WDFW Amends Fishing Closure Areas On The Skagit River.

Action: Amends the area of the Skagit River scheduled to close to all fishing to include the river from its mouth to the highway 530 bridge in Rockport.

Effective dates: June 29, 30 and July 6, 7 and 11.

Species affected: All species.

Location: SKAGIT RIVER (Skagit County) from the mouth to the highway 530 bridge in Rockport.

Reasons for action: A previous rule change did not list the entire closure area.

The sockeye fishery, along with other fisheries on the Skagit River, is scheduled to close on these days in order to avoid gear conflicts with tribal fisheries scheduled for those dates.

Other information: Salmon daily limit: 3 sockeye only. Night closure is in effect. Bait may be used. The season may close earlier if the guideline is attained.

Closure dates may change to reflect catches and river conditions. For updates, anglers should check the emergency rule webpage at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/

The sockeye fishery at Baker Lake will open on July 8 with a 4-fish daily limit. Please refer to the Baker sockeye webpage located at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/salmon/sockeye/baker_river.html for further information on seasons, fishing rule updates and fish counts.

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Oregon Joins 21 States That Harvest Roadkill As Meat.

In an article by Grace Carr for “The Daily Caller”, it was revealed that Oregon will join 21 other states that allow the legal harvest of road-killed animals as meat.

Motorists who crash into animals can now harvest that meat for food in Oregon after state Senate Bill 372 passed overwhelmingly and was signed by the governor last week.

The state bill, sponsored by Sen. Bill Hansell and Rep. Greg Barreto, allows the Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife (ODFW) to issue salvage permits for deer and elk that are accidentally killed in vehicle collisions. The bill passed the state senate April 6 by a vote of 29-0, according to the Associated Press, and Gov. Kate Brown recently signed the bill into action.

“Those accidents are very unfortunate [but] it seemed there’s just got to be a better way to take care of that,” said Hansell.

The bill applies only to deer and elk, and animals cannot be hit and killed off road. Their salvage is allowed for human consumption of meat only, and the antlers must be turned over to ODFW.

Approximately 20 other states have a similar laws, including Washington and Idaho. Washington enacted its roadkill salvage program in July 2016, issuing 1,100 permits over the first six months. Pennsylvanians can also take deer or turkeys that are killed on the road if they report the incidents to the commission within 24 hours. The state tops the country in road kills, with over 126,000 vehicle-wildlife accidents in 2015, according to Travis Lau, spokesman for the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Before the bill was passed, only licensed fur takers could keep the meat, and no one could keep game animals found as roadkill. The rules were aimed at discouraging people from hitting a game animal with their vehicle to take the meat or antlers.

Many people are turned off by the roadkill aspect and the highly questionable health standards, but others feel differently. “A lot of people who don’t hunt hear the word ‘roadkill’ and they get turned off … we’re talking perfectly clean, cold meat,” said Todd Toven of Castle Rock, Colo. who posted a YouTube video showing himself carving up a deer that had been hit. He used the meat to make venison sausage.

Oregon will issue its first permits no later than Jan. 1, 2019, according to ABC News.

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Newman Lake Water Access Site To Close June 28-29 For Aquatic Weed Control.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) public water access site at Newman Lake in eastern Spokane County will be closed June 28-29 for treatment of the lake with herbicide to control Eurasian milfoil and other aquatic invasive weeds.

The Newman Lake Flood Control Zone District, under permit from the Washington Department of Ecology, has hired Aquatic Weed Solutions to treat milfoil infestations on about 30 acres throughout the 1,200-acre lake with 2-4-D (dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, dimethylamine salt).

A swimming restriction will be in force during treatment, and for 24 hours after treatment. Boating and swimming will be discouraged the day of treatment and for two days after. Signs with that information will be posted. The boating restriction is needed because wave action reduces the herbicide’s effectiveness.

Karen Kruger, Spokane County Water Resources coordinator, says the past four summers of aquatic weed treatments at Newman Lake have reduced the original infestation tremendously, thanks in part to volunteer efforts to help keep boaters out of the herbicide application areas.

Aquatic herbicide application permits authorized by Ecology include requirements and restrictions to protect fish and wildlife.

Daniel Dziekan, WDFW access manager, said the gates to the area will be closed early on Wednesday, June 28, and re-opened early on Friday, June 30.

Newman Lake is about 20 miles northeast of Spokane, about two miles west of the Idaho border, and is open year-round for fishing.

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WDFW News – Recreational Salmon Fishery Opens June 24 In The Ocean.

