All posts by Barclay Tollefson

Salmon And Steelhead Fishing Closes On Oregon’s Youngs River

With the region’s serious lack of rain hindering the returns of salmon the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has issued a closure on the Youngs River to ensure sufficient collection of hatchery broodstock. Here’s the ODFW news release.

The Youngs River and its tributaries will close to salmon and steelhead fishing effective Saturday, Oct. 13. Biologists at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the
closure in order to protect broodstock fish destined for the basin’s hatcheries.

The areas covered by the closure include:

  • Youngs Bay from the commercial fishing deadline at Battle Creek Slough upstream to YoungnmRiver Falls, and
  • Klaskanine River from its confluence with Youngs River upstream to the Klaskanine Hatchery angling deadline on the North Fork and up to the first falls at approximately river mile 4.7 on the South Fork.

According to John North, ODFW Columbia River fisheries manager, fish are likely holding in tidewater and not moving upriver because of low river levels caused by a lack of rain.

“Based on the poor returns so far this year, we are concerned about reaching hatchery broodstock needs,” he said. “We need to do what we can to make sure enough fish make it back to the hatcheries.”

The closures are in effect through Nov. 16.

Rogue Valley Lakes Receive Nearly 7,000 Rainbows

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife reports in this news release that impoundments in the Rogue Valley will see a boost in ‘bow numbers. Here’s the ODFW news release.

During the first two weeks of October, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is stocking Rogue Valley lakes and ponds with nearly 7,000 legal and larger rainbow trout.

Howard Prairie and Applegate reservoirs, Hyatt and Selmac lakes, and Expo and Reinhart Park ponds are all receiving a mix of one-pound trout and catchable trout. Howard Prairie will also get 16,000 fingerlings.

“We’re glad to offer the opportunity for anglers to catch more trout this fall,” said Dan Van Dyke, Rogue District fish biologist.  “The releases provide a great reason for families to get outside and enjoy being on the water.  Crowds are down in fall and winter, but fishing can be great fun during good weather”.

The trout were purchased from a private hatchery through an allocation of fishing license funds by the Oregon Legislature.

ODFW Sets $25 Failure To Report Deer & Elk Penalty

Money talks. At least that’s what the Oregon Department of Fish and Game is hoping after there commission settled on a higher-than-proposed reporting penalty. Here’s the ODFW News Release.

The Fish and Wildlife Commission today adopted a rule that will penalize hunters $25 if they fail to report deer and elk hunt results by the deadline.

The penalty will begin with the purchase of 2014 hunting licenses. Hunters that fail to report their 2012 deer and elk tags by the deadline (Jan. 31, 2013 for most tags) will have to pay the one-time $25 fee to purchase a 2014 hunting license. (These licenses go on sale Dec. 1, 2013.)

The Oregon State Legislature gave ODFW the ability to charge a penalty fee of up to $25 last year. ODFW staff had proposed a $10 penalty fee. But Commissioners voted to set the fee at $25 as they felt hunters who were not reporting would be more likely to take notice of the requirement with a higher fee. Some hunters also testified in favor of the higher fee.

Hunters can report online or by calling 1-866-947-6339. The automated system used for hunters that report by phone will soon be replaced by customer service representatives who can take hunt results over the phone, which should make things easier for any hunters that had trouble with the automated system.

Reporting hunt results for all deer, elk, pronghorn antelope, cougar, bear and turkey tags purchased (even when tags go unfilled or the buyer never went hunting) has been mandatory for several years. ODFW needs the information to determine harvest and effort levels, estimate populations and set tag numbers. But last year, the fourth year of “Mandatory Reporting” with no penalty, results were reported on only 41 percent of tags purchased.

Deer and elk tags are some of the most under-reported and information from these hunts is critical for setting tag numbers and seasons. But despite heavy promotion of the requirement and incentives for reporting, the reporting rate still isn’t high enough for ODFW to use the data. Another problem is that hunters who are successful are more likely to report than those that didn’t fill their tag, which skews harvest numbers.

