Monthly Archives: February 2017

WDFW News – WDFW Adjusts Sport Oyster Seasons On Several Public Beaches.

Action: The sport oyster fishing seasons will be modified on identified public beaches based on results from population, harvest and effort assessments.

Effective Dates: March 1, 2017, until further notice.

Species affected: All oysters.

Location: Indian Island County Park, Oyster Reserves – North Bay, Penrose State Park, Port Gamble Heritage Park, Potlatch State Park, Potlatch DNR tidelands and Quilcene Tidelands.

Reason for action: To align clam and oyster seasons, WDFW is extending the oyster season at Indian Island County Park, Oyster Reserves – North Bay, Port Gamble Heritage Park, Potlatch State Park and Potlatch DNR tidelands and shortening the season at Penrose Point State Park.

A shift in season timing is recommended for Oyster Reserves – North Bay to reduce user group conflicts and increased pressure on infrastructure at the access site.

The existing hours of darkness harvest restriction at Quilcene Bay Tidelands is no longer necessary; there is no conservation or management need to limit the hours of harvest.

Other information: The following are the season openings and closings for the identified beaches:

Indian Island County Park/Lagoon Beach: From the jetty boundary with Port Townsend Ship Canal east to the beach access stairs on Flagler Road near milepost 4. Open Aug. 15 through Sept. 30 only.
Oyster Reserves – North Bay: State-owned oyster reserves and contiguous state-owned tidelands south and east of the powerline crossing are open Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 only.
Penrose Point State Park: Open March 1 through April 30 only.
Port Gamble Heritage Park Tidelands: Open year-round.
Potlatch DNR tidelands: Open April 1 through Aug. 31 only.
Potlatch State Park: Open April 1 through Aug. 31 only.
Quilcene Tidelands: Open April 1 through Dec. 31, with no restrictions on hours of harvest.
Information Contact: Camille Speck, WDFW Port Townsend Office, (360) 302-3030 ext. 313

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WDFW News – WDFW Adjusts Sport Clam Seasons On Several Public Beaches.

Action: The sport clam fishing seasons on several public beaches will be modified based on results from population, harvest and effort assessments.

Effective Dates: March 1, 2017, until further notice.

Species affected: All clams.

Location: Indian Island County Park, Oyster Reserves – North Bay, Penrose State Park, Port Gamble Heritage Park, Potlatch State Park, Potlatch DNR tidelands, Twanoh State Park, and Quilcene Tidelands.

Reason for action: Surveys at Indian Island County Park, Potlatch State Park, Potlatch DNR tidelands, Port Gamble Heritage Park and Twanoh State Park indicate that the clam population has increased, allowing for longer seasons.

Surveys at North Bay indicate that the clam population has increased slightly, but a shift in season timing is recommended to reduce user group conflicts and increased pressure on infrastructure at the access site.

The existing hours of darkness harvest restriction at Quilcene Bay Tidelands is no longer necessary; there is no conservation or management need to limit the hours of harvest.

Other information: The following are the season openings and closings for the identified beaches:

Indian Island County Park/Lagoon Beach: From the jetty boundary with Port Townsend Ship Canal east to the beach access stairs on Flagler Road near milepost 4 open Aug. 15 through Sept. 30 only.
Oyster Reserves – North Bay: State-owned oyster reserves and contiguous state-owned tidelands south and east of the powerline crossing are open Sept. 1 through Dec. 31 only.
Penrose Point State Park: Open March 1 through April 30 only.
Port Gamble Heritage Park Tidelands: Open year-round.
Potlatch DNR tidelands: Open April 1 through Aug. 31 only.
Potlatch State Park: Open April 1 through Aug. 31 only.
Twanoh State Park: Open July 15 through Sept. 30 only.
Quilcene Tidelands: Open April 1 through Dec. 31, with no restrictions on hours of harvest.
Information Contact: Camille Speck, WDFW Port Townsend Office, (360) 302-3030 ext. 313

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Oregon – Washington Set Initial initial Fishing Season For Columbia River Spring Chinook.

