All posts by Andy Walgamott

On The Trail Of Fishing And Hunting In Germany

Der Angler was right where you’d have expected one to be, casting into the tailrace of a low head dam.

We’d just waltzed the Philosophenweg on the hillside across from Heidelberg and were crossing the Neckar back to the Altstadt for lunch and ice cream when I looked over and saw the man fishing off a ramp sloping into the river.

AN ANGLER FISHES GERMANY’S NECKAR RIVER AS IT FLOWS THROUGH HEIDELBERG. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

It was late morning and the sun was shining brightly over Southwest Germany that day earlier this month, but with how stained the water was below the spillway of a set of locks, I figured the fisherman must have felt he had a chance of hooking something.

And I knew there was something very big swimming nearby.

When Amy, River, Kiran and I had started our walk a couple hours before, I’d seen a dark back briefly surface about a half a kilometer downstream, leaving a large set of ripples on the otherwise calm river.

Holy Fahrvergnügen, what the $%@$ was that?!? was my first thought.

If it had been the Columbia, I would have immediately said sea lion, but neither the Neckar nor the Rhine it feeds are known for their pinnipeds, let alone manatees or freshwater dolphins.

As my family walked on ahead, I stood and watched the river, ruling out a swimmer, diver and the odd duck.

Had I just seen one of those wels catfish?

These sturgeon-sized bottomfeeders are native to the Danube and other Central and Eastern European basins, but have done well since being stocked in Western European watersheds, which run on the warmer side.

Pictures abound of fishermen in up to their gills in rivers and lakes while holding huge whiskerfish they’ve hooked and landed (they’re said not to taste good, so are mainly released).

I’m not sure if a wels was what this particular one was after, but I took a couple photos and, as one angler to another, wished him good luck.

It would not be the last time I crossed paths with fishing or hunting during our two-week trip throughout the middle and upper Rhine River valley and its tributaries.

BEING A NORTHWEST SPORTSMAN as well as a hook-and-bullet magazine editor, I naturally keep my eye open for fish and game wherever I go.

If there’s a stream, I’m peeking into it, wondering about its angling possibilities. If there’s a patch of forest, I’m curious about what its leaves and needles might be hiding.

A RESIDENT’S DISPLAY OF ROE BUCK ANTLERS IN ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER, IN NORTHERN BAVARIA. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Germany’s woods and waters hold red deer (Hirsch), wild boars (Wildschwein), ducks, rabbits and pigeon, as well as walleye (Zander), pike (Hecht), brown trout (Forelle), introduced grayling, and carp and its relative the asp, among other species.

Of course, fishing and hunting are tightly regulated there, far more so than here, where there are minimal barriers to entry by comparison.

A 2003 article in Montana Outdoors magazine outlines the rigorous steps needed just to get a hunting license — a year of study followed by a test that half are said to fail — as well as the social responsibilities that come with the activity.

Writes James Hagengruber:

The 450,000-some hunters in Germany play the combined role of game warden, wildlife biologist, and agricultural pest controller. They also must ensure that wild game animals have sufficient food and habitat. “The hunting right and the conservation duty are inseparable,” said [Thomas] Baumeister, [a German native who worked for Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks].

And a post by a Neckar River valley-based catfisherman who has caught a 150-pound wels details some of what he’s faced with:

We have bans on using livebaits, night fishing, boat fishing, wild camping etc. and you have to abide by them. With special rigs and techniques, you can still present bunches of worms and deadbaits attractively. If you want to be successful, you have to use your imagination.

BUT DURING OUR RECENT TRAVELS through the country my wife was born and grew up in, we crossed contemporary as well as historical references to fishing and hunting, showing their cultural importance.

Right beside the Neckar in Heidelberg was the Goldener Hecht — golden pike — restaurant and hotel.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

On the mountain above this university town were a number of hunting stands …

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

… and near one were fresh tracks of a Reh, a blacktail fawn-sized roe deer.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Outside Meersburg, we spotted a herd of the diminutive deer, though by the time I’d wheeled the rental SUV around to get a picture, all but one had retreated into a patch of trees.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Above the Rhine, Burg Rheinstein offered an impressive antlers-and-armor man cave.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

And one hotel we stayed at sported a large bear hide hung inside the front door, while on the floor of a never-conquered castle we toured was this wild boar rug.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Unlike here, hunters can sell their game meat at farmers markets and to restaurants. At one countryside Gasthaus, I had Hirschragout und spaetzle, venison in sauce with noodles  — sehr lecker!

