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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: March 2016
With Central Washington weather approaching 75 degrees this could be a great bass and walleye weekend. The big largemouth are ready to bite. Walleye action is in the Lind coulee arm of Potholes Reservoir. Crab Creek as it enters from Moses Lake is just now picking up.
All the seep lakes open on April 1, 2016, except Warden Lake which open April 23, 2016. With the great weather this would be a good time for a Desert hike in the seep lakes below O’Sullivan Dam at the Desert Wildlife area at C Road.
Some much-needed improvements to the fishing dock at Johnsons Mill Pond preceded the pond’s largest trout plant of the year – 3,000 legal and 50 16-inchers, or trophy trout.
Virtually all of Oregon’s icefishing spots have now posted soft ice advisories. However, the rainbow trout in these spots should be cruising the shorelines for a couple of reasons. (1) – The shoreline shallows are often slightly warmer and closer to the rainbows’ preferred temperature than the colder deeper water and (2) – They are in or approaching spawning mode and often cruise the shoreline looking for gravelly areas – even in currentless waters where they seldom, if ever, successfully spawn. When doing so, they are within easy reach of bank anglers fishing in areas of open water.
Idaho continues to produce new state record fish for their new catch and release division. A 94-inch white sturgeon beat the record and then was almost immediately topped by a 98.5-inch fish. All of Idaho’s white sturgeon catch and release records have come from the Snake River. Other recently set catch and release Idaho state records include a 20-inch Bonneville whitefish from Bear Lake and a 22-inch northern pikeminnow from the Payette River.
A recent fishing report posted to an online website, while being exciting and intriguing to some northwest outdoorsmen, is of grave concern, perhaps even terrifying to most northwest anglers. The post was intentionally somewhat vague, but a small group of anglers fishing somewhere close to the upper end of eastern Washington’s Roosevelt Lake managed to catch 17 northern pike up to 34-inches in length. Northern pike are relativelt active in cool water and such efficient predators that northwest fisheries biologists will surely better appreciate the bass and walleyes they have now.
It was only a few years ago that several agencies teamed up to corral an out-of-control population of northern pike on eastern Washington’s Pend Oreille River. The tremendously expensive project was successful in greatly reducing the river’s pike numbers, but an established pike population in the upper Columbia River will be a fish management problem of a much larger magnitude.
Since almost all of Oregon’s adult yellow perch have already spawned, it appears that Oregon’s relatively humble 45 year old state record for the species will stand for yet another year. If Oregon’s two pound two ounce state record perch had the same body shape as Idaho’s current state record(2.96 lbs – 15.63-inches long), it would only be 14-inches long.
Last year, a few early-arriving shad were caught during the first two weeks of April on the Umpqua River near Yellow Creek.
Bureau of Reclamation fish technicians were netting the Link River, a shallow connection between Upper Klamath Lake and Lake Ewauna for shortnose sucker when they captured a massive white sturgeon.
The sturgeon, which was quickly released back into Lake Ewauna, was estimated to be eight to ten feet long and weigh between 300 and 400 pounds – and be more than 60 years old.
White sturgeon were released into Upper Klamath Lake during the 1950’s and while they survived, they did not reproduce. In the past, sturgeon were caught by anglers fishing where the Williamson River enters Upper Klamath Lake and where the Wood River enters Agency Lake at the north end of Upper Klamath Lake. Anglers wanting to target the increasingly sparse population need to remember that it is strictly a catch and release fishery.
Many Coos County waters received trout plants this last week. They include: Bradley Lake (3,000 legal rainbows and 200 16-inchers); Butterfield Lake (3,000 legals and 400 14-inchers); Eel Lake (2,500 legals); Johnsons Mill Pond (3,000 legals and 50 16-inchers); Powers Pond (3,000 legals); Saunders Lake (3,000 legals. Both Upper and Lower Empire lakes each received 3,000 legal rainbows and 250 16-inch rainbows.
Loon Lake is slated to be stocked with 1,000 legal rainbows this week. Both Carter Lake (2,000 legals) and Cleawox Lake (2,500 legals and 150-16-inchers are slated to be stocked during the week beginning April 4th. Those plants will bring this year’s total for Carter to 6,000 trout and this year’s total for Cleawox to 11,200. Cleawox is the most heavily planted lake on the Oregon coast – unless one considers Upper and Lower Empire lakes as one lake. By the first week in April, together they will have received 18,500 trout and are slated to receive 41,300 for the year – a very impressive total for about 50 acres of water.
