WDFW News – 100’s of Lowland Lakes to Open Saturday, April 28th.

Trout fishing in Washington reaches full speed April 28 when hundreds of lowland lakes – stocked with millions of fish – open for a six-month season.

To prepare for the opener, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (WDFW) fish hatchery crews have been stocking more than 12 million trout and kokanee in lakes statewide.

“Although many lakes are open year-round, the fourth Saturday in April marks the traditional start of the lowland lakes fishing season, when hundreds of thousands of anglers are expected to turn out to fish,” said Steve Thiesfeld, WDFW’s inland fish program manager.

This is also the first lowland lakes opener in which those anglers can use the new Fish Washington mobile app to help find a fishing hole near them.

“The Fish Washington app is a planning tool that should be on every Washington angler’s smart phone,” said Thiesfeld. “It is designed to convey up-to-the-minute fishing regulations for every lake in the state.”

To obtain the new Fish Washington mobile phone app, anglers just need to visit WDFW’s website (https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/mobile_app.html), the Google Play store or Apple’s App store.

To participate in the opener, Washington anglers must have an annual freshwater or combination fishing license valid through March 31, 2019. Licenses can be purchased online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov; by telephone at 1-866-246-9453; or at hundreds of license dealers across the state. For details on license vendor locations, visit the WDFW website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/.

April 28 also marks the start of WDFW’s annual lowland lakes fishing derby, which runs through Oct. 31.

Anglers who catch one of 1,000 green-tagged trout can claim prizes provided by license dealers and other sponsors located across the state. The total value of prizes is more than $38,000. For a list of lakes with prize fish and details on how to claim prizes, visit https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/Home/FishingDerby.

Fish stocked by WDFW include some 2.1 million catchable trout, nearly 125,000 larger trout averaging about one pound apiece, and millions of smaller trout that were stocked last year and have grown to catchable size.

Fish stocking details, by county and lake, are available in the annual stocking plan on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/statewide/

Of more than 7,000 lakes, ponds and reservoirs in Washington, nearly 700 have WDFW-managed water-access sites, including areas accessible for people with disabilities. Other state and federal agencies operate hundreds more. Details on water access site locations can be found on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/lands/water_access/.

Anglers parking at WDFW water-access sites are required to display on their vehicle the WDFW Vehicle Access Pass that is provided free with every annual fishing license purchased—or a Discover Pass. Anglers who use Washington State Parks or Department of Natural Resource areas need a Discover Pass. Information on the pass can be found at https://discoverpass.wa.gov/

Before heading out, anglers should check fishing regulations on WDFW’s webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ or consult the Fish Washington app.

WDFW employees and their immediate families are not eligible to claim fishing derby prizes.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 4 / 18 / 2018

There was some good news last week regarding ocean salmon fishing. The ocean chinook season, which normally runs from March 15th through October 31st, but this year was only slated to run from March 15th through April 30th has been extended to its normal October 31st closing date. As for ocean coho salmon, the quota for finclipped cohos was increased to 35,000 from last year’s 15,000. There will also be a nonselective ocean coho season which will run on Fridays and Saturdays beginning on September 7th and run until September 29th or when the quota of 3,550 cohos is reached.
The ocean finclipped season will start on June 30th and run through September 3rd – if the 35,000 finclipped coho quota has not been reached.

Generous quotas and seasons will not ensure good ocean salmon fishing – only the opportunity to fish. The ODFW forecast for coho is down this year for both the Oregon coast and Columbia River, – largely due to poor ocean feed conditions.

Ocean salmon anglers can look forward to more opportunity this year based on recommendations made last week for federal waters (outside three miles) during a Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Portland.

The PFMC recommendations will be forwarded to NOAA Fisheries for approval and implementation. The Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will be asked to adopt matching rules for State waters (inside 3 mi) at their April 20 meeting in Astoria.

Unlike the full closure to salmon fishing last year, the area south of Humbug Mt to the OR/CA border will be open to sport fishing for chinook from May 19-Aug. 29. The strong forecast for Rogue River fall Chinook is a bright spot for the coast this year.

Commercial troll fishing for Chinook will be open intermittently along the whole Oregon coast from May through the summer. In 2017, all commercial salmon trolling was closed south of Florence.