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Elsewhere, several establishments offered Zander, including the restaurant-hotel across from ours on the Bodensee.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Speaking of Lake Constance, an open-air museum there that told the story of the people who lived in stilted villages on the water a couple thousand years ago had a display of their ancient fishing hooks …

… , though I’m not sure I would have trusted them to hold onto the carp swimming through the Pfahlbaumuseum’s sheltered cove.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

For that, I might have consulted the Jenzi fishing catalog, a sticker for which was affixed to a bench above the Bodensee at Meersburg.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

Thus properly outfitted, I wouldn’t have minded tempting the schools of silver fish swimming in the Tauber below the famed walled city of Rothenburg.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

And while we did get up to just under 100 miles an hour on the Autobahn, on smaller country highways speed limits were lower and there were numerous wildlife overpasses helping to prevent collisions with critters — this pair was in southern Baden-Wurtemburg state.

(ANDY WALGAMOTT)

No, don’t worry, I won’t be moving to Germany anytime soon for its fishing and hunting opportunities. I think those in the Northwest are much more varied and less restrictive to take advantage of.

But I do appreciate that there, those with the will, time, money and patience are able to experience a little of what we take for granted here, making me cherish our opportunities all the more.

IDFG Says Chinook Seasons Could Reopen After Count Picks Up

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

Migration conditions in the lower Columbia River and a late run have challenged Fish and Game’s normal process for setting Chinook salmon seasons. Fisheries managers closed the spring/summer Chinook season as a precaution on May 24 on all rivers, except Hells Canyon, due to low numbers of Chinook counted at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River. It’s the first dam the fish cross, and the first opportunity managers to count fish destined for Idaho, and since then, Chinook returns have improved.

WHAT MAY BE THE LATEST RETURN OF SALMON ON RECORD IS GIVING IDAHO MANAGERS AND ANGLERS HOPE THAT RIVERS CAN BE REOPENED FOR CHINOOK LIKE THIS ONE CAUGHT BY GARRETT GRUBBS SEVERAL SEASONS AGO ON THE CLEARWATER. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

On Friday, June 2, the Fish and Game Commission will meet via conference call to consider a proposal to reopen fishing for spring Chinook salmon on the Little Salmon River, and to open summer Chinook salmon seasons on the Clearwater, South Fork Salmon and upper Salmon River.

The run is much later than usual, and possibly the latest on record. Anadromous Fishery Manager Lance Hebdon said it’s still too early to say for certain where fisheries will occur, or how long they might last.

“The good news is we’re now fairly confident that we’ll have some sort of a fishery in the Little Salmon River, but that’s all we can really say at this point. We’ll provide as much fishing opportunity as we can, and we’ll get the word out as soon as a decision is made.”

Although fishery managers expect to have sufficient returns to allow a harvest of several hundred spring Chinook, they expect the lower run size will limit the duration of the season.

“We’re evaluating fish passage information on a daily basis right now to determine if, when and where we have the opportunity for harvest,” Hebdon said.

Low numbers of wild Chinook may further constrain some fisheries. The number of wild Chinook destined for Idaho waters that have crossed Bonneville Dam is much lower than average. If those numbers don’t increase, fishing may be limited to areas where anglers are unlikely to hook wild Chinook, such as the Little Salmon River. Areas typically open to fishing, like the main Salmon between Rice Creek and Vinegar Creek may remain closed.

WA DNR Chief Raises Concerns Over President’s Proposed Budget

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Public Lands Commissioner Hilary Franz sees the potential for serious problems in Washington State if President Trump’s proposed federal budget is adopted.

“This budget undercuts our environment, our economy and our culture. It sabotages decades of Puget Sound restoration, removes protections from our forests and threatens the long-term security of our communities,” the Commissioner said Thursday.

STORM CLOUDS LOOM OVER PUGET SOUND AND A KAYAK ANGLER OFF WHIDBEY ISLAND DURING JULY 2015. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

The American people own 12,705,335 acres of Washington State, 28 percent of all the land, 44 percent of forests. Federal investment in those lands helps ensure our environment is safe, our public is protected, and we have rural employment opportunities.

