Monthly Archives: November 2016

Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Hunting Report

This season our weather in Central Washington continues to be very mild. With unrelenting fog and hardly any freezing nights the duck hunting has been very tough. We are still waiting for the Northern Ducks. So for you duck hunters out there keep watching the weather report, with cooler weather the Northern Ducks will be here we are just not sure when that will happen. The water level is 1040.53 as of Nov. 21. The primary reason for the high water level recort this year is our heavy rain we have had the last month or so.
The Royal Hunt Club is a great option to get access to private land for Pheasant, Goose or even Duck Hunting this Season. A season pass will run $300 per hunter or you can but a 3 day consecutive pass for $125 per hunter. This land is in the greater Royal City Area and is roughly 20,000 acres. For more information please call (509) 346-2651 or email moc.trosernodramnull@ofni.
The MarDon Store would like to invite you to our Small Business Saturday Sale (11/26/2016). All tackle, excluding maggots and night crawlers, will be 30% off. All gifts will also be 30% off. Please come and join us and stock up early on some Christmas Presents.
Duck & Goose Plucking now available. Bring in you days hunt and drop off at the MarDon Store, dont forget you will need you hunting license number to correctly fill our the form. The price is $7 for a duck and $20 for a goose.

The Engel Party from California enjoyed a Goose Hunt and a few Duck Hunts with us this past last week.  Due to the drought in California we are seeing more hunters coming to Washington for their waterfowl hunting.

The Engel Party from California enjoyed a Goose Hunt and a few Duck Hunts with us this past last week. Due to the drought in California we are seeing more hunters coming to Washington for their waterfowl hunting.

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Crabbing Closed Along Oregon Coast

At approximately 5 pm on Friday evening, crabbing underwent an emergency closure along the Oregon coast from Tillamook Head (near Seaside) to the California border. The closure was due to elevated levels of biotoxins. Harvesting mussels and razor clams was already closed, but harvesting bay clams remains is still open. The closure will definitely impact the commercial crabbing season which was scheduled to reopen on Dec. 1st.

To get reopened, the tested crabs to pass two consecutive testings at least one week apart.

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Recreation Report.

With mid-November in full swing we are experiencing very mild temperatures and very high water level on Potholes Reservoir. Walleye are being caught in Upper Crab Creek and in the Lind Coulee arm of Potholes Reservoir. Bass continue to provide some action using flipping jigs, drop shot set ups and slow moving plastic baits. In the sand dunes the surface water temperatures have been around 55 degrees. The MarDon Fishing Dock has also been producing some crappie and a few walleye. Remember, unless you are an overnight guest you do have to purchase a dock pass and you can only fish until dark if you purchase a day dock fishing pass.
Duck Hunting is slowly heating up with a few new ducks migrating into our area. And it looks like we are finally getting some cooler temperatures starting this week so that will help things improve on the duck hunting front. To book a duck hunt on Potholes Reservoir with The Duck Taxi or a Goose Hunt please call (509)346-2651. Or visit ducktaxi.com for more information.
The Royal Hunt Club is a great option to get access to private land for Pheasant, Goose or even Duck Hunting this Season. A season pass will run $300 per hunter or you can but a 3 day consecutive pass for $125 per hunter. This land is in the greater Royal City Area and is roughly 20,000 acres. For more information please call (509) 346-2651 or email moc.trosernodramnull@ofni.
The MarDon Store would like to invite you to our Small Business Saturday Sale (11/26/2016). All tackle, excluding maggots and night crawlers, will be 30% off. All gifts will also be 30% off. Please come and join us and stock up early on some Christmas Presents.
Duck & Goose Plucking now available. Bring in you days hunt and drop off at the MarDon Store, dont forget you will need you hunting license number to correctly fill our the form. The price is $7 for a duck and $20 for a goose.

Kevon Johnson and Bill Cyr enjoyed catching crappie and walleye off the dock last Friday afternoon.

Kevon Johnson and Bill Cyr enjoyed catching crappie and walleye off the dock last Friday afternoon.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 11 / 16 / 2016

Surprisingly, the crabbing at Winchester Bay is still holding up well and should continue to do so barring some major rainstorms. Recently, dock crabbing has been as productive as it has been all year.