ODFW has continued to survey hunters through phone calls in order to get useable harvest data, but needs to phase out these expensive calls. With so many people using cell phones and not providing their phone number, ODFW is also finding it more and more difficult to reach hunters by phone.

In other changes to the 2013 Big Game Regulations, the Commission:

  • Cut antlerless elk hunting on national forestland on the west slope of the Cascades and in the Ochoco Unit, due to declining elk numbers on National Forest lands. Archers, muzzleloader hunters and hunters with Disability permits will no longer be able to take any elk—the bag limit will be a legal bull.
  • Offer two types of archery tags for the Ochoco Unit, one with a one elk and one with a bull-only bag limit. The total number of archery tags in each category will be determined next June but antlerless harvest on National Forest land will be reduced, again to help boost populations.
  • Change spike-only archery tags from general season to controlled in three premier elk units, Mt Emily, Walla Walla, and Wenaha. The purpose of the rule change is to close a loophole that allowed spike-only tag holders with general season tags to poach trophy elk in these units but pretend to have shot the elk elsewhere. Bowhunters that choose to hunt one of these trophy units will be limited to these units.
  • Require an archery elk tag to archery hunt deer in the Mt Emily, Walla Walla, and Wenaha units, again to reduce poaching.
  • Limit camping to designated sites and end cross-country motor vehicle travel on the White River Wildlife Area.
  • Change some boundaries to travel management areas.
  • Reduce size of bowhunting closure area in the Columbia Basin unit.
  • Clarify the definition of “spike only” and proof of sex requirements.

The Commission also amended the state’s wildlife integrity rules to make it easier for people to raise tilapia for personal consumption. The new rules specify that a fish propagation permit is not required to raise tilapia indoors (defined as an enclosed structure) for personal use and list the four tilapia species that can be reared – Mozambique, Nile, Wami and Blackchin. Individuals must still purchase a fish transportation permit from ODFW to move live fish from the point of sale to their home.

Finally, the Commission heard the annual progress report from the Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program (STEP) program and a briefing on the Mule Deer Initiative and the Oregon Sage-Grouse Conservation Strategy.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state. The seven-member group usually meets monthly but their next meeting is not until Dec. 7 in Portland.

San Juans Salmon Report (10-8-12)

Kevin Klein of the San Juan Islands PSA chapter, has a high-octane report from the island fleet!

Found ’em! The Summer Salmon Season that had been limping along like a primered out old Explorer almost outta gas is now racing toward the finish line at 130 mph like a supercharged Taurus SHO!

Sara Smith landed this beautiful Silver off an unnamed beach is the Southern San Juans. These Coho are running shallow and close along the shorelines, and will hit anything from Hootcie spinners to Herring, floated under a bobber, or just retrieved. Big Salty Silvers off the beach....What a Rush! (KEVIN KLEIN)

There are plenty of Coho to be had right now on the outside of San Juan. We fished last weekend starting in a crowd, and decided to troll away from the masses. As soon as we put about half a mile between us and the herd, Whammo! Doubles, and we got into a good bite.

These fish are moving this time of year, so I like to prospect from one end of the Island to the other. If I see bait and bird activity, or get a takedown, I’ll make a few turns depending on the tide.

We ran a Deep Six Diver off the back with an Ace High Fly, as well as the standard Green Glo Squid and Tailwagger off the Downriggers. All behind Q-Cove Flashers. All caught fish, anywhere from 50 to 150 feet in the water column.

Fish a little further out from shore than you would for Kings, and work the tide rips. Don’t be surprised if you hook a big, bad Chum this time of year. They fight like a tweaked Opossum with an attitude problem. Chum will also hit Flashers, so if you get a massive takedown, and nothing to show for it but teeth marks on your mylar, that’s what happened.

