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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: January 2016
Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington set spring Chinook salmon seasons for the Columbia River today during a joint state hearing in Vancouver, Wash.
The recreational springer season on the Columbia from the river mouth upstream to Bonneville Dam will open from March 1 – April 9, with two days off during that period to allow for potential commercial fishing periods.
The Columbia River spring Chinook season is based on a forecast of 299,200 returning spring Chinook, which includes an expected 188,800 upriver spring Chinook. The prediction is down from last year’s banner return of 415,200 springers but above the 10-year average return of 285,000 fish.
Above Bonneville, the state fishery managers approved a Chinook retention season starting on Wednesday, March 16 and continuing through Friday, May 6, with an expected recreational harvest of 900 fish.
On the Willamette River, the spring Chinook forecast is 70,100 fish which is down from last year’s actual return of 87,100 springers but is better than the 10-year average of 61,000.
“We’re looking forward to another year of good spring Chinook fishing,” said Chris Kern, deputy administrator of ODFW’s Fish Division.
The states also announced the winter recreational sturgeon fishery in Bonneville Pool will close effective Monday, Feb. 8, which fishery managers believe will leave enough room under the harvest guideline to offer a short summer sturgeon retention season. In addition, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced a recreational smelt fishery for the Cowlitz River, scheduled for Feb. 6.
The following is a summary of spring recreational fishing seasons, including those adopted at today’s meeting.
Columbia River mouth to Bonneville Dam
Prior to March 1, permanent rules for Chinook salmon, as outlined in the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations, remain in effect.
From March 1 through April 9, boat fishing will be allowed seven days a week from Buoy 10 at the Columbia River mouth upstream to Beacon Rock, which is located approximately four miles below Bonneville Dam. Bank fishing will be allowed during the same timeframe from Buoy 10 upstream to the fishing deadline at Bonneville Dam. The recreational fishery will be closed on March 29 and April 5 (Tuesdays). The recreational fishery below Bonneville will be managed prior to a run update based on the available guideline of 7,515 upriver spring Chinook. The season may be shortened or extended depending on catch and effort.
The daily bag limit will be two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon or steelhead in combination, of which no more than one may be a Chinook. The rules also allow retention of up to five adipose fin-clipped jack salmon per day in Oregon.
Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to the Oregon/Washington border
Prior to March 16, permanent rules for Chinook salmon, as outlined in the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations, remain in effect.
Effective March 16 through May 6, this area will be open to retention of adipose fin-clipped Chinook. Fishing for salmon and steelhead from a boat between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines, approximately six miles downstream from The Dalles Dam, is prohibited.
This fishery will be managed to the available harvest guideline of 1,000 upriver spring Chinook and may be shortened or extended depending on catch and effort.
The daily bag limit will be two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon or steelhead in combination, of which no more than one may be a Chinook. The rules also allow retention of up to five adipose fin-clipped jack salmon per day in Oregon.
Permanent fishing regulations for recreational harvest in Oregon waters within Youngs Bay and Blind Slough/Knappa Slough are listed in the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.
Based on today’s action, effective March 1 through June 15, 2016 on days when the mainstem below Bonneville Dam is open to recreational Chinook harvest, the daily salmonid bag limit will be the same as mainstem Columbia bag limits. On days the mainstem Columbia is closed to Chinook retention, the permanent bag limits for Select Areas will apply.
Under permanent rules, the Willamette River remains open to retention of adipose fin-clipped adult Chinook salmon and adipose fin-clipped steelhead seven days a week.
The bag limit on the Willamette below Willamette Falls is two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon or steelhead in combination. Above the falls, two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon and three adipose fin-clipped steelhead may be retained in the daily bag.
STEELHEAD & SHAD
Permanent rules for steelhead and shad are in effect, except for the following modifications:
Effective March 16 – May 15, 2016, the Columbia River will be open for retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead from Buoy 10 to the Highway 395 Bridge and shad from Buoy 10 to Bonneville Dam ONLY during days and in areas open for retention of adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook. Beginning May 16 permanent rules resume as listed in the 2016 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.