Budget threatens Puget Sound

Among the more startling reductions in the budget are those that would affect Puget Sound, the nation’s largest estuary. President Trump’s budget cuts $28 million dollars of funding dedicated to Puget Sound recovery in the EPA’s Puget Sound Geographic Program, halting efforts to expand wetlands, restore flood plains and remove barriers to fish passage in the 10,000 streams that drain into the Sound.

The Sound is the center of Washington’s $21 billion maritime industry that employs some 69,500 people. More than $80 billion in annual trade flows in and out through its ports, it attracts tourists and trade opportunities from all over the world and sustains a $1 billion fishing and shellfish industry, fueling local economies all along our state’s western coastline. All of those opportunities and industries need healthy water to survive.

Further, this proposed budget zeros out $63 million dollars for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) vital Pacific Coast Salmon Recovery Fund. This cut undoes decades of work to restore wild fish runs, work required by the Endangered Species Act. Since this fund was started in 2000, 2 of the 15 salmon and steelhead populations listed under the Endangered Species Act are almost to their recovery goals. Failure to recover these endangered runs jeopardizes the future of our state’s $1 billion-plus recreational fishing industry, a hit which would be felt all over our state.

The proposed budget also jeopardizes long-standing partnerships. The Puget Sound Partnership matches $9.9 million from the E.P.A.’s National Estuary Program with $7.5 million state dollars to prioritize and achieve projects that make our water, our habitat, and our people healthier. The partnership leverages that money to gather further funding from tribes, local governments and non-government organizations and $1.4 million from NOAA.

Discontinues important research

Through its research, education and technical expertise, the Washington Sea Grant has contributed more than $49 million to Washington’s economy. The proposed budget cuts to NOAA would rob the program of 90 percent of its funding, taking away critical expertise in sustainable fishing and aquaculture from our fishermen and shellfish growers.

Further cuts to NOAA include the National Estuarine Research Reserve system, through which the state has been able to protect the 8,000-acre bed of eelgrass at Padilla Bay, one of the largest in the nation. This is critical habitat that provides the foundation for Puget Sound’s food web, providing habitat for herring and smelt that feed our salmon, shorebirds and iconic orcas. Developing research also shows eelgrass, like that which covers Padilla Bay, can be an important part of adapting to acidifying marine waters, a vital tool in coping with the effects of climate change along our coastline.

Funding vital to shellfish industry

Washington’s shellfish growers export much of the clams, oysters and our famous geoduck – harvested from Washington tidelands – to overseas markets. Our largest geoduck importer, China, sets strict water quality standards in order to accept Washington shellfish. In 2013 China refused to accept Washington geoducks and if that happened again, it could cripple our state’s shellfish industry.

By turning its back on efforts to restore the health of Puget Sound, the Trump administration is putting Washington’s shellfish industry at grave risk. This budget harms local shellfish farmers, the communities in which they live and the ability for the state to generate restoration revenue. This year alone, the Department of Natural Resources generated $25 million dollars in funds used to restore Washington’s waterways from the sale of wild geoduck harvested from state-owned aquatic lands.

Inadequate forest protection

Washington’s oceans, fish and marine trade aren’t the only ones to suffer under this proposed budget. This budget puts our citizens in jeopardy by failing to address the problem of “fire borrowing” in the U.S. Forest Service. In fiscal year 2015, the Forest Service had to use $700 million intended for other programs to pay for wildfire suppression.

By setting the Forest Service’s firefighting budget at the average of the past 10 years, choosing to ignore the reality of the new mega fires we are seeing, especially in Washington State, the administration is basing the protection of our forests on already inadequate spending levels and fails to address the fire borrowing problem.

Washington State and the 100,000 people that work in the forest industry need the Forest Service to have a secure, steady source of funding for forest restoration. Washington has 2.7 million acres of forests that are very vulnerable to fire as disease, drought and insect damage makes them vulnerable to catastrophic wildfires, and half of those at-risk forests are federal forests.

“I urge our congressional delegation to use the spending control the U.S. Constitution provides them to reject the unnecessary and drastic spending cuts put forth by the President’s administration and pass a federal spending plan that honors the promises our federal government has made to the people of our state,” said Commissioner Franz.

‘Significant Blow’ To Anti-poaching Efforts In Oregon Appeals Court Ruling

In what was termed “a significant blow” to Oregon’s attempts to make poaching a more serious financial blow, a state appeals court ruling is putting the onus on collecting money for illegally killing game and other other animals on ODFW.

