Monthly Archives: April 2015

CDFW News – Eastern Sierra Game Wardens To Conduct Wildlife Checkpoint

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

CDFW wildlife officers will be conducting the inspection on westbound Highway 108, north of Bridgeport, on Monday, April 27 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., weather permitting.

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.

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WDFW News – Upper Wheeler Reservoir To Open To Flyfishing Only

Action: Change fishing regulations at Upper Wheeler Reservoir from closed waters to fly fishing only.

Effective dates:   April 25 through June 30, 2015.

Species affected:   Trout and all other game fish.

Location:   Upper Wheeler Reservoir, located approximately 11 miles southwest of the town of Wenatchee (Chelan County).

Reason for action: Upper Wheeler Reservoir is owned and operated by the Wenatchee Heights Reclamation District (WHRD) and has been closed to public access. WDFW has made arrangements with reclamation district and the Wenatchee Valley Fly Fishers to grant public access to recreational anglers under fly-fishing-only regulations. The agreement includes fish stocking, a land use agreement by WDFW and site maintenance by the Wenatchee Valley Fly Fishers. A permanent rule proposal allowing fly fishing only on Upper Wheeler Reservoir has been adopted by WDFW and will be included in the 2015/2016 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet effective July 1, 2015.

Other Information: Catch and release for trout species only. Statewide general rules for size and bag limits apply for all other game fish. The use of motors is prohibited.  Anglers should consult the current sportfishing rules pamphlet for a definition of fly-fishing-only regulations.

Information contacts: Travis Maitland, District 7 fish biologist, (509) 665-3337, Jeff Korth, Region 2 fish program manager, (509) 754-4624.

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WDFW News – Washington Sets 2015 Salmon Fisheries

State and tribal co-managers today agreed on a package of salmon fisheries that meets conservation goals for wild salmon populations and provides fishing opportunities on healthy stocks.

Washington’s 2015 salmon fishing seasons, developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty tribal co-managers, were finalized during the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (PFMC) meeting in Rohnert Park, Calif. The regulations cover salmon fisheries in Puget Sound, Washington’s ocean and coastal areas, and the Columbia River.

The first priority for state and tribal fishery managers was to develop a package of salmon fisheries that is consistent with ongoing efforts to protect and rebuild wild salmon stocks, said Ron Warren, fisheries policy lead for WDFW.

While state and tribal fishers will have a variety of salmon-fishing opportunities this year, many fisheries will be constrained to protect wild salmon listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, he said.

“With about 25 percent fewer wild chinook expected back to Puget Sound this year, we had to make several difficult decisions in order to meet conservation goals for wild salmon,” Warren said. “Despite those necessary changes, anglers will still have a number of good opportunities to fish for salmon this year in Washington.”

As in past years, recreational salmon fisheries will vary by area:

Washington’s ocean waters: The PFMC approved a recreational chinook catch quota of 64,000 fish, which is an increase of 4,900 fish from 2014’s quota. The PFMC, which establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast, also adopted a quota of 150,800 coho for this year’s recreational ocean fishery – about 34,000 fish fewer than last year’s quota.

Mark-selective fisheries for hatchery chinook will begin in ocean areas on various dates in May.

The recreational salmon fishing season in marine areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) will begin with two short openings May 15-16 and May 22-23 for hatchery chinook. The mark-selective fishery for hatchery chinook in those two marine areas will then reopen May 30 and run seven days a week through June 12.
Mark-selective fisheries for hatchery chinook will be open daily May 30 through June 12 in Marine Area 2 (Westport/Ocean Shores) and Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco).
In all areas, anglers will have a daily limit of two salmon, but must release coho and wild chinook. The fisheries could close earlier if a coastwide quota of 10,000 hatchery chinook is reached.
Recreational ocean salmon fisheries for chinook and hatchery coho will be open daily beginning June 13 in marine areas 1-4. Anglers will have a daily limit of two salmon, plus two additional pink salmon in marine areas 3 and 4. Those fishing marine areas 1 and 2 also will have a two-salmon daily limit, but can keep only one chinook per day. All four marine areas will close Sept. 30. The La Push late-season area of Marine Area 3 will reopen Oct. 1-11.

