All posts by Andy Walgamott

Mocrocks Opening For 3-day Mid-May Razor Clam Dig

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

State shellfish managers have approved a “bonus” razor clam dig on ocean beaches for three days, May 18-20.

DIGGERS HUNT FOR RAZOR CLAM SHOWS ON A COASTAL BEACH DURING A PREVIOUS SEASON. (DAN AYRES, WDFW)

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig on morning low tides after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat. No digging will be allowed on any beach after noon.

The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates, and morning low tides:

  • May 18, Saturday, 6:58 a.m.; -1.4 feet; Mocrocks
  • May 19, Sunday, 7:41 a.m.; -1.6 feet; Mocrocks
  • May 20, Monday, 8:23 a.m.; -1.6 feet; Mocrocks

“We are happy to announce that healthy clam populations on Mocrocks beach support another dig,” said Ayres.

The southern border of Mocrocks Beach is the Copalis River and the northern border of Mocrocks is the southern end of Quinault Indian Reservation, just south of the Moclips River. Mocrocks includes the following popular areas: Iron Springs, Roosevelt Beach, Seabrook, Pacific Beach and Moclips Beach.

Copalis Beach, just south of Mocrocks, will not be open.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2019-20 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach; 2018-19 licenses are no longer valid for this dig. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license (starting at $9.70) to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

WDFW Again Signals Support For Federal Wolf Delisting In Western Two-thirds

It’s unsurprising at this stage, but the top Washington wildlife official once again said his agency is ready to take over wolf management statewide.

WDFW’S 2018 WOLF PACK MAP SHOWS WHERE THE 27 GROUPS OF WOLVES OCCUR. (WDFW)

“The Department finds the USFWS proposal to remove gray wolves from the list of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and return management authority in the western two-thirds of Washington to the Department appropriate and timely,” writes WDFW Director Kelly Susewind, words not unlike his two predecessors and others there.

His April 18 letter of support comes as the public comment period on the federal proposal to delist the species in the western two-thirds of Washington and elsewhere in the Lower 48 draws to a close in mid-May.

Some 56,000-plus other comments have been submitted as well, including in support from members of Hunting-Washington and the Washington Farm Bureau, among others, but also plenty of opposition.

Susewind’s letter follows on:

* Former Director Jim Unsworth’s 2015 request to US Rep. Dan Newhouse to spur USFWS towards completing its wolf delisting proposal;

* Former Director WDFW Phil Anderson’s 2014 letter to USFWS that the state “no longer needs federal oversight to recover and manage wolves“;

* WDFW wolf policy manager Donny Martorello’s 2013 comment that that year’s delisting proposal was “timely” (it was ultimately waylaid in court).

* The agency’s 2012 opposition to the cockamamie idea that wolves in the western two-thirds of the state were a different stock from those in the eastern two-thirds, which were Congressionally delisted in 2011.

* And a Fish and Wildlife Commission position statement on wolves, during the development of which then Chair Miranda Wecker said, “Some wolf enthusiasts want wolves to live out their natural lives. That’s not the position of the department. Let me be crystal clear: Wolves will become a game species. They will be managed, and not for maximum population.”

Federal delisting would allow WDFW to use the same management tools in the Cascades and Western Washington as it does in the state’s eastern third.

“This is the right direction for wolf conservation and management in our state,” Susewind said, pointing to the agency’s recovery plan, legislative funding, stakeholder work and efforts to manage wolves in perpetuity.

WDFW has also begun a status review of the state’s population, which at last minimum count stood at 126 wolves in 27 packs and has surely grown since then as pups hit the ground this spring.

Based on that review, WDFW will make a recommendation to the Fish and Wildlife Commission on whether gray wolves’ continued state ESA listing is warranted or not.

4 ODFW Commission Nominees Given Do-Confirm Nod As 5th’s Dismissal Stirs Debate

Four Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission nominees received do-confirm recommendations yesterday afternoon from a state Senate committee that also declined to consider a fifth.

The move means that senators will take up the appointments of Mark Labhart, Robert Spelbrink, Mary Wahl and Jill Zarnowitz on the floor of the upper chamber, while the dismissal of Capt. James Nash continues to stir debate.