One of these days we might actually get some rainfall, and the fish will probably move into the rivers quick, so enjoy the lights out fishing in the Salt while you can.

Salmon Fishing To Close On Portion Of Columbia & Wenatchee River

Salmon seekers fishing for summer Chinook and sockeye will have one final weekend to fish the Wenatchee river and mainstem Columbia River between Rock Island Dam and Chief Joseph Dam. WDFW will close these areas to salmon angling Sunday evening, in an attempt to prevent incidental impacts on ESA-listed steelhead. But with strong catches of fall Chinook just down river, anglers in the region have ample opportunity to boat a king.

Here’s the WDFW rule change.

Action:  Closes salmon fishing on the Wenatchee River and portions of the mainstem Columbia River.

Effective date:  One hour after sunset on Oct. 7, 2012.

Locations:  Wenatchee River from the mouth (confluence with the Columbia River) to the Icicle Road bridge near the west end of Leavenworth, and mainstem Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to Chief Joseph Dam.

Species affected:  Chinook and sockeye salmon.

 Reason for action: The salmon fishery is approaching allowable limits of incidental impacts to ESA-listed steelhead under the Permit 1554, which covers the summer Chinook and sockeye fisheries.

Other information:  The fall Chinook fisheries below Rock Island Dam and the summer Chinook fishery in the Chelan River are not affected by this closure.  Please check WDFW’s “Fishing in Washington” rules pamphlet and emergency regulations on the department’s website for details on all permanent fishing seasons and regulations for those waters.

Hunting For Hope, Fishing For Families

For 30 years, a local non-profit organization called Jasper Mountain has brought hope and healing to traumatized children and their families. Their mission focuses on enhancing the physical, emotional and spiritual health of its clients while providing a positive family environment where healing starts and rehabilitation begins.

WHEN: 5:00-8:00 pm Sunday, Oct. 21

WHERE: Shadow Hills Country Club, Junction City

TICKETS: $40 Advanced Purchase/ $45 Day of.
Jasper Mountain operates two facilities in the Springfield, Oregon area – one for short term and one for long term treatment. Globally recognized as the top rehabilitation center for children between the ages of two and thirteen, Jasper’s philosophy focuses on treating the intellectual, emotional and spiritual needs of children. At Jasper Mountain, children find a safe and healthy home where they build essential life skills necessary for self-understanding.

To help support Jasper Mountain, Cabela’s is hosting the “Hunting for Hope, Fishing for Families” benefit dinner, October 21, 2012, 5-8pm at the Shadow Hills Country Club. All proceeds will go to Jasper Mountain. Cabela’s is spearheading the event, however we still need support.  We are asking for help from local businesses, vendors that sell product in our store, and guides and outfitters to assist in this project.  Any forms of support will be highly appreciated. If you would like to contribute, you can send products or cash donation to:

Cabela’s
Attn. Eric Knox
2800 Gateway St.
Springfield, OR 97477

Donations made to Cabela’s on behalf of Jasper Mountain are not tax deductible. However all donations will be used by Cabela’s in the banquet and will directly benefit Jasper Mountain. We appreciate your consideration for supporting this wonderful organization and if you would like more information please contact Eric Knox or Jasper
Mountain at www.scar-jaspermtn.org<http://www.scar-jaspermtn.org> and by phone at 541-747-1235. If you would like for your donation to be tax deductible you may make direct donations to Jasper Mountain (Tax
ID #930855920). Please reference “Hunting for Hope, Fishing for Families”.

What’s Fishin’ In Oregon (10-3-12)

Oregonians looking to wet a line can narrow down their choices for angling opportunity thanks to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s recreation report. The report is broken into regions so you can find some close-to-home fishing fun, or set your sites on a destination fishery. Read on, the following are excerpts from the ODFW recreation report.

