Monthly Archives: August 2015

Fishery Managers Rescind Moratorium On Columbia River Sturgeon Fishing

OLYMPIA – Effective Sept. 1, state fishery managers in Washington and Oregon are rescinding a moratorium on sturgeon fishing in the Columbia River Basin.

Water temperatures have now returned to normal, ending the warm-water conditions that killed more than 80 sturgeon on the Columbia River and threatened many more, said Guy Norman, region manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“The extreme conditions that was subjecting sturgeon to stress have passed,” Norman said. “We believe it’s safe to reopen fishing in areas of the river closed since mid-July.”

Due to the states’ action, anglers may again catch and release sturgeon on the Columbia River and its tributaries above Bonneville Dam. However, anglers must release any sturgeon they catch for now, because no scheduled sturgeon-retention seasons are open, Norman said.

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Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Fishing Report

On Potholes Reservoir the buzz is about catching fish, not just going fishing. Some days have been good for all fishers, most days have been filled with wonderful fishing memories. Our water level is at the typical lower level for late August. The boat launch at MarDon Resort is very usable and is used many times daily. The deepest quality launch on Potholes Reservoir this time of year is at the East end of O’Sullivan Dam and it is called the Glen Williams Boat Launch.

Bass fishing has been great on Potholes. We received reports of smallmouth bass being caught and released up to 6lbs 8oz. And largemouth being caught regularly around 5 pounds. Walleye fishers are catching the largest bass they have ever caught trolling for walleye. The most popular lure is a Rapala Shad Rap and Berkley Flicker Shads in 10 to 20 feet of water. Crappie up to 12 inches are being caught by walleye fisher’s as well. Goose Island has been good for big perch, bass and many different age classes of walleye. The MarDon Dock has been great for kiddos for the last couple weeks.

Royal Hunt Club is a great do it yourself hunting option in our area. You may purchase a pass for dove hunting for $100 or purchase the regular pheasant, duck and goose season pass for $300. Our Royal Hunt Club President Sam Worsham has spearheaded a pheasant release program for the Hunt Club this year. 2000 pheasants are being raised in the Royal 4H Center to be released on the Royal Hunt Club land during pheasant season. There is no extra charge for the released pheasants and the release sites are marked on the map. No guides are allowed to participate in the Royal Hunt Club, this is open to the public other than that. For more information please call (509) 346-2651.

Upcoming Events at MarDon Resort:

August 29, 2015

8th Annual Lake Games and Beach Party starting at 11am on Saturday and ends at 5pm. The beach party starts at 6pm with dinner catered by Hugo’s Tacos and DJ starts at 7 by Big Daddy DJ Luke Clark. If you are interested in participating you can call (509) 346-2651 or come and register at the Beach House at MarDon Resort Friday Night from 6pm to 9pm or Saturday Morning from 9am-11am before the event. We will also do registration Saturday afternoon on Goose Island. You can register until 3pm that day.

September 5, 2015

Annual Yard Sale at MarDon Resort opens at 9am-2pm on Saturday. Everything in the sale is 50% off and there is lots of tackle and clothing mainly. No returns accepted. All sales are final.

September 18-20, 2015

Hunter Baltzell caught this 6lb 1oz Walleye while bass fishing up crab creek.  Pictured Here with his cousin Brian Baltzell.

Hunter Baltzell caught this 6lb 1oz Walleye while bass fishing up crab creek. Pictured
Here with his cousin Brian Baltzell.

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Mardon Resort / Potholes Reservoir Fishing Report

Now is the time for a good family fishing trip to Potholes Reservoir. People are catching lots of fish also in the Lind Coulee arm of the reservoir. Walleye fisherman continue to catch quality walleye but not in limit numbers. However, many walleye over 25 inches are being reported at the mouth of Crab Creek where it enters Potholes Reservoir. Bass fishers have been surprised by the numbers of over 4 pound smallmouth caught on the face of O’Sullivan Dam, the Lind Coulee arm of Potholes Reservoir, and surprisingly, in Frenchman’s Wasteway and the face of the sand dunes.

 

Gunner LaFrance caught this beautiful 2pound 11 oz crappie fishing with his family on Sunday on Potholes Reservoir.

Gunner LaFrance caught this beautiful 2pound 11 oz crappie fishing with his family on Sunday on Potholes Reservoir.

Upcoming Events at MarDon Resort:

August 29, 2015

7th Annual Lake Games and Beach Party starting at 11am on Saturday and ends at 5pm. The beach party starts at 6pm with dinner catered by Hugo’s Tacos and DJ starts at 7 by Big Daddy DJ Luke Clark. If you are interested in participating you can call (509) 346-2651 or come and register at the Beach House at MarDon Resort Saturday Morning before the event.