Columbia River: The Buoy 10 salmon fishery will be open from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31. The fishery will be open for chinook and hatchery coho Aug. 1 through Sept. 7 (Labor Day) with a daily limit of two salmon, only one of which can be chinook.

From Sept. 8 through Sept. 30, anglers will have a daily limit of two hatchery coho, but must release chinook. From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, the fishery will be open for chinook and hatchery coho, with a daily limit of two adult salmon. During the season, fishery managers will assess the catch and may make changes to chinook retention.

For the second-straight year, during fall fisheries, anglers fishing from the same boat may continue fishing for salmon until all anglers have reached their daily limits in the following areas:

The mainstem Columbia River from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to Lewis River will be open for hatchery coho Aug. 1 through Dec. 31. Anglers will be allowed to retain one adult chinook as part of their two-adult daily limit from Aug. 1 through Sept. 14. From Sept. 8 through Sept. 14, adult chinook retention is restricted to hatchery chinook only. From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, anglers can retain two adult chinook daily.
The Lewis River upstream to Steamboat Landing Park dock/Marker #50, near Washougal, will be open Aug. 1 through Dec. 31 for chinook and hatchery coho, with a daily limit of two adult salmon.
The Steamboat Landing Park dock/Marker #50 upstream to Bonneville Dam will be open Aug. 1 through Dec. 31 for chinook and hatchery coho with a daily limit of three adult salmon, two of which can be hatchery coho.
Bonneville Dam upstream to the Highway 395 Bridge near Pasco will be open Aug. 1 through Dec. 31 with a daily limit of three adult salmon, two of which may be coho. Anglers must release any unmarked coho caught downstream of the Hood River Bridge.
The summer season on the mainstem Columbia River from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam will initially be open from June 16 through July 6 for hatchery summer chinook and sockeye. The daily limit will be two adult salmonids (chinook and steelhead must be adipose fin-clipped). All sockeye are considered adults in the daily limit. Staff will monitor the fishery and potentially modify the July portion of the fishery, which may include extending the season or allowing retention of any adult chinook.

The summer season from Bonneville Dam upstream to the Highway 395 Bridge will be open from June 16 through July 31 for hatchery summer chinook and sockeye. The daily limit will be two adult salmonids (chinook and steelhead must be adipose fin-clipped). All sockeye are considered adults in the daily limit.

Puget Sound: Anglers will have an opportunity to take advantage of solid returns of coho, pink and Skagit River sockeye salmon. They will, however, see adjustments to hatchery chinook fisheries, due to an expected weaker return of both wild and hatchery chinook than prior years.

“Fishing for pink salmon should be excellent in Puget Sound, including in Hood Canal and Dungeness Bay,” said Ryan Lothrop, Puget Sound recreational fishery manager for WDFW.

Anglers fishing Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) will see the biggest change this season. The area will be closed to chinook retention as part of an effort to rebuild stocks returning to Lake Washington. However, Marine Area 10 will still be open for coho and pink salmon retention.

Neighboring Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) will be open the same dates as last year, with anglers allowed to retain hatchery chinook from July 16 through Aug. 15. However, the area could close sooner if the quota of 2,483 fish is met.

A portion of the estimated 14 million pink salmon returning to Canada’s Fraser River will make their way to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the waters of the San Juan Islands. Another roughly 6.5 million pink salmon will return to Puget Sound. Anglers fishing in most marine areas will be allowed to keep two pink salmon in addition to daily catch limits for other salmon during July through September.

Meanwhile, the forecast for sockeye returning to Baker Lake is strong enough to allow for both a lake fishery, open mid-July through early September, and a fishery on the Skagit River, which will be open June 16 through July 15 with a quota.

