Category Archives: Editor’s Blog

OSP’s Feb. Poaching Files

The Oregon State Police just posted their February 2010 newsletter, and as always it makes for some head-shaking reading.

Here are some of the lowlights as reported by OSP plus a good deed:

WOMAN KILLS TWO FAWNS, LEAVES SUFFERING DOE

In September 2009, Sr. Tpr. Johnson (John Day) and Tpr. Hutchison (Patrol) received a report that unknown suspect(s) shot and injured a doe off of Wall Creek Road, north of Monument. The suspect(s) drove away, leaving the doe critically injured, trying to crawl around using only her front legs.

The doe would not have survived her injuries, so she was put down and salvaged. Two fawn deer were also shot and killed that day at the same location and left to waste. Johnson was able to salvage one fawn.

Several 7.62 x 39 casings were recovered from the road. Tpr. Ritter (John Day) continued to work the case and eventually received a tip that led him to two suspects, a man and woman.

Ritter determined the female shot all three deer with the male’s AK-47 rifle, and both suspects left the scene in the male’s pickup, knowing the doe was critically injured and suffering. They drove to the male’s friend’s house, where the male asked his friend to hide his AK-47 after telling him they just shot a deer with it. The friend refused to hide the rifle.

Ritter arrested both suspects, and they were transported to the Grant County Jail.

Ritter cited the female for Animal Abuse in the First Degree, Wasting Wildlife (x 3), and Taking Doe Deer Closed Season (x 3) and the male for Aiding in a Wildlife Violation—Wasting Wildlife (x 3) and Aiding in a Wildlife Violation—Taking Doe Deer Closed Season (x 3).

Ritter later located the rifle at the male’s mother’s residence in Prineville. The male’s mother brought the rifle to Ritter the following day and it was seized.

A MORE ACCURATE TAPE MEASURE CALLED FOR

Sr. Tpr. Bennett (Grants Pass) contacted two subjects angling on the Rogue River. Bennett discovered one subject caught two steelhead; one fin-clipped, one nonadipose fin-clipped (wild). Anglers can retain wild steelhead over 24 inches in this area, with a limit of one per day and five per year.

Bennett asked the anglers if they measured the wild steelhead. The anglers said they had, and it measured 25 inches. Both fish were properly tagged. Bennett, with the keen eyes he has, questioned the length of the wild fish. Bennett measured the fish at 23½ inches. He examined the angler’s tape measure. The fish did measure 25 inches using their measuring tape.

Bennett warned the anglers and instructed them to get a more accurate tape.?

TRAIL CAM HELPS CATCH LITTERERS

Tpr. Vogel (St. Helens) found two dump sites near St. Helens and Rainier and located names/addresses in the garbage. Vogel contacted and cited two suspects criminally for Offensive Littering.

Sr. Tpr. Niehus (Klamath Falls) also concluded a dumping case. A subject drove to the new Hidden Valley gate, found it closed, and dumped numerous tires and garbage. A trail camera took photographs.

With the help of a landowner agent, Niehus developed a suspect. Upon contact, the suspect told Niehus his truck did not run. Niehus took photos of his truck and compared them to the suspect vehicle photos. He confirmed the trucks were the same and recontacted the suspect, who was on his way to see his probation officer. The suspect admitted to the offense.

Niehus lodged the suspect in jail for Offensive Littering.

QUICK, REEL IN THE LINES, THERE’S A WARDEN IN THE BUSHES!

At a local reservoir, Sr. Tpr. Collom (Central Point) just started watching one subject sitting in a lawn chair with four poles around him, when two subjects on bikes rode past Collom over to where the first subject was fishing.

Collom could tell these two subjects mentioned something about seeing him on the other side, because he saw the first subject and two others immediately begin searching in his direction and then, as fast as they could, reel in their fishing lines.

Collom then contacted the anglers. He cited two of the subjects for No Angling License and warned the first subject for Angling with Two Poles.

TROOPERS RESCUE ANGLER’S HIGH-DOLLAR ROD

Sgt. Meyer, Sr. Tpr. Thompson (Central Point), and Sr. Tpr. Bennett (Grants Pass) conducted a boat patrol on the Rogue River below Grants Pass. They checked 75 anglers on 23 boats and the bank, examined 10 steelhead, and issued several warnings.

They also rescued an expensive fishing rod. Two drift boat anglers had drifted close to the bank where trees and brush hung over. They inadvertently drifted through the brush, and a fishing rod was pulled out of the boat. The rod dangled in the river attached by a short line to a lure snagged in the brush. The anglers could not maneuver close enough, and the bank was too steep.

The troopers saved the day to the slight chagrin of the anglers.

Springer Take Nears 10K

“It’s a conspiracy, just admit it,” a friend in Longview wrote to me late last night.

He’s been donating too much gear and time to the Columbia this season for spring Chinook with little if any reward.

“OK, Andy, it’s time to confess,” he writes. “It’s a conspiracy between big business and WDFW to get people to spend money in a waning economy, isn’t it?  There is no half a million fish coming up the Columbia.  That was just a trick to get tackle, license, gas, boat, and food sales up.  I won’t tell anyone.  You have your ear on what they’re conspiring, so come on, just let your buddy know the truth.  WDFW doesn’t have a f****g clue about what’s in the river and what’s not, do they?”

