day as part of the seven fish marine bag limit and the retention of China, copper and quillback rockfish will be prohibited. These regulations go into effect Jan. 15, 2015. ODFW staff had proposed a blue rockfish sub-limit of one per day, but after public testimony the Commission adopted a less-conservative limit of three blue rockfish per day.

The commercial nearshore fishery, which targets these same species, will see increased harvest limits for black rockfish and reduced limits for blue and other nearshore rockfish.

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WDFW Adopts New Rules

Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted several new sportfishing rules for the mainstem Columbia River, its tributaries and lakes within the basin at a public meeting Jan. 9-10 in Tumwater.

The commission, a citizen panel that sets policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), also voted to select Jim Unsworth as the department’s director. That action was announced in a previous news release, available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/jan1015a/ .

Thirty-one rules – which cover fishing seasons, daily catch limits and other regulations – were adopted by the commission. The changes include:

Implementing additional conservation measures in the Columbia River Basin, such as fishing closures at numerous small natal streams and selective gear rules in some waters, to provide greater protection for wild salmon and steelhead.
Requiring catch-and-release fishing for trout from the first Saturday in June through Oct. 31 on the Naches River from Rattlesnake Creek upstream.
Prohibiting the retention of sturgeon on the Snake River and its tributaries. Catch-and-release sturgeon fishing would be maintained.
Adjusting size and daily catch limits for kokanee in Cle Elum Lake, while removing daily limits for eastern brook, brown, and lake trout.
The commission did not, however, adopt a proposal that would have changed open dates for most year-round lakes to March 1 through Oct. 31 in Asotin, Franklin, Kittitas, Yakima and Walla Walla counties.

Summaries of the changes will be available on WDFW’s at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/ by late January.

In other business, the commission discussed updates to draft options for a new policy to address conservation and fishery objectives for Willapa Bay salmon fisheries. The commission is seeking public comments on the draft options through Jan. 29.

The public can review and comment on the revised draft policy options online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/willapa_bay_salmon/ . The commission is scheduled to hold another public hearing on draft policy options during its February meeting.

Also during the Jan. 9-10 meeting, the commission discussed sturgeon management in the lower Columbia River, the Columbia River Fishery Management policy and the North of Falcon policy, which provides direction to fishery managers in defining annual salmon fishing seasons in Washington’s waters.

The commission also elected Brad Smith chair and Larry Carpenter vice-chair through December 2015. Smith has served on the commission since June 2009 and as vice-chair since 2013. Carpenter has served on the commission since December 2011.

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