Paul Osekowsky and I fished in the Umpqua River for Spring Chinook, today. We caught two, 25 lbs and 18 lbs, approximately. Neither fish were clipped. We were on the river at 5:00 AM and will probably have to start earlier to get our spot in the future.
Gov. Jay Inslee today signed legislation that will help fund efforts to conserve wild steelhead populations in Washington through the sale of license plates featuring an image of the state’s iconic fish in the background.
Senate Bill 6200, requested by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), was supported by conservationists and fishing enthusiasts.
The department collected signatures from more than 4,000 people who expressed interest in buying steelhead specialty license plates when the plates are available next year, said Kelly Cunningham, deputy assistant director of WDFW’s Fish Program.
“This steelhead plate has generated a lot of enthusiasm from a wide variety of people,” Cunningham said. “We’re grateful to have another source of funding to help with our wild steelhead conservation efforts.”
In much of Washington, wild steelhead are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act. WDFW is currently taking several actions to restore those populations to sustainable levels, including measures that guide fisheries management, hatchery operations, monitoring and habitat-restoration programs.
For more information on the steelhead license plate, visit WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/license_plates/steelhead/
Walleye action continues slow as the spawn is finishing. Some anglers are scoring on some unusually large fish this week on Potholes Reservoir. After Easter the Walleye action will really pickup! This year has been very odd. We had 61 degree temperatures five weeks ago and that starts the spawn with water temperature over 46 degrees. We have seen Walleye caught on crawler harness, shad rap and Berkley Skittle shad and blade baits. With a few Walleye limits get ready after Easter to catch some spring walleye dinners.
On good days this past week the Heart Canal and Windmill Lakes are providing nice trout. It makes a great day trip to drive to Windmill Lake and then walk to North Windmill and Virgin Lake.
The WDFW will be conducting a fun fishing day on April 23, 2016. Donated prizes may be won by catching a tagged fish in Corral Lake or the general trout opener at Warden Lake. The lakes on the National Wildlife Refuge open on April 1, 2016. A good bet Hutchinson and Shriner Lakes for perch, bluegill and largemouth. The Pillar- Widgeon chain holds many small lakes with trout, they are just below Soda Lake. One of the most popular seep lakes has always been The Hampton Lakes. These open on April 1, also.
MarDon Tackle Shop weekly sale. This week Rooster tails $2.60.
Don’t forget to come out and play Bingo with us to support the habitat restoration on Potholes Reservoir. Every Wednesday night, doors open @ 6:00 and bingo starts at 7:00. Bring friends and family it’s a fun night, popcorn and other snacks available.
For questions on lake status or reservoir level or overnight discounts at MarDon Resort call (509) 346-2651 or (800) 416-2736. Website www.MarDonResort.com
A temporary emergency regulation closing all fishing within 5.5 miles of spawning habitat on the Upper Sacramento River begins on April 1, 2016 and will remain in effect through July 31, 2016. Enhanced protective measures are also proposed in the ocean sport and commercial salmon fisheries regulations for the 2016 season.
The temporary emergency regulation closes all fishing on the 5.5 mile stretch of the Sacramento River from the Highway 44 Bridge where it crosses the Sacramento River upstream to Keswick Dam. The area is currently closed to salmon fishing but was open to trout fishing. The temporary closure will protect critical spawning habitat and eliminate any incidental stress or hooking mortality of winter-run Chinook salmon by anglers.
California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) scientists believe the additional protection provided in the emergency river closure and potential ocean fishing restrictions will help avoid a third year of substantial winter-run Chinook salmon loss.
Historically, winter-run Chinook spawned in the upper reaches of Sacramento River tributaries, including the McCloud, Pit, and Little Sacramento rivers. Shasta and Keswick dams now block access to the historic spawning areas. Winter-run Chinook, however, were able to take advantage of cool summer water releases downstream of Keswick Dam. In the 1940s and 1950s, the population recovered, but beginning in 1970, the population experienced a dramatic decline, to a low of approximately 200 spawners by the early 1990s. The run was classified as endangered under the state Endangered Species Act in 1989, and as endangered under the federal Endangered Species Act in 1994.