It’s tempting to buy into that line, especially with light dam counts (1,848 through yesterday, 14% of the 10-year average), so-so catches between the Interstate and the estuary and his smelly skunkage.

But believe it or not, last month’s springer catch was actually the best in two decades.

According to a fact sheet out yesterday afternoon from WDFW and ODFW:

Through April 4, the preliminary total catch of spring Chinook (all stocks) in the Columbia River downstream of Bonneville Dam is estimated at 11,100 fish (9,600 kept) from 90,600 angler trips.

The February effort of 7,600 angler trips was the highest since 2004 (9,500), and February kept catch of 128 fish was the highest since 2003 (209).

The March effort of 63,400 angler trips was the highest since 2003 (65,800), and the March kept catch of 6,800 fish was the highest since 1990 (9,000).

As good as the those figures show, there are, however, over 10,000 springers still available for anglers to catch below Bonneville Dam.

That’s because the sport haul of springers bound for tribs above Bonneville Dam, where some wild runs are protected as threatened species, is still well under preseason benchmarks.

“The total kept and release mortality for upriver fish (“catch balance”) is estimated at 6,900 fish, or 40% of the 17,200 available,” the fact sheet explains. “A balance of 10,300 upriver fish (kept and release mortalities) remains available for the recreational fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam from April 5 until a run update.”

Managers also crafted seasons to ensure upstream anglers weren’t shut out of the fishing.

But with that many fish still out there, are we going to see any sort of opener in the best fishing area, the Interstate?

“Based on catch through April 4 and current catch rate information, no changes to the on-going fishery are anticipated at this time,” the fact sheet states.

April 3 was the last day to fish the Columbia from I-5 to Bonneville Dam. The river below I-5 and above the dam to McNary Dam remain open.

A Close Call On The River

He laughed hysterically.

For a full minute, if not more yesterday, Jason stood in the front of the drift boat and just laughed.

The sound carried downstream and then slipped below the spruce, alder and maples that had been thrown into the river to shore up an eroding bank.

It wasn’t Jason’s first brush with death. He’s been in numerous sketchy situations. Has faced ugliness all too often.

His laughing was a release. We might have found ourselves under those trees.

Grant, our oarsman, and I were quiet but still shaking. The boat bobbed in the safety of the shallows and every so often we looked back up at that log- and stump-filled jam that stretched well out into the river and had tried the snatch the fathers of seven young children.

We’d waited until very late to try and run between it and some large sticks sticking out on the right side. The safer play would have been to just walk the boat through the riffle behind the sticks.

When I’d begun to realize the trouble we were getting into, I put my rod down because fishing had suddenly become very unimportant.

Jason thought, “Well, at least I’ll die steelheading.”

He’s been bit by “steelheaditis,” and hard, since catching his first ever, a fish that went into the midteens, on this river last month. It was flowing lower then by half, but was still very driftable yesterday.

Grant dug as hard as he could in the constricted channel, and Jason and I held on and pivoted around in our seats with wide eyes to see what was coming next, maybe fend it off with our hands.

Halfway through the squeeze, the boat spun and we were suddenly going downstream backwards towards trailing logs that could hang us up in the powerfully upwelling current.

We all wore lifejackets, but even so, where might we pop up if the boat dumped? Underneath a tree that knocked us out cold before we surfaced?

It wasn’t the first time I’ve been in a bad spot on a river. Drifting sideways on the Hoh, the guy on the sticks dug too deep in too shallow water and the paddle popped out, sending us spinning one-oared into a logjam.

Drifting sideways on the upper Wynoochee we hit a rock and nearly were thrown out.

Those experiences as well as Amy’s insistence has led me to wear a life jacket on all boat rides.

We were lucky yesterday, hardly touching the logs. The only thing the river took was my pink-worm setup when my trailing hook caught on the last stick. The reel’s drag screamed as we floated away.

That’s when Jason started laughing.

When he spoke again, Grant said that it had been a very, very close thing for about three seconds.

It’s said that a hair-raising moment or two is standard while floating Peninsula rivers for steelhead. The “lumber yards” these fish hang out in can also constrict channels and throw unexpected obstacles in the way.

Then there are projects, like this jam, to shore up banks near homes, pastures and roads. It hadn’t seemed so bad a month before, and as good of a job as Grant did all day yesterday, far more experienced hands had been on the sticks that trip.

As we sat there in the shallows reflecting on the past 10 minutes, a fish broke the surface back towards the logjam, reminding us why we’d gotten up at 2 a.m. and made the long drive in the first place. That fish didn’t bite, but further down, I hooked a pair of steelhead side-drifting a pink worm.

I landed the first, an 8-pound-or-so hen. It had been sitting in a seam between the main river and a side channel.

HAPPY TO BE ALIVE AND FISHING FOR WILD COASTAL STEELHEAD. (JASON BROOKS)

WILD STEELHEAD. (JASON BROOKS)

The other, which I lost, also bit midriver and appeared slightly bigger before rolling and spitting the hook.

We were all using the worm, though Jason and Grant’s were on longer leaders than mine (40-plus inches to 30 inches or so); I was also using pink- and clown-colored Winners to get my baits off bottom while they pegged theirs with Corkies. However, I think my lure just happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Overall it was a really great trip. Jason still wants to buy a drifter, and I’d step into Grant’s boat for another run.

