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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: April 2017
As the weather continues to improve – so does the fishing. Water temperature in the dunes is approaching 60 degrees with the main lake running in the mid-50s. The 10-day weather outlook is calling for temperatures mainly in the upper 60’s to mid-70s next week. This should have a very positive affect on the fishing for all species.
Trout fishing has been fair this past week. The reservoir is producing large rainbow trout for bank fishermen using Power Bait and night crawlers fished on the bottom. The Seep Lake’s trout fishing has improved. Canal Lake produced limits for a party of four anglers two days in a row. The fish were running 13” on average. They were trolling Wooly Bugger flies and using Rooster Tails for their fish. Lower Hampton continues to yield trout in the 2 to 3-pound range from the bank casting Rooster Tails.
Bass fishing continues to be very good for anglers fishing the dunes for Largemouth. Fish are averaging 2 to 3-pounds with fish in the 5-pound range reported. If you plan on fishing the dunes make sure you have heavy duty tackle capable of casting large lures and with enough back bone to wrestle big fish out of heavy cover. The bass are hitting jigs and creature baits Texas rigged, spinnerbaits and chatter baits. Fish these baits in the heavy wooded cover. Bass are also moving up to the 3 to 10-foot depth range on the main lake. Both Largemouth and Smallmouth bass are being caught along the shore and brush lines using Tube baits, Sniper Snubs-drop-shotting and Ned Rigs.
The walleye are beginning to show. We have several reports of fish being caught in Lind Coulee on spinner rigs and crawlers as well as 3” grubs jigged in 12-18 feet of water. Some fish are also showing in and in front of Crab Creek trolling Slow Death/Smile Blade rigs with half a night crawler. Most fish are in the 14-18” range with reports of several in the 20” range. With the weather improving next week, the fish should be finishing up their spawn and get back to feeding!
For those anglers that enjoy fishing for Channel Cats, now is a good time. We have had several reports of Channels being caught, including an 18-pounder caught by Mike Morrow of Marysville, WA. Mike had a great day – catching 30 Largemouth bass, 16 Brown Bullhead, and the big Cat! Mike was using 8-lb test line and a small piece of sausage for bait! It took him 20 minutes to land the big fish! Mike was fishing in 6 feet of water in the dunes. The shallows in Lind Coulee is another top spot for Channel Catfish.
A big “Thank You” to the Washington Bowfishing Association. They opened their event season with the Desert Machine Season Starter carp tournament this past Saturday on the Potholes Reservoir. Congratulations to team Shaw/Sellers for a 1st place finish with a 10-carp weight of 143.35 pounds and Big Fish at 21.43 pounds! As a group, the WBA removed close to 4,000 pounds of carp from the Reservoir in one day! Thank you again!
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission adopted ocean salmon seasons at their April 21 meeting. Adopted regulations reflect the continuing poor forecasts for numerous ocean salmon populations.
South Coast anglers should note the following regulations:
The area from Humbug Mt. south to the Oregon-California border will be closed for all ocean salmon fishing with the exception of the Chetco state waters (bubble) fishery for Chinook.
The Chetco state waters (bubble) fishery is scheduled to be open October 7-8 and October 14-15 with a bag limit of 1 Chinook per day. Please check the open area and regulations for the Chetco ocean terminal fishery.
As a reminder, in-river Chinook fisheries on the Rogue and Chetco rivers and other south coast streams will remain open. Please consult the 2017 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for river specific exceptions to the Southwest Zone Regulations.
ODFW cautions anglers to expect above average flows through the spring and summer on the Rogue River due to this year’s abundant snowpack.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) will start releasing Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout into Truckee area waters to give Sierra Nevada anglers the opportunity to catch some trophy sized trout in a year or two.
Last week CDFW received a shipment of cutthroat trout eggs from the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (USFWS) Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex in Gardnerville, Nevada. This is the second shipment of eggs in the last two years and is part of a joint effort between the USFWS and CDFW to bring a native, trophy sport fish to the Truckee River Basin.
“Anglers have been pulling some amazing, trophy-class Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout out of Pyramid Lake in Nevada for the last several years, and we really wanted to get this strain of fish for our anglers here in California,” said Jay Rowan, senior environmental scientist for CDFW’s North Central Region Hatchery Program. “Hopefully we will start seeing some really big ones showing up in a few years.”
The Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout is a lake form of cutthroat trout. This particular strain is native to the Truckee River Basin and is known for their aggressive feeding behavior and large size.
“They are an interesting fish to raise … being wild, they are a little wary, but they seem to take to feed fairly well,” said Steven Schnider, a CDFW fish and wildlife technician. “They are aggressive, so if you don’t separate them when they are young, you will see the bigger fish with tails sticking out of their mouths.”