JERRY JOHNSON OF AURORA SHOWS OFF HIS 20-INCH DIAMOND LAKE RAINBOW, CAUGHT IN MID-SEPTEMBER ON A BOBBER AND WORM. (JERRY JOHNSON)

Columbia River Zone

  • Sturgeon retention will remain closed from Wauna Powerlines upstream to Bonneville Dam for the remainder of the year.  Catch-and-release angling is allowed during retention closure.
  • Fall chinook catches are fair to good from Longview to Bonneville Dam.
  • The Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to the Oregon/Washington Border is open for fall chinook, adipose fin-clipped coho and adipose fin-clipped steelhead.
  • Walleye fishing is excellent in Troutdale.

Northeast zone

  • Bass fishing continues to be good in the Grande Ronde River and look for the trout bite to improve as temperatures cool.
  • Peach (Ladd Marsh) and Roulet Ponds have been stocked with rainbows for a fall fishing opportunity.
  • The first salmon and steelhead are arriving at Threemile Dam on the Umatilla River – look for fish to start picking up when water temperatures cool.
  • Cooler mornings have revitalized the trout fishing on the Wallowa River.

Southeast Zone

  • Trout fishing has been good at Pilcher Reservoir.
  • Water conditions on Mann Lake are excellent and anglers are catching 16-inch (or bigger) trout.
  • Miller Lake was recently stocked with rainbow trout and fishing should be good.
  • Cutthroat trout fishing has been good on Juniper Lake, and should get better as temperatures continue to cool.
  • Haines and North Powder Ponds have been stocked with rainbows for a fall fishing opportunity.
  • Water temperatures are in the upper 50s to low 60s in most of the reservoirs in Lake County and fishing is good to great for rainbow trout from 12 to 18-inches and larger.

Central Zone

  • Fishing for smallmouth bass has been good in Lake Billy Chinook and kokanee fishing is picking up as fish begin to stage in the Metolius arm prior to spawning.
  • For the fly-fisher, fishing has been good on both the Fall and Metolius rivers.

Willamette Zone

  • St. Louis Ponds will remain open through the month of October, with periodic trout stockings, to give anglers the opportunity to check out the new ADA-accessible fishing platforms, docks, and footpaths. The gate to the fishing park will be closed Nov. 1, although fishing is still allowed for those who are willing to walk in.
  • Henry Hagg Lake will receive 8,000 legal-sized hatchery trout this week.
  • Coho are starting to show up in the Santiam River and other tributaries above Willamette Falls.

Southwest Zone

  • Fish Lake has been stocked and fishing should be good for trout and spring chinook through the fall.
  • Trout fishing on Lost Creek Reservoir, which has been good in recent weeks, should be even better thanks to recent stocking.
  • Chinook fishing in the Coos River estuary continues to be good.
  • A few wild coho continue to be caught on coastal rivers, but look for fishing to really kick off after some fall rain.
  • Chinook fish continues to be good on the lower Rogue but this is the last weekend for chinook fishing on the middle part of the river, which closes to chinook on Oct. 1.

Columbia Fishing Report (10-02-12)

REPORT COURTESY TANNA TAKATA, ODFW

On the lower Columbia this past weekend, there were 305 salmonid boats and 68 Oregon bank anglers counted from Bonneville Dam downstream to Tongue Point on Saturday’s (9/29) flight.  Boat anglers had the highest catch rates for fall chinook in the gorge, where anglers averaged 0.96 chinook, 0.07 coho and 0.02 steelhead caught per boat.  Anglers fishing the Warrior Rock to Wauna area averaged 0.33 chinook released and 0.47 coho and 0.13 steelhead caught per boat, while anglers fishing the Warrior Rock to Portland area averaged 0.19 chinook and 0.03 coho caught per boat.  In Troutdale boat anglers averaged 0.1 chinook and 0.07 coho caught per boat.  Bank anglers fishing in the gorge averaged 0.07 chinook caught per bank rod.

Gorge Bank:

Weekend checking showed three adult fall chinook kept for 42 bank anglers.