ROBERT SPELBRINK, MARY WAHL AND JILL ZARNOWITZ SPEAK BEFORE A SENATE COMMITTEE DURING A HEARING ON THEIR NOMINATION TO SERVE ON THE OREGON FISH AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION. A FOURTH NOMINEE, MARK LABHART, PHONED IN TO DISCUSS HIS QUALIFICATIONS. (OREGON)

Nash, a Northeast Oregon hunter, outfitter and conservationist whose nomination was first reported here, drew the ire of environmental groups who poked around in his Instagram account and brought images to the attention of reporters, which resulted in puzzling headlines at the Willamette Week and The Oregonian, as if it was wrong to have a hunter on the panel overseeing the management of the state’s fish and wildlife.

They also didn’t like that he was a member of a longtime Wallowa County ranching family and the son of a critic of wolf management in the area.

As the Oregon Outdoor Council rallied to Nash’s defense, there was pushback from both Jayson Jacoby of the Baker City Herald and Bill Monroe, outdoor writer at The Oregonian.

“Photos of his hippo and crocodile kills triggered an unfair rush to judgment of a man who, after medical retirement from the Marines, dedicated his life to the environment, river restoration, responsible range management and teaching others to hunt and fish,” wrote Monroe in arguing Nash deserved a hearing.

“The implication, at least based on the headlines and photographs, is that a man who not only kills animals but does so, in some cases, for sport rather than for food, is incapable of responsibly overseeing the conservation of wildlife,” wrote Jacoby.

After Senate Rules Committee Chairwoman Sen. Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) spiked Nash’s nomination, it came out that “his big-game hunting was never the real issue.”

“The real issue, [environmental groups] say, is that Gov. Brown had a rare opportunity to change the culture at the top of her fish and wildlife agency and instead chose not to,” reported OPB.

It all led one longtime Northwest hook-and-bullet-world writer to wonder if “social prejudice” and “political correctness” wasn’t at work.

“The irony of environmentalists blocking the nomination of a veteran and lifelong outdoorsman to serve on the Fish & Wildlife commission — which is responsible for setting hunting and fishing seasons and regulations — seems overwhelming,” wrote Dave Workman for Ammoland.

As for the four whose nominations are proceeding, they detailed their interests to the Rules Committee.

Labhart, who worked for the state Department of Forestry, was a Tillamook County Commissioner and now lives in Sisters, told senators that he’d been involved with ODFW “for decades” and would approach the commission position with an open mind and wasn’t coming in with an agenda.

Spelbrink, a retired commercial fisherman of 40 years and fishing guide of 20 years on the Siletz, said the state’s natural resources had “been a huge part of my life” and hoped that his background would be valuable to the citizen panel.

Application documents show that both Labhart and Spelbrink hunt and fish.

Wahl, who managed toxic cleanups for the state and watershed operations in Portland and now lives in Langlois and co-owns her family’s ranch and is on the board of Wild Rivers Land Trust, said with her on-the-job experiences and policy work would make her “an effective, enganged commissioner.”

Zarnowitz operates a winery near Yamhill and said she had had a 40-year career in natural resources management in Oregon and Washington, and was “pleased” to offer her services to the state.

Their nominations, as well as dozens of others, including outgoing ODFW Commissioner Bruce Buckmaster to the Oregon Water Enhancement Board, were given do-confirm recommendations without any debate by Sen. Burdick’s committee.

Next up in the process is a floor vote.

2 More Days Of Springer Fishing Approved Above Bonneville

Columbia salmon managers OKed a two-day spring Chinook opener for the gorge pools upstream to the Washington-Oregon border this weekend.

While ODFW’s Tucker Jones expressed confidence given yesterday’s big 4,807-fish jump at Bonneville that the lower river could have also been opened, there was no support for it among the recreational advisors, guides and members of the public during a conference call this afternoon.

A GUIDE REACHES FOR A SPRING CHINOOK AT WIND RIVER. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Upriver tribes also expressed concern about potential high catch rates that fishery might have and that a federal hatchery in Leavenworth was only expected to get half the broodstock it needed.

