Monthly Archives: July 2016

Comments Invited On Changes For Disabled Hunters.

ODFW is looking for input on potential changes for Oregon hunters with an Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit. The Commission will consider these changes at their Sept. 2 meeting in Welches.

Permits are given to people who provide written certification of a permanent disability from a medical professional and to veterans of the Armed Forces with at least a 65 percent service-connected disability rating. Permit holders get an expanded bag limit during certain hunting seasons (an antlerless deer or elk during buck and bull seasons in some wildlife management units). Hunters with a disabilities permit may also shoot from a parked vehicle and get assistance from an able-bodied companion when hunting (see page 99 of the Oregon Big Game Regulations for more information on special regulations). Disabled veterans also receive a free hunting, fishing and shellfish license.

The following recommended changes were developed by a review committee that met three times in March and April 2016. The committee included disabled hunters, sportsman group representatives, and staff from Oregon State Police and ODFW. For more detailed information on the recommendations, visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/wildlife/management_plans/disabilities_permit_review.asp

The review committee’s recommendations are to:

Align the criteria for deciding which units have an expanded bag limit for disabled hunters with the criteria currently used for archery hunters. These criteria look at population MOs and calf and fawn ratios to determine which units can support antlerless harvest.
Provide some controlled antlerless hunts for hunters with disabilities in those units where some opportunity for antlerless animals is available, but not enough to offer to all disabled hunters. (The earliest these controlled hunts would be available is 2018.)
Test the possibility of allowing wheel-chair bound disabled hunters to use a single passenger, electric-powered vehicle in Travel Management Areas with motorized travel restrictions. (This recommendation will require further legal review of state and federal rules before implementation.)
Make changes to regulations and license documents to 1) more clearly indicate that permits are only available to sportsmen with a permanent disability, 2) incorporate permit information on hunting license documents and indicate when the five-year permit expires, and 3) better highlight bag limit changes for disabled hunters in the Oregon Big Game Regulations.
Comments are welcome from all hunters and others who are interested. To comment on the proposed changes, email su.ro.etatsnull@ofniefildliw.wfdo or provide in person testimony at the meeting Sept. 2 in Welches. Emails received by July 29 will be included in the information packet Commissioners receive before the meeting. Email comments received after that will be provided at the meeting.

Currently, about 4,000 people have an Oregon Disabilities Hunting and Fishing Permit. For more information on the program, visit http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/disability/

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Fishing Report

After the Central Washington Fish Advisory Committee became legal and correct with the help of Mr. Glenn Gretty, owner of Gretty and Associates in June of 2004, the Potholes Reservoir Underwater Habitat Restoration project began. (cwfac.org) Our main challenge is simply money to build habitat boxes. We have 8 more years on our current permit to plant more boxes. In the US 40% of all freshwater fish has failed in the last 20 years due to lack of habitat. The CWFAC became pro-active by supplement sanctuary for many species of freshwater fish to propagate.
This past week July heat has returned to Central Washington. This hotter weather will lower the pool height of Potholes and bring untold numbers of new bluegill, crappie, perch and largemouth bass out of the sand dunes. When this happens our amazing walleye fishing will begin an unbelievable “Feeding Frenzy”. Our weather forecast for Central Washington has predicted much higher temperatures through October of 2016.
Bass fishing continues strong; Walleye action has been fair but as potholes drops things will only improve. Trollers have been doing better at the mouth of Frenchman’s Wasteway trolling towards Perch Island.
The MarDon fish dock continues to provide good fishing action in the morning before this week’s heat sets in. Next week our temperatures cool down too low 90’s and high 80’s.
Every Wednesday at 7:00 pm CWFAC has bingo at The Sportsman’s Resort. Last night we paid out $596.00 and next week the progressive will be around $600.00. This is a fundraiser for CWFAC.
Now is the time to enjoy the bounty of the Columbia Basin at Tonnemakers Organic farm. This beautiful environment is on Dodson Rd just south of Frenchman Hills Rd.

Brad Stevenson and Kelsie Bozlee from Enumclaw, using spinner and crawler to catch their nice fish.  (Walleye, perch and one big small mouth bass).

Brad Stevenson and Kelsie Bozlee from Enumclaw, using spinner and crawler to catch their nice fish. (Walleye, perch and one big small mouth bass).

July 28, Levi Meseberg and Clyde Foster placed twenty-four habitat boxes on the lake to provide sanctuary for new first and second year fish to live and grow.