Winchester Bay’s South Jetty continues to provide fair fishing for striped surfperch, greenling and rockfish and good fishing for lingcod. Muddy Umpqua River water can best be dealt with by fishing near high tide when the clearer ocean water is most evident. Fishing for redtail surfperch in the surf has been fair to good at Sparrow Park Road, near the second parking lot south of Winchester Bay – and also at Horsfall Beach near North Bend.

Trout plants this week in the Florence area include Alder Lake (850 legals, 511 trophies); Dune Lake (850 legals, 711 trophies); Perkins Lake (325 trophies); Siltcoos Lagoon (881 trophies); Siltcoos Lake (1,000 trophies) and Sutton Lake (1,500 trophies) Trout plants in Coos County include South Tenmile Lake (3,000 legals); Powers Pond (3,000 legals; and Lower Empire Lake (2,000 trophies). Upper Empire Lake is slated to receive 2,000 trophy rainbows next week. Garrison Lake, in Port Orford, was also stocked (3,000 legals, 200 trophies).

Normally, April is a productive month to catch striped bass. Because of low striper numbers in the Umpqua River-Smith River system and muddy water in the Coquille River there have been no recent reports. The small striper population that once existed on the Rogue River above Gold Beach seems to have disappeared with colder water releases from Lost Creek and Applegate reservoirs.

Recent cool temperatures has put the “kibosh” on warmwater fishing success. Spawning crappie have yet to show up at the upper end of Loon Lake or the lower end of Eel Lake.

If and when the Umpqua River clears and drops there should be fishable numbers of shad in the river.

Police are asking for the public’s help after three bald eagles were found shot to death near Albany on March 16. An Oregon State Police Fish and Wildlife Division trooper responding to tip discovered three dead eagles in the Tangent area south of Albany. Gunshot wounds were found on each bird.

An angler that recently posted a picture of a lower Cowlitz River spring chinook on a popular online fishing site was met with numerous posts filled with anger, scorn and even derision – to the point where the angler posted even more detailed information on the catch and promised to continue to do so in the future.

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) debuted a new mobile app on April 9th that promises to make determining fishing regulations for Washington waters easier and more convenient. The free “Fish Washington” app is available on Google Play, Apple’s App store and WDFW’s website (https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/mobile_app.html), and is designed to convey up-to-the-minute fishing regulations for every lake, river, stream and marine area in the state. The exception, for now, is the app does not yet include information on shellfish and seaweed collection rules. The app release comes ahead of the season’s lowland lakes fishing opener Apr. 28, the state’s biggest fishing day of the year.

The application contains these features, among others: Interactive map-based rules to help anglers find fishing near them.;
Details on harvest limits and allowable gear for fishable species in each body of water. Links to the Fish Washington website and instructional videos designed to convey when, where and how to fish in Washington; Locations of boat launches and other fishing access points; Ability to add waypoints on maps, and report poaching in progress.

The app also features downloadable updates and offline capacity designed for those who may not have cell service in remote areas or on the water.

It is with deep regret that I received news of the passing of Patrick McManus. He once wrote me a very encouraging letter to me regarding one of my attempts at a humorous article decades ago. I consider McManus to have had the zaniest sense of humor of any outdoor writer in my lifetime – with the possible exception of Ed Zern.

Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.

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Sturgeon Fishery Set in Columbia River Estuary Downstream From Wauna Powerlines.

Action: Allows a limited recreational retention fishery for white sturgeon in the Columbia River estuary. White sturgeon from 44-inches minimum to 50-inches maximum fork length may be retained.

Effective Dates: Monday, Wednesday, and Saturdays: May 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28, 30, and June 2, 4, 2018. Sturgeon angling, including catch and release, closes at 2 p.m. on each open day.

Species affected: White sturgeon.

Locations: The Columbia River from the Wauna powerlines to the mouth at Buoy 10, including Youngs Bay and all adjacent Washington tributaries.

Reason for action: Increased legal-size population over the past few years has allowed for a conservative retention fishery within the lower Columbia River.

Other information: Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon will continue to be allowed on all non-retention days.
Daily white sturgeon limit: One fish.
Annual white sturgeon limit: Two fish.
Retention of green sturgeon is prohibited.

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Sport Sturgeon Retention Season Set in Bonneville and Dalles Pools.