Jones’ WDFW counterpart Bill Tweit said he was hopeful for additional opportunity below the dam too, but was less optimistic about the run, which at 25,073 is the second lowest in the last 10 years and just 28 percent of the 10-year average.

A technical committee says it’s still too early to provide a reliable runsize update; the forecast was for 99,300.

Downriver test fishing this week saw Chinook catches drop compared to the previous week too.

With anglers expected to land about 113 springers a day, Jones and Tweit approved a Saturday-Sunday fishery on the Columbia from the Tower Island powerlines below The Dalles Dam upstream to the state line, plus bank fishing from Bonneville to the powerlines.

It had been proposed by state staffers as a Saturday -Monday opener, but Tweit was nervous about how close that would bring the catch to the 492-fish quota and suggested two days instead, which Jones agreed with.

He anticipates the run will come in strong enough to cover fisheries so far and Tweit noted that every day’s dam counts provided crucial information on the return.

It’s likely that a fact sheet will come out next Wednesday to just update the run size and gorge pools’ catches.

Under the preseason forecast and 30 percent buffer, the lower river quota of above-Bonneville springer mortalities is 3,689, of which 40 percent or 1,471 have been taken during the March, early April and three weekend openers.

Perch Derby Highlights Plight Of Seattle-area Kokanee Stock

Another yellow perch derby will be held on Lake Sammamish, this one on Saturday, May 18, part of a larger effort to recover the lake’s kokanee population.

THE 2ND ANNUAL LAKE SAMMAMISH PERCH DERBY WILL BE HELD SATURDAY, MAY 18, WITH CASH AND PRIZES TO BE AWARDED FOR ANGLERS WHO BRING IN YELLOWBELLIES LIKE THIS ONE. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

It follows on an initial derby put on last September by Trout Unlimited, who say that catching yellowbellies will help the metro water’s landlocked sockeye. Juvenile perch compete with kokanee for zooplankton, key forage for the native fish.

Headquartered at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah, the derby begins at 8 a.m. and runs till 1 p.m. 

“There will be adult and kid divisions with prizes awarded to the person catching the longest perch, the heaviest perch, and the heaviest 25 perch, and also a bonus prize for the largest pikeminnow caught by registered anglers,” reads a TU event announcement.

Tickets are $30 for adults, $15 for kids, and all proceeds go towards recovering Sammamish kokanee.

Those in the King County lake have been struggling for decades as the surrounding area has urbanized and water quality has declined. Despite efforts to prop up the population in recent years, there has been an alarming decline in spawning numbers. Less than 20 were counted in tributaries in fall 2017, prompting an emergency response from county officials.

TU was among the groups that in 2007 petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the stock under the Endangered Species Act, but in 2011 the feds declined to do so, saying it wasn’t an independent population.

According to state biologist Aaron Bosworth, yellow perch were introduced into Sammamish in 1915, and though it’s unclear who put them there, it came near the end of the era when the U.S. Fish Commission was moving Eastern gamefish into Western waters.

These days, efforts are being made to get them out of the lakes, or limit their impacts to young salmonids.

During last fall’s derby, 636 perch weighing 146 pounds were weighed in, with Jeff Stuart accounting for nearly 19 pounds alone, most of anyone.

He also had the longest in the adult division, a near 11½-incher, while in the kids division, Wesley Mehta weighed 7¾ pounds of perch overall and Carson Moore brought in both the longest and heaviest perch.

Sponsors include Washington State Parks, King County, Bass Pro Shops, the Snoqualmie Tribe. For more info, see lakesammamishkokanee.com/perch-derby.

ODFW Premium, Controlled Hunt App Deadline May 15; Heads Up On Baker Co. Ranch Access

THE FOLLOWING ARE PRESS RELEASES FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

One week left to apply for “Premium” hunt of a lifetime and other controlled hunts: Deadline May 15, 2019

It’s the hunt of a lifetime—though you can win it more than once.