Judges had been sentencing defendants to pay restitution of as much as $25,000 for trophy big game, but according to The Oregonian, the law was not meant for judges to apply to defendants but to the state agency to pursue as a civil penalty.

TWO WESTERN OREGON MEN WERE ORDERED TO PAY THOUSANDS IN RESTITUTION FOR ILLEGALLY KILLING SEVERAL TROPHY BLACKTAIL DEER, BUT AN APPEALS COURT RULING SAYS THAT IT’S NOT A JUDGE’S PLACE TO IMPOSE SUCH FINES BUT THE DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE’S. (OSP)

In the short term, it means a North-central Oregon won’t have to pay a $2,000 fine for possessing a dead redtail hawk, though she had been ordered to before appealing.

Restitution payments to ODFW are meant to discourage poaching, and trophy-caliber and rarer big game have even higher financial penalties.

They range from $25,000 for bull moose and bighorn rams to $15,000 for mature bull elk to four-point-or-better deer to $1,000 for other wildlife.

The newspaper posted a link to yesterday’s ruling by the three-judge appeals court panel.

The story did not include a response from ODFW; the agency did not respond to a request for comment from Northwest Sportsman last month on the matter.

2 (509) Sturgeon Fisheries Open Saturday, But Note Tweaks To Mid-Columbia Fishery

THE FOLLOWING ARE EMERGENCY RULE-CHANGE NOTICES FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Revised sturgeon harvest rules in Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs

Action: Increase the daily limit to two (2) sturgeon, and remove the annual limit and the requirement to record caught sturgeon on a catch-record-card.

Effective Dates: One hour before official sunrise on May 27 through one hour after official sunset on Sept. 17, 2017.

MAY 27 MARKS THE START OF THE SECOND STURGEON RETENTION FISHERY IN TWO MID-COLUMBIA RESERVOIRS AND FIRST IN AT LEAST 20 YEARS ON LAKE ROOSEVELT. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Species affected: White sturgeon between 38 and 72 inches fork length.

Location: Priest Rapids Reservoir (from Priest Rapids Dam to Wanapum Dam) and Wanapum Reservoir (from Wanapum Dam to Rock Island Dam).

Reason for action: Re-evaluation of sturgeon harvest rules in the original Fishing Rule Change were deemed inconsistent with management objectives in Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs. Revising the sturgeon harvest rules is necessary to maximize harvest of hatchery-origin sturgeon. Provided below are the rules anglers must follow while fishing in Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs.

Other information:

  • Daily limit of two (2) sturgeon between 38 and 72 inches fork length may be harvested from Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs only.
  • No annual harvest limit of sturgeon between 38 and 72 inches fork length from Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs only.
  • Anglers are not required to record sturgeon harvested from Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs on a Catch Record Card.
  • Catch-and-release fishing is allowed in Priest Rapids and Wanapum reservoirs after the daily limit is harvested.
  • Any sturgeon not to be harvested must be released immediately. Oversized sturgeon cannot be removed totally or in part from the water.
  • Night closure is in effect for sturgeon. Official sunrise and sunset times can be found at: http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.php.
  • Only one single-point barbless hook and bait is allowed while fishing for sturgeon.
  • Anglers may fish for sturgeon with two poles with the purchase of a Two-Pole Endorsement license.
  • In the field, eggs must be retained with intact carcass of fish from which they came.
  • All closed water areas in and around Priest Rapids, Wanapum, and Rock Island dams are still in effect. Check the current sport fishing rules pamphlet for complete details (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/).
  • Daily and annual limits, harvestable slot length limits, Catch Record Card recording requirements, and all other sport fishing rules governing sturgeon harvest in all other legally open fisheries still apply.

Lake Roosevelt to open for white sturgeon fishing

Action: Open a harvest fishery for white sturgeon in Lake Roosevelt.

Species affected: White sturgeon.

Locations and effective dates: Lake Roosevelt.

  • From Grand Coulee Dam to China Bend Boat Ramp (including the Spokane River from Highway 25 Bridge upstream to 400′ below Little Falls Dam, Colville River upstream to Meyers Falls and the Kettle River upstream to Barstow Bridge). Open 7 days per week beginning May 27 through Sept. 17, 2017.
  • From China Bend Boat Ramp upstream to the Canadian Border (white sturgeon spawning sanctuary). Open seven days per week beginning Aug.1 through Sept. 17, 2017.

