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Contact Pete Heley
PO Box 264
Reedsport, OR 97467
Monthly Archives: April 2017
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Finalizes 2017 Recreational Halibut Seasons
The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission (OFWC) finalized the 2017 Oregon recreational halibut seasons and regulations.
The OFWC adopted mandatory descending devices for the recreational halibut fishery. It is mandatory to have a descending device onboard the vessel when fishing for, or in possession of, Pacific halibut, and must be used for releasing any rockfish species when fishing outside of 30 fathoms. Information on descending devices can be found online.
The OFWC also adopted the season dates recommended by ODFW staff, described below:
Columbia River Subarea (Leadbetter Point, WA to Cape Falcon, OR)
Nearshore Season–Open Mon-Wed, inside the 40-fathom line off of Oregon, beginning May 8, 2017 through the earlier of quota attainment or Sept. 30, 2017. Quota = 500 lbs.
All-Depth Season–Opens May 4, 2017 Thurs-Sun, every week through the earlier of quota attainment or Sept. 30, 2017. Quota = 12,299 lbs.
Central Oregon Coast Subarea (Cape Falcon to Humbug Mt.)
Nearshore Season–Opens June 4, seven days per week, inside the 40-fathom line, through the earlier of quota attainment or Oct. 31, 2017. Quota = 28,897 lbs. Note: June 1-3 are “all-depth” days which supersedes the nearshore fishery, so regardless of depth fishing the all-depth regulations apply (limited retention of other species). Therefore the nearshore fishery starts June 4, instead of June 1 this year.
Spring All-Depth Season– fixed open dates are: May 11-13; May 18-20; June 1-3; June 8-10; and June 15-17. If quota remains, possible back-up dates are: June 29-July 1; July 13-15; and July 27-29. Quota = 151,712 lbs.
Summer All-Depth Season– opens Aug 4-5, every other Fri. and Sat. through the earlier of quota attainment, or Oct. 31, 2017. Quota = 60,203 lbs.
Southern Oregon Subarea (Humbug Mt. to the OR/CA Border)
Opens May 1, seven days per week through the earlier of quota attainment or Oct. 31, 2017. Quota = 10,039 lbs.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has adopted a year-round ban on sturgeon fishing in the Gilbert River as well as additional seasonal angling closures.
Under temporary rules that take effect Monday, April 24, the Gilbert River closes to sturgeon fishing, including catch-and-release, year around, and closes to fishing for all species April 24-June 15 and Oct. 1-Dec. 31. Fishery managers intend to make this closure permanent starting in 2018.
The closure is primarily a conservation measure designed to protect sturgeon on the Gilbert River, which have been targeted by poachers, according to Tucker Jones, ODFW’s Ocean Salmon and Columbia River Program manager.
“Sturgeon concentrations in the Gilbert River have unfortunately resulted in an unacceptable level of illegal actions,” said Jones. “It’s regrettable that the actions of these bad actors are taking opportunity away from the law abiding public.”
The new rules apply from the Gilbert River fishing pier, near the confluence with Multnomah Channel, upstream approximately four miles to Sturgeon Lake. Consistent with regulations for the lower Willamette and Columbia rivers, it has been closed to retention of sturgeon since 2014, although catch-and-release fishing was allowed.
For several years, Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife officers have documented frequent illegal activities, including sturgeon poaching along the Gilbert River. Troopers conducted surveillance in this area and apprehended poachers hiding sturgeon in brush, backpacks and vehicles, fishing at night, and other crimes.
The Big Eddy fishing pier, a disabled angler platform located at the headwaters of the river near Sturgeon Lake, will be 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.
Algae so toxic that it’s causing fatal brain damage in California sea lions is the latest problem plaguing ocean animal rescue operations along the Pacific coast.
Domoic acid poisoning is emerging as a key threat this year to the animals that ingest the toxin while eating fish and other sea creatures that feed on algae, rescue organizations in southern California warn.
Some birds and dolphins have also been affected by the algae, which authorities warn can be harmful to humans who eat shellfish.
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.
And a spokesman for the Channel Islands Marine and Wildlife Institute told the Ventura County Star that this is the “worst year ever” for cases of domoic acid poisoning.
Marine Animal Rescue has reported picking up 33 disoriented sea lions suffering from symptoms this month alone.
In Laguna Beach, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center has reported 14 sea lion deaths so far this month from domoic acid poisoning. Many of the effected animals were pregnant females, primarily because they’re feeding especially heavily now to support their pregnancies.