There has been almost nobody fishing the Umpqua River at Winchester Bay, but there are still a few late-arriving salmon present. Last week, a woman casting a spinner from the bank at Osprey Point hooked and fought what was obviously a very large salmon. The battle lasted nearly half an hour without the fish showing itself and she had attraced quite a few spectators by the time her hook finally straightened out. My least favorite thing in fishing is losing an obviously large fish without even getting a glimpse of it.

Anglers attempting to fish the South Jetty for bottomfish have had to deal with some rough wave action and rough surf conditions have made fishing for redtailed surfperch more difficult and less fun than it needs to be.

There are still some bright coho salmon in Tahkenitch and Siltcoos Lake, but fishing is slow to the point where many of the salmon anglers are using lures that garner bass as well as salmon strikes. Almost all the streams along the Oregon coast have a few late-returning salmon in them, but they are in poor condition. The best chance for bright fish remains the Elk and Sixes rivers which are known for their late-run Chinook salmon. Of the two, the Elk is the quickest to recover after a heavy rain.

Bill Taylor, of Winchester Bay, reported that on a coho trip to Tahkenitch Lake last week, he caught several good-sized crappies that struck the Wee Wart he was trolling. Tenmile Lake is still giving up some good-sized yellow perch, but fishing pressure is light – especially on other area lakes.

Each winter, a number of local anglers travel to northern California to fish for bass. Specifically, they usually target Shasta Lake for spotted bass and Clear Lake for largemouth bass – but both lakes contain numerous other fish species. Fishing is typically inconsistent, but occasionally very good during the winter months.

Steve Godin stopped by work last weekend to inform me that in an upcoming ODFW meeting, the subject of making “descenders” mandatory for bottomfishing will be addressed. Descenders allow anglers to release bottomfish at sufficient depth to ensure their safe recovery. Their increased usage has already affected fishing regulations concerning bottomfish in a positive way.

When descenders become mandatory, at least one device will be required on board all sport bottomfishing boats and it will need to be readily accessible at all times. The odds are that there won’t be a minimum amout of weight legally required to attach to the descender, but two pounds is sufficient to get most bottomfish down to a sufficient depth for safe release. More weight may be required to get a truly large bottomfish down to a sufficient depth for safe release and it would be a shame if a lunker rockfish could not be effectively released because there wasn’t enough attachable weight available. Fish that may be more than 40 years old don’t get replaced in a day.

Steve also informed me that another subject slated to be addressed at the upcoming ODFW meeting is making canary rockfish part of the seven bottomfish daily limit. Kudos to the ODFW for attempting to expand fishing opportunities while protecting the resource. It’s not an easy thing to do.

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Fish and Wildlife Commission Hear Columbia River Fisheries Reform Update And Recommendations.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission received an update today on research, evaluation and implementation of the Commission’s Columbia River fisheries reform policy, as well as adaptive management recommendations moving forward.

Staff presented results from the transition period and recommend adjustments needed moving forward to best meet the overall objectives and principles of Columbia River Fisheries Reform.

The Commission heard from two separate panels, each representing commercial and sportfishing interests. The Commission also heard testimony from more than 30 members of the public who shared their concerns regarding the fishery reform update and recommendations.

The Commission directed staff to refine some of the economic models and present that information to the Commission in December as part of a Director’s Report (no rule making). They also decided to conduct rulemaking in December, but only in respect to the reform transition deadlines targeting early 2017 for final rulemaking on the overall Columbia River fisheries reform.

The Commission adopted administrative rules in December 2012 implementing guiding principles and management strategies for a new fisheries framework for lower Columbia River to:

Maintain or enhance the overall economic viability of commercial and recreational fisheries;
Optimize overall economic benefits to the State
Promote conservation of native fish; and
Promote orderly and concurrent fisheries with the State of Washington.
Key elements of the Columbia River Reform include shifting allocations to provide a stronger recreational priority in the mainstem, enhancing off-channel hatchery releases to augment commercial harvest, limiting gill nets to off-channel fisheries, developing alternative gears and techniques for commercial mainstem fisheries, and strengthening conservation of native fish.