A limited recreational smelt fishery is being considered for the Sandy River in 2016 but due to sporadic returns and difficulty predicting the arrival date for this run, ODFW intends to propose the 2016 regulations at a later date. Under Oregon’s 2016 sport fishing regulations, smelt-dippers will be required to have a fishing license for the first time this year.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced a bank-only recreational smelt fishery for the Cowlitz River, scheduled for 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 6. The daily bag limit is 10 pounds per person.
Effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, Feb. 8, the retention of sturgeon is prohibited in the mainstem Columbia River from Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam, including adjacent tributaries. A summer retention fishery in Bonneville Pool will be considered at a later date.
ODFW staff plans to update the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission on the status of the sturgeon population in the lower Columbia River during the Commission’s February meeting.
The daily catch limit for chinook salmon in Marine Area 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait) will be reduced to 1 fish, with a 2 salmon limit. All wild chinook salmon must be released.
Effective Date: Feb. 5 through April 10, 2016.
Species affected: Chinook salmon.
Location: Marine Area 6 within Puget Sound.
Reason for action: Before the salmon fishing season started, WDFW and tribal co-managers agreed to a limited number (2,586) of chinook encounters – retaining or releasing fish – anglers are allowed in Marine Area 6. Preliminary estimates indicate that anglers have reached 71 percent of those encounters. The fishery is being modified to control impacts on stocks of concern.
Other information: WDFW will continue to monitor and evaluate the fishery in order to help maximize fishing opportunity is available for Marine Area 6. Anglers are reminded that they must continue to release all wild chinook.
Information contact: Ryan Lothrop, (360) 902-2808.
Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW “Fishing in Washington” rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360)796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.
Anticipating a return of 299,200 adult spring chinook salmon, fishery managers from Washington and Oregon today set this year’s initial fishing season to run through April 9 on the lower Columbia River.
In addition, representatives from the two states agreed to close the winter sturgeon retention fishery in the Bonneville Pool effective Feb. 8 and approved a six-hour recreational smelt season Feb. 6 on the Cowlitz River.
Here are the major provisions of those agreements:
Spring chinook: From March 1 through April 9, anglers fishing downriver from Bonneville Dam may retain one marked, hatchery-reared adult spring chinook as part of their daily catch limit. The fishery will be open to both boat and bank anglers upriver to Beacon Rock, and – for bank anglers only – from there upriver to the fishing boundary just below the dam.
The sport fishery will close in all areas of the lower Columbia River on two Tuesdays – March 29 and April 5 – to accommodate potential commercial fisheries.
Upstream of Bonneville Dam, anglers may retain one hatchery-reared adult spring chinook per day from March 16 through May 6 between the Tower Island powerlines and the Washington/Oregon state line. Bank anglers using hand-casted gear (no boats) can also fish from Bonneville Dam upriver to the Tower Island powerlines during that time.
Barbless hooks are required to fish for spring chinook in the Columbia River and anglers must release any salmon or steelhead not visibly marked as a hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin.
Sturgeon: The recreational sturgeon retention fishery between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam will close Feb. 8. By that time, fishery managers expect that anglers will have reeled in 140 sturgeon from those waters, leaving 185 available for a one-or-two day fishery in summer. Catch-and-release fishing remains an option until then.
Smelt: As in the past two years, fishery managers approved a limited fishery for smelt on the Cowlitz River to help gather data on the species’ abundance. Recreational smelt dipping will be restricted to the hours of 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 6. The limit per person is 10 pounds – about one-quarter of a five-gallon bucket. Smelt dipping is not allowed from boats.
To support the data-collection effort, the two states also approved a limited gillnet fishery for smelt in February on the lower Columbia River. The area’s smelt population was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act in 2010, but runs have shown some signs of improvement since then.
Fishing rules reflecting these actions are available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/
Fishing for spring chinook is currently open on a daily basis from Buoy 10 near the mouth of the Columbia River upstream to the Interstate 5 Bridge, although the bulk of the run doesn’t arrive until mid-March when the new fishing rules will be in effect.
Catch guidelines approved for the popular fishery will allow anglers fishing below Bonneville Dam to catch approximately 9,100 hatchery-raised “springers” before an updated run forecast is completed in late April or early May.