Fishery Rules: Daily limit 1 sturgeon. Annual limit 2 sturgeon. It is legal to retain sturgeon between 38 inches and 63 inches fork length. Fork length is measured from the tip of the snout to middle of the fork in the caudal fin (tail). All harvested sturgeon must be recorded on a Catch Record Card (Catch Code 549). Two-pole fishing is allowed. Closed to night fishing. All other statewide rules for white sturgeon must be observed, including the use of barbless hooks.

Anglers are asked to use heavy gear (50 lb test mainline and leader, at minimum) and use 14/0 hooks or smaller (approximately 2 inches or less from point to shank) to help ensure anglers hook and land sturgeon effectively. WDFW recommends that any fish that will not be legally retained should not be removed from the water prior to release.

Reason for action: Fishery managers in Washington state and British Columbia began sturgeon hatchery programs in the early 2000s in response to a decades-long decline in the white sturgeon population in Lake Roosevelt. Survival rates for those hatchery-produced juvenile sturgeon is much higher than was anticipated. As a result, there is a surplus of approximately that are available for harvest from Lake Roosevelt.

Other information:

  • The Lake Roosevelt co-managers (WDFW, Spokane Tribe and the Colville Confederated Tribes) will all be conducting sturgeon fisheries. The co-managers have negotiated a catch share agreement that allows each entity a guaranteed portion of the sturgeon harvest. Non-tribal licensed anglers will have the opportunity to harvest up to 10,250 sturgeon over the next 10 years.
  • Anglers are reminded that fishery dates, times, slot limits, daily limits and annual limits may be adjusted over the next decade to ensure a sustainable population of sturgeon is maintained in Lake Roosevelt and that equitable access to the negotiated catch share amongst the three co-managers is achieved.

Upper Rogue Stocked For Memorial Weekend, Summer Season, But Beware Flows

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is stocking the Rogue River above Lost Creek Reservoir this week in time for the Memorial Day weekend. This stretch of river, commonly called the North Fork, is the Rogue’s premier summer trout fishery.

AN ANGLER SHOWS OFF A ROGUE RIVER RAINBOW TROUT, CAUGHT ON A FLY ROD. (JOSEPH SANDS, DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR)

Trout are being released at Mill Creek, River Bridge, Union Creek and Farewell Bend campgrounds. Woodruff Bridge, Mt. Stella Bridge, and the Highway 230 release site are also receiving legal-sized trout.

A wet winter and higher snowpack mean some sites are still snowed in and some have streamflow too high to safely stock trout. Mill Creek Bridge at Prospect, Natural Bridge Campground, Crater Creek, and Minnehaha Creek will be stocked when conditions allow.

“The upper Rogue is one of the best places for families to fish while escaping the heat of summer,” says District Fish Biologist Dan Van Dyke. “It’s clean, cold water and great scenery, and in most places is flowing under the canopy of Ponderosa and sugar pines.”

With streamflow about 30 percent higher than 2011 – another year with heavy snowpack and high streamflow – Van Dyke encourages those with children to be vigilant around the water this year. Anglers are reminded that naturally produced brook, rainbow, and some brown trout and cutthroat trout are also available.

Learn First Aid At Sea At June 5 Course In Seattle

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM WASHINGTON SEA GRANT

Washington Sea Grant and the Port of Seattle Fishermen’s Terminal are co-sponsoring a Coast Guard-approved First Aid at Sea Course on Monday, June 5, 2017, in the Nordby Room, Nordby Bldg, Fishermen’s Terminal.

(WASHINGTON SEA GRANT)

Topics covered include CPR, patient assessment, hypothermia, cold water, near drowning, shock, trauma, burns, fractures, choking, immobilization and essentials for first-aid kits.

1ST AID AT SEA • MONDAY, JUNE 5
First Aid at Sea

WHEN Monday, June 5, 2017
8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

WHERE Nordby Conference Room
Nordby Bldg.
Fishermen’s Terminal, Seattle

FEE $100 ($50 for commercial fishermen)

REGISTER TODAY
Pre-registration required. To register or for more information contact Sarah Fisken, 206.543.1225, or sfisken@u.washington.edu

Free Fishing Weekend Events Slated For Southern Oregon Waters

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Oregonian’s can fish, crab and clam for free during Free Fishing Weekend, June 3-4. Events held around Southern Oregon give families an opportunity to try their hand at landing a trout.