But while most times, it’s the fish, the camaraderie and something in the scenery that makes a trip memorable, I’ll always remember the upper Quinault for another reason.

Of Springers And Steelhead

“You do know tomorrow’s Easter, right?” Mom asked.

“First things first,” I told her.

It was late yesterday afternoon, I needed fishing gear – specialized salmon and steelhead tackle – and I wanted to know what Outdoor Emporium’s Saturday hours were.

I was speeding towards Seattle straight from the Columbia River and was planning a return trip as well as a run out to the Peninsula for trophy steelhead – the same day.

I wasn’t sure which boat ride I’d take, so the best policy seemed to be to stock up on gear for both – load up a shopping basket of Easter basket greenback goodness for Paul M., Tim B. and the cashiers at the Seattle sporting goods icon.

Unfortunately, after Mom checked their centerfold ad in our mag, she said the dogs had closed at 5 (dogs would be her words, not mine, dearest friends at OE).

“But Sportco’s open till 7 on Saturdays,” she added brightly.

Ugh, Outdoor Emporium’s sister store was two exits in my rearview mirror, and that’s the best place for the whole Fort Lewis/Tacoma/Fife military-industrial-gambling complex to be.

No offense, T-towners, you’re some of Northwest Sportsman’s earliest and most ardent supporters, and I love each and every one of you.

But I’d just blown through the City of Destiny’s sprawl WITHOUT HAVING TO TAP THE BRAKES ONCE for the first time on a weekend afternoon that I can ever recall, and there was no way I was pushing my luck with a U-turn.

With its usual Saturday afternoon traffic, I’d have felt the exact same way about Seattle if I’d been two exits north of OE.

SO, I ASKED MOM, WHEN does the store open on Sunday?

That’s when she reminded me of Easter as well as her dinner plans.

She’d been reminding me about Easter for a week and a half.

News coverage of the pope’s priests’ funny business with little boys had been reminding me of the holiday too.

And the people holding signs on an overpass somewhere in Des Moines reminded me to have a happy resurrection celebration as well.

Sure thing, I thought, cranking “Thunderstruck” even louder.

I could do that.

For the past week and a bit of this one, the Missus and our boys are on the exact opposite face of this vaporous rock, for familial reasons. And that’s meant Daddy’s got free time.

Also, a chance to crank the bass and volume; to treat the Interstate between PDX and Seattle like the Autobahn it is meant to be; to drink hearty German beers and eat hearty sausages; to read The Wooden Nickel instead of Positive Parenting; and write blathering, inconsequential blogs instead of change diapers, play Legos and mow the lawn – bless my boys’ and wife’s hearts.

RIGHT … SO WHERE WAS I again?

Mom said OE was open 9 to 5 on the Sabbath, which is as fine a time as any to buy herring, six-bead swivel chains, mooching rigs, Fish Flashes, plastic sliders and rvrfshr spoons – lots of spoons.

True, Three Rivers Marine and Tackle is just down the hill from my folks’ house and Mom’s Easter feast, but Dave, Scott and the boys don’t come in on Sundays.

And while the large regional superstore near my house has a selection of fishing gear – and is also now among the mag’s dearest advertisers – the chain has fallen under a semi-permanent personal shopping ban, for familial reasons.

Mom wasn’t too pleased with my shopping inquiries, all made at top speed via cell phone with no regard to the laws of the Revised Codes of the Great State of Washington and the Honorable Governor Christine Gregoire’s troopers.

But if I hit the Columbia tomorrow in that sliver of open water between I-5 and the vomitous mouth of the Willamette, I’ll be damned if I drag anything around but cutplug herring.

And if I hit the steelhead stream, I’ll need to reload on those damned spoons because the Satsop ate a bunch last week.

BUT TO SPEAK THE GODS’ HONEST truth, I found myself hoping that Friday and yesterday’s craptacular weather was giving the Peninsula a bank-busting soaking.

Heading north on the Interstate I veered quickly out of the fast lane to the right shoulder at every bridge crossing.

“Hey,” I said to myself, “the Kalama’s up – but maybe it’s just high tide.”

“Oh, but look at the Newaukum – muddy!”

“And the Skoke too!”

“Wow, look at all the standing water in the field – a lot for spring!”

My fiendish trip-canceling thoughts had nothing to do with my would-be steelheading partners or the high likelihood they’d outshine me on the rod.

It all came down to one thing – and four things all at once.

I didn’t catch a goddamned thing yesterday with a very good Oregon angler, and really we only saw seven or eight netted over eight hours on that downhill slalom from 205 to 5 to the railroad bridge.

But nevertheless I’d caught something.

Springer Fever.

Again.

It happened the precise moment that the four anglers who came into Chinook Landing right behind us showed the fish checker four kings. At the time we’d been trolling fruitlessly off the control tower, they’d caught their limit zing-zang-zimminy-zap right below I-5. They said nets had been waving all around them too.

“Hmm,” I began to wonder, “maybe my friend in Longview isn’t doing anything on Monday, and maybe I can talk him into taking his boat out to learn some new water.”

The first call confirmed he was up for it.

The second call told me where and when I could get the necessary tackle.

