Monthly Archives: June 2015

Winchester Bay Fishing Report

The ocean fin-clipped coho season for the Oregon coast between Cape Falcon and the OR / CA border starts on Saturday, June 27th with a quota of 55,000 finclipped cohos. The season is set to close on August 9th unless the quota is reached earlier.

Chinook salmon measuring at least 24-inches remain legal, but according to Bryan Gill of “The Umpqua Angler”, 70% of the cohos he has caught recently have been finclipped.

Anglers are reminded that Chinook salmon caught and kept in the Umpqua River prior to July 1st must be tagged as a spring Chinook salmon.

Ocean crabbing is good and gradually getting better.

Dungeness crabs and Chinook salmon from the ocean near Winchester Bay. Photo courtesy of Bryan Gill and "The Umpqua Angler" - 541-852-9889.

Dungeness crabs and Chinook salmon from the ocean near Winchester Bay. Photo courtesy of Bryan Gill and “The Umpqua Angler” – 541-852-9889.

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Emergency Restrictions For The Umpqua River Protect Wild Summer Steelhead

Temporary rule defines dates for fall and spring Chinook angling

June 23, 2015

ROSEBURG, Ore – Effective immediately, an emergency regulation protects wild summer steelhead and a temporary rule better defines fall and spring Chinook angling in the Umpqua River.

Temporary rule – Umpqua River from tips of jetties to confluence of the North and South Umpqua rivers
This temporary rule change was made to allow anglers to begin harvesting fall Chinook earlier to benefit those who may already have reached their limit of spring Chinook. ODFW recognizes that biologically, the fish are classified as fall Chinook beginning July 1, not August 1.

Spring Chinook angling is February 1 – June 30, 2015. Harvest limit is two adult wild Chinook per day, five per year.
Fall Chinook angling is July 1 – December 31, 2015. Harvest limit is two adult wild Chinook per day, 20 per year in combination with all other salmon or steelhead marked on anglers’ tags.
Emergency regulation – Scottsburg Bridge (Hwy. 38) to River Forks Boat Ramp
Today through Oct. 1, 2015, angling is prohibited within 200 feet of all tributaries including no angling in the tributaries themselves from the mouth to 200 feet upstream.

This emergency regulation will protect wild summer steelhead and fall Chinook salmon that hold in and around tributaries looking for colder water. Currently, the Umpqua River has abnormally low flows and higher than normal water temperatures due to drought conditions.

Greg Huchko, Umpqua District fish biologist, says projected low flows and water temperatures often over 75 F will likely continue through the summer.

“The wild steelhead that haven’t made it up to the North Umpqua will stay around those mainstem tributaries until the fall rains come. They’re often easy to spot in shallow water and are more susceptible to illegal snagging. Even fish caught legally and released are stressed and mortality rates are higher in these conditions.” Huchko said.

Tips for hot weather angling

Fish during the cooler early mornings or evenings.
Land your fish quickly to help increase survival rates.
Keep your fish in at least six inches of water while releasing it.
Revive the fish before release. Keep the fish upright facing into the current, and the current is slow, move fish back and forth slowly to help oxygenate the gills.

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ODFW Makes Last Minute Changes To Protect Summer Steelhead And Allow Anglers To Tag Chinook Salmon As Fall Chinook

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has imposed emergency restrictions to protect steelhead in the mainstem of the Umpqua River due to the drought.

District biologist Greg Huchko said Tuesday flows are 50 percent of normal, and temperatures are approaching lethally warm levels, making fish seek out cooler water at the mouths of tributaries.

Angling is prohibited within 200 feet of the mouths of tributaries from the top of tidewater at Scottsburg Bridge to the confluence of the North and South forks at River Forks boat ramp.

Huchko says the Umpqua is the only river imposing these restrictions.

The department also moved up the start of fall chinook fishing to July 1, giving anglers who filled their annual spring chinook limits a chance to fish again a month earlier.

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CDFW News – Emergency Fishery Closure Evaluation Process Adopted; Careful Angling Can Help Prevent Closures

The California Fish and Game Commission recently adopted emergency regulations that grant the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) authority to temporarily close fisheries experiencing degraded environmental conditions that may affect fish populations. CDFW’s temporary authority will commence upon approval of the regulations by the Office of Administrative Law and will remain in effect for 180 days.

As the effects of the current drought on California’s wildlife continue to mount, CDFW will be using a suite of criteria and associated triggers to guide fishing closure and reopening decisions. Criteria used in any evaluation include water temperature, dissolved oxygen levels, fish passage, water levels and fish population size. Although the Commission adopted the regulations, the department’s decision to close or open a fishery is discretionary and will be based on the most current information collected during site-specific monitoring efforts by professional staff. Priority will be given to listed fish species, species of special concern and game fish. Although some waters may exhibit conditions that meet the criteria and sets of triggers established by the Commission, CDFW will focus its discretionary authority for closing waters that provide coldwater refuge and essential habitat for species of greatest conservation need.