Gorge Boats:

Weekend checking showed 53 adult fall chinook, 15 jack chinook, four adipose fin-clipped coho, and one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus two adult fall chinook, four jack chinook, one legal white sturgeon and one oversize sturgeon released for 57 boats (205 anglers).

Troutdale Boats:

Weekend checking showed seven adult fall chinook, and one jack chinook kept, plus two jack chinook and five unclipped coho released for 70 boats (139 anglers).

Warrior Rock to Portland Bank:

Weekend checking showed no catch for five bank anglers.

Warrior Rock to Portland Boats:

Weekend checking showed seven adult fall chinook, two jack chinook, one adipose fin-clipped adult coho and one adipose fin-clipped jack coho kept for 37 boats (75 anglers).

Wauna to Warrior Rock Bank:

Weekend checking showed no catch for three bank anglers.

Wauna to Warrior Rock Boats:

Weekend checking showed two adipose fin-clipped adult coho and one adipose fin-clipped steelhead kept, plus five unclipped adult coho, one fin clipped jack coho, one unclipped steelhead, five adult chinook and one jack chinook released for 15 boats (29 anglers).

Estuary above Tongue Point Boats: No report.

Estuary Bank (Jones Beach to Clatsop Spit):

Weekend checking showed no catch for two bank anglers.

Estuary Boats (Tongue Point to Buoy 10): No report.

The Dalles Pool: Weekly checking showed one chinook kept for one boat (two anglers).

The Tale Of Two Waders

How many times have we heard this motivational mantra: “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

While were on the topic of cliché sayings, isn’t it common knowledge that “Necessity is the mother of all invention?”

Now you’re probably wondering what in the hell this all has to do with anything fur, fins, feather or fang related.
Well, I’m getting there.

I have been told on many occasions that the fish don’t care how expensive the boat is and now we have proof that the same holds true for waders.

Two heart-warming success stories of bankies doing some victorious salmon bonking came into Northwest Sportsman World Domination Headquarters in recent days.

CHERYL LURZ WITH TWO NICE COHO CAUGHT AT POINT NO POINT USING A BUZZ-BOMB WITH A MINI SQUID SKIRT. (CHERYL LURZ)

Here Cheryl Lurz is pictured with a pair of nice coho (her first salmon ever!), caught buzz-bombing off the beach at Point No Point. She outfished her fiance that day.

Also pictured, a nice pair of commercially produced hip waders that kept Lurz dry while wading into chilly Puget Sound.

From the salt we move to the fresh, the Samish to be specific. Prepare yourself for what can only be described as red-neck-genuity!

PAUL MACAULEY WITH HIS FIRST KING CAUGHT IN THE RIVER, ALL WHITE TRASH JOKES ASIDE, NICE JOB! (PAUL MACAULEY)

Yes, those are garbage bags wrapped around Paul Macauley legs – and apparently it didn’t matter because he packed out heavy with a ‘Nookie on the stringer.

Here’s what he had to say about his stroke of angling thriftiness:

“I was invited to go king fishing earlier this week on the Samish River with a buddy named Jeff.  This would be my first time fishing kings in rivers (being more of a saltwater guy myself). With my equipment and funds limited, Jeff and others were quick to poke fun of my hip waders made of construction-grade garbage bags and duct tape.Yes, I was laughed at a lot; yes, it was cold; yes, it did work. I’m sure I’m not the first to use this ‘redneck’ waders technique, but, hey, it worked to get my first king caught in the rivers.”

So, if Paul managed to get out there and get it done with garbage bags and duct tape, what’s your excuse?

Study Shows Hatcheries Effectively Supplement Native Salmon Stocks

A new study courtesy of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and the Nez Perce Tribe’s hatchery work in central Idaho shows that hatchery work effectively supplements wild stocks. This is contrary to previous beliefs that held that hatchery Chinook compete with native stocks and harm genetics and native numbers overall. The following is the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission news release.