With the weather, I envisioned the third call from one of my new steelheading buddies: “Doggoneit, looks like the river blew out, we’ll have to postpone that trip.”

The fourth call would then be to said springer friend to firm up our plans.

UNFORTUNATELY, ANOTHER CALL I made completely conflabulated and beflustered this whole thing. It went something like this:

“Ring … ring … ring … ring … ring … ring … ring … ring … ring … ring … You have reached Outdoor Emporium, our hours are blah blah blah. If you wish to speak to someone in fishing, dial 309 … ring … ring … ring … ring … ring … ring …”

Mom’s words, “You do know tomorrow’s Easter, right?” began to cycle back through my head.

“You do know tomorrow’s Easter, right?”

“You do know tomorrow’s Easter, right?”

Hmm, I finally realized, maybe that’s why nobody’s picking up the phone at OE – because it’s Easter.

And because it’s Easter, I can’t get the gear I really want.

Well … there was said banned superstore.

Oh, what the hell, the Missus won’t be too happy to get back from Australia and see that I still haven’t planted the rose plants I got her for Valentine’s Day, so I might as well pick up some potting soil with the fishing gear.

And if the bite’s as hot as it was yesterday, it probably won’t matter.

Two Aprils ago, I made back-to-back trips to the Columbia.

The first was with a guide who had very precisely matched rods, reels and terminal tackle as well as carefully treated bait in several colors and a perfect boat. The three of us finally limited by early afternoon.

The second was two days later with one of my writers whose entire schtick was the polar opposite of the guide’s – tackle in plastic sacks, too-large herring stewing inside a murky Mason jar, barely room for two grown men, let alone his dog along for the ride. At the ramp I stood slack-jawed in horror. There. Was. No. Way.

I had forgotten sunscreen, and with this outfit on this sunny day, I would burn to a crisp before we ever caught a fish.

We were limited by 8 a.m.

AS IT TURNS OUT, the rain forest failed me. Failed me utterly. Sucked up all that rain.

The steelhead river’s in shape, the springer trip’s off.

My bad-eyed superstore herring’s worthless.

“You can always eat it,” Mom said after Easter dinner.

Thanks for the reminder.

WA Trout Stock Plan Available

It’s out about a week later than last year’s document, but you can now find WDFW’s plan for how many trout are going into lakes and creeks across the state.

The agency today posted its 2010 Hatchery Trout Stocking Plan.

IN ADDITION TO MILLIONS OF CATCHABLES, WDFW WILL ALSO STOCK BROODSTOCK RAINBOWS LIKE THIS TOAD BRITTNEE GOODMAN CAUGHT AT CARLISLE LAKE NEAR ONALASKA EARLIER THIS YEAR. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

By the numbers, here are some highlights for spring fishing as well as the April 24 lowland lakes opener:

7,451,000 trout fry (2-3 inch) stocked into 367 lowland lakes, and 163 high lakes, statewide last spring and fall are now catchable size (8-12 inch).

10 million kokanee fry stocked into 28 lakes are expected to show in creels this year.

3.4 million catchable size (8-12 inch) trout are being stocked this spring into 334 waters.

203,000 2-year-old “jumbos” and surplus hatchery broodstock trout (1-1/2 to 5 pounds each) are being stocked into 178 lakes.

900,000 walleye, tiger muskie, bass and other species were stocked into 12 waters, and are now ready to be caught.

You can also find out where and when the 58,000-plus 1 1/2-pound triploids will be released into 105 lakes around Washington on that site too … but we also pasted that information below:

Benton Columbia Park Pond 147 Apr.
Chelan Beehive Reservoir 180 May
Paschall Pond 502 Apr.
Clark Battle Ground Lake 256 Apr.
Klineline Pond 256 Apr.
Cowlitz Horseshoe Lake 608 Apr.
Kress Lake 352 Apr.
Merrill Lake 224 Apr.
Franklin Dalton Lake 423 Apr.
Powerline Lake 344 Apr.
Grant Blue Lake 1,080 Apr.
Deep Lake 221 Apr.
Lenice Lake 435 Apr.
Nunnally Lake 600 Apr.
Park Lake 720 Apr.
Grays Harbor Aberdeen Lake 122 Apr., May
Failor Lake 159 Apr., May
Sylvia Lake 119 Apr., May
Vance Creek (Elma) Juv. Pond #2 66 Apr.
Island Lone Lake 393 May
King Angle Lake 589 April, May
Beaver Lake (Fall City) 245 April
Green Lake 638 April, May
Lake Sawyer 687 April, May
Meridian Lake 638 April, May
Rattlesnake Lake 491 April
Kitsap Kitsap Lake 400 May
Mission Lake 300 Apr, May
Panther Lake 275 Apr, May
Kittitas Fio Rito Lake, North 740 Apr.
Lost Lake 521 Apr.
Lost Lake 1,014 Jun.
Klickitat Spearfish Lake 928 Apr.
Lewis Carlisle Lake 315 Apr.
Fort Borst Park Pond 372 Apr.
Mineral Lake 687 Apr.
South Lewis Co. Park Pond 589 Apr.
Lincoln Fishtrap Lake 1,650 Mar., Apr.
Mason Benson Lake 215 Apr
Haven Lake 175 Apr
Island Lake 288 May
Phillips Lake 295 Apr, May
Trails End Lake 200 May
Wooten Lake 175 Apr
Okanogan Alta Lake 525 Apr/May
Patterson Lake 525 Apr/May
Pearrygin Lake 525 Apr/May
Spectacle Lake 725 Apr/May
Pend Orielle Carl’s Lake 900 Mar., Apr.
Cooks Lake 1,100 Mar., Apr.
Davis Lake 6,000 Mar., Apr.
Diamond Lake 950 Apr.
Pierce Bradley Lake 100 May
Clear Lake 200 Apr.- May
Kapowsin Lake 90 Apr.
Ohop Lake 315 Apr.
Rapjohn Lake 100 May
Silver Lake 100 May
Spanaway Lake 190 Apr.
Steilacoom Lake 100 Apr.
Tanwax Lake 400 Apr., May
San Juan Egg Lake 276 April
Hummel Lake 240 April
Mountain Lake 447 May
Skagit Clear Lake 702 April
Erie Lake 2,300 April
Heart Lake 2,420 April
Lake Campbell 805 April, May
Pass Lake 162 May
Vogler Lake 59 May
Skamania Northwestern Reservoir 256 Apr.
Swift Power Canal 1,000 Apr.
Tunnel Lake 224 Apr.
Snohomish Cassidy Lake 442 April
Flowing Lake 382 April
Gissburg 393 May
Howard Lake (near Lk Goodwin) 720 April
Martha (WB) 275 April
Roesiger Lake 501 April
Silver Lake (Everett) 393 April
Tye Lake 196 April
Spokane Badger Lake 900 Apr.
Clear Lake 950 Apr.
West Medical Lake 1,650 Apr.
Williams Lake 1,400 Apr.
Stevens Deer Lake 2,800 Apr.
Loon Lake 1,400 Apr.
Thurston Clear Lake 344 May
Lake Lawrence 344 Apr., May
Long’s Pond Juvenile 295 Apr., May
McIntosh Lake 196 Apr.
Offutt Lake 295 May
Ward Lake 275 May
Wahkiakum Wahkiakum Co. Ponds 96 Apr.
Walla Walla Bennington Lake 664 Apr.
Whatcom Lake Padden 3,980 April
Squalicum Lake 162 May
Terrell Lake 820 April, May
Toad Lake 1,320 April
Yakima Clear Lake 1,377 Apr.
Dog Lake 427 Jun.
Leech Lake 725 May
Mud Lake 74 Apr.
Myron Lake 206 Apr.
Tim’s Pond 40 Apr.
stocked with these fish.
County
Lake Name
Number 14″ or larger
Approximate time to be stocked
Benton
Columbia Park Pond
147
Apr.
Chelan
Beehive Reservoir
180
May
Paschall Pond
502
Apr.
Clark
Battle Ground Lake
256
Apr.
Klineline Pond
256
Apr.
Cowlitz
Horseshoe Lake
608
Apr.
Kress Lake
352
Apr.
Merrill Lake
224
Apr.
Franklin
Dalton Lake
423
Apr.
Powerline Lake
344
Apr.
Grant
Blue Lake
1,080
Apr.
Deep Lake
221
Apr.
Lenice Lake
435
Apr.
Nunnally Lake
600
Apr.
Park Lake
720
Apr.
Grays Harbor
Aberdeen Lake
122
Apr., May
Failor Lake
159
Apr., May
Spring 2010 Hatchery Trout Stock Plan for Washington Lakes and Streams March 2010
37
County
Lake Name
Number 14″ or larger
Approximate time to be stocked
Sylvia Lake
119
Apr., May
Vance Creek (Elma) Juv. Pond#2
66
Apr.
Island
Lone Lake
393
May King Angle Lake 589 April, May
Beaver Lake (Fall City)
245
April Green Lake 638 April, May
Lake Sawyer
687
April, May
Meridian Lake
638
April, May
Rattlesnake Lake
491
April
Kitsap
Kitsap Lake
400
May
Mission Lake
300
Apr, May
Panther Lake
275
Apr, May
Kittitas
Fio Rito Lake, North
740
Apr.
Lost Lake
521
Apr.
Lost Lake
1,014
Jun.
Klickitat
Spearfish Lake
928
Apr.
Lewis
Carlisle Lake
315
Apr.
Fort Borst Park Pond
372
Apr.
Mineral Lake
687
Apr.
South Lewis Co. Park Pond
589
Apr.
Lincoln
Fishtrap Lake
1,650
Mar., Apr.
Mason
Benson Lake
215
Apr
Haven Lake
175
Apr
Island Lake
288
May
Phillips Lake
295
Apr, May
Trails End Lake
200
May
Wooten Lake
175
Apr
Okanogan
Alta Lake
525
Apr/May
Patterson Lake
525
Apr/May
Pearrygin Lake
525
Apr/May
Spectacle Lake
725
Apr/May
Pend Orielle
Carl’s Lake
900
Mar., Apr.
Cooks Lake
1,100
Mar., Apr.
Davis Lake
6,000
Mar., Apr.
Diamond Lake
950
Apr.
Pierce
Bradley Lake
100
May
Clear Lake
200
Apr.- May
Kapowsin Lake
90
Apr.
Ohop Lake
315
Apr.
Spring 2010 Hatchery Trout Stock Plan for Washington Lakes and Streams March 2010
38
County
Lake Name
Number 14″ or larger
Approximate time to be stocked
Rapjohn Lake
100
May
Silver Lake
100
May
Spanaway Lake
190
Apr.
Steilacoom Lake
100
Apr.
Tanwax Lake
400
Apr., May
San Juan
Egg Lake
276
April
Hummel Lake
240
April
Mountain Lake
447
May
Skagit
Clear Lake
702
April
Erie Lake
2,300
April
Heart Lake
2,420
April
Lake Campbell
805
April, May
Pass Lake
162
May
Vogler Lake
59
May
Skamania
Northwestern Reservoir
256
Apr.
Swift Power Canal
1,000
Apr.
Tunnel Lake
224
Apr.
Snohomish
Cassidy Lake
442
April
Flowing Lake
382
April
Gissburg
393
May
Howard Lake (near Lk Goodwin)
720
April
Martha (WB)
275
April
Roesiger Lake
501
April
Silver Lake (Everett)
393
April
Tye Lake
196
April
Spokane
Badger Lake
900
Apr.
Clear Lake
950
Apr.
West Medical Lake
1,650
Apr.
Williams Lake
1,400
Apr.
Stevens
Deer Lake
2,800
Apr.
Loon Lake
1,400
Apr.
Thurston
Clear Lake
344
May
Lake Lawrence
344
Apr., May
Long’s Pond Juvenile
295
Apr., May
McIntosh Lake
196
Apr.
Offutt Lake
295
May
Ward Lake
275
May
Wahkiakum
Wahkiakum Co. Ponds
96
Apr.
Walla Walla
Bennington Lake
664
Apr.
Spring 2010 Hatchery Trout Stock Plan for Washington Lakes and Streams March 2010
39
County
Lake Name
Number 14″ or larger
Approximate time to be stocked
Whatcom
Lake Padden
3,980
April
Squalicum Lake
162
May
Terrell Lake
820
April, May
Toad Lake
1,320
April
Yakima
Clear Lake
1,377
Apr.
Dog Lake
427
Jun.
Leech Lake
725
May
Mud Lake
74
Apr.
Myron Lake
206
Apr.
Tim’s Pond
40
Apr.