The Commission mandated a transition period until 2016 for phasing in reform actions and allowing feedback on the effectiveness and economic outcome of actions prior to long term implementation.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. Public testimony before the Commission will be held first thing Friday morning, just after the adoption of temporary rules. Persons seeking to testify on issues not on the formal agenda may do so by making arrangements with the ODFW Director’s Office, at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting, by calling 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044.

Reasonable accommodations will be provided as needed for individuals requesting assistive hearing devices, sign language interpreters or large-print materials. Individuals needing these types of accommodations may call the ODFW Director’s Office at 800-720-6339 or 503-947-6044 at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting.

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ODFW Art Contest Winners Announced.

Today the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the winners of its 2017 Habitat Conservation, Upland Game Bird, and Waterfowl Stamp art contests. Winners were chosen Nov. 5 at the ODFW art show and wine release event at Duck Pond Cellars in Dundee.

Habitat Conservation Stamp Winner – Craig Fairbert of Wisconsin with his painting of Ferruginous Hawk
Upland Game Bird Stamp Winner – Mickey Schilling of Colorado with his painting of Ring-necked Pheasant
Waterfowl Stamp Winner – Richard Clifton of Delaware with his painting of Gadwall
People’s Choice Award Winner – Pamela Kirwin of Oregon with her painting of Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit
Fairbert, Schilling and Clifton will each receive a prize award of $2,000. Their paintings will be used to produce 2017 collector stamps and other promotional items to benefit Oregon’s species and habitats.

ODFW art show visitors voted for their favorite artwork out of 67 entries on display. Oregon artists took the top three spots in this year’s People’s Choice Award.

Portlander Pamela Kirwin was voted number one for her painting of Columbia Basin Pygmy Rabbit. Deian Moore of Blodgett took second with her painting of Westslope Cutthroat Trout, and Cove artist Debra Otterstein was third with her painting of Great Gray Owl.

See photos of all entries:

Habitat Conservation
Upland Game Bird
Waterfowl
The art show was held at Duck Pond Cellars in conjunction with the release of their Conservation Cuvee – Lot 4. This is the fourth year the winery has produced unique blends of Pinot Noir that feature winning artwork from the Habitat Conservation Stamp art contest. Duck Pond then donates $5 from the sale of each bottle to Oregon’s Conservation Program.

“The art show is one of our favorite events,” said Andrea Hanson, Oregon Conservation Strategy Coordinator. “It lets us showcase Oregon’s amazing fish and wildlife, and gives us a chance to meet many new people who are also interested in Oregon’s great outdoors. Duck Pond Cellars is a wonderful conservation partner who helps us put on a great show.”

Conservation Cuvee – Lot 4 features the 2016 Habitat Conservation Stamp winning artwork of Pallid Bat by Timothy Turenne. This vintage, along with last years’ can be purchased.at Duck Pond Cellars, through its Conservation Cuvee website, and at select restaurants and wine shops.

Habitat Conservation Stamp

The Habitat Conservation Stamp and art prints feature species identified in the Oregon Conservation Strategy as species in need of help, such as Acorn Woodpeckers, Pygmy Rabbits, Northern Red-legged Frogs, Coho Salmon and many others. Revenue helps restore habitats essential to declining or at-risk species. Collector stamps and art prints are available on the ODFW website.

Waterfowl Stamp

Sales of the Waterfowl Stamp fund waterfowl management projects including population surveys, banding, and wetland management and enhancement. Artwork featured on previous stamps included geese, ducks and waterfowl hunting dogs. Artists this year could feature Black Scoter, Common Goldeneye, Gadwall, or Northern Shoveler in their natural habitat.

Upland Game Bird Stamp

Oregon’s upland game bird stamp art contest first began in 1990 and each year features one of 10 upland game bird species found in Oregon. This year, artists were asked to feature Ring-necked Pheasant. Sales of the Upland Game Bird Stamp fund game bird research, surveys, habitat improvement and conservation projects.