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon today approved an initial sport fishery for spring chinook salmon on the lower Columbia River that reflects a lower projection of returning fish but a larger share of the catch than in previous years.

Initial catch guidelines set by the two states will allow anglers fishing below Bonneville Dam to catch up to 6,905 upriver spring chinook through April 6, before the early season closes until mid-May for a run assessment.

Under the preseason forecast, approximately 160,400 upriver spring chinook are expected to return to the waters above Bonneville Dam this year, which represent about 80 percent of the 10-year average. Spring chinook returns to the Willamette River and other tributaries are also expected to be lower than in recent years.

On the other hand, 80 percent of the allowable catch of upriver spring chinook will be allocated to the sport fishery – up from 70 percent in previous years – based on policies recently adopted by the Washington and Oregon fish and wildlife commissions.

The allocation for the commercial fishery will be reduced accordingly and no commercial fisheries will be considered before the run update in mid-May, said Ron Roler, a Columbia River fish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

As in previous years, both states will manage the recreational fishery with a 30 percent buffer on the upriver chinook forecast until the results of the in-season run update are known, Roler said.

“We’ll continue to take a conservative approach in managing the fishery,” he said. “If the fish return at or above expectations, we will look toward providing additional days of fishing on the river later in the spring.”

The following fishing regulations will be in effect below Bonneville Dam from March 1 through April 6:

Fishing area: The fishery is currently open downstream from the Interstate 5 Bridge, but will expand upstream starting March 1 under the new rules. Fishing will then be open to boat and bank anglers daily from the mouth of the Columbia to Beacon Rock. Bank anglers can also fish upriver to Bonneville Dam.
Daily limit: Anglers are allowed one marked, hatchery-reared adult chinook salmon as part of their daily limit of two salmon, two steelhead, or one of each. Any chinook or steelhead without a clipped adipose fin and a healed scar must be released unharmed.
Lewis River area closure: An area of the Columbia River will be closed to all fishing near the mouth of the Lewis River, as defined by the fishing rule posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/attach/feb2317a.pdf. Anglers must also release any spring chinook in the Lewis River itself downstream from Merwin Dam.
The two states also approved a sport fishery between Bonneville Dam and the Washington-Oregon border, east of Umatilla, to open March 16 and run through May 5. The early season allocation for that area is 921 spring chinook.

Roler said river conditions could pose a challenge to anglers this season, noting that the Columbia River is currently running high and off-color with a substantial snowpack remaining in the Cascade Range.

“We ask anglers to keep watch for changing fishing rules, but it’s also important to keep a close eye on the river conditions,” he said. “Boat anglers, in particular, have a hard time catching fish when the river is running high and dirty, and personal safety has to be everyone’s first priority.”

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CDFW News – Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival Draws Record Crowd.

A record crowd of over 7,500 enjoyed the Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival earlier this month at Lake Sonoma Visitor Center and Warm Springs-Don Clausen Fish Hatchery east of Healdsburg in the Russian River watershed.

The event celebrated the return of steelhead to the hatchery operated by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and featured displays, booths and activities put on by more than 60 different state and federal agencies, non-profit conservation groups and vendors.

“More than 2,000 adult steelhead have returned to the hatchery so far,” said CDFW Senior Hatchery Manager Brett Wilson. “We are predicting between 4,000 and 6,000 fish will return this year, which is above average.”

The festival promotes understanding of the critical role natural resource agencies and conservation partners play in the stewardship of the Russian River fisheries in a format which lets children experience trout fishing, see steelhead spawned and meet with a wide variety of conservation professionals from biologists to rangers. This year a new interactive exhibit showcased the major fisheries of the area, history of the dam, and hatchery practices put in place to maintain a broad gene pool and promote genetic diversity of fish stocks.