Fall Of The Wall

The Wall was not the prettiest place to fish in the world, nor the easiest on the fish, and right before it closed for sturgeon, a Springfield angler tumbled off a ledge there into the Willamette and is presumed drowned.

Alcohol may have played a roll in why Ricky Lee Bond, 47, of Springfield lost his balance while fishing there one last time, reports The Oregonian. An image on the paper’s Web site shows where his gear rests. Friend Randyll Scaife desperately tried to catch Bond, then flagged down passing vehicles to call 9-1-1. The body has not yet been recovered from the swift, dark waters.

This past winter, ODFW decided to close that part of the river effective yesterday to protect a newly discovered sturgeon spawning area. They also created a sturgeon sanctuary from Willamette Falls down to the I-205 bridge from May through July.

Sturgeon managers in Oregon as well as Washington are concerned about declining numbers of the big fish. They also increased the size of the Columbia’s sanctuary while reducing the quota in that river by 40 percent this year.

What was unique about The Wall was that it had long collected a melting pot of fishermen from all over Northwest Oregon, anglers who didn’t always speak each other’s tongue and had to sometimes resort to “hand signals and lip-pursing whistles” to communicate with each other in the tightly packed area, reports The Oregonian.

The story notes that one family had been coming there for six decades.

While boaters can chase sturgeon elsewhere, the closure hits anglers limited to bank fishing the hardest.

“Most of these guys can’t afford boats,” Mark Loveland of Oregon City told reporter Dana Tims. “It shuts a lot of people out. I have no idea what they are going to do now.”

Loveland sent me a pic of a 53 3/4-incher he caught at Oregon City earlier this year.

MARK LOVELAND WITH ONE OF THE LAST STURGEON CAUGHT AT THE INFAMOUS WALL ON THE WILLAMETTE. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

ODFW’s Columbia River fisheries manager John North acknowledged to the paper the hardship, saying, “We hate closing down opportunities, especially with limited bank areas … But in the end, we really had no other choice.”

Angler Larry Welty sent me some of his memories from there.

“I am not a specialist in any field and not an expert on any of it. I am, however, someone who has fished on The Wall for years. I don’t know if it is a good way to fish; I do know it is a good place to fish.

“I have fished there with both my children and my wife and have made a number of good friends. You don’t always have the option to fish where you want to fish but you have to fish when and where the fish are.

“There is controversy good and bad on almost all there is with hunting and fishing — just watch the nightly news on the sea lion trapping. Are sea lions really suppose to be slaughtering salmon in Oregon City? But that’s a whole different can of worms!

“I am gonna miss fishing The Wall and my children are gonna miss it. I figure the Save Everything  people will not be satisfied till they have shut down everyplace and that hurts my heart.  It is just a hard fight, and while we are hunting, fishing and spending quality time with our families, these people are thinking new ways to put a stop to all of it. In our current economy (and with) some of these people, this may well be some of their only outlet. Thanks for giving me a moment of your time to air my thoughts.”

True, it does seem that everywhere we turn, people are trying to take away our fishing and hunting privileges.

Seem, anyway.