Action: Allow retention of white sturgeon for one day within the following slot limits:

Bonneville Pool: between 38-inches and 54-inches fork length.
The Dalles Pool: between 43-inches and 54-inches fork length.
Effective dates: Friday June 15, 2018
Species affected: White sturgeon

Locations: Fishing will be open in the Columbia River within the Bonneville Pool, The Dalles Pool, and adjacent tributaries, except within the spawning sanctuary closure areas:

Bonneville Pool: From The Dalles Dam downstream 1.8 miles to a line from the east (upstream) dock at the Port of The Dalles boat ramp straight across to a marker on the Washington shore.
The Dalles Pool: From John Day Dam downstream 2.4 miles to a line crossing the Columbia at a right angle to the thread of the river from the west end of the grain silo at Rufus, Oregon.
Reason for action: There are sturgeon available for harvest within the established guidelines for both reservoirs.

Other information: Catch-and-release will continue to be allowed, except in the spawning sanctuary closure areas.

Daily white sturgeon limit: One fish.

Annual white sturgeon limit: Two fish.

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WDFW News – Recreational Bottomfish Changes

Coastal recreational bottomfish limit changes

Actions: Increases the daily limit for canary rockfish to two fish (from one) in marine areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 2 (Westport).

Establishes a daily limit of three flatfish (excluding halibut), such as sole, flounder or sanddab, in all coastal marine areas west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line (marine areas 1 – 4). The new daily limit of flatfish does not count toward an angler’s overall limit of nine bottomfish per day.

Effective date: Immediately

Locations and species affected: As a result of the changes listed above, daily limits for ocean bottomfish are as follows:

Marine areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 2 (Westport): Anglers can keep any combination of nine bottomfish per day including:

Up to two lingcod;
Up to two cabezon; and
Up to seven rockfish (as many as two of which may be canary rockfish).
In addition to the daily limit of nine bottomfish, anglers may keep up to three flatfish (excluding halibut), such as sole, sanddab, and flounder, per day.

Marine Area 3 (La Push): Anglers can keep any combination of nine bottomfish per day including:

Up to two lingcod;
Up to two cabezon; and
Up to seven rockfish (canary rockfish retention is prohibited).
In addition to the daily limit of nine bottomfish, anglers may keep up to three flatfish (excluding halibut), such as sole, sanddab, and flounder, per day.

Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay) west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line: Anglers can keep any combination of nine bottomfish per day including:

Up to two lingcod;
Up to one cabezon; and
Up to seven rockfish (canary rockfish retention is prohibited).
In addition to the daily limit of nine bottomfish, anglers may keep up to three flatfish (excluding halibut), such as sole, sanddab, and flounder, per day.

Reason for action:

At its March meeting, the Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) approved changes to the Washington coastal recreational bottomfish fishery for 2018 as recommended by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Canary rockfish retention was allowed in 2017 with initial allowance limited to one fish per day in marine areas 1 and 2 only. WDFW’s recommendation to increase the sublimit from one fish to two fish per angler was based on 2017 recreational catch information. Analysis showed that canary catch was well below the federally established harvest quota and sufficient to consider changes for 2018. Retention of canary rockfish in marine areas 3 and 4 remains prohibited.

WDFW also recommended, and the Council approved, a daily limit of three flatfish (excluding Pacific halibut) per day that would not be subject to the daily aggregate bottomfish limit, which would remain at nine.

Both of these changes are intended to provide some additional recreational fishing opportunity to Washington recreational anglers.

These rules conform to action taken by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC).

Information contact: Heather Reed, (360) 902-2487

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WDFW News – Catch-and-Release Steelhead Fishery to Open on Skagit, Sauk Rivers.

A catch-and-release fishery for wild steelhead will get underway April 14 in sections of the Skagit and Sauk rivers, which have been closed to wild steelhead fishing for several years.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) made the announcement today after receiving approval from NOAA Fisheries on a proposed five-year steelhead fishery plan, developed by state and tribal co-managers to meet shared conservation objectives.