Rescue centers try to flush the toxin out of an animal’s system, but sometimes their brains are too significantly damaged to save.
No cases in humans have yet been reported this year. Commercially harvested seafood is tested before it goes to market, but the California Department of Health sent out a warning last week against eating mussels, clams or whole scallops harvested by sports shellfish collectors in Santa Barbara County.
“Dangerous levels of domoic acid have been detected in mussels from this region, making them unsafe to consume,” the statement warned.
The Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing Systems at Scripps Institution of Oceanography issued a domoic acid alert last week off Orange County.
Domoic acid poisoning was also a major problem 10 years ago, when 175 sea lions reportedly showed clinical signs of being affected. But the sheer number of animals the algae has sickened in such a short space of time this year has shocked welfare groups.
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Marine Mammal Care Center of Los Angeles veterinarian Dr. Lauren Palmer said the group had taken in 15 adult sea lions in 10 days this month that had showed clinical signs of domoic acid. “It is unusual to see this many in a 10-day period,” she told the Orange County Register.
Keith Matassa, executive director of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, called the sea lions the “canaries of the marine environment” because they are indicators of an ocean’s health.
Many scientists say that the development of the toxin is a byproduct of increased ocean pollution and higher water temperatures that allow it to thrive. With heavy rains this year, more fertilizer and waste water has washed into the sea.
“We do know society is shaping harmful algal blooms,” Clarissa Anderson, head of the Scripps operation, told the Beach Reporter. “We are having an effect. We are seeing more of them. We are seeing bigger ones, more toxic ones all the time all over the entire world.”
You can help sea lions by contributing to groups that help them. Visit the Pacific Marine Mammal Center’s website here, CIMWI’s website here, Marine Animal Rescue here and the Marine Mammal Care Center of Los Angeles here.
Spring Chinook season will open in Hells Canyon on April 22 from the Dug Bar boat ramp to the boundary below Hells Canyon Dam.
Snake River spring Chinook are currently making their way up the Columbia River headed for Hells Canyon.
“While we don’t expect these fish to arrive for a few weeks, we want anglers to have access as soon as they do,” said Jeff Yanke, ODFW fish biologist in Enterprise. “This has been a popular opportunity in recent years and is a good chance to catch some springers close to home,” he added.
The daily bag limit is 4 spring Chinook per day with no more than 2 being adults over 24 inches. Anglers must stop fishing for salmon for the day when they have retained 4 salmon or 2 adult salmon, whichever comes first. Barbless hooks and a Columbia River Basin Endorsement are required when fishing for salmon, steelhead and sturgeon in the Snake River. All other 2017 sport fishing regulations apply. Due to limited access in this section, most anglers access this fishery below Hells Canyon Dam or by jet boat.
Managers with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and Idaho Fish and Game expect a modest run of about 2,000 hatchery spring Chinook to return to Hells Canyon Dam.
“Unfortunately, Chinook runs have been lagging in recent years due to unfavorable ocean conditions,” said Yanke. “However, we’re happy offer this opportunity, despite the marginal run, and anticipate better returns in the future.”
Snake River spring Chinook enter the Columbia river during early spring and travel nearly 600 miles past eight dams to reach Hells Canyon Dam These fish are raised at Rapid River Hatchery in Idaho with funds provided by the Idaho Power Company.
The Potholes Bass Club held their 38th annual “Potholes Open” bass tournament this past weekend with a full field of 132 boats participating!
We were truly amazed by both the quantity and quality of fish that were caught, weighed and released on the Potholes Reservoir. There were nine Largemouth bass brought to the scales that weighed over 6 pounds with two of them weighing over 7lbs! That was just on Day 1. There were quite a few 6 fish limits weighing over 20 pounds with four limits over 25 pounds throughout the 2-day event. There was a total of 2,571 pounds of bass caught and released!
Congratulations to Jordan Doucet and Chad Eidson for finishing in 1st Place with a two-day total weight of 46.32 pounds for 12 Largemouth bass. Congratulations to Aaron Echterncamp of Moses Lake for weighing in the biggest fish of the tournament – a 7.15 pound Largemouth!
Most the action was taking place back in the sand dunes as the bass are in pre-spawn mode. Anglers used a variety of baits and techniques to catch their fish. Many pitched and flipped jigs and punch baits close to shore in the heavy cover. Others caught fish on chatter-baits, spinnerbaits, swim jigs, and swim baits. There was quality smallmouth bass caught on the main lake as well by anglers drop-shotting and throwing football heads and hula grubs.