July 28, Levi Meseberg and Clyde Foster placed twenty-four habitat boxes on the lake to provide sanctuary for new first and second year fish to live and grow.

Paul Witkowski, from Des Moines caught this nice 10 lb. 4 oz. walleye.

Paul Witkowski, from Des Moines caught this nice 10 lb. 4 oz. walleye.

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WDFW News – Portion of WDFW Wildlife Area Closing For Feral Pig Removal.

EPHRATA – Starting Friday (July 29), the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will close public access to a portion of the Columbia Basin Wildlife Area in Grant County as part of a month-long effort to remove feral pigs from the area.

The closure will be in effect through Aug. 31 on about 1,300 acres of the Desert Unit of the wildlife area.

During that time, a team from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will attempt to locate and remove feral pigs, which have been spotted in that area over the past year.

The USDA, which considers feral pigs an invasive species, plans to use bait to attract the animals and shoot them from a helicopter, said Matt Monda, WDFW wildlife manager for northcentral Washington.

According to the Washington Invasive Species Council, feral pigs can be extremely destructive to fences, fields, wetlands, and other wildlife habitat. They can also transmit diseases and parasites to livestock and people. The USDA is currently working in 39 states to control feral pigs, which cause an estimated $1.5 billion a year in environmental damage nationwide.

“We first started receiving public reports of wild pigs in the wildlife area last July,” Monda said. “One of our officers shot a pregnant sow two months later, and we’ve occasionally picked them up on remote cameras over the past year. We don’t want this to get out of hand.”

After assessing the situation, federal agents determined that locating and shooting feral pigs from the air is the best option, Monda said. They also plan to retrieve hair samples from the carcasses for DNA analysis to help determine the origin of the pigs, he said.

“We’re hoping this closure will have minimal impacts on wildlife area visitors,” Monda said. “With the hot weather and buggy conditions, August is the time of year the Desert Unit is least visited by wildlife watchers, anglers and hunters.”

Monda said WDFW will post signs marking the closed area, which will reopen Sept. 1 for the start of early hunting seasons.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 7 / 27 / 2016

The pinkfin fishery in the Umpqua River above Winchester Bay has slowed way down. There are still fair numbers of surfperch in the spawning area of the river, but they are getting more difficult to find and the bite is definitely becoming less predictible. The surfperch bite on area beaches is still going strong, but windy conditions often make fishing the the surf difficult.

Ocean salmon fishing has generally not been good. Of course there are the rare exceptions each day where a few anglers achieve boat limits, but overall, the fishing is very slow. The last report on the ODFW website with data through July 17th, showed that only 4.2 percent of the 26,000 finclipped coho salmon quota had been caught and retained. It definitely appears that the season will not be ending early since the quota will not be met and the season will run through August 7th. Ocean fishing for Chinook salmon will remain open through October 15th.

Not only have finclipped cohos been hard to find. but they seem to be running smaller than the unkeepable wild cohos. A few anglers have reported catching fair numbers of Chinook salmon too small to keep, but some of them measured 23-inches and should meet the 24-inch minimum length limit for the ocean if hooked again in a couple of weeks. Ocean coho salmon have to be finclipped and at least 16-inches in length to be legal to keep.

Over the next several weeks salmon fishing will improve in the lower Umpqua River and while jack or immature salmon are not recognized in the ocean, they are in the river. A jack coho salmon must be at least 15-inches in length, but no more than 20-inches in length – if it is longer than 20-inches it is considered an adult and must be marked on the angler’s combined anging tag. All kept coho salmon, jacks or adults must be finclipped, except when relatively short seasons that allow keeping unclipped cohos in the ocean or rivers are in effect and those seasons are well-publicized.

Chinook jacks in the river must also be at least 15-inches in length and up to 24-inches. Over 24-inches and they are considered an adult Chinook salmon and must be promptly marked on an angler’s combined angling tag if kept. Chinook salmon do not have to be finclipped to be legal to keep.

Some of the more surprising statistics regarding this season’s ocean salmon fishing is that Garibaldi continues to lead in angler trips with 3,255 (more than twice as many as Winchester Bay (1,508) or Newport (1,378) and Newport has produced more Chinooks than Winchester Bay (126 to 84). In fairness to Winchester Bay – most of its Chinooks have come out of the river between Winchester Bay and Reedsport and were not counted as part of the ocean catch.