This piscivorous (fish eating) behavior is what allows the Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout to grow quickly and to such large sizes. In choosing which waters to plant, CDFW fisheries biologists have targeted waters that have robust bait fish populations.
“We did a survey of anglers in some of the Truckee basin reservoirs back in 2010, and 85 percent of the anglers we interviewed were in favor of CDFW stocking Lahontan cutthroat trout in these waters,” said Rowan. “I think those results were largely driven by the success of Pilot Peak Lahontan cutthroat trout at Pyramid Lake.”
Stocking of the sub-catchable size fish from last year’s eggs will begin as early as next week and will continue as the snow melts and planting trucks can gain access. Lakes to be stocked include Echo, Fallen Leaf, Donner, Boca, Prosser, Stampede and Webber lakes.
The Lahontan National Fish Hatchery Complex is an integrated fishery program that includes the Lahontan National Fish Hatchery, Marble Bluff Fish Passage Facility and Fishery Assistance. The program emphasizes the connection of fishery management with the health of the lake and river habitats upon which species depend.
The only local spot scheduled to be stocked this week is Millicoma Pond which was slated to receive 500 legal rainbows, which is about as many trout as can be stuffed into a pond of only two-tenths of an acre. A Family Fishing Event is set for Saturday, April 29, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at Middle Empire Lake as part of Coos Bay’s annual Family Fun Day. Although Empire Lakes haven’t been stocked with trout since the second week of April, they have been stocked with 12,000 trout so far this year and not all of them have fallen prey to anglers or cormorants. There seems to be no evidence of trout in Mingis Park and 2,000 trout stocked in a pond of less than two surface acres of water that averages about 18-inches deep would lead one to believe that there was incredibly heavy and effective fishing pressure the first few days after the plant, or the trout all swam down the outflow culvert, or the plant didn’t take place.
The upcoming changes regarding Wickiup Reservoir’s kokanee limit were discarded last week because extreme backlash from upset anglers. The old regulation was a bonus limit of 25 kokanee in addition to the daily limit of five trout. The new, but now discarded regulation, would have included kokanee as part of the five trout daily limit. The fish populations in the reservoir will be closely monitored as the ODFW is concerned that too many fish will exit the reservoir via the dam’s unscreened outlet should the water get to low.
The harsh weather this winter and spring has heavily impacted numerous wildlife populations to the point where the number of deer and pronghorn antelope tags available in Baker, Malheur and Union counties underwent emergency reductions.
The ODFW closed all sturgeon fishing, including catch and release, in Sauvie Island’s Gilbert River because of poaching. The Big Eddy fishing pier, a disabled angler platform located at the headwaters of the river near Sturgeon Lake, is included in the closure. Anglers with ODFW disabled anglers permits are advised to use the Gilbert River fishing pier at the mouth of the river instead. Increasing numbers of sturgeon are hanging out in smaller Columbia tributaries as they try to avoid predation by sea lions – making them more susceptible to illegal poaching.
A massive liquid manure spill of 190,000 gallons temporarily closed Tillamook Bay to commercial and recreational crabbing. The manure came from a dairy farm that is likely to be cited and fined fined for the incident.
Amid all this negative outdoor news, the article that bothers me the most, was one out of California about toxic algae affecting the brains of sea lions along the cental and southern California coasts. This is believed to be the worst year ever for the Pseudo-nitzschia algae that produces domoic acid and the key factors seem to be increasing ocean temperatures and pollution. The neurotoxin that the Pseudo-nitzschia algae produces can destroy the brains of sea lions until they no longer know basic survival functions, such as how to evade predators and find food. It can cause sea lions to have seizures and paralysis, while one of the key signs of this dementia is when they are seen rolling their heads repeatedly. Although the sea lions are the most visible indicators of the problem, other animals such as dolphins and fish-eating birds are also affected. The most-affected animals seem to be those that consume large numbers of algar-eating forage fish.
As for the sea lions, those most affected were pregnant females that eat much more than normal while they are pregnant or nursing.
Cooking the fish does not decontaminate them, so humans consuming tainted fish can also be affected.
Not only is our marine environment becoming increasingly toxic, it also seems to be increasingly unproductive forage-wise. Recently-completed studies on the Lower Columbia River revealed that nearly one-fourth of the returning spring Chinook salmon were found to measure less than 27-inches in length – and many of these salmon were not jacks or immature Chinooks, but four or five year old adult salmon.
Continued cool weather has delayed the movement of bass and panfish into shallow water. Although the duration of daylight is also a factor in the timing of the spawn, the most important factor is water temperature and this year shallow water temperatures are more than a month behind those during normal years. As an example, during the preceding two years, the crappie spawn at the upper end of Loon Lake was over by the end of April and this year it hasnt even started yet.