CDFW facilitated outreach on the steelhead population and life cycle and threats that face water users and facilities like quagga mussels. The CDFW mobile fish exhibit featured live steelhead. A program on joint hatchery partnership with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to raise endangered coho salmon, the Coho Salmon Conservation Program, was also featured. One of the most popular experiences was the kids’ fishing event at the hatchery. Young anglers were thrilled at the chance to catch one of the steelhead trout raised in the hatchery.

Warm Springs-Don Clausen Fish Hatchery raises and releases 300,000 steelhead each year with 200,000 additional steelhead released from the satellite Coyote Facility, to support a recreational fishery in the Russian River. Adult steelhead spawned in the hatchery are returned to the lower portions of the river to migrate out to sea and return another year.

Warm Springs-Don Clausen Fish Hatchery is a mitigation hatchery mandated to compensate for the impact of the dam on the local steelhead population and conserve the local fishery.

The Lake Sonoma Steelhead Festival is hosted by the Friends of Lake Sonoma, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Sonoma County Water Agency and CDFW. For more information, please visit www.lakesonoma.org.

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CDFW News – Wildlife Conservation Board Funds Environmental Improvement and Acquisition Projects

At its Feb. 23 quarterly meeting, the Wildlife Conservation Board (WCB) approved approximately $10 million in grants to help restore and protect fish and wildlife habitat throughout California, including the Salton Sea. Some of the 16 funded projects will benefit fish and wildlife – including some endangered species – while others will provide public access to important natural resources. Several projects will also demonstrate the importance of protecting working landscapes that integrate economic, social and environmental stewardship practices beneficial to the environment, landowners and the local community. The state funds for all these projects come from bond measures approved by voters to help preserve and protect California’s natural resources. Funded projects include:

A $900,000 grant to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) to construct a boat launch facility on Trout Lake, renovate the entrance road and replace a bridge over the Little Shasta River on CDFW’s Shasta Valley Wildlife Area, approximately eight miles east of the City of Yreka in Siskiyou County.
A $1.4 million grant to the County of Yolo to re-construct the boat launch facility on the CDFW Knights Landing Public Access property, in Knights Landing in Yolo County.
A $2.4 million grant to the California Rangeland Trust for a cooperative project with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to acquire conservation easements over approximately 12,710 acres of land to protect open space and a natural landscape consisting of native oak woodlands, chaparral, annual grasslands and watersheds that are beneficial to Tule elk and other wildlife, and promote the preservation of habitat linkages and corridors between existing protected lands near the community of Pozo, in San Luis Obispo County.
A $1 million grant to the City of Santa Clarita to acquire fee title to approximately 200 acres of land to protect upland coastal scrub, oak woodland, coastal watersheds and important habitat linkages, south of Santa Clarita in Los Angeles County.
A $426,000 grant to Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy for a cooperative project with Department of Water Resources to restore approximately 97 acres of riparian habitat for threatened and endangered species. The property is on Endangered Habitats Conservancy property along the San Diego River in the El Monte Valley, two miles east of Lakeside in San Diego County.
For more information about the WCB please visit www.wcb.ca.gov.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 2 / 22 / 2017

On Saturday, Feb. 25th, the 26th annual Flyfishing Expo put on by the Lower Umpqua Flycasters will take place between 9 am and 3 pm at the Reedsport Community Center. Admission is free and 26 fly tiers are expected to reveal their expertise to public scrutiny.
This is one of finest free fishing expos held anywhere.

It seems that the ODFW is well aware that they have a “tiger by the tail” – a situation created by a commission vote to allow continued Columbia River gill netting. In fact, there was a meeting held in Salem on Feb. 14th in which the Columbia River Advisory Committee did not allow public testimony. Even more interesting is that an email announcing the Feb. 14th meeting was not sent out until the morning of Feb. 15th. It’s clear that they wanted limited and muted attendance. It’s always a big deal when two states collect millions of dollars for an express purpose and then one of the states decides not to use the monies it has collected for the intended purpose.