The best reports out of Winchester Bay have come from boat crabbers. Jim and Jinny Pardee, of Eugene crabbed the lower end of Half Moon Bay late Saturday afternoon and caught fourteen good-sized male crabs in less than two hours. Also on Saturday, several boats made very good catches while crabbing the ocean in 55 feet of water. While dock crabbers have yet to enjoy the same levels of success as enjoyed by boat crabbers, dock crabbing should impove steadily through late summer and fall.

Early morning bass and panfishing is very productive and very warm days often mean that bass won’t become active until well after dark. If a bass angler wanted to cherry pick a productive two hour time period, the last hour before daybreak through the first hour hour after dawn would be a good choice.

Which brings me to one of the most common mistakes many anglers make on a fishing trip – expecting the fish to adjust to your time schedule. or preferences. A lot of anglers make this mistake and, in private, I refer to them as under-achievers. The most successful anglers plan their fishing efforts for when their targeted fish is likely to be active or likely to bite.

Kudos to the Coos County Bass Masters, an online facebook bass club that has managed to ferret out some very-much-overlooked fishing spots and then through practicing catch and release, make sure they don’t ruin them for others. I commend them for realizing that area bass fishing does not begin and end at Tenmile Lakes and for some of the genuine lunkers they have hooked in seemingly insignicant waters.

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Fishing Report

July’s full moon is called the “Buck Moon”. Each year this July moon is when mother nature sparks the growth of mule deer antlers. The dynamic Mule deer we enjoy on Potholes Reservoir are amazing. Deer hunters are so happy when they win a Desert A hunting permit. Last year we witnessed a 420 lb. monster mule deer harvested on Frenchman Waterway, I didn’t know mule deer could be so huge.
This past week was a great time for our Habitat Project on Potholes Reservoir. (www.cwfac.org) Our volunteers built a new vessel to deposit habitat boxes on the floor of Potholes Reservoir. At this time, we would like to thank our partners for donating The African Queen, our first boat to deposit habitat boxes. The African Queen allowed us to put twelve boxes on it. Thanks to Seth Davis and Jeff Ackeridge Now the queen has been retired and placed in our habitat museum. The new vessel can deposit twenty-five boxes at a time. The Fish and Map Company maps of Potholes Reservoir show the area where we may place the habitat boxes. They are placed in an area and depth that is five feet below the lowest Potholes Reservoir can be, drawn down. This prevents boating and swimming accidents. We will be placing 232 new habitat boxes, which will give first and second year fish a safe place to live and grow. Another exciting habitat project will begin in February of 2017. Under extreme diligent, The Columbia Basin Walleye Club under President Mike Schlueter and many other Walleye club board members have been working on a Habitat Project on Moses Lake. After over three years of hard work, President Mike Schlueter has won the permitting battle. Now the habitat on Moses Lake is beginning. These structures will allow perch, crappie and bluegill to vastly increase. The future of fishing on Moses Lake will rapidly improve.
Cool temperatures lately have hindered walleye anglers on Potholes. Bass fishing just keeps going well. With temperatures predicted in the 90’s this week, fishing will rapidly improve on Potholes.

William Lowe (10 yrs old) from Des Moines, with jumbo crappie to 13" from the MarDon dock.

William Lowe (10 yrs old) from Des Moines, with jumbo crappie to 13″ from the MarDon dock.

The new vessel for planting habitat boxes on the floor of Potholes Reservoir.

The new vessel for planting habitat boxes on the floor of Potholes Reservoir.

This amazing mule deer photo were taken on July 17, 2016 at 11:00 am in the sand dunes on Potholes Reservoir by our good friend Travis Cyr from Yakima, who allowed us to share this.

This amazing mule deer photo were taken on July 17, 2016 at 11:00 am in the sand dunes on Potholes Reservoir by our good friend Travis Cyr from Yakima, who allowed us to share this.

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Sand Dunes Ponds Near The North Spit Boat Ramp.

I’ve spent the last few weeks checking out some pretty “fishy-looking” ponds along side the paved road leading to the North Spit Boat Ramp. Most of the ponds are on the right side of the road and my interest peaked when I saw and then actually caught largemouth bass and bluegills from the smallest and most shallow of the ponds.

However, at 68 years of age, my stamina imposes a reality check on my exploring options. I envy people like members of the facebook bass club, Coos County Bass Masters – who are finding new fishing spots now, much like I did years ago when I sought out new fishing spots with determined enthusiasm.

Here are some of the spots I am most curious about.

This sign marks the parking lot adjacent to the pond where I have observed and caught bass and bluegills.

