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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: August 2016
Salmon anglers are about to meet their quota for salmon in another popular Del Norte County spot for the season, triggering new restrictions on the Klamath River fishery. Monitoring efforts show that anglers below the Highway 96 Bridge in Weitchecpec will have caught their quota of 555 adult fall-run Chinook, 22 inches or longer, by sundown Tuesday, Aug. 23. After the quota is met, anglers will still be able to fish in this area but must release any Chinook longer than 22 inches.
Yesterday, Aug. 22, the quota at the Klamath Spit Area was reached, triggering the closure of the salmon fishery in this area for the season. The Klamath River above the confluence with the Trinity River will remain open to fishing until 189 adult Chinook are caught.
The quota on the Trinity River is 183 adult Chinook from the confluence with the Klamath River up to Cedar Flat, and 183 adult Chinook from Cedar Flat up to the Old Lewiston Bridge. These fisheries are also still open at this time.
Anglers may keep track of the status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling 1 (800) 564-6479.
Crabbing at Winchester Bay continues to be very good and dock crabbers are now sharing the crabbing success.
Fishing the South Jetty continues to be productive and between the salmon fishing and improved crabbing, the fishing pressure on the South Jetty is way down. Most of the fish taken are striped surfperch, greenling and smaller black rockfish.
Starting on September 3rd, the nonselective ocean coho season will begin. This will be an angler’s only chance to actually keep an unclipped or wild coho salmon this season. The cohos must be 16-inches long to keep and all kept fish must be tagged. Chinook salmon at least 24-inches long are also legal to keep in the ocean.
This Labor Day Weekend, our local STEP Chapter (Gardiner-Reedsport-Winchester Bay) will sponsor its 23rd annual Salmon Derby. The contest hours will be from daylight until 6 pm on Saturday and Sunday and from daylight until noon on Monday. This year the derby is co-sponsored by Cabelas and ticket prices are still $10.00 for an individual and $25.00 for a private boat which may include three or more anglers.
As usual, the heaviest salmon weighed in each day wins $150.00 and the heaviest salmon weighed during the derby wins an additional $500.00. There is also a $100.00 prize for a Lucky Ticket Stub Drawing” and three “ Blue Ticket” winners of $100.00 each drawn from people that weighed in salmon during the derby. One difference this year will the $1,500 worth of Cabelas fishing gear that will be raffled off. The Awards Ceremony will be at 1:00 pm at the Marine Activity Center at the Salmon Harbor RV Resort in Winchester Bay. Questions regarding the derby can best be answered by calling Doug Buck at 541 – 271 – 3144.
The first derby derby ticket I sold this year while working at the Stockade Market was to Karen Arms who weighed in the heaviest salmon caught during last year’s derby.
A federal agency, NOAA Fisheries, has approved the continued killing of California sea lions that are eating salmon, steelhead and sturgeon near the Columbia River’s Bonneville Dam.
NOAA Fisheries announced last Wednesday that it is allowing Oregon, Washington and Idaho to continue what the agency is calling the “lethal removal” of those sea lions until the middle of 2021. Since 2008, the states have removed 166 seals or sea lions. Sea lions are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act. But the law allows the lethal removal of individual seals and sea lions that are known to be having a significant negative impact on threatened or endangered salmon or steelhead. Last year sea lions consumed nearly ten-thousand adult spring chinook salmon, according to NOAA Fisheries.
What has been largely ignored amid the warmer water temperatures on the lower Deschutes River is the fact that this year’s sockeye salmon run of 350 is about four times the 86 returnees of last year. There doesn’t seem to be any effective way to deal with the lower river’s fast-growing smallmouth bass population other than a complete removal of the limits on bass size and numbers.
During a short float trip on Tenmile Creek between its Eel Creek confluence and Spin Reel Park I used light tackle to catch fair numbers of small largemouth bass and a few yellow perch, but the surprise of the trip was the numbers of rainbow trout encountered. The trout ranged in size from eight to 11-inches and lacked adipose fins. Since Tenmile Lake receives minimal trout plants, my conclusion was that these were outmigrating steelhead smolts courtesy of the STEP program on Eel Creek at Tugman Park.