Other changes to this year’s Puget Sound marine area and freshwater fisheries include:

Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands) will remain a non mark-selective fishery for the month of July, when anglers can keep one chinook per day with a two fish limit, plus two additional pink salmon. Also in July, the southern Rosario strait/eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca will be closed for salmon.
The Dungeness Bay section of Marine Area 6 (Port Angeles) will be open July 16 through Aug. 15 for pink salmon fishing only with gear restrictions. Anglers can keep four pink salmon daily.
Elliott Bay will be open for pink and coho retention Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting Aug. 14.
Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) north of Ayock Point will be open to coho and pink salmon fishing starting in July with gear restrictions for that month only.
The mark-selective fishery for hatchery chinook on the Skykomish River is not scheduled to open this year. However, the fishery could open (by emergency rule) if broodstock goals are met.
Anglers on the Skokomish River should be aware of a new “bobber only” section of the river, from the Highway 106 Bridge to Highway 101. Upstream of Highway 106 will be open in late July for “bobber only” fishing. Additionally, the free-flowing freshwaters near the mouth of the river (below the Tacoma Powerlines) will be closed this year.
Tahuya River is closed to coho fishing due to several issues including trespassing, littering, and snagging.
Anglers fishing in Marine Area 5 will be able to retain wild coho for eight days in September, in addition to the entire month of October. Marine Area 7 also will be open for wild coho retention in October.
Puyallup River will have closures similar to last year, while the Nisqually River will have additional closures.
Lake Sammamish will be closed to salmon fishing this year.
Specific fishing seasons and regulations for marine areas in Washington and a portion of the Columbia River will be posted on WDFW’s North of Falcon website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/ within a few weeks.

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Fishing Report

Fishing on Potholes Reservoir is just beginning. We have had really good fishing so far this year for walleye and perch anglers. The spawn is in full swing which will make the fishing take off even more. The smallmouth bass fishing is starting to show off the O’Sullivan Dam with fish up to 6 pounds. The water is around 50 degrees, and on a good sunny day you can find water temp close to 56 degrees in the shallows. The walleye bite should be great from now until July. The fishers trolling are taking fish in the Crab Creek Area and the Lind Coulee. Smiley Blades and worms on a slow death hook is the ticket for these fish, but a lot of guys are still blade bait jigging for these fish in 20 to 40 feet of water. With the water flow opening on Crab Creek the area by the Power Lines Boat launch will be great.

Call the MarDon Tackle Shop for a fishing report (509) 346-2651

Alan Beck of Fall City fished the Pillar Widgeon Chain on lakes for these amazing trout.  He used the Berkley Atomic Teaser with a shrimp scent.

Alan Beck of Fall City fished the Pillar Widgeon Chain on lakes for these amazing trout. He used the Berkley Atomic Teaser with a shrimp scent.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 4 / 15 / 2015

A very interesting bass tournament was held last weekend at Tenmile Lakes. The “Limit Out Open”, with a full 75 boat field was projected to pay $5,000 for the weekend’s heaviest bass and $500 for the heaviest bass weighed in each hour of the two day tournament. Because there wasn’t a full field (48 boats), the payout was $4,000 for the heaviest bass and the hourly winners received $260. The heaviest bass weighed during the tournament was caught on by Ryan Habenicht  on Sunday and weighed 8.87 pounds. Ryan was using a 12-inch Osprey swimbait. There were eight hourly cash prizes on Saturday and six on Sunday and most of those hourly prizes were won by bass weighing at least six pounds. Most of this year’s participants feel that next year’s tournament will have a full field of 75 boats.

There was some major excitement in southern California last week when a sea lion attempted to grab a trophy fish being held up for a photograph and failing to do so, grabbed the angler and jerked him into the water – taking him to the bottom in 20 feet of water. The angler was able to break free and fight his way to the surface, but his bites were severe enough to require hospital time.

Cormorant hazing has started at several locations along the Oregon coast. Unfortunately, the lower Umpqua River isn’t one of them. The closest hazing location is the lower Coquille River, but for each of the last couple of years, 75 cormorants have been killed by fisheries personnel on the lower Umpqua to study their eating habits.

Every year, I hear numerous complaints about the ODFW selling hunting and fishing licenses and tags based on the calendar year and not expiring one year after the date of purchase. California recently considered doing just that and contacted several states that went that way after previously selling their licenses and tags based on the calendar year. In every case, total license and tag revenue went down – by as much as 30 percent. It seems that when a license is good for one year after the purchase date, people tend to buy them at the latest possible date and sometimes there are timing, health, or financial issues that stop the last minute purchases. In some cases, these aborted license purchases are not made up and an entire cycle is missed – resulting in less actual licenses being sold.

That state’s fish and wildlife department takes a double hit because those state agencies receive money based, at least partially, on total license sales from the Sport Fish Restoration Act (SFRA). So there is definitely a valid reason to base license and tag duration on the calendar year and I kind of like knowing when my licenses expire – and when it is time to replace them.