Prior to any closure, CDFW will solicit input from local stakeholders and provide information on the approach. CDFW will consider fishing closures as a last resort, and urges all those who fish California’s waters to adopt good preventative practices now.

“Anglers can help keep our wild trout thriving by using good judgment,” said CDFW Fisheries Branch Chief Stafford Lehr. “Fish earlier and stop earlier in the day during these hot summer days ahead.”

Aquatic wildlife is especially vulnerable as stream flows decrease and instream water temperatures increase. These conditions cause added stress and can affect growth and survival. In waters open to angling which may experience elevated daytime water temperatures (greater than 70 degrees Fahrenheit) the best opportunity for anglers to fish would be during the early morning hours after the warm water has cooled overnight and before the heat of the day increases water temperatures.

“Please pay attention to water conditions when you are fishing and when planning your fishing trips,” said CDFW Inland Fisheries Program Manager Roger Bloom. “Afternoon and evening water temperatures may be too warm to ensure fish being released will survive the added stress cause by warmer water that builds up during hot days in summer and fall.”

Many of California’s anglers have adopted catch-and-release fishing methods. Careful handling of a trout and proper catch-and-release techniques can ensure fish don’t experience serious exhaustion or injury.

However, catch-and-release fishing during afternoon and early evening in streams and lakes with elevated water temperatures may increase stress, hinder survival and increase mortality.

Proper catch-and-release fishing techniques include:

Using a stream thermometer and check water temperatures often
Avoiding fishing during periods when water temperatures exceed 70 degrees Fahrenheit (likely afternoon to late evening)
Using barbless hooks whenever possible
Playing hooked fish quickly and avoiding extensive handling
Using a landing net
Wetting your hands, your net and other materials that may come in contact with the fish
Not touching the gills
Keeping fish fully submerged and upright and allowing it to swim away under its own power
Anglers interested in pursuing California’s unique native trout should be especially careful this summer and fall when targeting high elevation streams. Many of the existing native cutthroat, redband and golden trout populations are relegated to small headwater streams which likely will experience low water levels and elevated temperatures.

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Lake Tapps Reopens To Fishing

Action: Reopens Lake Tapps to fishing.

Effective dates:  June 20, 2015.

Species affected: All fish.

Location:   Lake Tapps (Pierce County).

Reason for action: Water levels are high enough to allow safe access to the lake.

Information contact: Tara Livingood, WDFW area fish biologist, (360) 628-4223.

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Halibut Status For Central Oregon Coast

Central Oregon Coast

Spring all-depth–There was 3,652 pounds landed during the last week’s opening.  That leaves 13,760 pounds remaining on the spring all-depth quota.  The last set of fixed spring all-depth days (June 25-27) will be open.    There will be an update by the end of the day on Thursday, July 2, if there is any quota remaining for any “back-up” dates, which will be highly dependent on the weather next weekend.

Nearshore–opens July 1, 7 days per week

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Ten Year Old Girl Hooks Huge Halibut

Ten year old Lily Hornish hooked a giant Pacific halibut while visiting Ketchikan, Alaska with her parents. After hooking the fish, Lily received considerable help from her dad in landing what turned out to be a 333 pound fish.

Lily Hornish points to her giant halibut.

Lily Hornish points to her giant halibut.

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CDFW News – As White Sturgeon Decline, Anglers’ Failure to Return Sturgeon Fishing Report Cards Could Lead to Restrictions

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is working to keep the state’s white sturgeon population from declining precipitously. Much of that work is estimating the number of fish harvested (kept), the harvest rate and population size. Because many sturgeon anglers fail to submit their sturgeon fishing report cards and data from report cards is very important, new harvest restrictions or restrictions on the sale of the report cards may be required to address uncertainty attributable to uncooperative sturgeon anglers.

For the prehistoric-looking fish in California, it is as though 2015 is the ninth straight year of drought. White sturgeon only reproduce well here when the Sacramento River is nearing flood stage for many weeks during both winter and spring. That hasn’t happened since 2006, triggering a period of decline that will last at least another nine years.

During this period of white sturgeon decline, conservation of the population and its fishery depends on CDFW’s ability to adaptively manage harvest numbers. Good data is necessary for successful adaptive management. Data is gathered from research trawls, a tagging study, fishing guides, party boats, creel surveys and report cards.

California Code of Regulations, section 1.74(d)(1), requires sturgeon anglers, abalone and lobster divers, certain salmon anglers and steelhead anglers to send CDFW their report cards each year. Unfortunately, many sturgeon anglers – even those who are otherwise responsible – do not submit their catch data. Sturgeon anglers are second in enthusiasm only to abalone divers, but those avid sturgeon anglers are far less likely to submit their report cards than avid participants in other fisheries.