The Fish and Game Commission adopted CDFW’s proposal for the 2016 temporary closure at its regularly scheduled February meeting.
Anglers fishing for halibut in Washington waters can expect some changes in this year’s seasons, even though the state’s annual catch quota remains the same as in 2015.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) establishes halibut seasons using catch quotas adopted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission for coastal fisheries from California to Alaska. This year’s quota for recreational halibut fisheries in Washington state is 214,110 pounds.
As in years past, the growing popularity of recreational halibut fishing will require adjustments in this year’s season, said Heather Reed, WDFW coastal policy coordinator.
“Here and elsewhere, fishery managers are working to keep pace with the growing demand on the resource,” Reed said. “Strong catch rates continue to draw anglers to this popular fishery each year.”
One result, Reed said, is that the halibut catch in Puget Sound has exceeded the area harvest quota for the past four years. In response, this year’s halibut season in Marine Areas 6-10 in central Puget Sound will be reduced to eight days from 11 days last year.
That fishery will run concurrently with the one in Marine Area 5 (Sekiu), where the season has been limited to eight days since 2013, Reed said.
The other major change this year is in Marine Areas 3 and 4 (La Push and Neah Bay), which will open May 7, May 12 and May 14, then close for a catch assessment.
“Last year, we scheduled four days of fishing before the catch assessment, but we had to cancel the fourth day on short notice, because the quota was taken sooner than ever before,” Reed said. “This year’s season is designed to avoid that situation.”
This year’s fishery in Marine Areas 3 and 4 will reopen in late May if sufficient capacity remains under the quota.
In Marine Area 1 off the mouth of the Columbia River, anglers also reached last year’s quota earlier than expected, although not until early June. That fishery is scheduled to run four days a week this year from May 1 until the quota is taken, or Sept. 30, whichever occurs first.
Anglers fishing the nearshore area of that fishery will again be allowed to retain bottomfish – such as flounder and sole – as well as halibut on days when the rest of the area is closed to halibut fishing.
“We continue to look for ways to increase fishing opportunity in the Columbia River area where the catch has been below the quota in recent years,” Reed said.
In all marine areas open to halibut fishing, there is a one-fish daily catch limit and no minimum size restriction. Anglers may possess a maximum of two fish in any form and must record their catch on a WDFW catch record card.
Anglers should check the WDFW website for complete information on recreational halibut regulations and seasons at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/halibut/
2016 Puget Sound halibut seasons
Marine Area 5-10: May 7, 12, 13, 14, and May 26-29. The quota is 57,393 pounds for the season.
Marine Areas 11, 12, 13: These areas will remain closed to halibut fishing to protect threatened and endangered rockfish species.
2016 Pacific Coast halibut seasons
Marine Area 1 (Columbia River): The fishery opens May 1 and runs four days per week (Thursday-Sunday) until the subarea quota is taken, or Sept. 30, whichever occurs first. The nearshore area opens to fishing May 2 on a Monday-through-Wednesday schedule, which are the days the all-depth halibut fishery is closed. Coordinates for the nearshore fishery are available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/halibut/ The all-depth quota is 10,509 pounds; the nearshore quota is 500 pounds.
Marine Area 2 (Westport): The fishery opens May 1 and runs two days per week (Sundays and Tuesdays) for three consecutive weeks, unless the quota is reached sooner. The primary fishery is closed May 22 and 24, but could reopen May 29 or 31 if sufficient quota remains. The northern nearshore area will open May 1 and continue seven days per week until Sept. 30, or until the nearshore quota is reached. The quota for the primary fishery is 40,739 pounds; the quota for the northern nearshore fishery is 2,000 pounds.
Marine Areas 3 and 4 (La Push and Neah Bay): The fishery in both areas will open May 7 (Saturday), May 12 (Thursday) and May 14 (Saturday), as long as there is sufficient quota. Both areas will be closed May 19 and 21. If there is available quota, the fishery will re-open May 26 and/or 28. Additional days could be added (Thursdays and Saturdays), depending on the amount of quota available. The combined quota for both areas is 108,030 pounds.
Fishing regulations include depth restrictions and area closures designed to reduce encounters with yelloweye and canary rockfish, which must be released under state and federal law. Anglers are encouraged to use a descending device to release any rockfish they don’t intend to retain.
Information about descending devices can be found on WDFW’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/bottomfish/rockfish/mortality.html