September 5, 2015

Annual Yard Sale at MarDon Resort opens at 9am-2pm on Saturday. Everything in the sale is 50% off and there is lots of tackle and clothing mainly. No returns accepted. All sales are final.

September 18-20, 2015

Dock Fishing Tournament and Pie Social

This is a really fun weekend fishing event. The cost is $40 per person and it is a dock fishing tournament that starts Friday evening and does not end until 11am on Sunday. We pay out for 9 different species of fish for the top two weights and end the weekend with an awards ceremony and potluck style meal at noon on Sunday. We do limit this tournament to 200 fishers and we are 25% filled at this date, so if you are interested in joining please call the MarDon Office (509)346-2651 or go to mardonresort.com and download an application.

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Cohos Helping To Improve Salmon Fishing At Winchester Bay

Salmon fishing is showing a major improvement on the lower Umpqua River as coho salmon combine with Chinook salmon and slightly lower water temperatures. The best fishing has been between the Umpqua River Bar and Reedsport. Only finclipped coho are currently legal in the river along with the Chinooks. In the ocean, only barbless hooks may be used and only Chinook salmon at least 24-inches in length may be kept. Fishing success for anglers casting spinners from the bank at Winchester Bay has also improved greatly.

A nice catch of Umpqua River coho and Chinook salmon taken just upstream from Winchester Bay. Photo courtesy of Bryan Gill - "The Umpqua Angler".

A nice catch of Umpqua River coho and Chinook salmon taken just upstream from Winchester Bay. Photo courtesy of Bryan Gill – “The Umpqua Angler”.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 8 / 19 / 2015

There will be more summer season all-depth halibut openers halibut openers every two weeks on Friday and Saturday with the next one slated for August 21st and 22nd. Currently, 24,592 pounds of the 45,592 pound quota, or 54 % has been caught. 20,802 pounds of the quota remains uncaught and Newport has accounted for about 80 % of the summer all-depth catch for our region so far this season. The nearshore catch for the summer season has been more spread out. 9,086 pounds of the 21,076 pound quota has been caught so far with Newport accounting for 23 % of the catch so far.

There are some exciting salmon seasons slated for the near future. The nonselective ocean coho season will start on September 4th and will run through September 30th with a quota of 12,500 quota. This quota will almost certainly be increased because about 30,000 of the 55,000 quota for ocean finclipped cohos were not caught. The quota increase will not be on a fish for fish basis, but will be based on s “secret formula” that the decision-makers deem to be impact neutral.

On September 15th, the nonselective coho season for rivers will begin. Although the season will be relatively short, the Umpqua River is not expected to have a quota this year. Last year’s quota only lasted two weeks.

Salmon fishing at Winchester Bay is on the upswing. Currently, salmon anglers fishing the ocean are only allowed to keep Chinook salmon measuring at least 24-inches in length. In the Umpqua and other rivers sub-adult salmon referred to as jacks are also legal. Jack salmon, to be legal, must measure at least 15-inches and must be less than 20-inches long – if a coho and must be less than 24-inches long if a Chinook. Jack salmon do not have to be recorded on an angler’s salmon card, but coho jacks must be finclipped. Many anglers do not realize that finclipped cohos are legal to keep the entire year on the Umpqua and some other Oregon rivers. However, unless there is an exceptional amount of forage in the lower river, they are only available when they start ascending their rivers on their spawning runs in late August. There has been a few cohos caught already on the Umpqua below Reedsport.

Bankbound anglers casting spinners at Half Moon Bay, Osprey Point and Gardiner as well as boat anglers trolling herring and sardines along the South Jetty and near the Umpqua River Bar are starting to enjoy more consistent success. There was a lot of talk about a spinner flinger that managed to hook and land an exceptional Chinook at Half Moon Bay that weighed more than 40 pounds – after being gutted.

There are still a lot of Chinook salmon stacked up below Reedsport. As the water temperature gradually drops, the bit will improve, but if it drops very much, those fish will continue upriver.

The “post-2 pm” restriction on salmonids remains in effect on the Umpqua River above tidewater, but was lifted last week on the Rogue River and nearly three weeks ago on the Deschutes River.

Crabbing at Winchester Bay remains very, very good. Some ocean crabbers did very well in the ocean last week in water as shallow as 25 feet. Most ocean crabbers are crabbing in about 40 feet of water. The lower Umpqua River, especially at Half Moon Bay, has also been crabbing very well. Crabbing on the Umpqua above the entrance to the East Boat Basin has been disappointing – which most likely means that crabs entering the lower river from the ocean are getting caught before they get above Half Moon Bay.