Another 1,000 adult upriver chinook are reserved for anglers fishing upriver from Bonneville Dam to the Washington/Oregon state line, 17 miles above McNary Dam. Additional fish have also been reserved for the Snake River sport fishery.
After banner spring chinook returns in each of the past two years, the projected run of 299,200 adult fish for 2016 is still slightly above the recent 10-year average, said Ron Roler, WDFW Columbia River policy manager. However, while this year’s projected run of upriver fish is down by about 100,000 fish from last year, he said returns to some tributaries – notably the Cowlitz and Kalama rivers – show an increase this year.
“Salmon returns rise and fall from year to year, especially during the kind of cyclical ocean changes we’re seeing right now,” Roler said. “Even so, if this run comes in as projected, it will still be the ninth-largest return in more than 25 years. We’re expecting plenty of fish to support a great fishing season.”
As in previous years, Washington and Oregon will manage the fishery with a 30 percent buffer on the upriver chinook forecast until the results of the in-season run update are known.
“We’ll continue to take a conservative approach in managing the fishery,” Roler said. “If the fish return at or above expectations, we will look toward providing additional days of fishing on the river later in the spring.”
Walleye fishing is red hot right now! Last weekend we heard from a handful of fishermen that limited using Blade Baits on Potholes Reservoir. Our boat launch at MarDon Resort is open and ready for business. Call (509) 346-2651 for a fishing report.
The is the last weekend for Duck and Goose Hunting Season. Everyone be safe and have a great time.
William Miller caught this beauty. This Burbot, which is also known as a fresh water ling cod, was caught from the face of O’Sullivan Dam. The area in front of the Potholes State Park has also shown burbot. Burbot is typically caught in the winter months deep in the water. These fish are excellent to eat.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds anglers, divers and hunters that Jan. 31, 2016 is the due date for turning in steelhead, sturgeon, abalone and north coast salmon report card data, as well as unfulfilled deer tag report cards (a new requirement for this year).
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.
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.
There are two ways to meet the mandatory angler reporting requirement. Online reporting (www.wildlife.ca.gov/reportcards) is easy, fast and free. Online reporting includes instant confirmation that the report has been received and accepted. Please note that license sales agents cannot accept report cards. More information about report cards is available at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/fishing.
Sport fishing 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 Drive 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
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.
Also, every purchaser of a deer tag must now report their harvest, even if they were unsuccessful or did not hunt. CDFW uses this data to understand harvest rates and to build population estimates and future hunt quota recommendations for the state’s deer herds. For successful hunters, the report must be made within 30 days of harvesting a deer or by Jan. 31, whichever date is first. Unsuccessful hunters or those who did not hunt must report no harvest or did not hunt, respectively, by Jan. 31. Starting with the upcoming 2016 deer season, tag holders who do not report will be charged a non-reporting fee of $20, which will be added to hunting license purchases beginning with the 2017 season. Harvest reports can be submitted online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/hunting#9941260-tag-reporting or by mail to the address printed on the tag.
Through last weekend the trout stocking schedule for the Umpqua basin had not been posted on the ODFW website. Since the basin’s first trout plant last year occured in Cooper Creek Reservoir during the week beginning January 30th, it should be easy to see why some of us are getting nervous. Last year, Loon Lake and Lake Marie received their first trout plants during the weeks beginning on March 2nd and March 16th respectively. Let’s hope that the schedule is posted before our area’s first trout plants actually occur.
Most of the Florence-area waters that that receive trout plants will be stocked the second week of February.
Recent steelhead fishing has been mediocre as it has been difficult to target streams while they have peak fishing conditions, especially since those conditions may exist for mere hours at a time.
Eel Lake has been fishing well for native and carryover trout. Dwayne Schultz, of Reedsport, fished the lake with worms on Monday (Jan. 18th) and landed a 14.75-inch rainbow trout, a 12-inch cutthroat trout and an 11-inch coho that seemed in no hurry to migrate down the lake’s Eel Creek outlet. However, Dwayne’s most surprising catch occurred while he was trolling a hotshot plug at about two miles an hour back towards the launch ramp in an attempt to avoid an impending rainstorm. He hooked and landed a largemouth bass that had engulfed the plug deep in its throat. The bass did not fight much in the cold water, but it had likely used up most of its available energy catching up with the fast-moving lure.