Premium Hunts (see photos) are Oregon’s premiere hunting opportunity for both residents and non-residents—deer, elk and pronghorn antelope tags with a four-month season (Aug. 1-Nov. 30) and any-sex bag limit.

FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD DAMON STEELHAMMER OF EUGENE POSES WITH HIS FOSSIL UNIT BULL ELK, TAKEN ON DAY FIVE OF A PREMIUM TAG HUNT LAST SEASON. (BRYAN MURPHY VIA ODFW)

Like all limited-entry controlled hunts, applications are $8, and due no later than 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, May 15. Premium Hunt tags also cost the same as other big game tags.

But the draw for Premium Hunts is not based on preference points, so everyone has an equal chance to draw each year. And unlike “once-in-a-lifetime” bighorn sheep and Rocky Mountain goat tags, Premium Hunts can be drawn again and again.

Premium Hunts are also considered additional tags—meaning winners can still hunt on their regular controlled or general season big game tag.

Finally, both residents and non-residents can apply and both have an equal chance to draw.

How to apply
It’s easy to apply online at www.myodfw.com Click the “Buy License/Apply for tag” button and login. If you haven’t created an online account yet, use Verify/Look Up Account to find your profile and create one. (All hunters and anglers who have purchased an annual license in the past three years, have preference points, or have Pioneer or Disability status need to use Verify/Look Up Account as they already have a profile in the new system.)

Once you are logged in or have set up your account, go to Purchase from the Catalog / Big Game Hunting / Controlled Hunts and choose the deer, elk or pronghorn antelope Premium Hunt application. Then Proceed to Checkout to make your hunt selections (hunts are selected before you enter your payment information and complete the purchase). Reminder that as with all controlled hunt applications, a hunting license is required to apply. For a step-by-step guide to applying online, visit https://medium.com/@MyODFW/how-to-apply-for-a-controlled-hunt-online-ed08f04b0345

One Premium deer, elk or pronghorn antelope tag is available in just about every unit where these species occur, see page 64-66 of 2019 Oregon Big Game Regulations or the online regulations (http://www.eregulations.com/oregon/big-game-hunting/premium-hunts/) for details and hunt numbers.

You can also apply for Premium and all other controlled hunts at ODFW offices that sell licenses and at license sale agents. Hunters are encouraged to apply as soon as possible to avoid long lines on deadline day.

More about Premium Hunts
ODFW first introduced Premium Hunts in 2016 to offer every hunter the chance to win the hunt of a lifetime at the cost of a regular tag. Last year, the Wenaha elk, Metolius deer, and W Beaty Butte-N70B pronghorn antelope were the most sought-after hunts with the most first-choice applicants. Find out more about the most and least applied for hunts at https://myodfw.com/articles/premium-big-game-hunts

To see photos and stories from 2018 Premium Hunt winners, visit https://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/premium_hunts/2018_winners/EverallDeerMurderersCreekcreditAndyDill.asp

…….

Lookout Mt. hunters: Forsea Ranch Access Area not available for fall big game hunting

Hunters should be aware that the Forsea Ranch Access Area is ending its participation in the Access and Habitat (A and H) program and will not be available to hunt through the program after July 31, 2019.

The property had provided open “Welcome to Hunt” access to more than 9,000 acres of private land in the Lookout Mt. Unit (Baker County). Hunters applying for fall big game controlled hunts in the unit will not be able to hunt this access area through the A and H program this fall.

AN ODFW HUNTING MAP SHOWS THE FORSEA RANCH, WHICH IS PULLING OUT OF THE STATE AGENCY’S ACCESS PROGRAM FOLLOWING A DISPUTE OVER A ROAD WITH BAKER COUNTY. (ODFW)

The fall controlled hunts affected are #164 (buck deer); #s 264A1, 264A2, 264X, 264Y (elk); #464 (pronghorn antelope); #s 564A1 and 564A2 (bighorn sheep). The deadline to apply for all fall controlled hunts is next Wednesday, May 15.