Anglers fishing Winchester Bay’s South Jetty last week, enjoyed good fishing for rockfish. Possibly the best catch was made by an angler casting a white salmon spinner. A few spring Chinook salmon are being caught each week by anglers casting spinners at Half Moon Bay or Osprey Point.
The first springer turned in to the Wells Creek Inn weighed 28 pounds and the angler that caught it almost immediately caught a heavier one. That 29 pound nine ounce fish is the current leader in the Inn’s annual contest.
Pete Heley works weekends at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from ‘A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.
Razor clam diggers can look forward to a six-day opening starting tomorrow (April 26) on various ocean beaches and will have an increased daily limit of 25 clams at Long Beach.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has approved the dig on morning tides at four ocean beaches after toxin test results show the clams on those beaches are safe to eat.
State shellfish managers agreed to increase the daily limit for this dig at Long Beach, which has been closed much of the razor clam season due to elevated marine toxin levels, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager.
“We wanted to provide diggers with some additional opportunity at Long Beach since we know there are plenty of clams there for harvest,” Ayres said.
The increased limit of 25 clams per day applies only at Long Beach, Ayres said. Diggers at Twin Harbors, Mocrocks and Copalis can harvest the typical limit of 15 clams per day. Diggers are required to keep the first 15 clams (or first 25 clams at Long Beach) they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.
Ayres noted the opening coincides with the annual Long Beach Razor Clam Festival, which is held April 29 and 30. For more information, visit the festival website at http://longbeachrazorclamfestival.com/.
The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates and morning low tides:
April 26, Wednesday, 7:09 a.m.; -1.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Long Beach
April 27, Thursday, 7:55 a.m.; -1.5 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Long Beach
April 28, Friday, 8:42 a.m.; -1.8 feet, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Long Beach
April 29, Saturday, 9:32 a.m.; -1.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Long Beach
April 30, Sunday, 10:24 a.m.; -1.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Long Beach
May 1, Monday, 11:20 a.m.; -0.8 feet; Long Beach
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2017-18 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.
State health officials recently requested additional toxin tests at all four beaches after increased amounts of the algae that can cause domoic acid were observed in ocean waters. A natural toxin, domoic acid can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.
“The latest round of test results indicate we’re in the clear for digging at all four beaches,” Ayres said.
A decision about possible additional dates in May will be announced following another round of toxin tests next week.
State wildlife managers urge clam diggers to avoid disturbing snowy plovers and streaked horned larks. Both species nest in the soft, dry sand on the southern section of Twin Harbors beach and at Leadbetter Point on the Long Beach Peninsula. The snowy plover is a small bird with gray wings and a white breast. The lark is a small bird with a pale yellow breast and brown back. Male larks have a black mask, breast band and “horns.”
To protect these birds, the department asks that clam diggers avoid the dunes and areas of the beach with soft, dry sand. When driving to a clam-digging area, diggers should enter the beach only at designated access points and stay on the hard-packed sand near or below the high tide line.
More details on how to avoid disturbing nesting birds can be found on the WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.
A trace of mountain lion DNA was identified in a blood sample taken from inside a home in Pescadero, confirming reports that a mountain lion entered an occupied home and took a dog off the bed where the homeowner was sleeping.
On Monday, Apr. 17, 2017, a Pescadero homeowner called 911 at 3 a.m. to report an animal had entered her home through an open door and taken her 15-pound dog, which was sleeping on the end of her bed. San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputies responded and although they did not find the dog, they reported seeing wet paw prints at the entrance to the bedroom. They notified the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) and a wildlife officer responded later that morning. The wet prints had dried and were no longer visible. The wildlife officer was unable to find any other tracks or obvious sign of a mountain lion. He did discover a small drop of blood on the door, which he collected for analysis.
Due to the nature of the report, the wildlife officer drove the blood sample to the CDFW Wildlife Forensics Laboratory in Sacramento the same day. Forensic analysis confirmed the blood found in the home was predominantly domestic dog, with trace amounts of mountain lion DNA, confirming a mountain lion had entered the home and taken the dog.
The property owners are eligible for a depredation permit, which would allow them or an agent acting on their behalf to take the offending mountain lion. However, they opted not to receive the permit. No further action will be taken by CDFW.
CDFW stresses that this lion’s behavior is extremely rare. Most mountain lions are elusive in nature and rarely seen. CDFW urges residents in the area to take all reasonable actions to secure their properties and domestic pets to better coexist with not only mountain lions, but all wildlife. For tips, please see www.wildlife.ca.gov/Keep-Me-Wild.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) reminds 2016-2017 Spiny Lobster Report Card holders to submit online or return their cards by April 30, 2017, as required by law. The cards must be reported even if no lobsters were taken or no attempts were made to take lobsters.