Although mentioned in last week’s column, the lakes receiving trout plants this week include Butterfield, Carter, Cleawox, Eel, Empire, Loon, Tenmile and Woahink. But since this year’s trout stocking program is now in full swing, there should be some trout in virtually all of the lakes that receive trout plants.

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Oregon Turkey Hunting To Start April 15th

The sight and sound of a turkey’s mating display is enough to quicken the pulse of even the most experienced hunter—and makes calling in a spring tom as exciting as calling in a bull elk. So don’t miss this year’s spring turkey hunting season opening April 15.

Last year’s spring harvest of 4,229 turkeys was up 9 percent from the previous year and the highest since 2010. This year’s season could be even better.

“With the mild winter, more turkeys survived the season, particularly in areas of eastern Oregon where winter weather can be a limiting factor,” says David Budeau, ODFW upland bird coordinator.

Mikal Moore, Pacific Northwest regional biologist with the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), agrees. “Expanding turkey populations coupled with favorable over-wintering conditions should make for a very exciting wild turkey season this spring,” she said.

All you need to spring turkey hunt is camo, a call, and a shotgun. A hen or jake decoy can also improve your odds. You can hunt for six weeks (April 15-May 31) anywhere in the state, and buy up to three turkey tags in some areas. There is no deadline to purchase a tag, just get one before you go hunting.

Visit ODFW’s Spring Turkey Hunting Forecast for tips and tactics, suggestions on where to hunt, and reports on conditions from districts statewide: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/RR/spring_turkey_forcast/index.asp

Youth-only weekend April 11-12

Budeau encourages kids to hunt the youth-only season this weekend (April 11-12), noting last year’s success rates. “There is a high level of harvest of turkeys from kids in general, and many of those were taken during the youth-only season last year,” he said. (Youth tag holders took 781 turkeys, 290 of those on the youth-only weekend.)

This weekend’s hunt is reserved for kids age 17 and under who are hunter education certified. Kids who hunt must be accompanied by an adult 21 years of age or older. See the Oregon Game Bird Regulations for details.

More information and photos: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/RR/spring_turkey_forcast/index.asp

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ODFW Fishery Managers Set Sturgeon Season On Bonneville Pool, Add 2 Days To Columbia Spring Chinook Season

Spring Chinook anglers on the lower Columbia River will get two more days of salmon fishing – Saturday, April 11 and Thursday, April 16 — under a season extension adopted today by Oregon and Washington fishery managers.

The spring Chinook season had been scheduled to close after April 10, but was extended when staff estimated 28 percent of the upriver spring Chinook allocation would remain after the season closed. With the salmon run building and catch rates improving in the lower river, managers predict 95 percent of the upriver allocation, prior to the run update, will have been used after two additional days of fishing.

The pause in fishing days will give managers time to estimate the Saturday harvest before the fishery re-opens on Thursday – a necessary precaution to ensure total harvest stays within the allocation.

The bag limits and areas open to fishing remain the same during the extension: From Buoy 10 upstream to Beacon Rock (boat and bank) plus bank fishing only from Beacon Rock upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline. Anglers may keep two adult salmonids a day, of which only one may be a Chinook. Only adipose fin-clipped fish may be kept.

Summer sturgeon season in Bonneville Pool

Managers also set a nine-day summer sturgeon season for the Bonneville Pool. Under the rules adopted today, the Bonneville Pool will be open to sturgeon retention Friday through Sunday June 19-21, June 26-28 and July 3-5.

All sturgeon fishing is prohibited during May through July in the sturgeon spawning sanctuary extending from The Dalles Dam downstream 1.8 miles to a line from the east (upstream) dock at the Port of The Dalles boat ramp straight across to a marker on the Washington shore
Only white sturgeon between 38-inches and 54-inches fork length may be retained.
The 2015 annual harvest guideline for the Bonneville Pool is 1,100 fish split between winter and summer seasons. Anglers harvested 155 fish during the winter season, leaving the remaining harvest guideline of 945 fish for the summer fishery.