Hunters who have already applied for a controlled hunt in Lookout Mt and wish to change their hunt choice based on the closure of Forsea Ranch Access Area have until June 1 to do so. The easiest way to change a hunt choice is to login to your MyODFW.com account, go to Recreational Portfolio/Controlled Hunts and then click the Edit button next to Hunt Choices. Hunters who haven’t logged in to their online account yet should use the “Verify/Look Up Your account” button to retrieve and set up their online account.

Hunt choices can also be changed through June 1 at ODFW offices that sell licenses, at license sale agents, or by contacting Licensing (odfw.websales@state.or.us, tel. (503) 947-6101).

Forsea Ranch Access Area participated in ODFW’s A and H Program, which provides grants to landowners to allow hunters to access their private land. The property was originally scheduled to be in the program through 2021.

The landowner notified ODFW late last week that he was “regretfully” discontinuing participation in the program as of July 31, 2019 due to a disagreement with Baker County involving a public road.

Lookout Mt. is only 38 percent public land so A and H properties provide important hunter access in the unit. Other A and H properties in the unit include Widman Access Area, Troy Ranches Access Area, MR King Access Area, Virtue Flat Access Area and Iron Mountain Access Area. Find more information at https://myodfw.com/articles/hunting-access-map

2 Sections Of WA’s Snake Opening On Sat., Sun. Schedule For Springers

THE FOLLOWING IS AN EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE NOTICE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Snake River spring chinook fishery to open two days per week

Action: Spring chinook salmon fishery opens two days per week (Saturday and Sunday) beginning May 11, 2019 in sections of the Snake River.

WITH LITTLE GOOSE DAM IN THE BACKGROUND, JEFF MAIN OF SPOKANE HOLDS A 25-POUND SPRING CHINOOK CAUGHT OUT OF THE SNAKE RIVER A FEW SEASONS BACK. (DAIWA PHOTO CONTEST)

Effective date:  May 11, 2019 until further notice.

Species affected: Salmon.          

Locations:

  1. A) Below Little Goose Dam: The Snake River from Texas Rapids boat launch (south side of the river upstream of the mouth of Tucannon River) to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam.  This zone includes the rock and concrete area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility (includes the walkway area locally known as “the Wall” in front of the juvenile collection facility);
  2. B) Clarkston: The Snake River from the downstream edge of the large power lines crossing the Snake River (just upstream from West Evans Road on the south shore) upstream about 3.5 miles to the Washington state line (from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch in Clarkston northwest across the Snake River to the Washington/Idaho boundary waters marker on the Whitman County shore).

Reason for action:  The 2019 Columbia River forecasted return of upriver spring chinook salmon is sufficiently abundant enough to allow for harvest opportunity on the Snake River based on Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission Policy C-3620.

Additional information: 

Salmon: Daily limit 4, of which up to 1 may be an adult; min. size 12 inches. Only hatchery chinook, as evidenced by a clipped adipose fin with a healed scar, may be retained. Release all other salmon. The Snake River opens for steelhead fishing on May 25. Anglers may not continue to fish for salmon or steelhead once the adult salmon daily limit has been retained. Any chinook over 24 inches is considered an adult. Night closure is in effect.

On days and in areas open for salmon, barbless hooks are required for all species.

When open for retention, anglers cannot remove any salmon or steelhead from the water unless it is retained as part of the daily bag limit.

WDFW will monitor this fishery and the returns of spring chinook throughout the season and may close the fishery at any time due to harvest levels, impacts fish listed under the Endangered Species Act, in-season run adjustments, or a combination of these things. Please continue to check emergency rules if you are planning to fish for spring chinook in the Snake River.

Anglers are reminded to refer to the 2018/2019 Fishing in Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for other regulations, including safety closures, closed waters, etc. Through June 30, anglers are required under state law to obtain a Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement to fish for salmon or steelhead in the Columbia River and its tributaries.

Southwest Washington Fishing Report (5-7-19)

THE FOLLOWING REPORTS WERE TRANSMITTED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman River– 1 bank angler released 1 steelhead.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream: 26 bank rods kept 3 steelhead.  1 boat/ 4 rods released 1 Chinook.