Fishing for yellow perch remains slow at the County Park on South Tenmile Lake in Lakeside. The perch have either stopped biting due to cold water or have moved. Since virtually all of the recent fishing pressure directed at Tenmile’s yellow perch have been off the fishing dock at the county park – the perch wouldn’t have had to move very far to seemingly disappear.
Reedsport temperatures hit seventy degrees for one day last week, but unfortunately it was a one day event with little warning and not indicative of any trend. Had I had sufficient warning, I would definitely visited an extremely shallow Hauser-area pond in which the largemouth bass react quickly to an unseasonably warm winter day.
The lower end of Coos Bay, near Charlston, continues to dominate successful crab catches as the lower tidewater areas of the Umpqua, Siuslaw and Coquille rivers are too muddy and and currently have salinities too low to be prime habitat for legal-sized crabs.
Ocean bottomfishing continues to be productive, but ocean conditions often don’t allow access to productive off-shore reefs. Anglers fishing area jetties usually do well on striped surfperch and kelp greenling when using bait and blue or black rockfish when using small soft plastics on lead jigheads. At Winchester Bay, anglers can better deal with muddy water by fishing at high tide or fishing the ocean off the south side of the “Triangle”.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is holding a public meeting to solicit comments on a proposed emergency fishing closure of 5.5 miles of the Sacramento River above the Highway 44 Bridge in Redding to the Keswick Dam. CDFW has determined this closure is necessary to protect endangered winter-run Chinook salmon. The anticipated dates of closure are April 1 through July 31.
The meeting will be held Friday, Jan. 29, from 4-5:30 p.m. at the Redding Public Library, 1100 Parkview Ave., Redding (96001).
“Because of the drought, we had to close the river last year to save as many of these fish as possible,” said Lt. Richard Wharton, CDFW Law Enforcement supervisor in Redding. “The great news is we had widespread cooperation from Shasta County anglers, who clearly demonstrated they care about this dwindling species.”
CDFW is proposing a complete fishing closure in this critical holding and spawning area to ensure added protection for the federal and state endangered winter-run Chinook, which face high risk of extinction. Given the gravity of the current situation, it is imperative that each and every adult fish be given maximum protection. Current regulations do not allow fishing for Chinook, but incidental catch by anglers who are targeting trout could occur.
An additional measure taken was an agreement with the city of Redding to reduce the amount of artificial light from the Sundial Bridge during the critical stages of salmon migration. The bright lights were causing the fish to stop their journey at the bridge; by dimming the lights, city officials removed the deterrent while still sufficiently illuminating the bridge for tourists.
“We appreciate the city stepping up to help conservation efforts by lowering the lights on one of the city’s most popular attractions,” said Neil Manji, CDFW Northern Region Manager. “In our studies we found that once the light levels came down, the fish immediately swam under the bridge on their way to the sea.”
This reach is the principal winter-run Chinook spawning area during these extraordinary drought conditions. An estimated 98 percent of 2014 and 2015 in-river spawning occurred in the 5.5 mile stretch under consideration for closure. This section represents only 10 percent of the waters currently open to fishing upstream of the Red Bluff Diversion Dam.
In 2014 and 2015, approximately 95 percent of eggs and young winter-run Chinook were lost due to elevated river temperatures. Given current drought conditions, it is likely the 2016-year eggs and young salmon will again be subject to extremely trying conditions.
CDFW is tasked by the Governor to work with the California Fish and Game Commission to determine whether fishing restrictions in certain areas are necessary and prudent as drought conditions persist. The proposed closure is also in accordance with the state and federal Endangered Species Acts.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is inviting public comment through Feb. 12 on 10 proposals to acquire land for fish and wildlife habitat and public recreation.
Proposed acquisitions include lands in Walla Walla, Snohomish, Lincoln, Kittitas, Klickitat, Grays Harbor, Thurston and Pacific counties. Information on the properties is available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/acquisitions/. The webpage also includes information on previous land acquisition projects.
