Monthly Archives: January 2017

Recreational Focus To Change At Potholes Reservoir / Mardon Resort.

Richard Revoyrr and Molly McNulty travel from the San Juan Islands annually to enjoy a goose hunt on the Royal Slope. Richard would much rather be climbing mountains butr agrees to take his lovely Molly on a goose hunt. The first time they hunted together was overlooking this same view of the Royal Slope and the Columbia River. Sayannora to this hunting season as we look forward to warmer days and will trade out our decoys for fishing rods.

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Tests Confirm Outbreak Of Avian Cholera In Dead Ducks Found Near The Tri-Cities

State and federal wildlife-diagnostic centers have confirmed an outbreak of avian cholera near the Tri-Cities, where more than 1,200 dead ducks have been reported in the past week.

The disease was confirmed in dead ducks found near Burbank, Wash., and tested by the USGS National Wildlife Health Center and the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Lab. The birds tested negative for avian influenza, a different disease fatal to waterfowl and other birds.

Avian cholera is caused by the bacterium Pasteurella multocida and is one of the most common diseases among ducks, geese and other wild North American waterfowl, said Katie Haman, a wildlife veterinarian at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“Humans are not at a high risk for infection with the bacterial strain causing avian cholera, though infections in humans are possible,” Haman said. “We advise people to avoid handling sick or dead birds, and to report any they find.”

Reports can be filed online (http://wdfw.wa.gov/viewing/observations/sgcn/), by email (vog.aw.wfdnull@htlaeH.efildliW), or by calling 1-509-545-2201.

According to the USGS National Wildlife Health Center, the bacteria kill waterfowl swiftly, sometimes in as few as six to 12 hours after infection. Live bacteria released into the environment by dead and dying birds can subsequently infect healthy birds. Avian cholera is highly contagious and spreads rapidly through bird-to-bird contact, ingestion of food or water containing the bacteria, or scavenging of infected carcasses.

“As a result, avian cholera can spread quickly through a wetland and kill hundreds to thousands of birds in a single outbreak,” said Kyle Spragens, WDFW waterfowl manager. “The bacteria are hardy and can survive in water for several weeks and in soil for several months.”

WDFW and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to minimize the spread of the disease through careful carcass collection and disposal to reduce the amount of bacteria in the environment.

Signs displayed by infected birds include lethargy, convulsions, swimming in circles, and erratic flight. They may also show mucous discharge from the mouth and nose, and soiling of the feathers around the vent, eyes, and bill.

Wildlife managers encourage waterfowl hunters in Walla Walla, Franklin, and Benton counties to clean and disinfect gear, such as waders and decoys to help minimize potential further spread of the bacteria.

A 10 percent bleach solution or warm soapy water can be used for disinfection. Leaving the gear in direct sunlight for several hours will also kill the bacteria. Waterfowl hunters are advised to use gloves when cleaning harvested birds, and if white spots are seen on the liver, err on the side of caution and discard the bird directly into a garbage bag.

Although bacteria from wild birds do not typically cause infections in mammals, dog owners should prevent contact between their pets and sick or dead birds encountered. Additionally, vehicles that have accumulated mud should be run through a commercial car wash.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 1 / 25 / 2017

When the ODFW Commission met last week and adopted and adopted a plan that will allow the continuation of commercial gill netting in the summer and fall, many of Oregon’s anglers felt betrayed. The decision also increases commercial fishing in the fall and makes it unlikely that Oregon’s and Washington’s Columbia River regulations will exactly match up.

The disappointing decision prompted Steve Godin, our local fisheries activist and the current president of Oregon Coast Anglers, to fire off a quick email. Steve’s email was directed to Richard Hargrave and since I feel that he was somewhat eloquent, I’ll repeat the meat of the email in its entirety.

“With all the effort to remove Gill Netting form the Columbia River I was disappointed to read that the ODF&W Commissioners had elected to allow continued Gill Netting on the Columbia River. There must be some rational for doing this! I’ll describe my response from an anglers perspective. I pay all my fees required to fish in the Great State of Oregon, which includes the Columbia River Basin Endorsement $9.75. The Columbia River Basin Endorsement was enacted to reimburse the Oregon Government for revenue lost by eliminating commercial fishing on the Columbia River. Now, you have reinstated commercial fishing on the Columbia River. So, I think, as many of the anglers, who fish the Columbia River Basin, the endorsement should be eliminated and those who have paid, it should be reimbursed.”