SKYLER BRODERS OF ST. HELENS SHOWS OFF A DRANO LAKE SPRING CHINOOK, HIS FIRST SALMON EVER. HE WAS TROLLING A BRINED HERRING WHILE FISHING WITH HIS COUSIN TROY BRODERS. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Above the I-5 Br:  14 bank rods had no catch.  5 boats/13 rods had no catch.

Last week, Tacoma Power employees recovered 161 winter-run steelhead adults, two winter-run steelhead jacks, 118 spring Chinook adults, five spring Chinook jacks and one cutthroat trout during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.

During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 17 winter-run steelhead adults and one cutthroat trout into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton and they released 22 winter-run steelhead adults, 17 spring Chinook adults and one spring Chinook jack into Lake Scanewa located in Randle.

River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 2,990 cubic feet per second on Monday, May 6. Water visibility is 10 feet and the water temperature is 50.0 F.

Kalama River – 67 bank anglers released 4 Chinook and 3 steelhead.  13 boats/23 rods kept 1 Chinook jack and released 7 steelhead.

Lewis River – 8 bank anglers had no catch.

Wind River– 65 boats/172 rods kept 46 Chinook and released 2 Chinook.

Drano Lake – 20 bank rods had no catch.  215 boats/594 rods kept 148 Chinook and released 12 Chinook.

Klickitat – No report.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

 

Trout:  

No report on angling success.

Catchable Trout Plants:  

Lake/Pond                           Date Species Number    Fish/lb Hatchery

Battle Ground (CLARK)          April 24, 2019 Cutthroat    3,000 2.50 Skamania

Klineline  (CLARK)              April 24, 2019 Cutthroat       2,110 2.50 Skamania

Horseshoe (COWLITZ)           April 22, 2019 Rainbow    3,000 2.13 Goldendale

Sacajawea (COWLITZ)           April 26, 2019 Rainbow    3,360 2.80 Mossyrock

Carlise (LEWIS)                       April 16, 2019 Rainbow 10,000         2.00

Mineral (LEWIS)                     April 23, 2019 Rainbow 2,875           2.50 Mossyrock

Pikeminnow Sport – Reward Fishery Program:

The program operates from May 1 to September 30 in the lower Columbia River (mouth to Priest Rapids Dam) and the Snake River (mouth to Hells Canyon Dam).  http://www.pikeminnow.org/

WDFW’s Susewind To Hold Another Digital Open House May 13

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

Kelly Susewind, director of Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will host a virtual open house on Monday, May 13 to give the public a chance to ask about the department’s policies and direction.

WDFW DIRECTOR KELLY SUSEWIND WILL HOLD ANOTHER WEBINAR TO TALK ABOUT HIS AGENCY’S ISSUES. LAST NOVEMBER HE HELD HIS FIRST. (YOUTUBE)

“I want to share some updates on the agency, but the main purpose is to have a two-way conversations with those who aren’t always able to attend our in-person events,” said Susewind. “People care deeply about the work we do and we want to make it easier for them to tell us what’s on their mind and what’s important to them in their everyday live.”

Introductory topics will include an overview of the department’s work, a summary of legislative session actions that affect WDFW, and how the department is working to address long-term challenges affecting fish and wildlife in Washington.

Director Susewind will also be joined by a number of his staff who share wildlife, fish, law enforcement, and habitat expertise.

The online webinar starts at 7 p.m. The public can go to https://player.invintus.com/?clientID=2836755451&eventID=2019051001 during the event to watch and submit questions. After the event the open house video will remain available from the agency’s website, wdfw.wa.gov.

Oregon Tuna Classic Team Wins Offshore Billfish Championship

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE COSTA OFFSHORE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

At the Costa Offshore World Championship, from April 28 – May 3, some of the world’s best anglers gathered for four days of fishing to vie for the most exclusive title in international tournament fishing. In 2019, the atmosphere was particularly competitive, with returning winning teams and teams of all-star anglers striving for the Championship ring on the 20th anniversary of the event. But of the 45 elite teams in the tournament, only one could be crowned 2019 Offshore World Champions, and this year the title went to Team Oregon Tuna Classic (USA).