Information collected from the cards provides CDFW with data necessary to monitor and manage California’s spiny lobster fishery. Card holders should review their report cards carefully and check that the information recorded is complete and accurate.
Any 2016-2017 Spiny Lobster Report Card holder who fails to submit online or return their card(s) by April 30, 2017 will be charged a non-return fee of $21.60 upon purchase of a 2017-2018 Spiny Lobster Report Card. Otherwise, they may choose to skip the 2017-2018 fishing season to be able to purchase a spiny lobster report card a following season at no extra cost. If multiple spiny lobster report cards were purchased, please report all cards, including lost cards, to avoid the non-return fee when purchasing a spiny lobster report card next lobster fishing season.
Spiny Lobster Report Card data can be submitted online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/reportcards or by mail to:
CDFW – Lobster Report Card
3883 Ruffin Rd.
San Diego, CA 92123
For additional information and a list of frequently asked questions about this program, please visit CDFW’s California Spiny Lobster webpage.
The California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) has extended the deadline to participate in an online public survey about recreational fishing for red abalone. To allow for greater participation, the survey will be open through April 30.
The 20-question survey will help marine biologists gather public input to assist in the development of a red abalone fishery management plan (FMP). The FMP will incorporate and expand current management practices for the northern California red abalone sport fishery as outlined in the Abalone Recovery and Management Plan, as well as meet requirements for fisheries management in the Marine Life Management Act.
A similar survey was conducted in 2015, the results of which are available online. Marine biologists hope that the 2017 survey will help determine if and how recent unprecedented environmental conditions have changed preferences on abalone management. The online survey is intended to reach a broad audience and will ensure the abalone management framework developed under the FMP addresses the interests and concerns of the public.
To complete the survey by mail instead of through the website, please call (707) 964-5791 to request the survey forms or write to: CDFW, attn. Jerry Kashiwada, 32330 North Harbor Dr., Fort Bragg, CA 95437.
More details about abalone management and the FMP process can be found on the CDFW website.
The general trout opener in many counties throughout California will commence on Saturday, April 29, one hour before sunrise.
Because of the popularity of this annual event with the angling public, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) is making every effort to stock trout in all accessible waters approved for planting prior to the season opener. Because of the increased rains this winter, CDFW expects most lakes to be open and available for fishing. However, some upper elevation lakes may be inaccessible.
Most lakes, rivers and streams have a limit of five trout per day and 10 in possession. However, regulations differ on season opening and closing dates, bag limits, minimum and maximum size limits and gear restrictions.
Anglers are advised to check specific area regulations and opening dates in the 2017-18 California Freshwater Sport Fishing Regulation booklet (www.wildlife.ca.gov/regulations) for regulations specific to each body of water.
In 2012, CDFW regional staff created the Eastern Sierra Back Country Fishing Guide to provide anglers with a quick, informative and accurate account of the distribution of fisheries in back country high elevation lakes. This guide does not address front country waters, defined as lakes and streams that are accessible by vehicle. Most of the lakes lie within U.S. Forest Service lands managed as wilderness and usually require back country permits for overnight use. Most back country fisheries are based on self-sustaining populations of trout and do not need regular trout stocking to maintain fish populations. The guide can be found at www.wildlife.ca.gov/Regions/6 (under Hunting, Fishing, Education).
Crowley Lake in the Eastern Sierra is expected to be one of the most popular opening day destinations for anglers from around the state. In past years, an estimated 10,000 anglers have turned out for the opener, and approximately 50,000 trout are caught during the first week of the season. Typically Crowley is planted with hundreds of thousands of small and medium sized trout, and because of excellent food sources in the 5,280-acre reservoir, these trout grow to catchable sizes and weigh at least three-quarters of a pound by the opener. About 10 percent of the trout caught at Crowley during opening weekend weigh over a pound and a half. These fish are from stocks planted in previous years or are wild fish produced in Crowley’s tributary waters.
Anglers are asked to be particularly vigilant when cleaning fish and fishing gear at Crowley Lake and in the upper and lower Owens River Drainage. The New Zealand Mudsnail was discovered several years ago in the Owens River Drainage, and CDFW would like to prevent mudsnails from spreading into other waters. To avoid spreading New Zealand Mudsnails and other aquatic invasive species to other waters, anglers are advised to dispose of their fish guts in bear-proof trash cans, rather than throw them back into the water. Wading gear should be properly cleaned before using in new waters.
All persons age 16 and older must possess a valid California fishing license to fish within state lines. Freshwater fishing licenses can be purchased online at www.wildlife.ca.gov/licensing/online-sales or at regional CDFW offices or other license agents. Anglers no longer have to display their license visibly above the waist but they must have it in their possession while fishing.