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Potholes Reservoir Lunkers Taken On Easter Weekend

Mardon Resort reported good fishing over Easter Weekend with some genuine lunkers taken’

Jumbo rainbow trout taken at Potholes Reservoir on Easter.

Jumbo rainbow trout taken at Potholes Reservoir on Easter.

This giant smallmouth was also caught on Easter.

This giant smallmouth was also caught on Easter.

More lunker Potholes rainbows taken over Easter weekend.

More lunker Potholes rainbows taken over Easter weekend.

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ODFW Set To Test New Approach To Fish Passage Mitigation

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) has announced the details of a new pilot project that will allow ODFW to steer fish passage mitigation resources from individual impact sites, such as culverts, to fish passage mitigation banks – locations where high priority barriers are removed and benefits to native migratory fish are maximized.

The public will have until April 28 to comment on a Fish Passage Mitigation Banking Pilot Project to be implemented on the North Coast.

The Mitigation Banking Project is part of the three-year agreement between ODFW and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT). ODFW and ODOT developed the fish passage mitigation pilot project as a way to address high priority passage projects and to make cost effective repairs to the state’s highway infrastructure. The agreement was signed by the two state agencies in December of 2012.

The goal is to develop an effective mitigation process that provides a net benefit to native migratory fish, makes the waiver process more transparent and defensible, and directs ODOT resources to maximize benefits to native migratory fish.

According to Dave Stewart, ODFW’s ODOT liaison, the concept of mitigation banking will be tested on North Coast rivers and streams, and the results there will be used to determine the statewide potential of a mitigation banking program.

A description of the Fish Passage Mitigation Banking Pilot Project and related documents can be found on the ODFW web site. ODFW will be accepting public comments on this Fish Passage Mitigation Banking Pilot Project until April 28.  Comments can be addressed to Dave Stewart, ODFW, 4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE Salem, OR 97302 or email to su.ro.etatsnull@trawets.evad.

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WDFW News – Anglers Get At Least 2 More Days To Catch Chinook On Lower Columbia

Columbia River anglers will get at least two more days to catch hatchery spring chinook salmon below Bonneville Dam under a decision announced today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

Under that decision, the highly popular sport fishing will remain open through Saturday, April 11, then reopen for an additional day of fishing Thursday, April 16.

The initial sport-fishing season was previously scheduled to close at the end of the day Friday (April 10).

The extension will give anglers additional opportunity to catch hatchery spring chinook that remain available for recreational harvest, said Ron Roler, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“Fishing has been good and anglers have turned out in high numbers, but we can still manage two more days under the initial harvest guideline,” Roler said. “We expect to see a lot of boats on the water and anglers on the riverbank this weekend.”

Prior to the season, fishery managers projected the catch through April 10 at about 12,000 chinook, including a maximum of 10,300 upriver fish. They now estimate anglers will catch and retain a total of just 9,700 spring chinook by that date.

The area open for spring chinook fishing extends from Buoy 10 upriver to Beacon Rock for boat and bank anglers, and to the fishing boundary below Bonneville Dam for bank anglers. When the fishery is open, anglers can retain one hatchery adult chinook salmon as part of their daily catch limit.

Anglers may also fish for shad and hatchery-reared steelhead when the spring chinook fishery is open. For both salmon and steelhead, wild fish with an intact adipose fin must be immediately released unharmed.

Roler noted that anglers may get another chance to catch hatchery spring chinook later this spring, when fishery managers update the run forecast.  Approximately 232,500 upriver fish were projected to return to the Columbia River this year, but the fishery has been managed with a 30 percent “buffer” to help ensure conservation guidelines are met.

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

Besides extending the fishery in the lower Columbia River, fishery managers also approved two new regulations affecting the ongoing fishery above Bonneville Dam, currently scheduled to remain open through May 6. Effective April 13, those rules:

Allow anglers to possess up to four hatchery adult spring chinook salmon (four daily limits) in fresh form on the stretch of the Columbia River from The Dalles Dam upstream to the Washington/Oregon state line. This rule does not apply to fish kept on a boat.
Prohibit using a boat or other floating device to set lines for spring chinook and steelhead while fishing from the Washington bank when the Columbia River is open to fishing from the Tower Island power lines downstream to Bonneville Dam. Only hand-casted lines may be used.
For more information on all of these measures, see WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .

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