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Fishing Report

Walleye catching continues to amaze all of us at MarDon Resort.  We are witnessing this at our Fish Cleaning Station with daily walleye limits brought in by residents and people vacationing.  Trolling a spinner and a crawler near the mouth of Crab Creek continues to provide quality walleye limits.
Bass fishers are enjoying some explosive top water action.  Our most popular lure has been a Rebel Pop R or a Spro Bronez-eye Popper.  Stop by the MarDon Tackle Shop we have a full selection of lures.
Now is a fine time to introduce a young angler to bass fishing off the face of O’Sullivan Dam.  Many dangerous rocks are between Goose Island and O’Sullivan Dam.  These rock piles hold some quality walleye and bass.  If you chose to bass fish the rock area be careful not to destroy your propeller.   Use a five inch plastic grub on a football lead-head casting along the face of the dam.  My favorite grub is a Yamamoto Double Tail Hula Grub.  Many colors work on the rock piles.
The MarDon Dock has been simply a blast.  Anglers of all ages are catching perch, bluegill, crappie, bass, trout and walleye.  (And we have a Trout Magnet for crappie).  Don’t miss this quality fishing opportunity with the kiddos before school starts.

Mason Meseberg shows a 10 pound plus channel catfish he caught at night on a crab creek sand dunes.

Mason Meseberg shows a 10 pound plus channel catfish he caught at night on a crab creek sand dunes.

Families renting our pontoon boats have been anchoring at the mouth of Frenchman’s Wasteway and catching perch, crappie, walleye, bass, bullheads and catfish.  Pictured here are Tyler and Brad of Everett Washington with a nice Walleye caught while out on a pontoon boat with their family.

Families renting our pontoon boats have been anchoring at the mouth of Frenchman’s Wasteway and catching perch, crappie, walleye, bass, bullheads and catfish. Pictured here are Tyler and Brad of Everett Washington with a nice Walleye caught while out on a pontoon boat with their family.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 8 / 12 / 2015

Crabbing remains the hottest thing going right now at Winchester Bay. Half Moon Bay remains very productive, but the heavy crabbing pressure means that most of the legal crabs are taken shortly after entering the river and the stretch of river just upstream of Winchester Bay has not yet become productive.The best crabbing has been in the ocean in water from 40 to 60 feet deep. Virtually all of the crabs caught recently have been full of meat.

The next best thing is the fishing for smallmouth bass in the Umpqua River as far downriver as the Elk Viewing Area. Many smallmouth anglers believe the fishing is the best it’s been in at least ten years. Nightcrawlers and such small plastic baits as worms, grubs and gitzits seem most productive – and the Umpqua River is definitely open to fishing past 2 pm for nonsalmonid species.

Some good catches of yellow perch were made last week at Siltcoos Lake in water about 15 feet deep. While most of the perch measured seven to eight inches, but a few reached and even topped 12-inches. Pieces of nightcrawlers were the preferred bait.

The ocean finclipped coho season ended August 9th with the quota hardly dented. Out of Winchester Bay, most of the cohos were caught in water more than 300 feet deep, but 40 to 60 feet beneath the surface and recently the catch was about 80 percent unclipped cohos. Over last weekend, it seems that the Chinooks have been moving closer to the Umpqua River Bar and the best bite has been a couple of hours before low tide rather than an hour after high tide. Perhaps the Chinooks that are entering the lower Umpqua River are starting from a farther distance off shore than they usually do. It may also be a water temperature thing.

Anglers fishing the lower Umpqua River or the ocean near Winchester Bay should expect improving success for Chinook salmon. Increasing numbers of Chinooks are entering the river and it seems that most of them are holding below Reedsport rather than venturing farther upriver. A slight drop in river temperature should improve and lengthen  the river bite, but a larger drop in water temperature will probably send those salmon farther upriver to continue their spawning run. A few salmon anglers have switched from their usual herring baits to sardines which was the major salmon forage off Winchester Bay this year. Some sardines are still being caught jigging off the docks at Winchester Bay.

Anglers casting spinners from the bank are starting to consistently catch Chinook salmon at Half Moon Bay and to a lesser degree, at Osprey Point and at Gardiner. Chartreuse has been the most popular and productive color, but that will switch to pink when the cohos start entering the lower Umpqua in a couple of weeks. These bankbound anglers have historically endured hours of uneventful casting interrupted by short periods of intense action. A few of these anglers have got in the habit of trying to “cherry pick” these bites. But past fish behavior seems to becoming an increasingly poor predictor of present or future fish behavior. Just last Thursday, a signicant number of boats gave up on fishing the Umpqua River Bar less than an hour before a short, intense, but belated bite put more than a dozen Chinooks  into the boats of the anglers still fishing.