The white sturgeon population also declined because of the severe 1987-92 drought. The Fish and Game Commission helped jump-start recovery of the population by protecting more adult sturgeon in 2006 than it had previously. The length of legally harvestable white sturgeon – the so-called ‘slot limit’ – was temporarily narrowed for the spring of 2006.

“The stars aligned in 2006,” said CDFW sturgeon biologist Marty Gingras. “Flows were the best since 1998 and there was relatively little harvest on the spawning grounds because the slot limit was so narrow.”

Sturgeon anglers should see a brief period of improved catch rates in the next few years as white sturgeon spawned in 2006 reach legally harvestable size, then a decline for at least nine years. The rate and magnitude of decline can be managed through restrictions on harvest and can be better understood if sturgeon anglers submit catch data on sturgeon fishing report cards as required by regulation.

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CDFW News – Nonlead Ammunition Requirement Approaches

Starting July 1, 2015, nonlead ammunition will be required when hunting on all California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) lands and for all Nelson bighorn sheep hunts anywhere in the state.

CDFW reminds hunters who plan to hunt bighorn sheep or at any CDFW wildlife areas or ecological reserves where hunting is allowed on or after July 1, 2015 to acquire nonlead ammunition well ahead of their hunt.  Hunters are also encouraged to practice shooting nonlead ammunition to make sure firearms are sighted-in properly and shoot accurately with nonlead ammunition. Please note nonlead ammunition for some firearm calibers may be in short supply and hunters should plan accordingly.

CDFW held 14 public meetings in 12 cities from Eureka to San Diego to gain comments from hunters on how best to implement AB 711, the legislation that requires nonlead ammunition for all hunting statewide by July 1, 2019. The department listened to feedback from hunters and proposed an implementation plan that would be least disruptive to the hunting community while adhering to the requirements of the law. The California Fish and Game Commission recently adopted the implementation plan.

Further phase-out of lead ammunition for hunting in California will occur on July 1, 2016, when hunters must use nonlead ammunition when hunting with shotguns for upland game birds (except for dove, quail and snipe), small game mammals, fur-bearing mammals, and nongame birds except for when hunting at licensed game bird clubs. Nonlead ammunition will also be required when taking wildlife for depredation purposes anywhere in the state.Starting on July 1, 2019 hunters must use nonlead ammunition when taking any animal anywhere in the state for any purpose.

Lead ammunition may still be used for all non-hunting purposes including target shooting. The implementation of AB 711 does not affect the laws regarding the existing nonlead “Condor Zone” where it remains illegal to hunt using lead ammunition.

Hunting is not allowed at all CDFW wildlife areas and ecological reserves. For those areas where hunting is allowed, nonlead ammunition will be required starting July 1, 2015. Hunters are reminded to be familiar with all hunting regulations before going into the field.

A list of CDFW wildlife areas and ecological reserves along with specific regulations for each can be found in the booklet, Hunting Regulations for Waterfowl, Upland Game and Department Lands Public Use at https://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=88820&inline.

Information on certified nonlead ammunition can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/lead-free/certifiedammo.html.

More information on the phase-out of lead ammunition for hunting in California can be found at www.dfg.ca.gov/wildlife/hunting/lead-free/.

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Hot Creek Hatchery Tests Positive for Whirling Disease, Trout Stocking to Continue in Area Waters

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) recently learned Hot Creek Hatchery near Mammoth Lakes has tested positive for the parasite that causes whirling disease. Whirling disease was detected in wild trout populations in Inyo and Mono Counties more than 30 years ago. Therefore, continued fish stocking in these and other waters already known to have the whirling disease parasite should have little or no effect on those trout populations. Hot Creek, Lake Crowley and the Owens River provide blue ribbon trout fishing despite the presence of whirling disease in these waters.

“We will continue to operate Hot Creek Hatchery with no negative effects on wild fish in Inyo and Mono counties, where Hot Creek Hatchery normally stocks its fish,” said CDFW Fisheries Branch Chief Stafford Lehr.

Last week, two northern California hatcheries, Darrah Springs and Mt. Shasta, also tested positive for this parasite. Of the 22 hatcheries operated by CDFW throughout the state, only these three have tested positive. The disease was discovered as a result of routine annual checks for fish diseases which are conducted at all CDFW hatcheries.

Whirling disease is caused by Myxobolus cerebralis, a protozoan parasite that destroys cartilage in the vertebral column of trout and salmon. It is fatal or disfiguring to infected trout and salmon but does not affect humans. Fish infected with whirling disease are safe for human consumption.

At this time it is not known how the parasite entered Hot Creek Hatchery waters. The possibility the parasite was transferred to the hatchery from local nearby waters known to have whirling disease is likely, due to current drought conditions that cause wildlife to move to available waters sources. Some species of fish-eating birds can transmit the parasite.

For more information on whirling disease, please visit http://whirlingdisease.montana.edu.

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