Lake Marie’s annual pre-Labor Day plant of trophy rainbows ocurred this week. The 800 trout of 15-inches or more should keep fishing the lake interesting through Thanksgiving. Several years ago, area fly anglers using pontoon boats “discovered” the lake’s good fall fishing and since they released virtually everything they caught, double digit catches of these large rainbows were possible through much of the winter. Lake Marie is also slated to receive 500 smaller, but still legal, rainbows next week.
On August 18th, the WDFW announced that were starting wolf removal efforts in response to livestock predation by the state’s Profanity Peak wolf pack. After using a helicopter to shoot two pack members, the state halted its wolf removal efforts since the last recorded incident occurred on August 3rd. However, another incident blamed on the eastern Washington wolf pack resulted the removal efforts to almost immediately restart.
Some provisions of the WDFW Wolf Removal Program are: (1) – The department must confirm four or more wolf depredation events on livestock within a calendar year, or six or more confirmed such events within two consecutive calendar years. (2) – Wolves must have killed, not just injured, livestock in at least one of those confirmed depredation events. (3) – WDFW must expect depredations to continue without taking lethal action to stop them. (4) – The department must notify the public about the pack’s activities and related management actions.
The new policy is available at: http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/livestock/LethalRemovalProtocolGrayWolvesWashingtonDuringRecovery_05312016.pdf.
WDFW is preparing a complete report on the recent action, including information about staff recommendations, the director’s decision, and wolf removal activities.
The removal of two wolves from the Profanity Peak pack marks the third time that WDFW has used lethal measures to address repeated depredations on livestock since 2008, when the first pack was confirmed in Washington state. A total of 10 wolves have been removed through those actions. During that time, the state’s confirmed wolf population has grown from two wolves in one pack to at least 90 wolves and 19 packs by early 2016.
Additional information about wolf packs and WDFW management actions is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/gray_wolf/
Next year Washington’s senior resident anglers will have a new option that is in direct contrast to the way Oregon treats its senior resident anglers. The fee for a yearly fishing license for Oregonians at least 70 years of age went from $15.00 to $25.00 – a 67 percent increase. Next year, Washington senior residents can purchase a license for $19.05 including taxes and fees that will allow them to fish both freshwater and saltwater and also harvest seaweed, crabs and clams.
WDFW News – Lake Washington And Lake Sammamish will Re-open To Fishing For Trout And Other Game Fish.
Action: Opens Lake Washington, the Lake Washington Ship Canal, and Lake Sammamish to fishing for trout and other game fish.
Effective dates: Sept. 1, 2016 through Oct. 31, 2016.
Species affected: Trout and other game fish.
(1) Lake Washington (King County), including that portion of Sammamish River from 68th Ave. NE Bridge downstream.
(2) Lake Washington Ship Canal (King County), waters east of a north-south line 400 feet west of the Chittenden (Ballard) Locks to the Montlake Bridge, including Lake Union, Portage Bay, and Salmon Bay.
(3) Lake Sammamish (King County): Release Kokanee.
Other information: Statewide minimum size and daily limits are in effect.
Reasons for action: These areas had been closed under a co-manager agreement to protect coho salmon. The co-managers have since agreed that recreational fisheries for trout and other game fish in Lakes Washington and Sammamish will not significantly affect coho salmon due to low encounter rates with salmon during those fisheries.
Information Contact: Mill Creek Regional Office, (425) 775-1311
Anglers only have a limited time to fish for salmon in a popular Del Norte County spot before it closes for the season.
Klamath River anglers in the Spit Area (within 100 yards of the channel through the sand spit formed at the Klamath River mouth) will have caught their sub-quota of 167 adult fall-run Chinook salmon by sundown on Monday, Aug 22, 2016. Therefore, the Spit Area will be closed to fishing one hour after dark.
Only the Spit Area is affected by this closure. Fishing downstream of the Highway 101 Bridge in the estuary will be unaffected until the lower river quota of 555 adult fall-run Chinook salmon over 22 inches is met. Once that number is met, anglers will still be able to fish but will have to release any Chinook salmon over 22 inches. As of Aug. 22, 2016, the lower Klamath River tally is 188 salmon caught.
The Klamath River above the confluence with the Trinity River will remain open until 189 adult Chinook are caught in this area.