DIAMOND LAKE, WHERE ALLISA OLSEN CAUGHT THIS 22-PLUS-INCHER, IS AMONG THE SOUTHERN OREGON WATERS HOSTING FREE FISHING WEEKEND EVENTS ON JUNE 3-4. ALLISA WAS ASSISTED BY SISTER KATIE ON THE NET. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

The following events held are Saturday, June 4 unless noted:

Coos County:

  • Eel Lake at Tugman State Park, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. At a series of stations, kids will learn how to identify fish, tie knots, and cast along with fishing courtesy and water safety. Kids 12 and under can have the chance to catch trout out of a net pen. Lunch is provided.

Curry County:

  • Arizona Pond, Sunday, June 4 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. The annual Elk River Hatchery free fishing event moved to Arizona Pond located 15 miles south of Port Orford on Highway 101 across from Prehistoric Gardens. This event is open for youth age 17 and under and is hosted by Elk River Hatchery and Oregon State Parks. Rods, reels, bait and tackle will be provided for the event, along with ice and bags so kids can take their fish home. Volunteers can help young anglers and Port Orford Rotary is providing lunch and refreshments. A raffle will be held at noon. ODFW is stocking 800 legal-sized and 300 trophy trout. Information: David Chambers, 541-332-7025.
  • Libby Pond, 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. This event is for kids 13 and younger. Sign-up for prizes begins at 8 a.m., and the event features lunch, prize drawings, and loaner fishing equipment. Adults are encouraged to help their young ones fish. Help will also be on hand from Curry Anadromous Fishermen, Oregon South Coast Fishermen, ODFW and the U.S. Forest Service who are all sponsoring the event. Libby Pond is about eight miles up North Bank Rd., Gold Beach.

Douglas County:

  • Cooper Creek, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. This popular event has a kiddie pond stocked with trout for kids up to eight years old, loaner rods and reels, casting lessons, and a fish cleaning station. Once kids go through an education station, they get a ticket for raffle drawings. Free hot dogs and Pepsi. ODFW is stocking 1,000 larger sized trout just before the event.
  • Diamond Lake, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. This fishing derby is for kids 17 and younger. Check-in begins at 6 a.m. at the resort’s Marina. There will be prizes for biggest fish by different age classes so kids should check in their trout for measurement at the Marina by 2 p.m. There will be door prizes and hot dogs in front of the resort after check-out concludes.
  • Galesville Reservoir, Sunday, June 4 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. There will be bait supplies, loaner rods, and help for first-time anglers age 16 and younger. ODFW is stocking 500 legal-sized trout just prior to Free Fishing Weekend.
  • Lake Marie, Sunday, June 4 from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. for kids 14 and under. Registration begins at 9 a.m. Rods and reels will be available, along with help for first-time anglers. Kids can enter a casting contest and get a bounty for picking up litter. Hot dogs and soda are free to kids with a nominal charge for adults to help pay for next year’s event. ODFW is stocking 2,000 larger sized trout before the event.

Jackson County:

  • Hyatt Lake – Mountain View Shelter, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. free breakfast sponsored by ODFW’s Hunter Education Program. From 9 a.m. – 2 p.m., the BLM and USFS will have rods, tackle and bait on a first come, first served basis. Contact: 541-772-4970.

Josephine County:

  • Lake Selmac, 7:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Josephine County’s only Free Fishing Weekend event is sponsored by the Middle Rogue Steelheaders and ODFW’s Angler Education program. Rods and reels are available for loan and bait is provided. There’s a fishing contest for the biggest fish caught by youth, donated prizes, a free BBQ 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., and a 50/50 raffle. Information: Ryan Battleson, 541-826-8774 x226.

All other regulations apply including bag limit and size restrictions. People who already have a combined tag for salmon, steelhead, sturgeon and halibut are encouraged to use it as it provides data for fish managers.