Before The Wall closed, Rick Swart, an ODFW spokesman in Clackamas, ran over and snapped several images.

(RICK SWART, ODFW)

(RICK SWART, ODFW)

(RICK SWART, ODFW)

(RICK SWART, ODFW)

(RICK SWART, ODFW)

Sometimes the fall of walls are good things. Sometimes they’re not.

As ODFW researchers watch this spring to see how many sturgeon crowd into the spawning area off The Wall, vets of the fishery will be forced into closer quarters with bankees elsewhere.

Another Record Koke At Wallowa

Two days before Wan Teece of Enterprise, Ore., caught what might be a U.S. record kokanee — a whopping 8.23-pounder, and it’s only March! — I was on the phone with Bill Knox, the state fisheries biologist for Wallowa Lake, talking about the previous state record.

Gene Thiel’s 7-pound 8-ounce, 25-incher, landed Feb. 10 while jigging from a canoe in what are described as “icy conditions,” trumped Jerry Logosz’s July 2009 7-pound, 1-ouncer.

WAN TEECE AND HER NEW OREGON STATE-RECORD KOKANEE. (JACK TEECE, ALPINE EXPOSURES)

“There could be some more large ones caught this year,” Knox allowed. “I just don’t expect a lot of them.”

He pointed out that with salmon — which kokanee, or landlocked sockeye, are, of course — some spawn and die when they’re 4 years old, some when they’re 5 years old and a few when they’re 6 years old.

The longer they’re at sea, err, in Wallowa Lake, the bigger they get.

The fish in the big, deep Northeast Oregon water have benefited from the introduction of mysis shrimp, Knox adds, but that was back in the 1960s.

A more current factor may have been a weak year-class a few seasons back. Knox says that led to lower catch rates last year.

“But it translated to pounds per hour that wouldn’t have been all that different,” he says.

One guy who can tell you all about that is guide Mark Moncrief of Tri-state Outfitters. When I fished with him late last summer, he’d caught 152 20-plus-inch kokanee — twice as many as his previous record.

He’s still at it too. I emailed him after getting word of Thiel’s catch.

“Yes, there was one caught by a guy up here a few days ago that was 7.52 pounds and only 23 inches long,” Moncrief wrote. “Looked like a football. We have caught 34 kokes 20 inches or better already, but it is real spotty on the fishing so far. My son and  I did have one rare day where we boated 32 kokes in four hours of fishing and kept our 10-fish limit. The smallest one was 21 inches, the biggest one was 26 inches and 6 1/2 pounds.”

MID-FEBRUARY KOKANEE FROM WALLOWA LAKE. MID-FEBRUARY! (MARK MONCRIEF, TRI-STATE OUTFITTERS)

One thing that Moncrief told me is that he’s found minnows in the tummies of kokes he’s caught.

Who knows how many more of these monster kokes are in the lake, but with Teece’s fish, the state record has been broken six times at Wallowa since 1999.

She was out March 24 with her husband, Jack, trolling near the middle of the lake with a Jack Lloyd blade set-up dragging a Double-Whammy lure with 2 ounces of lead to keep it down deep.

WAN TEECE. (JACK TEECE, ALPINE EXPOSURES)

The fish was 26.25 inches long with a girth of 16 inches. Knox believes it may be a U.S. record for landlocked sockeye; the world record is a 9-pound, 6-ounce koke caught in B.C.’s Lake Okanagan.

With the catch, Knox expects even more interest in this popular fishery in coming months. Anglers annually spend 20,000-30,000 hours fishing for kokanee here, his agency reports.

In the meantime, last summer’s sonar surveys showed a good year-class coming on line for future seasons.

“There were a lot more fish than the summer before. We saw a big increase in young-of-the-year fish, but it will be a few years before they enter the fishery,” Knox says.

We’ll have more on Wallowa, its kokanee fishery and its mysteries in our May issue.

Nearly 4,800 Springers Caught In Last Week

New figures from Oregon and Washington fishery managers show that sport anglers landed 4,874 spring Chinook on the Columbia over the past week, keeping 4,220 of them.

“This last week was pretty good,” confirms guide Jim Stahl of J&J Guide Service (425-344-8716).

He’s been fishing the Kalama area and says that fellow guide Mark Coleman of All Rivers Guide Service (425-736-8920), fishing upstream of him, has also been doing well.

The new catch figures are a significant jump over the previous week when managers said around 2,000 had been kept or released. Only fin-clipped hatchery Chinook may be retained on the mainstem below Bonneville Dam, daily limit one adult.

A NICE PAIR OF SPRING KINGS CAUGHT ON THE BIG RIVER LAST WEDNESDAY ON HERRING. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

The overall springer catch since Feb. 1 now stands at 6,682 with 1,011 released.

The river is closed today below I-205 as commercial netters dip their gear for their first fishery of the year. Modeling yesterday suggested a catch of between 6,000 and 10,000 springers.

For boat anglers, the best stretch has been The Interstate area, where the catch really jumped last week. Overall, 1,928 have been kept there since season began, and nearly 1,500 last week alone.

Second best area is the Estuary below Cathlamet where 1,085 have been kept so far, including 625 last week.