The quota on the Trinity River is 183 adult Chinook from the confluence with the Klamath River up to Cedar Flat, and 183 adult Chinook from Cedar Flat up to the Old Lewiston Bridge.
Anglers may keep track of the status of open and closed sections of the Klamath and Trinity rivers by calling (800) 564-6479.
The first of two opening days of California’s dove hunting season is fast approaching. This year’s season for mourning dove, white-winged dove, spotted dove and ringed turtle dove will run from Thursday, Sept. 1 through Thursday, Sept. 15 statewide, followed by a second hunt period, Saturday, Nov. 12 through Saturday, Dec. 26.
Mourning dove and white-winged dove have a daily bag limit of 15, up to 10 of which may be white-winged dove. The possession limit is triple the daily bag limit. There are no limits on spotted dove and ringed turtle dove. Hunting for Eurasian collared dove is legal year-round and there are no limits.
Please note that nonlead ammunition is now required when hunting on all wildlife areas and ecological reserves managed by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW). Use of lead shot is still legal for hunting dove, quail and snipe on federal properties, public lands not managed by CDFW and private lands, including licensed game bird clubs, until July 1, 2019. Please plan accordingly. For more information please see the CDFW nonlead ammunition page.
A dove identification guide can be found on the CDFW website, along with a map of upland game fields in Imperial County, the state’s hub for dove hunting.
Although parts of California are still in a serious drought, mourning doves are dry environment birds and are capable of exploiting many food types and sources. The 2016 statewide dove banding effort, which is still in progress, has indicated so far that there is no shortage of mourning doves for the opener. Hunters who encounter a banded bird are asked to report it to the USGS Bird Banding Lab (www.reportband.gov). Banded birds are part of important biological monitoring and reporting banded birds provides valuable data. Mourning and white-winged doves are migratory and the hunting regulation framework is determined by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). States are required to set hunting regulations within this framework. The migratory dove populations are managed similarly to migratory waterfowl and based on a flyway population. California is part of the Western Management Unit, which includes six other western states. In addition to banding data, breeding bird surveys, call count surveys, wing surveys and Harvest Information Program (HIP) data all provide information that is included in the effort to monitor the population status by management unit. These results are used by the USFWS to establish hunting seasons, bag limits and possession limits.
Dove hunting is considered a great starting point for new hunters. There is very little equipment required and just about any place open for hunting will have mourning doves. Minimum requirements are a valid hunting license with an upland game bird stamp (if the hunter is 18 or older) and HIP validation, good footwear, a shotgun, shotgun shells and plenty of water. Hunters should be careful not to underestimate the amount of fluids needed, especially during the first half of the season.
Most successful dove hunters position themselves in a known flyway for doves. These can be to and from roost sites, water, food sources or gravel. Doves are usually taken by pass shooting these flyways, but hunters may also be successful jump shooting. Dove movement is most frequent in the early mornings and late evenings when they are flying from and to their roost sites (this is when the majority of hunters go into the field). Late morning to early afternoon can be better for jump shooting. Hunters should scout out dove activity in the area a few times just prior to hunting.
Important laws and regulations to consider include the following:
Shoot time for doves is one half hour before sunrise to sunset.
All hunters — including junior hunters — are required to carry their hunting license with them.
Hunters must have written permission from the landowner prior to hunting on private land.
Bag limits apply to each hunter and no one can take more than one legal limit per day.
It is illegal to shoot within 150 yards of an occupied dwelling.
It is illegal to shoot from or across a public roadway.
It is the responsibility of every hunter to know and follow all laws.
Safety is the most important part of any hunting adventure. Although wearing hunter orange (blaze) is not required by law, it may be required in specific areas. Wearing a minimum of a hunter orange hat is recommended, especially when sitting or when hunting in deep vegetation. Safety glasses are a simple way to protect the eyes and are available in many shades for hunting in all types of lighting situations.
The weather throughout the state on Sept. 1 is expected to be hot and dry. CDFW urges hunters to drink plenty of fluids, wear sun protection and have a plan in case of an accident.
A summary of the 2016-17 dove hunting regulations can be found on CDFW’s website.
