Monthly Archives: January 2017

Pete Heley Outdoors 1 / 11 / 2017

The current issue of In-Fisherman has a very interesting article in their “Bits and Pieces” section regarding hooks in sturgeon. To be more exact, the article dealt with fish hooks ingested by white sturgeon in the Pacific Northwest.

Fishery personnel in Idaho have have “autopsied” a few sturgeon each year that were found dead in the Hells Canyon section of the Snake River. Some of the dead sturgeon were found to contain hooks in their digestive tracts – including some hook types and sizes not associated with sturgeon fishing. This led the biologists to conclude that the hook types normally associated with fishing for steelhead and smallmouth bass were ingested by the sturgeon while laying on the bottom after breaking off or becoming untied.

This finding led to a more comprehensive study where 352 sturgeon were captured and scanned before being released. 31 percent of the sturgeon scanned were determined to have fish hooks inside them and as one could logically assume, larger, older sturgeon were found to be more likely to have ingested fish hooks.

Sixty four percent of the hooks found inside sturgeon were the size and type associated with sturgeon fishing and 36 percent were hook types used to pursue other fish species and a strong majority of the hooks were laying on the bottom when the sturgeon ingested them.

An encouraging finding was that some of the sturgeon that had swallowed fish hooks were found, upon recapture, to have successfully passed them.

While more studies are definitely needed, the state of Idaho changed its sturgeon fishing regulations to require a sliding sinker attached to a weaker line and tied in such a way that when the sinker is snagged, it will break before the main line, allowing the hook to be retrieved.

Now that descender devices are mandatory for anglers fishing for bottomfish in waters more than 180 feet deep, similar, but smaller descending devices should at least be encouraged for use when fishing near the bottom in some of the deeper coastal lakes. Woahink and Munsel lakes are both deep enough that yellow perch hooked near the bottom and quickly brought to the surface may suffer the same air bladder problems that plague bottomfish hauled up from the ocean depths. The solution to releasing such fish relatively unharmed – is to quickly get them back down to the depth they were hooked at. A smaller version of a descending device with eight ounces to a pound of weight would definitely get the job done.

By the way, saltwater salmon and bottomfish enthusiasts should consider attending this year’s Saltwater Sportsman Show which will be held on February 25th and 26th in the Jackman-Long building on the Oregon State Fairgrounds. The show is presented by OCEAN (Oregon Coalition For Educating Anglers).

Other shows of interest to Oregon’s outdoor enthusiasts include: The KEZI Eugene Boat and Sportsman Show on Feb. 5th through the 7th at the Lane County Convention Center; The Pacific Northwest Sportsman Show from Feb. 10th through 14th at the Portland Expo Center; The SERVPRO Sportsmen’s and Outdoor Recreation Show at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Roseburg from Feb. 19th through the 21st; The KDRV Sportsmen’s and Outdoor Recreation Show from Feb. 26th through the 28th at the Jackson County Expo Center in Medford and the Central Oregon’s Sportsmen Show from March 3rd through the 6th at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center in Redmond.

Anglers wishing to fish for fish species other than steelhead have a few options. A few locations have received plants of broodstock rainbows and the closest place was Junction City Pond on the west side of Highway 99 south of Junction City. Trout to at least eight pounds were caught last week and the pond’s plants for this year should start the second week in January. Slightly warmer temperatures should perk up the yellow perch bite and the next two months should offer anglers the years best chance at catching a jumbo pre-spawn perch at its heaviest weight.

The heaviest walleyes on the Columbia River are caught during February of most years. Some of Oregon’s heaviest largemouth bass are caught during February and March. Trout plants for waters along the Oregon coast should resume in March with the earliest plants in the Florence-area lakes – but the trout stocking schedule is not yet posted on the ODFW website.

Reedsport-area residents can dispose of their basic Christmas trees through the month of January by dropping them off at the Les Schwab lot in Reedsport. The Oregon Coast Anglers (OCA) will use them for habitat enhancement in a few smaller steelhead/trout streams in western Douglas County.

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CDFW News – North Coast Abalone Season Dates, Regulations Change.

Regulations for California’s popular red abalone sport fishery have changed in 2017. Due to concerns about the declining population, the season will be shortened and the take limit reduced.

The 2017 season will be shortened by two months, with the traditional opening date of April 1 now delayed until May 1. The fishery will also close a month earlier than usual, on Oct. 31.

The annual (calendar year) limit is changing from 18 abalone to 12. As in the past, no more than nine abalone may be taken south of the boundary between Sonoma and Mendocino counties.

The red abalone catch is being reduced because surveys conducted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) found that red abalone populations in deeper waters are on the decline due to unfavorable environmental conditions. Over the past three years, growth of kelp — a major food source for abalone – has declined significantly. Dramatic increases in purple sea urchin populations have further reduced the food available for abalone. Details can be found at https://cdfwmarine.wordpress.com/2016/03/30/perfect-storm-decimates-kelp/.