Hatcheries are an effective tool for rebuilding abundance and productivity of Chinook salmon without impacting wild fish according to research published today in the journal Molecular Ecology. Through a study of the Nez Perce Tribe’s Johnson Creek Artificial Propagation Enhancement (JCAPE) Project, researchers found hatchery-reared salmon that spawned with wild salmon had the same reproductive success as salmon left to spawn in the wild. The study focused on a population of Chinook salmon whose natal stream is located in central Idaho, almost 700 miles upstream from the Pacific Ocean.

A WEIR ACROSS JOHNSON CREEK ALLOWS TRIBAL BIOLOGISTS TO COLLLECT WILD SALMON FOR BROODSTOCK WHILE REMAINING FISH ARE PASSED UPSTREAM TO SPAWN. (CRITFC)

The JCAPE study results refute a commonly held misconception and some previous research that suggests interbreeding of hatchery-reared fish with wild fish will always decrease productivity and fitness of the wild populations.

“The Johnson Creek research clearly demonstrates how supplementation programs can boost populations and minimize impacts to wild fish populations,” said Dave Johnson, Nez Perce Tribe Fisheries Program Manager. “There will always be a need for hatcheries as long as dams exist on the Columbia River. The goal should be wiser use of the hatchery tool.”

The study used DNA from all returning adults collected over a 13-year period to track parents and their offspring and to determine how successful hatchery fish were at mating in the wild when compared to wild fish. The study showed a clear boost to the number of adult salmon returning to the population from supplementation, where fish taken in to the hatchery produced an average of nearly 5 times the number of returning adults compared to the fish that were left in the wild to spawn. A key finding of the JCAPE study was that hatchery-origin fish that spawned naturally with a wild fish had equivalent reproductive success as two wild fish, suggesting that Chinook salmon reared for a single generation in this supplementation hatchery did not reduce the fitness of wild fish. Similarly, productivity of two hatchery fish spawning naturally was not significantly lower than for two wild fish.

“Our results question the generalization that all hatchery fish negatively impact the fitness of wild populations,” said Maureen Hess, geneticist with the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission and lead author on the study.

The Nez Perce Tribe began the Johnson Creek Artificial Propagation Enhancement Project in 1998 after tribal biologists observed critically low numbers of returning adults to Johnson Creek, a tributary to the South Fork of the Salmon River. By 1995, the number of spawning fish pairs in Johnson Creek had been reduced to five. Adult return numbers are now consistently meeting the JCAPE Project short-term abundance goal of 350 returning adults, with the project already returning more than 1,000 adults in some years.

“Supplementation is a tool that must be employed if we are going to maintain and rebuild declining salmon populations,” said Silas Whitman, chairman of the Nez Perce Tribal Executive Committee. “The Johnson Creek study is just one example out of several supplementation programs that play a significant role in recovering Columbia Basin salmon runs. The Pacific salmon management world should consider supplementation as a recovery tool if the region is going to realize healthy and sustainable salmon returns.”

Salmon populations in the Columbia Basin continue to face problems of loss and degradation of freshwater habitat, and significant juvenile out-migration mortality associated with the hydrosystem. The tribes have argued that supplementation programs that incorporate wild fish as broodstock into their hatchery programs and place fish back in to their natural spawning areas are important to recovery.

“The public and the Pacific Northwest want abundant salmon runs. We all deserve abundance,” said N. Kathryn “Kat” Brigham, chairwoman of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. “The tribes have always supported using the best available science to inform good management decisions. This study documents what we have believed all along – that hatcheries are needed to rebuild natural salmon populations.  Our goal is to use hatcheries as wild salmon nurseries to protect our treaty fishing rights in all of our usual and accustomed areas and to rebuild salmon runs. We hope that the co-managers and the science groups will use the Johnson Creek study results because it sets a new benchmark to guide the management of hatcheries.”