Fishery managers have scheduled openings beginning April 14-15, and continuing April 18-22, and 25-29. The fishery includes the following areas:

Skagit River, from the Dalles Bridge in the town of Concrete to the Cascade River Road Bridge in Marblemount. Fishing from a boat that is under power is prohibited.
Sauk River, from the mouth to the Sauk Prairie Road Bridge in Darrington. Fishing from a boat equipped with an internal combustion motor is prohibited.
WDFW is taking a conservative approach to the trial fishery by limiting time on the water and requiring anglers to use single-point barbless hooks to reduce injury to steelhead as the fish are released. Anglers should be aware that night closures are in effect and the use of bait is prohibited. More details on the fishery rules are available online at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=2110.

The season is based largely on the number of wild steelhead forecast to return to the basin as well as the level of monitoring and enforcement required for the fishery, said Edward Eleazer, regional fish program manager for WDFW. The fishery could close early or have additional restrictions, so anglers should check the website listed above before heading out.

“Anglers have an incredible opportunity to fish for wild steelhead on one of the renowned rivers of the west coast,” Eleazer said. “To ensure there will be steelhead fishing in the basin for years to come, we’re asking anglers to comply with all fishery rules and to help keep the river free of litter.”

Eleazer noted the cooperation of the Skagit River tribes was essential in the development of a fishery plan and securing federal approval for this year’s recreational fishery. The approved plan includes tribal fisheries, but the tribes have not scheduled steelhead fisheries this year in order to limit fishery impacts.

Puget Sound wild steelhead have been listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA) since 2007. Lacking an approved fishery management plan, WDFW closed the Skagit Basin to wild steelhead fishing in 2010.

Ongoing efforts by WDFW and the tribes to protect habitat, remove fish passage barriers and improve steelhead survival in Puget Sound have resulted in increasing numbers of wild steelhead returning to the basin in recent years.

“It’s critical that this work continues in order to fully restore wild steelhead – our state fish – to the Skagit Basin,” Eleazer said.

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WDFW News – Chinook Fishery Below Bonneville Dam Will Reopen This Saturday for One Day.

– Anglers will have an opportunity to fish for spring chinook salmon in the lower Columbia River this Saturday (April 14) for one day only under an agreement reached Wednesday by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

Fishing regulations will be the same as those in effect before the initial chinook fishery below Bonneville Dam closed April 7 for a fishery assessment.

Under those rules, anglers can retain one adult hatchery chinook salmon as part of a daily limit of two adult fish that can also include hatchery coho salmon and hatchery steelhead. Boat anglers can fish from Buoy 10 up to Beacon Rock, while bank anglers can fish all the way up to Bonneville Dam.

All anglers fishing the Columbia River are required to use barbless hooks, and must release any salmon or steelhead not visibly marked as hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin.

Bill Tweit, a fishery manager at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the one-day fishery this Saturday is designed in part as a “make-up day” for the last Saturday of the initial opener, when stormy weather kept many anglers off the water.

Tweit said fishery managers from both states are taking a cautious approach to extending the fishery given the low number of spring chinook observed passing up the fish ladders to date at Bonneville Dam.

“We’re taking this a step at a time,” Tweit said. “We know more fish are moving into the river, but we need to see signs of higher numbers of fish passing the dam before we consider reopening the fishery again.”

According to the preseason forecast, approximately 166,700 upriver spring chinook salmon are expected to return to the Columbia River this year. Based on that forecast, fishery managers set an initial catch guideline of 7,157 upriver chinook for the sport fishery below the dam, but so far anglers have caught only about half that many fish.

“If the run meets or exceeds expectations, we can give anglers more time to fish below the dam,” Tweit said. “But right now, we need to make sure we can meet conservation requirements and our obligations to fisheries farther upriver.”

Anglers age 15 and older are required to have a valid 2018-19 fishing license to fish in Washington state waters. A Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement (https://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/crss_endorsement/) is also required to fish for salmon or steelhead on the Columbia River or its tributaries.

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WDFW News – Washington’s Salmon Fishing Seasons SetFfor 2018.

With low returns of chinook and coho salmon expected back to numerous rivers in Washington, state and tribal co-managers Tuesday agreed on a fishing season that meets conservation goals for wild fish while providing fishing opportunities on healthy salmon runs.

The 2018-19 salmon fisheries, developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty tribal co-managers, were finalized during the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s meeting in Portland, Ore.

Information on recreational salmon fisheries in Washington’s ocean waters and the Columbia River is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/. The webpage also includes information on some notable Puget Sound sport fisheries, as well as an overview of chinook and coho fishing opportunities in the Sound’s marine areas.