Sport anglers will have the opportunity to reel in salmon off the Washington coast starting Saturday, June 24.

That’s when marine areas 1 (Ilwaco), 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) open daily for salmon fishing. Marine Area 2 (Westport) will open a week later on July 1.

Fish managers expect slightly higher numbers of chinook and coho salmon will make their way through the ocean this year as compared to 2016, said Wendy Beeghley, an ocean salmon manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Due to the improved forecasts, the recreational chinook catch quota this year is 45,000, up from 35,000 in 2016.This year’s coho quota of 42,000 fish is an increase of 23,100 coho from 2016, when anglers were allowed to keep coho only in Marine Area 1. Coho retention is allowed in all four marine areas this summer.

Anglers fishing in marine areas 1 and 2 will have a daily limit of two salmon, only one of which can be a chinook. In areas 3 and 4, anglers will have a two-salmon daily limit. In all areas, anglers must release wild coho.

All four marine areas are scheduled to close to salmon fishing at the end of the day Sept. 4 but could close earlier if the quota is met.

Throughout the summer, anglers can check WDFW’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/ocean/ for updates.

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WDFW News – Nearshore Recreational Halibut Fishing To Close In Marine Area 1.

Action: Close the nearshore recreational fishery in Marine Area 1 (Columbia River).

Effective date: 11:59 p.m., June 23, 2017.

Species affected: Pacific halibut.

Location: Marine Area 1.

Reason for action: The recreational halibut allocation for the Columbia River nearshore area has been taken. There is not sufficient quota remaining to allow incidental halibut retention in this area after June 23. Recreational halibut fishing will remain closed in all other marine areas for the remainder of the season.

These rules conform to action taken by the Pacific Fishery Management Council, National Marine Fisheries Service and the International Pacific Halibut Commission.

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Friday Is Last Day For Halibut in Columbia River Subarea.

The Pacific halibut nearshore recreational fishery in the Columbia River Subarea will close for the remainder of 2017 effective 11:59 p.m., Friday, June 23.

The entire recreational Pacific halibut fishery quota (all-depth and nearshore) for the Columbia River Subarea will have been met by then, according to fishery managers ODFW, WDFW, IPHC and NFMS. The fishery will remain closed for the rest of the year.

Opportunities to fish for Pacific halibut still remain open in other areas of Oregon

Off the Central Oregon Coast, between Cape Falcon and Humbug Mountain, anglers can fish for Pacific halibut inside the 40-fathom regulatory line, seven days per week until Oct. 31, or attainment of the 28,897 pound quota for that fishery. There will be an announcement by noon on Friday, June 23 if enough quota remains for any back-up dates for the spring all-depth season. The summer all-depth season is scheduled to begin Aug. 4-5, and will be open every other Friday and Saturday until Oct. 31, or attainment of the 60,203 pound quota for that fishery.
The area between Humbug Mountain and the OR/CA border is open for Pacific halibut seven days per week through Oct. 31, or until the quota of 10,039 pounds has been met.
Days on which Pacific halibut fishing is open will be announced on the NOAA Fisheries hotline (1-800-662-9825) and posted on the ODFW Marine Resources Program sport halibut webpage

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Pete Heley Outdoors 6 / 21 / 2017

Although none of our local lakes have received a trout plant in more than two weeks, trout fishing in some lakes continues to be surprisingly productive. I visited Loon Lake last Tuesday and found the bassfishing disappointing – especially for larger bass, but the trout and panfish angling was exceptional. I hooked at least 30 trout and settled for a five trout limit and also caught double digit numbers of bluegills and smaller bass and landed eight crappies to boot. The lure I was using was a three-inch Berkley power worm threaded on a black 1/32nd ounce jighead. I’m sure other small lures would also have worked.

Other trout possibilities would include Tenmile Creek and Siltcoos River. One angler floated Tenmile Creek from the launch ramp adjacent to the intersection of Park Avenue and South 6th Street down to the Old Highway Bridge just upstream of where Eel Creek joins Tenmile Creek. He was using a Panther Martin spinner, normally an effective trout lure, but hooked more bass than trout including a lunker that he battled for several minutes before it broke off. He also encountered some difficulty navigating a narrow section of the river about a mile below the lake. I am familiar with the stream’s narrow stretches where bankside brush almost reaches the center of the stream and the best way to navigate them is to get properly lined up and then to float through them without using the oars. Removing a single oar from it’s oarlock can help fend off brush and logs and help stay properly lined up.