This sign marks the parking lot adjacent to the pond where I have observed and caught bass and bluegills.

The visible fish in this pond are near the start of the walkway.

The visible fish in this pond are near the start of the walkway.

But the best fish habitat in this small pond requires a little work.

But the best fish habitat in this small pond requires a little work.

First pond on the right about a mile past the Horsfall Beach Road.

First pond on the right about a mile past the Horsfall Beach Road.

First pond on the left just before Jordan Cove Road. (There's also a small "fishy-looking pond on the right side of the road.

First pond on the left just before Jordan Cove Road. (There’s also a small “fishy-looking pond on the right side of the road.

The last pond on the right side of the road before the North Coast Overlook. This pond is quickly losing water and depth and may not be suitable for fish.

The last pond on the right side of the road before the North Coast Overlook. This pond is quickly losing water and depth and may not be suitable for fish.

This pond on the left side of the road - opposite a pond on the right side of the road seems to extend towards Jordan Lake.

This pond on the left side of the road – opposite a pond on the right side of the road seems to extend towards Jordan Lake.

Near the North Spit Boat Ramp, the settling ponds for the paper mill, once extremely polluted, now appear capable of supporting fish.

Near the North Spit Boat Ramp, the settling ponds for the paper mill, once extremely polluted, now appear capable of supporting fish.

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WDFW News – Anglers Can Keep Two Chinook Off Westport Beginning July 23.

Action: Anglers will be allowed to keep two salmon daily in Marine Area 2 (Westport). Anglers will be allowed to keep up to two chinook daily but must release coho.

Effective date: July 23, 2016.

Species affected: Chinook.

Locations: Marine Area 2 (Westport), marine waters stretching from the Queets River to Leadbetter Point.

Reason for action: The fishery has sufficient chinook remaining within the guideline to increase the daily limit without much risk of having to close early. Through July 17, anglers had caught 13.9 percent (2,305 fish) of the 16,600 chinook guideline for Marine Area 2.The current limit is one salmon, no coho retention.

Other information: The changes announced today do not affect ocean salmon fisheries off Ilwaco (Marine Area 1), La Push (Marine Area 3) or Neah Bay (Marine Area 4).

The daily limit in Marine Area 1 remains at two salmon, only one of which can be a chinook, release wild coho.

The daily limits in marine areas 3 and 4 remain at two salmon, no coho retention. Release chum in Marine Area 4 beginning Aug. 1.

Information Contact: Wendy Beeghley, ocean salmon manager for WDFW, (360) 249-1215.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 7 / 20 / 2016

A friend of mine talked me into watching a fishing show last week in which the featured guide twice made statements about the size of the yellow perch in Idaho’s Cascade Lake that were obviously untrue to the point of being ridiculous. The guide stated that the record yellow perch was more than eleven and a half pounds (11.688 to be exact).

The world record for yellow perch is a New Jersey fish of slightly more than four pounds – a record that has not even been threatened in more than 150 years.

While the guide’s claim might get him a few new clients, it will almost certainly cost him clients that realize he is completely disconnected from fishing reality. The current record perch from Cascade Lake and the Idaho state record weighed 2.96 pounds and was caught in late February of this year. The incredibly fat fish only measured 15.63 inches in length.

The wild claim from from the Idaho fishing guide started me thinking about some other ridiculous state record fish claims. One such record is for brown bullhead catfish for Washington state. The 11.04 pound state record is nearly fifty percent heavier than the IGFA world record of seven pounds and six ounces.

Perhaps to make up for it – the Washington state record for blue catfish is ridiculously small at 17 pounds 12 ounces for North America’s largest catfish. In fact the weight of the Washington record blue cat is less than thirteen percent of the weight of the IGFA record blue cat of 143 pounds from Virginia. My opinion is that Washington’s record blue cat was a misidentified channel catfish and their record brown bullhead was a misidentified channel, flathead or white catfish.

Oregon is not immune to misidentifying jumbo fish. Years ago, a Bend area ODFW district biologist identified a trout of more than eleven pounds from Suttle Lake as a brook trout – even though a black and white photo of the fish definitely appeared to be of a brown trout. At the time, Oregon’s record brookie was an uncertified five pounder from Mink Lake. It is possible that one of the rare brookies in Blue Lake jouneyed down Link Creek into Suttle lake and then grew to incredible size amid Suttle’s healthy brown trout population, but that scenario is so extremely unlikely that I cannot bring myself to even consider it.