A variety of unfavorable environmental conditions, including severe flooding in rivers and warm ocean water, have reduced the number of salmon returning to Washington’s rivers in recent years, said Ron Warren, head of WDFW’s fish program.

In addition, the loss of quality rearing and spawning habitat continues to take a toll on salmon populations throughout the region, where some stocks are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act, he said.

“It’s critical that we ensure fisheries are consistent with ongoing efforts to protect and rebuild wild salmon stocks,” Warren said. “Unfortunately, the loss of salmon habitat continues to outpace these recovery efforts. We need to reverse this trend. If we don’t, salmon runs will continue to decline and it will be increasingly difficult to develop meaningful fisheries.”

A bright spot in this year’s salmon season planning process was a renewed commitment by Indian and non-Indian fishermen to work together for the future of salmon and salmon fishing, said Lorraine Loomis, chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.

“No fisherman wants to catch the last salmon. We know that the ongoing loss of habitat, a population explosion of hungry seals and sea lions and the needs of endangered southern resident killer whales are the real challenges facing us today. We must work together if we are going to restore salmon to sustainable levels,” she said.

Low returns of some salmon stocks prompted state and tribal fishery managers to limit opportunities in many areas to protect those fish.
For example, recreational anglers will have less opportunity to fish for chinook salmon in both the Columbia River and Washington’s ocean waters compared to recent years. Tribal fisheries also will be restricted in certain areas to protect weak stocks.

In meeting conservation objectives for wild salmon, the co-managers are limiting fisheries in areas where southern resident killer whales are known to feed. The adjustments will aid in minimizing boat presence and noise, and decrease competition for chinook and other salmon in areas critical to the declining whales.

Details on all recreational salmon fisheries will be provided in the 2018-19 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, which will be available in late June.

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Pete Heley Outdoors 4 / 11 / 2018

Quite a few area lakes received trout plants this week. Loon Lake and Lake Marie each received 1,000 legal rainbows. Other Douglas County lakes receiving trout plants include Ben Irving Reservoir with 1,000 legal rainbows; Plat ‘I’ Reservoir with 1,000 legal rainbows; Cooper Creek Reservoir with 1,500 legal rainbows and Galesville Reservoir with 1,667 trophy rainbows. Curry County lakes receiving trout plants included Floras Lake with 150 trophy trout and Garrison Lake with 250 trophies. In Coos County, Bradley Lake received 3,000 legal rainbows and 200 trophies and both Upper and Lower Empire lakes received 250 trophy rainbows. Florence-area lakes receiving trout plants included Carter Lake with 750 trophy rainbows; Cleawox Lake with 1,475 trophy rainbows and Woahink Lake with 1,000 trophy rainbows.

Sometimes when a lake is slated to receive identical trout plants during successive weeks. it is because the earlier stocking was delayed and that may be the case with Cleawox Lake which is slated for 1,475 trophy rainbows next week. Also slated to receive trout plants next week are: Alder Lake, Dune Lake, Empire Lakes, Garrison Lake, Georgia Lake, Mercer Lake, Munsel Lake, Perkins Lake, Powers Pond, Siltcoos Lagoon, Siltcoos Lake, Sutton Lake and North and South Tenmile lakes.

Winchester Bay’s South Jetty continues to offer good fishing for lingcod and rockfish – as does virtually every saltwater jetty in Oregon. Striped surfperch are entering their pre-spawn period and have also been biting well. Greenling, which no longer have a minimum size limit, are being caught primarily on the ocean side of the south side of the “Triangle”.

Redtail surfperch, often called “pinkfins” and walleye surfperch have been biting well on the beach adjacent to the second parking lot south of the Triangle. Other popular surfperch spots are Horsfall Beach near North Bend, Sparrow Park Road near Gardiner and near the mouth of the Siltcoos River at the end of Siltcoos Beach Access Road.

The much-anticipated run of female redtail surfperch up the Umpqua River usually starts around the first week in May and lasts until late July

The first shad should be bending rods on the Umpqua River near Sawyers Rapids and Yellow Creek within the next couple of weeks.

Spring chinook fishing on the Umpqua and Rogue rivers continues to be slow, but it is still early in the season and fishing should improve.