Siltcoos River gets surprisingly little fishing pressure despite producing trout exceeding 20-inches and largemouth bass exceeding five pounds. A dam three miles downstream of the lake marks the downstream end of most floats and the stream is large enough and deep enough that smaller motorized craft can easily travel back upstream to the lake – as can those fishing from canoes and kayaks.

After the last all-depth halibut opener (June 8th – 10th) for the central Oregon coast subarea, the total landings are 87,265 pounds. This leaves 64,447 pounds or 43% of the spring all-depth quota remaining. The remaining “fixed” openings are June 15-17. There will be an announcement by noon on Friday, June 23 if enough quota remains for any back-up dates to be open.

Angler success varied by port; ranging from 70% out of Newport to near 100% out of Charleston. Newport was the high effort port for the week and accounted for 68% of the total number of halibut. The remaining ports all had approximately an 80% success rate (8 fish landed for every 10 anglers). Average size of landed fish also varied by port from 16 pounds round weight in Pacific City to 27 pounds round weight in Newport. Coastwide the average weight of the halibut taken was 24 pounds round weight.

I’ll have to admit that the changes made to bass retention on Tenmile Lake definitely slipped by my “radar”. Previously, all bass longer than 15-inches had to be released. The new regulations that went into effect a couple of years ago now allow one bass longer than 15-inches to be kept and the daily limit is five bass. It seems that a few of the signs posted around the lake still quote the old limit.

I Had the pleasure of getting to view a couple of impressive warmwater fish pictures last week. Curt, a friend from Creswell showed me his friend’s eight pound walleye from Lookout Point Reservoir near Oakridge. Walleyes are present in, but seldom caught, from Lookout Point, but Curt’s friend specically targets them and catches them regularly. Joe, from “The Bite’s On” tackleshop in Empire showed me the photo of a 13.5-inch black crappie a friend emailed him. It was caught in Lake Selmac.

The road into Horsfall Beach and Horsfall Lake still has high water issues, but a few high clearance vehicles are starting to access them. High water at Beale Lake has made going back and forth between the lake’s three sections relatively easy, but the fish are scattered and fishing for largemouth bass and yellow perch is only fair. Saunders Lake is providing fair fishing for yellow perch and largemouth bass and planted rainbow trout. There are also a few bluegills and crappies in the lake.

A few crappies were caught at Eel Lake last week and it seems that the lake now contains fishable numbers of bluegill. Fishing at Butterfield Lake on Riley’s Ranch has been slow, but there are still some planted trout left. Most of the uncaught trout are in the smaller west section of the lake where they have been pretty much ignored after leaving the main lake by swimming under the small railroad trestle between the two sections of the lake. The large weedbed near the railroad tracks in the main lake that seems to provide the best fishing for bluegills and black crappies is starting to form.

Smallmouth bassfishing on the Umpqua and Coquille rivers is improving and smaller incidentally-caught striped bass are starting to surprise smallmouth anglers on the Coquille. The smaller stripers have been running between 18-inches and the 24-inches required for retentionto and they seem most common downstream of Riverton. However the liquor store/tackleshop in Coquille reports that a giant striper of slightly more than 60 pounds was caught last month near Arago.

The Stockade Market’s annual “Pinkfin Derby” last weekend seemed to completely stop the pinkfin bite. There were some pile perch and striped surfperch taken. An encouraging note is that while the striped surfperch have pretty much finished spawning and the pile perch are close to spawning with well developed babies, the unborn baby “pinkfins” are much smaller and less developed – which should mean that the run should last several more weeks.

While some anglers believe the daily surfperch limit of 15 is too generous and a daily limit of eight or ten fish would be more sustainable, the state of Washington recently raised their daily surfperch limit from nine fish to 12 because they believe the surfperch population is strong and not overfished.

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.

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CDFW News – California Honors Wildlife Prosecutor Of The Year.

The California Fish and Game Commission has honored Fresno County Deputy District Attorney (DDA) Sabrina Ashjian as the Commission’s 2016 Wildlife Prosecutor of the Year. The selection process was based upon nominations from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife (CDFW) Law Enforcement Division, whose wildlife officers regularly work with all 58 District Attorneys’ offices.

The award was presented to DDA Ashjian amongst her peers last night at the California District Attorneys Association annual summer conference in South Lake Tahoe.

“We recognize prosecuting attorneys as an integral partner in the effort to conserve California’s fish and wildlife resources for its intrinsic value and for future generations,” said Fish and Game Commission President Eric Sklar. President Sklar was in South Lake Tahoe to present the award.