States Holding Meeting On Potential Lower Columbia Sturgeon Retention

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife will host an informational meeting open to the public on May 30 to solicit input on potential 2017 recreational sturgeon fisheries in the lower Columbia River. The meeting will be held at the Heathman Lodge (7801 NE Greenwood Drive Vancouver, Washington) from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

CARVER AND BRADY, 5 AND 6, INSPECT THEIR FIRST-EVER STURGEON, CAUGHT WHILE FISHING IN 2013 WITH GUIDE LEAF GERAGHTY, WHO HOLDS THEIR FISH. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

The lower Columbia River has been closed to sturgeon retention since 2014 due to concerns about population status. A joint state hearing originally scheduled for today to consider the sturgeon fishery has been postponed to allow additional notification time for members of the public who may want to participate.  Joint state staff want to ensure the general angling public has had an opportunity to review the proposal and provide input on the potential fishery, so both states decided to postpone the originally scheduled meeting.

A draft of the proposed fishery structure will be posted for public review on Friday, May 26 at this website: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/fact_sheets.asp.

Following the May 30 public meeting, the Departments will host a publically open Joint State Hearing on May 31 to discuss potential adoption of fishery.

People who cannot attend the hearing can send comments by email to John North (john.a.north@state.or.us) or Tucker Jones (tucker.a.jones@state.or.us).

The True Lay Of Our Land

Lidar helps geologists and others spot potential hazards such as areas at risk of landslides, but also provides unseen details of our fishing and hunting grounds.

By Andy Walgamott

Trib 87 was troublesome.

The tiny stream that feeds the Sammamish Slough vexed the city of Woodinville during the years I covered my hometown for the local weekly newspaper.

If memory serves, the city council and business folks had visions of developing the area where the creek spilled off tony Hollywood Hill and met the valley near Chateau Ste. Michelle and the Redhook Brewery, but where the flood-prone tributary should be tucked away out of sight and out of mind was problematic.

When it was put into a concrete raceway along 148th just north of the old schoolhouse, someone promptly stuck their car in it. When it was dewatered, a handful of dead fingerlings unexpectedly turned up in a low spot.

THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES EARLIER THIS YEAR MADE PUBLIC ITS LIDAR MAPPING. LIDAR STANDS FOR LIGHT DETECTION AND RANGING; USING AIRPLANES, LASERS AND COMPUTERS IT STRIPS AWAY VEGETATION TO REVEAL THE TRUE LAY OF THE LAND, INCLUDING EXQUISITE BRAIDED RIVERS, PERCHED BENCHES AND MOUNTAINSIDES AROUND DARRINGTON. (DNR)

Even though I’ve forgotten much from those cub reporting days, I distinctly remember an exasperated council member turning to me and asking where I thought Trib 87’s historic channel was located.

I could see it plain as day: everywhere within a quarter mile of where it poured off the hillside onto the valley floor.

That’s where Trib 87 (now known as Derby Creek) acted as an alluvial fan. The rise of the land towards that point told me that since the Great Berg melted back to Canada, rain, snow and gravity had been doing their best to flush the hillside across what would eventually become the city’s tourist district.

A  TRAINED GEOMORPHOLOGIST I’m not, I will admit, but I do have more than a passing interest in Northwest landscapes.

I’ve spent several decades exploring them, fishing them, hunting them, photographing them, reading about them, wondering about them, poring over maps of them.

Speaking of maps, give me one and I am taken away. Doesn’t matter where it is, what it shows, what language it’s in, they suck me in. One of my wife Amy’s recipes is written on the back of a map of somewhere in the country she was born in, Germany. The 4-inch by 4-inch snippet shows some dorf and surrounding landschaft in exquisite detail – I could stare at it until the oven timer beeps and not get bored.

So as you can imagine I was enthralled this winter when the Washington Department of Natural Resources posted Lidar imagery for large swathes of Washington.

Lidar stands for light detection and ranging, and without going into all the techy stuff about how it all works, it’s basically X-ray vision. People flying around in airplanes use lasers and computers to see through the Earth’s clothes, which is to say the trees, shrubs and whatnot it’s swaddled in, producing a map that shows the true land of the land.

It really shines in well-watered Western Washington. Where on the Eastside, topographic features such as the Missoula Floods’ giant ripple marks on the Wenatchee area’s Crescent Bar stand out because the sagebrush only grows so high, vegetation hides all on the Westside.

Well, did.