While talking to the folks at Darlings Resort on Siltcoos Lake, I learned that there was 18 bass tournaments scheduled to be held on the lake this year. It was only several years ago that Siltcoos Lake bass tournaments were a rarity. It’s amazing what one well-attended and productive bass tournament can do to a lake’s extended fishing pressure.

I also learned that the heaviest Siltcoos Lake bass taken in a tournament so far this year weighed seven pounds nine ounces and the biggest yellow perch turned in to the resort last year measured 16-inches – which almost certainly would have been a state record if it was caught prior to spawning and weighed on a certified scale.

Striped bass should be on the agenda. On the Smith River, stripers seem to school up in a few holes on the North Fork about three miles upstream of where the North Fork Smith River enters the mainstem Smith River. It seems that every year a few stripers are spotted in the Umpqua River near Sawyer’s Rapids – but seldom fished for. On the Coquille River, the spring striper fishery occurs from the Arago Boat Ramp upriver.

On the Coquille River in the spring, muddy water is often a factor limiting fishing success.

As for largemouth bass angling, some of the larger coastal lakes have water temperatures in the mid-50’s. However for the next couple of weeks we won’t have a series of consecutive warm days needed to raise water temperatures a noticeable amount.

Some of the shallow lakes in the southern Willamette valley in which fishing may improve during a single warmer day would be Ford’s Pond, Plat ‘I’ Reservoir and Selmac Lake.

I wish the ODFW in western Oregon would do more of what the state of Washington did more than ten years ago – and that is plant several juvenile white sturgeon. Washington officials planted the juvenile sturgeon in the upper Columbia River and the survival rate was surprisingly good – to the point where WDFW officials are now concerned with these, now adult, hatchery sturgeon interracting with native sturgeon.
Starting on April 29th, anglers will be allowed to harvest two sturgeon per day from Wanapum or Priest Rapids reservoirs. The sturgeon must have a fork length between 38 and 72-inches.

Sturgeon caught in these reservoirs will not count toward an angler’s annual limit for sturgeon and anglers will not be required to record sturgeon harvested from the two reservoirs on their catch record cards. Additionally, anglers may fish for sturgeon in Wanapum and Priest Rapids reservoirs with two rods with the purchase of a 2-rod endorsement. This fishery, now in its third season, will run until Sept. 1st.

Pete Heley works parttime at the Stockade Market & Tackle, across from A’ Dock, in Winchester Bay where he is more than happy to swap fishing info with anyone.

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WDFW News – WDFW Launches New Fish Washington Regulations App Ahead of Fishing Opener.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) debuted a new mobile app today that promises to make determining fishing regulations for Washington waters easier and more convenient.

The free “Fish Washington” app, available on Google Play, Apple’s App store and WDFW’s website (https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/mobile_app.html), is designed to convey up-to-the-minute fishing regulations for every lake, river, stream and marine area in the state.

The exception, for now, is the app does not yet include information on shellfish and seaweed collection rules.

“The Fish Washington app is a step in our ongoing effort to make fishing simpler in Washington,” said Thiesfeld. The app release comes ahead of the season’s lowland lakes fishing opener Apr. 28, the state’s biggest fishing day of the year.

The application contains these features, among others:

Interactive map-based rules to help anglers find fishing near them.
Details on harvest limits and allowable gear for fishable species in each body of water.
Links to the Fish Washington website and instructional videos designed to convey when, where and how to fish in Washington.
Locations of boat launches and other fishing access points.
Ability to add waypoints on maps, and report poaching in progress.
Downloadable updates and offline capacity designed for those who may not have cell service in remote areas or on the water.
“The Fish Washington app is a planning and mapping tool that should be on every Washington angler’s smart phone,” said Thiesfeld.

Development of the “Fish Washington” app is part of a larger set of communication initiatives the department is working on in response to public feedback in recent years.

Other examples include ongoing efforts to simplify fishing rules and redesign of the department’s website.

The beta version of the app underwent testing by thousands of anglers in the state over recent months.

Future plans include electronic sportfishing catch record cards and a comparable mobile hunting application.

“We are grateful to the outdoorspeople that made suggestions, tested and helped support us as we have worked to develop this phone app,” said Thiesfeld. “They are a big part of our work to maintain and improve the fishing experience in Washington.”

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