Other regulations relative to abalone remain unchanged. Fishing for abalone will be allowed from 8 a.m. to one half-hour after sunset in waters north of San Francisco Bay. People may travel to fishing locations before 8 a.m. but may not actively search for or take any abalone before that time. The daily bag and possession limit remains at three. Parts of Fort Ross State Historical Park remain closed to the take of abalone. A map of the closed area can be found online at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=42101&inline=true.

Northern California’s recreational red abalone fishery is enjoyed by tens of thousands of divers along the Sonoma and Mendocino coast. A recent CDFW study estimated that approximately 31,000 abalone divers derived between $24 million and $44 million per year of recreational value from the fishery. The value of this fishery declined nearly $12 million after stricter regulations were imposed in 2014 following a harmful algal bloom that killed thousands of abalone in Sonoma County. Information about the study can be found at http://nrm.dfg.ca.gov/FileHandler.ashx?DocumentID=136510.

The changes to the abalone regulations were approved by the Fish and Game Commission at their Dec. 7 meeting, under emergency rulemaking provisions that allow fast-tracking of the approval process when there is an urgent need for regulatory change.

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Mardon Resort Hunting Report

Entering 2017, our moisture in Central Washington exceeds all records. With all our cold weather , snow is feeling like the norm for us. The area is loaded with ducks and geese for field hunting. Goose hunting has been really great with limits most of the time and the duck field hunting has been very good as well. The sand dunes on Potholes Reservoir are all iced up. The Duck Taxi is iced out of the dunes as well but they do have an option for a field duck hunt. If you have not ever seen a funnel cloud of ducks landing in a field you are missing out. It is a very exciting sight to witness. Call our reservation line for more info on booking a hunt (509) 346-2651.
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.
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.

Cold temperatures have resulted in ice covers thick enough to ice-fish on. Most of the effort has been directed at yellow perch and walleyes, but at Potholes, you never know what you are going to catch. Mike Schleuter srrms happy with his jumbo walleye.

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February Ia The Start Of Oregon’s Fishing And Sportsmen’s Shows.

Saltwater salmon and bottomfish enthusiasts should consider attending this year’s Saltwater Sportsman Show which will be held on February 25th and 26th in the Jackman-Long building on the Oregon State Fairgrounds. The show is presented by OCEAN (Oregon Coalition For Educating Anglers).

Other shows of interest to Oregon’s outdoor enthusiasts include: The KEZI Eugene Boat and Sportsman Show on Feb. 5th through the 7th at the Lane County Convention Center; The Pacific Northwest Sportsman Show from Feb. 10th through 14th at the Portland Expo Center; The SERVPRO Sportsmen’s and Outdoor Recreation Show at the Douglas County Fairgrounds in Roseburg from Feb. 19th through the 21st; The KDRV Sportsmen’s and Outdoor Recreation Show from Feb. 26th through the 28th at the Jackson County Expo Center in Medford and the Central Oregon’s Sportsmen Show from March 3rd through the 6th at the Deschutes County Fair and Expo Center in Redmond.

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WDFW News – WDFW Prepares To Launch New Recreational Licensing System.

he Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will launch a new system later this month to sell fishing and hunting licenses and the Discover Pass.

“We are very excited to launch the new system,” said Peter Vernie, WDFW’s licensing division manager. “It will be more user-friendly than the current system and will provide a better experience for our customers and the many retailers who sell state recreation licenses.”

Each year, WDFW sells about 2.5 million hunting and fishing licenses and related recreational permits, generating about $55 million for fish, wildlife, habitat management and enforcement activities that directly support recreational opportunities. Licenses are sold online, by telephone, and through a network of 600 business vendors across the state.

Vernie said WDFW will shut down the current system on the evening of Dec. 17 and will resume sales on Dec. 19. Licenses will not be sold on Sunday, Dec. 18, during the transition to the new system.

Hunters and anglers should be sure to buy their licenses before 6 p.m. Dec. 17 if they plan to be on the water or in the field the next day, he said.

“We appreciate our customers’ and our retail partners’ patience as we make this change,” Vernie said. “We are doing everything we can to minimize inconvenience and to deliver a secure, functional system on December 19.”

Vernie said licenses will be available in mid-January for the 2017-18 hunting and fishing seasons that begin April 1.

Hunters are also reminded to report their harvest online at WDFW’s website or by calling 1-877-945-3492. The hunter reporting service will be unavailable during the transition, Vernie said.

WDFW’s licensing system is located at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov

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Washington Crabbing Gets Even More Complicated.

Puget Sound marine areas currently open for recreational winter crabbing will close at 5 p.m. on Dec. 31, after which all sport crabbers licensed to fish for Dungeness crab in the Sound will have through Feb. 1 to report their winter results.

Crabbers who plan to report their catch online should be aware of some changes to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) online system, said Rich Childers, shellfish policy lead for the department.

“Crabbers should be prepared to take a few extra minutes to navigate our new online system,” Childers said. “Crab reporting is not only required but is essential to managing our crab fisheries.”