Hunters who purchased a waterfowl and/or upland validation can request a complementary stamp for the validation they purchased using the form found in the back of the Game Bird Hunting Regulations or online.

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WDFW News – Fish Black Friday for Big Rainbow Trout.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is offering anglers opportunities for tight lines rather than long lines on the day after Thanksgiving.

The “holiday specials” include thousands of large trout averaging 15 to 16 inches in length and weighing up to three pounds.

The department is currently preparing to stock lakes in time for Black Friday, Nov. 25. In eastern Washington, hundreds of thousands of smaller trout stocked in lakes last spring should have grown to catchable size.

“This is a great reason to skip the malls, avoid the stress, and enjoy a fun day on the water with family and friends,” said Larry Phillips, WDFW inland fish program manager.

Some of the lakes scheduled to receive fish before Black Friday include:

Battle Ground Lake and Klineline Pond in Clark County
Kress Lake in Cowlitz County
Frank’s Pond, Beebe Springs Wildlife Area, Chelan County – anglers under 15 only
Anderson Lake in Jefferson County – limited parking, walk-in access only
Fort Borst Park Pond and South Lewis County Park Pond in Lewis County
American and Tanwax lakes in Pierce County
Rowland Lake in Klickitat County
Black, Long, and Offutt lakes in Thurston County
Elton Pond North in Yakima County
Many of those lakes will be closed to fishing the Monday before Thanksgiving Day until Thanksgiving Day to facilitate stocking efforts as noted in the fishing regulations: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

On the eastside, WDFW began stocking lakes with fry plants earlier this year, which should mean hefty fish in Williams and Hatch lakes in Stevens County; Fourth of July Lake in Lincoln and Adams counties; Lake Roosevelt in Lincoln, Stevens and Ferry counties; and Hog Canyon Lake in Spokane County.

Many of these eastside lakes will open Nov. 25 and remain open through March 31, 2017 as noted in the fishing regulations: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

The Black Friday fishing opener is one of several fishing opportunities made available thanks to the department’s extensive fish stocking efforts, said Phillips.

In total, WDFW has been stocking Washington lakes with some 915,000 trout in preparation for the fall and winter seasons.

For up-to-date stocking information this fall, anglers should follow the department on Twitter or Facebook, accessible from http://wdfw.wa.gov, or see the department’s weekly catchable trout stocking report at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/

Anglers 15 years and older must have a current Washington freshwater fishing license valid through March 31, 2017, to participate.

Licenses can be purchased by telephone at 1-866-246-9453; or at hundreds of license vendors across the state. For details on license vendor locations, visit the WDFW website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/

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Hunters With Disabilities Reminded Of Bag Limit Changes.

ODFW and Oregon State Police remind hunters with a disabilities permit about bag limit changes in Wilson, Scappoose and Saddle Mt Units for upcoming general and controlled Coast Elk seasons.

Due to declining elk populations, these units no longer have an expanded bag limit, where hunters with a disabilities permit may take an antlerless elk. These bag limit changes also applied to archery hunters during their seasons earlier this year.

Hunters with a disabilities permit may take an antlerless elk or a legal bull in Applegate, Melrose, and Siuslaw units during Coast elk seasons (see page 99 of the regulations).

General centerfire seasons for Coast Elk run Nov. 12-15 (first season) and Nov. 19-25 (second season). See the 2016 Oregon Big Game Regulations for more information.

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Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort Hunting Report.

The water level on Potholes Reservoir continues to rise. The pool height on Potholes Reservoir is 1037.60 as of 11/8/16. The pool height allows hunters and fishers to better learn water levels that allow safe boating in the sand dunes. Since last Friday some new ducks have returned to Central Washington and Potholes Reservoir. Also, Royal Lake on the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge has had new Geese and Ducks arrive as well. Hunting in the sand dunes on Potholes Reservoir can still be a bit challenging though. We are having really mild weather and warmer than normal daytime high temperatures. But that will change any day now. For a current hunting report please call our store 509-346-2651.