The 2016 Washington Walleye Circuit final was held at MarDon Resort on Saturday and Sunday (8/13-14/16). There were 212 Walleye weighed in at the two-day tournament. The big fish was 8.95 lb. caught by the team of Tony and Andy Lusk. The team of Derek Baker and Andrew Barboe won the event with a total weight (fish each day) of 47.34 lbs. Their winning prize money was $8000.00. The father and son team of Nathan and Kyle Cox placed 5th with two-day weight of 28.6 lbs., earning them $1750.00.
Even with extreme heat many walleye enthusiasts came and watched the event. The CWFAC conducted a great raffle with donated items from many businesses and items from Pure Fishing with assistance from Mick Blaine.
May 2017 is going to be an exciting month for fishers. The Rod Meseberg Spring Walleye Classic has won the permit for 2017 for our tournament the first weekend in May which is May 6 & 7th, 2017. Northwest Bass in 2017 will conduct their exciting bass tournament. The MarDon Walleye Tournament and Jeff Priestler of Northwest Bass help with donations to the CWFAC to buy habitat components to be placed on the floor of Potholes Reservoir to permit sanctuary for new first and second year fish to survive during the low water period. Walleye fishing has been improving but for the most part it continues to be slow. The sand dunes continue to be loaded with new perch, crappie and bluegill, plus many new bass.
Now as our water finally begins to lower with our recent heat (more irrigation), more minnows are leaving the dunes and going to the deep cool water of the main reservoir. Walleye action will be crazy when our SUMMER HEAT reduces in September & October. The best Walleye action of the year is just around the corner.
Many young fishers are catching the best bass of their life’s this week at Potholes Reservoir.
Mark your calendar for the MarDon Lake Games and Beach Party with this year’s theme Gilligan’s Island, August 27, 2016, featuring a boat poker run, with island games, followed by fun, social beach party and music, and Tacos buy Hugo’s Tacos of Royal City.
The MarDon Dock Tournament for 2016 is scheduled for 9/16-9/18/16. If you would like to sign up just come out to our office and fill out an application or give us a call and we can also do it over the phone. (509) 346-2651.
Washington sport anglers soon will have two new options for fishing licenses after action taken by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission at its August meeting.
The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), voted to establish an all-inclusive, annual fishing license at its meeting in Olympia.
The Fish Washington license will allow anglers to fish in both freshwater and saltwater and to harvest shellfish and seaweed, and includes endorsements for fishing with two poles and harvesting Puget Sound Dungeness crab and Columbia River salmon and steelhead.
The commission also approved a new combination fishing license for Washington residents 70 years and older. The license will allow senior anglers to fish in freshwater and saltwater and to harvest shellfish and seaweed.
The new licenses will be available for purchase this fall. The Fish Washington license will cost $79.62, including taxes and fees, while the senior combination license will be priced at $19.05.
In other business, commissioners voted to keep the Columbian white-tailed deer and the Taylor’s checkerspot butterfly listed as endangered species in Washington, as recommended by WDFW staff. Draft status reviews for both species can be found online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/endangered/.
The state’s population of Columbian white-tailed deer occupies the northern shores and islands of the lower Columbia River in Washington. The population has fluctuated from a low of 545 in 2002 to 966 in 2015. Despite activities to protect and restore habitat, much of the upland prairie that Columbian white-tailed deer prefer has been lost.
Taylor’s checkerspot butterflies were historically found in 45 Washington locations. Only eight populations can be found in the state today. Factors affecting these butterflies in Washington include the decline of grasslands, the invasion of non-native plant species and increased human development on the butterflies’ habitat.
Also at the August meeting, WDFW staff gave briefings to commissioners on the management of Pacific halibut, Willapa Bay area hatchery programs, and proposals to change the daily catch limit on Lake Roosevelt trout.
Fishing the coastal lakes for largemouth bass has recently been tough. There seems to be a decent bite of short duration at daybreak. By midmorning, windy conditions hamper fishing efforts and that combined with a poor bass bite means disappointed bass anglers.
The biggest news at Winchester Bay is the improved crabbing success by dockbound crabbers. Of course, boat crabbers in the lower portion of Half Moon Bay and in the ocean at depths of 50 to 60 feet are doing even better. With the continued decrease in Umpqua River flows, sublegal crabs are a decreasing nuisance as the salinity of the lower river gradually increases. Large, but unkeepable female crabs continue to be a nuisance.