This should be a fantastic year for bass on the Reservoir!
MarDon Resort Events
April 22, 2017 – Washington Bowfishing Shoot-Out (washingtonbowfishing.com
May 6-7, 2017 – Spring Walleye Classic ( A CWFAC Event)
May 20-21, 2017 – Northwest Bass Event (nwbass.net)
May 25, 2017 – Live Music by Paul Sweeney at The Beach House at MarDon 6pm-8pm
May 28, 2017 – Karoake at the Beach House at MarDon Resort
Remember – FREE FISHING WEEKEND on Saturday and Sunday (April 22nd and 23rd). No License required to fish, crab or clam. No combined angling tag required to catch salmon or steelhead. This a great time for your out-of-state friends or relatives to visit.
Florence-area lakes being planted this week include Cleawox (1,325 12-inchers and 186 15-inchers); Alder (850 legals, 475 12-inchers and 36 15-inchers); Buck (425 12-inchers); Dune (850 legals, 675 12-inchers and 72 15-inchers); Georgia (450 legals and 75 12-inchers); Mercer (2,250 12-inchers); Munsel (3,150 12-inchers and 150 15-inchers); Perkins (325 12-inchers); Siltcoos Lagoon (775 12-inchers and 106 15-inchers); Siltcoos Lake (1,000 12-inchers) and Sutton Lake (1,500 12-inchers).
Despite heavy trout stocking for its size, anglers are catching very few trout out of Siltcoos Lagoon and trying to target recently planted trout in Siltcoos Lake is extremely difficult as the usual plant is 1,000 trout and the lake covers well over 3,000 surface acres.
Also being planted this week are the Newport-area lakes with Big Creek Reservoir #1 getting 1,000 legals and 1,000 12-inchers and Big Creek Reservoir #2 getting 2,000 legals, 1,800 12-inchers and 200 15-inchers. Olalla Reservoir, near Toledo, received 1,000 legals and 1,250 12-inchers.
The ocean salmon seasons are now set and the harshest news is that there will not be any ocean salmon fishing out of Brookings or Gold Beach. There will be river fisheries on the Chetco and Rogue rivers, but they will likely be more restrictive than in past years. The Pacific Fishery Management Council set seasons Tuesday in Sacramento, ordering a season-long salmon closure from Humbug Mountain to Eureka, Calif., to protect Klamath River fall chinook.
The ocean all-salmon seasons start on June 24th from Ledbetter Point in southwest Washington southward to Humbug Mountain near Port Orford.
Fishing out of Columbia River ports under quotas for coho and chinook north of Cape Falcon, (near Manzanita), may last through Labor Day if numbers aren’t caught.
The salmon seasons and quotas are as follows:
Cape Falcon to Leadbetter Point (Columbia River ports) – June 24 through Sept. 4; or until quotas of 21,000 hatchery coho or 13,200 chinook are caught. Note: No early hatchery-only chinook season this year. Bag limit is two fish per day, but only one can be a chinook.
Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain (including Garibaldi, Pacific City, Depoe Bay, Newport, Florence, Winchester Bay, Charleston, Bandon and Port Orford) – Open now through Oct. 31 for chinook, except: All salmon including hatchery coho June 24 through July 31 or a quota of 18,000 coho. Bag limit is two fish per day. Note: A non-clip coho season will be allowed Sept. 2-30 with a quota of 6,000 coho. The regular ocean Chinook fishery will still be in effect after the hatchery coho season ends or the coho quota is met, until its normal closing date of October 31st.
A reminder of just how “fragile” some of the salmon season decision making can be, is just how close the decision was to keep the minimum size for cohos during the September ocean season at 16-inches. It was almost increased to at least 24-inches because two of the undersiz chinooks kept by anglers last year, thinking they were legal cohos of more than 16-inches, happened to be Chinook salmon from the Klamath River – currently a very depressed run.
Fishing for spring Chinook salmon on the Umpqua River above Scottsburg has been very good, but the fishery has been complicated by a truck severely damaging the Scottsburg bridge. Anglers running jet-powered sleds are the least inconvenienced and anglers launching at Scottsburg Park with props can motor up to the bridge or slightly above it, but the heavy current and submerged boulders makes this strategy quite risky. Anglers traveling from Interstate 5 can access the river east of Scottsburg but pretty much need to take out where they launch. The most-inconvienced salmon anglers are the anglers in our local area that want to fish upriver of the Scottsburg Bridge. Other anglers much-inconvienced would be Eugene-area anglers wanting to travel Highway 38 to fish the larger coastal lakes or Loon Lake. As of Monday, the bridge was open to one lane traffic with reasonable time delays.