TOM SNAZA OF SPOKANE LANDED THIS SPRINGER OUT OF CATHLAMET YESTERDAY, MARCH 29. HE WAS FISHING A CUTPLUG AND FISH FLASH WITH HIS DAD, JOHN, OF NAPAVINE. (LAZER SHARP PHOTO CONTEST)

Third best is below the Interstate, between the mouths of the Willamette and Lewis; 944 have met their maker there, 331 last week.

Herring seems to be this year’s bait du jour.

“All I’ve been doing is trolling downhill,” says Stahl. “I can’t stand sitting. I’ve only sat for two hours in two weeks.”

From the bank, only 450 springers have been retained so far this season. Oregon side beaches continue to lead with 267 fish, of which 136 were landed between Warrior Rock and Sandy Island.

Just over 216 have been landed in the bank-only area between I-205 and Bonneville Dam this year, three-quarters of which were retained.

Saturday’s the last day to fish the water from I-5 up to Bonneville until an inseason run estimate is performed; one isn’t expected until early May.

The river below I-5 and above the dam, however, will remain open.

The percentage of Chinook bound for tribs above the dam rose from 45 percent the previous week to 70 percent last week.

All totaled, anglers have made 68,920 trips for springers this year, including over 60,000 in March alone. Effort and catch for the month are among the highest on record.

The count at the dam reached 300 as of Sunday, still lagging well behind the 10-year average, but in line with how springers have come back since 2005 when they began to run later for unknown reasons.

Unfortunately, fishing is expected to slow this week in the lower Columbia because of high, turbid water from recent rainstorms.

Don’t Get Caught Without New Columbia License!

See you in line to buy a new Washington fishing license. April 1 — no foolin’ — is the start of the Evergreen State’s license year.

And if you plan on fishing the Columbia River and its many salmon and steelhead tributaries this season, you’ll want to bring along an extra $8.75 to buy a new endorsement meant to “maintain and improve fishing opportunities throughout the basin.”

It affects waters everywhere from Rosburg to Oroville to Boggan’s Oasis, including popular rivers such as the Cowlitz, Kalama, Lewis, Klickitat, Yakima, Methow, Okanogan, Snake and Grande Ronde.

However, not all stretches of the rivers fall under the new requirement — just those areas where you can legally fish for salmon and steelhead.

A map produced by WDFW shows the affected waters.

SALMON AND STEELHEAD STREAMS REQUIRING THE NEW COLUMBIA RIVER ENDORSEMENT APPEAR IN DARK BLUE. (WDFW)

SOUTHWEST WASHINGTON RIVERS WHERE THE NEW COLUMBIA RIVER ENDORSEMENT IS REQUIRED TO FISH FOR SALMON AND STEELHEAD. (WDFW)

The fee, known as the Columbia River Recreational Salmon and Steelhead Pilot Program, came out of the state legislature last year to help offset WDFW’s $30 million budget shortfall.

A fiscal note on the bill that authorized the fee estimates that 109,140 endorsements would be purchased in 2010, yielding at least $900,405 for the agency. However, that assumed the program would begin Jan. 1.

Revenues and endorsements are projected to rise in following years to just over $1 million by 2015.

According to a press release from the agency, funds will be used to evaluate selective fisheries in the basin and “management activities, including fisheries enforcement, data collection and monitoring.”

The endorsement is required for all anglers 15 years and older. The fee expires June 30, 2016.

Oregon’s license year began on New Year’s Day.

Elsewhere in Washington, you will, of course, need either freshwater ($24 for anglers 16-69), saltwater ($22.20) or combo ($46.20) licenses to fish starting Thursday morning. That last option also includes a shellfishing permit.

Those figures are higher than what was printed in the regulations pamphlet because the state legislature also authorized a temporary 10 percent surcharge on licenses through June 20, 2011.

A chart on WDFW’s Web site outlines all the license options.

UPDATE MAY 31, 2010: RIFFE LAKE HAS BEEN DROPPED FROM THE LIST OF WATERS WHERE THE NEW COLUMBIA RIVER ENDORSEMENT IS REQUIRED, WDFW ANNOUNCED THIS AFTERNOON. WE WILL POST A LINK TO THE RULE CHANGE AS SOON AS THE AGENCY PUTS IT UP.

Columbia To Be Netted Tuesday

Oregon and Washington salmon managers today OKed 12 hours of netting on the Columbia River tomorrow for spring Chinook. It’s the first season of year for commercial fishermen.

A “fact sheet” out today estimates that netters will catch somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 of the salmon from the mouth up to the I-205 bridge between Portland and Vancouver.

Tuesdays have been reserved for commercial fishing below I-5, but results from tests in previous weeks has been so poor that no netting has been done.

Yesterday’s test captured the most salmon of the season, 66, as well as the highest percentage of upriver-bound Chinook, some 65 percent, up from 44 percent the previous week.

From Feb. 1 through March 21, sport anglers had retained 2,500 springers on the mainstem Columbia below Bonneville Dam and released another 350, managers say. We’ll probably get new sport catch numbers in a day or so.

The overall sport quota was set at 17,200 hatchery spring Chinook before any run update is done.

So far the run is behind average — 251 fish, 11 percent of the 10-year average — but is tracking ahead of how salmon have been coming in since 2005 when runs began to come in later.

Managers estimated this year’s run would be 470,000 based off of an average of six different forecasting models. If it comes in, it would be a record.

If.