Ocean salmon anglers can only keep Chinook salmon of at least 24-inches in length and ocean salmon fishing has been disappointing. Salmon fishing on the Umpqua River between Winchester Bay and Reedsport has generally been slow, but some of the Chinook salmon recently hooked have been hogs. Last Saturday, several salmon were landed that weighed more than 30 pounds. A few of the salmon have had their upriver migration thwarted by warm water near Reedsport and have been in the river long enough to start showing color.
Anglers casting spinners from the bank at such locations as near the Gardiner Boat Ramp, Half Moon Bay and Osprey Point are hooking a few salmon each day. Some of these salmon, virtually all of which have been Chinooks, have been big and most have escaped, sometimes after a lengthy battle with plenty of witnesses. But not all of them have got away.
Last Saturday, Mike Yeoman of Eugene used a green one ounce spinner to hook and land a bright 32 pound Chinook while fishing at Osprey Point. Fishing should continue to improve as coho salmon will begin supplementing the yet to peak Chinook fishery.
While visiting the ODFW office in Charleston last Friday, I was quickly convinced that there was absolutely no chance of there being a wild coho season on Oregon’s coastal rivers I was also convinced that there would not be a quota adjustment to the upcoming nonselective ocean coho season, despite the fact that ninety four percent of the 26,000 ocean finclipped coho quota were uncaught. The quota for the upcoming nonselective ocean coho season will remain at 7,500 cohos and the season will begin on September 3rd. Good fishing conditions may mean it will be a very short season.
Quite a few anglers have bought 2-rod fishing licenses now that they are legal on the lower Umpqua River and other rivers on the Oregon coast. I can hardly wait to see how different fishing the “Mud Hole”, where Winchester Creek enters Winchester Bay’s East Boat Basin, will be when most of the peope fishing it will be using two rods. Some will be casting spinners or spoons while fishing a bobber and bait rigged second rod and others will be using two bobber and bait rods – perhaps one using salmon roe and one using sand shrimp or anchovies. It should be interesting and crowded when the salmon arrive.
Tuna have moved farther offshore and will most likely not be a viable option for anglers fishing the upcoming summer halibut opener this Friday and Saturday. Only 9,482 pounds of haliubut were landed on the first two day summer opener and 40,062 pounds, or 81 percent of the summer all-depth quota remains.
The nearshore halibut season, which opened June 1st has 9,000 pounds or 36 percent of the quota remaining. The nearshore halibut taken this season have averaged 27 pounds in weight – which is quite a bit heavier than the average halibut taken during the all-depth season. However, it is difficult to effectively target nearshore halibut and they are usually an incidental catch by anglers targeting other fish species.
Steelhead guides on central Oregon’s Deschutes River are complaining that this season they are catching more smallmouth bass than they are summer steelhead. Warmer water temperatures in the lower Deschutes is the likely reason that many Columbia River smallmouths have moved up into the lower Deschutes. Some central Oregon anglers are blaming changes made to the way water now leaves Lake Billy Chinook and Lake Simtustus to aid the new salmon program intended to bring salmon back to the Deschutes River system above Lake Billy Chinook.
Usually when a state record bass record is broken, it is broken by a few ounces – so it was most unusual that the new record Largemouth bass for Washington State caught last Thursday from Bosworth Lake beat the previous state record from Banks Lake by more than 15 ounces. Even more unusual, the 12.53 pound lunker was an incredibly chunky post-spawn fish that only measured 23-inches in length and bit a Senko-type lure.
Bosworth Lake is a 103 scre Snohomish County lake that is relatively deep with a seasonal closure. If the seasonal closure was a factor in producing the state record bass, it bodes well for Oregon’s next state record coming from Crane Praire or Wickiup reservoirs which also have seasonal closures.
For most of the last six decades, Washington’s state record largemouth has been heavier than Oregon’s. But since 2002, a 12 pound 1.6 ounce largemouth from Ballenger Pond in Springfield, Oregon topped anything Washinton has produced. But now, once again, Oregon is trailing Washington when it comes to the size of its state record largemouth bass.
There is hope. The state record largemouth bass from Massachusetts, considered by most to be a northern state, is 15 pounds eight ounces – and it was caught by an angler fishing through the ice. So it is unlikely that Oregon’s largemouth bass record is maxed out.