Written comments on the proposed acquisitions may be submitted via email to vog.aw.wfdnull@sdnaL or by mail to Lauri Vigue, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.
The review process is designed to solicit public input on the proposals before the department seeks funding sources later this year, said Cynthia Wilkerson, WDFW land conservation and restoration section manager.
“We want to give people the opportunity to comment on these proposed acquisitions before moving forward,” Wilkerson said.
After reviewing public comments, WDFW will seek potential funding for the current proposals from state and federal grants administered by the Washington Wildlife and Recreation Program, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Cooperative Endangered Species Conservation Fund and the North American Wetland Conservation Act.
The department employs several strategies, including land acquisitions, to meet its mandate of protecting fish and wildlife, while also providing sustainable recreational and commercial opportunities, Wilkerson said. WDFW works with private landowners and coordinates with other state, federal and local governments to ensure their lands also are managed to benefit fish and wildlife and maximize recreational opportunities.
“Land acquisition helps preserve our state’s critical habitat and species for the future,” Wilkerson said.
WDFW currently owns or manages about one million acres in 33 wildlife areas, along with 700 public water-access sites. Those properties provide habitat for fish and wildlife, as well as fishing, hunting and wildlife-watching opportunities that contribute significantly to maintaining the state’s open spaces and economy each year.
Mild temperatures are returning to Central Washington and we are experiencing a reversal migration due to the warmer weather. The Moses Lake area, Potholes Recreation area and The Royal Slope are thawing out. As snow disappears, North Flights of duck and geese return from the south to geese at farm grounds on the Columbia Basin Project. Near record waterfowl counts the last nine days of 2015/2016 have arrived. Hunters may harvest geese each of the last nine days. Ducks are open every day, and the season is nearly finished.
With daytime highs in the 40’ degree range many small moving waters are ice free and holding birds. The Frenchman and Winchester Waste ways provide great jump shooting and small water decoy shooting.
The bad news is the Sand Dunes on Potholes Reservoir continue to be encroached by 2” to 6” ice. The main part of Potholes Reservoir outside the sand dunes remain ice free. All boat launches on the south shore of Potholes Reservoir are open and being used by early season walleye fishers. The Lind Coulee is mainly iced over with unsafe ice. On 1/20/16 the Glen Williams boat launch on the east end of O’Sullivan Dam had 4” to 6” of ice from the shore for fifteen feet.
Walleye fishers are using blade baits and rapala jigging raps or a jig and night crawler combination. This past week walleye fishers reported walleye to 26”. Walleye are being caught in water from 35’ to 60’ deep near Goose Island and also the terraces along Medicare Beach have shown some nice walleye.
With nine days left in the season it is not too late to book a Duck or Goose hunt with Meseberg Adventures. For more information, go to www.ducktaxi.com
ODFW wants halibut anglers to weigh in on open dates for the 2016 spring all-depth sport halibut fishery in the Central Coast subarea. And like last year, there are three ways to give feedback—attend a public meeting, participate via webinar, or take an online survey.
The Central Oregon Coast Subarea extends from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt., and includes most Oregon ports except those in the Astoria area, Gold Beach, and Brookings. The seasons for the Columbia River and Southern Oregon Subareas have already been established for this year.
“The sport halibut fishery is popular, so we want to ensure we hear from as many anglers as possible,” said Lynn Mattes, halibut project leader for ODFW.
Participants in the process will help choose the number of spring all-depth “fixed” and “back-up” dates, and the weeks in which those open dates occur.
The public meeting will begin at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at the ODFW Newport office, 2040 SE Marine Science Drive. Participants can join the meeting online at https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/620143213, or dial in at 1-(408) 650-3123 Access code: 620-143-213.
Finally, anglers can offer input through an online survey, which will be available on the ODFW halibut webpage from Feb. 2-7, 2016.
For questions, or to provide additional comments without attending the meeting, anglers should contact Lynn Mattes at 541-867-0300 ext. 237 or by e-mail: email@example.com or Maggie Sommer at 541-867-0300 ext. 227 or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.