As of last weekend, spawning crappies have not yet showed up at the old “Duckett’s Dock” at the upper end of Loon Lake.
Additional depressing news is that Horsfall Lake continues to have enough surface acreage to widely scatter any largemouth bass, yellow perch, or brown bullheads present in the lake and also block easy access to Horsfall Beach, a popular surf fishing spot for redtailed surfperch.
Anglers wanting to fish any of the shallow lakes that are common in the sand dunes would do well to concentrate their efforts on waters that have well-defined shorelines that fluctuate more depthwise rather than surface area-wise.
Pete Heley works weekends at the Stockade Market & Tackle in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.
Action: Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands) will close to salmon fishing at the end of the day April 21.
Effective Date: 12: 01 a.m. April 22 through April 30, 2017.
Species affected: Salmon.
Location: Marine Area 7.
Reason for action: Preliminary estimates and fishery projections indicate that Marine Area 7 will exceed the allowable limit of total chinook encounters – including both retained and released fish – prior to the planned April 30 closure date. The fishery is being closed to control impacts on stocks of concern and ensure compliance with conservation objectives.
Other information: Through April 21, Marine Area 7 has a one hatchery chinook limit. Salmon fishing remains open in other areas, including marine areas 5, 8-1, 8-2, 11, 12 and 13. Check the sport fishing rules page for details: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/. The most recent preliminary estimates can be found at: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports_plants.html.
Information contact: Ryan Lothrop, (360) 902-2808, or Mark Baltzell, (360) 902-2807.
Action: Open two sections of the lower Yakima River to fishing for hatchery spring chinook salmon.
Species affected: Chinook salmon.
Dates: April 28 through June 15, 2017.
Area 1: From the Hwy. 240 bridge in Richland (river mile 2.1) to the Grant Avenue Bridge in Prosser (river mile 47.0), approximately 1,000 feet downstream of Prosser Dam.
Area 2: From the Wine Country Road Bridge in Prosser (1,300 feet upstream of Prosser Dam at river mile 47.3) to the State Route 241 Bridge (Sunnyside – Mabton Hwy.) at river mile 59.8
Reason for action: Yakama Nation and WDFW fishery managers are forecasting a harvestable return of 2,760 adult hatchery spring chinook to the Yakima River in 2017. Opening the two sections of the Yakima River for spring chinook will provide additional fishing opportunity
Daily limit of two (2) hatchery chinook. Minimum size – 12 inches. Hatchery salmon are identified by a missing adipose fin and a healed scar in the location of the missing fin. Wild salmon (adipose fin intact) must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.
Terminal Gear: Up to two (2), single-point, barbless hooks with a hook gap from point to shank of 3/4 inch or less when fishing for salmon. Use of bait is allowed.
For the duration of this salmon fishery, the Yakima River is closed to all fishing within 400 feet (upstream and downstream) of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s Chandler Powerhouse/Pumping Station tailrace pool at river mile 35.8.
A Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement is required to participate in this fishery except for “Free Fishing Weekend,” June 10-11 (recording salmon catch on a free Catch Record Card is required on Free Fishing Weekend).
The use of two (2) fishing poles is permitted during the salmon fishery provided the participating angler has purchased a “Two-Pole Endorsement” (in addition to the freshwater fishing license and Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement).
Fishing for steelhead remains closed. All steelhead (rainbow trout greater than 20″ in total length) must be immediately released unharmed and cannot be removed from the water prior to release.
Information contacts: Paul Hoffarth, District 4 Fish Biologist, (509) 545-2284 (Pasco); or John Easterbrooks, Regional Fish Program Manager, (509) 457-9330 (Yakima).
Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW “Fishing in Washington” rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360)796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.
Bend, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has rescinded two emergency rules that would have removed the kokanee “bonus bag” on Wickiup Reservoir, and closed the Deschutes River arm of the reservoir a month earlier in late summer.
The rules were intended to protect natural reproduction in the reservoir under new water management rules that could affect key spawning grounds.
“We’re going to take a step back to do some additional monitoring and to engage the angling community in a discussion of what the fish management options are for Wickiup under the new water regime,” said Brett Hodgson, ODFW fish manager.
Wickiup Reservoir will open to fishing on April 22 under the regulations printed in the 2017 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.