It’s a shame that Oregon’s most popular bass tournament, the Frostbite Open held annually on Tenmile Lakes is being held the same day as the Lower Umpqua’s Flyfishing Expo. But an avid angler should be able to attend the expo and still catch the tournament’s weigh-in which will be held near the boat ramp at Osprey Point RV Resort in Lakeside. In the past, this tournament has been tremendously productive and it will surely to be interesting to see what 75 2-man teams of serious bass anglers can pull out of this productive lake. All bass weighed in are quickly returned to the lake. A bass tournament held on Tenmile Lakes last weekend produced bass to 5.87 pounds with only a few teams getting skunked and should serve to ramp up expectations for next Saturday’s Frostbite Open.

I made my second annual trip to Roseburg to purchase my Douglas County Parking Pass. I knew I could send $30 into their office, but since I am a veteran and am entitled to a three dollar discount and determined to not pay a penny more than neccessary, I made the trip. The person I dealt with was quite friendly and very informative. She informed me that someone on active military duty could send a copy of their military ID card with the required $27. Someone with prior military service could send in a copy of their VA card along with the $27. I was also told that Douglas County was looking into making the passes available for purchase at other locations such as Bi-Mart stores. If that included the Florence Bi-Mart (Lane County) it would be most helpful as the only Bi-Marts in Douglas County are in Sutherlin, Winston and Roseburg – all a lengthy drive from the Oregon Coast.

With all the problems Douglas County had during “year-1” of the pass, it is still a better bargain than the Coos County Parking Pass which costs $30, is much more cheaply made, and will not hang from a rear view mirror. With it no longer being required for Powers Pond or Laverne Park, it is only good for parking in the County Park in Lakeside or at Riley’s Ranch in Hauser. The Coos County Parking Pass is not offered at a discount for veterans, but disabled vets can get some free nights at the Riley’s Ranch RV Park after properly registering their disabled status with Coos County.

The Lane County Parking Pass is the standard bearer regarding nearby County Parking Passes. It can be purchased at the Springfield Cabelas or any Lane County Bi-Mart Store. Although they are usually purchased in the sporting goods department – the pass can also be purchased at the front desk in the Bi-Mart store in Florence. The pass costs $40, but people aged 62 or older that have a Senior Pass only have to pay $20 – plus the pass is adhesive (and easily removed) and takes up a less than a three inch square on the lower left corner of a vehicle’s windshield.

It is kind of ironic how many of Oregon’s outdoor recreationists complain when purchasing their ODFW-issued licenses and tags, yet are relatively silent while often spending even more money for parking passes for multiple counties.

Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game will be increasing license and tag fees for 2018, but is asking the state legislature to enact a proposa that should greatly reduce the anger normally associated with such increases. The proposal, named “pricelock” will be unique among wildlife management agencies and will lock in fees for licenses and tags as long as anglers, hunters and trappers purchase their licenses and tags every year without interruption. If someone misses a year, their “pricelock options” would still be available, but at the current, and almost certainly higher, fee structure.

The agency believes that revenues would actually increase since sixty percent of the states licenses and tags are not renewed each year. If approved, the proposal would initially be for three years and then would be evaluated for possible “tweaking”.

What might keep Oregon from considering such a proposal would be a much higher license and tag renewal rate.

Outrage among anglers fishing the lower Deschutes River regarding increased numbers of smallmouth bass has decreased recently when it was revealed that the photo posted online by the Deschutes River Alliance was not a smallmouth bass, but instead a northern pikeminnow – a fish native to the Deschutes and Columbia rivers. It appears that a slight reduction in water temperatures in the lower Deschutes would go a long way towards slowing down the rate of increase in the river’s smallmouth population.