My feeling on the subject is that the ODFW collected money under false pretenses. As for Steve’s hoped for reimbursement, past history indicates that it will never happen. When anglers who purchased 2-rod licenses lost the use of those licenses for three months on the three largest lakes along the Oregon coast because they had coho salmon seasons, there were no reimbursements – even for non-salmon anglers. The cost for a combined angling tag for salmon, steelhead, halibut and sturgeon did not go down when sturgeon were essentially removed from it.

Managing Oregon’s fish and wildlife is not an easy job and reducing outdoor opportunities or bag limits is quite similar to raising prices – they both reduce the value received from the money spent by individual anglers. To be fair, one should be as vocal about ODFW actions one agrees with as they are about actions they don’t. It’s far to easy to just gripe. Now for some of the details of last week’s ODFW decision.

Spring and summer Chinook Endangered Species Act (ESA) impacts will be allocated 80 percent for recreational fisheries; 20 percent for commercial fisheries. Commercial fishing with tangle nets allowed on the mainstem river in the spring and largemesh gillnets in the summer. Fall Chinook ESA impacts will be allocated 66 percent for recreational fisheries and 34 percent for commercial fisheries. Gillnets will be allowed in Zones 4 and 5 and coho tangle nets will be allowed in Zones 1 through 3.

The Youngs Bay “control zone” fishery closure will continue.

Removal of the barbless hook requirement for lower Willamette River and Oregon off-channel recreational fisheries.
Continued enhancement in off-channel areas for commercial harvest.

The Commission also set by rule the 2017 average market price per pound of each species of fish commercially-harvested in Oregon. These values are adopted every January and are used to assess damages in criminal cases associated with the unlawful taking of food fish.

Hunters who purchased deer or elk tags have until Jan. 31st to report their results even if they didn’t actually hunt. Failure to do so will mean paying a $25 penalty when purchasing their 2018 hunting license. Don’t be surprized if in future years if there is a financial penalty for failing to report hunting results of cougar, bear, pronghorn or turkey hunts – or for not sending in one’s combined angling tags. I know it’s a little trouble, but give the ODFW the information they need to better manage the resource.

Some of the things I would like to see the ODFW make happen for future years are:

(1) – Reopen Mill Creek to fishing.

(2) – Tweak the fishing days on spring and summer halibut openers to make them equally fair for people working a normal (Monday through Friday) work week.

(3) – Post the trout stocking schedule on the ODFW website in a more timely fashion (Jan. 1st would be a good choice) and include special plants of broodstock or other trout species.

(4) – Reopen the Soda Springs section of the North Umpqua River to fishing to reduce smolt mortality due to predation by brown and rainbow trout.

(5) – Begin trout plants in Fords Pond now that it is managed by the city of Sutherlin and no longer under private ownership and restricted access.

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WDFW News – Hunting And Fishing Licenses For The 2017-2018 Season Are Now Available.

Recreational fishing and hunting licenses for the 2017-2018 season, which begins April 1, 2017, are available for sale today.

Typically, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) begins to sell the upcoming year’s licenses in December.

“With the release of our new licensing system last month, we opted to delay selling 2017-18 licenses in order to avoid printing licenses from two separate systems, with slightly different formatting, for a single license year,” said Peter Vernie, the department’s licensing division manager.

With an additional month to refine the system, WDFW is now ready to process 2017-18 licenses, he added.

Additional dates to note:

Special hunt applications for most big game species will be available after the Fish and Wildlife Commission approves the 2017-2018 hunting season framework at its meeting in April in Spokane.
Spring bear hunters hoping to draw a permit for 2017 can purchase their application now, and will be able to submit for their preferred hunt choice online from Feb. 15 through midnight, Feb. 28. The spring bear drawing will occur in early March.
License fees for the 2017-2018 season have not changed from the previous year.

Customers can access WDFW’s licensing system at: https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/

WDFW sells 2.5 million licenses annually through its website, by telephone, and through a network of 600 retail stores across the state.