CDFW and the Commission recognize many prosecuting attorneys who go above and beyond to prosecute the state’s poachers and polluters, but this year, DDA Ashjian stood out among the rest.

Ashjian was always willing to meet with wildlife officers in Fresno County on moment’s notice, after hours, and on weekends to review details of investigations. During many investigations of the most egregious poaching cases, Ashjian remained available and supportive every step of the way. She even took the initiative to ride-along on patrol with wildlife officers to better understand the challenging investigations and unique nature of a wildlife officer’s work.

Ashjian has gone out of her way to be a liaison between CDFW and the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office. During her tenure, she has taken time to educate and share insight about CDFW and resource crimes to her co-workers and in turn has educated wildlife officers about the challenges of prosecutions and how to overcome them.

“As passionate as our wildlife officers are at bringing suspected poachers to justice, DDA Ashjian is at prosecuting them,” said David Bess, Chief of the CDFW Law Enforcement Division. Chief Bess was also on hand to present the award last night.

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Action Notice Incidental Troll Halibut.

6/20/17 ACTION NOTICE – Incidental Troll Pacific Halibut: NOAA Fisheries in consultation with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, representatives from the commercial troll fishery, and the Pacific Fishery Management Council, has taken in-season action with respect to the incidental retention of Pacific Halibut in the commercial troll salmon fishery.

ACTION TAKEN: Retention of Pacific Halibut by IPHC permitted salmon troll vessels within IPHC area 2A will be reduced to no more than 10 Pacific Halibut per trip with a Chinook ratio requirement of 1 Pacific Halibut per 4 Chinook plus 1 Pacific Halibut beginning at 12:01 AM Saturday, July 1, 2017.

RATIONALE: Total Pacific Halibut landings from the commercial troll salmon fishery through June 18 are estimated at 26,907 lbs. out of the quota of 39,810 lbs. (adjusted for head-off, and ice and slime deductions). With approximately 30% of the quota remaining, action was taken to allow for the incidental take to continue into the summer at a reduced rate.

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ODFW Halibut Update Through June 11th.

Halibut Update Through Week 24
Halibut Update through Week 24 (June 5 – June 11)

Columbia River Subarea

All-Depth— this fishery will be open for one additional day, this Saturday, June 17, 2017.
After the most recent openings in Washington, the Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has determined that there is enough quota remaining in the Washington recreational quota to have all Washington subareas, including the Columbia River Subarea, open this Saturday. Since Washington and Oregon co-manage the Columbia River Subarea, and have license reciprocity, anglers fishing out of Oregon ports in the subarea will be allowed to participate in the all-depth halibut fishery on Saturday as well.

Following Saturday, June 17, the Columbia River Subarea All-Depth fishery will be closed for the remainder of 2017.

Nearshore— this fishery is open seven days a week and has a quota of 500 pounds.

The Columbia River Subarea Nearshore fishery will remain open until quota is caught, or September 30.

Central Oregon Coast Subarea

Spring All-Depth season— through the fourth opener, June 8-10, the total landings are 87,265 pounds. This leaves 64,447 pounds or 43% of the spring all-depth quota remaining. The remaining “fixed” openings are June 15-17. There will be an announcement by noon on Friday, June 23 if enough quota remains for any back-up dates to be open.

Angler success varied by port; ranging from 70% out of Newport to near 100% out of Charleston. Newport was the high effort port for the week and accounted for 68% of the total number of halibut. The remaining ports all had approximately an 80% success rate (8 fish landed for every 10 anglers). Average size of landed fish also varied by port from 16 pounds round weight in Pacific City to 27 pounds round weight in Newport. Coastwide the average weight was 24 pounds round weight.

Summer All-Depth Season—opens August 5-6, if quota remaining, can be open every other Friday and Saturday.

Nearshore Season— open as of June 1, 2017. The total landings through June 11 are 1,867 pounds. This leaves 27,030 pounds or 94% of the spring Nears quota remaining.

Angler success varied by port; ranging from a very low percentage out of Bandon to near 100% out of Garibaldi. Newport had a 30% success rate while landing 72% of the total number of halibut for the week. The remaining ports all had approximately a 20% success rate (2 fish landed for every 10 anglers). Coastwide the average weight was 32 pounds round weight.

Note that all-depth regulations have to be followed (no retention of most species of groundfish) during days open to both All-Depth and Nearshore halibut fishing.

South of Humbug Mountain subarea—there were no landings of halibut recorded in the South of Humbug Mountain subarea for week 24. This leaves 9,462 pounds (94%) of the quota remaining.

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