TEAM OREGON TUNA CLASSIC, INCLUDING MEMBERS MATTI OLSON, MATT ROWLAND, STAN BROGDON, DAN SULLIVAN AND ERIK JUTILA, WON THE OFFSHORE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS HELD IN COSTA RICA LAST WEEK. (MICHELLE GAYLORD, OUT YOUR FRONT DOOR)

Headed into the final day of fishing, Team Oregon Tuna Classic had a commanding 1,400-point lead over second-place Team Mauritius International Billfish Release Tournament (Mauritius). But the Oregon Tuna Classic team blanked on day four, opening the door for other teams. Team Mauritius released one blue marlin and two sailfish aboard Three Brothers, captained by Didier Guzman Villaloos, to score 900 points. The solid day for the team still left them one blue marlin release short of winning the championship.

Team 2008 Offshore World Champions (USA) started off the final day in third place with 4,532.2 points. With less than 10 minutes of fishing left in the day, the team had released four Pacific sailfish for 800 points, positioning them in third place behind the Mauritius team. But a double hook up of sailfish in the final minutes allowed them to jump into second place, with angler Brandon Hopper’s fish pushing him to the top angler position of the tournament. After releasing both fish successfully, the team ended the tournament with 5732.2 points, less than 400 points away from first place.

The Championship victory was exciting and even a bit unexpected for anglers Matti Olson, Matt Rowland, Stan Brogdon, Dan Sullivan and Erik Jutila, who mostly fish for albacore tuna in the northwest United States. The anglers openly admitted they didn’t have as much billfishing experience as many other anglers in the tournament. One team member participated in the 2018 Offshore World Championship and knew they needed a good plan. The team pre-fished before the tournament with top Costa Rica crews and worked hard during the tournament. They literally had rods in hands for all 32 hours of fishing.

As 2019 champions, Team Oregon Tuna Classic received coveted OWC champion rings by VanMark Jewelry Designers and the opportunity to apply for the Costa Offshore World Championship for many years to come.

The 2008 Offshore World Champion team followed in second place. Anglers Brandon Hopper, John Domanic, Matt McLean, Ken Longaker, and Robert Collins each received a gold VanMark Jewelry Designers pendant. Team Mauritius International Billfish Release Tournament, composed of Raymond LeCourt, Evgeny Novozheev, Olivier Francois Couacaud, Vidas Morkunas, and Linas Solominas, finished in third place overall and received the VanMark Jewelry Designers pendant. Marina Pez Vela Open (Costa Rica, 5,200 points) and Mississippi Gulf Coast Big Game Spring Tournament (USA, 4,666 points) teams finished fourth and fifth place respectively.

The top angler award was presented to angler Brandon Hopper, of Team 2008 OWC Champions. Hopper released one blue marlin, one striped marlin and eight Pacific sailfish for a total of 2,600 points. Fernando Pessoa (Yacht Club Ilhabela Annual Billfish Tournament, Brazil, 2,500 points), Matti Olson (Oregon Tuna Classic, USA, 2,200 points), Paulo Cecchetti (Torneio de Pesca Royal Charlotte, Brazil, 2,200 points), Vlaho Vidak (IGLAN Big Game Fishing Jezera, Croatia, 2,100 points), and Sam Worden (2011 OWC Champions, USA, 1965.4 points) followed in second through sixth place, respectively.

ANGLERS COMPETED TO CATCH THE MOST BILLFISH, INCLUDING PACIFIC SAILFISH, BLUE MARLIN, STRIPED MARLIN AND BLACK MARLIN. (OFFSHORE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS)

The world-class boats and crews of Costa Rica led the Costa Offshore World Championship teams to success all week. Captain Jose Fabio Hernadez and his crew on Frenzy earned the top prize in their category for assisting with the release of 26 sailfish, and two dorado weighing 31.6 and 26 pounds, for 5257.6 points in three days. Only the top three days are scored for fishing captains and crews, because not all charter boats fish all four days. Five of the top nine charter boats were Maverick sportfish yachts, including Frenzy, Dragin Fly, Top Fly, Super Fly and Spanish Fly.