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CCA Newsletter

Salem, Ore – Last Friday night the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission voted 4-3 to permanently allow the continued use of non-tribal commercial gillnets in the lower Columbia River, effectively abandoning the bi-state Columbia River fishery reforms that were adopted as an alternative to Ballot Measure 81 four years ago.

The Commission’s vote came less than a week after the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission voted 7-2 to adopt a package of changes intended to reach a compromise with Oregon and continue phasing out non-selective gillnets on the mainstem Columbia River. Oregon’s vote sets the stage for ending the concurrent management of the Columbia River by the states of Oregon and Washington — for the first time in nearly a century.

The four Oregon Commissioners – led by former gillnet industry lobbyist Bruce Buckmaster – ignored warnings from ODFW staff about the ramifications of their vote, including the prospect of plunging the management of Columbia River fisheries into disarray. They also disregarded thousands of public comments and testimony – including formal comments from Oregon Wild, the Oregon League of Conservation Voters, and the Wild Salmon Center – overwhelmingly urging the Commission to continue implementing the gillnet reforms.

Dave Schamp, Chairman of Oregon Coastal Conservation Association (CCA) issued the following statement:

“Friday’s decision is a black mark on the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission and Oregon Governor Kate Brown, who appointed Bruce Buckmaster to the Commission and effectively enabled his effort to undo the plan – contrary to the Governor’s own promises and those of the legislators who confirmed his nomination.

The Commission’s action puts increased gillnet industry profits ahead of the conservation of our fish and wildlife, including endangered salmon and steelhead. It is also a slap in the face to hundreds of thousands of recreational anglers who purchased the Columbia River Basin Endorsement over the past three years to fund the reforms – the last thing the agency needs heading into difficult budget negotiations in the legislature this year.

CCA Oregon is considering a variety of actions in response to the Commission’s decision, including working with legislators in Salem to hold ODFW accountable through statutory and budget reforms — stay tuned. In the meantime, anglers across the Northwest should send an email to the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commissioners at vog.aw.wfdnull@noissimmoc thanking them for standing strong for the reforms.”

If you have any comments, questions or concerns. Please direct them to CCA Oregon, Executive Director- Chris Cone at gro.nogeroaccnull@enoc.sirhc

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ODFW News – Commission Updates Columbia River Fisheries Management Policies.

SALEM, Ore.—The Commission met today in Salem and adopted a plan for implementation of the Columbia River Fisheries Reform that will continue to allow commercial gill net fishing on the mainstem of the Columbia River during the summer and fall and increases commercial fishing in the fall, decisions that will likely create non-concurrent regulations with the State of Washington.

Highlights of the policy adopted today include:

Spring and summer Chinook Endangered Species Act (ESA) impacts will be allocated 80 percent for recreational fisheries; 20 percent for commercial fisheries. Commercial fishing with tangle nets allowed on the mainstem river in the spring and largemesh gillnets in the summer.
Fall Chinook ESA impacts will be allocated 66 percent for recreational fisheries and 34 percent for commercial fisheries. Gillnets will be allowed in Zones 4 and 5 and coho tangle nets will be allowed in Zones 1 through 3.
Continuation of the Youngs Bay “control zone” fishery closure.
Removal of the barbless hook requirement for lower Willamette River and Oregon off-channel recreational fisheries.
Continued enhancement in off-channel areas for commercial harvest.
Additional spring Chinook production to Oregon Select Area Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) areas.
The Commission also set by rule the 2017 average market price per pound of each species of fish commercially-harvested in Oregon. These values are adopted every January and are used to assess damages in criminal cases associated with the unlawful taking of food fish.

The Commission adopted final Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) for Division 44 Protected Wildlife, Wildlife Holding and Game Bird Propagation. These rules define protected wildlife species; provide a permit process to allow the holding of certain species as pets; created new permits for businesses that utilize wildlife in a zoo or as part of exhibiting for education or in the film industry; and regulate game bird propagation. The final rules will be posted online next week.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife policy in Oregon. Its next meeting is Feb. 9-10 in Tigard.