While on the subject of state fish records, here are some of the most likely to be broken in the Pacific Northwest. Washington warmouth, Washington flathead catfish, Washington white crappie, Oregon yellow perch, Oregon pumpkinseed sunfish. Washington’s record warmouth weighed .53 pounds and it was caught only an hour’s drive of Oregon’s record warmouth of one pound 14.2 ounces caught in Columbia Slough. I’ve talked to a couple of serious anglers that fish southwest Washington’s Silver Lake where the record warmouth was caught and they stated that they have caught warmouths of about a pound – but like almost every other angler, they did not bother to get it officially weighed for record consideration. Still, the fact that Oregon’s record warmouth weighs more than three and a half times what the Silver Lake record weighs should bother more than a few Washington state anglers.

Washington’s state record flathead catfish came out of the same Snake River system that produced the Oregon and Idaho flathead records. But at 22.80 pounds, it is barely one-half the size of the Oregon record (42 pounds) or one-third the size of the Idaho record (58.5 pounds).

Washington’s state record white crappie of 2.80 pounds is smaller than Idaho’s (3.0 pounds) and Oregon’s (4.75 pounds) and much smaller than Washington’s state record black crappie of 4.5 pounds.

Of course the easiest way to get a state record fish is to catch a fish species that is newly eligible for state record consideration – and Oregon does not keep records on a bunch of fish species including virtually all saltwater species as well as common carp. Oregon also does not differentiate between the various species of bullhead catfish – instead lumping the various species under the catagory of bullhead catfish.

The biggest recent news flash regarding Oregon fishing is the bottomfishing closure for waters more than twenty fathoms or 120 feet deep that went into effect on July 15th. The reason for the closure is to protect yelloweye rockfish which usually inhabit deeper water but were being hooked often enough by anglers fishing near the thirty fathom line to justify amending the restriction, which is expected to be in effect through the end of this year.

The Umpqua River pinkfin run is starting to wind down and while there is plenty of perch still hanging out in the spawning area above Winchester Bay it is getting harder to find the perch or entice them to bite. While there are still good catches made daily, the fishing success is becoming less consistent.

Crabbing seems to have hit a plateau at Winchester Bay recently, but should continue to gradually improve through mid to late fall and while river crabbing is legal the entire year, ocean crabbing will close the last half of October and the entire month of November.

Rough bar and ocean conditions have limited the ocean salmon catch and the 26,000 fish quota for finclipped coho salmon has hardly been touched. Most of the fishing pressure and salmon catch for our zone has been out of Garibaldi, but as of July 10th, less than two percent of the ocean finclipped coho quota has been caught.

An Umpqua River exception was Chris McAyeal who trolled from the Umpqua River Bar north to Tahkenitch Creek on Saturday and Sunday with one partner and kept a two-day boat limit of two Chinooks and six finclipped cohos. However the largest salmon taken recently have been Chinooks in the 25 pound class taken on the Umpqua River within a couple miles downriver of Reedsport.

Unfortunately, warm river temperatures and windy ocean conditions mean the best time to fish both the river and the ocean is early morning – making it less feasible to fish both.

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Winchester Bay Chinook Salmon

Leona Morby landed her first Chinook salmon this year while fishing near Reedsport with Jamie Standifer.

Leona Morby landed her first Chinook salmon this year while fishing near Reedsport with Jamie Standifer.

Randy Walters and son Justin cast spinners from the bank at Half Moon Bay for these Chinooks.

Randy Walters and son Justin cast spinners from the bank at Half Moon Bay for these Chinooks.

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Fishing Report

The water level is dropping on potholes, so boaters have to be aware of water depth. The Walleye fishing is good to fair, trolling slow death hooks in 6-20 ft. of water.
The trout fishing has been very good in the front of crab creek and around the State Park. Troll flicker shads or rapala’s in size 5 or 7 at 2 to 2.5 mph for fish from 2 to 6 lbs.
Perch fishing has been fair with the size of the perch being the bright spot. Fish from 12 to 16 inches are being caught using worms or crappie jigs topped with maggots, they seem to be in 8 to 16 feet of water scattered through the dunes and around State Park.
As the water drops fishing will only get better as the cover the fish are using now is taken out of the equation. The water was 73 to 76 degrees on Wednesday, so don’t be afraid to fish plugs for bass and walleye in 8 to 20 ft., these lures catch all species in the lake.

Rainbow trout to six pounds are biting near the mouth of Crab Creek.

Rainbow trout to six pounds are biting near the mouth of Crab Creek.

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