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Fishing Report

Returning to normal August temperatures has made fishing all day a very enjoyable experience. But, the water sports enthusiasts love boarding and water skiing in those high 90 and 100 degree days. Bass and walleye fishing continue to provide simply amazing action. Catch and release bass anglers are using, spinnerbaits, crank baits, drop shot techniques, senkos, tube baits and 5” grubs on a football lead-head. Many bass fishers are accidentally catching an occasional walleye. The best areas to Jig for walleye are the mouth of Frenchman’s Waste way, near Goose Island, and by the orange buoys at the outlet to the Potholes Canal. Fisher’s trolling continues to bag limits or near limits using a spinner and crawler combination trolling at a speed of 1.25 MPH. Crank baits, such as Rapala Shad Raps, Berkley Flicker Shad and many other types of diving plugs, have been working well for walleye in the sand dunes.

Call for a current fishing report (509) 346-2651.

Upcoming Event:

The Lake Poker Run and Beach Party, August 29, 2015. Visit mardonresort.com and click on the events tab for more information.perch

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Calification Bans Bobcat Trapping

The California Fish and Game Commission voted 3-2 to ban bobcat trapping statewide. Commission President Jack Baylis and Commissioners Anthony Williams and Eric Sklar voted in favor of a statewide ban. Commission Vice President Jim Kellogg and Commissioner Jacqueline Hostler-Carmesin voted against it.

The decision today completely bans bobcat trapping in California, with the exception of depredation trapping.

The ban will become effective after approval by the state Office of Administrative Law and submission to the Secretary of State. The regulations may be effective before the start of the 2015-2016 bobcat trapping season.

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Steve Fleming’s Letter To The ODFW

August 5, 2015

Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission
4034 Fairview Industrial Drive SE
Salem, OR 97302

To:  The Members of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission

I understand you are listening to a proposal about simplifying fishing regulations this Friday, August 7.  One proposal would take the bag limit off the game fish, smallmouth bass, in the Columbia, John Day, and Umpqua Rivers.  I would like to talk about the fishing science of this proposal on the John Day River, and how this proposal would negatively impact the fishery.  I have fished the river since 1968 and been a professional guide (Mah-Hah Outfitters) on the John Day River since 1991, and spent over 100 days a year since fishing for smallmouth bass and native steelhead.
The Department had the foresight to introduce 80 smallmouth bass in 1971, and 1200+ Channel Catfish.  This has produced a World-Class Smallmouth Bass fishery, and brought many anglers from all over the world to the John Day River’s remote area.  Many national publications have called the John Day River one of the Best Smallmouth Bass Rivers in the USA.  The Field and Stream magazine May 2015 issue labeled the John Day River the Best Smallmouth Bass River in the West.
The smallmouth bass and Salmonoids (Summer Chinook and Steelhead) have co-existed very successfully since 1971.  The redd counts that have been taken since 1959 have shown a marked increase (5 times more redds/beds), and when coupled with returning native counts over the Dams, has  allowed the Department to open a Summer Chinook Salmon season three of the last five years on select sections of the John Day River.  Again, science with exacting field work show the smallmouth bass have had little to no impact on the salmonoids in the John Day Basin.
I participated in an intensive seven year study of the smallmouth bass ( Information Report number 99-1, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife) that ended in 1994, and at that time the Department concluded that the smallmouth bass have little to no impact on the salmonoids.  The science showed how the small mouth bass are driven to feed by higher temperatures and not active during the cooler water smolt migration time. Again science showed of a successful co-existence.
The biggest smolt predator is the Northern Pike Minnow, who feed on other fish year round, and here is where the smallmouth bass have played a significant role on the John Day River in decreasing the Northern Pike Minnow numbers.  There is no “bounty” paid for catching and turning in Northern Pike Minnow in the reach above Tumwater Falls.  When I first started guiding, 1991, we would catch over five Northern Pike Minnow measuring over 18 inches per day. The bass have predated on these fish to the point it is an event to catch even one Northern Pike Minnow a week of any size.  Again, the numbers show the value of the smallmouth bass.
The steelhead fishing on the John Day River has remained good during the years.  We have never had a Hatchery Release and have had to rely on the Native strain.  The bass have been in the river since 1971, and yet no negative impact has been noted.  The Tumwater Falls barrier does not allow the big Pike Minnow and walleye to travel up the river, and we have been able to keep our Native strain viable.  The bass have been part of this success.
In closing I thank you for reading my letter, and implore you to not speculate on the effect of Smallmouth Bass on the salmonoids.  Science has showed they co-exist with the salmonoids.  Please DO NOT take the limit off the smallmouth bass in the John Day River, and change the current population balance.

Respectfully Yours,

Steven J. Fleming
President, Head Guide, Mah-Hah Outfitters.

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