THOUGH LIDAR IS MEANT TO HELP GEOLOGISTS AND OTHERS SPOT POTENTIAL EARTH HAZARDS, FOR GEOGRAPHY GEEKS IT’S BINGE-WORTHY AND REVEALS MORE ABOUT OUR FISHING AND HUNTING GROUNDS.  (DNR)

FOR A WEEK right after DNR’s early January launch of the site (lidarportal.dnr.wa.gov), after our boys were in bed I spent my evening free time zooming around my favorite spots covered by the data, moaning in exaggerated delight (to Amy’s increasing disgust) at what the subtle silver shading showed me.

Ancient river terraces, entrenched meanders, gigantic Ice Age channels, abandoned runoff deltas facing into the Cascades, fluted drumlin fields, mysterious mounds, wavecut beaches high above Puget Sound, the zigzag of logging roads up steep mountainsides, fault lines, scarps and landslides, and more hidden features were all suddenly visible.

One of the most interesting things I found was a series of pinpricks near Mount Rainier, revealed as if the Earth could no longer keep a little heroin habit secret. Eventually I realized they were likely artifacts of old coal mines near Carbonado.

THE OLD COAL-MINING TOWN OF CARBONADO, JUST NORTH OF MT. RAINIER, SITS ABOUT CENTER OF THIS IMAGE SHOWING INTRIGUING SERIES OF INDENTIONS ON THE EARTH, POSSIBLY COLLAPSED MINING TUNNELS. (DNR)

Well to the north, in the forests of Larrabee State Park were anticlines and synclines worthy of the Appalachians, and cupping narrow lakes that Doug Huddle wrote about fishing in his North Sound column last May.

NO, NOT KENTUCKY HOLLOWS, BUT TIGHTLY WRAPPED ROCK JUST SOUTH OF BELLINGHAM (THAT’S I-5 CUTTING ACROSS THE TOP OF THIS SCREEN SHOT). (DNR)

In central Snohomish County, bass- and trout-rich Flowing, Panther and Storm Lakes sit among a field of long, low, cone-shaped hills that mark where the glacier bent towards the southeast to fill up the Skykomish Valley clear back to just east of Reiter Ponds.

PANTHER, FLOWING AND STORM LAKES SIT IN LOW SPOTS BETWEEN THESE LOW, LONGITUDINAL HILLS THAT MARK WHERE THE GREAT GLACIER THAT CAME DOWN FROM CANADA DURING THE LAST ICE AGE BENT TO THE SOUTHEAST. (DNR)

Speaking of the Sky, down at its lower end a series of oxbows amongst the cow pastures of the Tualco Valley make me wonder if that river and not the much closer Snoqualmie was responsible for digging out what is today Crescent Lake.

The vast flats between Tacoma, the town of Rainier and Olympia are revealed to be a complex mix of supersized channels that sent Pugetropolis runoff through Grays Harbor, and rumpily-frumpily ground where great bergs were surrounded by runoff and filled to become Lake St. Clair and other kettles we fish today.

NOT FAR TO THE EAST OF DNR’S HOME OFFICE IS THIS INTERESTING COMPLEX ABOVE THE LOWER NISQUALLY RIVER (THAT’S THE I-5 CROSSING AT TOP). IN THE HUMMOCKS AT CENTER BOTTOM SITS LAKE ST. CLAIRE, A KETTLE FORMED WHEN ICE FROM THE GLACIER THAT COVERED PUGET SOUND WAS SURROUNDED BY ITS RUNOFF. (DNR)

Ahh, I literally could go on forever, but let me wrap up in Darrington, deep in the Cascades. I was out there on the last weekend in January that the Sauk was open for fishing and had hooked a couple bull trout and was trying for something shinier. But I couldn’t help casting back in my mind to the Lidar maps I’d seen of where the river once turned left down the valley of the North Fork Stilly but now plows north in a great side to side milling of boulders, gravel, sand and glacial grit, speaking to deep time and earth processes that are mostly obscured from view, save for the subtle bar I walked up to a hole I hoped hid a steelhead.

LIDAR REVEALS THE THE CONFLUENCE OF THE SAUK RIVER (BOTTOM LEFT) AND SUIATTLE RIVER (RIGHT) NORTH OF DARRINGTON.

While Lidar is meant for scientists, engineers, planners and others (for more see dnr.wa.gov/lidar), it also lets us see the true land of this land we fish and hunt, revealing its secrets and ever deeper mysteries.

What’s up with those thin lines across the western shoulder of Mt. Haystack above the Sky?