Throughout the tournament, 216 anglers from 24 countries released and video-verified 608 sailfish, 25 blue marlin, two striped marlin and one black marlin for a total of 636 billfish overall. The top seven fishing teams scored more points than the 2018 Offshore World Champions. This year’s billfish numbers are a boost compared to last year’s total of 352 billfish released.

Twenty dorado over the 25-pound minimum were brought to the scales during the week. The top four dorado all weighed more than 40 pounds. The heaviest dorado weighed 52.8 pounds, caught by angler Alexandre Guedes Neto, of Torneio de Pesca Royal Charlotte.

The tournament ended May 3 with food, drinks and live entertainment at an awards gala at Marina Pez Vela. Winners were presented with King Sailfish trophies, VanMark Jewelry Designers pieces and prizes from industry-leading companies and sponsors.

The Offshore World Championship is the world’s premier saltwater fishing championship and has been held in Costa Rica since 2013. In 2019, the Offshore World Championship celebrates its 20th anniversary.

For more information, visit offshoreworldchampionship.com. From the Offshore World Championship homepage, navigate to our CatchStat scorekeeper site to view complete results. Also, check out Offshore World Championship social media on Facebook and Instagram for regular updates.

FINAL RESULTS

Top Teams

1st Place: Oregon Tuna Classic (USA), 6,100 points
2nd Place: 2008 Offshore World Champions (USA), 5,732.2 points
3rd Place: Mauritius International Billfish Release Tournament (Mauritius), 5,600 points
4th Place: Marina Pez Vela Open (Costa Rica), 5,200 points
5th Place: Mississippi Gulf Coast Big Game Spring Tournament (USA), Spain, 4,666 points

Teams received prizes from Costa Offshore World Championship sponsors VanMark Jewelry, Costa Sunglasses, Lucas Oil, Soundview Millworks, Guy Harvey, AFTCO, YETI, Garmin Marine, Fish Shimano, Flor de Caña, Big T Lures, and Heineken.

Top Anglers

1. Brandon Hopper, 2008 OWC Champions (USA), 2,600 points
2. Fernando Pessoa, Yacht Club Ilhabela Annual Billfish Tournament (Brazil), 2,500 points
3. Matti Olson, Oregon Tuna Classic (USA), 2,200 points
4. Paulo Cecchetti, Torneio de Pesca Royal Charlotte (Brazil), 2,200 points
5. Vlaho Vidak, IGLAN Big Game Fishing Jezera (Croatia), 2,100 points
6. Sam Worden, 2011 Offshore World Champions (USA), 1,965.4 points

Anglers received prizes from Costa Offshore World Championship sponsors King Sailfish Mounts, Soundview Millworks, Costa Sunglasses, YETI, Guy Harvey, AFTCO, Flor de Caña, and Big T Lures.

Top Boat / Captain

1. Captain Jose Fabio Hernadez, Mates Marcos Solano and Jason Falas, Frenzy, 5257.6 points
2. Captain James Smith, Mate Alberto Dorling, Dragin Fly, 5,100 points
3. Captain Mardonio Obando, Mate Ananias Marin Reyes, Raven, 4,700 points
3. Captain Cristian Calvo, Mate Randy Smith, Amy’s Dream, 4,700 points

Captains received prizes from Costa Offshore World Championship sponsors King Sailfish Mounts, YETI, Guy Harvey, Costa Sunglasses, Lucas Oil, AFTCO, Flor de Caña, Big T Lures, Heineken and Soundview Millworks.

Heaviest Dorado

1. Alexandre Guedes Neto, Torneio de Pesca Royal Charlotte (Brazil), 52.8 pounds
2. Steven (Rocky) Franich, International Roosterfish Tournament (Mexico), 49.8 pounds
3. Olivier Nouy, Antigua & Barbuda Sportfish Tournament (Antigua & Barbuda), 42.6 pounds

Anglers received prizes from Costa Offshore World Championship sponsors Guy Harvey, Garmin, King Sailfish Mounts, Soundview Millworks, AFTCO, YETI, Costa Sunglasses, Big T Lures and Flor de Caña.