Brian Baltzell with a banded greenhead taken on Saturday, Nov 5th on Potholes Reservoir.  This bird was banded in Cardinal Lake, British Columbia in the year 2010.

Brian Baltzell with a banded greenhead taken on Saturday, Nov 5th on Potholes Reservoir. This bird was banded in Cardinal Lake, British Columbia in the year 2010.

Geese are starting to show up in Central Washington.  Pictured after a day's hunt, Brian Baltzell, Levi Meseberg, Matt Baltzell, Clyde Foster and Mason Meseberg, not pictured Mike Meseberg.

Geese are starting to show up in Central Washington. Pictured after a day’s hunt, Brian Baltzell, Levi Meseberg, Matt Baltzell, Clyde Foster and Mason Meseberg, not pictured Mike Meseberg.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 11 / 09 / 2016

I asked Cathy Reiss, of Lakeside Marina, about a report of a 15-inch yellow perch that had been caught recently in South Tenmile Lake. Cathy said the report was true and over the last month they had several jumbo perch measuring at least 14-inches turned in. Almost all of them had come from coves or major bank indentions in South Tenmile Lake. There are certainly similar-sized perch in North Tenmile Lake, but most of the recent fishing pressure has been on the south lake.

Reiss also noted that while fishing for largemouth bass has slowed somewhat, it hasn’t stopped and some of the lake’s bass anglers have encountered some bright coho salmon while fishing near Templeton Arm. Of course these salmon have to be released and should not be targeted since Tenmile does not have a coho season this year. A few decent-sized rainbow trout as well as some searun cutthroat trout are also biting.

Before moving on regarding yellow perch, I would like to point out that Oregon’s state record yellow perch is woefully undersized when compared to the state record perch of other western states. While I still believe that Siltcoos Lake is the best bet to topple the existing state record of two pounds and two ounces, those 15-inchers from Tenmile could topple Oregon’s 45 year old perch record if they were caught in February or March in immediate pre-spawn condition and then weighed on a certified scale.

Approximately 20 years ago, a Tenmile Lakes angler, who refered to himself as “Mr. Catfish”, caught lots of the lakes’ brown bullheads. He targeted water at least 15 feet deep with half a nightcrawler for bait. He fished at night and enjoyed his best success between Thansgiving and March. Reviewing his technique, in the middle of the winter, a lake’s warmest water is usually the deepest and this is especially true of of the more shallow coastal lakes with considerable surface acreage and limited water deeper than 15 feet.

As of last weekend, Butterfield was still producing good fishing for the 13 to 16-inch rainbows that were planted during the second week of October. The trout seem to hangout within five feet of the surface until the sun comes out when they will move somewhat deeper.

While most of Saunders Lake’s October trout plant have been caught and kept, there has been almost no fishing pressure directed at the much larger portion of the lake on the west side of the railroad trestle. Shallow water beneath the trestle kept the trout confined in the smaller portion of the lake between the railroad trestle and Highway 101, the trout that ventured out into the main part of the lake are most likely still waiting to be caught.

There are plenty of bright Chinook salmon in the Elk and Sixes rivers and anglers paying close attention to river levels and water clarity are enjoying fair success. Other smaller streams along Oregon’s southern coast also have some bright salmon and several years ago on Thanksgiving weekend, diminutive Hunter Creek gave up a 59 pound Chinook salmon.

Some good news – especially for anglers not wanting to buy a fishing license, is the ODFW decision to add more free fishing days. The state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is expected to announce an expansion of Free Fishing Weekend to Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve while keeping the current “Free Fishing Weekend in early June.

Under a little-known state law passed by the last Legislature, Free Fishing (no licenses or tags are required to fish, clam or crab) was expanded from its traditional June weekend to an additional eight days every biennium. The new law allows four days more per year and requires they be taken two at a time.

The department settled on Nov. 25-26, the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving, and Dec. 31 and Jan. 1, 2017.

Curt Melcher, department director, said part of the decision was to “give folks an option for Black Friday shopping.

“Thanksgiving is also the traditional opening of winter steelhead season,” he said.

Agency officials said they’re working to increase trout stocking for the two events.

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