Trout plants for 2017 will begin next week in Coos and Douglas counties. Loon Lake will receive 2,000 legal rainbows while Bradley Lake, Saunders Lake, Johnson Mill Pond and Powers Pond will receive 3,000 legal rainbows each. Lower and Upper Empire lakes will each receive 2,000 12-inch trout. The approximate surface areas of these waters are: Loon Lake (290 acres); Bradley Lake (30 acres); Saunders Lake (55 acres; Johnson Mill Pond (100 acres) and Powers Pond (30 acres). The Empire Lakes are each just under 30 acres.

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WDFW News – One-Day Smelt Fishery Set To Open On Cowlitz River.

State fishery managers approved a limited sport fishery for smelt on the Cowlitz River for Saturday, Feb. 25.

Under this year’s rules, a portion of the Cowlitz River will be open to recreational dip netting along the shore from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. for one day only.

The area open to sport dipping stretches from the Highway 432 Bridge upstream to the Al Helenberg Memorial Boat Ramp, located approximately 1,300 feet upstream from the Highway 411/A Street Bridge in Castle Rock.

Each dip-netter may retain 10 pounds of smelt per day, with no more than one day’s limit in possession. Ten pounds is about a quarter of a five-gallon bucket. No fishing license is required to dip for smelt in Washington state.

This marks the fourth year that the state has allowed smelt fishing since 2010, when the species – also known as eulachon – was listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) along the Pacific Coast.

NOAA Fisheries, which oversees ESA-listed stocks, supports limited fisheries that contribute to research, said Cindy Le Fleur, regional fish program manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

“We’re expecting a modest return of about 3 million pounds of smelt to the Columbia River this year,” Le Fleur said. “That compares to an estimated 16.6 million pounds in 2014, when the run reached its recent peak.”

The sport fishery was also limited to one day in 2016, when the run was estimated at 5.1 million pounds. Le Fleur said these fisheries have a limited impact on the overall smelt return, while providing biological data on the species’ abundance.

Le Fleur said WDFW announced the decision to open this year’s sport fishery after tracking catch rates in the ongoing commercial test fishery in the mainstem Columbia River. Managers were looking for weekly average landings to reach at least 150 pounds per fisher to feel confident that the run was likely as large as anticipated pre-season she said, noting that last week’s landings averaged 281 pounds per fisher.

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Upcoming Fishing Shows.

Feb. 24th – FEB. 26
KDRV JACKSON COUNTY SPORTSMEN’S and OUTDOOR RECREATION SHOW at the Jackson county fairgrounds IN MEDFORD.
TIME: FRIDAY – NOON – 9pm; Saturday – 10 am – 8 pm; Sunday – 10 am – 5 pm.
ADMIssion: $7.00 (adults); $1.00 (ages 5-11); FREE (children under 5)

FEB. 25TH
LOWER UMPQUA FLYCASTERS FLYFISHING EXPO AT THE COMMUNITY BUILDING IN REEDSPORT
TIME: 9 am – 3 pm
ADMISSION: FREE TO EVERYONE

MARCH 2ND – 5TH
CENTRAL OREGON SPORTSMEN’S SHOW AT THE DESCHUTES COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS IN REDMOND..
TIME: THURSDAY & FRIDAY: NOON – 8 PM; SATURDAY: 10 am – 8 pm and sunday 10 am – 4 pm
admission: $10.00 (adults – 2-day pass for $15.00); $5.00 (ages 6 – 16) FREE ( children under 5)

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Roseburg Outdoor Show This Weekend

The Douglas County County Sportsmen’s and Outdoor Recreation Show started yesterday and will run Saturday and Sunday. Sponsored by ServePro of Douglas County – a company dealing with fire and water cleanup and restoration. On Saturday, the show which is being held at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, will run from 10 am until 8 pm and on Sunday thge show will run from 10 am until 5 pm. Admission for adults is $7.00 with children under six admitted for free. Children from six to 12 years of age are admitted for only $1.00. As usual, Bi-Mart has coupons good for $2.00 off the admission price.

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Lunker Walleye Photo From Mardon Resort.

Bill McNeil of Tacoma caught this 10.6lb, 31″ Walleye fishing on Soda Lake last weekend.

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