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Mardon Resort Hunting / fishing Report

Potholes Reservoir has over 11” of good ice. Do not ice fish near the mouth of Frenchman’s Wasteway at the Potholes State Park. Frenchman creates unsafe ice because of non-freezing moving water. The Lind Coulee is supporting ice up to 15”. Remember to pile snow around your ice hole when leaving to show other fishers where it is so they do not step in it. Do not use a chain saw to make fishing holes. The next day it will be a death trap. The MarDon Store has Ice Augers for sale, as well as, Sweedish Pimples, Airplane Jigs, Rapala Jigging Raps, Maggots and Night Crawlers.
Goose Hunting is still really great in our area. Levi of Meseberg Adventures had an interesting drive to their hunt on Wednesday of this week. Or shall I refer to it as the first day of ICE STORM 2017. After driving to a field 5 miles away in horrible conditions we finally made it to our destination. It took over an hour to drive 5 miles and a few trips in the ditch along the way. We had an exciting morning to say the least but the rest of the day was equally exciting with limit hunting with a great group of guys. I want to thank the Wes Porter Group from Bothell for braving the roads and helping get the goose trailer and truck unstuck a few times that day. We hope to see you guys again next season and we can laugh about that crazy hunt we had in January 2017.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 1 / 18 / 2017

Some mild ocean and Umpqua River bar conditions last week allowed ocean crabbers and bottomfish anglers to enjoy their recreation with good results. Some of the crabbers reported excellent results in water as shallow as 35 feet as long as they avoided the muddy water pouring out of the Umpqua River. The easiest way to do this is to take advantage of the generally southward movement of the saltwater along the Oregon coast and head slightly north after crossing the Umpqua River Bar. Offshore bottomfishing was enjoyable and productive in the mild conditions. Some offshore bottomfish anglers have ventured out without the mandatory descending devices required to have on board when bottomfishing in waters more than 30 fathoms deep.

Although I didn’t receive any reports from pinkfin anglers fishing local beaches, if the surf along those beaches was mild as well, it should have been productive. Anglers trying for striped surfperch along the South Jetty made some good catches, although I would be tempted to fish the ocean along the south side of the Triangle to avoid the somewhat muddy river water.

Lingcod should be moving to area jetties and other spawning structure as they prepare to spawn. Most of the inshore fishing pressure directed towards lingcod at Winchester Bay occurs along the South Jetty, but extended muddy water can pretty much halt fishing success – like it did last spring. In April of 2015, the lingcod fishing along the South Jetty was the best in many years.

Although muddy water on the Umpqua doesn’t stop the steelhead anglers using plunking techniques, it seems to limit fishing success. on every other steelhead stream. Tenmile and Eel creeks remain clear and fishable and fishing is improving on lower Tenmile Creek, but according to figures posted at the STEP trap on Eel Creek, very few steelhead have reached the trap. The steelhead run in Eel Creek is typically late arriving, so things may improve.

The recent frigid temperatures have greatly reduced fishing pressure directed at the yellow perch in our local lakes. Presently, the perch in our larger, relatively shallow coastal lakes are in the deepest water, but over the next two months they should gradually move to somewhat shallower water as they approach the spawn.

With the next extended warming trend, the bassfishing in lakes along the Oregon coast should take off and while the catch numbers may not seem that impressive, the chance to catch the year’s heaviest bass is at its best during the late winter/early spring period. Water clarity will dictate how early anglers can target smallmouth bass on the Umpqua and Coquille rivers. Smallmouths in Woahink Lake won’t approach the shoreline in any numbers until the shallow water is the lake’s warmest. Eel Lake always seems to be a late starter and its smallies are still an incidental fishery and anglers should target the lake’s largemouths with lures that appeal to both bass species.

As for striped bass, wait for the water to clear and then target them on the Smith River in the ten miles of stream between Smith River Falls and the North Fork Smith River and the North Fork Smith about three to five miles above where it enters the mainstem Smith River. On the Coquille River, targt them from just below the Arago Boat Ramp upriver to the mouth of the South Fork Coquille River.

I am sorry to say that the 2017 trout stocking schedule is still not available. According to the ODFW website, it won’t be available until late January or early February. In the meantime, the site suggests looking at the 2016 stocking schedule – and hope it is even remotely relevant. It’s starting to look like the ODFW wants each lake’s initial trout plant to be relatively untargeted.