To report online, crabbers will need to establish an online account by creating a user name and password and providing an email address. Individuals can use these accounts for a variety of purposes, including crab reporting and purchasing hunting and fishing licenses.

Anyone who has a question about the online system can contact WDFW’s Licensing Division at (360) 902-2464 or vog.aw.wfdnull@gnisnecil

The online reporting system will be available Jan. 1 through Feb. 1 at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/. Crabbers also may send their catch record cards to WDFW by mail at WDFW CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091.

State fishing rules require that all sport crabbers with winter catch record cards submit catch reports for the winter season to WDFW by Feb. 1 – even if they did not catch any crab. Sport crabbers should be aware that if they fail to submit a winter catch report, they will receive a $10 fine when they purchase their 2017 crab endorsement.

After Dec. 31, all Puget Sound marine areas will be closed to recreational crabbing until summer 2017.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 1 / 04 / 2017

Now that Christmas is over, don’t pay a “dump fee” to dispose of your used Christmas tree. Oregon Coast Anglers (OCA)will take your tree and use it to create salmon habitat in local area streams. BARE TREES ONLY. No decorations or spray on fake snow.Trees can be dropped off at the back southwest corner of the Reedsport Les Schwab’s store. Look for the signs and the pile of trees. Trees will be collected until the end of January.

People interested in making a tax deductible donation to help offset the project’s fuel costs can make their checks out Oregon Coast Anglers and mail to: OCA, Box 584, Reedsport, OR 97467 or call Stevr Godin at 541-255-3383 for more information.

It seemed like more crabbers than anglers took advantage of last weekend’s “Free Fishing Weekend”. Crabbing success was poor to fair at Winchester Bay and somewhat better at Charlston where a few crabbers complained that they had to work harder than usual to get their limits.

All cabezon are now illegal to keep until July 1st when one cabezon at least 16 inches in length will be legal to keep. However, offshore bottomfishing has been productive when weather and ocean conditions allow it. Bottomfishing in waters deeper than 30 fathoms will remain open through March while bottomfishing in waters less than 30 fathoms is open all year.

Tenmile Creek continues fair for steelhead, but the frosty mornings and limited rainfall during the past week have all the streams in fishable condition. The opening of Eel Creek to steelhead fishing on Jan. 1st should take some of the pressure off Tenmile Creek.

Hunters should be aware that the deadline for reporting hunt results is January 31st. Every hunter who purchased a 2016 deer, elk, cougar, bear, pronghorn or turkey tag needs to report – complete a survey for tag you 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.

A $25 penalty will be assessed for any hunter who fails to report 2016 deer and elk tags by the reporting deadline (Jan. 31, 2017 for most tags). The penalty is paid with the purchase of a 2018 hunting license. It is paid once, regardless of the number of 2016 tags unreported. SportsPac buyers do not need to report on tags that were never issued to them.

There are different ways to report tag results. (1) – Via the Internet by clicking the Report Now button at the top of the appropriate page on the ODFW website. (2) – .Call 1-866-947-ODFW (6339) and speak with a customer service representative who will take your information. (3) – Visit an ODFW office with a computer available for reporting:

Information you need to report includes Hunter/Angler ID number (located on ODFW licenses, tags and applications). If you do not have your tag or license anymore, call 1-866-947-6339 for your Hunter/Angler ID#. This number stays the same year after year so you can also use an old license or tag.

Hunter/Angler ID number (located on ODFW licenses, tags and applications). If you do not have your tag or license anymore, call 1-866-947-6339 for your Hunter/Angler ID#. This number stays the same year after year so you can also use an old license or tag.

The two digit Wildlife Management Unit (WMU) number of the Unit you hunted in most of the time if the hunt area included more than 1 WMU. See map or pages 94-95 of the Oregon Big Game Regulations. The total number of days hunted—including mentoring youth—and the number of days hunted in the WMU hunted most.

A pdf worksheet is available online at the ODFW website for use in report preparation.

Every year state police seem to be especially diligent when it comes to checking licenses and tags – and the reason they do this, is that many outdoor recreationists that intend to purchase said items at the last minute – forget to do so. It’s best to play it safe and purchase fishing and shellfish licenses and combined angling tags early. Doing so may help you avoid getting an expensive reminder.

This tragedy should be of major interest to every would-be ice angler wanting to get an early start to their season. A herd of 41 elk died on the morning of Dec. 27th when they fell through the ice cover while trying to cross Brownlee Reservoir near Richland. According to Brian Ratliff, district wildlife biologist at the ODFW’s office in Baker City, the incident happened around 9 a.m. and was called in by a person who lives near the reservoir.

The elk were trying to cross the reservoir from the north side, about a quarter-mile west of Hewitt Park, when the ice broke in four places, Ratliff said. ODFW officials drove to the area to see if it was possible to save any of the elk or salvage meat, but neither option was possible. The nearest group of elk were 300 yards from shore, and the ice was not stable, Ratliff said.

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