Oregon hunters are running out of time to report their hunt results. Deer and elk hunters not reporting their hunt results by Jan. 31st will pay $25 extra when they purchase their 2018 hunting licenses. Rest assured, they won’t forget and the penalty combined with scheduled increases for 2018 licenses and tags may cause budgeting changes for many outdoor sportsmen.

Although there is not yet a financial penalty, hunters who purchased a cougar, bear, pronghorn or turkey tag also need to report – complete a survey for tag they purchased — even if they didn’t hunt or weren’t successful. Information from hunters who did not hunt or did not harvest an animal is as important as information from those who did take an animal.

Although it most likely won’t affect many Oregonians, the last portion of the California coast that was closed to commercial crabbing reopened on Jan. 16th. Excepting marine reserves, the entire California, Oregon and Washington coasts are now open to commercial and recreational crabbing.

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Mardon Resort Recreation Report

Extreme frigid weather arrived in Eastern Washington. Field hunts for geese and ducks have been producing some limits or near limits for geese, ducks have been a bit tougher. Duck and goose hunting season ends 1/29/17 and Pheasant Season ends this Sunday (1/16/17) for the year.
Ice fishing has begun all over our area. We have ice augers, swedish pimples, maggots and crawlers all for sale in the MarDon Tackle Shop. Please call the tackle shop if you have any questions (509) 346-2651.

Sam Williams of Seattle with a Pheasant harvested the last week of December.

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Interesting Huffington Post Article Linking Warmer Ocean Temperatures To Toxic Shellfish.

I found the following article by Huffington Post reporter Ryan Grenoble most interesting.

“The neurotoxin domoic acid inspired Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” after hundreds of sooty shearwaters ingested the poison in the summer of 1961 and, well, lost their minds.

The crazed birds likely consumed domoic acid via small fish like anchovies and sardines. It also tends to collect in shellfish, like clams, crabs and lobsters. And, according to a study published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, it may become more prevalent as oceans warm, threatening birds and humans alike.

Researchers at Oregon State University, the University of Oregon, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife studied the prevalence of domoic acid over the past 20 years in the Pacific Northwest, and found it strongly correlated with water temperatures that are warmer than normal.

For now, warmer waters typically stem from events like El Niño and a decades-long climate cycle called “Pacific decadal oscillation,” the study found. It isn’t yet clear how climate change, which also warms the oceans, might affect the toxin’s prevalence.

“When water’s unusually warm off our coast, it’s because the circulation and patterns in the atmosphere has changed, bringing warm water from elsewhere — and this is happening at the same time that we also see high domoic acid in shellfish,” Morgaine McKibben, a doctoral student at Oregon State and the study’s lead author, told E&E News.

“It has a very strong mechanistic connection,” McKibben added.

The toxin is produced by some species of Pseudo-nitzschia ― a type of phytoplankton ― during warm algae blooms, and gets passed up the food chain by animals that eat it. Sea lions, otters, dolphins (and other cetaceans) and humans all are at risk, notes the Marine Mammal Center.

While some animals can eventually cleanse themselves of the toxin, the threat can persist long after the warm water recedes.

“For example, razor clams are filter-feeders that bioaccumulate this toxin in their muscles, so they take much longer to flush it out than other shellfish,” McKibben said in a statement. “The higher the toxin levels, the longer it takes for razor clams to be safe to eat again, perhaps up to a year after warm ocean conditions have subsided.”

Animals poisoned by domoic acid tend to become lethargic and disoriented, and experience seizures and death. Symptoms in humans include vomiting, nausea, diarrhea and abdominal cramps, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Severe cases can lead to headache, dizziness, confusion, loss of short-term memory, motor weakness, seizures, profuse respiratory secretions, cardiac arrhythmia and coma.

It isn’t just a health risk. An Oregon State University statement notes that officials have to shut down shellfish harvests when domoic acid levels are high, causing economic harm.

Since health officials first identified domic acid as a health threat in 1987, Pacific Northwest shellfish harvests have been halted in 2003, 2015, and 2016. The West Coast crab industry took an estimated $100 million hit in 2015 alone, Oregon State University said.”

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